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Car seat paranoia

I admit that some days, especially about certain things, I can be paranoid and anxious when it comes to parenting. I can also be protective and uptight but it is just because I love my daughter so much!


But sometimes my craziness is warranted. Today I watched our friend (and firefighter/certified car seat installer) install our daughter’s car seat in our new car. I specifically asked him to walk myself and my husband through it so we would know how to do it ourselves should we need to move it to another car.


And guess what? That was a mistake. There is no way I am going to mess with that thing after what I witnessed today. It is in there permanently for the next 5 or so years. I won’t be touching it other than to put my daughter in and take her out. Installing it was not as simple as 1-2-3. And, did you know that a certified car seat installer has to have 40 hours of training? It is not something that can be taken lightly.


The main reason for my lack of confidence with the car seat is because, contrary to what many people may think, car seat installation is not as simple as just putting it in the car and buckling it in. 4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly. And you know what that means? Many children are in great danger should an accident occur. I really don’t think a lot of parents realize the importance of correct installation.


The car seat needs to be angled correctly and the straps have to be so tight, to the point of you feeling your kid is uncomfortable (they aren’t but you may feel that way). Also, the seat needs to be installed a certain way dependent on the straps in your car as well as the seat you own.


Also, you should keep your child rear facing as long as you possibly can, even if it means their legs are bent a little because their legs are too long and run into the seat. Obviously you should turn it around if they are uncomfortable but if not, leave it backwards (our car seat says up to 35 lbs). They are much safer that way (here is why: rear-facing). Knowing me, I will keep it that way until her knees touch her face!


So, just another thing for me to lose sleep over (and if you have read my other blogs you know what that does to me).


Moral of the story: Seriously, if you install your child’s car seat yourself, I urge you to bring it to your local firehouse or car seat inspection facility. It could save your child’s life. And, for the love of God, if you are neurotic like me, don’t watch it being installed; leave it up to the certified fireman!




Packing everything including the kitchen sink

You probably have heard the saying, “we packed everything but the kitchen sink.”  Well, this past weekend, my husband and I put a twist on that saying because we packed everything including the kitchen sink. We ventured on our first real road trip with our daughter. Good thing we finally invested in a family vehicle or we would’ve never had enough room.


I had always heard that when you have a child the packing extravaganza gets quite extensive, but holy cow, this was crazy! We have gone to Green Bay to visit Grandma and Grandpa many times with our daughter but this was the first time we were going somewhere that wasn’t kid-friendly. Each summer my husband and I love going with my parents to a cottage in the north woods. We plan to take our daughter there but also wanted to start our own tradition so we rented a cottage in Waupaca over the weekend.


The packing preparations began about a week before we left. I just kept adding things to a list as I thought of them. Next thing I knew, I had an entire 8 ½ x 11 sheet full of packing essentials. It was nuts. And this list only consisted of my daughter’s needs. I barely even thought about what I was going to pack for myself and thankfully my husband was smart enough to put together a food list since I hadn’t even thought of that.


I could see my husband’s blood pressure rising as I started to put more and more “stuff” on the living room table to be put in the car. Men are usually a bit simpler in the packing department than women. But, I can honestly say, I did not over pack for my daughter. Toddlers just need a lot of things.


After my husband mapped out the back of the car he began the packing process. Does everyone’s husband do this? I have never seen him physically draw a map but he has to, I mean, how else could it be done so precisely? And, I have to say, that guy has quite the strategy down, everything fit. But just as he thought he was done getting it all in, I kept coming out with more and more things. I think I may have almost put him over the edge when I came walking out with Mr. Lion (a toy/walker) which seemed to have a better view out the back window than we did.  


I am wondering how people pack for multiple kids and for stints of time that are longer than 3 days. I guess you just have to get creative and get by with the bare minimum.


Needless to say, we used everything and had a lot of fun even though it stormed the entire weekend. Good thing we brought Mr. Lion or we would have been in big trouble being stranded in the cottage all weekend with a semi-mobile little girl.


Moral of the story: Try your best to leave the kitchen sink at home. There simply isn’t room for it.







Eating a delicious piece of humble pie

My husband loses everything, including his wallet. I can’t tell you how many times he has asked me where his wallet is. I then say,”You mean the wallet that includes all your identifying information along with our credit cards? That wallet?” It drives me crazy.


