Thursday, June 1, 2017

Work Backwards.

I always start with the worst-case scenario.  I develop a plan on how to manage through my worst case.  Right, wrong or indifferent -- I start there as a coping mechanism … because if I can figure out how to handle the worst case, then I can manage anything between here ----- and there.

For about an hour today, I thought my baby had leukemia.  That was my worst case.

Last night, Matt mentioned to me that Beau had a lot of bruises on him.  Like, more than normal for Beauzilla?  Yeah.  More than normal…and they were oddly placed.

When we got up this morning – more bruises…groin area, back of the arm, back, stomach, waist/side region.  ODD places.  I immediately didn’t feel right.  Beau was acting fine, but not looking the part so I banked on our parental intuition -- and called the pediatrician and got an appointment this morning. 

By the time we arrived at the pediatrician's office, more bruises had formed...

As soon as the doctor saw his markings, she went from her usual jovial kid doctor self …. To a very serious, stern and focused medical professional with very specific instructions:  “Go to the emergency room right now.  I’ve called ahead.  They are expecting you.  You need blood work as he appears to have some sort of platelet issue that can be anything from ITP to Leukemia. Now, because he has no other symptoms -- it’s probably ITP and treatable, but we must run tests to be sure.”

I only heard about 4 words of that entire statement…. 
emergency room right now” 



By the time I had my wits about me, Jack was already in tears…. “worried about Beau.”  So with that – I reminded myself that it does a baby good to know that others can soothe him and love him. It will always take a village to raise a child – better to start sooner rather than later.  I called my VERY sweet neighbor who took Jack off our hands…and they hand a grand little day together running some errands, having lunch and playing the pool.

Also?  I'm thinking to myself -- Reschedule the entire day.  Email all the people you were meeting with throughout the day.  Email your client.  Email everyone that you're kind of off the grid for a hot minute.  THANK GOD for the amazing people that I work with every day...Accenture and DTE, for giving me just a moment of space to deal with this thing that was invading my personal space.

When we arrived at the ER – they were expecting us…and had urgency that only increased my anxiety.  Another bruise had formed on Beau's face...and now one on his looked horrible and painful.  We got into a room and the dr. came in almost immediately…  She explained to us how the blood works.  We’ve got red blood cells and white blood cells.  And we have platelets that help us heal and clot the blood.  The white blood cells create antibodies to fight off viruses. 

They need to draw the blood to look at all three – red, white, platelets.  She said it again – “this can be anything from a thing called ITP …. To leukemia, but I need to see the blood to be sure.”

All I heard was leukemia.  So I started there…I hit the internet with research on types of illnesses, treatments, special centers …. Correlating them to current and future clients to make sure I could continue to work to support the treatments but be near to be with him.  I started to do the math…and figured out what we could cut back on to make ends meet.  I researched what my insurance would pay for…all of that while I waited for the nurse to come in to draw the blood.

Then – they DREW THE BLOOD and for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, I cried more than Beau did.  But he cried BIIIIIG alligator tears….and I tried to give him his binky…and he gave it back to me.  I almost took a hit off of it.

Then we waited.  They needed one hour.  And for one hour, I planned our life with leukemia treatments.  I found all the best centers, found nearby apartments to all of them, did research on doctors, found all the support groups, mapped flights into each area to correlate costs and budgets... And I know that must seem WILD to you, but that’s how I work.  I accept the worst case – and work backwards from there….because I need to be able to handle anything she says when she walks back through that door.

So we played and walked and blew up gloves into COW UTTERS…. And we found all the pictures of the cows on the ER floor….and we mooed…and we watched the ipad and the TV and mommy’s phone and sometimes we tried to work on mommy’s work computer because that looks like fun too.

We waited.


And finally – she came back.  It’s not leukemia.  

Sometimes, those antibodies that the white blood cells are producing to fight viruses are not so smart – and they attack the platelets.  A kid Beau’s size/age needs about 150000 …. He has 1000.  Just 1000. 

The antibodies will continue to attack the platelets while they are trying to fight off whatever virus is inside Beau right now.  This is ITP -- Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura  -- New antibodies are created each time the white blood cells detect a virus to go attack…the next round of antibodies may not attack the platelets.  It’s hard to tell.

We now need to hear from the hematologist.  This poor ER doctor has reached her limit on knowledge of blood disorders – and probably her tolerance of my questions and antics.

The hematologist came in…saw the look on my face and said “I’m going to say this three times so that you know that I’m serious – He does not have leukemia.  He does not have leukemia.  He does not have leukemia.”  The bruises aren't painful, but he's prone to bleeding now because he has no ability to any bad fall or head bump requires an ER visit.  Oh, Jesus take the wheel - for real?!

