Thursday, February 28, 2013

Empty Place at the Dining Room Table

I previously wrote about the day Sidekick asks why he doesn't have a Daddy.  This hangs over my head so much even though Sidekick is only 7 1/2 months old.  I play the conversation over and over in my head while looking at my sweet, happy baby, and none of the explanations seems "right".  Bottom line... I was unlucky in love but didn't want to miss my chance to have a baby.  That has always been a dream of mine since as long as I can remember.  Due to modern technology, I was able to do just that.  Is that a good enough explanation? 

When I announced on Facebook that Sidekick was born, one of my friends congratulated my unborn child on picking me to be his mommy. I love that! I've always said (and wrote) that if things were meant to be, then I would have a baby.  I always said (and wrote) that it has to be the "right" sperm and "right" egg for me to get the baby I'm supposed to have.  That's why it took eight IUIs! It was my last vial of sperm!  I was emotionally spent!  I was exhausted!  I was done!  But nope!  That was when my perfect baby came to be.  That was when he picked me. 

How does a Mom explain to her son the choice she made (that could in retrospect hurt/upset him)?  I don't believe that Sidekick will really be at a disadvantage because he doesn't have a Dad.  In fact, I hope one day Sidekick will have a Dad and some step siblings.  My best friend's husband will be a great role model, and while my sister and brother-in-law live far away, my brother-in-law will be an important part of Sidekick's life as well. I'm athletic, so we'll play sports together, hike together, go camping together, etc. We can do this.

I certainly don't regret doing what I did, and I never have, even for a brief moment.  I am so in love with my sidekick.  It's a love that is indescribable.  But I know that my wordless sidekick will start talking, and he will have questions.  I hope I can be the best parent to him.  I hope that I can live up to his expectations.  I hope that he will love me regardless of what I did.  I hope that he will never be angry about being brought into this world with only a Mommy. 

I will struggle with this until Sidekick and I talk about it. Who knows how long Sidekick will struggle with it.  I hope with all of my being that Sidekick will be okay with it because it's all he knows, and I provide him everything he needs.  I hope he never feels like there is an empty place at the dining room table. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sick Momma! (And a Dilemma at School)

Well, it finally happened... the dreadful time when I am sick and have the responsibility of a seven month old.  I felt it coming on yesterday, and thankfully Sidekick was on his best behavior after I picked him up from school.  I went to bed much earlier than normal and was not looking forward to Sidekick waking up in the morning because I had to get him dressed, fed, and off to school.  I had a feeling that I was going to take the day off when I went to sleep which is what I immediately decided to do as soon as I woke up and realized my entire body was achy! I'm pretty sure my scalp even hurt.

I got Sidekick up and out the door so fast so that I could get him to school and take care of myself for the day.  I got home, talked to my friend on the phone, and crawled into bed.  When Sidekick was in infant I rarely napped because I had so much to do (I never listened to the "sleep when baby sleeps" rule), but somehow today I managed to sleep over three hours!  That is such a rarity for me so I knew that I was sick!

I felt a little better when I woke up, so I showered, took my dog for a walk, and picked up Sidekick earlier than planned.  I get Mommy Guilt often when he is at school even though he is rarely there for more than 7 1/2 hours a day.  Nonetheless, even when I'm sick, I still feel like he should be home with me, so my lucky sidekick came home earlier than normal.

My dilemma at school... Sidekick does not nap well when he is there.  He's never been a great napper to begin with (primarily because he's been sleeping 12-13 hours straight since he was nine weeks old), but on the weekends, I've finally got him taking a long afternoon nap.  Anyway, when he started in the classroom he is in now, I typed out a cheat sheet with a "loose" schedule, things he likes, doesn't like, etc.  One of the things I explained is that he takes his morning nap about 2 1/2 hours after waking up in the morning, and he takes his afternoon nap about 2 1/2 hours after waking up from his morning nap.  I've noticed this does not happen at school because his afternoon naps are WAY off.  He's up for about four hours before he takes his afternoon nap.  I think he is overtired and therefore not going to nap well. I need to explain the napping thing to them again in hopes that Sidekick will sleep better than he currently does.

