Sunday, 22 April 2018

Kate 2.75 years

I like to think that I am doing a decent job as a parent. Most days, I’m earning at least a B+, maybe an A- on a good day, and I’ve got some Ds and Fs thrown in as well. Husband and I remind ourselves that good parents sometimes still have bad kids, and we know some very well adjusted adults who had really bad parents during their childhood. We’re trying to do our best, but it’s a crapshoot.

Last year, I started reading Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler on the Block, which was supposed to decrease tantrums and somehow make your toddler more reasonable and pleasant. While I have found his tips and techniques to be helpful, I can’t say I use them all the time. I think Kate probably averages 1-2 tantrums per day. Maybe three on a really bad day. I’ve just come to accept this comes with the territory of having a toddler. Sometimes you can anticipate them. She does not wake up well in the morning or after a nap, so that usually leads into crying over something. Sometimes, the littlest thing will set her off. I just ignore her and within a few minutes, she’s over it and has moved on.

Prior to Kate’s arrival, if I saw anyone with a screaming child, I figured they were bad parents. I mean, why can’t they show their brats some discipline? This was even after I learned in my pediatrics class that the appropriate thing to do is to ignore a tantrum. While it’s easy to do at home, it’s much harder in public. Especially as everyone is looking at you and you feel everyone is judging you. Why can’t she show her little brat some discipline?

Kate and I flew to South Carolina to visit my parents last week. As there are no direct flights, we looked for ones that had the shortest layovers (I was going to do a red-eye, but would have had to wait over four hours at the connecting airport) and we ended up getting a 6 AM flight out of SFO. It was brutal. I woke up at 3:15, we got Kate out of bed at 3:50 and headed to the airport at 4:05. I had accidentally paid for priority seating (I thought I was paying my bag fees) which turned out to be a good thing as we got to speed through the security lines. Money well spent as Kate was squirming out of her stroller at that point. As soon as we found our gate, I headed to queue up at Peet’s to get some much needed coffee.

While we were in line, Kate started to ask for some milk. I tried to explain that I would get her some, but she wanted her blue sippee cup that I had left in the car. As I tried to explain why we couldn’t bring her cup through security* she started to meltdown. It was the mother of all meltdowns. She was laying on the ground kicking and screaming. I tried to pick her up, but she started kicking me and squirmed out of my arms. I buckled her into her stroller, but Houdini escaped moments later and was back on the floor. A security guard came over to tell her to get off the floor. I nearly gave out all my $5 Starbucks cards while we were in the line at Peet’s.

Finally, we made it up to the front of the line and Kate started eyeing the baked goods. I told her she could pick one, since she doesn’t often have such treats. She had significantly calmed down at this point. As I gave my order to the barista, she looked at Kate and said “Okay you, no more crying…” I was a bit irked, but I decided to let it go. Then when she gave Kate her donut, she said it again. “Here you go, no more crying!” It was the second time that pushed me over the edge. “Actually, it’s not for you to say that to her” I told the woman as she handed me my change.

To my surprise, I actually got some nods of approval from the other customer in the line, and a few came over to me to offer the “it gets better” reassurances. What I really wanted to say to everyone, “Look, I know my kid is being an asshole right now. We woke her from a sound sleep in the middle of the night, it’s 5 in the morning and she doesn’t want to be standing in a queue to overpay for some crappy coffee. Really, she’s just expressing what everyone else is feeling right now!”

*Technically you can bring milk for a toddler or baby through security, but you have to wait for them to test it. Last time we flew, I brought an empty sippee cup and bought some milk boxes from Starbucks. I thought we could make do with a milk box, but Peet’s only had Soy milk in boxes. I ended up getting a coffee cup of milk with a plastic lid, which of course spilled twice on the flight. Kate also asked for water during the drink service and of course, they don’t have any tops, so she spilled water everywhere as well. Lesson learned: don’t ever fly without bringing a sippee cup.

Height:37.5 inches
Weight: She was 37.4 pounds when she recently stepped on the scale.

Eating: Much of the same struggles still continue. Won’t sit in her chair; wants to sit one some’s lap and when she’s really being a WLB**, she’ll want someone to spoon feed her. She also definitely into the picky eater phase. My poor mom keeps earnestly asking “Will she eat this? Will she eat that?” And I have to reply “I have no idea!” She can eat one thing one day and refuse it the next time it is offered. Our go-to for these situations is Annie’s individual cups of Mac and Cheese. Even better, Kate has even learned to make it herself. She brings her stool to the fridge so she can fill the water, parents will help with the microwave, but she’ll stir in the cheese packet and we learned a trick from a friend to add a slash of milk. It helps it cool down quicker and makes it creamier. She still loves her milk and will drink multiple cups a day. We easily go through 2-3 gallons of milk per week. She’s currently on 2% milk, but after seeing how heavy she’s become, I may do the Folger’s switch and go to 1% milk.

** Whiny Little Bitch

Sleep: We’re still doing the thing where I sit on the rocker and read while she falls asleep. She may wake up once during the night at the most. It’s not too bad. While she’s good about napping at Day Care, we can only get her to nap if she falls asleep in her car seat. As much as I’ll cry once naps stop, it will be nice not to have to deal with the pressure of when is she going to take her nap. When we were visiting my parents, she slept in my bed a few nights. While I was wary as I feared it could become a habit, I did love the closeness of sleeping next to her.

Clothing: We’ve officially moved into size 4T. I’m slowly purging out all her 3T stuff. She’s a beast.

Potty Training: I think we’re finally there during the day. Yes, I know she’s going to have an accident immediately after I post this. When we were interviewing at her new Pre-School (where she used the potty a few times) I told them that we had gone through most of the month of February and March without any day time accidents. The next day she had three accidents at her old Day Care. When we did sign her up at the new Pre-School, we agreed to pay our deposit at the higher cost non-potty trained rate and they’ll refund us the difference if she does use the potty during her first month, which hopefully she will.

She’s started telling me if she needs to go potty while were in the car, and I know it sounds crazy, but I think she knows when I can and can’t pull over as some of her accidents have been while we were on a busy highway. I put her in a back-up travel diaper while we flew, but it stayed pretty dry as she would tell me when she needed to go pee, and fortunately we weren’t too restrained by the fasten seatbelt sign. Oh, she did have a major accident when I put her in her room for a time out. #momfail.

Our biggest challenge is going to be night time training. We’ve been using Hugg.ies over night pull ups and she leaks. Almost.Every.Night. We’re constantly washing her bed sheets. I tried using crib sheets, but found they really only delay the pee from soaking through, so I’ve been placing them underneath the mattress pad to try to save the mattress as much as I can.  As I’m still delaying about getting a twin bed for her, I think I’ll wait until she is night time trained, then I can get rid of the pee-stained toddler bed mattress. Maybe we’ll burn it.

Someone recently suggested placing a pad inside her diaper at night, which I think it worth a try, although it brings back my PTSD of trying to chose a box of pads after my D&C only to discover that every pad has a wings, or is extra long and the basic pads that I remember from my ‘Growing Up and Liking It’ Starter-kit no longer exist. One source I read suggested doing a dream pee. You bring a potty into the room, place it under your kid while they are sleeping and make some ‘Pssss’ing sounds on the hopes that they’ll empty their bladders. I’m curious to try this only because I tried to get Kate to pee if she woke up during the night and one time she was still so sleepy that she almost fell forward off the toilet and face planted in the kitty towel litter box.

Milestones: She started dressing herself! It was a morning when we were already pressed for time. Kate was still wearing her hooded towel. I told her that I would go get dressed and then come back to get her dressed. I figured she would carry on playing at her kitchen, but when I came out of my room. I found her in her room, putting on her coat after she put on her undies, pants and a shirt. As for the color choices… it’s no worse than her father would do… Hey, she picked out her Warriors shirt and they did have a game that night. I was totally impressed. She even went out to the garage to get her boots and put them on in the house.

