Give a Little Thanks

I wrote this email to the director of our preschool today. I wanted to share with all of you how awesome our preschool is too!

Good morning,

I’m writing this morning to let you know of something very serious that is happening in your daycare center. As you know, when my son, JJ, first started attending school,I was crushed by the way he cried when I left him. Although I realized that it was completely normal (and through your reassurance, too!), my mornings were still filled with dread leading up to his drop off every day. Sometimes, I would cry before I even dropped him off and almost always after. I was miserable at his apparent “misery.” I knew that the crying was only superficial, but that little red face with big tears welling up was not what I wanted to ever see when I left my child. It left me heartbroken until I came back to pick him up each afternoon.

I began praying for JJ’s morning comfort a few weeks ago, thinking it couldn’t hurt anything. It seemed kind of silly to me at the time, because I knew JJ would grow out of the crying eventually.

Let me tell you what happened today! Today, JJ was THRILLED to be at school– because of Ms. "E". For the past two weeks, I have noticed a significant change in JJ and the way he responds in the morning. When we enter the front door, he sees Ms. E and plasters on a wrinkle-nosed grin, full of shiny white teeth. Today, he laughed out loud (we both did!) and jumped up and down in my arms when he saw her playing peek-a-boo around the corner– and then he reached out for her. My heart sang when he did that. It’s still singing as I write this email.

I’m fairly certain that it is normal for a child to find an attachment to a staff member. However, the very serious thing I see happening here is that Ms. E sees how important this situation is to me. She doesn’t coddle JJ, nor does she offer him special “baby” treatment. She has shown me with her actions and JJ’s reactions, without even meaning to, that JJ is having a fulfilling, enriched experience at the center. She smiles at him and me, she calmly talks to him and me, and she makes brilliant eye contact with him and me. Most importantly, she makes sure to do these things so I can see them. She doesn’t scoop him up and run away to stop the crying. She gives him time to blow kisses (his favorite thing!) and say bye-bye. She greets and supports both of us in the morning. That makes me feel great; more than that, it makes me feel peaceful. I don’t know if the change is coincidental with time or if something did happen with JJ’s perception and he found his “safe spot” with Ms. E.

God listened to what I wanted and gave what I needed. My prayer has been answered two-fold; not only is JJ comforted, but so am I! It happened through your staff,
right inside your front door! Don’t you love it when that happens?

When I see something good, I just have to tell about it! A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to you, Ms. E, and your staff for being truly wonderful. The impact that you
and your center has had on our lives the past three months has far outreached JJ’s morning comfort. You may never know the significance that you and your center have
had on our lives and how different we are since JJ started attending. You and your staff have been a true blessing to our lives and I can’t thank you enough.

Have a wonderful day,
Kristen Stone


Need a Life Raft?

Hey folks. I’m looking for volunteers to come do my laundry for me.
Cause this is what I am right now:

I have not had a weekend to do laundry in at least three weeks. Luckily, I’ve been able to do JJ’s laundry, and I have seen Jerry do a load of socks and underwear. But that’s it. The dishes have been done, too. BUT THAT’S IT.

Why is laundry such a…. chore?! It’s so easy just to throw the dirty laundry into the basket and let it overflow, cascading into a dangerous pile of clothing and towels that prompt you to look under it for the missing cat (he was outside the whole time!!) Then when it gets washed, it’s so easy just to leave it in the basket and bellyache about it being wrinkled the next day when you want to wear something out of it. I mean really folks, where is the joy in all of this? I can’t find it, but I can’t stop it either.

I need a maid who will do nothing but my laundry. I have way too many other things to do instead of laundry. My garden is in close need of being planted, so the laundry can wait. JJ needs to go outside and play, so the laundry can wait. Of course, I need to work, so the laundry can wait. I need to fix dinner, wash dishes, clean up the kitchen, snuggle with my honey, clean the bathroom, vacuum the Cheerios off the floor, sanitize toys, clean out the car, sleep, plant bushes, entertain my parents when they visit, be sick, watch House, sit in traffic for an hour, clean out the fridge, take a shower, dance across the kitchen with my kid in my arms, go to the grocery store, and type award winning blogs. The laundry can wait. It drives me crazy. It taunts me from across the room like a cute little penguin that knows that you’re lazy and a procrastinator and that you’d rather avoid the problem than do something about it. I hate laundry.

The only solace I have is that, surely, I can’t be the only one who has drowned under a sea of laundry before. There must be others who have lived out of a laundry basket for several weeks because they just have too much to do. Right? RIGHT?!


The Right Direction

It’s been a rough few weeks.

However, I announced to Facebook this morning that bad things happen in threes – which meant that I would certainly not be struck by lightning on my way to work this morning.  I found little comfort in that as I dragged my sick self out of bed and into the shower. 

Day 4 has been better than day 3.  And 2.  And 1.  And all of the others from the previous month. A step in the right direction on the path to surviving the rest of cold and flu season.

Pneumonia is kicking my ass and the AAP decides to finally step up their game and throw out new guidelines for car seat regulations.  My first fear is that we will have to buy, yet another, car seat.  We’ve already gone through three of them, almost four, and buying another one would not be in my sanity’s best interest.  I don’t know why I thought this initially, but as I read the article, I found nothing in it that surprised me. 

The basic premise:  your child MUST be rear facing until they are at least 2 or as long as they reach the weight/height limit on the seat.  This is now a law, folks, not just a recommendation. 