What I liked about this school (I toured 11 of them when trying to decide where I will take Sidekick) is that the babies/kids move by ability (roughly every six months). It's the only place I found that does that. While I loved his teachers in the first classroom, I am not a fan of his teachers now. Sidekick is my baby, but why do I always feel bad asking his teachers to do something for him or even asking them questions about his day (when it really means I'm kind of questioning them)?  Ugh!  Mommy Guilt...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Did you have a volunteer?"

I previously wrote about 3 1/2 year old Lauren asking if a picture she saw was Sidekick and his daddy.  I know that questions will be coming up from kids in Sidekick's life who are older than him, and I know Sidekick will one day ask about his daddy.  My almost nine year old nephew has been asking his mom and dad how babies are made.  My sister and brother-in-law decided to have "the talk" with him shortly before Christmas.  They've always been open and honest with him about everything, and together they explained how a baby is made: two people fall in love, get married, have sex (sperm and egg unite), make a baby.  Simple, and he understood it and handled it well.  (He did comment how he was sad that Sidekick doesn't have a daddy.) 

Fast forward a few days, and my nephew was in the car telling their neighbor that Baby Sidekick is coming for Christmas.  All of a sudden a light bulb went off:  How did my aunt have a baby?!  We knew this would happen because my nephew knows that I'm not married let alone have a man in my life.  My sister quickly changed the subject and drove away. 

I was washing dishes on Christmas Eve day while we were preparing dinner when my nephew came to me to talk about Sidekick's daddy. He asked, "Did you have a volunteer? What's his name?"  He was so proud of himself for figuring it out.  My sister jokingly asked, "His name or his number?"  We both laughed.

My nephew didn't ask anything else, and he seemed satisfied with this "arrangement" Sidekick's daddy and I had.  He didn't judge at all.  He loves Sidekick even though he doesn't have a daddy.  I wonder when the wheels in his head will start spinning again, but for now, he's happy now that he knows how Sidekick came to be. 

If you are a SMC, how much information do you provide to older kids about your baby's daddy?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First Time Really Feeling Overwhelmed, Exhausted, and Spent!

I really have never felt the challenge of being a single Momma until this week.  A couple of days ago, I wrote about Sidekick being sick and me having a busy, crazy work week.  Sidekick was feeling great and ready to go to school Friday.  When I picked him up, he was fine and in pretty good spirits.  That night, he woke up crying a couple of times (got himself back to sleep) but woke up for good before the sun rose (which never happens!).  I knew it was going to be a bad day, and I was definitely not looking forward to it being Saturday.  He took horrible naps and screamed a lot during the day.  Today seems to be a repeat of yesterday, and while he is whining in his crib at the moment, that little dude better take a long nap. 

Being outside typically makes Sidekick happy.  It's in the upper 30's today, but that has never stopped us from going for a walk.  I bundled him up, grabbed Dog, and off we went.  He was happy the entire time (of course).  When the wind blew in his face, he sucked it in through his nose and laughed.  When he could see Macey, he laughed at her.  He took in the blue sky and birds flying.  He was content.  Forty five minutes later, we came home and I took him out of the stroller only to find him missing a sock.  Of course that would happen because that's just the weekend it's been.  Thankfully he had a blanket on him, but I still felt bad his little toes were so cold. Since the stroller was put away and the dog was inside, Sidekick and I walked around nearby in hopes of finding it, but we had no success.  I threw him in the car seat and drove around the neighborhood until we came upon it.  If it was a plain sock, I wouldn't worry, but it was one of my favorite socks of his, so I had to find it. 

See how cute and innocent he looks during this walk?  This is so NOT who my baby has been for seven days!  He can fake out anyone!

