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It’s A Blonde Thing?

My husband had to work yesterday so my dad picked Fussypants up from school and took him to baseball practice (it takes a village, remember) and I ended up arriving at home with Little Miss before they did. In her typical I’m 3 and most days think clothing should be optional unless it’s an accessory fashion sense way, she began to undress as she walked through the door. One shoe there, another…way…over….there…socks, skirt…all discarded haphazardly in her wake.

I saw the socks first. We have a Golden Retriever who thinks all socks should be his. Thus tiny, casually discarded footwear always hits my radar. So I asked her to pick them up. It went something like this…

Me: Honey, dirty socks don’t belong on the dining room floor. Put them in the laundry please.
Little Miss: I can’t find the other one.
Me: You’d better. I don’t want Crusher to eat it.

Thinking she obliged, I went about my business of preparing dinner. Then I noticed she was still hunting around the dining room.

Me: Did you find it?
Little Miss: Nope.

As my dad and son walked in the house, I realized that she hadn’t found it…because she was still wearing it.

FPK_onesock

I don’t know what’s worse. Me not noticing, or her!

 

 

 

gingerbreadmama

Pool Safety – Please Read!

Our daughter almost died on Sunday. This is not a joke or an embellishment. Our two year old baby girl fell into the deep end of our pool, wearing a diaper (that gets very heavy when wet), while her father, mother, aunt and older brother were all in the house. I wanted to write about this yesterday but every time I thought about it I started to cry.

What I know…

The pool gate was not closed. None of us adults closed it and none of us, myself, my husband or my sister-in-law can answer why we left it open. But it was.

I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready. My husband and sister-in-law were in the backyard, near the BBQ. Little Miss wandered outside, and I heard my husband say “You don’t have shoes on, so you need to go inside”. I didn’t see her, or my husband or sister-in-law come inside.

I finished what I was doing in the kitchen and went to the living room where my sister-in-law had just sat down with my son and out of the corner of my eye I saw my husband react. I saw him throw papers in the air and run outside. He had been coming out of our office with something he had retrieved off the printer and before the papers could flutter to the ground I knew. I just knew that our daughter was in the pool.

I ran outside after him and he was already in the water, pulling her up. She was conscious. She spit out water and started to cry. She clung to me for 20 minutes before she’d even let me take her diaper off. Her eyes were as big as saucers.

My husband said he didn’t hear anything, not a splash, not a cry. Nobody heard anything. What he saw, what caught his attention, was our dog looking into the pool. He then realized the pool water had ripples. He said when he dove in, she was almost to the bottom. Our two year old was almost at the bottom of the deep end of our pool.

I think of the what ifs and I start to cry. My husband is a hero for noticing what my sister-in-law and I didn’t, but we are all to blame for not closing the pool gate. We are blessed that she is ok, and the pool gate will never be left open again.

According to the CDC every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.

Summer is here, doors are open, distractions abound. Please, please, please be safe around the water and take as many precautions as you can. Drowning is silent, it is quick, and it can happen to anyone.

Tips to help you stay safe in the water (sourced from www.cdc.gov)

  • Supervise When in or Around Water. Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
  • Use the Buddy System.  Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.
  • Seizure Disorder Safety.  If you or a family member has a seizure disorder, provide one-on-one supervision around water, including swimming pools. Consider taking showers rather than using a bath tub for bathing. Wear life jackets when boating.
  • Learn to Swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing to prevent unsupervised access, are still important.
  • Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
  • Air-Filled or Foam Toys are not safety devices.  Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes, instead of life jackets. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
  • Avoid Alcohol.  Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Don’t let swimmers hyperventilate before swimming underwater or try to hold their breath for long periods of time. This can cause them to pass out (sometimes called “shallow water blackout”) and drown.
  • Know how to prevent recreational water illnesses.  For more information about illnesses from recreational water, see the More Information section below.
  • Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating.  Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous.

If you have a swimming pool at home:

  • Install Four-Sided Fencing. Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the pool area from the house and yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children. Also, consider additional barriers such as automatic door locks and alarms to prevent access or alert you if someone enters the pool area.
  • Clear the Pool and Deck of Toys.  Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.

If you are in and around natural water settings:

  • Use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. This is important regardless of the distance to be traveled, the size of the boat, or the swimming ability of boaters; life jackets can reduce risk for weaker swimmers too.
  • Know the meaning of and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags. These may vary from one beach to another.
  • Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents. Some examples are water that is discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from shore.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore. Once free of the current, swim diagonally toward shore.

gingerbreadmama

Losing it

I so wish this post was about losing the holiday pounds but alas, it is not. It is about me being a dumb-ass. I’ve lost (and lose) many things; my sanity, my temper, my patience all being high on the list but I don’t lose material objects. That’s not to say I’ve never lost anything tangible, I’m still mourning that cute sweater and dress I left in that Vegas hotel room 12 years ago (and no, it’s not a what happens in Vegas story, the clothes were hanging in the closet and I just forgot to pack them). But I digress. I’m good at keeping my wallet, my shoes, my lipstick, my glasses, my keys – you name it – where I can find them.

