VOTING IS CLOSED FOR THIS SET OF MATCH-UPS. You can click through "View" on the poll to see the winner of each match-up. I'll update the brackets before we go into the next round of voting. Please keep voting on open polls.
Today we need to knock out six first-round matchups. Read the description of each problem in the pair, then vote for the one you think sucks more than the other. MY DESCRIPTIONS ARE ONLY FOR EFFECT, and you should vote on how bad YOU feel each problem is, not based on my description of it. Voting runs midnight to midnight, EDT.
1. Miss child's first drop-off at preschool because of work vs. Partner asks "What did you do all day?"
2. Teething vs. 9-month sleep regression
3. Child chastized by another parent at the playground vs. Child begs you not to go to work
4. Family vacation vs. Child won't put on shoes in the morning
5. Have to pump in bathroom vs. Nap strike
6. Leak through your blouse at work vs. 3.5-year-old
Let's get ready to rumblllle!
Miss child's first drop-off at preschool because of work
Every working parent has been stuck at work or in a meeting or on a work trip when they're rather be with their child, but it's especially hurtful when you have to miss a milestone--and a highly-photographed milestone at that--just for stupid work. If you've been able to meet the teacher ahead of time, and some of the other kids and parents in the class, you can maybe make it through your morning without feeling like the saddest sack around, but if this is going to be everyone's first encounter, missing that first drop-off feels like someone ripped out your heart and put a cold rock in your chest for you to carry around. And then you have to deal with the questions from the other parents about where you were, offers from them to email you pictures of your own child at drop-off, and then the "who is she??" looks from the other parents in the class when you do finally get to go to a drop-off.
Partner asks "What did you do all day?"
Let's see. You woke up at 3 am, then again at 5:30, then were up for the day at 7. Nursing, changing diaper, changing spit-up clothes (baby's and yours), made a cup of tea, spent an hour trying to get in 10 minutes of Tummy Time so the baby won't be a dolt, spent 40 minutes getting the baby down for a nap which ended up lasting 20 minutes, made lunch and spilled half of it on the baby's head, clothing changes all around, nursing, found now-cold cup of untouched tea and drank it anyway, more nursing, baby falls asleep on you but wakes up if you try to move him so you just stay slumped on the couch with one leg forward and the other bent uncomfortably under you because this kid needs to sleep or we'll all diiieeee, nursing, realize you forgot about the weekly mothers' meeting which was your only adult outing dammit and now who will be your friend?, get it together woman, playtime on the playmat, baby falls asleep for another 20 minutes and you manage to shower but forget to use shampoo on your hair, dress in last remaining pair of clean underpants plus jeans that still barely zip and a t-shirt that reminds you of your old life, retrieve now-wailing baby from clothing hamper aka crib, sit down to nurse again. Then your partner arrives home from work and asks, "What did you do all day?"
Sticky, stinky, crying, whinging, finger-gnawing, boob-refusing, food-refusing, night-waking, coughing, spitup-having, fever-spiking, whining, bib-soaking, rash-having, stringy-pooped teething.
9-month sleep regression
Your baby used to sleep, but now she doesn't. And you don't, anymore, either. You thought you had a handle on this thing. Bedtime was down to a routine, and wake-ups were regular and manageable, and even naps were solid. But now it's all gone crazy again and what did you do that made her sleep go so nuts? And why won't she get back on track? You've read every book, tried every method, but she just. Keeps. Waking. Up. You feel like a failure.
Child chastized by another parent at the playground
You turned your back for a second, to throw away a banana peel, and when you come back to the slide area another mom is speaking to your child harshly about taking turns on the slide. You have no idea what happened, so you don't know if your child was pushing and shoving, or if the other mom was being overly sensitive about her own child. Either way, you want to simultaneously sink into a hole and slap her.
Child begs you not to go to work
"But Mama, I love you. Don't leave me. I want to be with you."
What makes a family vacation so horrible is that you think it's going to be fun. Beach house, staying up late, cooking out, lazy days in the water. You look forward to it for weeks. And then when it comes, you realize that not only do you have to pack up everything you could possibly need for a week, you have to entertain your kids for hours in the car, and then once you're in a strange place the kids are cranky and it's twice as much work as normal life.
Child won't put on shoes in the morning
You are a marvel of modern efficiency, waking up late and still managing to get everyone dressed, lunches packed, breakfasts made, bags all packed for the day, and yet, despite three requests, your child will not put on their shoes. Patently refuses to. And points their toes when you try to jam the shoes on their feet so the shoes won't go on.
Have to pump in bathroom
You are 32 years old, a competent, educated person, and yet somehow you find yourself sitting on a closed toilet seat in a strange bathroom stall with your boob jammed into a plastic cone while a machine sucks out your milk and makes a noise like a broken drum machine. How did I get here?, you wonder as you contemplate what kind of world it is in which there is no other place a person can sit down for a few minutes of privacy to provide food for her child.
And just like that, your child stopped napping. Same sleep signals, same schedule, same everything else, but instead of drifting off to sleep, your child just screeches and arches their back and then lies there talking or yelling. It's been three days. You can't even.
Leak through your blouse at work
Walking out of a meeting during which you had to fight to defend your department's budget against your office nemesis, you notice you feel a little cold and itchy on one side...
No description is either necessary or sufficient to describe the misery and learned helplessness. If you know, then you know. (You've watched Annie's "It Gets Better: Toddler Edition" video, right?)
Come back tomorrow for another six Round 1 matchups!