Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day Twelve: Too Much Affection?

When is it too much? When is the affection your child gets from someone that isn't a blood relative stepping over the line and how do you deal with it?

I work in an office that is extremely "family friendly." I think that much of this is due to the fact that our organization deals primarily with families and with children who suffer a specific type of disability -- a disability common in most of the families that make up our staff. This family focused environment is a big part of the reason I am able to work from home for half the week and it is also the reason why there is usually a child of a coworker in our office several times a week, for one reason or another.

With my own work schedule being what it is, especially during this two weeks without Denver Mom, Chunk has also spent some time in the office, running around, peeking in on people in their offices, and generally charming everyone within range of his batting eyes and quick smile. It has worked wonders, because he has brightened a lot of days and made a lot of friends, but one particular coworker has gotten a little weird with him. No, not weird in a Michael Jackson way, just overly affectionate. There are demands for kisses, plenty of hugs, and enough "goo-goo" talk to give you cavities.

Chunk is an affectionate kid, but only to a select few people and only at a select few times. At best, he tolerates the attention. He does that "smile and stiffen" thing that we all tend to do when we're uncomfortable, but playing along to be nice. It seems pretty obvious, at least to me, but she just doesn't get it.

So, where is the line? Where is the border drawn between a friendly show of kindness and an invasion of personal space? Am I teaching Chunk a valuable lesson about people by letting this go on or am I failing my son by not coming to his aid when he needs me?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day Eight

I love my son. He wears me out, but I love my son.

Actually, it's not so much my son that wears me out, but the dangerous combination of having no sensible supervision (i.e. Denver Mom) and a son that seems completely incapable of sleeping past 4:30 a.m.

Last night, for some reason that still doesn't make much sense in the clear, warm light of day, I decided to stay up until twelve o'clock watching "Nashville." Now, I know a lot of people who consider twelve a perfectly reasonable time to crawl into bed. Once, when I was younger and childless, I also felt that twelve was a workable bed time, but now that I'm old, rapidly graying, and have a nineteen month old boy, twelve may as well be an "all-nighter" or "next Friday" or "to Pluto and back, backwards." If my fingers are to be believed, I count only four hours of sleep, maybe five depending on when I really did doze off, and it's just not enough when your day consists of running after a cackling child.

Running after a cackling child? Yes. That's what I did all day. One of my wife's coworkers invited Chunk and I to join her, her goofy husband who is about as nerdy as I am, and their charming daughter for a walk through the Cherry Creek Farmer's Market. Why was I invited? Well, Denver Mom set up a network of women from her office who's job it is to check up on me while she's gone and it was this particular coworker's turn in the barrel... er... time to call me. Regardless of the reasons, it was nice to get out, talk to some adults a bit, and watch Chunk play with their little girl.

The Farmer's Market was actually kind of disappointing. I don't know why, but I have this unrealistic expectation for these things. I always imagine huge baskets filled with food so good and healthy that it practically glows with goodness, manned by old farmers in overalls, and I'm always disappointed when I find yuppies in Banana Republic clothes, sitting in booths with everything stamped "organic," and none of it looking all that appetizing.

Thankfully, the disappointing meander through the Farmer's Market quickly became a trip to City Park. And, what was in City Park that was so exciting? It was the twenty or so water jets that are hidden behind the Museum of Nature and Science, shooting cold water six feet into the air at random intervals. The best part? The tiled area where this is all set up is so kid friendly that the stone they used is textured enough that even a nineteen month old can run on it, water shooting everywhere, and not slip and fall. Even better? The big kid that knocked Chunk over while they were running and giggling through the water jets not only stopped to make sure my little guy was okay, but he also apologized.

We had a blast. Then, after a nap that was entirely too short, went to a BBQ at a friend's house, where Chunk was the life of the party, the guests were all really nice, and there was cheese dip.

Frankly, I'm worried that I might have hit my head sometime today and just don't remember it. When your day is this good, you immediately have to suspect a head injury.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sesame Street, As Directed By Luc Besson

Natalie Portman is filling in for Alan at the store on Sesame Street. Although I find the way she's flirting with the bear both amusing and slightly creepy, I can't help but think this is all a clip that was originally cut from "The Professional." Natalie "cleans" Sesame Street! Mathilda tosses a grenade down Oscar's trash can, feeds Cookie Monster a cookie full of lead, and plays "Journey to Ernie" with a sniper rifle!

