Parenting

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When Not To Work

Homemade Fun In The SunIt’s cloudy with a chance of clouds right now. Then a chance of rain. Then rain again this weekend. O is napping. F is at school. It’s still and cloudy here. Why not work?

I’m about to shoot my first ever, Seattle Mama Doc self-produced-self-filmed-self-created-video. Sounds a little like navel staring but will hopefully be more helpful than that. I’m turning a comment (about sleep) from this week into a video blog post. Stay tuned for the video. Production starts now. You can time me. (It may take me awhile…)

This photo from our trip to Deception Pass last weekend. A nice reminder of why we all live here in the Pacific Northwest. Homemade teeter totters. And a good reminder of when not to work.

Verbatim: 3 Mutterings From My World

1 “Daddy!” This from O when I say (and coach him), “Say, Mommy, O. Say, Mommeeeee.” Every time I walk in the door, same thing, “Daddddddeeeeeee!” He likes getting a rise out of me. Lovely little rug rat. Then F starts the day today clearing up what we call each other, “O calls you Daddy, I call you Mommy.”  True.

2 “Toddler Doula, where do I find one?” The husband said this to me after his cup of coffee on Sunday morning after another night of frequent awakenings in our house.

3 “Which brain did you put in this morning?” The husband to me, 7:43am today. I forgot where the oatmeal was after saying I forgot that I bought it while instantly forgetting what I was saying mid-sentence. I claimed I was distracted by all the sleep I got last night (8 straight hours, Sista). And a study this month said pregnancy or motherhood does not make us forgetful. What to blame then?

Valentine, Circa 2004

Sweet Boy Be MineTell me, shall I re-use this little valentine? Part of my efforts to reduce, re-use, & recycle? See, I’ve got these little boys now…

I make the husband a valentine each year. The valentines of the past few years have been less beautiful and less wondrous than the first few, some decade ago. The distractions of the-making-of-a-pediatrician (residency) and the-making-of-a-family (two boys) have influenced this.The valentine here was painted on a park bench halfway between the hospital and my afternoon clinic in South Seattle when I was an intern at Children’s Hospital, February 2004. No idea why I snapped the photo.

Re-use? Tempting. This particular valentine is so perfectly suited for these little boys I love. I’ll just water color in an “s” after “boy” and slip it under their bedroom door Saturday night. We’ll see how the husband takes it.

Dear Sleep, Come Home.

You’ll be pleased to know in response to the poor quality of sleep in our house, for 4 consecutive nights, due to colds and random screaming I’ve just sent a memo to the boys. It reads:

Beloved Boys,

Sleep starts at 8pm and no later.

We rise around 7am in our home, just after Mommy and Daddy are ready for the day.

Thank you for adjusting your schedules accordingly.

I love you,

Mama

I’m waiting for them to respond. A re-tweet or Facebook status update would suffice.

She-Woman Wednesday

She RaOur nanny called in sick yesterday. I felt like a She-Woman (think gender equal of He-man circa 1988) after making it through the day. Maybe it’s more, She-Ra. Between the hours of 7:50am when I got the call and 5:50pm when I sat down to dinner with my little boys I : Read full post »

Tape Measuring Time

I had a great weekend. Nothing truly spectacular happened. I, for the most part, tucked the blog away in my top drawer. I wasn’t on call and didn’t connect into my clinic computer. I tried to be really present with all 3 boys in my house.

I played with my kids. We did the typical things that dress up weekends for normal people: errands, a grocery store trip, naps, dinner, test drove a car, met friends and their kids for lunch, met friends and their kids for dinner, went to IKEA, had dinner with grandma, took out the recycling, rearranged the living room.

Usually, that little “trip to IKEA” sandwiched in there would be a back/mood/weekend breaker. This time, no.

In the midst of this wholly normal yet stupendous weekend, I had mentioned to a friend how F was having a hard time with the concept of single digits forming greater numbers, especially in the teens. That is, he can count pretty easily from one to fifty, but when I point to the clock and ask what time it is, he says “seven, one, three.” Read full post »

Wait lists: Be Careful What You Wait For?

