Category Archives: Mommy Stuff

Will You Be My Sisterwife?

I am not the first working mom to pine for a “wife.”

Hell, even in college I knew that if I were to pursue the ambitious ass-kicking agenda I’d dreamed for myself, I would need a house-husband.
The miracle is that after putting marriage and kids so low on my list of priorities, I still managed to find myself a fully evolved, committed husband who does (at least) 50% of the heavy household lifting in time for me to still breed with my own genes.  I am absurdly fortunate.

And so it is with a blanket of sheep that I admit that there is STILL too much damn work to be done in running a house and raising children while earning enough to sustain my family.

I don’t think this challenge is unique to a city-living, alpha mom like me.

And so I ask you – will you be my sisterwife?

Ok, ok, I don’t mean move in and sleep with my husband – (though he is pretty much the best of his gender and deserves a whole lot more lovin’ than he’s getting these days.)  Let’s use “sister” more colloquially – as in, can you please help a sister out?

So maybe what I should say is “Will you be my NEIGHBOR-wife?

My neighbor is mom of our doppler ganger family across the hall – Cute & fun-loving couple, with kids around the age of ours. We even had chocolate labs that were around the same age.

A few weeks ago we talked about doing a freezer meal share and I think we might have stumbled upon genius.

On Sundays, we will both make a casserole or freezer meal and double the batch:  one for our family and one for theirs.

A few friends have asked for the recipes we’re using.
To that end, I have started a Pinterest board:  Fab Freezer Meals for Sharing

If  you’d like permission to post to the board, let me know.
It takes a village, yo.

To start this tradition, I whipped up a batch of Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole (from This Gal Cooks).
Against tradition, I followed her recipe pretty closely (with fewer jalapenos for tiny tongues and the addition of kale and leftover zucchini because green is good.  I also used regular mozzarella because hub couldn’t find Fontina cheese – yes, he does all the grphotoocery shopping.  Told ya… he’s kind of a big deal.)

Another of my favorite sharing recipes is Chicken Enchilada Casserole:

  • Chicken – breasts or thighs or whatever your budget allows.  We use six thighs for a family of four.
  • jar salsa (or homemade pico)
  • southwest/ taco spices to taste:  cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, chipotle, red pepper, paprika, etc.
  • enchilada sauce (yes, I recommend the can unless you’re a SAH with way too much time on your hands.)  I like a mix of green and red.
  • cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • sweet potatoes
  • cilantro (fresh – only way to go)
  • garlic
  • red onion
  • evoo
  • corn tortillas
  • can whole tomatoes
  • Mixed bell peppers (frozen ok)

I like to slow cook my chicken – toss in some salsa and let it cook all day on low or half the day on high.

Put sliced red onions into a skillet with evoo on medium heat and cover.  When onions are soft, add bell peppers – whatever you think your family will eat.  They will be turned into sauce so it’s a great way to trick them into eating their veg.  Once peppers are floppy, remove mix from heat and set aside.  Add more evvoo and add diced sweet potatoes.  Stir to prevent burning/sticking until the sweet potatoes begin to soften.  DO NOT make them uber mushy.

Mix (I have a wonderful, tiny food processor from Sur la Table that was a special treat with some gift cards I had collected) the enchilada sauce, whole tomatoes, and onion/pepper mix.

If you use chicken thighs, you might want to skim the grease from on top of your chicken.  Either way, shred the chicken in the crockpot with two forks.

Dip your tortillas into the sauce and cover the bottom of a 9×13 glass pan (I used a foil pan for my neighbor because I only have one glass).

Layer the shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, and a mix of the cheeses.

Spoon over some of the sauce.

Repeat the layers:  dipped corn tortillas, shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, cheese until you’re out of ingredients.

If you’re freezing this, put a layer of plastic wrap down onto the last layer and then foil cover before freezing.

If you’re cooking immediately – cover with foil and heat through – I put it in at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or so. (You’ll see the sauce bubble.)

If your kids aren’t going through their anti-green phase, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, avocado and sour cream – even more cheese if you like!