Okay... it's official. It's WAY too hot in Denver today. I think I need to lay down for a while.

Day Six... We're Still Here

Denver Mom continues to have a good time in France. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. The last time I talked to her, she seemed to be having a great time, practically bubbling over with her discoveries, both big and small. She seems to be having every bit of the trip of a lifetime I had hoped she would have.

Chunk and I? We're doing okay. We haven't had as much time as I thought we would. Although my intention was to take some time off and just spend it goofing off with my son, I've been putting in eight hours days all week to make sure I get everything off my desk in a timely manner.

We did manage to make it to the Apex Center for swimming on Tuesday. We went early in the morning, as we usually do, because it's a better fit for Chunk and his particular personality quirks.

He's an odd kid. He's not really afraid of anything, as a matter of fact, he's completely fearless, but he is a little shy, especially around other kids. In a public place like the swimming pool, he'll just hover around a parent and watch the other kids, rather than jump in the water and have fun himself. So, if we go early in the morning, we usually get the pool to ourselves and he gains a little confidence. And, as an added bonus, the water is usually a little warmer for the senior water aerobics class that starts at 7:00.

Did I mention fearless? He's fearless. He has no problem leaping off the side of the pool and into the water. He charges for the deep end of the pool, not once considering that the water might be too deep for him. He demands to be "put down" even when the water is deep enough to come up to his dad's armpits.

So, the question is, when do we develop fear? When do we suddenly find ourselves afraid of what could happen once we spring from the diving board? When do we suddenly start dreading trips abroad or weeks alone with our children, too consumed with the "what ifs" to rev ourselves up to enjoy it, the anticipation of it?

I wasn't afraid of these weeks alone with Chunk, but I know that I wasn't looking forward to them either. I depend on Denver Mom a lot. She depends on me. And, frankly, a lot of things become more difficult when you're alone with a child. Doing the dishes takes more effort. Making the bed. Getting dinner ready. It all takes just a little bit more, because your attention is divided, your "third eye" constantly searching for dangers and potential dangers, while you're trying to tackle your task.

But, the thing is, it hasn't been bad. Even when Chunk has been at his worst, cranky after a night of tossing and turning, it's all been surprisingly manageable. Like the diving board, once you're airborne you just have to toss caution aside and enjoy it. There's not much you can do about it anyway, so why worry?

I'm hoping that after the meeting I have in the office in an hour, I can stop working so much and get to the goofing off that Chunk and I had planned for this week. Tomorrow... maybe we'll hit the Children's Museum or the Aquarium.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day Three

Mondays are never easy. They never have been. It's the only day that all of us are in the "office," with both Denver Mom and I going to work, and Chunk getting dropped off at day care.

When we first started taking him to day care, we thought we were very clever in putting together this particular schedule. Mondays he would get the socialization benefits of being in day care and the rest of the week he'd be home with either mom or dad, spoiling him with attention. It made things much more affordable and we thought we were getting the best of both worlds, but we didn't anticipate the separation freak out whenever we drop him off.

When he was a baby, he didn't care. We could sneak away without so much as a glance up from whatever toy he found. As he's gotten older, he's started clinging more, crying more, desperate for us not to leave him. When we go to pick him up, it starts all over again, with big, fat tears and strong, needy hugs.

The part that makes it so hard is that he has a good time when he's there. Occasionally I can sneak in while he's playing and watch him having a good time. He's no different than when he's at home, every bit as busy, every bit as engaged in whatever task he has set for himself. But, when he sees me, the dam breaks and the tears come fast and hot. With Denver Mom gone, he was especially desperate not to be left at day care this morning. And, given his fragile state, I felt especially bad about abandoning him.

Speaking of fragile, we had a minor emergency last night, that basically boils down to his father being almost criminally stupid. My little guy got a little too hot and not enough fluids, which resulted in some vomiting. The on-call nurse at Children's Hospital thought it was a virus that has been going around, instead of a little heat exhaustion, but the result was the same.

The great thing about a child's vomit is that it’s a great communicator. With Chunk, it comes fast and often, just to drive the point home.