Ok, I think I’ve got it.  It’s not the worst case scenario…let’s start working backwards now…
Beau is going to be fine – but he’s going to bruise every time the wind blows until this set of antibodies run their course…and move on.  So, we’ll see the hematologist every work to do blood tests…until such time that things change…and then we will change courses, but for now – no treatment other than restricted activity.  No contact sports.  

Hold up – what?

He’s 2.  He already broke his leg TWICE… My whole house is a contact sport.

Lord help us.

Jack understands…he’s ready to take care of his brother.  “I’m his keeper.”  Yes, baby…yes you are … so when he jumps on you to wrestle, you have to resist that urge to Jimmy-Superfly-Snuka him…because he’ll bruise up like a peach and Child Protective Services will be BACK at this house (read here for that story). 

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

We got a doctor’s note.  Just in case.

It's fine.  He's Fine.  We are fine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I Did Not March.

*Disclaimer! This is not a post about my kids/family/husband. These are my views...not Jack's, Beau's or Matt's. Although, I'm pretty sure Beau would give everyone on both sides of this debate the middle finger and ask when the food is arriving*

I know you will attack me on my points. I understand the passion on these topics as some of these impact the very life that we hold dear. I welcome constructive and respectful debate on any of these topics. I welcome that debate in person or via PM. I will not get into a comments war with you as that serves no purpose. I will not tolerate hateful commentary either, so if that’s your intent – go away. You guys marched. I write blogs/commentary to give a voice to the side that doesn't march.

Someone telling me that I can’t do something gets me FIRED UP. This is America, for God’s sake…we should be able to do anything within reason that doesn’t harm another living being. I’m ALL FOR a march and a protest that proves a point and creates positive momentum for change. I love that many of you took your kids to these marches to show them what democracy and our right to assemble is all about. Makes me burst with pride for our Country to see you teaching your kids about our Constitution.

What I’ve learned the most through this political season is that maybe I’m lucky. (Maybe that’s what you guys call “privileged?”) Maybe I’m lucky to have a set of parents that instilled values in me to work for everything that I want. Afterall, if it’s worth having – it’s worth working for. Am I right? (#amirite?)

I don’t believe I was handed anything or provided some amazing opportunity that no one else had. I have a public high school education. I earned scholarships to pay for my public state college education (that so many of you have either seriously or jokingly deemed “poor quality”). After that, I got a job…which is what you’re supposed to do. I worked my way up from being a computer programmer – to being a partner and a leader.

Maybe that’s why I’m so confused about this march. What is it that you folks want that we/you don’t already have?

The world is our oyster!

We can educate ourselves in any school in the world. We can vote, work, own property, own animals, own our own businesses…hell, we even have federally funded special programs and services for minority owned businesses.

We can even marry each other now if we want.

We can be on boards, be CEOs, be inventors and investors…and even the President of the United States if we so choose to subject ourselves to that experience.

…or we can roll around on stages grabbing our private parts and offering sexual favors to Hillary voters.

Like I said, the world is our oyster. Every ounce of our constitution offers that right to every human being – man or woman, regardless of color or sexual orientation.

So what rights do we not have?

Is this about birth control and a woman’s right to choose? I get that to some degree – and I’m also not naïve that everyone feels differently about this issue. This is where I start to be torn because I want women to have the right to choose, but my religious belief on this topic means that I hope that all babies are born unless there’s a traumatic issue at stake (e.g., rape victims). Most states offer victim medical funding for these situations now anyway.  However, I’ll tell you this – I don’t want to pay for your birth control, your abortion for convenience and your food stamps when you have the baby(ies) that you can’t afford. You know what else? If you have time to have sex, then you have time to go to work to pay for your OWN condoms and birth control. Birth control is not the responsibility of the government…just like I don’t think it’s the responsibility of our government to tell you that you can’t have an abortion. Pro-life is my religious belief – but it’s not necessarily my political belief. (see how I get sideways pretty quickly?) So, we’ve elected a pro-life President…so what? The birth control is still readily available to all of us. So, the Planned Parenthood federal funding is drying up…so what?  Maybe Cecile Richards should take a pay cut to pay for everyone’s abortions because that’s the only difference (that everyone is discussing) between a government funded health department and Planned Parenthood.

Am I making sense here?

Let’s talk about this wage gap. We can do and make whatever we want in this Country – and if you’ve lost the art of negotiation, then you probably don’t believe that. I’ve never earned less than a man with the same amount of responsibility as me that is performing to the same level. Trust me on this. I out-earn most men I know…and that’s not by chance, folks. I value my skills and what I bring to the table – and unless you do also, you will continue to be underpaid. That’s on YOU…not our government or any President we’ve ever elected. This has been an issue for many, many, many years and somehow we’ve made Trump the reason for all of this? Stop looking for a hand out or some law to protect you and make a case for yourself and your skills.

Is this thing on?