(The inspiration for this recipe came from Ambitious Kitchen and Tone & Tighten.)

In hopes of sharing my talent, I plan to post a few more of my life hacks, including more Freezer Recipes.

I hope you’ll share some of your own!

 

How to Survive a Lay-off

I ran into a friend of mine in the Old Navy parking lot a few weeks ago.  When I mentioned my recent lay-off, he replied, “well, it’s the season for it, isn’t it?”  Truly, I have several friends who are recently unemployed or about to be.

This is my first lay-off in about 12 years.  And where I ‘celebrated’ the last one with a tremendous amount of day-drinking, late-night hell-raising, bad daytime television, and unhealthy doses of self-loathing and self-pity, this one felt more like a gift.

Sure, I’m sad that I lost my job – I really liked many of the people I worked with, respected the company, and was proud of my success there.  But I wasn’t really going to get my name in lights.  And selfishly, secretly, I still really want that.

The best thing about being laid-off is that you don’t have to make a secret about your job hunt.

If you, like me, had a highly connected boss who is well-liked around your industry YOU ARE SCREWED if you look around while still employed.  It is just uber-awkward for all involved.  Lay-offs solve that problem.  Not only can you look openly but you can hit her up for a reference when the process gets real.

So what about the dirty details of life for the newly unemployed?

Well, there is always this.

And of course day-drinking.

But if your mortgage, dependents, or liver prevent you from getting pruny in a pity-pool, here are my suggestions for surviving a lay-off.

First, apply the 30-30-40 rule.

Spend 30% of your time looking for a job.  Not more and not less.  If you focus and act quickly, 30% is enough time.

I concentrated on 3 things and I started the same day I was laid-off:

  1. I rewrote my resume – a half-dozen times – with feedback from people who were not afraid to tell me the truth.
  2. I called/emailed/wrote everyone who loves me in my industry to tell them I’m looking and that I need their help.
    (People like to feel useful but usually only take action if you ask them directly.)
  3. I set up interviews with every job that was even remotely interesting.
    • You will freshen up your knowledge of what is hot and what is not.
    • You will sharpen your conversational skills/ interviewing skills.  e.g. I learned that it is probably not in your best hiring interest to casually mention that you didn’t see any female executives on the company’s website.
    • You will meet some cool people in positions of influence along the way.

I had 23 interviews in my first 3 weeks of unemployment.  That felt AWESOME.  Most of them were not going to go anywhere but I was active, and engaged and it didn’t leave much room for the whole “nobody wants me” narrative that likes to creep in when you are dismissed from a job.  Jobs and relationships only work when there is a mutual match.  If one of the parties changes his direction, the relationship is doomed.  No blood, no foul.  Part as friends and get back into the fray!

The second 30% of my time I focused on giving to others.  I am not the greatest at volunteering my time.  I do make pretty decent donations throughout the year to causes I care about but have idealized the notion of donating talent as even more valuable.  My talent seems to be creativity.  I’ve had a few random connections with people who’ve found my Linked In profile and asked for help with theirs.  I HATE resumes.  They are painful and sterile and austere.  Linked In summaries should ‘show some leg.’  While not actually sexy, the narrative of your career should also showcase a bit of your style and personality.  Make something that people will actually want to read and they will.  People interview for skills but they hire for personality.  (I sound like I really know my sh*t, right?  I am 83% certain I’m right.)

While unemployed, I rewrote some Linked In profiles, made some recommendations on Linked In, shopped for and crafted some decor and activities for a 5 year old’s birthday party, and did some small business marketing consulting for free.  Every single minute of it was fun.  It wasn’t the gratitude that made me feel so happy; it was that I did something that actually benefitted these friends.  I might not have had time to do these things while working full-time.  But I did while unemployed and I was able to show both new and old friends how much I value them by giving up my time to do something that came easily for me but caused them headaches.

