this blog’s name has never been more relevant

The past few months have been a preparation for social distancing. I finished my microbiology class last semester, and took this semester off before nursing school starts in the fall… assuming they start a new class in the fall, since I’m sure this spring’s class is super delayed and possibly cancelled.

Anyway, my friend’s sort of scoffed at me, what are you going to do all day without school, or work? Aren’t you bored?

I wasn’t, not really. There’s always kids to drop off, pick up, there’s the gym or my Peloton to use, I’d shop or get coffee, clean the house, go to parks with the little’s… life was moving along quite quickly and busily.

Then this new era was thrust upon all of us American’s and suddenly everyone is in the same blissful “Stay at Home” mindset that I’ve adopted since January. With swimming lessons and gymnastics and Boy Scouts cancelled indefinitely, of course my life is different. But, not that drastically different. Our family seldom eats out, and I avoid most paid activities with my kids. We generally hang out at home and play outside anyway. I spend most of my time with my kids at home so this all feels pretty usual.

It’s wild how many new neighbors I see taking walks now. I’ve never seen so many pedestrians on the streets before. I am also learning a newfound appreciation for teachers. Teaching kids is not easy. I keep losing my patience with my fourth grader and I love him, so how his teacher doesn’t blow up with 30 kids in the same room multiple times a day is beyond me.

Like everyone else, I have a bunch of anxiety about this whole situation. The economy especially scares me, considering my husband is a pilot and the airlines are hurting. I worry about the food supply chain; and I worry about the health of my parents and other family. I’m trying to remember to take it one day at a time, and to learn to pause in the boredom and enjoy the monotony. I don’t want excitement or unneeded stress at this time. My kids are loving all the one on one attention they are getting from both parents and I don’t want them to feel anxiety or fear if they don’t need to.

It’s the least I can do.

Stay well, everyone.

your internet history

I’m typing blog on a laptop that is older than my oldest child. A silver MacBook Pro, basically the age of my relationship with my husband. I was with him 11 years ago when he purchased it (used!) from Best Buy in Virgina. We were newly dating, two young, unattached kids at the beginnings of adult lives, and I encouraged him to start using Apple products. That was at the height of the Apple-coolness factor, that moment in our culture where seeing the Apple logo signified a cool, trendy and hip person (at least as I recall), which was best shown in this episode of The Simpsons.

So, basically, this Mac comes from another age of technology. As I recall, iPads weren’t even invented when we purchased it, Kindles weren’t around, we were on the first iPhone and people still had Blackberrys. Facebook was still only used by young people. The technology we have and our use of it has changed so much in the past decade, it’s sometimes hard to remember what it used to be like.

But, today, in an effort to procrastinate instead of studying microbiology, I decided to clean up the Bookmarks tab on my browser. To be honest, I don’t use this laptop for much besides school work, it’s clunky, old, heavy, doesn’t work very well, so surfing the web just isn’t something I do with it. And I had hundreds of links in my bookmarks- very nicely organized glimpses into my past.

Old folders for when I worked, all the links I needed for flying non-revenue. Tons of parenting websites, blogs devoted to cloth diapering, breastfeeding, vbacs. My favorite news and gossip sites of the past. Sadly, most of these links are broken now. My favorite webpages of the past (Gawker, Consumerist, Awl) have all shut down. My guess is the monotony of the news scroll Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit provide have made these sites obsolete.

It’s sort of sad. I don’t “surf” the web like I used to. I just go to Reddit. My Reddit is pretty awesome, and I love using it, but it’s not the same. I didn’t realize how much my surfing habits have changed until today, looking at all the old sites I’d dutifully linked and sorted. It’s nice being able to go to only one or two sources to get a plethora of different medias, but when you are using only one or two platforms I wonder what else we miss out on.

In other internet news, I’ve officially deleted my Facebook. My usage of it went way down, I actually went a year without logging on, but this past month I went through the steps to permanently rid myself of it. I don’t miss it and I don’t have FOMO – I am sad about not having the local links and groups, but more and more people are deleting the social media giant from their lives so hopefully those resources will move else where. I can find my local hikes on hikeitbaby.com, the community Patch is a pretty good resource for events, and I recently subscribed to the local Jersey Shore newspaper.

Anyway, I really ought to study for my lab quiz, but whenever I get a burst of nostalgia like this, I feel the need to record it and thus, I’ve done that. Have a great day and thanks for reading.