Let’s discuss your way of marching… You guys put vaginas on your heads and made signs about “p***y roaring.” That’s great. That’s just great, folks. Is this how you’re asking for respect? (Respect that you already had, yet probably lost on Saturday.) Speaking of respect, help me understand how it’s ok for Bill Clinton to be sexually serviced in the Oval Office by an intern…and it’s ok for Madonna to offer HER sexual services to Hillary voters …. AND, it’s ok for Bill Clinton to publicly undress Ivanka with his eyes while standing next to his wife…yet you hold Trump to a different standard for his words that were recorded about grabbing p***y. (God, I hate that word.) And, for those of you shocked by his words – get a grip on reality. Your significant other has said something similar behind closed doors. I guarantee it.

What’s the term you guys use…double standard?

Maybe you’re marching because you don’t like President Trump’s choices for his administration? Like the Secretary of Education? I can see that point. She doesn’t think like you guys, so I understand your disdain…but that’s not what the rest of us hear when you’re wearing vaginas on your head and shouting #NotMyPresident.

Maybe you’re concerned because of what you think President Trump may do to the ACA in terms of caps and pre-existing conditions. I can see that point too, but that’s not what the rest of us hear when you’re wearing vaginas on your head and shouting #NotMyPresident. Some of us are worried about what happens if this current plan continues. What about us?

Maybe you’re concerned about our environment. I can see that point. I am too…but that’s not what the rest of us hear – and trust me, we are trying to listen. And because I’m also concerned, I’m taking a different approach – because no one can HEAR YOU when you’re wearing vaginas on your head and shouting #NotMyPresident.

The march wasn’t about feminism…or wage gaps…or abortions…or “hate speech.” The march was about you being angry that you lost. The march was about creating fear. The march was about accusing Donald Trump of taking something that he has no plans of taking – your rights. (#BlameTrump?) If you don’t know what to tell your daughters about this election – that’s a parenting problem – not a Presidential problem. Teach your daughters to have a thick skin, to think for themselves, to take up for themselves and to have a good grasp on reality. The last thing we need is another generation of victims.

And before you start – Illegal immigrants don’t have the same rights as citizens. That’s the law – and now you’re mad that Trump is going to start enforcing that law because “they are humans too.” I’m not naïve to the fact that you choose to use that language to make it appear that Republicans (including me) don’t care about immigrants as human beings. This is where you are wrong. I’m ALL FOR immigrants in America - - it makes our Country a better place. But if you’re going to live here, drive on these roads, go to these public schools, enjoy these public parks – then you are going to get a VISA, get a green card and/or become a citizen and pay taxes and help our country flourish – just like the rest of us. Because, just like I don’t like paying for everyone else’s healthcare, birth control and food stamps – I also don’t like paying for your livelihood.

None of my statements above mean that I don’t want equality for all women and minority men and our LGBTQ community.  I believe #BlackLivesMatter.  I believe that #LoveWins.  I believe that women and minority men need special programs in order to afford these minority groups the same opportunities of non-minority men. I genuinely love all types of people and walks of life – my career has done a nice job of confirming that for me over the years. I want our government to enable minorities to do whatever makes US happy – just not ALL at my expense.

I can’t with you guys. If you’re mad, say you’re mad…and either shut up or learn how to have a conversation about it all. I’m ready when you are, but allowing someone like Madonna and Ashley Judd to speak for you with their out-of-touch nonsense just makes you look crazy. And no one likes crazy… In fact, these women of Hollywood…who get paid MILLIONS speaking for ANY of us is just plain NUTS.


You will hear directly from me the MOMENT I feel oppressed or like someone is taking a God granted or Constitutional right away from me or my family

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Voted for Trump.

*Disclaimer!   This is not a post about my kids/family/husband.  These are my views...not Jack's, Beau's or Matt's.  Although, I'm pretty sure Beau would give everyone on both sides of this debate the middle finger and ask when the food is arriving*

I'm a college educated, white woman with an impressive corporate career.

I'm the Inclusion and Diversity lead for my business unit at my company.

I voted for Trump.

I held my nose and I voted for Trump.

Seeing this craziness on social media and tradtional media outlets has been astonishing and eye opening.  In fact, one post said that “you” were disgusted by anyone that would vote for him.  Good to know.  My advice to you is to start listening.  You were so busy and so loudly denouncing this man that you thought you knew...and putting this woman on a pedastal made up of false fears....that you stopped listening for the real concerns of the American people.

The truth is...I didn't know I was going to vote for Trump until 2 weeks ago.

I didn’t have signs in my yard.  I wasn’t vocal about it.  I didn’t answer online polls or exit polls.  I didn’t want to lose friends over it…and if I lose a friend now, then we weren’t really friends anyway.

I am the silent majority. 

My parents are the silent majority.