Finally, I spent 40% of my time taking care of me and my family.  I have spent so much time with my daughters – playing, learning, adventuring, etc.  My 4 year old has said multiple times “Mommy, this is the best day of my life.”  My response?  ME TOO.  And it has been.  I will never get another chance to be unemployed when my girls are 4 and 1.  I soaked up every second of their filthy, silly, annoying, whining, giggling, wrestling, dancing, singing, mess-making, crafting, writing, reading, snuggling, cuddling, and general awesomeness.  I am so full and yet I have room for more everyday.  It is a gift that keeps on giving.

To a lesser extent, I also doted on my husband.  No, I didn’t suddenly become a sexpot runway model who fed him bonbons while shaking mine.  Although that would have been nice…  I did, however, chip in a great deal more on housework  – which usually falls on his shoulders as a SAHD.  I continued to cook even though I felt like ordering fatty, starchy badness.  Since the hub is on the Ironman training regiment, I also cooked mostly healthy, flavorful goodies to support the goal he is working toward.  We even managed to sneak in a couple of date nights where we cashed in some gift certificates to offset expenses we weren’t sure we could afford.

And for myself?  I did two things:  I worked out regularly and I tackled my “Icky List.”  The work-outs shouldn’t need explanation.  I feel good about myself when I’m fit.  I have made peace with not being a string bean.  I actually like being big and strong.  Dressing a big and strong body without looking like a hoochie?  Another post for another time.  But for my heart, my longevity, my waistline, and my confidence – there is no better money or time spent than in the gym, pool or yoga studio.  And I didn’t give that up over this break.

The “Icky List” is comprised of the things that I don’t want to do but that need to be done, at varying degrees of urgency, that tiptoe into my consciousness on nights when I really need to sleep.  They start off like stealthy reminders – using ballet feet to sweep across my otherwise calm, dark mind just before sleep comes.  But only one of them needs to be a code orange to jar me out of calm and into “Oh crap!” mode.  Once that happens, the Icky List becomes a heard of elephants trampling any remaining hope of rest while cackling witches swoop around my cranium mocking my incompetence.  It isn’t pretty.

I reorganized two rooms of my house to make better use of space and hide/remove clutter.  I donated 147 books from my introduction to hoarding stash to allow for toy bins, stationary boxes and less unsightly clutter.  I regrouted my kitchen counter.  I organized pictures.  I purchased a new external harddrive and back up external harddrive.  I saved my pictures and music on both.  I organized the basement storage and DVDs and closets.

The list is not completed.  It probably never will be.  But I look around this house in which I have spent so much more of my time lately and I am proud of what I’ve accomplished.  I enjoy the home we’ve made here.  I have no nagging anxiety about devolving into a messy, clutter-loving nightmare.  I am not tied to my things.  I am tied to my people.  And that’s a pretty good tie in my book.

The best part is?
I’ve been sleeping pretty well.

Finding my dream a job certainly helps.

Author note:  Not, in fact, a dream job after all.

The Evil Queen Myth

queenWhen my daughter got into fairy tales and princess things, she would dress up and play pretend every chance she got.  She would construct elaborate stories and wear as much of her costume jewelry as possible.  If her dad or I were around, we would usually be added to the cast of characters.  Daddy was the King or the handsome Prince, and I was the Evil Queen.

At first, I was totally taken aback by this label.  EVIL QUEEN?!?!?  Was this an early rebellion?  Was I coming down too hard on our preschooler such that she had already identified me as the “mean” parent?  I don’t WANT to be evil.  Something had to be done!

But as I paid closer attention to what my daughter was actually watching, the innocuous Disney dramas took on a slightly sinister role.  Fairy Tales were teaching my daughter that while girls were good, women were evil.  Of all the unholy sermons… this was the most offensive.

Undoubtedly, stepmothers have always had a bad rap from Cinderella.  Snow White literally has an evil queen character who is not only competitive and vain, but also a witch.  Hansel & Gretel were left in the woods to die by their (step)mother and are nearly eaten by an old… you guessed it, witch.

The kicker for me, though, was Tangled.  My daughter didn’t understand that the woman with Rapunzel wasn’t her mother but an evil old woman who STOLE her from her mother.  I had to explain that several times that Rapunzel called her “mother” because she was tricked and didn’t know any better.  I explained that her REAL mother would never stop crying until Rapunzel was returned home.