Until yesterday.

Crusher and I were heading for a trail run but stopped at Petco to get dog food first. All good. Quick trip, dog and dog food loaded in the car. And then I can’t find my car key. Anywhere. And when I say anywhere, I mean I even crawled under my car to look for it. It was truly the mystery of the vanishing key.

A woman parked next to me helped me look around the car and as she drove off, left me with this parting gem, “You know, when you stop looking for it you’ll find it”. Helpfully unhelpful, thank you very much. Like I didn’t already feel stupid.

I called hunky hubby but he had gone surfing, and was not close enough to help. After my initial annoyance passed, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I am capable and was going for a run anyway. It all comes back to the concept of making lemonade.

So I got the dog back out of the car, grabbed a bottle of water, my house keys (could you imagine if I had left those in the car) and took off running. It’s only about 2.5 miles so it didn’t take forever. Once home I got my extra car key, hopped on my bike and went back to my car. A dude hanging out by his truck in the parking lot (I didn’t ask) helped me load my bike in the car and when I got home and tried to open my tailgate, it was stuck.

I drive a Volvo XC90 and the back hatch is split into a top piece and a bottom piece so it opens wide. Somehow my key had slipped under the bottom half where it bends to connect to the car. While I was driving it must have loosened and lodged itself in the joint (for lack of the proper word, though I’m sure some car-guy or engineer knows what it is really called) that makes it close and got stuck.

After a  little maneuvering, I was able to jiggle it out, get the tailgate open and recover my key. Thank goodness.

It wasn’t the workout I had planned, but it was a workout, so I’ll take it.

What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever lost?

gingerbreadmama

Falling for Fall

Who says we don’t have Fall in California? The leaves on our trees have changed and turned into a fun afternoon play activity.

 

gingerbreadmama

My new Crush

Little Miss is only crying in the picture because she detests the paparazzi. The diva.

Sometimes I think I’m on an involuntary quest to complicate my life but I knew I was ready and so was my family. So I’m happy to announce that it’s official, we are again pet owners! We adopted Crusher, a 10 month old golden retriever. He was an owner surrender, their situation changed so they had to move in with family (and they have 4 kids and another little dog) so they gave up this sweet boy!

But it was lucky for us. He gets along so well with Little Miss and Fussypants and is really well-behaved for a puppy. His personality makes us believe he was treated well in his previous life but we don’t think he had many of his own toys (he’s a bit of a hoarder) and he’s a little shy. We are working on his self-confidence but he’s proved to be such a sweetie. And he loves to swim!

His name was originally Laker, then the rescue group changed it to Parker but Fussypants kept calling him Peter (as in Spiderman) so we knew we needed to find him his own name.

At first Fussypants lobbied for Buster, then Pluty (which Hubs and I vetoed). Hunky hubby and I liked Crash because the pup is all legs and when he hits the tile moving fast he’s all over the place (plus it’s our song) but Fussypants ultimately decided on Crusher (nickname Crush) because Crush is the sea turtle from Finding Nemo and the Hulk (Fussypants still calls him the Incredible Hurk) smashes and crushes things (the inner workings of a 4.5 year old mind). But the name stuck and Crusher is already responding when called.

Since we’ve had him, Little Miss has added two new words to her limited verbal repertoire. She now says doggy and when asked what the doggy says she responds with wooo (which we assume is woof). She also has a partner in crime. Crusher is potty-trained but has had a few accidents, Little Miss is a gal who doesn’t like to wear her diaper. On Sunday, I can honestly say I don’t know who peed on the carpet in the hallway. The kids were playing, I had walked into my room to get a sweatshirt and Fussypants yelled out “There’s pee’! He didn’t see who did it either but both Crusher (with his golden grin) and Little Miss (with her diaper hanging half-way off) were both sitting there, and they both looked guilty. One more thing to add to my growing joys of motherhood list. 

 The rescue group we worked with, Stella’s Hope, is amazing. If you are in the Southern California area and want to adopt a dog, go there first. They are good people and they do good work.

I mention this for two reasons, the first to get the group some exposure. Seriously, tell a friend about them, donate to them, like their page on facebook, whatever. But associate yourself with them in some way because they are great. The second is because up until we found Stella’s Hope, we had not had a good experience with rescue groups and even one local shelter. So, my blog, my time to rant.