 

fall and changes

Ahhh, fall. The change in season, things get darker, a little colder, we cozy up. I personally love this season. Like spring, I have a strong nostalgic connection to the season, as I’m sure most people do. After a long summer, when the days stretch together and it seems it never ends, fall reminds us nothing lasts forever, not even the green in the trees, the flowers in the garden.  Suddenly, you aren’t in shorts and tank tops anymore, it’s sweater weather. Hot tea comforts, pumpkin spice is ubiquitous, and you crave stews, soups, hearty warm meals. Decorating for the seasons begin, and the kids are back in school.

My own life feels at the edge of change. I’m still plugging away at nursing prerequisites, I’m down to my final non-nursing class I can take before admittance. And it seems my admission to nursing school is almost here; I’ll find out later this week if I made the cut off for spring 2020 or if I’m in for the fall.

I’m conflicted about both. I want to start as soon as I can, simply because I miss working. I miss having my own income; contributing to our family in a real way. I know as a Mom I have millions of tasks and my kids rely on me, but I’ve held a job, at least at a part-time basis, since I was 16. Now I’m going on a year and a half with no employer and I miss it. I need more than my kids sticky, smiley faces to keep me company.

A spring admission presents it’s own issues, though. I still have two young preschool-aged kids. Childcare is expensive, and the hours of the program are not super flexible. If I’m admitted in the fall when my daughter starts Kindergarten I’ll only need to worry about full-time nursery school tuition for one child.  But that’s a whole year away, I’ll be a year older and that much farther from starting a new career.

Once I’m in school, I’m not sure what to expect, exactly. I know nursing school is demanding, I know it is stressful, and I’m sure every day will test me in a new way. How will I stay on top of things when I can barely keep up as it is? Will my kids begrudge me for leaving them for longer periods of time?

My two little ones are insanely lucky. I can hardly believe it, but they’ve barely been separated from me. This is not intentional; I’m not that Mom who brags about never spending the day apart from her kids. You can tell, too. They are so Mommy obsessed. I feel bad for my husband; he tries to help out as much as he can, but when the 2-year-old screams “NOT YOU I WANT MOMMY” it’s gotta crush his ego a bit. My eldest grew up the first 4 years of his life with mom-and-dad equally flying coast-to-coast on a rotating schedule, but L & H only know Mommy-all-the-time.

I’ve also been thinking more and more about this blog. I had such a burst of creative energy, and time, when I first started it. I think it’s a normal response to baby brain. But the updates on here are fewer and farther in-between. I’m not exactly sure where I want to lead this blog too, what my goals are for it. I imagine once I’m in nursing school, it will turn into a totally different sort of outlet for my stresses and fears. I’ve always kept journals, and I love the idea of documenting the next season of my life. I’m not sure if the name “Suburban Doldrums” will stick, if I’ll totally revamp it, or just keep typing into it as it is. It’s not like I’m looking to monotize it or gain any sort of fame or anything; really, it’s best for me to use it as a straight journal. If you happen to read it, great, but otherwise I’ll write better if it’s just to a void.

Thanks for being part of my void.

 

Off To Summer Camp He Goes …

My eldest is leaving for summer camp today. He just turned nine, and his primary concern of camp is “getting hit by balls during sports”. (He’s not exactly into team sports) My biggest concern has to do with his personal hygiene, as I fondly remember not showering once during my own first year of sleep-away camp 28 years ago. I have a feeling that in 2 weeks time, at pick up, he’ll run out to me in the exact same outfit he’s in right now, only it’s crusted over in two weeks worth of filth and food and, in a dirty poetic way, fun.

Obviously there’s far worse things to worry about when it comes to camp.

But, here we go. Another step closer to letting my little boy off the leash, another notch in the way to independence. Two full weeks away from my prying eyes, two weeks of him living in the world without us knowing his every move. I remember when he walked into elementary school for his first day of kindergarten, backpack on his shoulders as he marched into the gymnasium without us (this school did not allow parents into the school on the first day, or any day, during drop off). That feeling of letting go, watching him face a fraction of the world without me there, I’ll never forget it.

And today, it takes it to an entirely new level.