Many of my family members are the silent majority.  (and some, not-so-silent majority)

We were raised to not talk about politics, religion or money…because opinions are strong and sometimes divided.  And we can all be friends on so many other levels than those three topics.

So when you categorize Trump voters as “racists” or “bigots” or “rape supporters” – you’re talking about me.  You’re talking about my family.  Does that really sound right to you?  Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you truly believe I’m one of those types of people?  Do you truly believe in your heart of hearts that I’d vote for someone that I really believed to be a racist/bigot/rapist?

No.  You can’t.  You don’t. 

So, stop.


Stop generalizing.  

Everyone that voted for Trump is not a racist, nor are we "blind" to his shortcomings or the many flaws of the American democracy system.  In that same vein, everyone that voted for Hillary is not a feminist.

While I don’t feel that I owe you an explanation, let me tell you how I got to my conclusion on which one of these VILE human beings to vote for....because if I just reach ONE of you with my words, maybe we can find our common ground and we can move forward.  Maybe we can even remain friends?

I turned off the television and social media news outlets.  

I stopped listening to debates and rallies.

I stopped scrolling through FB and IG…  I only posted pictures of my family, my dinners and my 
rants about airports, college football and the Cubs. 

I did take every single “test” that I could find online…answering 100s of questions about social 
issues, immigration issues, tax issues, etc.

I did read their plans.  I read all 100+ pages of Trump’s plan for America.  (summary version here:

I also read Hillary’s plan.

I did this due diligence because I had to in order to vote my conscience.  

Do I believe that that Trump is an asshole/DB/*insert derogatory term here*?  YES

Do I believe he is inappropriate, insensitive and un-politically correct?  YES

Do I believe he needs polishing?  YES

Do I believe he is going to build a wall?  NO

Do I believe that he’s going to crack down on criminal illegal immigrants and keep our country safer?  YES

Do I believe that he hates women?  NO

Do I believe that he stands for "rape culture?"  NO 

Do I believe that he hates any minority class?  NO, however, see above on his insensitivity.  

Do I condone his inflammatory statements?  NO

Do I believe in or condone the mis-treatment of any minority class? NO 

Do I believe that he’s going to fix some of the things that I think are wrong with this country?  YES

Do I believe in his plan for America?  YES

Do I believe that all of our issues lie with a President? NO

Do I believe that he played on the emotions of right wing extremists?  YES, however, didn’t Hillary do the same?

Do I believe in "voting the party line?" NO

Do I believe that he represents change from typical Washington nonsense?  YES

I voted for CHANGE.  I voted for a non-politician that was going to shake things in a BIG way.

I believe that he says what he says in order to swing the pendulum WAY too far in one direction so that it lands in the middle.  Good leaders do this all the time.  We push our teams (i.e., our Country) to shoot past a target so that we ensure that we hit the target.

My entire life, I've been shamed and mocked for being a Republican.  I've been made fun of for my patriotism and allegiance to this country.  

Let's be clear - I believe in many things you think I do and some that may surprise our right to bear arms (people kill people, not guns), capitalism, racial equality, gender equality, marriage equality, birth control, a woman's right to choose, more money for public schools and welfare.  I just think there's a time and a place for some of those programs.  

For example, my religious beliefs intersect with my "right to choose" belief and I essentially hope that all babies are born unless there are known traumatic issues.  
For example, welfare is broken.  Those who don't deserve it, have it...and those that need it, don't.  
For example, Obamacare is not working.  I mean, what else ya got?  'Cause this ain't it. 

The bottom line is this … When you call an entire MASS of people “deplorable,” when you undermine their well-being, when you tell them they are dumb/uneducated, when you tell them they are small town and have no “worldly views,”


…..they WILL rise up and make you pay for it.  You should know this, Hillary.  Isn’t that your story?  Isn’t that the story of women and minorities in general?  History has taught you better, hasn’t it? 

You can only call small town Americans “dumb and uneducated” for so long.  To your surprise, they were smart enough to find their way to the polls – just when you thought they wouldn’t….or maybe couldn’t.

If you don't believe me...maybe you'll believe one of your own?  He uses a lot more F bombs than I do (and that's saying a lot)...but I agree with his points.  If you want "us" to believe in "your" way of thinking - talk to "us."  Debate "us." Don't insult "us" because that's not getting any of us any where.

I believe Bernie Sanders said it best today:
“Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids - all while the very rich become much richer.
To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
My parents are not college educated, but that doesn’t make them dumb.  They are small town America.  They are hard workers.  They are gun owners.  They are not racists.  They pay taxes, follow rules, respect authority….and they have a deep love, respect and admiration of our country. That’s how I was raised. 

