Motherhood Has Made Me Gross and Weird- September 28, 2015

Before I became a mother I found gross things gross. I wasn’t squeamish about too much, but I was repulsed by the repulsive as most normal people are. During birthing class with my first child I couldn’t stand the childbirth videos that showed the mother kissing the baby with afterbirth all over it. I thought, “Ugh! Come on! Let the nurse do her job and clean that up before you put your mouth on it!”

Then I birthed a baby of my own and kissed her fresh and wet without hesitation. I’m quite certain the cord was still attached when my lips met her shiny forehead. I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of lowering my grossness threshold. Poop on onesies and smeared boogers naturally became a part of parenthood along with car seats and knowledge of Disney Junior programming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in showering and good grooming, but yucky stuff has just became less of a big deal. Drop a cracker? 5 second rule. Baby poop on your elbow? Wash it off and move on.

Last week something I did made me realize how bad it has become. My son got his cast off. After nearly four weeks in what we dubbed the “Hulk arm,” a technician used a scary saw to cut off the his green cast. I held him and held my breath as the saw went through the plaster, or whatever material casts are made of these days. I didn’t breathe not only because I wanted to hold still enough that my baby didn’t get cut, but also because I didn’t want to inhale the scent of rancid toddler cast. You can imagine how icky that thing was. Keeping a child under age 2 clean is a task in and of itself, but a toddler in a cast?! The bread bag on his arm in the bathtub only went so far. His cast got moisture and grit in any number of crevices at his wrist and elbow. Poor little guy. I cringed at the open blisters and sores that had made spots on his skin raw. I hated seeing the atrophy at his wrist. In my opinion his arm still looked a little crooked, but I’m not an orthopedic, so I don’t know any more about bones than what a game of “Operation” taught me. (The charley horse is the toughest to remove. No, it’s not the wishbone. Don’t start that argument with me.) The tech threw the cast in the trash.

Wait, he didn’t even ask me if I wanted to keep it. Do people keep casts? I feel like people keep those little baby casts when babies have crooked feet, right? My sister kept her cast when she broke her foot in middle school. Wait. All her friends had signed it, though. Come to think of it, I thought that it was kind of gross that that thing sat in a plastic bag in her closet. Ew. Right. I don’t need the cast. That’s gross. The tech left us to wait as he got a lighter and washable brace for my son’s arm.

That’s when things got strange. The little guy was entertained by my phone as I wandered over to the trash can and peered in. There it was. That tiny green cast. I thought about how his arm would never be that tiny again and how one day I’d forget he was ever that small. Sappy, yes. Not that unusual though. I’m his mother, of course I feel sentimental about odd things, but what I did next was over the top.

I picked the damn thing up out of the trash and held it. Then, making sure no one was looking, I kissed it goodbye. I KISSED IT! I pulled a piece of garbage out of the can and TOUCHED IT WITH MY MOUTH! What was wrong with me?! It’s trash! Granted, the cast was on the top of the trash in relatively innocuous looking wastebasket, but it’s garbage nonetheless. It stinks! I stood in a doctors office with my son, cuddling medical waste.

I came to my senses and put it back in the waste basket before going to checkout at the front desk. I was like, “Heh, heh. So funny. I heard people keep old casts. So gross, right!?” The receptionist replied, “Oh, we have people keep them all the time. It’s not unusual.” Validation. That’s all I needed. Validation for my gross need to keep that thing. I requested the staff retrieve it from the trash for me. They wrapped it up and brought it out. I gratefully tucked it in the stroller and got out of there before they could identify me as the freak I am.

Motherhood has made me so weird and so, so gross.




My Toddler’s Broken Arm: What we learned- September 14, 2015

My son broke his arm two weeks ago. He’s okay now. My tiny toddler rocks his tiny, rock hard cast. I’ll admit it’s adorable, but the whole ordeal was terrifying. I don’t want your kid to break anything, so please read on.

hospital cast

I had gotten Henry ready for church in a cute little short-all outfit that’s getting too small for him at the end of summer. I put him in his crib with his trucks and made him stay there before heading down the hall to dress my daughter. This pissed him off big time. I heard him wailing as I turned the corner even after I promised to be fast. It was a few seconds before I heard a very loud boom and agonizing screams. I knew he had fallen out. The second I picked him up I knew his arm was broken. It had this curvy, limp and downright gag worthy appearance. I think my exact words were, “Oh God! Oh God!” I carried him running into the bathroom where my husband was getting ready. “He broke his arm!” Greyson agreed with me after wincing at his curved right forearm.