We celebrated his ninth birthday last week, and I remembered the actual weight of responsibility I felt the first time I held him. Motherhood didn’t come easy to me, those first time instincts were forced I can now admit, and the first few weeks with him were a jumbled mix of anxiety and angst. I didn’t want to do anything wrong, and I was clueless on the care of newborns. But E, even as a newborn, was patient. His demeanor allowed me to learn parenting, with him. I’ve always felt like E is an old soul, and he picked me – a stumbling, free spirit, as his mom.

Elinewborn
Taken the day after he was born …. looking at this picture now I can see the fear and uncertainty in my eyes. Check out how I’m barely holding him. 

I discovered the camp he’s going to while at the gym. It’s through the YMCA and the brochure just screamed “SUMMER FUN”. I knew instantly that E would love the experience of sleep away camp, that it would teach him confidence and friend making skills. It took a little convincing to my husband, but finally agreed. (I think people, like me, who’ve been to sleep away camp, get it. My husband never went to sleep away camp). E, for his part, has never expressed anything but excitement for the upcoming adventure.

I woke up this morning a bundle of nerves. It’s almost like I’m the one attending camp. My husband is out of town, so it will just be me watching him walk into his cabin today, just me meeting his counselors, just me driving away in the van missing one member of the family. The emptiness E will leave in our house is gonna be gigantic. I’m going to miss his presence every morning, as he’s usually the one waking me up, and at night. The littles won’t fully understand why he’s gone.

But I know why. Sleep away camp is part of growing up, I think. I hope it instills a sense of wonder for my boy, adventure, appreciation of outdoors and woods, the joy and fun of meeting new people from all over. These next two weeks will drag for us here at home, but for my boy I hope they fly by in a whirl of fun.

potty training blues

A few months ago my son stopped breastfeeding. I nursed him longer than any of my other kids, few months past 2 years old, and it was time. Around the same time we stopped giving him bottles as well. My last baby was a full fledged toddler and I was okay with that. Especially since I decided it was time to potty train him.

He’s incredibly smart. He’s also super stubborn, but he acts like such a big boy and wants to copy his brother and sister so I figured he was ready. I searched through my email for the nearly-decade old attachment someone had emailed me for my firstborn, the infamous “3 Day Potty Training Method”. I decided the next day was his day. We were stopping diapers and converting to underwear fully.

We used this method with our other two kids and they had great success. My oldest was just over 3 years old when I trained him, and my daughter was probably 2 years, 7 or 8 months old. So, I knew H was a little young at 2 years 5 months old. But, he seemed ready. Or so I thought.

The first few days were a major struggle, as expected. He just didn’t seem to get it. He’d pee and not even notice. Poop was the same. But, as with the other kids, by day three he seemed to understand. He’d hold himself, at least, and would pee whenever we’d put him on the toilet. We went back to our normal daily routine, which consists of trips to the gym or parks or shopping.

After a few accidents on the road, I bought pull-ups. And now, here’s where it gets bad. I started putting him in pull-ups even just around the house. Because, my highly verbal son seems to be unable to express the words “I have to go potty”. No amount of bribery seems to work, no candy, or prizes. He just won’t tell us.

If we catch him grabbing his crotch and rush to the toilet, he will go and there’s no “accident”. But, if it were up to him, he’d never tell us and just piss everywhere. It’s so frustrating. I can’t believe we are relying on pull-ups in this way, and I curse myself for not sticking to a plan. I know consistency is key and my own laziness is getting in the way.

I probably should have waited a few months before forcing this upon him. But we are 2 months in and I can’t very well fully give up, yet. I was just ready for the diaper days to end, you know? A he just doesn’t care. I think he’s told me “I gotta potty” only three times since we “trained” him. Like I said, he can hold it and tries to hide if he has to go…. but my husband and I are at a lost on how to make that final cog just click and have him WANT to go potty in the toilet, not his pants.

Having two other kids is great for the grand perspective of things. I know he won’t still have these bathroom issues in a year or so. But this is a perfect example of the day to day drag of raising a toddler. These little missteps and accidents add up throughout the day and the frustration I feel about it builds too. You’d think by child number three I’d be a pro by now…but it just goes to show that every child is different and things don’t always end up how you intend.

Online Debates & Social Media

What’s the point, right? Who in their right mind engages with internet trolls to prove a point, when you know on the other side the person you are typing against will never change their own heavily one-sided-and-bias minds? Why do we do this?