But, I think, the damage was already done.

Despite my joy at the movie’s red-headed heroine, I was initially put off by Brave because the Queen was, again, the enemy.  She was the disciplinarian, the strict parent, the “problem.”  The movie saved itself (spoiler alert) as the Queen and Merida reconciled to understand each other better and grow to become friends as well as mother and daughter.

Why are grown women always portrayed as the bad guys in children’s movies?

Is this some kind of sick joke?

Who is writing this crap?*

*Note to self:  Write a decent fairy tale that doesn’t make women out to be the bad guys.

This “Evil Queen” thing shows up outside of fairy tales too.  There is a commercial airing now for Multi-Grain Cheerios with a mother-daughter exchange that I HATE.

I found plenty of posts about this on some entertaining threads and thoughtful blogs but the thing that disturbs me about this commercial is the look the mom gives the daughter acknowledging that she is, in fact, wearing her daughter’s jeans.  It is smug.  It is confrontational.  It is a challenge saying “HA!  What are YOU going to do about the fact that I am as skinny as you?”

It is so repulsive to me.

I love Cheerios.  (I especially love the new fruity Cheerios.)  But this portrayal of the mom as mean-girl is such an enormous offense that it could not possibly have had a mom on the creative team.  [Or perhaps it did and she is keeping her mouth shut because she has had to take one too many personal days to care for her kids and is worried about her job… another post for another time.]

It gives me pause to think about how much we manufacture the drama between women and how much of it is inevitable.  Why did we stop being community sisters – helping each other with household chores, errands, child-rearing, feasts, etc. – and start being bitchy mortal enemies?

Who has the time for all this drama?

I have two daughters.  And while they are not yet growing into little women, I look forward to when they do so that I can help them feel proud of their changes and confident in whatever shape nature gives them and to honor the wonder that is the female body.

Despite my fierce desire to protect my little princesses, I have noticed a bit of “Evil Queen” mentality creeping into my own mind recently.  As I barrel into 40, I’ve taken to calling out my age in much the same way as I used to call out my weight – as an apology.

There can be no good that comes of it and it likely makes people as uncomfortable as it did when I belabored my weight-related self-loathing.  So why do it?

Old age is a privilege.  Hell, MIDDLE age is a privilege.  I may not be the perfect, powerful, rich and thin me I had dreamed for myself at 40 but it’s all relative.  I’m not too shabby.  I made a terrible princess but I might yet make a fabulous queen if I let myself get into the role a bit.

I’ve got two princesses watching how to grow with grace and honor and humor.  So snap out of it, Schmidt!  There is no dress rehearsal for mommies.

I wouldn’t trade my life now for any other time.  I really DO believe that the best is yet to come.

And as the great philosopher Will the Krill says, “Fearing the best is a complete waste of time.”

So, tell me.

Where do you see the Evil Queen myth creeping in and what are we going to do about it?

Got time for a Quickie?

The thing about becoming a mom
that totally tilted me sideways
is that when you least expect it,
for no reason at all,
in the middle of something else that could be very *important*
you will physically.
ache.
for your children.
And it knocks the wind out of you.
And you love it.

It won’t be like this for long

I am a huge fan of Darius Rucker (you know…. Hootie).

He launched his Country music career a few years ago, even playing Wrigley Field where I heard him from my rooftop.  Among his best songs is one about how quickly the stages of childhood change and that the exhaustion, the frustration, the joy doesn’t last long.

I bawl like a baby everytime I hear it.

Yesterday, I thought about this song while I chased Big Red around the park with Little Strawberry in the Bjorn.  Sundays are Daddy’s days – football (and for a little bit longer, baseball) games rule the TV at our house all day.  Since I work five of seven days, I crave solo time with my girls so I don’t let jealousy bugger up my relationship with my husband.  Of course we do “family time” almost every night but I want my own time alone with the girls too.

What made me think of this song, and especially the line, “one day soon that little girl will be all grown up and gone” was the parents sitting on the side of the play yard obsessed with their smartphones.

