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November 2008
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January 2009

Munchausen Mom

I'll start with this: Sam is fine. But, I had to call the poison control hot line. Again. 

Sam seems to be supportive of my writing at quite a young age. Or, at least, he offers no shortage of material. I was on deadline yesterday, editing my column and making drastic changes after realizing my first draft about how to avoid seeming like a Munchausen Mom was pretty offensive to people who actually suffered from that particular disorder.

I added what I hope is some helpful information, including the hot line number for Poison Control, because you never know when you'll need it. About an hour later, I was putting clothes away in Sam's room. I had to take an overflowing laundry basket back downstairs and couldn't carry Sam at the same time so I popped him in his crib with a box of toys, ran downstairs, put the basket down, stirred the chicken, and ran back upstairs.

"Gwlkjoihgslooo?" Sam said in response to my shocked face as he held a choking hazard in one hand (the cap) and a bottle of lavender essential oil in the other. It is supposed to be kept out of reach of children, but Sam can't read yet.

"Give that to Mommy," I said as calmly as I could. He had it all over hands and I couldn't tell if there was any in his mouth so I tried to smell his breath. He tried to bite my nose. Damn. I didn't want to call the hot line again but figured I better, just in case.

The hot line lady was non-judgey and helped me figure out the worst case scenario and told me I could expect some loose stools and about four hours of hyperactivity. She suggested making sure he drank some water and got a good bath. I was glad I called until she asked for Sam's name, my name, then verified my phone number and zip code.

Oh, God. I'm being put on some kind of negligent mother watch list. Then she asked if she could call back in a few hours to check on him. Sam acted normal for the rest of the evening, though he seemed surprised at how hard I scrubbed his little hands.

When the hot line lady called back I asked her about the tracking thing, you know, for my column. And before I knew it we'd been on the phone 15 minutes and I learned all kinds of things about how the call center worked, the types of calls they take and that while they do track the information, the records are protected by HIPAA privacy laws.

Though the hot line lady didn't ever ask how come I let him get so close to choking on the lid or swallowing something harmful, I felt the need to explain several times that it rolled off the changing table into the toy box. It turns out she's heard worse. She also said she suspects this won't be my last call. "He sounds like a curious little boy."

Yes. Yes he is.

I set up an interview with the director of Oregon's center and you can guess what my next article will be about, right?

Project 365

Somewhere between my rough draft and making dinner I started Project 365 today. If any of you guys are doing it, I'd love to hear about it. For many, it will look like a lot of work for not much result but I can't wait to see the pages start coming together. What is Project 365? It's a scrapbook project documenting a full calendar year of your day-to-day life. The kit, created by Becky Higgins, is seriously amazing and includes all the materials you need to complete the project. You add photos, journaling and the commitment to see it through. To learn more about the project, click here, and see the materials and get more ideas.

The hardest part today was figuring out what moment of the day to capture. I made breadcrumbs for the first time this morning, none of us eat bread heels so we have a bag of them on the verge of molding. Then I couldn't figure out the best way to store them, what with all the conflicting advice on Google. So I tossed them in the fridge for now and added "Bread crumbs" to the grocery list. I kept hearing that they will last in the pantry for a long time, but I don't believe it, bread molds, right?

As I'm getting ready for bed I saw my computer, tea, lavender oil (a surprise element in my column I'll explain later), my dictionary, AP Style Guide and notes and decided that was how I wanted to start the year, with a picture of me meeting my deadline. Hopefully I'll meet lots more of them in the new year.

Speaking of which, I'm working on building my web site, if you're a whiz with that kind of thing (or know someone who is), let me know.

Party in Sam's crib

Crib tent (6)

Crib tent: $73 dollars

Keeping Sam safe in his crib: priceless

Sam did not love this new contraption. He took one look at it and started crying. Luckily his little buddy Ella was over and they got to play in the new tent.

One complaint: for $73 I'd think they could put a silencer on the zipper.

Crib tent (4)It's a good thing I brought it home before Matt had a chance to try a homemade version. After putting it together we had this conversation:

Matt: "Oh, he can stand up in it."

