Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Down The Rabbit Hole

I've been wanting to post for days (weeks?).  I haven't been here.  I haven't been reading or writing or commenting.  I've just been numbing out.  I've gone down the rabbit hole and I am just starting to try and poke my head back out and scrabble forth.  Trying really hard.

I suffer from depression.  It's a concept that's hard to explain to people.  It's a concept that's hard to grasp myself.  Well all know what it is to be sad about something but we move on.  My depression is like I'm sad about nothing, or everything, and can't move on.  Or not sad.  Apathetic.  Unfocused.  Hazy.  It is compounded by life circumstances - loss, grief - but it was there before life threw in what it had to offer.  Most days, I take a tiny pill and life seems liveable.  In fact, as an adult I realized that I had really become an optimist and not the negative and angry woman of my youth.  I count my blessings, I enjoy each day.  I bask in the normalcy and joy of daily family life.  I cook and clean and plan and schedule and LOVE things.  I know how lucky I am to have my beautiful, happy, healthy family and all that goes along with it.  But that's the me with the pill.  And that's the me when the pill is working.

The me when the pill doesn't work - sleeps.  Cries.  Worries.  Sleeps more.  Eats.  Regrets.  Eats more.  Let's the laundry and the dust and the lack of cooking pile up until it crushes her.  Spends money she doesn't have because it takes less energy than other options.  Cares but can't do anything to show it.  Plays word games on her phone until her eyes burn.  Sees herself falling down the rabbit hole and doesn't know how to stop it.  Mentally begs someone to throw her a rope but can't figure out how to let them into this aspect of her reality.  Wonders if the pill needs changed.  Wonders if her life needs changed.  Wonders if she can still be loved by anyone.  Wonders if she will ruin her daughter with this disease.  Wonders if she will drive away her husband.

I don't always know what starts me down the rabbit hole.  I don't know why the pill sometimes doesn't work.  Of course, maybe it IS working, but things would just be much, much worse without it.  I know that.  anniversaries, holidays, the pettiness that sometimes comes into our daily lives - these all impact things, too.  It's exhausting sometimes, just putting one foot in front of the other.  It's exhausting, but I'm trying.  I'm really, really trying.

Maybe sharing helps.  Maybe sharing could even help someone else who feels this same way.  DOING something, anything, THAT helps.  That I know.  So, here I am, DOING.  Thank you all for letting me share.  I hope to more of you all soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

World Prematurity Day

Today is World Prematurity Day.  We have had two premature babies.  Because of this, our family supports the March of Dimes and preventing prematurity is a cause close to our hearts.  Please click the link below to visit the March of Dimes web site and help support them in their efforts to educate about and prevent causes of prematurity.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shhhhhh.....it's Saturday!


An unseasonably warm day allowed us one more visit to the zoo this fall.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Listography - Top 5

Photobucket
 
I am about a week late on this list, which I am a little concerned might get me kicked off of the interwebs.  It just slipped my mind to get it done but one which I thought was a lot of fun and therefore had to complete, even if late!
 
So, here you have, Top 5 Famous Folks I Used to Fancy.  Lots of people have linked up to this post, so to see more lists of people who make us swoon, click the link above and head over to Kate Takes 5 and check out lots of lists.  It took me right back to those early teen years of tearing out pictures from Teen Beat and plastering them all over my room!
 
1.  Scott Baio
 

 
To be clear, I had no idea what a total d-bag he was in real life.  I just knew that I wouldn't have minded having Charles in charge of me!  Now, if I ran into him on the street, I would punch him in the gut (or at least trip him).  But back then, his picture adorned my wall.
 
2.  Corey Haim
 

 
Back in the day, there were arguments over who was cuter - Haim or Feldman.  In my mind, there was never a contest.  He was adorable.  Of course, real life didn't turn out as well for C.H.  All of that adorable spark and charm were eaten up by drugs before his death, which makes my list a sad.  But he was a cutie pie way back when.
 
3.  Michael Jackson
 

 
I still remember getting this album and marveling over everything about it.  It was one of the only vinyl records I ever owned as the cassette and then CD overtook the market quickly, but the still normal-looking Michael was dreamy and sweet.  Another sad ending to another teenage crush.
 
4.  Kurt Cameron
 

 
He was cute and funny - what was not to love.  And, of all of these teen crushes, it seems he turned out the best.
 
5.  Ferris Beuller
 

 
I know he's not a real person and just a character played by Matthew Broderick.  Who is okay.  But Ferris is kick-ass awesome.  Who wouldn't want to date him or at least hang out?  One of the better movies of my youth.
 
So, there you have it, a top five list of crushes from my early teens.  Don't forget to click the link and check out who other people were crushing on way back when!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Say What?

The Nugget can say some pretty funny stuff.  It's so interesting to watch her develop her understanding of language.  Here are a few of the things she is learning about words:

1.  She feels pretty strongly about the difference between "excuse you" and "bless you".  If she, say, belches and we tell her, "bless you", she gets all righteous on us.  "No, not bless you!  Excuse you!"  Or, if she coughs and we say either one (because what do you really say to someone coughing?  I guess we should just keep our thoughts to ourselves but we feel bad for her) we get a similar, "No, not bless you!"  She doesn't give us any idea as to what is the proper thing to say, but she sure knows what it isn't.

2.  She mixes up the word beautiful into anything that has the "full"  or "fil" sound in it.  For instance, if I ask her what the tall pink bird is at the zoo, she tells me it's a "beautiflamingo".  Or if I ask her if she wants to go to Chick-Fil-A for dinner, she says she wants the "beautiful chicken" (it took me a while to figure out it was because of the word filet).  It's totally adorable and I absolutely cannot correct her.

3.  She has learned that I am a sucker for the big soft eyes, tilted head and please all at once (think Puss in Boots).  She now goes for that automatically when she knows she is asking for something I am likely to say no to.  Want a sucker?  Cue fluttering lashes, tilted head and big, cheesy smile:  "Please?"  How could I say no?  Ever?