We went into crisis mode. I clutched my sweet babe while Greyson got dressed. We yelled to Charlotte to get dressed. I told her what happened. Like a little champ, she understood the seriousness of the situation and got her clothes on by herself. Our neighbor rushed over to watch Charlotte while we carefully loaded him in his car seat. I promised her she could wear her friend’s shoes when she got to her house because I couldn’t find one of hers. She was delighted to leave the house barefoot but was worried for her baby brother. Greyson loosened the straps to get him in without further hurting his arm. Poor little guy kept looking at it an saying “Ow!” I sat in the back with him to make sure he was okay. I didn’t see the fall. Did he hit his head? I didn’t want him to fall asleep.

If you take anything away from this story, let it be this:

I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to call the pediatrician if you are on the way to the emergency room with your child. I can’t remember where I read this advice, but it was somewhere on the Internet. For Internet advice, it turned out to be invaluable. The idea behind this is that doctors listen to other doctors. I hastily called our pediatrician and got the weekend on-call nurse. She redirected me to the proper children’s emergency department in our area and called to let them know we were on our way. Greyson dropped me off, carrying Henry through the front entrance of the ER. There was a line at check-in. Ugh!

That’s when the pediatrician’s call paid off. A nurse pointed at me and said, “Are you the crib fall? Let’s go!” She led us immediately into a room.

Okay, so I didn’t love being identified as “the crib fall.” As if I didn’t feel guilty enough, already. When the nurses and doctor asked us multiple questions about what happened, it was clear they were assessing if there was any abuse in the home. I get it. It’s their job, but that did nothing for the guilt. They also labeled him as a “Fall Risk.” “Fall Risk,” you don’t say?

Henry has three greenstick fractures. Picture trying to break a stick that’s fresh or still green. That’s often what baby/toddler bones are like when they break.

The next six hours were filled with more questions, awkward x-rays with lots of thrashing and pacifying my toddler with episodes of “Thomas and Friends” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Small doses of pain medicine kept him calm since he couldn’t eat or drink anything for HOURS, and he was in pain. It was awful. I felt so bad for him. At least we got in some extra snuggles at the hosptial.

h hospital collage

Greyson and I took turns sneaking in the hall to drink some water and eat a crappy sandwich without him seeing. The delay was working with orthopedics and ER doctors. Finally some very nice ortho PA’s took care of him and we left. He got his referral to the orthopedic for later in the week. We left.

Now to the issue of the crib:

We discussed moving him to a toddler bed but still being under age 2, I didn’t feel like he was ready. The ER doctor agreed. Henry is a jittery sleeper. He doesn’t sleep through the night. Clearly he doesn’t sit still or want to stay in bed. We went over options. First thing we did when we got home was to check the crib. We had lowered it previously and thought it was all the way down. It wasn’t. It had one more rung to go! Ugh! How could we have missed that?! More guilt. It’s on the lowest level possible, now. Read your crib’s owner’s manual to make sure it’s on the lowest setting! I did hear of someone just putting the mattress on the floor and taking out the bottom part of the crib. That was not considered a safe option for our particular crib. Again, check your manual. Also, I’m almost positive he stepped on his Thomas the Tank Engine stuffed animal/pillow/cushion thing to get himself out. Lesson learned there. No pillows and big stuffed animals in the crib!

I thought about getting one of those”crib tent” netting things. Apparently they have been an entrapment and strangulation risk since 2012. I’m still not ruling it out. Other moms have told me they use them. I’m also considering a sleep sack, but I worry he’ll trip and smash his face into the rail or something.

Then I turned the crib around. It’s a convertible crib with the high side being the future headboard once the bed is converted. The lower side is now against the wall and the high side is out, adding at least another foot in height to the crib.

h crib

I found the Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat British Muffin bag with a ponytail holder around it to be very effective for keeping his cast dry in the bath. Needless to say, we skipped the end-of-summer Labor Day pool party at our pool this year.

My little maniac now seems safe in his crib and can’t climb out. He runs around and plays like his “Hulk arm” isn’t there, but for me the guilt is there. It’s guilt wrapped in a little green cast.

 h cast collage



We Were Alison & Adam- August 27, 2015

Yesterday I woke up ready for my past and present worlds to collide. Yesterday of all days. It blows my mind. An old news friend sent me a Facebook message recently asking about my new job as a Stroller Strides Instructor for FIT4MOM. She does a health and fitness segment each week and was wondering about coming to our class with her new baby and do a story. I couldn’t wait to see her and catch up. I was excited to get our team of instructors together and have all our fun moms share our class. As I pulled into the parking lot I got a push notification on my phone. I looked at it and had to catch my breath.

