Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This cat. I think he's out of chances.

Kitty took a few swipes at Bo again recently, this time claws out. The boy was reaching blindly over the arm of the couch (from Frank's lap), just to see if he could do it. The cat pounced and swatted at Bo's hands and mercifully missed. He then jumped onto the couch where he tried to again scratch and claw at the baby. Frank locked him in the basement until Bo was safely in bed.

Something has to be done.

What can we do? None of our friends or family will adopt this cat. He's a psycho and they all know it. Even my sucker-for-anything-with-fur sister wants no part of this cat. I can't in good conscience offer him to strangers, knowing full well that he's unbalanced and will literally bite the hand that feeds him.

Bo is right on the cusp of crawling - we're talking days, if not hours - and while I can put covers in the electrical outlets and locks on my cabinets, I can't babyproof the cat. Or kitty-proof the baby. Anything on the floor to Kitty is fair game and I can't have him coming at Bo's face.

So what do we do? Be those people? Those people who abandon their pet when they have a baby? I'm not that girl. I'm the girl who gets all eye rolly and disdainful when I read the little descriptions on the cage at the shelter about why the animal was given up. Like, didn't you KNOW that was going to happen? Why didn't you PREPARE better? How can you just give your cat away? Why don't you try that book Or a clicker?

So now I direct all of these mean and judgey comments at myself. And I add new fun ones like, why am I so LAZY? How can I say I'm too TIRED to try the book now? Don't I LOVE my cat?

I'm horrified at the thought of taking this poor cat to a shelter. When he gets out of the house (he makes a break for it every time the door opens), he doesn't even leave the yard. We always find him waiting by the front or back door after 10 minutes of backyard adventure. I can't imagine how freaked out he'd be in a shelter somewhere, waiting for me to come back.

I don't know what to do. I mean, I know what has to be done, but I can't bring myself to do it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Been a Long Time Coming

I don't really want to talk about it. I try my best not to think about it too much. There's no answer that doesn't suck and the whole thing makes my stomach hurt. So I avoid it as much as possible and just get on with my day. Until it rears up unexpectedly to slap me in the face and leave me holding back tears at my desk or behind the wheel or wherever I happen to be at that moment.

Most recently it was my dad. He was in my neighborhood and had some time between appointments. He called to see if I was home and could he stop by to see his grandson. When I told him I was at work and Bo was at his babysitter's, my dad's response was, "Oh, he has a babysitter now? I don't like that one bit. But you gotta do what you gotta do." To which I responded, "I don't like it either".

Thanks Dad. Because this is really a conversation I want to have out loud. Because I'm not already tortured every day that my baby boy is cared for by someone else as I sit at my stupid desk and order socks or remove salt from pretzel sticks. Because when I walk to the Fedex box and see babies crying and their nannies trying to console them I don't worry about my son and if he's crying and if his lady is consoling him. Because I don't want to scream with jealousy at the girls standing in the bakery discussing their latest playgroup gossip over their ridiculous strollers as I frantically fix myself a cup of coffee on my schlep to work. So thanks Dad, for bringing it to my attention in the middle of my awesome day.

My job has always sucked. My boss is a walking, talking cross between Michael Scott and Mr. Pitt. I do nothing remotely important or meaningful during my day and never have in the almost 5 years I've been here. The thing is, before Bo, I never cared. I was Jim Halpert to my boss's Michael Scott. Frank's own work schedule is always shifting so missing weekends was no big deal since he was usually at work too. The pay for putting up with the craziness made the 14 or 15 hour days (and 100+ hour weeks) totally worth it. There were also perks galore like shoes with red soles and a personal trainer. It was a good gig.

Now I'm working only part time. Fake. Part time by the standards of this job still means one 10+ hour day a week, really being firm about when I have to leave, and still leaving at least an hour later than planned. The upside is that it's not every day. The downside is no regular person would call the work schedule I'm keeping these days "part time". There aren't as many perks. There's a new girl keeping most of my old hours and now she gets all the extras.