Me:"Well, yeah. What did you have in mind?"

Matt: "Something more like a cargo net and bungee cords." 

Hello, Oprah?

DSCF5730For as long as I can remember I've had the same few professional goals.

Make a living as a writer

Get on Oprah

Get published in a magazine I subscribe to.

Be a columnist

See my books on the Barnes and Noble tables, preferably not the uberdiscount rack.

I'm excited to share with you that this morning I opened my mailbox and there it was: a national trade magazine with my article in it. I think I embarrassed Sam by documenting the moment but, whatever, it was my moment. Had I done the dance of joy right then and there, then we could talk about embarrassment.

Phone's ringing. Better grab it, it could be Oprah.


Scattered, not stirred

"Why does everybody have to be so damn crafty?" A friend recently lamented as we discussed our holiday mom envy. My only consolation to her was that I am so, so not crafty. In fact the only holiday thing I've made this year was kind of a disaster.

I got sucked into the ChexMex Lady commercial. You know the one where EveryMom is floating around her party (full of well-behaved, clean children) offering people handfuls of her "easy and delicious" party treat? The one where your first thought is gross, flu season, why would you serve something so germy? And then you think, but it does look kind of good.

So I made some. Well, I tried to make some. Look, I can finally look you in the eye and say, "Yeah, I can cook." But if you wanted to get into it, I would have to tell you that I can cook some things, some of the time. And maybe it's not that I can't cook but rather that I can't seem to read directions properly. Like, ever.

How do you mess up a 15 minute Chex Mex recipe, you might wonder. I'll tell you. First, I completely forgot the butter. I even had it set out on the counter with all the other ingredients and just, I don't know, missed it somehow.

As I was chatting with a friend about my ChexMex problem, and really, it's not such a bad problem, I mean it's still chocolate, peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and cereal, how bad can it be? It just looks more like dog poo than anything I'd proudly serve to friends.

Anyway, as we were talking about it I had a little vision of Sam's future. So there he is sitting in the cafeteria. He opens his lunch box and pulls out a sliced orange, even though he's probably already asked me to stop cutting his fruit for him because it looks lame, and then there's his string cheese, and then a little note from me (again, you know, against his wishes, but I'll be convinced that he secretly likes it). Maybe there's even a little homemade treat because I'll be that kind of mom by then. Finally he'll shake the bag but his suspicions will be confirmed. No sandwich.

Again? His friends will ask. He'll just shake his head, "I don't know. She must've gotten a phone call."

Sam update

Ball, dog pen If this looks like Lucy Brown's doggy pen, that's because it is. Sam, like Lucy, is easily distracted by playing "where's the ball?"

Sam is super into balls. Everything he sees that is even a little bit round is a ball to him. I think one of his new favorite places is the produce department. From onions to oranges, balls abound.

I know people don't usually die of the common cold, but I spent most of the day on the couch thinking I might. Sam, took advantage of that by deciding today was the day he'd start climbing up on furniture. I am equal parts impressed and afraid.

Things to avoid at the Pediatrician's office

Consider this a cautionary tale. We had Sam's well-baby check yesterday. Yes, his one year appointment is a couple months late, but whatever. I suggest not using the word "homicidal" in the presence of your child's pediatrician. It raises eyebrows. On the plus side, though, we stopped messing around and are preparing to put the smack down on Sam's sleep shenanigans. Oh, so much more to say about this but Sam is getting his mini-Mussolini on. Oh, the cautionary part - besides avoiding threats of bodily harm - don't bring your partner to the appointment unless you're prepared to follow the doctor's orders. Oh, and don't flip your husband off in response to his smug smile when the doc announces you are being worked by an infant. A clever little infant, but still.

p.s. I still adore the fabulous Dr. K. And feel we've made progress since this incident:

The joys of being a holiday mom

My new column is up on the News-Register site: The joys of being a holiday mom. It's been eight months and still, every publication day is exciting for me. If you get a chance to check it out, let me know what you think. And if you're feeling generous with your time,feel free to comment on the site and e-mail it to someone else you might think would like it. Are you getting that I'm trying to prove readership so I can build up to more than a monthly column?