A reporter and a photographer at a station in Roanoke, VA were shot and killed on live television this morning. What!? I didn’t have time to read an article. I hopped out of the car and loaded the stroller. I was co-teaching the class, handling interviews and helping the crew.

interview collage

I saw the photographer Chris and gave him a hug. It had been awhile. This brave man attached a GoPro camera to my stroller right at kid level. Bless him. They couldn’t wait to knock, shake or chew on his expensive equipment. I said, “Hey, did you hear about what happened in Virginia?!” He said that he had. We shared a knowing glance of shock at the news. I was excited to see Caitlin and her family. We put it out of our minds. We had work to do. I put on my “spokesperson” hat and did the interview and taught class.

Afterwards I got emotional. I fought back tears explaining to others what had happened. I kept it together for the kids. When I got home and started watching the coverage I lost it.

I lost it because I was Alison Parker. In my twenties I was excited to report the news in my hometown. Just like Alison I fell in love with a guy in the newsroom. Before I was a reporter I was a producer. Sometimes I was in the control room and watched my then-fiance out in the field as a sports reporter, much like Adam Ward’s fiancee did yesterday.

I can’t tell you how many early mornings I did stories just like the one Alison and Adam were covering. You know the ones. The revitalization/economic impact/local reservoir news stories. I did hundreds of them. We all did. We still do. I say “we” because even after you’ve been out of the business for awhile it is still a part of you. It always will be. I sent messages to former colleagues. I texted Mark, my early morning photographer for awhile. He was my “work little brother.” News people have this strange kinship. It’s like we’ve been to battle together so we’re sort of brethren forever.

So, how come I got to marry my newsroom sweetheart and they didn’t? How come I got to do what I wanted to do in my news career and walk away when I wanted to and they didn’t?

All of us have stories of a crazy former coworker who got axed for some reason or another. You know,  they were that egotistical guy or girl who couldn’t take criticism and seemed like a loose cannon. They’re mad because someone got the promotion/better schedule over them. Whatever. It happens all the time. It’s a tough business. Awful hours. Disenfranchised people. No one goes into journalism to get rich. We all know this in J school! If you don’t learn those lessons in college, a mean News Director or scary EP will beat them into you. We all expect the weird loose cannon guy/girl to talk about how bad it was working at your station when they get to their next station, but shoot you during a live shot while interviewing the Chamber of Commerce representative?! Really?!

WDBJ likely doesn’t report from many war zones. Most of your local news crews don’t. Yes, we’re in some hazardous and potentially dangerous situations often. Now, it’s like this man made everywhere a war zone.

He committed murder in the sickest way possible. He documented it. He put it out on social media. Then in an act of someone who hasn’t been in a newsroom in awhile, he FAXED it to ABC News. I guess he made it to network. Via fax. Pathetic.

This isn’t about me or my past career. I know that, but I’m just so sad. I made Rice Krispie treats for the news crew Tuesday night to give them after class Wednesday. I joked that news people do better when “fed and watered.” How strange that it happened to be the day that I wanted to hug my former colleagues and thank them.

News people, stay strong. Stay safe. Keep your heads up. I already know you’ll do what you do best, eat free baked goods from the break room and keep risking your lives to tell the world’s stories. Thank you.

WDBJ color bars


One More Year- August 25, 2015

It’s late August. Truly the dog days of summer. No school yet. No football. It’s hot. We are antsy. Some days we are lazy. Preschool doesn’t start for my 4-year-old until after Labor Day. Scrolling through your Facebook feed this week you can’t escape smiling kids with giant backpacks and little chalkboards declaring the new grade they’re beginning.

After a summer rain storm Monday she wanted to run around on the driveway in her “princess superhero” costume. A getup of her own invention. She called herself “Super Charlotte Girl!” Her curls sprung in the humidity. She shouted to her baby doll that she dragged with her. It was her “super sidekick!” Her tiny bare feet splashed in puddles. I sat on the garage steps and watched her. “Come play with me, Mama!” I smiled, explaining I had to listen out for her sleeping brother. Just then a school bus went by. She watched it for a moment before continuing her game.

c driveway

We have one more year. She has one last year of preschool before kindergarten. She will be ready. So ready. She already asks about kindergarten and when she’ll be able to read. In January I have to register her. Soon homework, standardized tests and buses will be part of her life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for her journey as a school aged kid with all its learning, slumber parties and summer camps. It will be amazing.

But for one more year Charlotte, please wear your cape and tutu in the driveway. Talk to your baby dolls like they’re real. Fall asleep in the car after a trip to the playground. Watch Sesame Street with your little brother. Carry your sparkly, cheap “Frozen” backpack. Sneak trinkets into it before I buy you a durable one that will be filled with textbooks. Finger paint. Sing songs. Get excited for cupcakes with your friends in preschool when you each turn five. Snuggle up with Daddy or me to read a book.

Most of all, be little. Be little. You only have one more year.

