COVID19 life Reading

Odds ‘n’ ends

November 18, 2020

Thank you all for sharing (and so respectfully!) yesterday. It has been very interesting (and somewhat surprising) to see how different cultures and groups of people have handled what is ostensibly the same challenge.

Hoping for a safe, effective, and widely distributed vaccine stat. (I remember being very impatient for the H1N1 — look at 2009 resident me being nearly indignant in the last paragraph!).

Other things:

1- I finished Deacon King Kong by James McBride and it was sooooo good. I am now about halfway through Writers & Lovers by Lily King which . . . may not be my thing. The first half was bleak, and now the plot is making me cringe a bit.

2- G is still on ‘staying in her bed’ strike. Her school is willing to limit nap but not cut it out altogether. In desperation I have started going to sleep on her floor, but I absolutely hate it, and this time spent means that my time with Josh in the evenings has been whittled to nothing. We are 2 weeks behind in This Is Us. #%*&#@

3- I realized that despite the pandemic, despite 2020 being a bizarre year, despite so many things — I am happier this November than I was last year. Now, last Nov I was borderline depressed and very stressed out, so the bar is not all that high. But still.

4- I thought this was a fascinating episode: 10 Things to Tell You: Mommy Juice Culture and the Sober Mom Squad. I barely drink anymore. The last couple of times I had a beer I got a headache, so that sort of conditioned me to want to avoid. And I don’t miss it at all. I previously would drink wine mostly in fancy restaurants or at social gatherings so I guess that is not surprising. I don’t know if I would ever consider going 100% alcohol free, but I don’t miss it in my life right now.

(Do I miss some of those social gatherings? Ha. That’s a more complicated question! I always thought I was an extrovert but it turns out that maybe I can flex to “I” when needed . . . plus my job bring plenty of social interaction so maybe that’s just . . . enough.)

5- I have an itch to start running more, but I don’t want to give up my strength training! I guess my current balance of 3 runs / 3 LIIFT workouts is pretty good. I can’t imagine doing both in one day.

6- (Bonus) AirPod Pro Mini Review: I like them. I cannot run in them (not snug enough; I would totally lose one). I find them very convenient and I like how they instantly link to phone. I love them for cleaning up around the house while listening to podcasts! I find them moderately comfortable (not extremely so, would not want to wear for 8 hours – but I don’t need to wear headphones all day). I think the sound is good, but I am not that picky.

I am glad I have them but do not find them absolutely perfect (as >$200 headphones might be expected to be). There you go!

Random recent pic. It makes me so happy when she plays nicely!


  • Reply Laura November 18, 2020 at 6:40 am

    I really hate the “half a nap” stage – when you pay for any afternoon sleep by being up really late!

  • Reply Shelly November 18, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Does G’s school have a mornings only problem? When our then 3 year old’s night sleep became unbearable if she napped for even 20 minutes, we switched her to half days and had our nanny pick her up at lunch time.

  • Reply Lyndsey Oliver November 18, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Hi Sarah.
    Like you I recently got some AirPods Pro. I bought mine with air miles I had with Singapore Airlines!! I figured that I wasn’t going on a flight soon!! I do use them for running – they stay snuggly in my ears. No problems so far and they’ve never come out …yet! And I love not having trailing cables. I did meet a neighbour with a new puppy this morning and when I took them out to talk to her the puppy thought I had treats for him in my hand. They would have been a very expensive treat!! However, I live in Scotland and so at this time of year I run with my hood up – which also reassures me that I’m not going to lose them! Like you I love them for wearing around the house when I’m doing tasks – it was great realising that I didn’t need to cart my phone with me wherever I went. Loving your blog…I’m a 67 year old grandmother!

  • Reply Kate November 18, 2020 at 10:17 am

    I think for wireless, ear shape matters hugely. I went on a quest, buying and returning different versions of many companies, all without luck. A few fit my left ear, but exactly zero stayed in my right.

    I had never had issues before wireless though. With wires, I think it works better because the weight of the wire in my ears helps to stabilize.

    I ended up buying partially wireless connected at the back of the neck, with weird “wings” around the ears. The rest of the time, I use over ear huge Sony ones I love and can wear all day.

    I wish the Pros worked for me – jealous!

  • Reply Grateful Kae November 18, 2020 at 10:40 am

    It’s interesting- I actually just thought about your #3 on the list. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while and just the other day I was thinking that you lately/ this year seem to have overall less “STRESS!!!” posts than I remember in the past. Just an observation. 🙂 Maybe you really are more of an introvert than you originally thought and are actually happier with less outside activities? Or maybe it’s just the happiness and satisfaction of being more evolved/ self-discovered at 40 now. 🙂

  • Reply Erica Sparky November 18, 2020 at 11:05 am

    I’m going to listen to that podcast. I rarely drink as well (for similar reasons). I do still enjoy a beer or wine, but I kind of have to have them early, like with dinner, or I have trouble sleeping. One of the other lovely things that come with ageing 🙂 I do have concerns about the whole “I need wine to get through this” trend/meme that is happening among moms and parents in general today.