When Obama won his second term, I was upset…appalled, even, that we’d let something continue that I didn’t believe was getting us anywhere.  My parents were QUICK to remind me…  You respect the position, even if you don’t respect the person.  That’s how I was raised.

And, I don’t need a woman president to tell me that I can shatter glass ceilings…I shatter them every single day without lying, cheating and name calling.  That’s how I was raised.

If you – Hillary – thought for ONE SECOND that these people that you’ve mocked for months (years?) were going to stand by and let you lie, cheat and name call your way back into the White House…. well, I’m guessing you must be feeling that sting today.

Nope.  I’m not a party line voter.  I voted for Obama in his first election.  And NOPE – I’m not a sign waving, rally attending, fanatical follower of Trump.  However,

We ARE the silent majority.  And, we have spoken.

No one is going to tolerate Trump’s flaws …. Or any level of racist/sexist/xenophobic/anti-environment policies.  Republicans nor Democrats.

Now let’s get to work on what we can impact – raise your children to be and encourage your friends to be compassionate, kind, thoughtful and considerate.  Stop teaching hate.  Start listening.  Stop generalizing.  Start tolerating that which you don’t yet understand.  Teach and encourage each other to be respectful of rules, authority, an appropriate way to voice concern and make change thru peaceful protesting.  

And, let me remind you what my parents and SO MANY of my Democratic friends told me when Obama was elected to a second term:  Respect the position, even if you don’t respect the person.

Try to view each other through the most generous lens that you can, because ultimately… 

"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." – Angelou

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Because Life Isn't Always Sunshine and Rainbows.

It’s been a while since I blogged.  Every time I want to blog about a series of funny events in our house…I am reminded about the last blog that I wrote, but didn’t post.

I pride myself in being an open book, so it felt odd to me to post about a series of funny events, when a really not-so-funny event happened to my family…and that was the last blog that I wrote, but didn’t post.

As you may or may not know, when we moved back to St. Pete from NJ, Jack started going to an in home daycare.

Well, in February 2016 – that in home daycare owner called Child Protective Services on Matt and I for child neglect.

Yes.  That’s right.  Child neglect.  These are the people who can remove your child from your home, folks.

This issue boils down to trust.  It takes a long time to earn it and only seconds to lose it.

With me, once it’s gone…it’s gone forever.

Or maybe this boils down to sanity..?  Maybe she’s just insane.  Maybe we are insane for staying as long as we did?  We talked about leaving this daycare 100s of times.  We looked and researched and begged for openings at other places...because while this place was the right place for many kids/families that we knew and loved, it wasn't the right place for us.  There were literally NO other openings in St. Pete. In the end, even if we didn't like the situation, we knew our kids were safe we endured...until it completely fell apart on us in a BIG way.

Either way, I don’t think I’m above many things, but I am ABOVE child neglect and I won’t stand by and allow you to make that sort of allegation against Matt and I. 

Here’s how the story goes:

When Jack arrived at this particular in home daycare when he was 18 months old, I could tell that she didn’t care for Jack much.  Jack wasn’t “hers.”  She told me on more than one occasion that Jack was missing critical skills that “all” 18 month olds had – especially her kids – like holding a spoon or using crayons.

Using crayons?  Let’s come back to that.

I could tell that she treated Jack differently.  She was more excited to see the other kids when they arrived.  She was colder to Matt and I.  I’m not sure why – our money was just as good as everyone else’s. 

I chalked up the offense that I took to being a sensitive new parent.  Even if I had been a parent for 18 months, he was still my first ever 18 month old.

Then Jack turned two.  I think I’ve confessed to you already that this is when all hell broke loose for us.  The year between 2 and 3 was tough in ways I can’t describe.  We were dealing with a bonafide bi-polar terrorist in a toddler sized body.  We struggled with how to discipline him….re-directing, time outs, taking things away, popping him, etc.   Then he developed a hitting issue.  So, we backed off of any popping until he understood the difference between us popping him in the form of discipline and him smacking another kid in the face.  The difference is subtle, I know.

She struggled with Jack too in that year.  She told me he needed Ritalin because he was so energetic.  It was an issue a day for us … Every day when I’d pick up Jack.  He accidently slammed another little boy’s fingers in a chest.  She took care of the little boy (who wasn’t injured, but very rightfully upset).  She described this to me in such a way that you would think Jack was a complete monster child.  She didn’t even bother to console Jack who had no idea what occurred.  She told me that Jack had no empathy and that empathy wasn’t something you could teach… that you either had it or you didn’t.  This made her worry about Jack as a human being.  She even called him demonic.
Imagine how this made me feel about my sweet, cautious, loving Jack…

One day, when I arrived – Jack came running to me and yelling that she hit him.  She immediately confessed that she did pop him and it was out of anger because she couldn’t get his attention.  She apologized.  Jack was crying.  I was pissed off.  We left. 

Let’s come back to that.