C bus


Tire Change- August 17, 2015

I completely forgot to tell you all about my new job. I love that 2015 has turned into my “year of getting fit” so much so that I am now a Stroller Strides instructor with FIT4MOM. Seriously! Remember how I lost all that weight and got healthy with FIT4MOM through Body Back? Well, it lead me to instructor training for Stroller Strides and I’m having a blast planning and leading classes.

The one piece of equipment that is crucial for Stroller Strides is obviously a stroller. I love my single jogger. I have a Bumbleride Indie. It’s a great stroller and gets the job done for class. It was cute how I started this back in February, 2014 when Henry was 3 months old and I was like, “I mean, I’m not spending a ton on a BOB double jogging stroller. It’s not like I’m going to be doing this for long!” Ha! The joke was on me when I cheaped out and bought a chinzy knock-off for $100. I have the seats tied up with strings so that the kids sit upright and don’t go flying out the back. I have replaced the tires at a local bicycle shop multiple times.

The tires. That brings me to the point of this post. In Stroller Strides class last week I heard a “pop” and was suddenly unable to push the stroller without incredible drag. The front tire was flat down to the rim. No running for me in that class. I’m just glad I wasn’t teaching. I brought up the rear of all the moms in the class as my kids road the bumpiest ride of their little lives.

The flat eventually led me to the bicycle shop. Meanwhile, all the moms with BOB’s in the class were like, “Oh my God! Your tire! How do you get that fixed?!” They clearly haven’t had the tire issues I have and are not as familiar with the bike shop.

This was awhile ago when I got a tire on the single repaired after it an appropriate 4 years of ownership versus 3 times in a freakin' year like I have with the double!

This was awhile ago when I got a tire on the single repaired after an appropriate 4 years of ownership versus 3 times in a freakin’ year like I have with the double!

At the store I strapped Henry in the seat and PUUUUSHED the flat stroller to the back where their repair center stays busy. We waited as snooty “bike people” turned their noses up at my little ones and my stroller. Whatever. I’m not dropping $2,000 on a bicycle only to have people in cars get super pissed in their larger, faster killing machines as they zoom past me. We just waited. Henry was getting really antsy. The tire check for the Lance Armstrong wannabe ahead of me was taking forever.

When he finally got to us the repair guy was like, “Uh, can you take him out of the stroller?” I said, “Oh no, you don’t want to unleash the beast. It’s probably best to keep him strapped in. The last few times I was here they just replaced the tire while he sat lopsided in the stroller. Is that okay?” He laughed at my “unleash the beast” comment and continued. This dude was taking forever. My little beast was lopsided and going nuts. I caved and pulled out my phone so he could watch “Thomas and Friends.” I tried to get some WiFi. I asked the repair guy for the password. He said they weren’t allowed to give it out and they get no cell signal. They can’t even text inside the store.

As if Henry understood what all that meant, he lost his toddler mind and started with the thrashing and screaming. I pulled him out, preparing to chase him. And chase him, I did. Through the seats, weird cleats and ugly cycling shirts. He darted past a display with a $7,500 bike. I chased him screaming to find his sister. Oh yeah, I also had my 4-year-old, Charlotte with me. She found the $300 kids bikes (What the hell? No.) She was playing with the streamers you can buy to put on handlebars. Naturally, she chased her brother with them.

This was one of my worst parenting days. Let me say, my children are NOT the children who run amok in stores. People hate those kids like they hate snooty cyclists on major roads. Maybe it was the wait, but they had lost their minds and any smack I laid down was futile. I wrangled them and threatened them. At one point I had to wipe a booger from Henry’s face as he sped by. A snooty cyclist lady was looking at me. She knew I had a booger on my hand. Dammit! I did what I had to do. I wiped it on the inside of my t-shirt when she looked away. Sigh.

I checked on our progress with Henry screaming in my arms. I asked for another tire to be replaced because it was looking weak. The guy swore to me it just needed a new tube. Okay. Whatever. Let’s get on with this. When the tire was finally repaired I paid WAAAY more than expected. I wrangled them out the door, yelled at my daughter to step off the $300 bike. I reminded her of her super awesome “Frozen” bike that was like, $70 at Target by-the-way. My toddler wailed as I rolled out the door and heard a familiar “pop!”

I TOLD that guy the third tire needed replaced! My daughter whined. My son screamed. I sweated. I had one of those “How is this my life?!” moments. UGH! It had been 45 minutes at this point. I wheeled back in the store. He replaced it. He acted all generous by only charging me for the tube this time. By now I had paid nearly $75 for stroller tires, which was getting close to what I paid for the stupid stroller to begin with.

No, I’m not buying a new double jogger any time soon. Charlotte is going back to preschool in a few weeks and I’ll be down to the single jogger in Stroller Strides classes.

The moral of this story: If you cheap out on a stroller, make sure the bicycle shop near you has good WiFi or you could end up with a booger on the inside of your shirt.