She’s really engaging in a lot of imaginary play. She likes to pretend “I am the mommy and you are little” and she’ll drop me off at Pre-school, or we’ll go to the park or the Zoo (she even found an old take out menu to serve as our ‘map’ to navigate the Zoo). She also enjoys playing ‘Circle time’ where she’ll place some of her dolls and stuffed animals (and will try to recruit Husband or me) in a circle and lead us through songs (I also learned she does her own version of Circle Time with her pre-school classmates).

Health Issues: She had an ear infection at the end of January, but otherwise she made it through one of the worst flu seasons on record without so much as a cold. (Ironically, she was supposed to get her flu shot on the day she was seen for the ear infection, which had to be delayed due to her fever) She may have caught a touch of the second flu wave that hit in early April. On the horrible 6 AM flight, it took over an hour to get her to fall asleep, and she slept for nearly two and half hours, which is really long for her, but I chalked it up to the early morning start. When she woke up in preparation for landing, I thought she still looked really tired and had that glossy-glazed look in her eyes. When I strapped her in to the stroller to get to our next gate, she felt really warm and I could tell that she had a fever. I was really tempted not to give her anything, thinking the fever could help her sleep on the next flight, but as the wheels in my Evil Mom brain we turning, she told me “I need medicine!” I gave her some Tylenol and she slept another hour (allowing Mommy to have a nice peaceful lunch in the airport) and she woke up bright and alert and was even charming to the fellow passengers on the next flight.

She seemed back to herself once we arrived at my parents’ house, and then suddenly started throwing up Ugh, it brought back memories of her newborn days when I would get showered in puke and it would soak through my clothes to my skin. Yuck. A few days later I got the fever and chills, but (so far) have missed out on the vomiting.

Activities: I’ve been really frustrated at her gymnastics classes. We started this new class that is much more structured than her old one and maybe it’s too much for her as she’ll either be really clingy (she’ll just want to sit on my lap) or she’ll be really defiant and won’t follow along, forcing me to sit with her in a time out. It just kills me as she’s the tallest and oldest in her class and the younger smaller ones have no problem listening and going through the exercises. I began to wonder if it was a bad idea to start her at the free range gym, but one of my swim team mates (who used to teach at the new gym and her oldest is a standout on their competitive team) suggested a fight fire with fire approach. “Take her to an open gym session on a Saturday and let her run around everywhere and get it out of her system. Then she may be more willing to listen during the classes.” (She also echoed that at this age, it’s not so much the gymnastics skills that are important, it’s learning how to listen to instructions) Husband agreed that it’s not a bad idea to try, but before I had a chance to get her in on a Saturday, I went with the Mean Mom threat. “If you don’t start to participate, we’re going to leave and never come back” That worked. Some times old school parenting is the way to go.

Looking forward to: We’ve attended two birthday parties this month and we have another one next weekend, which has prompted me to start thinking about Kate’s third birthday party. I had thought about doing a theme, but Kate is so over Peppa and is really into Dora right now (Plus we did Olivia last year, so it would be two consecutive years of piggies). So I’ve started thinking about purple backpacks for gift bags and creating a map… As much as I can’t stand the repetitive formula of the show, it easily lends to a party theme. Oh, after watching Kate just lick the frosting off cupcakes two weeks in a row, I’ve decided I’m not going to bother buying fancy cupcakes. I’m just going to open some cans of frosting and distribute some spoons. Have at it.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Update on 2018 Goals

As I saw that Non-Sequitor Chica posted a quarterly update on her 2018 goals, I decided to hold myself accountable too.

1. Following Flexible Eating and continued weight loss

Fail. To my surprise, I only gained 2 or 3 pounds over the holidays (which I probably shouldn’t say only 2-3 as that it a lot of a short time). I hit the New running (literally doing a 10K and I went to the gym on NYD) and cleaned up my eating habits. I did well for the first two weeks of January, and noticed that I gained 2 pounds from my bloated starting weight. At the same time, our new siding and windows project was hampering my efforts as I lost access to my kitchen a few times and we ended up eating take out multiple times in one week. I need to do better. I’ve been yielding to too many temptations in the break room at work and I know my other culprit is eating some of Kate’s snacks. Perhaps in the month of June I’ll do another Whole 30, because we’re going to Hawaii in May. I’m going to try to be disciplined most days, but indulge at the Luau.

2. Enter the Cross-Fit Open
Success! I note only entered, but I competed in the Rx division and placed 15 out of 40 in my gym! Years ago, one of my swim teammates kind of poked fun at the idea of the Cross Fit Open. “Cross Fit Competition? What the fuck is that? Ooo I’m the best at working out” I laughed along with her at that time, but I now know that the laugh was one me, as with the exception of the super elite athletes, you’re really only competing with yourself to see how good you can be. The Open allows you to achieve some PBs, but it also exposes your weaknesses. I quickly learned that it was not just about getting through the workout, but maximizing my effort by being more efficient. Being smart as well as being strong. The WOD in the second week was a 1-10 ladder of Dumbbell squats (35 lbs) and bar facing burpees followed by a 1 rep max hang power clean all with a 12 minute time cap. During my first attempt, I finished the complex, but ran out of time for my clean. A few others also failed to make it to the clean, so we repeated the painful WOD a few days later. This time I came up with a time strategy for the squats and burpees, I found it was helpful to rest the dumbbells on my shoulders for the squats and I PR’d my clean when my coach “accidentally” put on plates heavier than I requested and said “Oops, no time to change, you’ll have to lift this”. I got to know a lot of people who go to different class times and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

3. Sending cards for birthdays
Success! I misses one or two as I needed to reset my settings after I found a few birthday.alarm reminders in my spam, but so far I’ve been pretty consistent

4. Keep up with Kate’s Share Days
Early Success, then Fail. Each week Kate’s Day Care leans a letter of the Alphabet and on Friday, they’re (read Moms) are supposed to bring a show and tell item with that letter. I did really well for the first few weeks of the New Year, I even rocked a quilt for ‘Q’ and a toy xylophone for ‘X’ (the weeks don’t go in alphabetical order -don’t ask me why) and then I faded. Will try harder after we get back from break

5. Adjust to my new role in a leadership position
Work in Progress. I was really reluctant to take on this challenge. I served as a Lead Clinician many years ago and I concluded that I’m not very good in a management or administrative role. However, our current site lead was stepping down (and was later promoted to a higher leadership position) I’m the third most senior person in our group, no one else applied for the position and it pays a bit extra. At a minimum, I have a newfound respect for how hard it is to be in a leadership position as people can be really annoying and I hope I was never this difficult. Our service line manager wanted to arrange an in service dinner with the three other department in our affiliate and proposed a central location and suggested 5 possible dates. I presented these dates to my team and had two people responded with  “can’t we do a different location?” “Can we do our own meeting, why do we have to meet as a big group?” Oh, because that’s not extra work for me to arrange another meeting at a different location. I had to be the bitch and say, ‘just reply yes or no to these dates. I’m not arranging a separate meeting’. (Not just because I don’t want to do the extra work, but the goal of the meeting was also for everyone to meet as a group and I feared it wouldn’t go down well if we did our own thing)

6. Send my In-laws photos on a monthly basis
Success! Well, I’m 4 for 4 so far this year. I made a deal with myself that if I didn’t send the photos by the 6th of each month, I wouldn’t be able to go to the gym or swim. There was extra motivation as I could hear my swim coaching yelling; “What do you mean you missed practice because you needed to email your in-laws some photos? I need you to work on relay starts!  How hard is it to pick up your phone and send some damn photos? Do it NOW!” Send. And done.

7. Run some 5K races with Kate
Success! We did one on New Year’s Eve and another on President’s Day weekend. We’re signed up to do another at the end of the month

8. More FaceTime with Husband
Success and Fail. We’ve been taking advantage of the Parents Night Out provided by our day care (something I’ll really miss when she goes to the new school, but I’ve found some other options) and when we’re out, phones must be put away (except one time, I drunk texted our friends in LA about visiting…) We’re still really bad about using our devices late at night and first thing in the morning, rather than talking to each other. We’re hoping once my schedule changes and I’m home earlier in the evenings, we’ll have some more family time.