Before JJ turned a year old, he out grew his infant seat by height.  While he remained under the weight limit, we knew it was time for the car seat upgrade.  Since he wasn’t a year old yet, we opted for a three-in-one seat that could grow with him.  We purchased a Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite seat, with a 35 pound rear facing limit, 50 pound front facing limit, and 100 pound booster limit.  It was huge, but we accommodated.  JJ seemed more comfortable in it, as well as safer, so we were pretty happy.

Then the dreaded realization came in – we couldn’t move that car seat from car to car as easily as the infant seat.  Only a few weeks passed until we realized that we needed, yet another, car seat.  Fun for us.

Luckily for me, the seat that I had my eye on since JJ was in utero had been reduced in price and was more readily available: Safety 1st Complete Air - rear facing to 40 pounds, front facing to 65, but no booster option.  Booster seats are inexpensive anyway, so it didn’t stop the purchase.  Not terribly worried, either – my 11 year old nephew just tipped the scale at 70 pounds, so if we can keep JJ in this harnessed seat until he’s 10, I’m quite happy with that.    It has the cool air bags that help reduce side impact injury.  And it’s red.  We like red.

This new seat fit much better in my 2008 Chevy Cobalt, so the Alpha Omega went in the truck and the Air went in my car, both rear facing.  We were only pseudo-comfortable in the car with the HUGE car seat in the back, but we had at least a few more months before JJ turned 1.  We made do.  We knew JJ was safer that way, anyway.

When JJ did turn 1, I never turned the seat around because of this video.  Try not to cry:  Check out the rest of the website, too.  There are lots of other stories about kids just like Joel.  The website isn’t that “pretty,” but I think it gets the point across.  I didn’t turn JJ around because of Joel.  Joel’s Grandpa had the courage to step out and let his voice be heard about kids and car accidents and the AAP finally is doing something about it.

We did eventually purchase a bigger car and since then, my life has been bliss with all the space.  I realize that option is not available for many people, and we did just get lucky with my new car.  If we had been stuck with the Cobalt for another few years, JJ still would be rear facing until he reached the weight limit of the seat.  Four properly restrained, forward facing kids die every day because of injuries in a car.  I don’t want my child to be one of them.  He’s too busy breaking coffee tables with his face, anyway. 

Yes, I know I preach.  Yes, I know this is not my first (nor will it be my last) tirade on car seat safety.  But parents, the right direction for your small child is backwards and the real restriction should read as this:  if your child is under the weight and height limit for the car seat, face them backwards no matter how old they are.  Do it until they are literally too big.  After that, put them in a front facing 5-POINT-HARNESS until they are literally too big.  No front seat until age 13. Have your car seat inspected every three months (I just had mine inspected two weeks ago.) And for the love of all things baby safety, wear your seat belt as a good example.  You can read up on some more basic guidelines here:

True, it’s been a rough few weeks for me, but these AAP guidelines made my day a lot better.  It’s taken them thousands of deaths to realize that kids are safer rear facing.  Thank you, AAP, for opening your eyes taking a step in the right direction and making this sick, pathetic lady very happy.    


Untitled and Unreal

It took only minute for it to happen for me. 

"Rusty's dead." 

I know that we talked about a few other things after she said it, but I don't remember any of it.  I don't remember picking up JJ from school after I hung up the phone, and I don't remember calling Jerry to tell him.  Right now, I'm finding it very difficult to even type about it right now.  It almost doesn't seem real to me.

The next day following that call, I was in the car with my sleeping baby on the way to my mom's.  Throughout the entire two hour ride, I became angrier and angrier.  How could he do this to her?  Why did he have to do it where she could find him?  I hate this.  I hate him for killing himself.  I hate that my sister hurts so badly.  I'm full of hate.  And I hate that.

The first day I got there, I went straight to my sister's house.  She didn't hug me or anything mushy like that.  We just looked at each other.  I wouldn't call it an awkward moment, just an "I don't want us to be together over something like this" moment.  All she wanted was for me to be near her so she knew I was okay.  All she wanted was to know what her family were safe.  For a few hours I wrangled my toddler in her non-baby-proof house and didn't get to spend any time with her.  I spend the entire weekend doing this - standing around, chasing a one-year-old, and not spending time with my sister. 

Actually, that's not entirely true.  On Saturday, I took my mom and the three boys  (my nephews William and James, and JJ) to the video game store to pick out new video games and out to lunch.  It was fun, especially for James, to get away from the house and do something cool.  Other than our three hour outing, the standing around/chasing JJ thing is totally what happened.

The only thing significant I did was drive my sister to her husband's funeral.  Just like the day I drove her to the church to marry him.  As least, I think I did.  My memory isn't as good as it used to be.

To add even more rainbows and butterflies to the weekend, I'm still fighting off a nasty cold and JJ crash landed on my mom's coffee table with his face, subsequently landing both of us (and Jerry and my mom, too!) in the ER on Sunday night.  I ran out of the reception after the funeral because JJ had gotten hurt and didn't even say goodbye to my sister.  I felt terrible about it, so I decided to stay the night to go see her in the morning.  BUT THEN, the hospital called after we got back to let me know that I had left my wallet there.  Icing on the cake, my friends.

I ended up going back to the hospital, which is 30 minutes in the opposite direction of my sister's house, the next morning and didn't go back to her house.   I had a baby who was very tired and at the end of his rope and I needed to get him home.  I couldn't stretch him any further than he was already stretched.  I needed to take care of my family, but I knew her family was already taking care of her.  I felt slightly justified leaving when I did, but I feel guilty about it now.

I don't know what I can do for her except pray.  I'm open to suggestions.   I feel so insignificant.

When something horrible happens to us, this close, it takes at least  few days or so for it to become real.  It took only a minute for it to happen to me.  It will take a lifetime for it to happen to her.  That is what makes me the most sad. 


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