Since I’ve deactivated my Facebook account I’ve not had to worry about these comment wars folks get into. A voyeur within me does love to stand on the sidelines and watch drama happen (this is human nature I think) but when it’s my dear old Auntie Doris verses a Stay-at-home-mommy Karen verses that chick I used to know from Psych 101 class it becomes far more personal and nauseating. Plus, many of these arguments serve zero purpose. We’ve all boxed in our own beliefs and prefer the comfort of the echo chambers attached to the point of view we’ve assigned to ourselves.

This morning my darling husband “went at it” with a relative anti-vaxxer. I adore the woman; she is a dear friend to me and I’ll never not love her. That said, I also refuse to bring vaccinations up with her, so while I was sipping my morning coffee and the hubs read aloud each point and counterpoint, I started asserting my view to him, which he then in turn wrote. It was a FB debate by proxy, I suppose.

This is the thing about anti-vaxxers- I totally understand how one can be lured to their point of view. When I had my first baby, the fears of taking care of him and doing things right were always there. So, on FB or whatever, when I saw posts decrying vaccinations and “evidence” against it, I wondered if I was a bad mother for allowing him to get stuck by needles so often. My ignorance about medical science and my unconfidence in my own parenting led to me feeling guilty for not having a strong stand. I also had a nagging voice in me which knew anti-vaxxers were using junk science and personal anecdotes as evidence, but it’s really hard not to believe a story written by grieving mothers about how one vaccine essentially ruined their child’s life. Stories are more compelling than statistics and evidence and critical thinking.

I did vaccinate my child, of course, but with the first kid I did it on a “delayed schedule” (look I’m NOT mainstream because I don’t follow a schedule!) but by the time I had my second and third kids a lack of time and energy sucked out any desire to go into the pediatricians office more than needed so they followed the standard schedule. And guess what, they are fine. Of course.

My point is, as I turned away from reading social media I really don’t think about anti-vaxxers. Or vaxxers. Basically, it’s just as common to me as when the doctor looks in the kids’ ears or mouth during an exam. If they are due for a vaccine I just nod my head, try to comfort the kid, and then move onto other more interesting thoughts like what’s for dinner or what show to watch once the kids are in bed. You know, important things. I’m not passionately for vaccinations, but the majority of parents probably aren’t.

Until a preventable disease is spread because of anti-vaxxers, of course.

Even still, I just shake my head and pat my own back because I know my kids are as protected as they can be because they had their MMR shots.

But in the massive steaming cesspool of social media, the debates are ever present and start to leak into my peaceful morning coffee time and I get empassioned.

Once you engage with a troll, though, there is no winner. Nothing is gained or lost from it (except time and energy). The anti-vaxxer from this morning actually told my husband the link she shared wasn’t meant for him to read at all; it was for other anti-vaxxers. Why did she say that? Because he had cornered her with actual facts and it was the only argument she had left. It also just proved my view; she didn’t want a debate. She didn’t want her beliefs challenged. She just wanted the echo chamber of outrage to continue as she sees fit.

The problem with mixing personal beliefs with medical science is, well, they are totally different things. I think it’s all fine and good to have personal beliefs about god, how to live a healthy life, the best way to style your hair for your face shape, whatever… but unless you are a medical doctor, researcher or scientist who really understands the way the body works and the immune system at a molecular level, your belief means absolutely nothing. This seems like common sense but, as we all know, the majority of anti-vaxxers cite their “hours and hours” spent researching as just as important those who have committed time and money towards a medical degree. These things are not equal.

My husband claims he enjoys debates. I mean, I do too. But, these sort of debates are just never going to be won or lost. I am 100% confident I’ve made the right choices for my kids regarding vaccinations, and the anti-vaxxers are too. I believe they will regret not vaccinating their children one day… but as far as I’m concerned with my kids now aged 2, 4, and 8, I’m past any “danger” point for them and I know in my bones they are perfectly safe and protected against any disease or ill effect from inoculations.

And with this outpouring of a blog post, I’ve said my peace into the oblivion of the internet without offending anyone I personally know in real life, which is great. (unless of course they are reading this now, and to that I say hi! I love you! Peace!)

The Social Media Cleanse

Have you done it yet ?

For years my interest in the Facebook has waned; I’d say I log on every few weeks. It’s just not a pleasure to scroll on it any longer. Seeing photos and updates of my friends and family is nice and all, but as we all should know, all that happiness and perfection is mostly projection and pushing “like” is not the same as personal connection with another human.

Plus all their data mining is scary.

