16 March 2006

We Made the Decision!

We have made the big preschool decision! She’s not going to preschool this year. I visited a few and found one I really like. Stella played happily with the other children- except one kid who wanted to do everything she was doing. I appreciated the well-kept wooden toys, healthy snacks, big outdoor play area, and gradual progression from play-based to slightly more structured as the kids get older. We’ll probably send her there next year when she’s 3. For now we’ll be switching her to an in-home Brazilian day care ½ mile from our house when our nanny returns to Brazil. There are eight kids max with 2 or 3 adults speaking Portuguese to each other and the children. It will cost less because I don’t really need three full days per week, but must pay for them with the preschool. I don’t know if I’m even ready for three days anyway. The idea of an extra day just for me to get things done and/or make some art, play in the garden, etc. is wonderful in so many ways, but I love being with her and am into a comfortable routine. The day care hourly rate is higher, but it will be much more affordable over all if I go on maternity leave for a second baby next year. Most importantly, Stella will learn more Portuguese. With her Papai having such a long commute, she gets her Portuguese on the weekends and with the nanny. Another year of the language will really help in the long run.

It’s truly hard to trust my decisions regarding Stella’s care. They are more critical than most decisions in my pre-motherhood life. A mess up with a care provider choice could have devastating affects. A smart choice can make our lives easier. I feel like I’ve met my own little developmental milestone.

09 March 2006

Without the Shock?!

Our office/ playroom furniture finally arrived in a functional state and eight weeks later the old desk and mess are hidden away. We have a new play table for Stella and a hand-me-down slide for the yard. In the past nine days I have planned and executed these last two items with passionate vigor. I have also had two successful ebay shoe bids. Now I am without direction when I sit at my computer. If I let myself go where I really want, I will be trapped in a web of medical jargon and sad stories until well past my bedtime.

What I really want to do is Google peanut allergies. That’s because last week Stella could have died. She had two cubic centimeters of my Clif Nectar bar (dates and cashews made in a plant that processes peanuts). I handed them back to her while we were driving home from the gym. When we pulled into the garage she was clawing at her ears and neck and was covered with red splotches over her lower face. I ripped her out of her car seat, raced her upstairs, and trashed the medicine cabinets searching for liquid Benadryl. The reaction seemed to be thwarted after a little vomit, a nap and the antihistamine, but she woke two hours later the color of ripe raspberries from the top of her head to the edges of the soles of her feet. When her lips, hands, and feet turned blue, we went to the emergency room. Not directly, however. I pulled into the red zone, knowing I had not a dollar in my wallet to pay the parking fee- which surely I would need once triage laughed and sent us on our way home. I stared at her, convinced myself that her lips were a normal shade, that the swelling wasn’t progressing. She was breathing fine. Then the pediatrician called my cell and asked if we had made it ok. I confessed my ambivalence and she firmly convinced me to go in.

We were triaged in front of a packed waiting room of whining children and immediately greeted with undivided attention and steroids via IV. Her swelling worsened over the next hour, despite the medications, and she barfed all over me- all over every item of my clothing. The attending physician called it “anaphylaxis without the shock.” We left with an Epi-pen and the burden of knowing that until we can sort out her allergies- and then after- every label, every joyful toddler’s outstretched handful of potentially fatal cereal will be scrutinized.

Shopping for furniture and discount shoes is so much easier.

07 March 2006

Lost Ant

One lost ant scaling the shower tiles survived this morning. Five years ago this act of non-violence wouldn’t have deserved mention. I let bugs live for most of my years. I escorted all terrified spiders and even disgusting earwigs to the door. Then we moved on top of the largest anthill in the city of Oakland. I have massacred hundreds of ants forming a highway from the kitchen door to the cat food. I have squished them one by one on my desk, my daughter’s overalls. But not today. When I saw that black speck running away from the spray, I didn’t even move my hand in her direction. We’ve been fighting heavy eyelids and packed schedules- and actually having regular sex- all to have a second child. When I saw that tiny ant, I imagined tiny possibilities deep in my uterus and just watched her make it to higher ground.