    This time last year was also around when you decided to go on BCP for your periods as well, right? I am currently trying to decide if I want to do that. I really enjoyed the interview you did with the OB/GYN on your podcast, it came at the right time for me!

    I got some relatively cheap JBL brand bluetooth ear buds that I really like and can run in, no apple product has ever fit in my ear. Do the AirPods have a better shape?

    • Reply Michelle November 18, 2020 at 11:14 am

      I second the JLB ear buds. Mine aren’t wireless but are bluetooth. I wear one in my ear and wrap the other around my sports bra strap at my shoulder so I can hear my surroundings. They stay in really well and came with additional sized silicone pieces for a customized fit.

  • Reply Lisa November 18, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the air pod review. Confirms my decision to not purchase them! I think we have similar ears – very small ear canals. I’m skeptical that any air pods will fit in my ear so I guess I will stick w/ my pretty corded pair. I do need to get a splitter for my iPhone so I can charge and have my headphones in at the same time. Then I could use them for work. Right now I have my phone on speaker for zooms and client calls but it’s not ideal when I’m not alone in the house!

    Interesting about your reflection on your mood this Nov v last Nov! I am way more stressed this year than last year, but pregnancy during covid introduces a lot of stress… We all just got tested for covid this morning due to my son’s runny nose/congestion and me developing a runny nose/start of a sore throat. We were planning to keep our son in daycare until next Tuesday and then he’d be out through my c section. I’m thinking I should just keep him home from now through my c section but my husband thinks he should go back if we all test negative. It’s kind of depressing to add up the number of weeks we’ve paid for daycare and not sent him – I think it will be 12 or more, so almost 1/4 of the year… But what can you do. It’s a sunk cost and we’ve had to balance protecting me/the baby with keeping him on his schedule. He was out for 2 weeks in October as a little girl in his class tested positive (we all tested negative and no one else in the class tested positive. The girl’s mom didn’t even test positive!). He went back to school on 10/23 and he just started to not cry at drop off this week… So I dread going through another gap in care. He is a very sensitive little guy so is prone to tears at drop off. I know he has fun there so I just tell myself it’s a brief crying spell. My best friend drops her son off after us and tells me he is always happy when she seems him so I know he bounces back quickly. But it’s hard to see him crying/clinging to me. 🙁 I’m glad my husband mostly does drop off, though.

    I liked “Writers and Lovers” but it was definitely firmly in the literary fiction category and not at all uplifting!

  • Reply Britney November 18, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Don’t worry – you have til January to get caught up on This Is Us! (I heard they were working on Tuesday’s episode up til Monday night and need time to get caught up – it seems like trying to make a show as safely as possible slows down the process)

  • Reply Elizabeth November 18, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Sarah, that is so tough about G and the bedtime wars. It seems that the real problem is she doesn’t need a nap, and the make-shift solution of you ending up falling asleep on her floor is not good for you OR for her. You mentioned in a previous post that you had to sit with A until she was 6 (or so?) after starting that habit. As Gretchen Rubin always says, begin as you mean to go on—so I would really strongly advise you to rip off the bandaid and NOT start staying in her room until she falls asleep now, because you’re just establishing another habit that will need to be broken (painfully) down the road. Instead, I’d advise you to consider:
    1) Figure out how to not have G nap. Another poster’s idea to have your nanny pick up G early (maybe after lunch) so she’s not napping at all seems like a great option! Even if there isn’t an official half day option at her school, surely they will let you pay for full day but pick her up early. Once she reaches the age where they aren’t forced to have her nap (by law or policy), she could resume full day.
    2) if you aren’t willing to do that, consider starting her bedtime routine later, but then do it as you would previously. Maybe the other kids go to bed first and then at 9 or 9:30 you put her to bed, when she’s actually tired. But don’t stay in her room. If you have to hold her door closed for a bit each night, so be it. Even if you sit for 20 minutes outside her door reading so she can’t keep coming out—just establish that a) she’s going to bed when she’s actually tired, and b) she’s falling asleep alone in her room
    3) Maybe in conjunction with other ideas, perhaps revisit the post with all the recommendations for a sleep consultant! In that one you’d mentioned being willing to do so but thought it was improving. I think people often talk themselves out of moving forward with help thinking “if I just wait it out, it will improve”—but it could be worth an initial consult just to have an expert tell you (rather than just a well intentioned commenter!) what steps are helpful for G and which could stunt her ability to develop healthy sleep habits.

    GOOD LUCK!!!! You can do it!!