One dad in particular was 50 if he was a day.  His daughter was probably 4.  I didn’t notice him glance up once during the 45 minutes we were there.

I don’t want to sound like Judgey McCritical.  I honestly believe that most parents do the best they can with their given circumstances and means.  I don’t know this guy’s story.  But seeing him ignore his little girl chastened me.

I’m not a young mom.  The most significant reason for me NOT to have more kids is that I will be in my 60s when they graduate college.  If my girls wait as long as I did to have babies, I might not be alive to see them.

Even at 38, there are times I feel like an old, washed-up body.  Knees creak, shoulders crack, back aches.  Of course I expect I’ll feel heaps better when I drop the extra LBs and start getting longer sleep.  I don’t want my daughters to suffer an uninvolved mum because I can’t keep up.  THAT is just not acceptable.

But what about when I just don’t show up.  Being physically present isn’t enough.  I want to honor my daughters by being mentally present when we are together.  The 45 minutes we ran around the park were the best part of my weekend (and it had already been a pretty great weekend).

I know Calamity Jayne loved it too because she said so and cuddled me the rest of the night and again this morning.

How much of the time you spend with your kids is wasted on distractions that have nothing to do with how much you enjoy them?  And more importantly, how much they enjoy you?

Lumpy, Sneezy, Dopey and Doc (or Why Policies Can Suck It) – Part 3

 

Josephine Rae Born 8.16.11

Part 3:  Dopey

It occurred to me while planning this post that I may start out talking about my experience in the hospital and migrate to a conversation about depression.

Do not be alarmed.

I’m actually dreading this story.  You see, I haven’t allowed myself to revisit it for fear of that evil bastard, self-pity, to rear its head.  I think the moral is an important one though, so here is my third rant in the series:

When my daughter was born, she was a healthy 8 lb. 14 oz baby.  Not bad, right?  To us, she looked like a skinny little slip of a thing compared to my firstborn who tipped the scales at 10 lbs. 1 oz.  I felt a twinge of guilt that I hadn’t fed her enough or that my constant Benadryl or coffee habit had diminished her potential for Amazonian greatness.  Still, for five days early, nearly 9 lbs isn’t a bad birthweight.

Once in my hospital room, my nurse suggested I try to feed the sleeping baby.  I asked if I should wake her to do so and she gave a non-committal reply to “just try.”  I gave it a half-hearted effort because little Jellybean was completely cashed. Being born is hard!  Sadly, the next time the nurse came in, she informed me that my daughter’s blood sugar had gone below the hospital’s threshold for normal and that she had to go to the NICU.

I was incredulous.  I asked if I could just feed her and have the sugars tested again.  It seemed like a reasonable and logical approach.  (Before you dismiss my unprofessional medical opinion, when her sister, Ginormica, was born, the nurses sagely put a bottle of formula in Daddy’s hand and a tube taped to his finger so she could feed straight away.  This happened a few times before my milk came in and we were none the wiser about HER risk for low blood sugar.  The nurses simply mitigated it.)

This time, however, Dopey, as she will be henceforth referred to, mistakenly informed me that she “had” to take my daughter away but that I could visit her in the NICU to feed her whenever I wanted.  My daughter was then taken to the Intensive Care Unit for Newborns and put on monitors for her heart rate and blood oxygen levels.  She wasn’t given any formula.  She wasn’t put on a IV.

And she didn’t come back to my room for FIFTEEN HOURS.

There are several problems with this:

  1. Newborns should be with their mothers unless there is a serious medical risk that would prevent their proximity.
  2. The NICU was full of desperately sick babies on oxygen under dim lights and parents who look gutted by fear and desperation.
  3. I had just been sawed open like a magic trick except with actual blood – which regularly made its way to the NICU floor in macabre puddles when I arrived to nurse my newborn in hopes of springing her.
  4. Hospital policy increased the minimum blood sugar level requirement for my daughter to be released from the NICU above the level that got her locked up but didn’t apply any policy for regular feedings or timing of testing.  The nurses simply took her blood sugar on a schedule whether she’d been fed recently or not.  Three sufficient test readings were required to be released and if one reading dropped below the threshold, the testing started over from zero.  Talk about stacking the deck…

In hindsight, I should have fought harder to keep my daughter with me.