For example, we had a few terrible, wildly arcing "sessions" last night. Kicking and cursing myself for being so stupid (I didn't realize the pulp in his juice had clogged his sippy cup holes), I cleaned him and the carpet up, then after I was sure we were out of the worst of it, ran to the store to get him some Pedialyte.

I don't know about you, but I find the Pedialyte section of the store a little nerve-wracking. There are a hundred different flavors, various ways to give it to him (liquid, popsicles, etc), and then there's the issue of official Pedialyte versus the cheaper store brand. While I was standing there, studying the different paths towards hydration and trying to figure out what we should get, I was holding Chunk in my arms. He had his little arms wrapped around my neck and then let out a little whimper.

"Are you okay, buddy?" I asked.

He nodded, but wore an expression that told otherwise.

"It's okay, buddy, we're going home right after this."

Then, it came. A torrent of juice-colored vomit, like some horrific geyser of warm, frothy gross. Since I was holding my young son to me, trying to keep him comforted and happy, there was only one place for the vomit to go and that was on me. Hadn't we already done this vomiting thing? Where the heck did all of this liquid come from?

So, not knowing what else to do, I grabbed a bottle of Pedialyte and wandered over to the check-out counter, covered in toddler ooze.

Chunk was on the verge of tears.

"It's okay, buddy, it's daddy's fault. You're fine. You don't have to feel bad."

That seemed to cheer him up. He liked being able to vomit on his father and have his father feel bad about it.

There was a long line at the express check-out and no one in line with me seemed to care or notice that I was covered in vomit. I was wearing a white t-shirt that was now pink and frothy, so it's not like it was subtle. Chunk was blubbering a little. That should have been a clue that something was up, but it was business as usual as far as everyone else was concerned.

The good news is that he's back to normal. We had several drinks of water throughout the night and some much needed sleep, and now he's back to his typical, happy self. The Pedialyte I bought? He refused to drink it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day Two

At 4:30 this morning when Chunk started to whine and moan in his crib, I rolled over thinking, "It's her turn. I was up with him at 10:30." That's the undeniable luxury of being one of two parents. I've been a "single parent" for one day, and although it hasn't been bad, I just don't know how other people do it full time.

Chunk is doing really well, so far. At the 10:30 waking I mentioned, he insisted I let him out of his crib, then ran around calling, "Momma?" searching for her in the dark. Just as I had done several other times yesterday, I explained she was far away, but that she misses him, loves him, and can't wait to come home to see him. As smart as our little guy is, I think some of those concepts are still a little bit beyond him, especially when he's already on the verge of tears. All he really knows is that for the first time, momma is gone.

His fever broken and his fighting spirit returned, we decided to go to the bird sanctuary out in Wheat Ridge this morning and walk around the lake.

It's a neat little park, but it's strange. Depending on the angle of your head, where your eyes are pointed, you could almost believe that you're out in nature, miles away from traffic, Starbucks, and 7-11, but if you move your head just an inch or shift your eyes a bit to the right, there it all is, just as you remembered. The entire bird sanctuary is surrounded by road, so you literally have nature on one side of the street and sprawl on the other.

Chunk had a blast. When I have a little free time from work, we like to get out in the morning and walk at various places. The great thing about most of the places we end up is that the other people there sincerely like being out. Like us, it's how they like to start their day. So, everyone is very friendly and happy and appreciative of the enthusiastic waves that Chunk provides to everyone we pass.

Denver Mom called this morning at 5:30 and she made it across the Atlantic just fine. She was calling from her hotel in Paris and finally sounded really excited to be there. I'm glad she decided to go. On the express bus one night (my mobile group therapy), I was asked if I wished Chunk and I could go and meet her for the last half of her trip, but the truth is, this is her time. Yes, I'd love to be in France with her, but it would defeat the entire reason for her going.

One thing I found kind of funny... people always make such a big deal about the light in Paris. It's supposed to be this magical, clean, even sparkling light that brightens everything without being harsh or glaring. Watch any film with a painter in it and they'll probably talk about how they have to get to Paris because of the amazing light (it's in the "generic screenplay dictionary" for painter, apparently). Denver Mom says it looks just like Colorado.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Day One

We dropped off Denver Mom at the airport without much turmoil. Was there any crying? Yes. Both Denver Mom and Chunk shed a few tears. I merely got dust in my eye, which should explain the redness and irritation.