So, going back to the heading of this entry... Sidekick has always been a good baby, but after seven days of him being sick and/or constantly crabby, my limits and patience have been pushed and tested!  I haven't been to the gym in a week, Macey hadn't been walked in days until today, and I haven't had a chance to clean my home...  all because I have had a sick and crabby baby.  I have absolutely no one to whom I can hand him (even if for a brief moment so I can make lunch).  He is all mine 24/7, except when he is at school.  I have felt the pressures this week, and I'd be lying if I said I can't wait to take him to school tomorrow!  It is a company holiday for me, so I plan to clean, work out, and have a massage.  This Momma needs a break and a little relaxation. 

I am thankful that Sidekick is normally such a easy and good baby.  But when he is having an "off" day (or in this case, week), he is horrible!  I know being a working mom is hard, but add the word "single" in front of that, and it gets just a little harder.  But when I look at that cute picture above, I can't help but smile and love him.

Fellow SMC, when did you feel overwhelmed for the first time?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Single Momma + Sick Baby + Work = a Challenge

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Sidekick has been a very healthy baby, but this week has proven to be unlucky for him.  This past Sunday he seemed to be on a food strike... didn't seem to worry me. 
  • Monday:  he normally slams an eight ounce bottle when he wakes up, but he kept pushing it away and shaking his head "no". (I'm still not sure when he learned to do that because he's never shaken his head like that, let alone at the right time.)  I work out of my home, and Monday was an office day. Sidekick had two bouts of diarrhea while at school, and two bouts equal going home.  I picked him up early afternoon, and he was fine the rest of the day and all night long. 
  • Tuesday:  Since the rule at school is that they cannot return until 24 hours after his last bout, I was able to bring him in the next day late in the morning which was important because I had an appointment with a customer that I didn't want to miss.  Sidekick was fine all day. 
  • Wednesday: I had a huge sales presentation and was in a hurry that morning. I realized when I was almost to school that I had forgotten his bottles.  I've never done that, and yesterday was not the day for that.  School is 20 minutes round trip from my home, and my presentation was 40 minutes from home. Doing the math, that was going to be a problem, but somehow I made it work and got to the presentation on time.  Phew!  Fifteen minutes before the two hour presentation was over, I had a voicemail from school.  Sidekick had two bouts of really bad diarrhea, and he hadn't eaten much all day.  I called the pediatrician and quickly left the presentation to drive 50 minutes to pick him up. He seemed fine. We went to the doctor where he was diagnosed with norovirus (not a surprise), and he is now drinking soy formula, taking Mylanta before eating, and I sprinkle pro biotic powder in his baby food. 
  • Today, Valentine's Day, he got to spend the day with me due to the 24 hour rule.  He was a good boy, played right next to me on the floor while I worked, took a long nap, and held it together until about 4:45 PM when he had a complete meltdown.  He ate some carrots, took and bath, ate his bottle, and was asleep before 7:00.
I have a busy day tomorrow and have to leave earlier than normal. I'll have to wake up Sidekick and get out the door quickly.  He'll go to school tomorrow and based on the week it's been and the fact that I have a training to attend, he'll probably have two bouts of diarrhea again (even though he's been fine for almost 36 hours), and I'll have to pick him up. This is one of the few times when being a single mom and not having family in the same state is difficult.  But, we've almost made it through a challenging week, and I am in love with my little Valentine more than ever!  Sidekick loves me THIS much!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Is that Sidekick's Daddy?"