She then told me that “everyone here talks about how you don’t discipline Jack.”  I thought “oh really?  I didn’t know my kid’s issues were everyone else’s concerns.”  I mean, Matt and I don’t discuss the children who are biting everyone….or the kid that pushes other kids.  We trusted that those parents were working with her on those specific issues.  It was none of our business. 
My mom and mother in law helped me to figure out that if Jack (my sweet busy body baby boy) had a task or something to do outside, that he was well behaved and slept better.  That’s just who he was (and still is).

I begged the day care owner to let him go outside during the day.  She would tell me that it was too hot or too cold or too windy or there were too many bugs or that the babies wouldn’t have anywhere to sit/lay. 

Let’s come back to that too.

She had me convinced that he was some sort of demon child….and that we were bad parents because 
Jack wouldn’t sit and do art/color with crayons.  (CRAYONS?)  She went so far as to say that Jack would hurt baby Beau when he arrived.  She told us that Jack had no regard for anyone else.

You think?  HE’S TWO.

Needless to say, this caused more than one bad interaction between me/her or Matt/her. 

Fast forward….Beau has arrived and is now in daycare with Jack. (January 2015 – August 2015)
She wouldn’t help us get Jack potty trained claiming that she didn’t have time/capacity to deal with what was needed.  We were trying to get him potty trained to go to preschool in August 2015.  I remember sending him in a pull up just to give him a way to get his pants down….and he’d come home in a diaper and embarrassed.  Again, I chalked this up to me being a new parent trying to (unsuccessfully) potty train my child while he was in daycare. 

Some days, I would arrive to pick them up….and she’d be nowhere to be found – but all the kids would be staring at me through the locked glass door…Jack in a diaper, again. 

Most days, there was an issue with Jack…but Beau…oh, Beau was her baby.  She loved him.  I couldn’t blame her.

Beau got bitten a lot by another little boy that was about a year older than him.  We didn’t think much of it because, well, all kids have something going on…this kid bites.  Our kids hit/push/wrestle.

It happened a lot, though. Let’s come back to that, too….I won’t leave you hanging….I promise.

A few days later, a friend’s older kids were at the daycare when Matt picked up Beau.  Matt spoke to them “heeeyyy, long time no see, what are you guys doing here?”

She jumped all over Matt that he couldn’t ask them any questions … and that she wasn’t watching them, but they were “just visiting.”  Matt joked with her that he wasn’t going to turn her in for her provide-to-child ratio being off.  She didn’t like that either and threatened to force us to find another daycare.

A couple of Fridays after that, as I’m getting Beau undressed for his bath….I notice a bite mark on his arm.  I noted to Matt that he needs to tell her when he drops off Beau on the following Monday.  Given that Beau now has three bite marks that have bruised over….I feel like a tiny bit more supervision is needed on the biter. 

So, Matt makes that request.  Her response:  “Well, the biter is probably just retaliating against Beau because Beau is a bully.”

Pardon me?

Did you say a 17 month old baby is a BULLY?  ….a bully to the 2.5 year old? 

Then she corrects herself and says that those aren’t bite marks and that they are bruises from rough play at home.


So, Matt – who’s a better person than me – lets it go.

The following Wednesday rolls around….and she has a liability waiver that she wants Matt to sign.  It contains a hand written narrative about how Beau’s bruises weren’t from her care and that they were from “unsupervised rough play at home with his older brother.”

OK.  WAIT.  WHAT?!  Nope.  Not signing that.

Two hours later….Matt gets a knock at our door.  It’s the Pinellas County Sherrif’s Dept with Child Protective Services to investigate “Beau Schneider’s neglect.”

I happened to be on an airplane on the way home….and that turned out to be a good thing, because I may have let my crazy out for good.

The (very nice) investigator did her job… She interviewed Matt.  (Do you do drugs?  Were you neglected as a child? Do you hit your children? Etc.)

She interviewed Jack…and it fucking breaks my heart to tell you the kinds of questions that she asked him.  Who lives here with you?  Is Mommy gone sometimes? (“yeah, she flies the plane to Detroit sometimes”) Do mommy or daddy hit you? (“no”) Do mommy/daddy tell you that they love you? (“yes”)  Did you like going to daycare where Beau goes to daycare? (“no”) Do you play rough with Beau (“we wrestle”) Do you know how Beau got the bruises on him (“probably at daycare”)
She did a full body examination of Beau…after seeing his ONE bruise, her response was “that’s it?”

Keep in mind…this woman has seen the scum of the Earth…you know like people who put their cigarettes out on their kids or lock them in closets for days with no food.

But, she’s investigating us now.

Thanks to this daycare owner that simply didn’t like my husband and my oldest son and the fact that I traveled for my job.