9. Swim Times
Fail and some Success. The pool was closed for repairs for most of the month of January, some of my teammates found alternate locations to practice, but I took the time off. Unfortunately, as we got closer to the championship meet, I missed a lot of practice due to Husband’s and my own work conflicts, a few nights where Kate didn’t sleep well, and I just wasn’t where I wanted to be in term of my training. I had to bring Kate to some of our smaller meets leading into the Championships, which is not ideal, as I can’t really warm-up and warm-down as I need to, but I did manage to somehow get a new PB in my 50 Free. I went to visit my parents during the week before my meet and I ended up getting a bad cold. In hindsight, it just wasn’t a good idea to spend a day traveling, and then show up to a meet jet lagged and expect to swim my best. I surprised myself by dropping 14 seconds in a 500 Free (and placed second) but struggled in my other events, especially Fly. I did better in the 100 Free than I did last year, so it’s a PB post baby, in my 40-44 age group. I’ll take it.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Pre-School Predicament

So, when we last left our heroes, Husband and I had toured SLM, a Montessori school very conveniently located close to my work. While the facility was impressive, Jane especially felt that they were rudely dismissed by the director. She immediately asked if Kate was potty trained, as I replied yes, Husband felt the need to disclose that she was still having the occasional accident, and lately was having multiple accidents a day. As the director was explaining how all kids MUST be potty trained, since they don’t even have changing tables and their staff can’t take the time to teach potty training..yada..yada...yada... (by the way, I think this is the most detail she told us about her school, until I cut her off to say that Kate would be fully trained by September enrollment) As I was thinking about how much I wanted to kick Husband at that moment, I decided I needed to put it in a way that he would understand. When we were walking to the parking lot, I asked if he remembered watching the original Ghostbusters film. “Of course, many times” he answered. “Ray, if someone asks if you’re a God; you say ‘yes’” I quoted. “If a Pre-School is asking if your kid is potty trained, you say YES!!”

After chastising ourselves for not looking into alternative Pre-schools sooner, we re-grouped and I booked two more tours for the following week. I would look at one school, Husband would look at the other and who ever could make the best sales pitch for the school they toured, the other person would visit that school. I checked out 5CM on a Tuesday. The main drawback to this school is that it is on the other side of the city where I work. My colleague’s son attended this school and she recalled that it took about 10 minutes to get there from our office, so it adds an extra 20 minutes to my commute, which is not that bad. I acknowledge that I’ve been so spoilt to have our Day Care so close, and I always knew this luxury would come to an end. However, it is close to the highway, and I have an option to take back roads should traffic be an issue.

I really liked the school. The class rooms are well organized and the program includes Kindergarden. A teacher explained how different areas of the classrooms work on language and reading, science and math. “We teach addition and subtraction to the pre-schoolers and the Kindergardeners start working on multiplication and division.” She explained. Seriously? I pretty sure I didn’t learn my times tables until I was in the third grade. One teacher was doing circle time with her kids teaching them sign language with her song. I recognized most of the words. After much pleading, Kate got to check out the play area and immediately seemed to give it her approval. While she was playing, I met with the director, who informed me that they have not yet accepted applications for next year’s class, so we have a shot at getting in.

I already had the feeling that this school was going to be our winner. Husband toured the other one a few days later and felt it was more chaotic and less organized. “A little too free range” he commented. That other one is just a touch closer to my work and not as convenient to the highway. He visited 5CM a few days later and agreed it was the better the other one. He would have preferred SLM, due to their location and the fact that they’re about $4,000 less than 5CM (the price for 5CM is about what we are currently paying, but it doesn’t include summer, which would cost an extra $3,000 but we’re trying to see if my parents can come out for the whole month of August). His other hang up is that all Montessori programs that offer extended day care only provide care for a total 9 hours. He’s not sure I’d be able to pick her up in time with my work schedule.

As the school is close to my work, it will mean that I will be doing most of the drop offs and pick ups. The program is also structured for 5 days a week (I could opt to only send her for four days, but the fees would not be discounted). Husband was so enthusiastic about the school that he declared “I want her there full time, I don’t care if you get a day off!” While I would love to have a day off to myself during the week...I just can’t justify it...Currently, I work 36 hours a week, 10 hours on Monday and Fridays and 8 hours on Wednesday and Thursday and I am getting a bit tired of the long days, even though I hate to admit that, as I fear I shows my age. I’d also like to have a more consistent schedule.

I accepted an administrative position at the beginning of the year, and so far it’s been a lot of insufferable bullshit, but it does pay a little extra, so currently I’m working 36 hours, but receiving pay that corresponds to a 40 hour work week. I decided I’ll keep myself at 36 hours, so I can have Tuesday morning’s off and I’ll do my administrative work on Tuesday afternoons (which I can do from home). On a purely selfish note, this schedule opens a lot of opportunities for me. I can swim four mornings a week. I can go to the gym on Tuesday mornings and go to Safe.way or and I can swim at noon. Husband also agreed to let me keep going to the gym on Thursday nights as the instructor that night is my favorite.

It does mean I lose my day of one-on-one time with Kate. Again, I always knew this day would come, but I thought it would be two more years down the road when she starts Kingergarden. I joke that I’m a stay at home Mom one day a week, but as Husband works from home, I find that we spend most of the day out of the house, so I’m trying to justify that most of the day is actually spent with us in the car. There have been some days when Husband is away for the day and we’ll spend the day playing at home. Those days are my favorites. No schedules, no pressure, we just do what we want. I just love watching how her imagination works and being able to follow her lead.

Another impact of changing her Pre-School is that it affects her gymnamtics classes. Although you can pay on a monthly basis, we’re signed up for the entire year and of course weekend classes fill up first. I asked about getting on a waiting list, but I can’t start that process until she turns three (as she’ll be in the three year old class in September) which is in July. As long as we submit a drop request in time, they’ll stop our payment and we can attend open gym on the weekends, but not at the member-rate. Ugh. I’ve been toying with the idea that maybe I’ll rotate her through sessions or soccer and swim lessons on Saturdays and fill in with gymnastics open gym in between sessions. Her current Pre-School offers an awesome soccer class and she started taking swim lessons twice a week, which is great as I think she does better with her friends. This is one of my biggest hesitations about switching to a different school, but I am keenly aware that I shouldn’t be basing my school choice on the extra programs and not the actual school itself. (Of note, her new school offers a ‘Tuff Tumblers’ gymnastics and ‘Super Kickers’ soccer class, but they seem lame compared to her current classes).

Then there are her friends. I mean I know she has a new best friend each week, but there is something to be said for the fact that she’s been with this group of kids since she was four months old and there are really good group of kids with good parents. I’ve actually made friends with two moms who don’t plan to transfer their kids who are Kate’s age, as they have younger children and don’t want to do the multiple drop offs yet. I haven’t told them that we’re not re-enrolling. We all know how these things pan out; we say we’ll still hang out and do play dates together and we make an effort at first but then it stops... It’s been a really tough decision, so I’m hoping that means it was the right one.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Invisable Rainbows

Life in Pieces almost immediately became my new favorite show when it debuted a few years ago. The pilot aired a few months after Kate was born and featured a couple in their mid 30s who just gave birth to their firstborn. The doctor came by during her rounds the next morning and asked the new mother how she was doing. Before she could answer, her husband replied that his neck was sore from sleeping on the partner bed in the hospital suite. That is exactly what Husband did when my parents arrived to see me and Kate and my dad asked, "How are YOU doing?" As Husband started to complain about his neck, my Dad cut him off to clarify that he was directing the question to me "the one who was sliced opened and had a small human pulled out of her" Thanks for the graphic recall Dad, I'll need to remember that the next time I need Husband to shut up. On a side note; I've generally regarding L+D tours to be rather useless. Maybe it's because of my own familiarity with the rooms and I feel they merely existed to promote the millions spent on making the suite seeming more like a hotel and less like a hospital, but the experience really was akin to stay at any other hotel with an en suite. However, if they explain how to move the arms on the sofa so it does stretch out like a full bed, and no other support person has to complain about a sore neck, then maybe it is time well spent.

