Friday, May 10, 2013

What's with today today?

What's with today today?

I rarely have truly crappy days but today was just one shitty annoyance after another. The kids, luckily, were not bad. Poor Elliott was sad-fussy most of the morning, though, which was a bummer. He also screamed through his bath, even though the water wasn't too hot and he usually likes baths well enough. Poor guy just screamed and screamed and arched his back and screamed some more. I felt awful. I think it's hitting me pretty hard that in ten days I'll be back at work. The boys will have a great time with my parents and I do like my job but I'm going to miss the snot out of these guys.

Then the angst of the day was elevated by the repeated thwarting of my not-unreasonable desire for things and processes to fulfill the purpose for which they are intended. To whit:

I called my insurance company before Elliott was born to double-check that they cover breast pumps 100%. I was told that they do and that I just needed to buy mine at a medical supplier and have my OB fill out a form. So I bought mine at the hospital, filled out the form, and sent it in the week after E was born. Now the insurance company is refusing to pay because the receipt I got at the hospital lists their location as the customer instead of me. It's a catch 22 because I needed the new pump so we had to buy it, but we were counting on the reimbursement to pay off Nico's ER bill. Plus, the principle of the thing. They told us it was covered, now they're not covering it. I'm pissed. After I talked to the lady from the insurance company I had to call the hospital shop to see if they could look up my customer record and reprint a corrected invoice, then had to talk to someone from billing. The billing person was somewhat helpful and gave me a little bit of hope they might be able to fix this, so I'm crossing my fingers here.

The baby monitor we bought for Elliott crapped out pretty much as soon as we got it out of the box. I exchanged it last Thursday so we'd have one that worked for our weekend away, and the new one was defective in the same way. This is the fourth monitor I've bought from Babies R Us in three years and every one has failed. I have a replacement plan for it but when I called to file the claim to get replacement money I ran into one of those obnoxious voice-activated systems. I hate those on good days and today I flat out refused to even attempt it. I hatefully hit zero on my phone over and over until it connected me to a live person, then was told that my product wasn't registered. It was a fairly simple process to register it then file the claim, but really? This is twice I've followed directions to register a BRU replacement plan only to be told later my item wasn't registered. I'm pretty sure I'm done buying monitors from them forever. Which means we have to shell out cash to buy another monitor someplace else and GRR. Was it so much to ask that the first (or second) monitor just worked?

Nico asked for bologna for lunch so I got out a Lunchable we bought him for our trip and then forgot to take. Now I recognize that Lunchables are hardly quality food, but I expect them to be edible. This one had a best-by date of May 20 and all the meat was moldy. They need to do a recall or something, because this exact thing happened to MB's officemate at work last week. I'm trying to decide if it's worth calling the company to bitch about a $1.50 Lunchable.

Oh, and on the subject of irritating failures of inexpensive items, I bought MB a little keychain bottle opener at Target yesterday. He opened two beers and the opener broke. It was only $3 but still. Two beers? Lame.

I applied for a medical research study to get some cash. I did my initial screening on Monday and haven't heard anything, which I'm assuming means I didn't qualify. It's a sad commentary that I was trying to get into a medical research study to help pay our medical bills, but there it is. (It wasn't a scary study - I would've just had to give blood once a week for 24 weeks.) I had been trying not to daydream too much about what we'd do with the money, but I'm still cranky.

Okay, to be fair, the day ended better than it started. The kids were cute, we all had a nice enough time hanging out this evening, and I got a haircut. Nico gave me the Mother's Day present he made for me at school and it's so cute - it's a keychain with a photo of him on one side and this on the other:

Obviously he had a lot of help but I still think it's sweet.

Elliott didn't bring any crafts to the table, but he did do this:

He can stay.

I hope all the crappiness got used up so that the weekend and next week are nice. If not, I'm going to run out of Crappy Day Presents.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013



Spring is a fantastic season to have a little kid around. Nico had a lot of fun playing in the garden last year and I suspect this year might be even better. He and I went down the the neighborhood playground at the beginning of April and somewhere during the course of our visit he asked me what was under the bushes that have been planted to eventually grow into a hedge. When I told him that roots are under plants, he became very curious and kept asking what the roots are, what they do. He didn't really get it, but I pulled up a weedy flowery thing to show him and he seemed duly impressed. I was hoping I could spin this curiosity into a deeper interest in plants and gardening and where food comes from, so I bought Nico two little seed planting kits from the dollar section at Target. He had a great time spooning water onto the little soil pellets, but the seeds were way too small for him to handle (basil and strawberries). I let him poke the holes for the seeds, but I had to put them into the soil for him. Once they were assembled, he did ask about his "little gardens" a few times. The middle stage was rather hard because Nico couldn't really do anything with the kits without possibly damaging the little plants, so they just had to sit up on the windowsill out of his reach. Now that the basil sprouts are getting a little tall for the mini greenhouse, I'm hoping Nico can help me transplant them to a couple of flowerpots this week.

A few weeks after our playground visit, the take-home activity at Nico's playgroup was a baggie with three sunflower seeds. I was so pleased with how well the mini Target greenhouse worked for the basil that I went back and bought another one for starting the sunflower seeds. Nico had a great time again adding the water to the pellets and helping to spoon the soil into the bottom of the planter. The seeds were big enough that he could put them in himself, which was nice. The sunflowers sprouted and grew quickly, so we transplanted them to the garden already. I'll have to go back there and check…hopefully no squirrels or rabbits came along and made a snack of them this past weekend. MB also planted some tomatoes in the garden with Nico's "help." He's definitely still more interested in digging in the dirt than he is in planting things or learning about plants. I tell myself that'll come, though, even if it doesn't come this year. He does get excited about earthworms, which is pretty rad. He also had a fun time filling up our bird feeder to hang outside his playroom window. I have this warm fuzzy little fantasy that we'll watch the birds together and he'll start to learn to identify some. It might actually happen…he learned to identify robins earlier this year and still excitedly says, "Mommy, is that a robin? It has an orange chest!" when he sees one.

As often happens, I feel like having Nico around is opening my eyes to the everyday wonder in the world. Things I've taken for granted for a long time, like robins and little plants growing from seed, are suddenly exciting and miraculous again. It's pretty damn awesome. Gardening with a toddler also teaches me / reminds me to be patient. I went into it with such pie-in-the-sky daydreams last year and then quickly realized Nico wanted only two things out of the experience:   to dig in the dirt and to run through the hose whenever possible. And once I let go of my adult-based expectations and just let him be, it was seriously wonderful. I think as a parent I really need his guidance sometimes to let go of my Type A planning and just be present in the moment. Who would've thought that the biggest parenting lessons sometimes are the ones the child teaches the grownup?

examining some playground plants

digging for earthworms at a local Earth Day event

After hanging the feeder, he stepped back and said, "Here you go, birds!"

The tiny gloves are killing me.

He calls the spade a "spadeship" for some reason. Like spaceship but hinty times more adorable.

an outdoor activity we can all agree upon

P.S. … book giveaway I'm giving away a kids' book from Barefoot Books over on my review blog. Comment here by 11:59 PM on May 18 for a chance to win.