I tell myself that I would go crazy staying home all day, every day with the boy - I tried to write as much in this space - but it wouldn't be true. The days I leave him with the sitter and go to work are so sad for me and I count the minutes until I can leave to get back to him. I'm having a terrible time trying to balance it all (like every other working mom out there I know). There are days where I feel pushed to the floor by the stress of trying to figure out a way to maintain everything.

We could most likely get by on Frank's salary but it would be hard. It would involve more sacrifice than we're willing to make. I don't want my husband working himself to death with overtime, missing his own time with our son so that I can stay home. And I like going to work. It feels good to put on nice clothes and leave the house. I like contributing to the family coffers. I also believe it's good for Bo to get the socialization of other people and other kids.

(I'm going in circles with this post. Can you tell I'm just trying to work my shit out by writing it down?)

It makes me angry and sad and bitter that I have to leave my son with someone else to do this. This nothing of a job. This glorified babysitting of a man old enough to be my son's grandfather; older than my own father by 7 years. This job that requires no specialized skills or abilities, only never ending patience and absolute devotion bordering on co-dependence.

I used to be a teacher. A really good teacher, I don't mind saying. I worked in a terrible school in an awful neighborhood on purpose. The conditions of the school were bad and the pay sucked. I made a difference every day just by showing up and I loved it.


I had an interview a couple of weeks ago with my old school district. I'm going back in January.

It's a trade off to be sure. My work schedule will be five days a week instead of 3 or 4 (or 5, if I'm honest) but I'll be done every day by 4pm. Nobody will call me at home at 9pm because he can't figure out how to switch from cable to the dvd player (swear to God) or because he needs help in drafting a mean email to his ex-wife over how she mothers their children. My weekends will be my own. Bo will technically spend more time with the sitter but not really, since Frank's days off are during the week most of the time. It's going to be hard and thankless.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I'm not quite done beating myself up over allowing my son to fall on his head. In fact, the very next day walking down the front steps of our house with the boy in the carrier, I achieved the advanced move of stepping on the hem of my right pant leg with the heel of my left shoe. We have 12 front steps. Somehow I managed to not lose my grip on the carrier and sort of pitched myself sideways so I landed in the ivy, one ass cheek slamming hard onto the step but the baby landing right side up.

That was an awesome start to the day.


A couple weeks ago my mom and I were talking about winter coats for Bo and I mentioned something about the one piece snowsuit deals and she said do NOT get one of those things because it's her experience that babies hate those things.

Her experience.

One day my mom decided to take us to the playground near my grandparents' house for the afternoon. She liked to take us for walks during the day, to get out of the house and do something. The playground was within walking distance but not close. It was probably a 10 minute walk for an adult alone. There were four of us at the time, ages 4,3,2, and 1 (roughly) so it was probably more like a 30 minute walk.

When we got to the playground my mom turned us loose to play while she wrestled my brother (the one year old) out of the stroller. He was pissed and thrashy because he hated his one piece snowsuit. In the time it took her to take her eyes off of us and wrangle him, my younger sister, Maria (the two year old) fell off her swing and broke her arm.

It was about 1981 or so. Mom was 25 years old. She didn't speak any English (neither did my older sister or myself). There were no cell phones. Still, she didn't panic or freak out. She got my brother back into the stroller, turned her scarf into a sling for Maria's arm, and walked all four of us back to my grandparents' house where she could call my dad at work and my grandfather could take her and Maria to the hospital.

I have no memory of the event at all. I vaguely remember Maria's arm being in a cast but barely.

I'm 32 years old. I have one kid. I speak the language. I have a cell phone and a driver's license and a car. Still, I think I would melt into a puddle of panic faced with that situation. I certainly don't think I would have the presence of mind to fashion a sling out of my scarf.

My lesson? Kids get hurt and it's not the end of the world.

No snowsuits for Bo.

And maybe one baby is enough for me.