Plus the targeted advertising makes me paranoid.

Plus all the political viewpoints from said friends and family is tiring.

Basically, the Facebook has brought me zero joy in years. I really only hung on to it because of the “Groups” function; I love my mommy Facebook groups and the women I’ve met through there… but as our babies have aged the group dynamics are less and less.

The Facebook has a great hold on local events and the marketplace as well, and the only way I found my local babysitter in this new town was through the Facebook. Oh, and finally, the most important and annoying aspect of my Facebook dependency? My Spotify account was linked through it. If I deleted Facebook, I couldn’t access my music.

Still, I’m sick of it. The New York Times most recent piece on the corporate management provided that final nail in the coffin for me. I figured out this morning how to unlink Facebook from Spotify – basically, I had to sign up for a new account with a different email (gmail user tips- if you have a period “.” in your name, you can remove it when signing up, and you’ll still get the email but the Spotify company registers it as a different email, for example if your address was Facebook.sucks@gmail.com just sign up with facebooksucks@gmail.com) and then I was free to deactivate my FB account.

I don’t know if I’ll ever fully delete my account, and it’s not really going to change much, as I honestly only logged on once or twice a month. I haven’t had the FB app installed on my phone for years, and I never used messenger, but I still feel freer and like a weight is off my shoulders.

Now, onto the other side of my social media addiction.

Instagram.

IG seems like the lesser of two evils, and I really enjoy using it, but it too is owned by the Facebook. It too uses targeted advertising that borderlines on creepy, and, while it seems “less annoying” than the Facebook, there is just as much projection and false advertising on it.

I’ve deleted the app from my phone many times, but this time I’m determined to avoid it for a long period of time. I’m thinking until the new year. The holiday season is stressful and the last thing I need is another app making me sadder and less connected with my real life outside of the phone.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m perfect. I’m not. Within the past year, my smart phone usage has stayed the same because of Reddit. I find Reddit is more addictive than traditional social media. It’s a lot more impersonal as well, but that’s what I like about it. The anonymous nature of Reddit is what I love- you can be yourself on it and Aunt Bertha won’t comment on every post I make. I follow hundreds of unique and specialized subreddits and the content is just better.

That said, I still would like to work on my smart phone usage. It’s an addiction no matter the platform I use, and I don’t like the person I am while using; disconnected with my beautiful kids in front of my face, someone putting off chores or tasks around the house. But by weaning myself off social media and focusing on more productive parts of the internet (like writing on my blog, reading The NY Times or doing crosswords) I feel like I can break out of this addiction.

Diagnosis: Princess Power

It’s happened.

I swore to myself it wouldn’t; the day she was born someone put a silly pink bow hat on my daughter’s head, and it was then I vowed; I’m going to keep her away from the girly stuff. All the frilly, lacy, pink stuff that is having a little little girl just isn’t my style and I wanted to raise my daughter to think independently and not conform to the standard stereotypical gender role of “little princess”.

It worked, for a bit. I mean, prior to age 2 and prior to her having the ability to form an opinion and express it clearly, it was pretty easy avoiding Disney princesses and crowns.

But slowly, the princess culture seeped in to her life.

She’s the only girl out of eight cousins on her father’s side of the family, so for every birthday and Christmas, our generous extended family has fun buying her girly toys. I get it it. Superhero’s and Star Wars for seven nephews/sons/grandsons is tiresome and any break from the routine is welcome. So she can get a poofy dress up skirt and parade around in it with joy, no big deal … as long as we don’t highlight the word princess, it’ll be ok, or so I thought.

And last year she went through a serious butterfly phase. Around the time she started wanting to choose her clothes everyday, she started demanding only butterfly shirts. That was a fun indulgence. Before we moved she wanted her new room to be a butterfly room, which gave me a lot of fun options to decorate with. In my mind, while butterflies are girly, they aren’t as “bad” as a princesses.

But sometime this summer my little girl dropped the obsession with butterflies and moved straight onto the princess train.

Sigh.

What do you want to be when you grow up, Lu?

A princess.

What do you want to dress up as for Halloween?

A princess!

What do you want to play when we are at the playground, sweetie?

Princess Luella!

She’s obsessed. Any paraphernalia we purchase with a cheap Disney synergy tie-in gives her glee. She’ll just sit and look at books with the darn princesses for hours. And nothing, nothing, lights up her face more than when we call her “Princess”.

