Monday, June 8, 2009


So I'm sitting in an audit meeting at work, trying to look like the responsible leader that I am, when I notice that I have dried buggers all over my arm! To make it even worse, it's 3 pm, so I've been walking around with buggers on my arm ALL DAY long.

I slowly place my arm beneath the table, away the observent eyes of the inspectors (I do work in the medical product business). How many people did I meet with today in this condition? Did they notice? Were they just too polite to ask about the gunk on my arm?

I didn't even have to wonder how they got there. Jack-Jack has been spewing from his nose for a week now. A combination of a cold and teething. He's not very cooperative when it comes to getting his nose wiped so I have several tactics that I use. The first is to distract him and go in for the quick swipe, hoping I get it all in one hit before he even knows what happened. The second is the full force approach; pin his arms down, keep his head still, and do a good thorough cleaning. There's lots of resistence with this approach so I don't prefer it. The last is the indirect route, but my favorite. Sit him in the bath tub and let him clean up by splashing in the tub. No resistance, lots of fun, it's just not very convienent when I'm rushing out the door.

So, this morning, the quick strike was a failure. He turned his head just as I was going in for his nose and he must have got me on the arm. I had to proceed with the full force approach to complete the task. After that was all over I forgot about the hit on the arm and moved everyone out the door.

And that's how I ended up sitting in a meeting with buggers on my arm. Oh well, I'm a Mom, they'll just have to get over it, I have.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Learning toRide

Dash, who is 4 3/4, rode his 2-wheeler for the first time this weekend. We pretty much brought the bike home, he got on it, and rode all by himself. Yes, we helped him with a little push, but once he got going he had no problem. Is he exceptionally coordinated? NO. I have to give the credit on this one to my husband and a nifty little bike he bought two summers ago for our son.

Mr. I has a knack for finding all the latest and greatest new gadgets and toys. He came across this bike made in Germany on the internet a couple of years ago. It's called a "like-a-bike" ( Basically it's a 2-wheeler with no pedals. He convinced me it would be a great thing to get and I blindly nodded my head yes, thinking to myself, "whatever you say dear". But when it arrived and I saw how easily Dash, at the time not even 3, sped away on the pedaless 2 wheeler, riding in circles on our drive-way, I was convinced!

Everywhere we took that bike in the US we had people turning their heads asking us about it. What was great for me was that we could actually ride our bikes at normal speed with him. This is not something you can typically do with a 3 year old on a bike.

With the concept of balancing on 2 wheels out of the way it only left Dash with needing to learn how to pedal. I have to admit that this was a concern for me. I was worried he would be cheated by never riding a tricycle! That didn't seem to hold him back at all though. He got that down pretty quickly. Now he just needs to learn the concept of breaking! Thank goodness for Bike Helmets!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where did the time go?........

So when I originally started working on this post this is how it went...... Well I survived my first week back at work and not surprisingly so did my kids and my husband. The most drama we had were the few tears I shed on Monday morning as I had to say goodbye to Jack-Jack. Things went surprisingly smooth and our biggest challenge was due to the abundance of snow still remaining on the streets and parking lots in our small town.

That was 3 months ago, it is mid April and I'm am now I am just finishing (or starting) this post. The snow is gone and Spring is here. My Maternity leave seems like a distant memory to me.

Getting back to work the second time around was easier. The logistics of the morning were a little more hectic with two, but I had a little more confidence that this time around my husband knew how to feed and care for a baby. Note, that does not mean I always come home to a baby that has been fed and changed, but the possibility exists!

The bigger challenge I have found about going back to work is re-integrating into the work place. I tried to approach the first week with the benefit of knowledge gained from my last return from Maternity leave. Let's face it, my co-workers had gotten used to working with out me for the 4 months. Some picked up extra duties and others have become used to going to someone else for support and other things have piled up and not gotten done.

My approach:
1. Let people know I'm back!
2. Be visible
3. Keep the stories short
4. Don't look for pity

Letting people know I'm back - This is the first thing I did (actually the night before my return) was to send an email out to my organization that I was back. Thanking them for their support and hard work during my leave was the major theme of the message. Letting them know that I was available and ready to get back to business was the second. When I arrived in the office I made the rounds to say hi to people face to face. Since it was the start of the new year and everyone else was coming back from the Holidays this worked out well. This may seem like an obviouse thing to do, but you would be surprised how often it does not happen.

Being Visible, Be Available - The last time I returned from leave I had a harder time getting back in step with the routine of work. My heart was not completely in it and it showed in my commitment to work. This probably isn't unusual for returning mothers, but it can really be self destructive. Not only do you not want to be at work, but the results of your efforts and time there end up not producing results.

Keeping the stories short - I aslo told myself not to overwhelm people with stories about my baby and what we did on leave. I know most people are not nearly as interested in my baby as I am. All those incredibly amazing stories about smiles, gurgles, pooping, and crying that a Mom cherishes may actually be boring and way too much information for others. So I was careful to wait for people to ask about my baby before I shared and then I kept it at a minimum.

Don't Look for pity - Another area I was sensitive to was that no one feels sorry for you after you just took 4 months off. They have been working all that time - duh. The fact that for the first few months I was in a state of sleep deprivation really doesn't matter. Even other Mom's quickly forget what it was like.

So 3 months have past. I'm enjoying my job and being a Mom to 2 boys and a wife to a third. It's hectic at times and often I find I can't even come close to getting everything done I want to. Priorities tend to cut out the nice to do's - like blogging.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seasoned travelers

We just returned back to Switzerland after spending the Holidays in the US. As I was sorting through my mail today I opened a notification for an airline "Elite" member Status. Not unusual mail for me as I travel often, except that the notification was for Dash, my 4 year old!

Before I had kids I used to grimace at the sight of young children on a plane, especially on a long flight, but now I understand and cast an understanding look of compassion to parents traveling with kids. Managing kids on the plane is only half the battle, the exhausting part is getting everyone packed, organized and to the airport on time to make the flight. By the time I get on the plane I am so exhausted that I could sleep through a rock concert, unfortunately I usually only get a few nods of sleep as I try to keep an eye on my two boys.

My kids are turning into seasoned travelers at a very young age, especially now that we are living in Switzerland. Dash comfortably navigates airport security lines and train stations. He handles himself like a little trooper, lugging his most prized toys and stuffed animals in his backpack. Even on the long flight over the Atlantic he manages to behave really well, occupying himself with movies when he's not sleeping. Jack-Jack seems to be following in his footsteps, sleeping and eating the whole way with hardly a whimper. They almost always manage to make me proud of them.

Sure they have their lapses, they are kids after all. On one flight my son's bear got launched across the business class cabin into the face of an unsuspecting gentleman. Another time he walked out of the bathroom with his pants and underwear at his ankles calling for me to help him. Everyone that caught sight thought it was very entertaining and my son loves to be an entertainer. That resulted in him pulling the same stunt on the next flight that day. Since then we've had a long talk about pulling his pants up BEFORE he leaves the bathroom!

Hopefully they continue to make me proud as we travel from place to place. They are gaining experiences that I never had at their age. My first flight wasn't till I was about 11 for a family trip to Disney world. The world is different now though, and hopefully this is one way I can help prepare them for their future. To my kids, getting on a plane is as normal as getting on a bus. They will grow up being comfortable with many things that I didn't experience well into my adulthood. Hopefully, along the way, they wont make too many seasoned travelers grimace when they board the airplane and make many more smile when the flight ends and they behaved liked seasoned travelers.