Anyway, as we watched the first season of Life in Pieces (which follows the lives of a baby boomer couple and their three adult children) we were drawn to the couple who were new parents as many of their experiences were following ours. Then came the "invisible rainbows" episode, which we would later discover, absolutely nails the Pre-School Panic. Jen and Greg were attending an extravagant totally over the top 6 month birth party for a child in their neighborhood. The party was complete with a bounce house, tables Full of fancy baked goods and gifts bags, clowns, balloons and a stuffed animal petting zoo. You know, because real animals carry E.coli. But don't worry, there were plenty of hand sanitizer stations, so kids will know what to do if they should ever touch a real animal. Oh, and to make it really authentic; there was hired help to clean up their "poop" (chocolate covered raisins).
It soon became clear that the real guest of honor at this party was Marta, the headmaster of an exclusive private pre-school. "You know those kids you had every advantage and we hated them?" Jen asked Greg "Don't you want that for Lark? [their daughter]" Greg soon learned just how competetive these schools are when we was chatting with two parents whose kids attend Marta's superstar pre-school. One mother describes that she married a woman and that only moved them up a few places on the wait list, but she does love her partner, or at least loves having orgasms. When the tiger moms start pressuring Greg about what other pre-schools they are considering, Greg panics and conjures a pre-school called Invisible Rainbows. Don't bother googling it, because they are so exclusive that they don't even have a website. In fact, they don't even have an address as it's a pop-up preschool...just like a rainbow...

Word of this new hot exclusive pre-school spreads like wildfire at this party. Just as Greg and Jen spot Marta standing alone and are ready "to pounce on her like a fake tiger at a stuffed zoo", she approaches them to express her concerns about the director at Invisable Rainbows. "She cannot be trusted," Marta warns and further elaborates "the only thing invisable there are the iPads. We offer a 1.5 iPad per student ratio" (not a selling point to me, by the way). This was the tipping point for Jen to decided that the pre-school down the road from them would be good enough and Greg adds, "the people there aren't full of chocolate covered raisins" as he stuffs a handful in his mouth.

This episode prompted us to have the discussion about Kate's schooling. We love where we live, but there aren't very good schools in our area and we had tentatively planned to move to a location with better schools. At least for now, we decided to stay where we are and look toward private schools for Kate, which kills me a little bit as I'm a proud product of public school education (my elementary school was actually rated as one of the best in the country). We figured that we had a couple of years to figure this out before she enters Kindergarden, as her current Day Care/Pre-School provides services until Kindergarden. As I mentioned in a previous post, we've been really happy with her current program. They provided great infant care and Kate seems to be thriving in the toddler and twos programs. They work on letters each week, discussed the solar system in the month of January, she has music classes, goes to soccer and will start swim lesions next week. They've previously offered Spanish and yoga classes, although I haven't seen any sign up sheets recently. I recently passed on an open house to look at other pre-schools as I was happy with our status quo.

My eyes were opened the day after Valentine's Day, when I received an email in the middle of the day announcing the abrupt departure of one of the most tenured Pre-school teachers. I figured there was some back story to explain why she was let go, but I didn't think too much of it, until I started getting texts from some parents who had older kids in the Pre-school and were particularily fond of the departed teacher. The director held a parent meeting a few nights later. The take away that I took home is that it sounds like the dismissed teacher was going through burn-out. Parents with the older kids remembered her as a very dedicated and loving teacher and newer parents saw the concerns that the director had with her. I spoke with a mom whose son just recently moved into the Pre-school program and she commented that when she dropped off her son in the morning, the fired teacher was spending time on her phone. Not the worst thing in the world, but it doesn't impress you either. There seemed to be a collective opinion that the quality of care seems to drop off at the Pre-school level.
I'm trying to be optimistic. As the director announced that they are looking to hire two new pre-school teachers, I'm seeing it as an opportunity; maybe they'll be awesome and will re-establish our facility as a top notch Pre-school. However, I also thought it would be prudent to start looking at other schools, especially if they are not successful in replacing the teachers, we'll be competing with everyone else for spaces at other schools. My Father worked sort of as a handyman for a Montessori school and had been promoting the Montessori method pretty much since Kate was born. Husband was a bit resistant, I think, just because he saw my father being intrusive, but I was able to get him to agree to take a tour with me.

We looked at a school that is on my way to work. As in, it's so close that I could just slow down and kick her out the door and continue driving (kidding, of course). The school is very secure and features four classrooms with a playground courtyard in the middle. It looks like an actual school. The director let us peek in on a classroom, which looks much like a real Kindergarden classroom. The kids were engaged in circle time and seemed to be happy. After 15 minutes of chatting, she talking about putting our names on the wait list and explained how that process worked. Even after the brief encounter, Husband was totally impressed. "I want her in that school!' he declared. I agreed that it really would be an improvement from her current Pre-school and I started to fret that we were too late and wouldn't get in and went into full blown Pre-school panic mode.

I have to admit my privledge that not only is she currently enrolled in a good pre-school program, but I was able to find three other Montessori schools that are along my way to work, or near my office. I will whine a little bit that I had to exclude some schools even though they are only a few miles from our house, the traffic in our area is so bad that I would be looking at adding two extra hours of time in the car each day. Oh, and I excluded some others and the cost for one year is more than my college tuition (albeit that was in 1994, I shutter to think about what my University is charging today). I'm hoping that with these four school, we get accepted into one that will be the right fit for Kate. It has been a bit of a mind fuck and I feel like I've become one of those parents at the Life in Pieces party. I even confronted Husband about it. "We're obsessing about this school after the director didn't even ask about Kate, showed us one classroom and directed us right to her wait list" Maybe she figured that didn't need to sell it, thought Husband. I added that we may be so far down on the wait list that it was her polite way to avoid wasting our time and raising our hopes. (Co-worker confirmed to me that schools with Wait Lists, basically spend a few minutes with you, then lead you to the door)

There is so much emphasis on the development in the first five years, but there is a part of me that also says we shouldn't be putting so much pressure on this time as being a predictor of future success in life. Kate's Pediatrician, who is a truly brilliant man, recently revealed that he wasn't able to read until he was 6 years old. It also reminds me that Husband and I have to be Kate's primary teachers and her schools are meant to supplement. I'm probably going to question my decision over and over again should she get accepted into a Montessori or if we keep her in the current school. There is no such thing as a perfect school. It's an invisable rainbow. Life in  Pieces totally nailed it.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

A Day in the Life Winter 2018

A Day in the Life
Saturday 24 February 2018
Husband 43
Jane 41
Kate 2 years 7 months
Kayla 10 years
Tyler 4 years