I should have told Dopey that she can suck it but she cannot take my daughter away.

I should have asked for the Floor manager, a Patient liaison, my OB, a Peditrician – ANYONE with sense enough to say, “let’s not overreact or follow the letter but distort the spirit of this new policy – this is a big, healthy baby who needs to eat.  Let’s feed her and see what happens” instead of “let’s take away this newborn because we have a new policy and I want to be a good rule follower.”

Anyone who knows me at all can tell you what I think of rule-followers.

I should have fought harder to exert my will in the interest of my and  my daughter’s well-being.  I should have asked more questions and challenged authority and raised a stink that would have put Dopey in hasty retreat.

I can hardly believe I dithered and fumbled and followed.  I blame the hormones; it’s the only logical explanation for behavior that is so wholly foreign to me.

To add insult to injury, Dopey actually wheeled the empty basinet back into my room after she delivered my daughter to the NICU saying, “I’m just going to leave this here.  You’re a C-section so you’re here for four days… she might be back by then.”

I can tell you now, though I wouldn’t have admitted it for fear of being committed, that I almost broke that day.  There was a moment when the world went unanimated and a crushing excess of emotion swirled up inside me.  My vision went black around the ridges and I choked on the air I was trying to breathe.  In that moment I feared that the me that is fun and outgoing and light-hearted would retreat permanently – into the recesses where fantasy and nightmares reside, where there is a running dialogue of self-loathing and paranoia and helplessness – into the lead-lined box of depression.

This story gets complicated because when I retell it, I feel a sense of injustice rising up like bile in my throat.  I was cheated.  Even worse, so was my daughter.  I don’t care that I had to get out of my hospital bed with a burning incision and stabbing abdominal pain, gushes of blood everytime I went vertical, and the annoying catheter bag that never seemed to be emptied in order to be wheeled to the NICU during my daughter’s incarceration.

I care that my newborn wasn’t in my arms or at arms-length for FIFTEEN OF HER FIRST TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.

I don’t forgive that nurse for her carelessness or callousness.

I don’t forgive the hospital for creating a policy that ignores the mother in the mother-baby equation in order to cover their proverbial ass or to charge insurance companies for something that can’t be refused – intensive care for a newborn baby as an offset for the increasing squeeze on their maternal care fees.

But I escaped with my daughter in tow.  My healthy, fat baby hardly left my arms for two weeks after that.  And when my husband mentioned that I might
have attachment issues that need to be discussed with a professional, I reluctantly let him hold his daughter… for a minute.

I don’t know why the dark water didn’t suck me under this time.  I remain guarded that it still might.  I can only point to this – that I mentally steer myself toward what I have, instead of what I haven’t.  The feeling of being cheated (and outrage at people’s moral bankruptcy) tamped down much of my pregnancy and new motherhood joy three years ago.  I didn’t compartmentalize the negativity of a toxic environment and it took me two years to rebound.  Now, I reign my mind into the here and now and wriggle back into its comforting softness to fill up the whole space so there isn’t room for any ‘what ifs’ or ‘whys?’ to suck the air out of my happy.

And I do it every day, over and over.  And I breathe.  And I cuddle my beautiful child and know that she is 1/3 of what matters to me most.

And that’s enough.

But my mistrust of healthcare and its policies aimed at maximum profit grows.  How about you?

Lumpy, Sneezy, Dopey and Doc (Or Why Policies can Suck It) – Part 2

Part 2:  Sneezy

In her first 2 years of life, my darling daughter, Calamity Jayne, had more than 20 ear infections.  It seems that every time she caught a cold, she got an ear infection.  And she caught a lot of colds.

I feel totally cheated by this injustice.

I nursed her for nine months – throwing caution and modesty to the wind by pumping in offices, airports, and hotel rooms.  I took nursing-lunches in our car when my uber-understanding hub drove down to my office to afford me baby time during my post-partum battle.