And that’s my struggle. I want her to be a strong, independent, kind person in the world, and want her to follow her passions but also be a hard worker and someone who values inner strength and beauty more than outer, yet …. the pleasure on her face when I indulge her and call her Princess while tucking her in at night, man, that’s hard to fight. She was absolutely adorable dressed up as Ariel over Halloween, and if I can give her a sticker book with the princesses in it and it entertains her for hours, what’s the harm, really? What am I fighting, exactly?

She’s three. This phase should pass, eventually, right? Shouldn’t I just let her have this phase while it’s still pure and just because they’re pretty, now, while she’s little? Why and I trying to force my own distaste of it all on her? Her being into princesses doesn’t mean I, the mom, am raising her to literally think she’s an actual entitled princess… she will still work hard and be empathetic and know her smarts are far more important than her looks because those are the values we are instilling in her.

So, I’m okay with it. I’m going to smooth her hair, call her princess because it makes her smile, let her pretend and dress up and let her enjoy all the stupid plastic Disney crap because she’s a child and this is just a phase. And trying to control what she likes isn’t the type of mom I aim to be.

Playground Politics

*This goes out to the parents out there* …. Think back, to your days before “parent” was a label applied to you. What were your thoughts on children, moms and dads, and discipline? What sorts of behavior would you witness with rolled eyes and scoffing?

*This goes out to the parents of multiple children out there* …. Hey! Remember when you had one child and they consumed your world? Every moment you had eyes on them, you knew their quirks and had no doubt of their brilliance and uniqueness? Remember going to the playground and following their every step, every triumph of a ladder rung climbed, every round on the slide? Did you ever see some random, disheveled child pushing your precious out of the way and wonder aloud: “Whose kid is this??”

My personal answers to the questions above are probably pretty obvious.

Before I had E, I didn’t think about parenting at all. I had very little interaction with children beyond the ones I encountered at work, and I usually observed every scream or whimper or booger-streaked face with disgust.

That is, until I had a baby, and my entire life revolved around just E. I thought I had it figured out. I brought him to the playground every single day, rain or shine or wind or snow…. I hovered and hemmed and hawed over him at all hours of the day. I’d see sloppy looking moms parading their multiple offspring off and watch in horror as they pushed, shoved, and ran amok. And, I judged. Oh, how I judged.

But then I had two babies in a little under two years. Suddenly, the playground as a destination because a “trip”, a big “deal”. Beyond that, I started to see the play areas as a place for “them” and the benches along the side of the structures as “my” place. The luxury of sitting back and watching them do whatever it is they wanted seemed like a no brainer.

And my eyes were opened to the phenomenon of “parents of one”. I don’t judge them, because I was them for four and a half years, but looking through the playground scene with my new lenses of a “mom of three”, I started to realize how different I was from them. Usually its Mom and Dad following every step of little Jr and their adventures in the structures, with lots of “Be Careful!” And “Oh look at you!” Meanwhile, I’d be in a corner, trying to appear forgotten. I want my kids to play, but I don’t feel the need to follow them everywhere.

This brings me to today; another playground trip on a warm November afternoon. The sun was bright. I have a quiz to study for and three kids under my watch (as the hubby is flying for a few days) so I foolishly thought I’d have time to look over notes at the local playground. I forgot it’s a weekend. I should have realized every other parent in our suburb had the same idea as me: enjoy the sun while we can. And I should have realized that while I’m perfectly okay with watching the 2-year-old climb up a slide the wrong way, the vast majority of parents out there (especially the ones with only one kid) frown upon such behavior.

So, what should have been a relaxing escape from our house, became an internal struggle of my own. I don’t want to be “that mom” whose children are causing issues, I don’t want someone to see my little L and H seemingly alone and assume their parents aren’t mindful of the abduction risk of unsupervised children, but I also know that particular playground, being fully fenced, is pretty safe. I know that kids want to climb up slides backwards and I know that they don’t need me there “just in case”. So it becomes a show, and I have to act. Because I care too much about what everyone else thinks. Their frantic anxiety becomes my frantic anxiety.

After an hour or so I was sick of chasing H so I told the kiddos it was time to go home. To play in our own backyard. And guess what? In the privacy of my own home, confined in the fully fenced back yard, I can sit and study over the pulmonary system and even read a novel without worrying about H and L taking turns going upside down, down the slide. I guess it’s true: there’s no place like home.