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You’ve got me and I’ve got you.

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The way my husband talks about his Army buddies you’d think they live around the corner and he sees them every day. The truth is he hasn’t seen many of them in over 5 years, and only talks with them every few months. I haven’t questioned him about how he feels so close to them when to an average person it appears that they hardly know each other because I know that it’s just different. Going through deployments with people who literally have your back (and you have theirs!) makes bonds between people a different kind than your average friendship. Literally facing death with another person puts you at a whole different level.

That being said, while I wouldn’t dream of comparing and contrasting parenthood with a lovely deployment in Iraq, I understand the concept of needing someone when times are tough, and having your friendship shaped by those tough times.

There’s something to be said about having a best friend that is down there with you. Deep in those trenches of sleepless nights, tears, frustrations, and body fluids. They understand you, they have your back, and even though they probably don’t know what the heck the answer is either, they share in the search with you.

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I rarely even get to see my best friend. She lives 10 hours away and we have 6 kids between the two of us. But when we do get to see each other, it melds seamlessly into laughter and butt wiping like there hasn’t been any time passing at all. She’s my person. We always joke that we’d be happiest living in a commune being sister wives and just throwing all our kids together and forgetting about who belongs to who. We’ve gotten so good at reading each other that I can tell when she’s irritated purely by the way her punctuation is in her text messages. She just had her 4th baby, sweet little Colin, and I just came back from trying to help her get last minute things together before adding another pup to the pack. Everyone else sees the fun baby stuff, the cute newborn, the perfect Facebook pictures. But we know better. We know the nitty gritty of each other’s lives. We know that just before the nice picture, someone pooped on the driveway. That one of us was crying the night before. That our appliances are all breaking down at once and we’re going broke. That work is killing one of us. That we both have huge wishes and dreams but only a miniscule of a moment and pennies to try to achieve them. We know the real deal. And not only do we love each other in spite of them, we love each other because of them.

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Every parent needs a person. I think sometimes that person doesn’t show up when you think they will, but this whole parenting gig is so much more emotionally stable when you have a person. And for every person out there who doesn’t have that friend, there’s probably also someone out there who doesn’t and is looking. I bet if someone up and made a “I’m 4 Cups of Coffee Deep, My Kid Just Bit Me and Peed on the Cat, I’m Exactly 203 Minutes Late for A Dentist Appointment, and I Just Wish I Had Someone to Commiserate With!” website, similar to a dating platform, they’d totally be on to something. Make yourself a profile and find your match. Find your similarities, and what differences balance each other. Christine and I are like the Yin and Yang of vomit. She hates it, and it totally doesn’t bother me. Perfect balance!! I’ll take the puke, she can take early mornings. Done!

So there is never any question from my husband about how a person I am lucky to see once a year is the topic of so many of my conversations, a big voice in my decisions, and a familiar person to my kids. Sometimes when someone is so entwined in your life, even if in spirit, there isn’t a question. It just is. We’re both fighting the same battle, having each other’s backs, and trying to get everyone out in one piece.

Tell us about your person. Who are they to you, and what makes them a part of you? Is there someone you know that you think could use a person? Maybe it could be you. Reach out!

When Carseats Attack

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pill-bottleA couple years ago I wrote a post about the time I sliced my nose open while carrying a carseat box through the house. Many readers also shared stories of times their carseats caused them injuries. It seems to happen a lot. Since then I’ve gotten a few more scrapes and scratches, but never in my life have I had to seek actual medical attention due to a carseat-related injury…until now.

The day before the ABC Kids Expo began in Las Vegas, I was among a group of people helping carry some carseats from a building to someone’s car. (I’m going to let that person remain nameless because this truly wasn’t her fault at all, as she hadn’t even asked for help carrying the seats to her amazing, self-driving electric car. But I digress.)

In retrospect, I could have stayed on the concrete walkway. I should have stayed on the concrete walkway. But seats are heavy and the car was much closer if we cut across the landscaping, which in this case was a bunch of rocks because that’s how environmentally conscious entities landscape in Las Vegas.

At this point I should mention that I was wearing flip-flops and that, because of the carseat, I couldn’t really see where I was walking.

I had just joked that we should watch out for rattlesnakes when my left foot plunged into a hole. I felt jagged rocks tear into my skin on the way down and then again on the way back up.

A few things I should be thankful for:

  1. There were no rattlesnakes.
  2. I didn’t twist or break anything—structurally my foot and ankle were fine.
  3. I didn’t fall over. I did have to run several steps to avoid it, but I stayed upright.
  4. I didn’t drop the carseat.

When I got back into the building I tried ignoring the pain emanating from my foot. (“It’s only a flesh wound!” I told myself.) In fact for a few minutes I didn’t even look at it, figuring it probably wasn’t a big deal and sort of hoping that ignoring it would make the problem go away.

When I did finally look down, I saw minor scratches—a lot of them—but also several deep, bleeding gouges. I bummed a baby wipe and a couple Band-Aids off a well prepared CarseatBlogger and figured that was that.

That was not that.

By the following evening, my foot hurt so much that the lightest touch made me wince. I struggled to put my left shoe on. I ended the night limping, but I wasn’t going to let that slow me down.

The next morning, I noticed my foot was extremely red. I thought it might have been a reaction to the Band-Aids (my skin tends to be sensitive with some types) or maybe from the adhesive irritating the many smaller scratches surrounding the larger gouges. I FaceTimed with my husband, a fireman, to get his take.