Yet my bub was a snotty, sneezy mess for much of her young life.  She had several ear infections that lasted months because the antibiotics we used to treat her didn’t cure the infection.

Pediatricians we saw offered little advice.

Instead, we were reassured that “kids get sick.”  I admit, I was comforted that this wasn’t my ‘fault.’  As a first-time parent, I was fairly convinced that I was doing it wrong.  (And by “it” I mean everything.)

We saw plenty of pediatricians.  This wasn’t a situation where one doctor was responsible for our inability to prevent or treat her ear infections.  Our Chicago practice has more than a dozen doctors on staff.  We love being able to get an appointment at any time and having the diversity of experience, thought, and treatment that all those doctors provide.  Our St. Louis practice was smaller but seemed wholly competent in their
treatment and fairly advanced in their technology and organization.

We thought we were doing everything we could.  And our doctors agreed.

Earlier this year, we saw a doctor at our Chicago practice in her 50s.  She took quite a long time with us (a rarity among all sick-care providers) and reviewed CJ’s charts all the way back to her birth.  She was really shocked at the volume of infections and the frequency with which we returned to the office.

She raised the red-flag.

She told us she suspected that the antibiotic courses we’d been given our daughter (non-penicillin because of an allergy) weren’t strong enough to kill the underlying sinus infection.  So, although the ear cleared with the single round, the sinus infection raged on and then landed right back in the ear(s).

This made sense.

She put us on back-to-back rounds of antibiotics.  Until the cough was gone (that pesky post-nasal drip from my childhood seems to have been inherited by Big Red), we kept re-upping the antibiotics.

Finally, after three rounds, the child was cough-free, sniffles free and ear pain free.

Around this time, my sage sister-in-law also raised the issue that no child this age should be doing so many rounds of antibiotics.  Drugs, as they say, are bad, mmkay?  Well, not ALL bad, but certainly this was a disproportionate amount of unnatural toxins for the itty-body of a toddler.  That, and she might just develop immunity to the only strain of antibiotics she can take leaving her susceptible to horrible sickness that most people would, well, sneeze at.

My sis also recommended that we see a specialist.  An Otolaryngologist.  So we got a recommendation, made an appointment, and saw a specialist.

The specialist asked us why we had waited so long to get our daughter seen.

Instead of “kids get sick,” we were told that CJ was having far too many infections and could absolutely benefit from getting grommets inserted to help with drainage.  We were also encouraged to hear that the surgery might improve her mood and manner considerably.

Earaches suck.
Calamity might very well be acting out because of her constant discomfort.

WTF.

Like any parent of a toddler wants to enjoy additional fits and general obnoxiousness just for giggles!

I hated the idea of putting my precious little baby girl under anesthesia, and my growing belly was wrecking havoc on my logic and emotional stability, but I didn’t see how I could justify not giving my daughter some relief.

So we had the surgery.

And I cried buckets when she went in and buckets more when she came out.

But she’s been ear pain free ever since… for six months.  And that’s a miracle.

So, my hub and I have asked ourselves… what did take so long?  Why didn’t we know to see a specialist and get the ear tubes done after the first six, ten, twelve, fifteen, etc. infections/ rounds of antibiotics?

Sadly and cynically, it seems the clear answer would be because our pediatricians don’t get paid if we stop coming to see them for ear infections.  And was the surgery necessary?  How can we know for certain?  But we do know that the Otolaryngologist wouldn’t get paid if she didn’t absolutely endorse her speciality.

Medicine for profit is bullshit.

It makes a mess of patient care and breeds mistrust.

I want to respect and trust medical professionals.  I want to know that they have my and my family’s HEALTH in their best interest – NOT what procedures are billable, NOT what drugs they are incentivized to promote, NOT what the insurance company covers at a higher percentage.

I don’t trust any of this is happening.

Medicine is enough of a guessing game without making patients wonder if they’re actually getting their doctor’s best recommendation or the best priced one?

The system is broken and it is making us broke.