The investigator does a walk thru of our home.  We explain why Jack has two twin beds in his room (“in case he wants to have a buddy stay over”).

So, Matt asks her…  “After seeing all of this and even watching the boys play/wrestle – what is your assessment??”

She shakes her head and looks at the ground.  She can’t comment because she hasn’t talked to me yet…  “the mom who travels.”

You can imagine my response when I get home shortly after she leaves. 


On the phone, the investigator tells me that everything is going to be ok…and that I should calm down.

CALM DOWN?  I get worked up over FAR LESS than this on a daily basis, lady….you have no idea who you are dealing with.  She couldn’t talk to me over the phone because she couldn’t verify my identity.

As it turns out, she was right, though.  I needed to calm down.

But I didn’t sleep.  Not one wink of sleep.  Got out of bed at 6 am….drug myself to the office, gave a presentation to a roomful of clients, managed to not let one tear fall down my cheek…and then I left the office and waited for her call.

She calls and I go to her office at 4:00 pm. 

When I get angry – I cry.  When I feel attacked, I get angry – I cry.  So, I was already about to cry.
The investigator asked me the same questions as Matt. 

She asked me to describe Jack and Beau in three words:

Jack:  Energetic, Inquisitive, Sensitive.
Beau:  Beauzilla, Independent, Tough.

She told me that I lit up when I talked about them.  She told me that she could tell that I loved and cared for them deeply and that I was appalled by this allegation.

I was.  APPALLED was the only word that I could find that was remotely strong enough to describe my emotion.

She told me that she felt the claim was a bit ridiculous after seeing our home, my husband in action at dinner time with the boys, the boys playing together…and now seeing me – a grown, professional, successful woman who volunteers at the YMCA, brings her kids to do community projects around Snell Isle and does chats on women’s professional growth on her own time to local businesses.  We are a family that goes to neighborhood watch meetings, we bike downtown, support our community, shop locally and attend “Mayor Chats” to make our city better…

And this is who we are investigating for child neglect?

She could not confirm who made the claim, but we both knew that I knew – without a doubt.

She asked me for 3 references that could verify my character and my parenting.

I opened my phone to the contacts….where there are 1500+ contacts.  I slid it across the table to her and asked her to scroll through the list and pick any name.  She laughed.  I didn’t.  I told her that she may pick a name of a person who doesn’t care for me as a person (ex friends, old clients, whatever) – but ALL of them will tell you that I’m a good parent and that I don’t neglect my kids.

I told her that if she wanted to know who we were to visit my facebook page, my Instagram account, my blog.

Her response:  “I did.”

She continued...“I know who you are, which is why I told you on the phone to calm down.  CPS doesn’t care that you travel.  Lots of people travel for their jobs.  All we care about is that while you are away, your kids are cared for.  We know that they are.”

She told me that the claim/allegation technically said that “because the mom travels, the boys are not supervised well by the dad…and the big brother hurts the baby.”

I told her that if she wanted to know who Jack really was to talk to his teacher at school.  His teacher will tell you that he’s helpful, thoughtful and well behaved.  He’s handsy…just like his 4 year old buddies, but he’s not malicious nor mean nor “demonic” as the daycare owner would suggest.

The investigator told me that she could see all she needed to know about Jack by watching him play and wrestle with Beau when she visited our home.  She said “I could tell that he was being gentle with Beau.  He was making sure that he wasn’t hurting Beau and that Beau wasn’t hurting himself.”
She then asked me to tell her about the daycare, in my own words/experiences.

I believe that the daycare owner loves the children she watches.  I believe that she loves some of them more than others because some kids are easier to care for….and some parents/kids dote on her.  We didn’t.  Jack didn’t.  Jack knew from the beginning that he was an outsider.  By the time Jack was three, he fully noticed.  “Shelly loves the other kids.  She likes Jack.”  He’s little, but that doesn’t mean he was unaware.  My belief is that if I paid you to watch my kids, then I don’t need to also kiss your ass every time I drop them off to get the best level of care.  It was exhausting.

So, folks, I told her about the daycare owner’s insinuations about Jack’s behavior (“demonic”), about not ever going outside unless it was perfect weather, about her popping Jack out of anger, about her and Matt’s communication issues, about the biting of Beau, about never documenting the bites, about the simple request for additional supervision of the biter, about how…..the owner followed the daycare licensing rules when they were convenient for her, but the SECOND that we stepped out of line and challenged the way she thought we should be disciplining our kids, she called CPS. 

She called CPS to cover her own ass.  We asked for more supervision and when we didn’t get it, she thought we were going to call the licensing board….so she beat us to the punch.

She called CPS because she doesn’t like Matt.  She doesn’t like how Matt takes care of the boys.  She doesn’t like that I travel.  She doesn’t like Jack’s energy and rough/tough play.  She doesn’t agree with our parenting.

