Turning a New Page

I said good bye to our day care center last week. My daughter will be entering a full-time preschool program at a magnet school in the fall, we have other child care arrangements made for the duration of the summer and this is, for all intents and purposes, our last hurrah.  There is no doubt I will thoroughly enjoy the extra cash I will have in my pocket.  I also know that the preschool Eliza will be attending is awesome and she is excited and ready, BUT man, closing this chapter has me feeling a bit emo. When a phase in your life ends, it is often the people and not the actual day to day routine that you will miss most. This statement could not be truer when it comes to my time at as part of this day care.  The women I met over the past seven years have all played a role in my experience as a mom and my children’s childhoods.  What you did for me and my family will never be lost on me. Thank you to Noah’s first teacher in the infant room who was coincidentally a mom of childhood, family friends.  What an incredible comfort to be able to leave my 6 month old baby (my first!) with someone I knew.  She counseled me during those first few months with a calmness...

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“How’s Mom?” Which One?

Ugh. So it finally happened. We’ve both gotten comments since I’ve been pregnant that we expected but weren’t looking forward to. I’ve heard “Will your husband be joining you?” Dory has gotten “So did the guy have sex with your wife?” and all the “it isn’t really your child, though, right?” I was hoping society was kind of past these in our area of New England but it is confirmed we are in for a lifetime of this. It has pretty much rolled off our backs so far. We’ve laughed them off and rolled our eyes in sympathy for each other. I feel protective over Dory’s status as a mom and she interacts with dozens of patients every day so she definitely hears more of it than I do. Being a non-pregnant mother-to-be is a whole struggle I’ve never been through (yet). My safe haven has been my midwives and ultrasound techs at Yale-New Haven. I trusted they would be inclusive and they are. Most places aren’t going to be super-homophobic and throw you out, but a lot of places will get their language inadvertently wrong or make it awkward by over-talking-up how fine they are with the gays because their aunt’s friend has a girlfriend. At Yale-New Haven they were just normal. Normal, normal, normal about it and I loved it. They effortlessly said donor instead of dad every...

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Don’t ask me if my baby is good

A few weeks ago, I was cleaning up my six-month-old’s blow-out on a public bathroom floor when an older woman walked in.  My baby’s interested eyes and charming smile clearly blinded the woman from the poop that was smeared on the floor, the used diaper, and the small heap of dirty clothes and wipes we had amassed.  The woman bent down and cooed, “Ohhh what a beauuuuutiful baby!”  She smiled warmly and continued to chat with us as she entered a bathroom stall.  I responded with my baby’s age and name – but then her next question made me cringe. “Is she a good baby?” This is a well-intentioned question for sure.  Kind of like, “How are you feeling?” when you’re pregnant.  It’s probably nothing more than basic stranger small-talk, but it can seem like such a loaded question too.  Especially when you sometimes wonder that same thing yourself.  Especially when you’ve been dealing with postpartum depression.  Especially when your baby just shit all over you, herself, and a public bathroom. Seriously, what am I supposed to say?  No, actually, she’s a downright awful baby.  She whines constantly and always wants to be held.  She’s a complete jerk.  Still wakes up at all hours and fights every nap.  She hates me – scratches and pinches my skin and pulls my hair.  Can’t stand her.  Sending her back. I looked down...

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Grief is not Depression

I am in grief, I’m in it deep. It’s been two months since my brother died and just over a year since my father died. I hadn’t fully processed losing my dad, was cautiously counting down to the one year anniversary of his passing, when BAM!, my brother died at 29 years old. The initial shock is over and as my mom said to me yesterday, the reality and finality is now setting in. I’ve read many descriptions of grief that compare it to waves in the ocean. They come on strong and often at first, then gradually get...