0125 Wake up to hearing Kate cry
0127 Tuck her back into bed, she falls back to sleep quickly, but wait a few minutes before leaving.
0135 Back in my bed and fall asleep quickly
0410 Tyler is meowing incessantly. He wakes up between 4-5 AM like clockwork. Pick him up and take him back to my bed. He settles on my lap and starts purring
0440 Tyler is meowing again. I bring him back to bed with me, but he jumps off a minute later
0445 The meowing is getting louder. I check his food bowl and note it is empty and I'm out of dry food. Fill his bowl with cat treats. Cue Kitty Mom guilt.
0700 My alarm goes off, turn it off quickly so I don't wake Husband. Tip-toe around as I'm getting ready for the gym. I'm trying to sneak out like a fleeing one-night stand.
0715 Busted. Kate wakes up. I grab her milk and send her to our bed with Husband
0735 Husband whines about the fact that I'm going to the gym since I competed in the Cross Fit Open last night. He injured his thumb last August and hasn't been the the gym in over 6 months and has not so subtlety hinted his resentment toward my involvement. He expressed his concern that I'm putting myself at risk for injury by going back so quickly. Concern duly noted.
0740 Husband is also lamenting about the fact that I have a Dentist appointment and a hair appointment with a facial later today. "How long does it take you get your hair done?" He reminds me that he needs tomorrow afternoon to do our taxes. I laugh. When does he NOT get child free time on the weekends? I make no apologises about going to the gym on both Saturday and Sunday since it's the only time I get to myself on the weekends. The only other time I get is for a hair or medical appointment, my two swim meets, or work events, which I have to coordinate months in advance. Plus as we've started letting her watch Pig on the weekends, he really has an easy parenting shift.
0745 Leave for the gym. Kate insisted on giving me three hugs before going
0802 It's a easy recovery work-out. 5 rounds of a 400 meter run and 15 Overhead squats. I opt to use just the bar as my forearms are still on fire from last night's workout
0900 Finish at the gym, I hit Target before my Dentist appointment. It is so refreshing to be shopping on my own.
0955 Arrive a few minutes early at my Dentist appointment. I picked up a pumice smoother at Target and start filing the callouses on my hands.
0957 The Dentist is right next to a compounding pharmacy, which reminds me that I need to refill Tyler's Prozac. If I thought ahead, I could have picked it up while I was here and saved myself a trip.
1035 Finished with my dental appointment. Rather easy routine cleaning, no X-rays. Reminded that I need crowns for some old fillings.
1100 Arrive home. Discover that Kate's diaper leaked while she was in our bed, which tells me that Husband let her watch more than our agreed 2 episodes of Oh, and apparently she peed on him too. Laugh silently inside.
1105 Start packing Kate's snack bag and check the supply of spare clothes in the potty back pack. Ask her if she wants to shower with me, she says yes.
1115 Turn on the shower to let the water warm up. Give Kate the countdown.
1118 I get in the shower while Kate is still "warming up"
1120 I notice that Kate is going through our Cross Fit line drills
1123 She's still not getting in the shower, I yell to Husband for help. He assists with getting her undressed. I find a pack of fruit snacks in the shower to coax her. She doesn't want any, but I decided that some fruit snacks would be a good idea right now.
1125 As soon as she sees me eating her fruit snacks, she wants in the shower to claim her "fruit 'nacks"
1128 She screams while I try to wash her hair.
1130 Quickly dry off and get dressed. Kate is sitting in her room in her robe eating another pack of fruit 'nacks, because you know she did not get a whole pack.
1132 Husband is still whinging about how much child care he is being required to do today. Apparently, I didn't have to go to the gym this morning
1133 I wish someone informed him that having a child requires one to do some occasional parenting
1134 I surprise him by informing him that I booked him for a facial after mine. He still hasn't used a gift certificate that I gave him for his 40th Birthday (see his age above)
1145 Grab Kate's snack bag, backpack, Kate and Husband and somehow we manage to leave on time
1205 She manages to fall asleep as we're driving to the salon. He gets the nap during his shift
1215 Husband drops me off on time for my appointments. He plans to hit a drive through Star.bucks for lunch and then will take Kate to the park
1235 I share with the aesthetician  that I started using the Rodan and Fields skin care program (I have three friends who are consultants and I finally couldn't escape) She expresses that their products could be more abrasive and suggests stop using for a few days before being out in the sun for prolonged times (i.e. When we go to Hawaii!)
1345 Get dressed and get ready for my hair appointment
1355 Do my consult with the hair dresser. I always have thoughts about doing something drastic and different, but I end up telling her just to take off a few inches
1430 Text husband to let him know that I am done. Check out and pick up some new make-up and skin care products as I'll receive 10% off as I had services performed today
1435 Meet Husband just outside the salon. I offer to let him check in for his appointment and spend some quiet time in the relaxation room, but he offers to get a coffee instead.
1440 Husband has coached Kate to tell me that my hair looks nice. She does so over and over again.
1445 We park the car in a multi-level garage and head to Star.bucks
1450 While waiting in line, Kate request a "pink pea pop" I may have started buying Kate a cake pop while we shop to make my trip easier
1455 We're still waiting for our drinks
1500 Still waiting, which is surprising as our order wasn't that complicated and they are not too busy
1503 Finally receive our drinks
1505 Kate notices that someone in Starbucks has "the same 'puter [computer] as Daddy". We look over and notice that it is an Apple and wonder if she recognized the decal. We point out someone who has a Dell laptop and another non-Apple tablet and ask if that is the same computer as Dadd and she says no.
1515 Husband gets ready to walk back to the salon for his appointment. Kate begins to cry. When Husband tells her that it is his turn for a spa appointment, she proclaims "I want a turn..."
1520 This actually gives me an idea. There is a barber shop just across from Star.bucks that features toy cars for kids to sit in while getting their hair cut.
1525 We walk over to the barber shop, they take clients on a walk-in basis and have a female staff member who agrees to cut Kate's hair
1535 To my surprise, Kate is being totally cooperative getting her hair cut. The hair dresser gives me a tip to use a wet brush for easy brushing after washing, but she suspects that it will be easier to comb her hair with less tangles after the hair cut.