Turns out we were practically blacklisted because we have children under the age of 5, and particularly because we have one under 2. I get why the rescue groups are cautious but one of the reasons we wanted to go with a rescue group is because the dogs are fostered and therefore they tend to know more about the pet’s personality than a shelter does. But we were not even given a chance. We got as far as the home visits (and that’s a $20 donation) and one group rescheduled the home visit three times (I understand that these people volunteer to do this but rescheduling three times is excessive; if you are that busy then hire an assistant).

But after the home visit, we hit the dead zone. One rescue group’s dog placement coordinator called me just to let me know that they very rarely adopt dogs to families with kids under the age of 7. She used all the buzz words…dogs are high-energy, mouthy, they jump up when excited.  I tried to explain that both my husband and I understood that, as we had survived our childhood as children who grew  up with dogs (and his family had Rottweilers) and that we’d also had 3 dogs of our own that we raised from puppies, and that my folks have a 10 month old goldendoodle and my mom-in-law a large 1 yr old mutt that we spend a lot of time with, but she cut me off. She had only called to give me her your shit out of luck with us spiel, and had nothing more to say.

We had similar disappointing, yet through e-mail, exchanges with three other rescue groups. Even when the description accompanying the dog said “good with kids”, we were still turned down. And not always politely. I felt a little persecuted for being a parent of tots.

And one shelter made it so hard for us to just see the dog out of its cage that we almost left. Just to see the dog we had to fill out a 5 page application, give our driver’s license number and wait almost 40 minutes. Then we were told that if we wanted the dog, we wouldn’t be able to adopt him until we brought our kids back to meet him first.

What irks me the most is that these people are supposed to be in the business of finding homes for these animals yet they act like they’ve never had a dog of their own. As a responsible adult and parent, I understand the dynamic between a pet and small children. I also understand that with love, exercise and training, dogs can be very well-behaved.

We were honestly discussing going through a breeder and getting a puppy but I was still hesitant because there are so many dogs that need homes and puppies don’t sleep through the night. And Little Miss is not consistently sleeping through the night. Seriously, teething sucks (her teeth are coming in all out of order, she just got her bottom molars but is still missing most of her other bottom teeth). Since there is no way to guarantee the puppy and my daughter would be on the same ridiculous up all night schedule, I saw even less sleep in my future.

Then I saw “Parker” on petfinder.com. I called Stella’s Hope and also filled out an application and sent an e-mail. I got an e-mail back within an hour and a phone call a little after that. We were able to meet Crusher and do the home visit at the same time (with no fee) two days later and that’s when Holli suggested we do a foster scenario so that we could get to know Crusher and my husband (who was on a 72-hour work shift)  could meet him. That’s all it took. I tried not to get attached but when Crusher got a clean bill of health from the vet and hubs said he liked him, my heart exploded with joy. And Holli was supportive, she provided us with everything we needed for Crusher and even called to follow-up with me. But the best part about the follow-up was that she didn’t call only to inquire about the dog, she also asked if I needed anything and how the kids were liking him.

Stella’s Hope gets that it is about the pet and the person, which is something other rescues need to work on.

Our happy family is now a little bigger, by four feet, actually. And I couldn’t be happier.

Hello, my name is Crusher.

gingerbreadmama

Happy Place

Want to know one of my pet peeves? It’s when people shout “I’m living the dream”. Because mostly, they are doing something I don’t ever want to do. Ever.  So no, you are not “living the dream” you are “living your dream”. Get it right.
 
My life isn’t perfect and some days it downright blows, literally. Like Saturday morning, day three of my stomach bug battle – the kind where it’s coming out both ends. 10 am soccer game and I’m the effing snack mom. My husband got stuck in traffic coming home from work and my mom thought the game was at noon. So I had nobody to take the kids for me. I had to motivate, load the kids and snacks up, get the puppy (wha? a puppy? more on that later) in his crate and get to the field.
 
As an adult, have you ever had to puke in an elementary school toilet? They are really low to the ground.
 
But I’m still living my dream.
 
We get home from the game and my husband and son say, “something smells really bad”. Well, the puppy I’ll explain more about later had stress-separation-anxiety-related diarrhea all over his crate, himself and the wood floor. Cleaning that up was disgusting and it did smell really bad.
 
But I’m still living my dream.
 
Because I wasn’t feeling well we postponed celebrating our anniversary (didn’t want the overnight babysitting offer to go to waste) and sold our hockey tickets. Staying home didn’t bank me any extra downtime because when you are a mom you don’t really get to be sick since it’s expected that you remain functional. It’s more like operating half-ass and plodding along.
 
But I’m still living my dream.
 
Things may not always be perfect but my happy place is with my family. This is my perfect.

Happy place

 

Puppy love

Happiness

Little Miss sharing her baby doll with the puppy

Because I am living my dream.

gingerbreadmama