    • Reply KGC November 18, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      I was one of the ones who suggested a sleep consultant (and still stand by my suggestion!) and Elizabeth hit on a main reason for considering: it will give you a plan! Right now, you don’t have a plan. Hoping it gets better is not really a plan =) That being said, I guarantee you that the specific person I used will tell you that G is ready to drop the nap and instead sleep 11-12 hours at night. BUT what she (or others) can also help with is giving you tools to discuss this with your daycare! Why are they so insistent that she nap? Surely this can’t be some sort of state mandate? It sounds like you know what the answer is (drop the nap!) but now need help implementing that! And so perhaps finding some resources or backup to bring to your daycare might be helpful.

      • Reply Irene November 18, 2020 at 2:23 pm

        In our state the daycare is required to offer a rest space to all children up to the age of 4. Many children fall asleep in the quiet ideal rest conditions when nothing else is going on. And if they don’t there are other problems. As the parent of a child who dropped a nap crazy early I can tell you having a kid who is expected to sit quietly for 2 hours (while the teachers are generally trying to do other things) this has potential to ruin your relationship with the teachers and the school, as well as turn G into the “problem kid.” I would have loved having the option to have some one pick my daughter up instead (even if it means lots of time in the car. Just my 2 cents! Good luck

        • Reply KGC November 18, 2020 at 2:36 pm

          This is a helpful explanation! My kids go to an in-home daycare with multi-ages, so there are always kids that are too old to nap – thereby giving the younger ones who drop the nap an ‘activity’ to do (they are permitted to sit at the table and read, do puzzles, or other quiet activity on the opposite side of the room from the sleepers). But I hadn’t considered that if there is no other activity provided and the room is dark and quiet and that this is a requirement to offer…then yes, most kids will fall asleep. Definitely a tough situation.

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly November 18, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    I seem to remember going through a really tough “staying in bed” phase with my youngest around that age. It’s tough for sure. Especially when it eats up your grownup time. I tried a bunch of different things (in case any of my ideas help). First I tried a modified version of the Sleep Lady shuffle. Basically you sit in the room for a couple of days, then the hallway, then leave the door open but be down the hall. That didn’t work too well. Then I tried the “Get out of bed ticket”. AKA you can only get out of bed one time so it better be good. That worked OK for us but not great. What ended up working was just walking her back to bed every time she got up. I wouldn’t talk to her or make eye contact except to say “Let’s get you back to bed” or similar. Eventually she got bored with it and stopped getting up. I just repeated “You don’t have to sleep but you do have to stay in bed” and eventually it worked. Probably took a couple of weeks to sink in.

  • Reply Catherine November 18, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    I have the original air pods that I use more for hands free phone calls. I’ve decided that when my iphone is my primary phone, it’s not the most comfortable to hold up to your ear. I love them for that but had to work up to wearing them for an extended period of times without hurting my ears.

    I laughed when you mentioned H1N1 vaccine scarcity in 2009. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a colleague that I could see them doing the initial vaccines like they did for H1N1 that I experienced – limited doses going to medical offices and health departments handling most of the distribution. My colleague had zero recollection of that outbreak. My triplet sons were 2 at the time, one of them was (is) medically complicated so received the shot at the pediatrician, and the other two I had to find a public distribution and wait in a very long line to get their first vaccine. It was not ideal.

  • Reply The Evely Pack November 19, 2020 at 9:23 am

    i love that you listen to podcasts with your airpods while cleaning house!!! It’s my favorite!! Also when I don’t want the kids to hear the ones with swearing (of course some of my favorites haha!!!)
    I feel your pain with them not staying in while running! even the wired ones don’t stay in my ears! so it took a diligent search to find something that fits!
    Finally found the samsung galaxy ear buds… but even they don’t stay! *unless* I use the wingtip attachment! They stay-stay-stay, and I can jump and if I were capable of a cartwheel at this time they would still not fall out!! I think the airpod version of this attachment is called ear hooks. maybe they would help make it feel like they’re more worth the $ if that will let you run in them?
    My earbuds were *definitely* a splurge, but i rationalized it in the name of self-care 🙂 it just makes me smile to use them. listening to my podcasts especially brightens my day when walking from the parking lot into work (like a quarter mile hike – so ridiculous!) and even *while* working!!! It’s makes the mindless documentation portions of my work so much more fun!! I just wear one so I can hear if someone is addressing me. and my hair hides it, so it’s not a deterrent if someone needs to talk to me for something… Just fun to have entertainment in kind of a sneaky way that makes work a little less of a drag 🙂
    Such a guilty pleasure… I don’t have a huge number of those, so I do definitely geek out for the ones I do have!! i.e. podcasts, planners, pens, etc haha!! 🙂

  • Reply The Evely Pack November 19, 2020 at 9:29 am

    oh, and the wingtips I’m talking about do not loop up and over your whole ear. that just sit in that little nook above your ear canal… you can’t even really tell with my galaxy buds that they do that… but the “ear hook” for the air pod does kind of look like a hearing aid type insert… i don’t know what your return situation is like, but I think the galaxy buds are cheaper, just a thought, could be worth a shot 🙂 sound quality is not something i pay attention to… as long as it stays in my ears!

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