Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Leaning In While Swearing In

Today was the first day I hit an impenetrable wall/cliff as a working parent. Last night when I picked Claire up from daycare, her teacher pulled me aside and said, "I think Claire has pink eye." I looked over at Claire and sure enough, her eyes were pink and crusty and apparently had been that way SINCE NAPTIME. Naptime. 2:30 p.m. Three f-ing hours ago. When I was sitting in my office, perfectly capable of moving tasks and calls around to accommodate a doctor appointment I could make because the pediatrician's office WAS STILL OPEN. What was I supposed to do with that information at 5:30 p.m.? Particularly a 5:30 p.m. the day before I'm scheduled to be taking testimony, under a hotly contested subpoena, in an important investigation. 99% of the time, staying home with my poor cuddly pink-eyed child would be no problem. That is one of the many reasons I took this job. But 10 times a year, I have something inflexible on my calendar and today was one of those days. Also 10 months out of the year JP doesn't have lessons until 1 p.m., but in the summer, he starts at 9 a.m. and doesn't have any free spaces any day to reschedule. Fabulous.

I called back-up care (a marvelous in-home vetted nanny care benefit I've had at both my jobs) as we drove home from daycare last night looking for someone to stay with Claire today. The consultant I spoke with promised to get right on it. I got the girls home, felt Cora's suddenly hot forehead and decided a trip to pediatric urgent care was in order for all the children currently in my care. We signed in at the clinic, JP and Landon joined us at some point, and 2.25 hours later we were all home- Claire with a pink eye diagnosis and eye drops and Cora with a double ear infection diagnosis and antibiotics. Gifts-with-purchase for everyone! Except Landon who seriously just never, ever gets sick, to the point that I no longer worry that typing that is going to jinx me.

I went to bed at 1 a.m. after reviewing all my exhibits for today's testimony and woke up at 6 a.m. to a phone call from back-up care letting me know that oh, by the way, we couldn't staff your request because we have a policy that no caregiver can be provided for pinkeye unless it's been under treatment for 24 hours. WHAT?! It's not that I think that's an unreasonable policy, though hand-washing can pretty much work your way around it, but it's utterly unreasonable that no one told me about that when I called at 5:35 p.m. the day before. I had testimony in 3 hours, JP had back-to-back-to-back lessons for 4 hours all morning and we had absolutely no solution for Claire.

So I called backup care, now while at my desk finalizing my testimony outline, and clarified that because we'd gone to the doctor last night, Claire had now had all the treatments she would have had in the first 24 hours and could they please keep looking. 8 a.m. rolled around and JP needed to get to the pool, so he took Claire and Landon (who was already sitting out camp for this holiday-shortened week), and I called back-up care to give them the new plan to find someone who could come at JP's lunch break at noon so he could deliver our pale skinned Claire to the house and out of the outdoor pool sun. They hadn't found anyone when I opened the record and swore in the witness, but at 10:15 a.m. I missed a series of calls that buzzed against my thigh, so I went off the record and discovered that a nanny was on her way to my now-empty house. JP was in a lessons and unreachable, the nanny wasn't answering her phone while driving (to my empty house), and I needed to go back on the record, so I ended up texting all parties involved while bringing a witness to tears regarding his involvement in a complicated investor scheme. Leaning in? Stomping in? Gasping in? I'm not sure how one would describe it.

On the upside, a nanny was in my driveway at 11:45 a.m. JP pulled up with Claire at 11:50 a.m. Claire and our new temporary nanny bonded over their shared love of the Frozen soundtrack, art, coloring, playdough, trains, books, more Frozen singing, and a dance routine I saw happening through the back windows when I pulled up with Cora at 4:30. Claire had a WONDERFUL day. She got to be with Daddy! At the pool! And then with this new friend! Who loves Frozen! And gave her UNDIVIDED ATTENTION for 270 minutes! A middle child's dream.

All was well. But oh holy hell it was a crazy morning, made much crazier by the fact that JP's office is in the water and thus not directly reachable by phone for hours at a time. But on how lucky we are that he has a job where a pink-eyed Claire even can tag along for a few hours. His deck manager read Claire books and helped her color some pictures (basically Claire got more attention today than she's ever had in her whole life, ever) and then he was able to take her home for more 1-on-1 time with a very sweet 25-year-old nursing student.

My sister's wedding is in 3 days and the doctor assured me that Claire isn't contagious anymore starting tomorrow and the antibiotic drops will absolve her of any visible symptoms by Friday. So we should be good, as long as Landon or I don't get it. But let's not even think about that. Instead, baby!

Cora LOVES the water. She crawls under the faucet in the bath and smiles up at the pouring water while choking on it. She sits under the shower spray and smiles at it as it pelts her face. She is the baby fish to her big siblings' pool fish and I can't wait until she's frolicking in the water with both of them.

She also has on footless 12-18 month pajamas tonight and I'm freaking out a little at this new unexpected developmental milestone. She's still a tiny baby right? I absolutely cannot believe I'm seeking any reassurance on that point as I have previously considered babydom something to be endured and then maybe enjoyed but still not nearly as awesome as toddlerdom and here I am maybe not just a little freaking out as babydom is flying us by. Ohmygod I'm getting misty eyed. Let's blame it on the 4 hours of sleep I got last night and move on.

So pink eye- mostly conquered. Double ear infections- under control. Testimony- complete. JP's weekend lessons- rescheduled. We are almost ready for Tia's Wedding Weekend to commence! And thank goodness, because I really feel a need for the Wedding Reception margarita machine.


  1. High fives all around! Sounds like everything worked out, even if you had to tear your hair out in the process.

    Where was Cora during all this, still at daycare? I guess an ear infection isn't contagious.

    Your SEC job has a backup care benefit? I had that at the firm and it was a lifesaver many times. It was expensive, though, around $200 a day. My new job doesn't really have any useful benefits to speak of, but so far I haven't had a problem working from home or taking a sick day when the kids are sick.

    1. Ha, it did all work out, and it's only the end result that counts right? (Except when everything goes great all day and falls apart at the end, then it's the journey.) Anyway, yes, Cora was at daycare. They never knew she had a fever and she was on antibiotics and like you said, an ear infection isn't contagious, so we decided to send her. And thank goodness because when the nanny fell through she would have been at the pool for 3 hours which would have been bad for everyone. I really didn't want her re-catching Claire's pinkeye (Cora had it last week), so I wanted them as separate as possible for the first 24 hours. The doctor said Claire can go back to school now so I'm really hoping no one else in the family gets it. If I have pink crusty eyes in my sister's wedding pictures I'm going to be PISSED. And having a long talk with the photographer about maximum photoshop usage. Every twinge of my eye causes a tiny panic spiral.

      And yep, we get 20 days a year for free, per kid(!), of back-up care at the SEC. It's an amazing benefit. Apparently the regional offices get it because the home office in DC has an in-house daycare that is heavily subsidized. We had it at the firm too- 5 days per year for free, 5 days for $25 (I can't believe yours was $200! You can just hire a sitter for the day for less than that) and it was even more precious a benefit there. Most days at the SEC I can just be home if a kid is sick, but it's been nice for the "she was sick yesterday and is now fine but needs one more day at home because she spiked a fever last night" day and the "we don't have summer camp this week so Landon is having a free staycation" summer care.

  2. Oh, man--what a nightmare! I'm so glad it all worked out! (I wish my husband's agency had back-up care, but they do have a partially subsidized daycare on site...except my kid's aged out of it.)

    Also, $200/day? YIKES!!