4.  She knows that we pet dogs and cats.  Friends of ours have a newborn, the first she has really spent time around, and we have told her that she is allowed to touch him on his head very gently.  Naturally, she equates this to petting.  Now when we see a really cute baby while we are out and about she will look at me and say, "Can I pet him?"  I'm sure the parents appreciate it as much as I do.

5.  She was playing in the bathtub the other night and talking to herself and her toys.  She repeatedly mentioned her nauseated cat.  After a while, bemused, I came over to the tub.  "Do you even know what the word nauseated means?"  I asked.  "It means you're sick.  You're tummy hurts."  She found this hilarious.  "No it doesn't!" she laughed.  I puzzled and puzzled over where she had even learned the word nauseated or nausea.  I finally realized that a Veggie Tales sing-a-long we have talks about a vet treating a "nauseated kitty".  The kid picks up on everything.

I can't wait to see what we're going to discover in the coming months!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shhhhh...It's Saturday

It's super duper Silent Saturday because I'm pretty sure I haven't done one in a month or so.  In my defense, it was because I was busy having an awesome month.  And here's the evidence:

Kissing cousins at our family weenie roast

Shopping for mums and pumpkins


Pumpkin roll at our annual Halloween party

The Mister and The Nugget heading out
to trick-or-treat


The Nugget,  having fully realized
that we get free candy at each house decides
to run!








Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Baskin Robbins

Write on Edge: RemembeRED


Opening the recipe book, the spattered card falls from the pages as if it already knows what we’re up to. Chocolate pudding covers much of the recipe, one jotted down quickly in my mother’s slanting cursive during a family reunion one hot summer day. I never knew why we called it Baskin Robbins; I have met other people who called this same recipe by another name. I still call it by the name we gave it because it’s ours.
I begin with the crust:
1 cup of flour
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans

I mix slowly, thinking back to the many times my mother and I made this dessert together. It became a standard in our house, a go to recipe for all manner of pitch-ins, school functions and barbeques. Making the crust was my least favorite part as a kid. I wasn’t very good at pushing it out to fit all of the corners of the pan. I spread it out with a fork now, just as I did those many years ago, and pop it in the oven for 25 minutes at 350.

On to best part. The cream cheese layer:

1 cup Cool Whip
1 package of softened cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

I blend this layer together with the mixer until it is creamy and smooth. It’s hard to imagine how much of just this one part I have eaten over the course of years. Once the crust was cooled, I was allowed to spread this layer on. I spread one spoonful and eat another successively until my bowl is empty. It still makes me feel half warm and cozy and half nauseous to think of it.

Next, mixing the pudding:

2 packages instant chocolate pudding
2 cups cold milk

This part is always a challenge. As a child, the way the powdered pudding floated in the milk always perplexed me. I was always anxious to use the electric mixer and had a hard time judging the speed for such a thin concoction. It went something like this: REV! SPLAT! REV! SPLAT! . I still giggle thinking about this repeated experience; mom trusted me to learn from my mistakes and I eventually did. I now find a whisk to be a much more practical tool for this step. Once the mixture came together, we spread it over the cream cheese layer

The finishing touches were my shining moment:

The rest of the cool whip from a regular container
A sprinkle of nuts

I would spend long minutes deciding the “design” of my cool whip. Should I touch several spots with the spoon and make peaks? Should I make even swirls in the cool whip? Where, exactly, would I place the pecans? At that time, the possibilities seemed endless. Now, I just smooth it over the top and sprinkle the nuts where they fall.

And there you have it: one of the happy memories from my childhood wrapped neatly in a 9 x 9 baking dish. I am grateful to have this card written in her hand, to have many recipes written in her hand. She died when I was only 19, and these recipes remain one of the most valuable things I inherited - my link to her through pages and cards touched over and over by her hands. More than a recipe, it remains a tangible reminder that we had happy times together, she and I. It is a tradition, albeit a simple one, that spans the course of time and grabs my hand and brings me right back to those moments as a pudding covered girl, laughing in the kitchen with my mother.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eyes

Three and a half years later and I still lie awake sometimes worrying about those eyes.  Eyes of a tiny, newborn boy.  Eyes that I never got to see.  I wonder if I had seen those eyes what they would have told me, what I could have known by looking into them.

Three and a half years later and I still see the nurse rushing through the room with the tiniest boy I had ever seen.  I never saw where she took him.  By the time I was sewn shut, he was inside of his incubator and wearing what I thought of as his super hero mask.  The mask that protected his delicate young eyes from the harsh lights of his new home.  I never saw those eyes.

Three and a half years later, I sometimes press The Mister for details that he will never be able to give me because I can't really tell him what it is I want to know.  He was taken to that room beyond mine with that tiny little boy.  He got to look into his eyes.  He got to see him before the tubes and the ventilator and the nurses and the IV's came between us.  I try, from this distant place, to feel what he felt when he saw them.  I try to know how my baby boy felt coming into the world.  I try and decode through my gentle and patient husband what message that little boy was sending us.  Did he, like myself, feel hopeful and strong?  Had he known that his time on this earth would be short?  Might he have been reassured by meeting my eyes?  Might I have been reassured by meeting his?

Three and a half years later and, on nights like tonight, I get down the special box that holds everything that my little boy ever was or ever will be.  I hold his tiny diaper and his tiny hat.  I read through the kind and loving notes left by family and friends for him and for us.  My fingers stroke the soft blanket and hat given so kindly by the NICU staff.  But it is that mask that I come back to again and again.  If I had only been able to see my son beyond that mask.

Three and a half years later, I see him lying in my arms as he took his last breaths.  I ache for the touch of him.  I ache to hear the slightest cry from his lips - something to tell me he was normal and that somehow he was stronger than we had given him credit for.  But most of all, I ache for him to flutter those eyes open, to see that we are there for him, that we are right there in the hardest moments of our entire lives and that we wouldn't choose to look away or be anywhere other than right there in that room holding him.  I want so much to look into his eyes and try and communicate that he was enough, that he was just what he should have been and how sorry I am that I couldn't do more, be more.