The investigator said she’d be marking our case “no action” and closing it …. And that it would never come up in any background/financial/work history searches done on my name.    (I bet she didn’t think I’d tell you all about it anyway on this blog.)  She told me all about the law in FL that protects the people who report child neglect.  There's no repercussion...there's no penalty for false claims.  We just have to get over it.  We have to move on.  It has  taken me 7 months...and I'm neither over it nor have I moved on.  I've prayed for forgiveness in my heart, but I'm not there yet either.

The investigator told me that she’d be filing a complaint herself on the daycare.  Hitting a child is against the law for any licensed daycare provider in Florida.  She also must provide at least 15 minutes of outdoor time daily, weather permitting.  I’m sure there’s a loophole there, somewhere.
The investigator encouraged me to also file a complaint.

Let it be known that we NEVER intended to do anything that extreme.  In fact, all we ever discussed was switching daycares.  And, we would have done so if anything else had been available.  

It was THAT EASY, Shelly.  You could have just asked us to leave.  You didn’t have to put us through that.

But you did.  

You were so busy sweeping our front porch that you forgot to sweep your own.

Jack is still doing amazingly well at his school.  He misses his teacher from last year, but he comes home happy and engaged and full of new questions (and answers).  He's helpful to the teachers...a leader.

Beau is thriving in his new daycare.  His teachers love his energy and his squish.  He’s their Beauzilla too.  He counts to 5 and tells everyone his name: "I Beau!"

The boys still wrestle, play rough and have legs full of bruises.  They also take care of each other and love each other.

If you have to ask yourself if we neglect our children, please remove me from Facebook, Instagram and life.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Let's Just Not, Shall We?

Mom Guilt.
It's a real thing.

Non-Moms and Dads don't always get it, but let me tell you - it's real.

It keeps us from exercising, getting a hair cut, getting our nails done, leaving the house, sleeping, going on a date or even eating.

Add on to regular mom guilt, that of "Catholic guilt" which I only know about as a pseudo-Catholic raising tiny Catholic men.

Add on to mom guilt plus Catholic guilt, that of TRAVELING mom guilt.

That's who you're dealing with over here.

Hot mess!

Matt and I laugh about what others think of our lifestyle sometimes.  We hear the comments....the "well she's never home" or the "wow, he does everything alone" or the "yeah, she has to bring her mother in law down to help."

Well, first let me say this:  Everything is not as it seems.

(my mom-in-law IS great, by the way!)

Matt and I calculated that if every day of the week is created equal - which it's not - he gets 9 more hours a week with the kids than I do.  NINE, people.  And, let's be clear - these are not quality hours.  These are hours where he's harassing them to eat breakfast faster or looking for their shoes or making sure they don't drown each other in the bath tub.  They are survival hours.

Or, maybe those are the most important hours but I get plenty of those too.

We have A LOT of quality time together as a family. (reference previous blogs or FB/IG accounts)

When I'm home, Matt travels for his job too.  I never hear anyone whispering about me taking care of the kids for 8-10 days straight while he's in glamorous places 4-5 times/year.

Raising babies on Saturdays and Sundays is different than a weekday.

There's no score keeping in our house either.  We are #TeamSchneider all day long....and we coordinate and accommodate and compromise.

We also fight, argue, stress and figure it all out together....while brushing tiny teeth, finding toddler shoes, making sure Lucky has food (why does everyone EAT SO MUCH), kissing boo-boos, shuttling toddlers to karate/basketball/soccer/music class and tackling every single meltdown along the way (usually my own).

No one said this would be easy....but they said something about fun...and joy.  And, it's all there.

Just look at their happy, smiley faces:

We play basketball as a family!  Jack plays, Matt and I coach, Beau is asst/cheerleader.

We go watch MONSTER TRUCKS!!!


We compete at the Disney races!


We enjoy warm weather in December!


We celebrate birthdays with lots of friends and family!


We go to Church as a family....  maybe as a family of monkeys, but at least we make the effort!

We celebrate Christmas in festive Santa suits and with family trips to the ZOO!
Matt and I with Baby E!

We hung out with the turtles over the holidays....

Life isn't perfect.  We take it day by day.  We fit a lot into our lives.  We plan a lot.  

We also RE-plan a lot.

We say things like "that's not on the calendar, dude!" -- and then we figure it out anyway.

Mom guilt prevents me from taking time to get my hair cut.  It causes me to apologize every time I need a babysitter or an hour to myself to run easy errands that would otherwise take me all day with two kids in tow.

And, I'm not telling you all of this to convince you about my situation.  I'm telling you in the off chance that 1 other mom reads this and says "I'm done with that guilt stuff too.  I'm a good mom and there's time for me, my husband and my kids to thrive."

We have a happy home and no room for guilt.

So, I'm done.