1537 She also revealed that "leave-in conditioners" are really just watered down conditioner, so she suggests making my own by adding some water to a drop of conditioner in my hands and rubbing it through her hair before combing, or using it on the comb itself
1545 I order the wet brush from my Ama.zon app while the hairdresser finishes up with Kate
1550 As we leave the barber shop, Kate mentions that she wants to see "The Mommies" I.e a group of women and kids selling Girl Scout cookies. Last week we passed a table and they gave her a cookie
1555 We visit the Girl Scouts. I buy a box to send to a friend living abroad
1610 Head into Gap as I have $75 in Gap.Cash that expires today
1615 I appreciate that the gimmic of Gap.Cash is that nothing in the store is on sale. Head for the clearance rack in the Kids section. I can't believe I'm already shopping for 4T clothes for her. Myrtle's daughter is 5 and is still wearing 4T. She and Kate can share clothes.
1620 Kate is actually picking out some clothes from a display table. I loathe buying clothes at full price, but I want to encourage her choosing her own clothes
1630 Kate finds the chairs outside the dressing rooms and declares it time for a snack break
1632 I open a box of raisins and a packet of Chia Seeds for her
1635 While she is snacking, I browse the women's sales racks
1645 Head to the check-out. Kate climbs into a display rack. She's sitting there quietly and isn't touching any merchandise, so I let her stay there while I pay, but I'm sure I'm drawing some dirt looks from others in the queue.
1650 Received text from Husband that he is done
1655 While walking back to the car, Kate announces that she has to go potty. We hit the Star.bucks that we patronized earlier that day as I figure that grants us one bathroom use
1705 Meet up with Husband, he's really happy after his facial as the aesthetician was able to get rid of some dark spots he had. I causally mention that he could have had this done three years ago...
1710 We stop at Fed.Ex to drop off a package. Husband runs into the store while I wait in the car with Kate. I go to plug my phone into the charger only to find it's not in my purse. I must have left it in the stroller
1712 Open the boot and pull out the stroller. My phone is not there! Start to panic
1715 Husband comes back to the car. He took my phone from the stroller console and has it in his pocket. Phew.
1735 We arrive at a local pub where we are regular Saturday night patrons.
1740 As we walk in, Kate asks "Where's Adam?" Yes my 2.5 year old is on a first name basis with the bartender as he gives her maraschino cherries
1742 We find a table that gives us a view of the Warrior's game
1755 The waitress comes to take our order and Kate asks for "Fishy-fish please" I don't think I ordered in a restaurant by myself until I was 6 or 7
1800 Kate announces that she has to go potty and she wants Husband to take her. He does so willingly. I take note that he seems to be in a much better mood since his facial
1820 Our food arrives. I cut Kate's fish for her. She is a weird kid that takes the breading off the fish and eats the fish first and may eat the breading at the end depending on how hungry she is.
1850 Kate has to go potty again. This time, it's my turn to take her. As we walk in, she goes straight for a smaller stall and tells me that she is going to do it herself. She locks the door.
1851 Fortunately, the next stall is a handicapped one. I stand on the back of the toilet stall and then step on to the safety bar while holding on to the top of the stall so I can peek in on her. I'm hoping that A. No one else walks into the bathroom at this moment and B. This safety bar can support my weight
1855 Kate manages by herself just fine. I jump down and flush the toilet so she thinks I was going potty too and not spying on her.
1900 Kate announces it's "Fro-yo time!" We walk to the Frozen Yoghurt stop. Kate goes through her rituals. Swinging on the hand rail at the Sushi restaurant. Saying goodnight to the wooden fish on display at a salon and to a stone cat and goose at the flower stop. We also wave to the owner of a book store, who is still working at his desk even though his shop closed over an hour ago.
1910 Arrive at Yoga.fina I wasn't planning to have any, but Kate hands me a cup. Why not?
1912 Assist Kate. She's allowed two yoghurt flavours and three toppings
1915 Kate sits next to another young girl at the kids table and the kids start talking about the toppings they have. I snap a photo as it's really cute, but then realise that I probably shouldn't be taking a picture of someone else's kid, but her parents are both engrossed in their phones, so I don't think they noticed.
1920 Kate announces that she is done even though she hasn't finished her fro-yo. I'm please to see that she knows when she's satiated and isn't finishing it all just to finish. I text Husband to tell him to drink up as he will finish his beer, just to finish it...
1922 I distribute wipes to Kate for her to clean her face and the table. I feel that keeping the place tidy allows us to be welcomed as regulars.
1927 Husband arrives and we all walk back to the car together. I stop at the ATM to get cash for the Farmer's Market
1930 As a bus drives by, Kate starts singing 'The Wheels on the Bus'. She starts to confuse it with 'Old MacDonalds Farm' and is coming up with new verses; "The Piggy on the Bus says Oink, Oink, Oink!' Husband and I start to join in with other other farm animals; "The Cow on the Bus says Moo, Moo, Moo!" "Duck on the Bus says Quack, Quack, Quack!"
1935 Husband and I start to debate the ending of 'The Wheels on the Bus' We've heard it as "all day long" or "all through the town". I argue that "all through the town" makes more sense as the bus is travelling all through the town and may not run all day long.
1945 Arrive at home. Tyler is meowing loudly to let me know that he needs to be fed. Kate offers to help. I watch as she tries to slop his canned food into his bowl and is getting bits of cat food on the counter.
1948 I clean out Kate's snack bag and replenish it for tomorrow. She is playing at her kitchen by herself. I should be gearing her toward getting ready for bed, but she seems to be in the zone with her play so I let her continue
1955 I go into the bathroom to use the new skin cleanser that I picked up today. Kate walks in and asks if I want a cup of coffee from her toy Kurig machine. I accept her offer
1957 As I'm washing my face. Kate returns with a toy cup and small wooden spoon. She tells me "Here is your coffee. It will help you poop." Um, how does she know this?
2015 While Kate is still playing on her own, I chat with Husband as we really didn't see much of each other today. Discuss logistics for tomorrow and plans for meals this week
2025 I hate to disrupt Kate as she is happily playing on her own, but she's overdue for getting ready for bed
2027 I prepare her milk and head to her room. Tyler is sitting on her floor waiting for stories
2030 Kate recognizes that I'm in her room and joins me. I let her pick out her jammies, but she's resisting getting changed.
2035 Husband senses that I'm struggling to get Kate dressed and comes in as back-up support. Kate wants him to help her change. Meanwhile, I pick her books to read, hiding her books of multiple stories as she'll choose those and want to hear every story.
2055 Finish stories and head her to the bathroom to brush teeth. Husband helps as for some reason he does better at getting her to brush her teeth. I drop her empty milk cup in the sink. I know the milk remnants will curdle over night, but I can't be bothered to clean it right now.
2058 Husband has tucked Kate into bed, I lean over and give her a kiss as well. Husband turns out the light and I settle into her chair with my IPad
2100 Kate requests that I turn on her Sleep Sheep
2102 She wants a different song on the Sheep. I instruct her to change it herself
2103 She wants her blanket on. I inform her that she can do it herself
2104 She lets me know that she put her blanket on
2105 She wants to know what I am reading. I remind her that there is no talking.
2105 For the record, I am looking up Montesorri pre-schools.
2110 I can appreciate a change in her breathing. She seems to be asleep
2113 Wait a few minutes before leaving. Night time routine is still not ideal, but much better than spending over an hour trying to get her to sleep
2115 Go back to the bathroom to complete my nighttime R+F skin care routine. Notice the cup of 'coffee' that Kate brought me is still on the counter. I bring it back to her kitchen and do a little tidying While I'm there.
2120 Head to bed. Husband is watching Eastenders. Appreciate the nostalgia for watching such an iconic English show, but also find it a bit sad.
2129 Finish my internet search on Pre-schools.
2130 Thankfully, Eastenders has finished. Discuss the results of my pre-school research with Husband
2145 Start watching last night's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. We started watching it last night, but both feel asleep during the opening  monologue
2200 Drift off asleep during Bill's interview with his first guest. Will watch again to try to make it to the panel discussion and New Rules.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Kate 2.5 years

I had the best of intentions. Thanksgiving was early this year, so there were four and a half weeks before Christmas. I was going to create and order our holiday cards and the Year of Kate calendar for the grandparents over Thanksgiving weekend, so I could mail the cards and the calendars to my in-laws by the first week in December. I was able to produce the cards over that weekend, but as I was working on the calendar, I decided I needed some pictures of Kate in front of our Christmas tree, which didn't get assembled and decorated until the first weekend in December. I downloaded the app on to my IPad (which is where I store all my photos) and got to work. I uploaded all the photos, added captions, noted birthdates, our vacations, my swim meets, and Husband's hockey tournaments. It took me over two hours to create. Then, as I was adding a photo to use as the cover, the app crashed and my two hours of work vanished right before my eye.

I was on the verge of tears. It brought me back to loosing my term paper the night before it was due when I was in the nineth grade. Husband felt so badly for me that he actually suggested getting a new I Pad as mine is close to 6 years old. A few days passed before I could start over again and I could only do a few months at a time (after I discovered that I could save my work). It took just over a week to finish and while it would arrive in time for my parents to open on Christmas morning, it wouldn't get mailed to my in-laws until after Christmas. Maybe they would not receive before the start of the new year. That was my silver lining.

Let's rewind a year and I'll explain why I was smirking. Last Christmas I sent my in-laws and Husband's aunt and uncle some professional photos of Kate that I had professionally framed. I was honest about the money that I spent on their gifts on the customs shipping form and because of the amount that I spent, they had to pay a fee of 25 pounds when they picked it up from the post office. I get it. It's a really, really crappy thing to have to pay for your own present. However, I like to believe that I was raised to A. Just be thankful that someone went to the effort to send me a gift. B. Feel humbled by the amount the other person spent on me and decide that maybe I wouldn't say anything about it. C. If I felt compelled to mention it to the other person, I would wait a suitable amount of time AFTER I thanked the person for the gift. Not my Father-in-Law. The first thing I heard was about how he had to pay the fee. Husband didn't help the situation by claiming that I should have recognized that most of the cost of what I paid for the photos and the framing was the professional fees and the actual cost of the photo and frame was nominal, so I should have been more accurate in describing the value of the items. This enraged me as Husband wasn't showing any appreciation for the fact that I purchased, wrapped and mailed gifts to his parents, whom (and I can't emphasize this enough) I couldn't give a shit about. Even when we called my in-laws on Christmas morning, my Father-in-Law had to inform me that Husband's aunt and uncle also had to pay 25 pounds to pick up their package. No shit, I sent the exact same things. I just didn't hear from the aunt and uncle about their fees as they learned A-C.

So the fact that they would be getting their gift late this year, seemed to be my little revenge for not being thanked last year, but wait! There is more gift giving animosity related to my in-laws. Last year, they asked what they could do for Kate for Christmas. As we were coming to visit in February, I suggested that we could pick out some toys from Ar.gos and Kate could open them when she arrives, which would save us from having to bring toys with us. Ar.gos is basically the original Amaz.on. It's a small store front with multiple catalogues (think, the Sears catalogue) you write down the item numbers and employee search their warehouse for your products while you pay. You can also order stuff on-line and they deliver. Husband passed on my suggestion and my Father-in-law said that they would just buy Kate some toys when she arrived. Okay, few things annoy me more than when someone asks for your input and then completely disregards it. Well, we arrived and my in-laws had no plans to take Kate shopping, so Husband and I had to go out and pick up some stuff for her. I had really wanted to get some toys that were unique to England, but out of desparation, we ended up at Babies.R.Us -which basically has the same stuff that we could get back in California. We even got her another Baby Doll, so technically her "two babies!" are actually triplets. My Father-in-Law gave some cash to Husband to reimburse for the toys.