The first thing he asked was, “Why is it so swollen?” Until that point I hadn’t even noticed that the outer part of my left foot had grown abnormally large, which probably explained why I couldn’t get my shoe on the night before. That led to a call to my insurance company to find the closest Urgent Care I could go to, which turned out to be less than a mile away. A quick Uber ride later, I was there.

My foot had gotten infected, and the doctor recommended a shot of antibiotics followed by a 10-day course of oral antibiotics. My first question was whether I could still drink. (After all, when in Vegas…) I agreed to everything, of course, and assumed the shot would be given near the wound. Nope. It wasn’t.

The doctor told me to keep off my foot and elevate it as much as possible, which was much harder advice to follow than his “just drink a little” warning. My whole reason for being in Las Vegas was this huge trade show in a huge convention center. I did manage to prop my foot up a few times, but overall I did not do a good job following the doctor’s orders.

The good news is that just a day later, the swelling had gone down considerably and my foot only hurt if I touched it hard—no more cringing in pain because a bed sheet lightly brushed against it.

As I write this a week later, I’m still on antibiotics and I still have a gross-but-kind-of-cool-looking injury. But I also have a good story to tell, and I’ve learned my lesson about wearing flip-flops and blindly walking on rocks while carrying a carseat, just in case I ever find myself in that position again.

Happy Haunting!

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It’s almost Halloween! And nothing says Halloween like a post reminding you of all the things that could go wrong on Halloween and how to avoid them. I don’t think that’s very festive though, and I’d like to think most of you folks out there know not to throw your kid in front of a moving car when they’re wearing all black at night, and that you shouldn’t let your toddler crack open a glowstick and drink it.

You know what else says Halloween? Late night snacking. That’s right. You know you do it. After the kids go to bed from now until Chistmas you will be raiding their candy. I’d also like to bow to whoever invented the Switch Witch. Pure genius I tell you. I can just picture it now, because it was definitely a mom, sitting in her living room, yelling “It’s mine! All mine!!” while scooping up candy. And all she has to do is make a trip to Target (yeah, real big punishment there) for a toy. Bonus points if you live in a neighborhood that hands out good candy. You know, quality stuff like Twix and Kit-kats. The candy that says, “hey, I’m a great neighbor that enjoys Halloween”. Tootsie rolls? “I forgot to buy candy till 3pm Halloween day”. Bit-O-Honey? “I hate you and Halloween”. No offense to the fans of Bit-O-Honeys. I still think you’re crazy but I do respect you for your…classic taste. Please don’t smash my pumpkins.

Last year's haul. Kids totally thought I wouldn't sit on the couch and pig out on their candy. Jokes on them! Crispy the cat was the only witness and he never tells.

Last year’s haul. Kids totally thought I wouldn’t sit on the couch and pig out on their candy. Joke’s on them! Crispy the cat was the only witness and he never tells.

They’re not kidding when they say Halloween is a time for the Underworld. Apparently everyone is trying to send you there with the blinding masks so big that you walk into a mailbox, and  the princess skirts that are so haphazardly hemmed that every little girl must faceplant at least once while trick-or-treating. Don’t forget all the elderly folks still insisting on baking cookies (of death?) to hand out even though every single mother out there makes their kid throw them away. And pennies. What’s with the pennies? You telling me to choke to death or wither away in poverty? Not sure of the subtle message of that. Granted, I was ecstatic to get pennies as a kid so I guess my Scrooge is showing. My kids love pennies too so heck with it, bring it on!

 

"Hey Declan, I'll trade you my Bit O Honey for your Twix" "Nope."

“Hey Declan, I’ll trade you my Bit O Honey for your Twix”
“Nope.”

In all seriousness though, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. I love the whole month of October, the excitement of choosing a costume, the pumpkins, the festivals, the beautiful days. Just when I thought it was getting a little weird for me to be so Halloween obsessed, I had kids and an excuse to continue my crazy. So Happy Halloween to every single one of you! Be safe, have fun, don’t throw your kid in front of cars, watch out for mailboxes and fallen princesses, and don’t feel guilty about eating the Twix and saving the Bit-O-Honey’s for your little honey. You gave them life after all.

Basically sums up my kids in one picture.

Basically sums up my kids in one picture.

EZCarSeat preview from ABC Expo 2016

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ez-darrenCarseatBlog is at the ABC Expo in Las Vegas, and in addition to meeting with established manufacturers, it’s always nice to find new and unexpected products. While we were wandering around this morning, we saw a booth for something called EZCarSeat and went to find out more.

Turns out the EZCarSeat is a product to make it easier to install car seats, especially for people with big hands, short arms, or narrow belt paths. (The narrow belt paths would be on the car seats, not on the people, obviously.)

It’s a plastic guide that easily clips onto a seatbelt to allow people to shove it through a beltpath more easily. It also unclips once the belt is routed and buckled, so there’s no worry about anything interfering with the performance of the car seat.

You can see a quick video here:

It should be noted that the company allows EZCarSeat to be left on the seatbelt once it’s installed, but we strongly recommend removing it as it could interfere with the belt’s function otherwise. The back of the box does say to follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions, so those would also require the product’s removal.

You can purchase an EZCarSeat on the company’s website for $12.

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