I suspect that this is going to be easier than I originally thought. I've been bracing myself for the worst, for crying fits and frustration and sorrowful cries for a momma that is thousands of miles away. And, every one of those things and more will probably happen, but Chunk and I make a good team, so I'm starting to think we'll get through this just fine. What's bothering me is that Denver Mom is gone.

See... I didn't just marry Denver Mom because I think she's smart, talented, and because she gets more and more attractive every day I've known her. I married her because I genuinely enjoy spending time with her. I married her because she's the first person I want to tell my stories to and the last person I want to see at night. I married her because she's my best friend.

She's coming back. I know I'm making this sound melodramatic and a little bit corny, but it'll be lonely without her for the next couple of weeks. Neither one of has to travel much for work and the few solo vacations we've taken (me to visit family in the midwest, her to go hiking in Wyoming) have been short trips, little more than extended weekends. It's only been a few hours and I miss being able to talk to her. I helps having a new best buddy, even if he can't debate modern art with me.

Thank you for all of the great suggestions you provided several weeks ago when I first talked about this trip. Chunk and I are hoping to be able to do everything mentioned and more, but Chunk was up all night with a fever, so we'll be taking it easy today and making sure that everyone gets caught up on sleep.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Better Dadding: Just Show Up

Several weeks ago, I was riding the express bus home from work, and as is typical, was chatting with some of the regulars about the general sorts of chit-chat you usually exchange on the bus. Chunk is a favorite subject of conversation, likely because I usually have a picture or two to show off, and one of my fellow bus riders turned towards me and asked, wrinkling up her face, "Denver Mom isn't still going to France, is she?"

It seemed pretty clear to me that what she was really asking was, "Your wife isn't so heartless that she'd leave your innocent, sweet son with... with... with... YOU for two whole weeks, is she?

I know it's a generational thing and I shouldn't take it personally. And, I know that this particular lady is a bit weird. After all, when I bumped into her at Blockbuster last year, she accused me of getting a "naughty movie" when she saw I was trying to buy a copy of "The House of Flying Daggers." Yes, because it makes perfect sense that I would shop for porn at Blockbuster Video. Buying porn is just one of those many bonding moments a father and six month old boy can share.

Mom-101 had a post a little while back about how, yes, even a dad can be a responsible, attentive parent. It was a shocking revelation and the comments ranged from disbelief to jealousy of Mom-101 and her trained chimp of a husband. "Ho ho ho, boy, men sure are dumb!" was the tone of many of the posts.

Why is that? Why are men considered so helpless and stupid? And, why is it even acceptable to make these kinds of comments? If I put up a post that said women were unreliable and clueless, I'd be chased around the internet by angry villagers with pitchforks and torches. Yet, it's okay and even funny to point out how dumb men are, especially as parents.

Whether this attitude about men is fair or not, it exists. So, my advice this week about how to be a better dad, is just to show up. You don't have to know everything, standing proudly over your adoring children with your teeth gleaming in the sunlight, cape flapping dramatically behind you, but you do have to be involved. That's really all it takes. Show up. Be there. Don't allow this stereotype to torpedo your role as a dad. For all dads, be involved and change this stupid mindset that men are automatically idiots in the parenting department.

A bit of clarification: I just want to state that I don't believe Mom-101 was saying that men are stupid. I think she was, with tongue placed firmly in cheek, making fun of the sitcom dad stereotype and his inability to do anything without help.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Media Time For Youngins

A remote control for a toddler?

A cell phone just for junior?

Are they serious?

On the one hand, I'm encouraged by these sorts of gadgets. I genuinely think the idea of a dedicated "kid" cell phone that has easy to use and understand buttons, with mom and dad on speed dial, is a good thing. Our television and remote control setup is so complicated that even I can't work it on some days, so having something simple with a button that automatically switches to "PBS Kids" is a great idea. At the moment, Chunk is too young for gadgets like these, but what about one year from now? Two years? Should a child of the 21st century have a cell phone and his own remote?

We limit Chunk to one hour of "media time" a day and I suspect even that is too much. That includes time in front of the TV or sitting at the computer playing with his "Dr. Seuss's ABC" program. I'll admit, there are days when I'm facing a pretty strict deadline at work that his media hour sometimes stretches to an hour and a half or two hours, but we also go a lot of days without any media time at all, just fresh air, some errand running, and plenty of games of "hide and go boo."