When Kate's birthday rolled around, the in-laws asked again what we wanted them to do. I replied that I just wanted her to having something that she would know was from them. I may have said something to the effect of not slipping cash in their kitchen like it was a drug deal. I also replied that I wanted her to have somethings that would represent England and I shared that I had found a few series while we were visiting and I gave them the titles. (I also specifically mentioned the store where I purchased the books and where they are located). Two months later, they sent some books. They weren't wrapped and there wasn't anything in the package to suggest it was a birthday gift. The books weren't the ones I suggested. They are probably appropriate for a second or third grader. If you don't want to take my suggestions, is it too hard to ask someone in the shop what books would be suitable for a toddler?

This year, I knew better to make any suggestions on what they could do, just so they could be ignored. I went into my 'whatever' mode.  Husband said the easiest thing was for us to get a gift for her and they'll give us money. So I went out to buy gifts for Kate, and wrapped them and put her Grandparents' names on it, so on Christmas morning, they could Face.time to see what gifts I bought for her.  I had to leave the room. Oh, and I won't get reimbursed until we go back over to England, but that's not the point. It just really annoys me that this is one more thing on my Christmas to-do list. My 82 year old Father-in-Law can fix his shower, but can't shop, wrap and ship a present to his granddaughter? I know there will come a time when we'll have to get gifts for them, but for now, they're capable. They're just being lazy. End Rant.

Height: 36.5 inches
Weight: Still at 34 pounds. I want her diet of eating snacks all the time and not gaining weight

Likes: ALL.THINGS.PEPPA.PIG. OMG we are so into the Peppa Pig phase. We introduced the characters with some books and then started adding some Peppa clothes and Myrtle sent some Peppa puzzles. Now it seems that we only read Peppa books at night and she even has Peppa socks and underwear. We've been letting her watch "Two Peppas" on the weekends, since A. It gives us a little more time resting in bed and B. It's a good incentive for good behaviour "If you don't do XXX, you can't watch Peppa" (we have been strict about following through with the threats). While I would rather her not be watching TV, as I fear it will become the Pandora's box that cannot be shut and she won't want to engage in other forms of play, I noticed that it has stimulated her imaginative play. She has a toy mobile phone and she'll call Peppa characters, Mr Rabbit, Madame Gazelle, Mr Bull... I'm not really sure what she has to discuss with Mr Bull and I can't help to notice that she is gravitating to the adult characters in the series and I wonder if it is a function of being an only child.

Her latest game is to play Farmer's Market. She'll go into the fridge and take out my bags of carrots, kale and other produce and will put then on individual squares in our tiled hallway. She then pushes her baby's stroller along the hallway and collects the bags. (Now, she has a cloth Ergo carrier for her baby, as she's a hip Californian Baby-wearing Mom) Our friends in LA gave her an activity desk for her birthday (which we finally assembled at Christmas) and it has a feature where it plays music. Kate will set the desk in the center at the end of the hallway (right where the live musicians play in the actual Farmer's Market). Then she asks me for a dollar to tip the musician.

Dislikes: Our main power struggles are taking a shower and getting dressed, although the latter has become a bit better. She initially agrees to go into the shower, then plays the stalling game. She strips naked and then declares that she needs to "warm up" and swings her arms by her side. We're not sure if this comes from waiting until the water is warm enough, or watching us warm up at the gym. I'll get through my entire shower (shampoo and conditioning my hair and even shaving my legs) while she is still "warming up". There have been days where I've had to drag her in kicking and screaming. We've gone through giving milk, soup (juice) fruit snacks, bath crayons and paints and even a Peppa pig wash cloth and she still resists. Right now, we're doing a shower every other day, but I think we're going to need to do it every day.

Milestones: Fortunately, I've not heard her use the F-word since my last post and she has discovered the L-word. One day she was sitting on my lap and I kissed her on the head. She turned and looked at me and said "You love me?" In an astonished voice. Hearing her say 'I love you" just melts my heart every time. Other important words she's learned...I caught her calling her VG her "hoo-ha". I'm pretty sure she picked it up from Husband and I didn't correct her as it sounds so cute when she says it. Then one day she walked in our room while Husband was getting dressed and I heard her ask "Is that your hoo-ha?" So, now she knows the proper anatomic terms. We also turned her front facing in her car seat. Question: what do you do when your kids starts kicking the seat?

Potty Training: I have a friend who is a Potty Training and Eliminiation Communication (EC) coach. She posted on her Facebook group that the stress of the holidays (going different places, family visiting, etc...) can either seal the deal with potty training or cause it to fall apart. I really thought we were going to be in the seal the deal category. She came home from Day Care in her undies TWO DAYS IN A ROW, she was using the potty by herself while my parents were here and when we were out, she would tell me when she needed to pee. I went over a week without having to use any of the spare clothes in our potty backpack. She was even staying dry through her naps and I don't think we've diapered her for a nap in over a month. Then she started peeing a bit in her undies en route to the potty. It was getting to the point of needed to change her undies and pants all the time. Next we progressed to full blown accidents, as in her bladder might as well be a water balloon that just burst over the floor and oh yeah, in our bed... She was having more accidents at Day Care and they were giving her two chances before going back into pull-ups. I even tried to bribe her by letting her watch Peppa during the week if she stayed dry at Day Care.

I was in denial for a while, but I needed to face the reality that we were in a full blown regression. We went back to naked training for a weekend. It was killing me. A few weeks ago I thought we were done and here we were back to square one with naked training. Fortunately, it stopped the accidents almost immediately and she was using the potty again. I decided we're going to spend quite a bit of time in the commando stage. Commando is meant to be pants without undies, as undies or training pants can sometimes feel like diapers. However, most girls pants are so tight, they're basically leggings. So I've been having her wear her pajama bottoms while we're at home and I found some looser fitting pants at a conseignment shop. At press time, it seemed to have worked. She only had one accident at Day Care this past week (which was during their Valentine's Day Party) and none at home. She had one accident at the park this weekend and another at the Zoo, but both times she told me she needed to go, but just didn't make it in time. I bring the Portette travel potty everywhere we go, but if she knows she has an option for a 'big potty' she'll refuse to use the Portette. I brought her to my swim meet this weekend and she insisted on using the big potty when there were only three heats of a 100 IM before my heat. She PR'd the potty run and I made it to the starting blocks on time.

Eating: I fear we've made no progress in this category. When I visited Myrtle just prior to my transfer, I was silently critical as she let her daughter watch cartoons on the IPad and play with toys during dinner and then wondered why her daughter wasn't eating. We had been eating in our kitchen and I was finding that Kate was getting easily distracted as we keep a lot of her toys in the kitchen for her to play while I'm cooking. We had also fallen into the habit of watching the news to absorb the latest scandals of the Trump administration and then bang our heads against the wall as we ask 'how is he still in power?'. After the New Year, I cleared my dining room table from what was gift-wrapping central, and decided that we would eat in the dining room -no TV. No change. Kate will squirm around in her seat for a while, before climbing out of the chair and finding something that she 'needs' to bring to the table. If I get her back in the chair, she'll request 'help' to eat, which really means that I have to spoon feed her. Sometimes she'll even whine "I'm a baby" We've tried explaining that if she's going to regress to being a baby, then she can't do big girl activities, but eventually, my maternal instinct to nurture and my desire not to waste food kicks in and I'll end up feeding her. Husband has been really pushing me to stop doing this, as she is in the 90th percentile for her weight, she can stand to miss a meal and it may be the only way for her to learn. I've been pondering going my grandfather old-school "Eat it, or wear it" but I think she'd find it fun and it would really be a mess for me to clean.