Luna waitingWelcome to wait list country. That sounds like some bad pick-up truck ad. But it’s true; Seattle is known for mountains, water, coffee, grunge, rain, evergreens, and the Space Needle. And then as it turns out, wait lists. I know what it feels like being stuck on a list. Hip deep stuck. Somewhere between the Andersons and the Steins just above the Grahams on page 6. Buried with no chance for arrival or survival.

The wait list: are you on one of these lists?  Is your equivalent w-e-n-d-y-s-u-e-s-w-a-n-s-o-n spelled out and nestled nicely on some school, pool, or horseback-riding list? I think about these lists a lot more now that I have two kids. I generally let all people involved (the kids, the husband, the babysitter/nanny, the MIL, my own mother) down due to my inability to follow through and get on the list, let alone get off the list. Any list. I know you turbo moms and dads out there are really good at this. For me, it’s usually well after the list is formed, a true tardy, and only with 3 people telling me about an activity, that I get on the list. Precisely why I’m at the bottom, I suppose. Read full post »

Complex Problem: Raising A Child

I had the fortune of seeing Dr Atul Gawande speak last week in Seattle. Truth be told, I entirely invited myself. I heard there was a group from the hospital going and I begged my way in. I sat in the corner.  Flashbacks to finding a seat in the junior high cafeteria. I made it through and forgot all about the awkward act of my self-inviting and seat-finding by the end. Despite my disrespect for Ms Manners and my loud mouth, my pushy ways afforded me the opportunity to witness a leader in medicine.

I enjoyed what Dr Gawande said about his work in using checklists to ultimately decrease complications and death in the surgical setting. I have read Dr Gawande’s books (or parts of them, I admit) and many of his articles in the New Yorker (whole thing, thank you). I marvel at his skill and ease of writing, his ability to translate complicated problems and make you feel like you thought of them yourself due to their apparent simplicity. His assertions, however, are not simple. It’s just that his skill in expressing his position, explaining the breakdowns in the system and offering opinion wed with solution puts us all at ease. His article, The Cost Conundrum, remains one of my favorite articles of all time. I have read it numerous times and think about it when caring for children on a weekly basis. He has affirmed the way I feel about over-testing in medicine. As I have said previously, in pediatrics so often less is more. Read full post »

The Whine: Up To My Nose In Noise

Meet Luna, our dog. She looks overwhelmed this morning, doesn’t she? I think she is thinking about our short night of sleep sandwiched between a fine nighttime whine and an early morning whine. The whining in our house is overtaking me. Imagine me in a pile of virtual sound, covered up to my nose in noise. Underneath layers of scratchy screech and howl, whine and cry, loudness and complaining, my hands reaching for the sky. It’s loud here. Wanna come over and play?

I’m wondering when our dog will enter into the chorus and begin to howl. She’s a remarkably patient and mild mannered 7 year-old lab but you’d think this would inspire a little bark or something. Her calm alarms. She remains quiet and patient despite the racket, waiting on the sideline for the respite of nap time silence. Silence can feel very present and nearly tactile right now. The presence of something as opposed to the absence. Read full post »

Verbatim: The Wife

One little thing that really gets under my skin if you must know is the title, “The Wife.” When I hear it, it rings through me, moving and shifting my electrons in just the wrong way.

I’m sure most of you wives or mothers out there on planet earth don’t really mind it. But I do.

Here is how I often hear it. Let me set the scene:
Exam room, child center stage, father stage left.  Meaning no harm (or disrespect) the dad says, “Oh, and the wife wanted me to ask you about this rash.”

I remain calm, usually leaking no erratic response, remark, or expression. This is my issue, I’m sure. But the internal alarm goes off.  Just something about that woman being distilled to “the wife.”

“My wife wanted me to ask you about this rash.”               No alarm.
“His mother wanted me to ask you about this rash.”          No alarm.

But,“The wife wanted me to ask you about this rash.”     Alarm-tastic.

With permission, I’m going to refer to my partner and husband, father of my children, as The Husband. Just to even the field. For today and maybe tomorrow, too. He’s ok with it; I’ve cleared this.
Thank you, husband, The Husband.