Monday, 15 July 2019

Kate 4.0

 As I always read over my last update before composing my current one, I am laughing out loud as I read that we were passed the horrible Threeranasauras stage. Oh no. It’s like herpes, the gift that keeps on giving. Even though she just turned four, she’s exhibiting all the horrible behaviors of her terrible threes. It started just after Memorial Day weekend, husband and been away, but Kate and I were doing fine flying solo. She spent an afternoon playing with her cousin and was very well behaved when my friend’s husband graciously offered to watch her and another kid while we did a benchmark work-out. The next week Husband went away for two days and she started her school’s summer program, which meant a different classroom, new teachers and a few new classmates as the school likes to mix-up the classes for the summer modules. Then I went away for a few days. Kate was so much for Husband that he called me begging me to come home earlier. We tried to go out to our usual Saturday night dinner at the pub, but she was so poorly behaved that we had to turn the car around and never made it to the restaurant. Then Husband went away for a week. For the second time, Kate was refusing to get in the pool at her swim lesson (she had a new instructor as her regular one was away) I explained that there have been a lot of transitions recently and she doesn’t handle change well. I was hoping that was all this was just a slight setback in her behavior, she’d be back to normal and all would be right with our world again. [insert laughter]

Nope. A month later, things have become much worse. She completely.regressed. I went back to read that post, we are exactly right back where we were a year ago. Wanting to play pretend (baby, kitty, puppy..etc) at inappropriate times. Throwing horrible tantrums where she thrashes all over the ground. Being super clingy and throwing one of those tantrums because I had the audacity to leave her side long enough to take a shower. Not cooperating with getting dressed. Being as difficult as possible as much as possible. One morning she was sitting on our bed when I informed her it was time to turn off the TV and go to the kitchen (our usual routine). When she didn’t comply, I gave her the option “Do you want me to turn off the TV or do you want to do it?” Her Pre-school promotes this approach as kids feel they are more empowered rather that being told what to do. I asked again. I told her that if she is not answering ‘yes, that she wants to do it’ she must mean that she wants me to do it. She said she would do ‘eenie-meanie-miney-moe’. After two endless rounds of eenie-meanie, I turned off the TV, walked out of the room and shut the door to muffle the sounds of her crying and screaming.

I threatened to cancel her birthday party if she didn’t improve her behavior, which worked for a while and fortunately, she was very good at her party. She hasn’t opened half of her presents as we’re saving them for positive reinforcement for good behavior, but there hasn’t been too much to reward. We’ve taken away watching TV in the evenings. I’ve given her specific examples of what she needs to do to earn back her TV privileges (cooperate with getting dressed at swimming, no playing pretend at school pick-up) and she fails to do these and then wants “more chances” to earn her TV time back. After six weeks of a steadfast decline, Husband and I accepted that this isn’t just a phase that will pass on it’s own. I reached out to our pediatrician and I’m trying to set up a conference with her teacher. I’m reading The Difficult Child as we speak and I ordered *Positive Disclipine* from Amazon last night. Has anyone else dealt with a major behavior regression? I vented to a fellow mom at my gym that my kid has turned into a fucking asshole. She just laughed. “All kids are assholes, Jane. Not too many moms admit it out loud as you just did. Recognizing it is the first step, You’ve got this Mom,” Do I? I hope so…


Eating: We’ve made slight progress here. After offering the broccoli tater tots as a desperate attempt to sneak a green vegetable into her, she is actually eating two vegetables on her own. At a CrossFit BBQ, she fixed herself a plate of carrot sticks and ranch dip and she’ll eat yellow or orange peppers if they are served at home. For some reason, she does not eat them when I put them in her lunch box, but since she’s eating them at home, I’ll take it and score it as a win.

Potty Training: I can report a major victory in this category! We have achieved night time dryness! When we got back from South Carolina, I gave us all a week to get over the jet-lag and then started putting her to bed commando and I would set my alarm every two hours to get up and to try to do a dream pee. We had some initial success, but she wouldn’t always pee during the dream pee, but at most was only wetting the bed once a night, which was much better than when we last left off and it was multiple times a night. Then I read some source that suggested that the dream pee doesn’t really teach kids anything, it just means you have less laundry to do. If she wasn’t learning anything, and since he works from home, I can actually get Husband to do the laundry, why was I sacrificing my sleep? I decided to ditch the dream pee and see what would happen. She wet the bed the next few nights. I was completely frustrated and despondent. I was convinced she would be using pull-ups until she went to kindergarten.

