Scared & Alone On Fire Shift Day

Today started out like any other of FireDad’s shift days. He pressed snooze on his alarm too many times. I elbowed him in the back. He showered and left after giving me a kiss. BigBrother woke up shortly thereafter and we started our day. Being Wednesday, we went and had coffee with some of my friends. We returned home, had lunch and LittleBrother went down for his nap. Then things went off course.

Our neighbor’s house was broken into. In broad daylight. While they were home.

The Police arrived shortly after their landlord, our friend, arrived. I answered some questions. The intruder was known by the tenants of the house. (Note: if you plan on robbing a house, make sure they don’t know your license plate number. Also invest in a muffler so the neighbor doesn’t get a good description of your car and face.) That should make me feel somewhat more calm, right? It was a personal issue. Most robbers aren’t stupid enough to return to the scene of the crime. Plus, as he is already identified, it shouldn’t take the police all that long to track him down, right?

But I’m not feeling safe.


FireDad is working today. I am now home alone with two little boys. We will be home alone until FireDad returns home from the Fire Department… at 7:30 tomorrow morning. That’s an awful long night of listening to bumps and noises and generally being on high alert. I don’t predict much sleep tonight. If any.

It’s little, unpredictable things like this that make me curse the 24 on, 48 off schedule that firefighters and their families endure. Instead of arriving home and bringing my anxiety level down in two and a half hours, he won’t be home for about seventeen or so hours. I need to manage both of the children on my own while trying to act normal. Nothing feels normal. My home wasn’t even invaded and I still feel vulnerable. Granted, if FireDad was at home today, I’d still listen to every single sound tonight and freak out. But his presence is a calming factor in our life… and he’s not here.

As such, today is likely to be a very long day. I’d be rejoicing about my new windows but my only thought is that if some intruder so much as dares to break one of my precious new windows, I’m going to be pretty darn angry.

And then I go back to being scared.


Shop Chloe + Isabel

He’s Making Leaps & Bounds (& Jumps)

BigBrother is a smart dude. He always has been. A typical first child, he was quick to learn words, numbers, letters, shapes and colors. But he’s had his own issues with which he struggled. I mean, don’t we all have our own things that trip us up?

BigBrother has struggled with some texture issues over the years. A recent example makes me cringe as it involves vomit after attempting to taste a strawberry. I won’t explain it in detail. But we’ve dealt with this for years. He’s a very picky eater because of these issues. Not only do new foods usually result in gagging but he simply can’t touch wet foods with his fingers (think of cantaloupe or the inside of a grape). Veggies were out of the question. Certain meats couldn’t be swallowed. Juice was unacceptable. And he prefers to use a brush to paint with as finger paints kind of squick him out. We’ve learned to deal in some ways but we’ve continued to expose him to new things in hopes that the constant exposure would help him.

Things have been slowly improving over the past few months culminating in some big changes just this month.

BigBrother now drinks juice. He now not only eats but likes cooked carrots. Last night, the child ate peas. (I almost fell off my chair.) He recently and willingly ate chicken. A few days ago, he ate half of a grape, touching the wet part first. He told me after he swallowed that he wouldn’t be doing that again but, hey, he chewed and swallowed the bite. I was pleased. And then, this past weekend, he did something totally out of character.

He touched a fish.


The Easter Bunny brought a fishing pole for BigBrother earlier this month. As the weather was fabulous this past weekend, FireDad decided that we’d go to a friend’s private pond after supper one evening (during which BigBrother ate a Sloppy Joe sandwich without prodding). BigBrother caught about seven fish while LittleBrother whined and cried that I wouldn’t let him jump into the water. BigBrother was intensely proud. What shocked us most wasn’t how he reeled in the fish with skill or how the activity kept his attention for so long. No, it was the touching of the fish. And not so much the first time… but he asked to touch the next fish that he caught as well. Shocked doesn’t cover it.

While I don’t have a picture of BigBrother touching the fish, I can’t not share this one.

Learning to Fish

I don’t know why BigBrother is suddenly more open to different textures and experiences. I don’t know if it will stop tomorrow. But I do know that I am very proud of all that he has been doing lately. He’s growing into quite the awesome little dude. I mean, have you touched a fish? Did you ask to do it again? And do you have texture issues? Right. Awesome indeed.

[Regarding some of the challenges we have faced with BigBrother’s texture issues but simultaneous advancement in learning, we have two giveaways you should know about! You can win a year of meal planning from A Flash in the Pan or a six month subscription to and a CD-ROM for your child’s age range. Both things are helping us help BigBrother so we’re giving you the chance to help your kids as well!]

When the Fire Schedule Doesn’t Work

These two brothers adore their daddy. I mean, so do I. And not just FireDad but I adore my own father. They’re similar in nature that they’re both very involved, very loving and generally fun dads. You know, except when BigBrother attempts to smart mouth me (oh, preschool) and FireDad has to remind him to use his manners in his Daddy Voice. But, generally, these two boys simply adore their daddy.

Which is why BigBrother is having a hard time as of late.

The realities of fire life and the schedule firefighters keep is starting to dawn on BigBrother. FireDad works 24 hours at the fire department and then has two full days at home with the boys (and me!). He normally leaves on his shift day before either of the boys wake up for the day. However, on Thursday, he had a class (followed by the rest of his shift) and so he didn’t leave until 7:15. As BigBrother is a seven-zero-zero riser, he got to spend a few minutes with his daddy before FireDad had to leave. Well, this resulted in tears and some necessary cuddling with me to get him to calm down. FireDad promised to spend a few minutes with BigBrother when his class was over at 5:00 in the afternoon before he had to go to the fire house to finish his shift.


Except that his class ended early. At 3:00. Which is the time that I pick BigBrother up from preschool. And then we had errands to run. So, we totally missed FireDad. We did stop at the fire department for a few minutes. But BigBrother was rather upset.

So when FireDad came home this morning, BigBrother said to him, in the saddest voice ever, “Daddy, will you stay with me today?” And normally, the answer would be yes. But not today. FireDad needed to go help his grandfather with some outdoor work. This news was not received well and has resulted in a very grumpy BigBrother thus far today.

It used to be acceptable to tell BigBrother that FireDad was at work. For LittleBrother, it still is. But BigBrother wants time with daddy as of late. I think that perhaps tomorrow I will make sure that the two of them get some one-on-one time. But for today, I’ll have to offer some extra cuddles and extra patience to a little boy who misses his hero.

In fact, I kind of miss him too…