Three and half years later and I know that for the next three, or thirty, or three hundred, I will wish that I had met those eyes, just once.  I will miss my son.  I will wish for and long for and regret and feel anguish.  The pain is less, it's true, than it was at first.  Though I still think of him every day, most days I don't cry.  Most days I focus on the daughter who is here, on the family who I love.  I can know that part of my son's legacy is to allow me to be a more present mother and wife and friend and daughter.  But on days like today...

I would give anything to see those beautiful eyes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Who is recording this children's music? And why?

One of the things my daughter enjoys is listening to CD's while we drive.  My car doesn't have a DVD player in it (I know, the humanity), but I've never found that to be an issue as she has always been perfectly content listening to her music.  Her father and myself, we miss our music.  But we tolerate hers because she enjoys it.  Some of it is even kind of good.  A lot of it, however, is just down right disturbing.

The Mister came to me the other day with this proclamation:  "I am thinking about throwing out that CD we've been listening to with The Nugget.  It has come to my attention that no less than five animals, maybe six, lose their lives during the course of CD."

I can't disagree with him here.  Dying animals doesn't seem like such an awesome theme for children.  I mean, yes, animals and all living things do eventually die.  I'm just not sure that's a topic I want to explore with my child on the way to, say, the zoo or her grandparents' house.

One of the songs which was in The Mister's line of fire is a song about some pigs who "go oink, oink, oink".  Evidently the author of this song feels pretty strongly that the pigs "ought to go wee, wee, wee, wee."  So strongly, in fact, that said oinking pigs end up dead as a result of their refusal to stop their oinking and join in the weeing.  It is my (admittedly rudimentary) understanding that a pig's natural instinct is to oink.  It goes against their nature to say wee.  I am aware that in the "This Little Piggy" game a pig does, in fact, say "wee wee wee all the way home", however, I am going to go ahead and call this an exception to the rule.  My point being, why are we killing pigs for displaying their own natural behavior?

And while we're on this topic, just because you have a sweetly voiced adult or a child singing something, that doesn't make it children's music.  I am confused as to how the song "Darling Clementine" has worked it's way into this genre.  Has anyone ever listened to the words?  SHE'S DEAD, PEOPLE!  I mean, yes, it's a love song, but it's a mournful love song about how Clementine drowned and he is unable to save her.  Is this really the kind of mood we want our kids steeped in?  If I decide to record a CD of children singing songs like Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and Marilyn Manson's "Sweet Tooth", does that make it children's music or just really freaking creepy?  Are we just going by the titles here, or what?

I guess we're just lucky that we dropped the practice of playing music for The Nugget before she fell asleep when she was only a couple of months old.  I can only imagine if she were falling asleep to some of this stuff.  I feel scared just thinking about it!  I am sure we would be waking to screams over dead pigs and drowning women.

I suppose the people we really ought to be mad at are the recording studios or record executives who release this music.  After all, artists are often known to be limit-pushers and the population is general is filled with the mentally ill and perverse.  So I have to blame the gate holders for not barring the door a little more tightly to those who would ask for access to our children. 

I would be remiss, as well, if I didn't accept some responsibility as a consumer.  I can shirk some off on the fact that nearly all of our children's CD's were gifts.  I can also say that, based on the fact that they were CHILDREN'S CD's, I thought they would be okay.  Finally, the fact that songs about murder and mayhem are sandwhiched between classics such as "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "I'm a Little Teapot" does not exempt me from my basic parental role as protector of my child.  The fact that I assumed based on titles alone that the songs would be appropriate for my two year old does nothing but, as the saying goes, make an ass out of u and me.  Or mainly me.

Anyway way you put it, I see no alternative other than to come up with a complicated rating system for all children's music.  I will form a coalition!  The coalition will petition congress!  We will take back our children's innocence one song at a time!

Or maybe I'll just hit fast forward.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Shhhhhh...it's Saturday

The Nugget scours the pumpkin patch for the perfect prize


She finds one that is just right

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A-Ranting we will go!

Okay, so there's a bunch of stuff that drives me nuts.  And somebody has to know about it other than me.  Sooooo...

1.  Low talkers.  Speak the freak up already.  This chick I work with talks in a constant whisper, and not a loud whisper, a super-quiety, my-baby-hasn't-slept-in-a-week-and-if-we-drop-so-much-as-a-feather-she -will-wake-up kind of a whisper.  What's the big freaking secret?  SPEAK UP!

2.  Coughing.  I have been coughing for something like a week and a half.  The doctor says it's bronchitis and will resolve itself eventually.  I am inviting it to do so ASAP because I CANNOT take it anymore.  For some reason, the cough especially seems to kick in when I make any sort of professional phone call which is so absolutely awesome and not mortifying at all.  No, I promise I've never smoked a day in my life even though it sounds like 2 packs a day.  I promise.  Also, all the freaking coughing is giving me a headache.  Enough already!

3.  Babysitters.  Okay, to clarify, I don't hate babysitters in general.  In fact, I don't even hate any specific babysitters.  I just hate trying to find one.  We don't live close enough to any family or friends for them to help us out in a consistent way.  We've been lucky enough to have the daughters of a couple of friends of ours help out from time to time which has been great, but those girls are growing up and have their own lives and interests that don't neccesarily allow them to spend time with my child.  Fine.  I advertised for a sitter.  A lovely young woman came to interview and I liked her a lot.  I usually have fairly good instincts about people, so I asked her for her references and plan to hire her if all is well.  It's just that I'm pretty sure if she's some kind of lunatic, she probably has some lunatics who are willing to serve as references for her.  So what if all of the references I call are in fact co-conspirators in some evil plan?  I am sweating and tearing up even as I write this.  WHY THE HELL DON'T WE LIVE NEAR FAMILY???  Nanny-cam, where are you when I desperately need you?  Maybe we can spend the first date just parked down the street and sneaking around peeking in windows and such.  Just in case.  Totally worth the money.  But what if THAT'S all part of her evil plan, too?  Be cool the first time just in case they're sneaking around.  *Sigh*  It's exhausting trying to keep a child safe.  It was so much easier to actually be the child and never worry about my own safety at all.