The latest to go missing was our brand new car’s second set of keys along with our other car’s second set. You got it, both. So, if we lose the ones we do have, we are out of luck.


How do things just disappear? It is difficult for me not to point fingers here. Hmmm, I wonder who may have lost them.


I searched all of his coat and pants pockets. I checked and re-checked the basement and all the drawers. My blood started to boil because I 've heard it could cost up to $100 to replace the key remotes.


I started to make comments to my husband like, “When is this going to stop? Why do you always have to lose everything?” And of course I was not saying it in the nicest of tones.


Just as I was going to call off my search party I decided, just for the heck of it, I would check my own coat pockets. The very first coat I checked housed the new car’s second set of keys! Can you believe it? Talk about eating crow.


Now I had to decide whether or not to tell him where I found the keys after I so hastily blamed him. I couldn’t refrain from telling him, right? I would feel way too guilty if I didn’t. So I told him and he gave me a look but didn’t say a word. What a nice guy. I think if I had been in that position, I would have capitalized on it.


Moral to the story: Never act like you are perfect, you will end up eating a big piece of humble pie while wiping egg off your face.






Come on Mother Nature, work with me

Every time I hear there is going to be a thunderstorm, I cringe. Why? Well, because it turns into major drama at our house between the dog freaking out and the sump pump misbehaving.

A little over a year ago, when I was very pregnant, we had a huge storm, our power went out and therefore the sump pump went out. And the kicker? We had a carpet guy laying carpet in our rec room in the basement at the exact time this was happening. Yes, it was wonderful. The sump pump overflowed and ruined some of the padding but luckily my husband and the carpet guy were able to bail water out of the crock for hours and saved the rest of the new rec room. Whew.

Now we are a bit more prepared. We have an electric generator which will kick in if the power goes out and stronger sump pumps. Great, that means we can relax knowing we won’t go through that again. Not so fast.

The other night, we had another torrential downpour and thunderstorm. I woke up because the dog was nervously panting and pacing. I got up and pulled her into bed to try and soothe her. But then I started to get nervous myself because I could hear how crazy the weather was outside. Just to be on the safe side I thought I would check on the sump pump. Normally my husband would do a check on this but he wasn’t home. So, I made my way down the stairway half asleep. As I got closer and closer, I got more and more nervous; I just had a bad feeling. I looked in the crock and couldn’t even hear the sump pumps running (and we have 2 in there). The water was coming in so fast, it surpassed the top of them and they weren’t keeping up. My stomach hurt so bad. And to make matters worse, I was experiencing what the doctor thinks are kidney stones. Perfect timing! Keep it up stones, you are about to put me over the edge. I started to panic, big time. If the water went over the top of the crock, the basement carpet would be ruined (as well as whatever else was on the floor – lots of things). We have insurance but who wants the pain of re-doing the entire basement?

I paced and paced as the dog followed. That dog. She may get on my nerves sometimes but she is the best. It was just comforting knowing my little buddy was there for me even when she was anxiety ridden.

Then, all I could think of was, if my 1-year-old daughter gets up, I have to tend to her first. If she starts crying I know she is most likely ok but I would have to check on her especially since she was teething and so uncomfortable. She is my top priority. Please, please don’t wake up.

So I called my husband at work (yes in the middle of the night). I didn’t get through to him at first so I left a message. Luckily he called back within 5 minutes. Panic stricken, I told him the sump pump was about 4 inches from overflowing and I was standing there like a dummy, not doing anything.

He was of course all nervous and said to bail as much as I could and he would be home in 30 minutes. I had also called my in-laws and they were on their way over to help me. Thank God. Luckily, my daughter continued to sleep like a good little angel. Another whew.

It gets better. My husband got on the road to come home and guess what? He started to hydroplane and the car just completely shut down. Nice. Luckily he was ok and didn’t get into an accident.

Long story short, because my in-laws came (thanks again Kathy if you are reading this) and helped empty buckets after I filled them, the water situation got under control. The sump pump never overflowed. Our car survived in the end but needed some work and my daughter never woke up!

But that was enough stress. I ended up with about 3 hours of sleep that night (yes I counted). 

Moral of the story: Don’t live at the bottom of a hill. You’ll end up being the entire neighborhood’s water drainage system.