Sleep: Once Kate starting escaping from her crib, and we transitioned to the toddler bed and started sleeping on the pull out mattress next to her, I knew it was the wrong thing to be doing and it would eventually bite us in the ass. Yet for a while, it wasn't so bad, especially as she started sleeping though the night again. Husband and I accepted it as a trade off, it would take longer to get her to go down, but we got a good night's sleep. Initially, it would take 10-15 minutes, maybe only 5 on a really good night. Then it became more like 15-20 minutes. Next it stretched to 45 minutes. Around the start of the New Year, it was taking almost an hour if not more to get her to fall asleep. I was finding that I was delaying her bedtime (part of the problem) as I needed to make sure I had all my lunches, meal prep and other chores done, because there were some nights when I would fall asleep and I once spent the whole night on her pull-out mattress. This bull shit had to stop.

We consulted our friends in LA, who advocated for the Cry it Out method. Painful, but it works. I was planning to do it over the President's Day long weekend, but our Day Care provided baby sitting on Valentine's Day, so I decided to do it that night, as we were off our usual routine anyway. I closed her in her room and she cried for 28 minutes before falling asleep on the floor, leaving me just enough space to slip in and carry her to bed, where she woke up, but fortunately fell back asleep quickly. We tried it again the next night, and as we wasn't in such an overtired state, she really was trying to body slam the door. I was afraid she might hurt herself, so I came in and offered that I would sit on her rocking chair, which I did for a few minutes before moving just outside her door.
So this is where we're are now. I've read stories from other moms who have tried this approach, gradually moving themselves further away and staying for shorter periods of time. One friend offered that she would set a timer, telling her son it was for "ten minutes" and then she would set it for fewer minutes, until she was out in two minutes. I think that might work for us. At least for right now, while I'm in the rocker or sitting outside her room, I can use my IPad and feel like I'm being productive .

Clothing: I just purged out the remaining 2T clothes, save a few from Gym.boree that sometimes run larger on their sizes. Her 3T shirts are starting to look tight. [face palm] she is going to be wearing 4T sizes before she's actually 3 years old.

Activites: We started a new gymnastics class. While I loved our previous instructor and there were some perks to that gym (it was right next to a Whole.Foods and a Pet.Smart, plus there was a playground nearby) I didn't feel like it was challenging her. The "class" was just an open gym with 10 minutes of circle time to sing songs at the end. We even were able to drop in one the 2.5 - 4 year old class as a make up, and it was the same format. The new class is very structured, which is really making Kate work on her listening skills as well as her gymnastics. She likes working on the stuff she is good at (forward rolls, swinging on the bars and rings) and doesn't like the stuff she needs to work on (hand-stands, stretching) I feel that it was definately the right move, especially as the instructions progress all the way to team Competetion, and their teams travel and do really well. The only annoying thing is that while it's closer to our house, it still takes the same time to get there as it did for the other gym because Bay Area Traffic really sucks.

Looking Forward to: Having our garage back! Shortly after Christmas, we started a project of replacing the siding and Windows in our house. 'The Menz' (as Kate calls them) have been storing all their tools in our garage, so we've had to park in our driveway and sometimes on the street. It's funny that we didn't use our garage for the first five years that we lived in our house, but it's been a huge inconvenience to be without it now. Part of the reason is that we're in our rainy season, and I've been soaked while trying to get Kate into her car seat. The other reason is that we rely on Kate to fall asleep in her car seat to take her nap. There have been a few times, where I've had her sleeping in the car while it's parked on the street and I'll sit in the front seat and work on an article I agreed to write. I'm sure it draws looks from neighbours who are walking by.

A more serious reason for wanting the garage back, is that my car was, let's say "accessed" as I don't know if I can call it 'broken into' when I think it was left unlocked. I came back from picking up Kate from Day Care and brought our bins into the garage. I saw that Kate was holding my keys, but I wasn't really paying much attention to what she was doing with them. Husband was due to return from New York late that night, nearly at midnight, so I didn't set the alarm, so I wouldn't risk waking up Kate. When Husband came home, he discovered the boot of my car was open, as was the passenger door. The glove box and the console were also open. We found the tool used to break into a car; however as there was no damage to my car, we think Kate had played with the lock and it was my fault for not checking to confirm it was locked. Here is what was stolen; a bag of Kate's old clothes I had set aside to give to a pregnant woman at my gym, a pair of gloves, an umbrella, and a few socks stuffed with granola bars that I give to the homeless. Oh, and they also took my Garmin, which I haven't used in over 10 years. All I can say is that if the thieves really needed these items, I hope they make good use of them. It was kind of a no harm, no foul, break in, expect I realised it could have been much worse. My garage door opener was clipped to the driver's side visor. The thieves could have gained access to my garage. If I had heard the garage door open, I would have assumed it was Husband and when he didn't come in after 5 minutes or so, I probably would have gone out to see what was taking him so long to come in, and could have walked in on the robbery in progress. So today's security tip: don't leave your garage door opener in your car if you have to park in your driveway.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Right Now January 2018

Some articles on Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) as I agreed to write a paper on that topic, which is due by Monday. See also: what I should be working on right now.

My bed clothes. I'm taking a sick day. Yesterday I woke up with some body aches and chills and watched as my temperature gradually crept up all day. It got as high as 104-105, which resolved with taking Motrin. Other than having a bit of a non-productive cough, I don't feel that ill, which makes me feel guilty about staying home, but someone else in the office who has similiar symptoms was diagnosed with the flu, so I reckon I probably have a touch of the flu and it's best that I don't get everyone else sick. This is only the 5th sick day I've taken in the past 15 years, so I feel I'm due.

Watching: Pig. Yes, seriously. We've been letting Kate watch it on Saturday mornings and I really enjoy it. She also gets to watch it when she's sick, so I figure that can apply to me too. I'm getting caught up with Life in Pieces. They just did a sketch about infertility (in a cartoon format) that was funny, yet very real and honest. Kudos to the show for addressing the topic.

The sound of an air compressor, a saw and some intermittent banging. We're having the siding on our house replaced.

I'm going old school and I'm trying to flush this virus out with fluids, so I have a cup of tea, a Naked fruit blend and two bottles of antioxidant fusion water. It brings me back a bit to my second retrieval (one of the 5 sick days) where I had to drink a shit-ton of vitamin water.

A packet of Fruit Snacks, after I told Kate she couldn't have them for breakfast, because I'm sick.

Loving: I was contemplating placing orders online, as they offer free delivery for orders over $75. I figure this would save me per shopping trip, but it seems that each trip, I find new products and it really saves so much compared to shopping at the grocery store. Plus, it's an activity to do with Kate, who loves to sample.

One more week until swimming starts again! The pool has been closed for over a month as the heating system needed to be repair. Will be glad to have it up and working as it's been in the 40s and raining. I'm also getting ready to sign up for the Cross.Fit Games.

Kate moves out of this whiny, clingy phase very quickly.

Yet another day of national embarassement known as the shit show of the 45th Presdient

To figure out how to use my Insta.pot. I have to admit, I'm a bit scared of it. The instructions specifically warn that it is not to be operated by children or anyone with reduced mental and intellectual capacity. I've cleaned it and set it up, but have yet to do a test run.

Oddly, about nothing in particular.  Other than the general troubled state of affairs.

Our vacations for the year. We booked our time share week to go to Hawaii in May! Now we just have to figure out when to go to England to visit my ILs and I decided I would take Kate to go visit my parents during her April break, but I'm waiting to find out when our swimming championships will be before booking my flights as I think they might be that weekend. I also want to do some CME conferences in a destination location

I just received an email for a Pre-School Open house. Our current Day Care goes all the way through Pre-K and we've been really happy with their program, but I've been wondering if I should know what other options exist. I recently saw a post by Bernie Sanders that quoted how the most crucial time of learning development is in the first five years and yet we pay Day Care providers so little rather than investing in them. I feel that Kate's current teachers really do a great job with their cirrculum. They are learning letters each week. This month they are learning about the solar system -I don't think I learned about the planets until I was in the 3rd or 4th Grade. They have music classes, soccer, yoga and Spanish lessons. Plus she's got a great group of friends and I've been getting friendly with the parents. Of course, I'm really questioning if I'm just keeping her in her current pre-school because it's so convenient for us and I don't want to disturb our current routine.