4.  Phone calls.  Again, I don't hate all phone calls (though I am really not partial to talking on the phone).  The ones I hate typically fall into one of two categories.  First, hang up calls.  About a million times a day I get a phone call at work where the caller hangs up when I answer.  I am not sure if they called the wrong number, weren't looking for me in particular or what, but I am so done with the hanging up situation.  Stop bugging me.  Two, the call-back calls.  This is also a work issue.  I am plugging along when I get a phone call and after I politely answer with my name and the name of the hospital I work at, I get, "Yeah, somebody called me from this number."  Mmmmkay.  Look, genius, just becaue you have caller ID doesn't mean that you should have nothing better to do than call back every wrong number on your list.  My response is usually, "This is a hospital.  I have no way of know who might have called you."  Internally, my response goes a little more like, "If you don't stop wasting my time with this crap I am going to smack you down."  The most annoying part of this is that the caller generally gets all irritated with ME about the situation, like I'm trying to keep some information from her (I don't think I've ever encountered this behavior with a man).  Seriously?  I don't have time for this stuff.

5.  My cat.  Our oldest cat is certainly trying to kill either herself or us.  My guess is that she would be happiest if she could accomplish both at the same time.  Any time I start to go down the stairs when the light isn't good, she's lying just beneath the top step waiting to trip me.  Or, if I am standing and cooking in the kitchen, when I turn to the sink she is inveriably standing there, waiting to topple me.  The other day while rinsing raw chicken, I stepped into a pile of her vomit.  While barefoot.  The grossness of that alone nearly killed me, not to mention the fall hazard.  We feed her, we let her sleep in our bed, we mother her like our own child and this is how she repays us.  Not.  Cool.

If anyone can help me out with any of the above situations, I am happy to take advice.  And please, for the love of all that is holy, speak loudly enough for me to hear you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Little Miss Perfect

The other day The Nugget and I were visiting with some of our best friends, my old college buddy and her four year old daughter.  We love going to their house because they have all kinds of toys that we don't have at our house and, well, an awesome four year old who is super cool.  We had a fine old time until it was time to go.

At that point, The Nugget started screaming.  And running from me.  And we started having our (recent)usual fight about getting her shoes on.  And my friend started laughing.  Quietly, not egging on The Nugget, but laughing never the less.  Between attempts to keep my head from exploding calmly redirect my child, I glanced at her.

"I'm sorry!" she said.  "I've just never seen her act like that.  I didn't know she ever did.  It's just good to know I'm not the only one this happens to!"

Huh.  Perhaps I've been giving off the wrong impression.  Have I not talked openly enough with my friends about my struggles with parenting?  Have I seriously never lost it in front of my friends?  More importantly, has The Nugget seriously never lost it in front of my friends?  Looking back, it occurred to me that she may not have.  In general, my kid is a pretty go-with-the-flow kind of a girl.  She is an introvert at heart and generally content to play by herself if shunned by others and she truley has reserved most of her melt-downs, up until recently (when the age of two and a half kicked into high gear), for when we are by ourselves.

The last thing I want to come off as is the perfect parent with the perfect kid with all of the perfect answers about how to do all of the perfect things.  Let me be clear: I have no idea what the hell I am doing.  I'm just going with my gut like most of the parents out there.  Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I get it wrong.  All in all, I am just hoping to avoid too many therapy bills for my child when she one day leaves the nest.

Here, in brief form, are a few of the ways things sometimes go terribly wrong between me and The Nugget:
  1. I tell her no. She screams. As loud as she can. In my face.
  2. I tell her yes. She still screams. As loud as she can. In my face. 
  3. I try to talk with her about something she wants because I don't understand what she is asking for. She becomes immediately frustrated. And screams. As loud as she can. In my face.
  4. I totally lose my composure and scream as loud as I can.  Not usually in her face, but, trust me, I can scream quite a bit louder than she can.  My throat is generally sore for several hours after one of these outbursts.
  5. I smack her.  I am not a fan of hitting kids.  I know lots of people spank and smack their kids all of the time as part of their parenting. I am not one of those people.  I hate myself after I smack her. 
  6. The Nugget smacks me.
  7. The Nugget spits at me.
  8. The Nugget flails in anger and almost smashes her melon open at the slightest insult (which may be something as simple as a nudge to get her moving in the right direction).
  9. The Nugget screams at and/or hits the dog without provocation.
  10. The Nugget refuses to follow direction of any kind.
Not all of these things happen every day.  In fact, most of them only happen every once in a while.  But they happen.  We are less than perfect.  I do feel I am doing a few things right, hopefully a lot more things right than wrong, but sometimes it all hits the fan and I lose it.  After which I often sit down and apologize to The Nugget.  And she sometimes apologizes to me.  And, like any family, we keep plugging along.

So friends, if I've ever given you the impression that I have it all together, please take that out of your minds!  The biggest thing that I do really, really well as a parent is apologize when I'm wrong.  Which is often.  And, not to leave you with another wrong impression, here are a few of the ways that things go incredibly right between me and The Nugget:
  1. She gives me kisses whenever I ask for them and, sometimes, even when I don't.
  2. She gives heart-felt apologies for bad behavior.
  3. She shares readily with other children.
  4. We rock each night and sing in the rocking chair in her room.  We've been doing it since her she came home from the hospital.
  5. We take awesome walks and explore our neighborhood together.
  6. She eats her fruits and vegetables without so much as a complaint.  She loves them.
  7. She feels safe enough with her parents that she knows she can act out and test her boundaries and that we will still love and support her.
  8. She is creative and has a great imagination and includes me in all kinds of pretend play.
  9. She enjoys helping me cook or water plants or clean or really helping me do anything at all.
  10. Every day, no matter what, we tell each other how much we love each other.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Half Birthday, Big Girl!