According to some recent reports I've read, we've already destroyed Chunk's brain with this minimal exposure and he'll be a drooling idiot by the time he's ten years old (sort of like his dad), but I believe in moderation. A little Elmo or Baby Einstein won't kill him. He thinks Elmo is hilarious and loves Thomas the Train Engine with a passion usually only reserved for first crushes and sports teams, so a little goes a long way with him. Yes, sometimes he grabs my hand, drags me to the television and signs for "more," a somewhat creepy display of how much he enjoys the television, but he is easy to redirect.

But, what happens when he can turn on the television himself? What happens when, with the push of a button, he has instant access to the shows he wants to watch? What happens when parenting gets replaced by an intelligent remote control, designed to respond to toddler needs and clumsy fingers?

Again, I think these kinds of devices are neat. I don't think there is anything wrong with modifying our world to make it friendly for smaller hands and less proficient technical skills. I'm just concerned about that new ease of use taking parents out of the process. Supervision and good decision making are the keys to good parenting. That's true of everything, but when something like a remote control gives your child the power to make decisions that aren't good for them, before they're old enough to really understand more than just the want/get cycle, suddenly the dynamics of a situation change. Suddenly, parents are taking television away from a toddler, rather than just directing them to a different task before the "idiot box" is on and streaming colored, flashing goodness into your child's brain. It's subtle, certainly, but at certain ages, the difference between giving your child something and taking something away are massive.

So, what do you think about television and toddlers? No television at all? Some? Enough that the TV is called "Uncle Boob Tube" in your house?

As an aside, I noticed that Weemote has a "senior" model for senior citizens. They tout the Sr. as being "Ideal for users with memory problems or vision impairments." I can also see how it might be useful for people with arthritis, depending on the size of the buttons. Again, a really cool idea, but the less my dad wanders in to watch TV, the better.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Special Weekend Update: Chunk Likes Rocky Road

Sometimes, even when you know better, you have to do the wrong thing with your child. Things like... oh, I don't know... sharing your rocky road ice cream with your nineteen month old son, just minutes before his bed time.

Does my nineteen month old son like chocolate ice cream with marshmallows and almonds? Well, he likes the ice cream part just fine. The almonds go down easily, thanks to swimming in cool, gooey ice cream. The marshmallows? He makes a face like I'm actually slipping him turpentine and fishes them out of his mouth, dropping them into my hand. Ahh... yes... our new game. If he doesn't like it, it goes in my hand. We could be at the table, with a whole flat span of space before him where he could put whatever horror I've inflicted on him, but somehow it's always better if its in daddy's hand.

What follows the ice cream is screaming. Lots and lots of screaming. Screaming for more ice cream. Screaming momma's hand. Screaming because he doesn't want help with his toothbrush. Screaming for the sake of screaming.

I'm starting another cluster headache, so each shriek vibrates through my skull like it was punctuated with a rusty hammer, but it's still worth it. Seeing Chunk's face light up with his first taste of chocolate is pretty great, no matter what the price.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Better Dadding: Finding Balance

My first post on the Denver Dad blog was about my struggle to find balance between the demands of work and the demands of family. In many ways, I think that this balance of time and attention is even more difficult because I work from home and the trade between "work" and "home" time is so fuzzy and immediate.

I still don't have answers for that particular puzzle. It's something I struggle with every day. Clearly, I'm not working when I step away from the computer to change a diaper. But, what about when I take a minute to talk to my son, to give him a hug when he toddles over for one. What about when I change a diaper while trying to work through a particular phrasing issue I'm having with a grant proposal? When is something work and something personal? But, my post today isn't about that particular balance. Today, we're going to talk about a balance that I think might be even more elusive... the balance between being a good dad and being an individual.

When was the last time you went to the bookstore? Just you? No diaper bag over your shoulder, no stroller to push between the aisles, no little hands pulling on your ears or pointing at books nearby, announcing "lello!"

Or, if the bookstore isn't your thing, when was the last time you went to the movies? When was the last time you watched a baseball game, from start to finish, wearing your favorite team jersey? When was the last time you put the smack-down on your rivals in an online computer game? Or, more to the point, when was the last time you indulged in your hobbies, really indulged?