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When the Advocate Needs an Advocate

Back in March I posted about Gavin’s win against our insurance company in the battle for his adaptive stander.  I am still in shock that it took us a year, numerous internal appeals and an external appeal to get it approved. But it also left me feeling worried and nervous if that would happen for every single device we would need for him moving forward. While at Shriners in April we had Gavin fitted for a new gait trainer (AKA walker) and I fully expected to have to go through the same year-long battle.  But this time things would be different.  I would be ready for that battle.  I had “people” now. In my excitement over the fact that we had actually won our external appeal, I only gave a brief nod to the organization that was the driving force behind our monumental (at least to us) win  – The Office of Healthcare Advocate (AKA my “people”). Simply put these folks are AMAZING! I cannot say enough about how responsive, helpful, supportive, informative and understanding our advocate, Caroline was. Not to mention EXTREMELY patient with me! In my opinion, Gavin wouldn’t have his stander if it weren’t for all the hard work and effort put in by Caroline. From the get go, Caroline told me it would be a process – but she was there every step of the...

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Summer Distractions

I realized as I repeated the question again to 12, she was still not paying attention. Or she was on some level, but I could tell her full attention lay elsewhere. My first thought was she had a headache as she is prone to those. But as I looked towards the direction of her distraction, I paused… not sure if what I was seeing was what held her so gaze: A boy-man, my guess 19, on the brink of 20, slender, with a full head of blond hair cut short summer-style. He was wearing the preppy pre-requisite “staff uniform”:...

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Twenty-Two Years…And Counting

My husband and I have been together for over twenty years. That’s a very long time. We met in high school and watched each other graduate high school, college, and graduate school, find (and change) careers, and become parents. We watched each other become adults and now we are watching each other age. We have had days together that glow in my memory as my most favorite days and we have had days that crushed me and hurt so deeply I was sure I wouldn’t recover. Through it all, however, my husband has remained “my person”. He’s the one...

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Guest Post! The Beauty of Turning 60

Acquiescence: passive assent or agreement without protest. I just turned 60, and did not want a big party. My daughters and I had just had one for my husband, Gary, complete with our patio festooned with lights, rented tables and chairs, a caterer, and live band. It was a stunning fall night with glittering stars décor for the dance floor. We couldn’t exactly ask the same people back nine months later; we couldn’t re-inflate those balloons. I could just be an old bag without any hoopla. But it sounds like sour grapes when you say you don’t want a party. So I suggested a series of activities instead. And while those ideas were swirling about, I thought about why I was happy to become a blue haired old lady. For one thing, I am a runner. The whole family juggles babysitting and training for 5Ks (my favorite), 10Ks (Shawna’s preferred), and half and full marathons (Ashley, Jeff, and David’s choice). My husband doesn’t love any of them, but does them for the solidarity, and to be part of the squad. As a runner, you compete by gender and age group, with increments of either five or ten years. So, when I ran as a 50 year old, I often placed second or third; sometimes first.  Wahoo!  I won an apple pie once.  One run I did with my dog and we came in...

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Our Review: Family Day Trip to Ocean Beach Park

My summer plans with my children have pretty much always involved free or nearly free local day tips. This summer, though, our sons are 5 and 7, and we decided to try something we’ve never done before. My children love the beach more than anything. We sprang for a CT State Parks pass this year ($67), so we spend lots of time at Rocky Neck State Park, partly because it’s gorgeous– my favorite public beach in the state– and partly because we go for free with our pass. I’ve always wanted to check out Ocean Beach State Park in...

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The New Challenge In Raising Our Girls Is Innocent and Well-Intentioned Sexism

Quick, read this phrase and tell me what immediately springs to mind: “Women in STEM.” Where did your brain go?  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I doubt your first thought was “women are well-represented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines and professions, not to mention the fact that they hold leadership positions in these fields and are earning as much as men in these careers.  Nope, nothing amiss here!”  You probably got that stomach lurch or brain flash that indicated the controversy and contention behind this topic.  The fact that we need to talk specifically about “women” in STEM, and not just people in STEM or STEM careers generally, tells you that we’re dealing with thorny issues about sex, gender and the debate over whether the under-representation of women in STEM is something we should worry about or just something that is the way it is, shrug.  In case you haven’t guessed, you can count me among the former group, not the latter. Many of us, especially the Boomers among us, have a story or two about a person, male or female, who has openly and quite unabashedly asserted that girls and women are simply wired differently than their male counterparts, making them ill-suited for careers in the hard sciences.  Hell, some folks believe, based on whatever pseudo-science they encounter on the internet or unearth from...

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