Today is The Nuggets half birthday.  She is two and a half today.  Two. And a half. 

*Sigh*

So, to my beautiful girl, I say:

Every time I look at you, I wonder where that tiny baby went so fast.  Here you are, this big girl who know how to do so many things herself.  This past six months, you have grown by leaps and bounds.  Your hair continues to be a bit curly, your eyes have definitely decided to be hazel and you have grown quite tall and thin.  You currently wear size 3 shirts, size 24 months pants and size 8 shoes.

Your vocabulary has soared.  Favorite word right now: familiar.  Everything looks familiar to you!  You are sweet and sassy and certainly have a hard head when it comes to things being done the way you think they should be.  You fight me lately every day when I pick you up from daycare because you want to put your shoes on YOURSELF!!!  And, usually, you can.   I just need to learn to sit back and let it take all the time it needs.  You can (mostly) dress and undress yourself.  You wear big girl underpants and are potty trained.  You sleep in a toddler bed.  When you wake in the morning, you wander in to see (usually) Daddy.  Sometimes you climb into bed and sleep a bit more with him.  Sometimes you quietly cuddle onto the pile of decorative pillows in the corner by his side of the bed.  And, sometimes, you wake up raring to go and make sure nobody gets one more second of sleep!

Your Piglet doll continues to be your best friend, but your dependence on him has lessened some in the past months.  He mostly stays up in your bed nowadays as you are so busy pursuing your many interests. Currently, these include watching one of the following cartoons: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Arthur, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Dora the Explorer, Little Einsteins or Blues Clues.  We limit these a lot, so you also enjoy puzzles, coloring, singing and dancing.  You LOVE anything that might have to do with a princess or a ballerina (though I swear I am not sure how you even know about these things) and are really into dressing up in costumes now.  You pretend to serve food to us a lot and are starting to pretend to be various characters you know.  Going to the Children's Museum is one of your favorite outings.  You love to play outside, too, and we have spent the past many months swimming, blowing bubbles, playing sidewalk chalk and going to the zoo.  You have daddy's complexion and all of that outdoor time, even with sun screen, makes you super tan!

You continue to be the absolute light of my life.  You model our supportive behavior and any time Daddy or I do something, you are bound to come out with, "Great job!  I'm proud of you!"  You love to help cook and clean as well as fix things.  You remain an introvert, more content with a few close people than a big crowd.  You do have dear friends whose very names get you excited, though.  It makes me so happy to see your relationships flourishing.  You are very sweet and caring, usually showing concern if you hear a baby cry or if you think that another child is upset.  Though the toddler part of you can be selfish, your basic nature is very sharing.

All in all, even as Daddy and I sometimes flounder at finding our way on this parenting path, you continue to march right ahead, ready for each new adventure and never afraid to lead us into the next new adventure.  I look forward to following you into all of the adventures the coming years hold!
Running to the next adventure!




Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Standoff

Hello out there!  I realize that I have been MIA for a while.  We took a week's vacation which involved extensive driving and I was so tired.  We have been home for a couple of weeks now, but I have decided that recouperating from my vacation is a viable excuse for any and all incomplete tasks going forward in my life.

I know...my life is hard.  Feel free to email any and all sympathy notes to save on postage.

Anyway, during a 19 hour trip one way and a 16 hour trip the other, I am pleased to announce that The Nugget did not have a single potty accident!  Woo hoo, people, we did it!  We have potty trained a human being in just a few short weeks.

Mostly.

We have developed this one little quirk, though.  It's what I like to refer to as "the standoff".  It might better be called "the sitoff", but who ever heard of that?

Sooooo...the two of you who read this blog know that we were having a few pooping issues with The Nugget during my last post.  Things in this area have really progressed.  She hasn't had any poop accidents that were not the fault of her incompetent parents in weeks.  I think once we relaxed about the issues she immediately sensed the release of tension and she relaxed, too.  She has, however, developed this really annoying habit of needing to visit the bathroom a MINIMUM of 3 times in a row prior to having a bowel movement.  Which lead to the following lovely evening:

The Mister, The Nugget and I had just settled in for a lovely fall meal at the Cracker Barrel.  I was enjoying my diet coke when the first plea came:  "Mommy, I have to go potty."

Okay.  I can handle this.  We haven't started eating yet, so let me get it out of the way now (because another habit The Nugget has developed is never allowing me to finish a meal.  Ever.).  I took her hand and we headed toward the bathroom.  As soon as we hit that gift shop area, though, she forgot all about the bathroom.  I took her anyway, but she sat down and jumped up as quickly as she could so she could get back to ogling all of those shiny, breakable things in the lobby.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that our meals had arrived during our trip.  As I tucked into a breakfast for dinner, the second plea came: "Mommy, wipe me!"  She has somehow decided that this term, wipe me, is the signal for going poop.  I sighed, barely digested food churning in my belly.  "Can you wait?"  I was pleased she replied in the affirmative.  At which point she waited about 30 seconds before pleading, "Mommy, I need to go poop!"

Off we headed to the bathroom.  At this point I am fairly confident that she really has to go and is not just seeking a chance to see the gift shop again as she is doing the dance.  Also, The Mister had been texting me all day from the place where he and The Nugget were getting our car repaired: "We've been to the bathroom 4 times at 20 minutes each and NOTHING!"  and "they are calling our name over the speaker and where are we?  In the bathroom accomplishing nothing!"

*Sigh*

Once on the potty, I started to tell her a story.  This is my technique for helping her to relax; otherwise, she jumps on and off the potty about 37 times during each visit.  Not two lines into my story and we had acheived success!  Hands were washed, celbratory high fives were exchanged and we were back to dinner.

Except.

"Mommy, I need to go poopy!"

Seriously?  We just went.  She usually only goes once every 1-2 days.  Why?  WHY CAN'T I JUST FINISH MY FREAKING MEAL?

