Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Luckiest Parents

I know. I've been a complete slacker about posting this month. Never fear, I will be returning to my stay at home job next week and chained to my computer most of my waking hours, so I'm sure I will have plenty to yammer about then.

I have about a bazillion pictures from our adventures so far this summer. We've been to Columbus and Cincinnati so Jon could update his police certification while Amelia and I spend some mommy/daughter time together, went to Lake Michigan with my mom, and down to my grandparents once. For only having one month off this year, as opposed to ten weeks, we sure packed that time with lots of adventures, so be prepared for an upcoming post that is flooded with pic's of my toddler.

Today's post, however, is about something different. We recently switched our insurance coverage to be under my husband's plan. This new provider requires a primary care physician to be listed on your card, but I had one problem-- I don't have one. I've probably gone to the doctor twice in the past decade (not including prenatal care). Although I had a short list of things I needed to speak to a doctor about, I hadn't gone yet, so this was a good push to finally see a physician.

I already had someone in mind to see, so Jon called and made all three of us an appointment as first time patients. Although Amelia has a pediatrician, I had been looking to make a switch since the one doctor that I loved left the practice, and the other doctors had misdiagnosed her hand, foot, and mouth disease this past spring as scabies. As far as I'm concerned, if I can google symptoms to self-diagnose but you can't see my daughter in person and figure it out, you're pretty much fired.

In any case, I was pretty apprehensive about this appointment. Jon had gone earlier in the week and simply shrugged when I had asked how it went. Men. I was hoping that he would rave about her, but instead he said "It was OK. She's young." CRAP. I just picked a female Doogie Howser for our family physician. On top of that, I'm terribly choosy about doctors. I feel this way-- you're being paid a lot of money to do your job. So, if you talk over me, are rude, perpetually late, or rush me through my appointment, I won't be back. Period.

Of course, switching doctors can be a huge pain in the butt. I was smart enough to ask Jon to bring home the new patient paperwork for Amelia and I so I didn't have to sit in the waiting room filling out fifty pages of health history and insurance information while keeping a toddler amused. Good thing that I did because it seemed to take me forever to complete those packets. Mine was not too terrible but hers was five pages of ridiculousness that seemed to be designed to make me feel like the worst mother ever. Here were some of the questions:

  • Is your water heater set to 125 degrees or less? How do I even check that??
  • Do you have the number posted for poison control? Isn't that what the internet is for?
  • Are your electrical outlets covered with safety plugs? Yes. They were. Until my toddler figured out how to pull them out in an attempt to jam my keys in the outlet. How else is she supposed to learn how to drive???
  • Do you have Ipecac in your house? Um... can't I just feed her a vegetable she doesn't like to induce vomiting?
  • Does your child take a fluoride supplement or drink fluoride treated water? No. My hillbilly teeth are a legacy that I plan to hand down to my child.
 After those questions came the asking me how many meals and snacks she eats every day, followed by asking me to break that down into servings of bread, meat/beans, dairy, yellow vegetables, green vegetables, and fruit/fruit juice. I sat there trying to determine what category goldfish crackers went under and if I get extra mommy points for my child sucking down water like a camel.

That was followed by about thirty questions related to Amelia's health history. Has she been hospitalized? Eye problems? Ear infections? Cancer? Genetic disorders? All I could really put down was respiratory problems once a winter and a spot of eczema that we haven't seen since this past spring.

And that's when it hit me. We are very lucky parents.

I have friends who have lost their pregnancies and friends whose children didn't make it to their first birthday. I really can't imagine their pain and loss, but I assume that it would be practically unbearable. It's easy to get wrapped up in the daily annoyances of parenting. Whiny toddlers, dirty diapers, no time to yourself, and carting kids around to errands that would be ten times easier if they were at home with a babysitter. What kind of smiles and laughter would we miss out on if they weren't in our lives though? These are the things I thought of as I completed that mess of paperwork. And then, I smiled for the rest of the day.

Amelia makes me a very happy and blessed mama. Every day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wish Upon a Star

When I was in high school, I used to wish upon a star to marry my husband, Jon. Every shooting star I saw, I hoped he would ask me to marry him. Once, in a state of hormone-filled loved, I asked him to marry me.

He looked like I had asked him to cut off his left foot with a rusty saw. So I kept on wishing.

Two engagements and eight years later, we did get married. So no more wishing on stars, right?


Two years later, we tried to conceive our first child. Unfortunately, my body was a mess from taking hormonal birth control, and trying to get all of that junk out of my system was quite a challenge. After being so responsible during my early adult years, not getting pregnant and earning my bachelor's degree, then my master's degree, it felt like I deserved to get pregnant quickly.

I love children and I wanted to be a mommy in the worst way. I distinctly recall going to our local bakery one Saturday morning several months after we started trying to conceive. There was a mom there with her four year old son. She ordered coffee and a pastry and told her son to pick what he wanted. He chose a gigantic mint brownie and chocolate milk, as she smiled in a way that said that this was OK with her because it was a special morning. I looked on, wistfully, knowing that these were the moments that I ached for.

And then I cried all the way home and stuffed myself full of doughnuts.

That summer, there seemed to be many meteor showers. Jon and I would hear them announce one on the news and we would wait all day to spend the evening on a blanket, under the stars, pointing out the ones that streaked by to each other. Perfect moments to wish for my baby.

Nine months later, after we had tried for 15 months and I had started giving up hope that we would conceive naturally, I found out that I was pregnant.

Just like marriage, the beginning of motherhood was not easy. But, when I take Amelia out for lunch and she leans over to kiss me and pats my arm while saying "Aww!!", I remember that moment in the bakery and realize that my special memories of motherhood are being made, right now.

At that point, what was there left to wish for?

A job. For my husband.

My entire pregnancy, Jon attended the police academy at our local community college. He had already been in the Marine Reserves for six years and earned his bachelor's degree. During the police academy and the first two trimesters of pregnancy, he worked from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., then would attend the academy from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. No joke. In some ways, it was the perfect time for me to be pregnant, since Jon got to skip witnessing some of my hormonal swings and I could sleep my little exhausted heart out. And, with a baby on the way, the extra income that a police officer's salary would bring was welcome.

That only took 1.5 years of wishing on stars to accomplish. But it finally did happen.

Last week, on a nice evening after Amelia went to bed, Jon started a bonfire and we sat together, fingers intertwined while we gazed at both the fire's flames and the sky's stars. That's when it happened. I saw a shooting star.

And I had nothing to wish for.

That's not to say that my life is perfect. No one's is. Nor do I believe that all this wishing I do has resulted in our good fortune. I believe that prayer and spirituality, along with a strong marriage, have carried us through the past few years. It still does now, every day. When Jon is stressed over his new, much more stressful and demanding job, it does not seem like a charmed life. But, during that moment by the fire, I realized how much I have, and how very grateful I am.

Wishes do come true.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Little Break

I have been extremely busy at work lately. This has led to a lack of posting, exercising, and sanity. Although I am supposed to be on vacation, I still have schedules to enter for students and so, I continue to work. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, so Amelia and I went to Cincinnati last week with Jon while he took a class to update his police certification.

It. Was. Awesome.

Amelia and I woke up on Thursday and Friday, took her daddy to his class, went back to the hotel, and had a little breakfast. Then we got cleaned up, went shopping, headed down to Cincinnati (we were actually just north of there for Jon's class), had lunch on the river, then went to the children's museum on Thursday and the Newport Aquarium on Friday. Amelia was awesome the entire time and I was so happy to be off the computer and spend uninterrupted quality time with my little girl.

Pictures to come, stay tuned!