I'm not saying the two are unconnected. I think there is a lot of overlap between being a good dad and a well-rounded, happy individual, but I also think that because the demands of being a dad outweigh the demands of... say... being able to shoot par on hole 4, golf typically loses out when you're strapped for time. The issue is, as focused as good dads are on their children, we do have to take time for ourselves.

I take a lot of joy from my time with Chunk. He's a great kid and we genuinely enjoy hanging out together, but as he's gotten a little older, I've gotten a little more time, here and there, that I could fill with my own interests. And, you know what I found? Those first few times when Denver Mom took him shopping without me, I had no idea what to do with myself. I was clueless about what I should do to fill my time. And, while that probably gave me extra points in the "dedicated dad" tournament, it didn't do me much good in the "happy person" department.

So, please, take some time for yourself. Don't forget that before you became a dad, you used to read, take guitar lessons, play pick-up games with the guys, whatever. Whatever it was that you did, make sure you still take some time to do it. Don't go overboard. I'm not giving you permission to give up being a dad to pursue your dream of racing in the Tour de France, but you should take some time for you. You need to find a balance.

It'll make you a happier person. And, happier people are inevitably better parents.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It Takes a Village

It's becoming more and more clear to me that the whole "it takes a village" thing isn't utter crap. Remember the village metaphors that were so big in the 90s? I don't recall the precise quote, but it went something like: "It takes a whole village of idiots to make sure your child is miserable and maladjusted, just like the rest of us." It's so heartwarming and so true, all at the same time!

Before Denver Mom and I had Chunk, I always assumed the quote ("It takes a village to raise a child") was a gentle nudge for the village to step up and get involved. It was a reminder to the village that it takes more than just parents to raise a child, and that everyone, at varying levels, should be responsible for the guidance and protection a child needs as they grow. Now that we have Chunk, I'm seeing the saying as more of a threat. It's not a reminder for the village, it's a warning for the parents.

We had a recent snafu with some babysitting. The situation, like so many others, was born of good intentions, but resulted in our nineteen month old boy not getting much nap time under his belt, when he desperately needed some sleep. The next day, Chunk went off to day care, where the "sleep" written on his daily report is actually just time spent on his mat, and so, our poor son went two days without a nap. Different kids respond differently to these kinds of situations, but in Chunk's case, he responded a lot like Mount St. Helens after a bad day at the DMV.

As parents, we try. We clearly outlined our expectations to the person watching Chunk on Sunday. We have had numerous conversations with the day care about how concerned we are about Chunk not getting any sleep while he's there. And yet, what seems like a simple thing gets trampled under the weight of other concerns, desires, and realities, none of which have anything to do with our son's wellbeing.

The fallout was terrible. Even after getting a decent nap yesterday afternoon, Chunk was out of control most of the day, bordering on tears and tantrums the entire time. Despite many threats of bodily harm, whispered when Chunk was out of earshot, Denver Mom and I were understanding and supportive, doing what we could to comfort him. Then, obviously not learning our lesson, decided that the best thing to do with a cranky, sleep-deprived child was to take him to a family barbecue, keeping him out way past his usual bedtime.

Yeah. I don't know what we were thinking either.

Considering his mood the entire day and his lack of rest, Chunk did great and was having a good time showing off for the assorted adults who found his every garbled word and spastic gesture completely enthralling. He was transformed, from the cranky kid who cried at us all day, to a graceful, charming social butterfly and life of the party.

I was on the patio, sitting next to my wife, while Chunk was in the other room with some family. Clearly, fate stepped in, because I somehow overheard one of our family members explaining to Chunk that he'd be filling up on strawberries in no time. Chunk is allergic to strawberries, to the point that if he gets strawberry juice on his skin, it swells up in large, blotchy pink sores.

So, I leapt from my chair and rushed into the other room, shouting like an idiot the entire way. We were lucky. None of them had made it into his mouth.

These are people we know and trust. These are people that, whether due to interest or payment, want what is best for our son, and yet the level of risk for him feels so overwhelming. Missing a couple of naps is hard on him and hard on us. Eating a food that makes him sick is dangerous and potentially catastrophic.

It takes a village. It takes a village to endanger your child's health and happiness.

Every parent has faced this and survived. Most children survive it too. I know that we will get through it, but I can't shake the feeling that I can't leave my son with anyone. It's a strange sensation, especially considering that he's been in day care for well over a year now, but there it is.