"Can you please just wait a minute?"  In my head I am trying to figure out if this is that new toddler behavior wherein the newly potty trained child just wants a break from a boring activitiy and knows potty visits are a sure-fire way to get one or if she really needs to go.

"Noooooooo...."

"You need to wait a minute.  Let mommy finish her supper and we will go to the potty after that."

Needless to say, this was my big mistake.  I have always parented based on the premise that my kid knows what she needs.  I have from birth thought that she would know things like when she was hungry, when she was tired and, yes, when she needed to go to the bathroom.  That approach has never led me wrong.  When I followed it.

Soon she was dancing and grabbing her bum and I heaved a sigh and took a last sip of my beloved cold beverage before, once again, heading off to the potty.  It wasn't long before I realized we were about to be in a desperate situation.  I picked her up and raced across the resturant.  We got in the stall and I quickly pulled down her pants to sit her on the potty.  At which point I got a hand full of soft, warm poo.

The Nugget immediately reached down to see what was going on.  Now there was poo on my hand, poo on her hands and poo on her legs.  Picking her up with my wrists, I put her up on the potty (so now there was poop on there, too).  And I stood and looked at her.

Remain calm.  Remain calm.  Remain calm.

Wishing I had brought my cell phone so I could at least call The Mister and hiss out, "figure out how to help me!", I finally decided I had no choice but to open the door and get some paper towels.

"Do. Not. Move." I threated said to The Nugget.

I rushed to the sink, turning on the water (with my wrists, people) and scrubbing my hands.  Thank goodness the bathroom was not busy!  I snatched up some paper towels, wet some and rushed back into the stall.  I began wiping the poo from hands and legs.  I took off shoes and pants and really yucky underpants.  Looking around, I decided attempts to salvage the undies were unwaranted and stuffed them into the feminine waste basket (you're welcome, C.B. employee!).  I wiped what I could from her pants and, not knowing what else to do, pulled them back on (the poo was contained to the interior of the pants, people!).  At which point we rushed to the sink and washed our hands until our skin peeled back to the bone.

I took her bony, clean hand in mine and walked back to the table where The Mister sat digesting his meal.  I noticed that he had let them take my only partially eaten meal away.  Not that I had any intention of eating the rest, but, seriously?

"Dinner's over.  We need to leave.  Now."  I left no room for discussion.  We marched straight to the lobby to pay and then drove home at warp speed where I ran up the stairs and stuck my kid into a hot, soapy bath.  I acknowledged to The Mister that this accident was really our fault for not listening to her when she told us what she needed.  I patted myself on the back for entering uncharted parenting territory and remaining (largely) calm and coming out (relatively) unscathed.

And, as with every standoff we have, I was relieved that it was over. 

For today.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cold Turkey

I looked up the term cold turkey once I started writing this post.  After all, it's a phrase I have been using for years and I have no real idea about its origin.  What's so bad about cold turkey that it got associated with withdrawing from something?  There seems to be a fair amount of speculation about why the phrase gets used, but I like the explanation that the look of a whole, cold turkey is all sweaty and goose-bumpy:


Oh.  Well.  When you think of it like that, I guess it makes sense.  Because I certainly felt all sweaty and goose-bumpy just like that turkey when I started thinking about potty training The Nugget.  Just like a heroin addict, I kept coming up with new dates and new reasons to prolong the process of using my drug of choice (in this case, diapers). 

"We'll just use up this last box and then we're going for it!"  But once that box was gone, we still had night-time diapers left.

"I'm just going to buy a small pack of diapers and then even out the boxes.  Because I don't want to waste the night-time diapers."

"We have plans every weekend coming up, so I had better buy some more diapers because we don't have a a weekend to dedicate to this project."

Until, finally, I realized that I would be on a lifting restriction in less than a month.  And my nearly two and a half year old still sleeps in a crib which I have to lift her into every night.  And she is changed several times a day on a changing table onto which I have to lift her.  Suddenly, reality set in.  My baby was no longer a baby anymore.  And it was time to tackle the potty training.

I announced my plans to friends and family.  Many exclaimed, "Oh, you're going cold turkey?  You're brave!"  This because we did not plan to use any sort of pull-up in the daytime OR in the night.  "My four year old still wears pull-ups at night!"  Of course, hearing other moms be so nervous about this plan did put some skepticism into my mind,  but we soldiered onward.

I knew from reading that it was important to set aside several days to stay home and focus on the task at hand.  We began our process bright and early on a Saturday morning.  When she rose from her crib, I jubiliantly informed her that from now on she wears big girl underpants!  She will no longer wear diapers!  She was also very excited because we have owned the underwearpants (her word) for some time (due to my repeated postponement of training) and she had been eyeing all of the pretty designs.

Warning: from this point forward we will talk more about fecal matter than you ever wanted to.  Ever.

Day one:  We pooped!  On the potty!  And only had one or two daytime accidents and only one nighttime accident.  She's awesome!  We'll be fine!  Why have I been putting this off so long?

Day two: We peed.  Everywhere.  Frequently.  Why do I have to do this?  Why do YOU have to do THAT?  On the couch?  Must resist urge to return to diapers.

Day three:  It's a miracle!  She is perfectly potty trained and will never have an accident again!!!  Our chld is a genius, we are the best parents ever.  The end.

Well, sort of.  Except...well, the poop.  Since day one, we have had zero night-time accidents (I was fully prepared that I would have at least several days of getting up multiple times per night to change the sheets).  We have had only MINIMAL potty accidents, and that was usually because of a missed signal on our part.  She has not been averse to stopping play in order to hit the potty.  But she has developed some kind of pooping on the potty phobia.

Now, any time she needs to poop, she starts grabbing her bum and doing the poop dance.  I ask, "do you need to go poopy?"  I am met with the adamant, "NOOOOOOOOOO!"  This can literally go on for days.  If I can get her to relax enough to just SIT on the potty, she can usually go.  But, as the days go on, she is less relaxed and more stressed about pooping in the potty.