I find it very ironic that earlier today I wrote about Cooper asking me about his daddy, and today the question came out of a 3 1/2 year old's mouth.  My good friend and her daughter came to visit us today.  To set the stage, I have this picture in a large black and white canvas in Cooper's room:

Lauren (3 1/2) saw the canvas and asked if that was Sidekick's daddy.  Her mom and I looked at each other, laughed, and then quickly changed the subject.  I didn't know if I should be offended that she thought I was a man : ) or shocked that she was putting things together and wondering about Sidekick's daddy.  In Lauren's eyes, I'm not sure it matters that Sidekick doesn't have a daddy.  She loves this little guy with or without a daddy.  Kids are resilient, forgiving, and non-judgemental.  We could learn something from them quite often if we were more receptive to their goings-on in the world.  (I'll write about my nephew asking about Sidekick's dad another day because that's a very interesting perspective as well.)  Regardless, it makes me smile when I think about it because her sweet, little innocence came to the forefront of Sidekick's world.

"Where's my Daddy?"

I've envisioned several times when Sidekick will ask me, "Where is my Daddy?"  It's a moment that worries me.  It's a moment that makes me realize that Sidekick knows there is something "different" about our family.  It's the moment when I might feel like I have let him down by not giving him a daddy and a traditional family.  At the same time, in my head it seems like an easy conversation because I'll explain to him that I wanted him so badly that I had to get him a different way.  Seems easy, right?  Ha! 

I've bought two books for him explaining our situation, one with a real person (Just the Baby for Me) and one with a lion and her cub (Why Don't I have a Daddy?). I realize that some of Sidekick's friends might have a mommy and a daddy that don't live together, while some might have two mommies or two daddies.  Thankfully we live in a society where a lot more is accepted.  It's so great to have the ability to have a child regardless of someone's situation. Nonetheless, while Sidekick makes his way through the world, he'll have this Donor Dad thing hanging over his head.  He'll never know his "Dad".  Sidekick will have the information I have from Donor Dad's profile and a picture of him when he was about two years old.  All the while, Sidekick's birth certificate remains blank for the Father's Name. 

I am hopeful that one day I'll meet a great guy who will either have children of his own or will want to have children; thus giving Sidekick some siblings. In the meantime, I will continue to raise a confident, happy, funny, and strong little person who will be all of that and more when he is a man.  In the meantime, I'll just wait until that question about his daddy comes up.  Thankfully I've got time to ponder my response.

So... if you are a SMC, how do you plan to explaining things to your baby?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The End of an Era

I don't consider myself a very sentimental person, but there seems to be one piece of baby equipment that tugs at my heart strings.  That piece of equipment is called a Rock n Play.  Sidekick didn't ever like the swing, and he tolerated the bouncy seat once he got a little older.  The Rock n Play was his favorite place to be, and when I think about him as an itty bitty baby, I picture him in it.  I picture him asleep, I picture him smiling, and I picture him "talking" in it.  Once he got really good at tummy time and began sitting up, he didn't want to have anything to do with it.

Last week I went for a run before picking Sidekick up from school, and when we got home, I was desperate for a shower.  I brought the Rock n Play in the bathroom and strapped him in.  (I had never buckled him in before because he was always so content in it.)  Anyway, he proceeded to try to throw himself out of it.  I've never seen him so determined.  He grunted, he cried, he squealed, he yelled... all to know avail. To put it bluntly, he was pissed, and at that moment, I knew it was time to find the Rock n Play a new home.

I posted an ad on Craigslist, and within an hour, I got an email from someone who was interested in it.  She was even willing to drive an hour to pick it up (I still can't figure out why because the gas money alone was probably a lot.)  Anyway, I felt like I should interview her to make sure it was going to a good home. : )  Before we left to meet her, I laid Sidekick in it one last time and took his sweet picture.  It was time to say "good-bye" to the Rock n Play...

What was something that you had a hard time parting with when your baby started getting bigger?

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Boy's Love for his Dog

Just recently, Sidekick has shown so much interest in his golden retriever, Macey.  He can't get enough of her (unfortunately, I don't think the feeling is mutual).  As soon as I finish getting him dressed in the morning, he starts looking for her and squeals in delight when he finds her.  This is just one of his many interactions with her.  It doesn't get any sweeter than this.  (I decided to experiment with YouTube, so hopefully this works!)