We tried to meet her stress with lots of excitement about pooping! in! the! potty!  We have made long lists of all of the people and animals who also poop.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, pets - they all go poop!  We have sung songs about pooping.  We have shown her our poop in the potty (look, you do what you gotta do).  All of our exhuberance has only led to MORE anxiety about the poop.

*Sigh*

So we have decided to drop the discussion about poop for now.  She is staying in big girl underwearpants.  If we ask her if she needs to go potty and she says no, we will accept her answer.  If she poops in her pants, we will stick with our original plan, which is to say cheerfully, "accidents happen, but next time you need to try and go to the potty."  If she actually does manage to poop in the potty, then we will give her a sucker.  I am reassured by the fact that I have heard from many of my friends and read online that many other kids struggle with this issue and that it basically just takes time to get better.

But we're more than halfway there, in my opinion.  No wet sheets?  No wet underwearpants?  I'm calling it success!

And that's what you call cold turkey!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What I Learned at the Playground

1.  Once kids reach about the age of 8, parents evidently feel that they no longer need any sort of supervision and let them wander the neighborhood alone all evening long.

2.  There isn't much that is productive for kids ages 8-15 to do on a playground.

3.  If you are the first to fall off of the monkey bars, you are a "punk-ass white boy".

4.  If the white lady glares at you when you say racist comments, you will, instead of understanding the intent of the glare, change your statement to: "punk-ass mexican".

5.  That pre-teen girls come to the playground to flirt with pre-teen boys.

6.  That it makes my stomach hurt to have to go to the playground when it is filled with the big kids.

7.  That practicing swear words while climibing the jungle gym makes you seem really tough to all of your friends.

8.  That I will, at some point, want to punch somebody's kid in the head.  That kid won't be mine.  I won't know whose kid it is, because I have never seen the parents though I have seen the kid many, many times.

9.  That the big kids need their parents more than ever.  That just when you think they are old enough to make good decisions, the rules of the game start changing and they need you to guide them through this new, rough territory.  That just because they might know enough not to run in front of a car, big kids can run in front of a lot of words and ideas and encounters that are just as dangerous.  That continued hand-holding will make crossing those "streets" easier and safer, too.

10. That I want to relish this moment in time, when I am still the center of my Nugget's world and I am still fun and interesting and smart to her.  That all of the values we teach her now will be the building blocks of her character, so they need to be made with solid material.  That it is never to early to teach my child compassion and love and tolerance and peace because, somewhere out there, another family is teaching their kids the opposite and she will need all of the skills she can get to combat those things.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Newseum

We live near and are members of the largest children's museum in the world (who knew?  I guess there really is more than corn in Indiana).  We visit at least a couple of times a month.  The Nugget loves it, and I can motivate her to do almost anything as long as she knows that it will be followed by a trip to "the newseum".

Once a month, the newseum has a special event for members where kids can come and play late on Friday nights.  I recently decided to take advantage of this evening.  The Nugget and I spend every other Friday on a date alone due to The Mister's work schedule and I thought this sounded like a fun one.  The Nugget can act like a wild child all she wants, Mommy can sit back and relax and coast until bed time.

Or not.

The first sign I had that this late night at the newseum would not be a total success was when I arrived to pick The Nugget up from daycare.  She was taking a nap.  I know I have celebrated this fact in the past, but that was because it was a one-time thing.  Lately, all of the summer fun has led to nearly daily naps at daycare.  Which leads to a grouchy, half-awake child at pick up.  One who has not completed her nap in full.  One who will not want to go to bed at a normal time.  One who will make sure that the full level of her discontent is registered with mommy.

I know that many of you are already clucking your tongues at me and wondering why I didn't just give up on the idea of the newseum once I saw the state she was in.  I thought about it.  However, I pick her up around 4:00PM.  The newseum was going to be open until 9:00PM.  I figured if I took her straight there we would be headed for a certain meltdown.  However, if we went home and had a little down time, watched some cartoons, maybe we could do it.  In fact, she was perking up after about an hour of snacks and cartoons, so I decided to press on.

She was absolutely out of her mind with excitement about going to the newseum.  I figured we would enjoy an hour or two at the newseum and then head for a Nice Dinner Out (with a toddler, this equates to something easy, fast and in a place that is pretty clean).  I brought along some snacks to eat in between exhibits to hold us over until supper time.  I had clean diapers, wipes and a cup of nice, cold water.  I was fully prepared for a Friday night adventure.

We started out by climbing the big, purple stairs up to the Dora exhibit.  This exhbit is kind of like being at a techno club; there is loud, thumping music, lots of bright colors and there are people moving in every direction.  It is extremely nerve racking, but The Nugget loves it.  She and Dora are totally simpatico.  We tend to spend most of our time here these days.  I am okay with that - I love that she loves it.

After Dora, we stopped for a snack of peanut butter crackers and water.  The Nugget ate a couple of crackers but was so excited that I could hardly wrangle her to eat any more.  So we were on to the Barbie exhibit.  Funny, but the Barbie exhibit is similar to a techno club, too.  Loud, thumping music.  Bright lights.  People everywhere.  In addition, there is a fashion runway.  The Nugget danced.  She posed.  She played with dolls and drew dresses and had a fine old time.

At this point, we decided to go to the top floor.  This is where THE CAROUSEL is located.  In what I cannot believe is an unrelated twist of fate, The Nugget pronounces the word carousel as "kill youself".  The first time I heard her say this, I totally panicked thinking that somehow she had picked up the phrase "kill yourself".  Of course, she has decided that she hates this carousel with a passion and I haven't been able to get her to ride it for about a year.  In fact, she gets mad if we even get off on the floor where it's located for fear that I am going to force her to ride the "kill youself".  Which, of course, I am not.  Though I enjoy the ride, this particular carousel has the volume turned up so loud that I can hardly stand to be near it either.  There is, however, a really cool play area right next to it.

Our downhill slide started in the maze of mirrors next to the carousel.  We were wandering along, enjoying looking at the mirrors and the lights, when The Nugget decided to climb on a little step to look into a view-finder and promptly fell of.  And hit her head on the view-finder.

My kid hates falling with a passion.  Even if it doesn't really hurt, she is likely to scream in fury at the insult of the fall.  But if it really hurts, too?  Watch. out.  And don't you even think about coming over to help.  The humiliation is more than she can bear.  And all of that screaming inside the confines of the mirror maze?  That is more than mommy can bear.

We soldiered on, however, and soon were on to the next area where a variety of doll houses are on display.  each with little steps leading up to the viewing windows.  Steps designed exactly for a two year old to fall from.  Which she promptly did.  Cue the sreaming and the anger and the tears.  Cue mommy - it's time to blow this popcicle stand.  We are MELTING DOWN! 

I whisked The Nugget to the elevator with promises of pushing! the! button!  Down to the first floor we flew, merely an hour and a half into our big night out.  Me with visions of a Nice Meal Out still dancing in my head.  The Nugget with decidedly different ideas.

Once to the lobby, my attempts to wrangle her in the direction of the door set off an absolute rage.  Oh.  Well.  Maybe we need to delay our Nice Meal.  I can just try and nudge her in the direction of the food court and maybe buy a snack to tide us over until we have obtained enough calm to leave.  Because we cannot eat at the newseum.  It is very affordable to get an annual membership to the newseum, but it is ridiculously expensive to eat a meal there.  Clearly this is how they make all of their money.  So: snack, walk to car, Nice Meal Out.

Except the nudging. wasn't. working.  She wanted to stay planted RIGHT WHERE SHE WAS NO MATTER WHAT.  Why didn't you pick her up, you ask?  I did.  To which she turned into a stiff board and kicked me in the shins.  At this point, I could see my Nice Meal Out slipping away.  We went to set in time out while she raged and while I just prayed to survive the rest of the trip at this point.

Once time out was over, I carried her to the food court.  Because of it being a special night, only a few of the food stations were available.  I dropped any hopes of health food and went straight to burgers and fries as I knew this would buy some calm.  I ordered a cheeseburger basket.  After much waiting (and more tears), the waitress turned around and said, "just a cheeseburger, right?"

"No. No I want fries with that."

Turns back to station.  Turns around with a plain hamburger.  "Just a hamburger and fries, right?"

My internal dialogue went something like this:  No.  NO YOU MORON!  A CHEESEBURGER.  AND FRIES.  RIGHT THE EFF NOW BEFORE THIS KID MELTS ALL OF OUR FACES OFF WITH HER RED-HOT RAGE.

My external dialogue was a bit more socially appropriate: "A cheeseburger, please."  Weak attempt at a smile.

Finally I am able to hand The Nugget a couple of fries while we go to wait in line to pay.  I get her an apple juice and a pack of cookies, too (both of which are rare treats).  In total, we get one cheeseburger and fries to share, two drinks and one small pack of cookies.  Cost for these treats?  Eleventy billion dollars.

Ability of the newseum to manipulate parents into buying the overpriced food in order to squash a nearly guaranteed tantrum at the end of a long day?  Priceless.

You win this round, newseum.  You win.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shhhh....it's Saturday

High heels and overalls - what other dancing attire is there?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I've been Liebstered!



"The Liebster Blog Award is designed to bring additional recognition to those bloggers with less than 200 followers. If you receive the award, you should link back to the blogger that nominated you and nominate five more blogs. Also, don’t forget to let them know that you nominated them."

I'd like to thank The Academy, my mom, all of my managers and producers and, most importantly, Jennie at Fond of Blond (who, really, is the only one who had anything to do with my getting such an award).

Jennie is an awesome, honest mom to three beautiful boys and one cuddly puppy.  She writes about her triumphs and struggles as a mom, about her thoughts on lots of interesting topics and about her love of writing.  She also posts some really awesome fiction sometimes!  You should definitely check her out.

Now for my five nominees (this is so fun!):

1.  think.stew
Stew never fails to crack. me. up.  He is, in his own words, "a dad, a hubby, a hot fat-guy, an educator and a writer."  He can also wax thoughtful when the mood strikes him.  He is, by all accounts, awesome.


2.  Dances with God
Sharon writes grippingly honest accounts of her life.  She is a pastor and a wife.  She is a survivor of  abuse and a champion for others struggling with this issue.  She is filled with light, love and happiness despite any challenges she has faced and she is an inspiration!  I hope you will love her blog as much as I do!

3. Kate Takes 5
Kate is a SAHM to three beatiful children who are conveniently spaced exactly two years apart.  She has an awesome and addictive listography meme which is always fun and thought-provoking and really helps one get to know lots of other bloggers.  Go check her out - I'll see you in a couple of days when you come up for breath from reading all of the great lists!

4.  The Crying Room
Zoe is an awesome woman who JUST GOT ENGAGED!  She talks honestly about her life which is sometimes fun, sometimes challenging and always interesting.  She is currently planning her wedding, so I am hoping we will see lots of pics posted about the upcoming nuptuals.  When not blogging, she and her fiance can be found weeding the garden or eating quiche.  Go check her out!.  Now.

5. Because My Life is Fascinating
Hilljean is an absolutely adorable woman who writes in a witty, honest and fun way about what her life is like as a momma to two adorable kids, wife to one philosopher husband and student herself.  She shares a lot of beautiful pictures of her life as she is a great photographer!  She shares her struggles with rheumatoid arthritis as well as a lot of graphic photos of her surgeries:)  She's a delight and you are definitely going to want to follow this gal!  Oh, and I LOVE her page design.

It was fun picking nominees for this list (and a little bit hard to narrow it down).  Pretty much everyone I nominated has quite a few more followers than I, so I hope they are honored and don't wonder why little old me would feel the need to nominate them!  It's because we all need more love, y'all!

Now go forth and Liebster!