We asked Husband’s colleague and friend who has a son a year older than Kate and was finally dry at night just before he was four and a half what worked for them. “I bribed him” was the response she sent via text, but she didn’t quite explain how. Desperate, I just googled “how to night time potty train your toddler” and the magic little person who runs the internet hooked me up with this mom’s suggestion “do a double pee before bedtime”. I put both suggestions into place. Kate usually pees before or during her bath, then we do stories before bedtime. I offered that if she puts pee-pee in the potty after we read our three night times stories.. she will get a BONUS story! Next, if she wants to get into our bed during the middle of the night, she must put pee-pee in the potty or else she goes back to her bed.

BINGO this was the magic formula that finally worked. Kate would be dry when she came into our bed, she would pee and stay dry for the rest of the night. There have been a few accidents, including one in our bed; but for the most part she is dry almost every night. She is now even using the potty in her room on her own before she comes into our bed. Some times she’ll wet her pants a little bit, which I think wakes her up to go to the potty and she’ll even change her Jammie bottoms on her own. I’m somewhat wondering if her behavior regression is to offset this major developmental leap she’s made, but what I know for sure is that I recently realized that I had to wash her sheets as they hadn’t been changed in over a week. Thank you random woman on the Internet who made the double pee suggestion. I don’t know who you are, but I wish I could send you $17 as that tip was much more helpful that Jamie Glow.acki’s nighttime training supplement.

Sleep: We’re still in the same dilemma; when she naps during the day she’s not tired at bedtime and doesn’t fall asleep until nearly 9:30 every night, which is too late for both Kate and Mommy, who is still sitting in her room until she falls asleep. I tried on a weekend to see what would happen if she didn’t nap and she was absolutely grizzly come 7PM. I could tell she was too tired to eat dinner and rather than risk an even bigger meltdown, I let her have some milk, gave her a quick bath and put her to bed. She was asleep before 8:30. Can I tell you how much I was ready to party when I walked out of her room?

I have a few strategies moving forward. Firstly we’re finally going to get her into a twin bed as she has been sleeping on her crib mattress for the better part of a year and she barely fits on it. I had been stressing out over so many bed designs and types and dealing with the limited options for configurations in her room given the location of the window, heating vent, closet and most importantly that her dresser is secured to the wall and the mirror is perfectly centered over the dresser and I really don’t want to move either one. Then I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to just get a day bed with a trundle that is essentially a larger version of what she has now with her toddler bed converted from her old crib. I think it will work for the kid who does not do well with change and for her mom, who is also some what reluctant to change the room from the nursery that I designed for my baby. I’m also going to get a storage unit that is somewhat of a similar style to her old changing table, and for now I’m keeping the glider in the room, mostly because Tyler spends a lot of time sleeping there and I think it’s one of his favorite spots.

My other night time strategies will involve getting her to go to sleep on her own, and I’m keeping the chair in part because I think we may need to ‘wean’ the time Mommy spends in the chair each night, which is actually going to be hard for me because it can be a productive use of time to clean my email, make shopping lists and download my Safe.way coupons. I also want to bring back the OK to wake clock to get her to sleep in her own room all night. As much as I do love snuggling with her at night, it’s becoming harder as she is getting bigger. Despite the fact that we have a Cal King and there really is enough room for the three of us, she crowds my side and I end up sleeping on a sliver of the bed. I thought I had pinched something in my shoulder at swimming or at the gym, but when I went to Monterey for a few nights, I realized it was from the way I was sleeping with Kate at my side. Some nights, I’ll get up and sleep in the guest room, which feel so decadent to have a bed to myself (well sharing only with Tyler) but it’s really not ideal. So that’s our goal by the end of the year; new bed, going to sleep on her own, staying dry overnight and staying in her own room all night. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Looking forward to: Having my normal kid back! I hope! I’m en route to Chicago for my Girls Weekend with Myrtle as I type, which is my last trip of the year. My parents are coming for a two week visit in August and I so desperately hope Kate’s behavior is improved by then, because all my feelings of inadequacy and failure as a parent will only be magnified in front of my mother. Then we start a new school year and Husband will be traveling for hockey (yay! More transition and change!) but we also will be approaching Halloween, Thanksgiving, and (gulp) Christmas. Seriously, how can it be almost Christmas already?

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Birthday Party Etiquette

I’ve found that after college, it’s hard to make friends as an adult. People become comfortable with the groups they have and don’t really look to add new members. I had somewhat been promised that once we had a baby, I could gain some Mom Friends. Shortly after Kate was born, I started attending a weekly Moms group and the group would go out for lunch after then session. I would enjoy chatting with these other women, but we never exchanged numbers or made plans on our own. I didn’t see myself having much in common with these women other than our babies. So that didn’t really work out. I would recognize some moms during the Day Care drop off, but I never had the time to start a conversation as I had to rush off to work. Then Kate started to get invited to birthday parties for her classmates. At last, I was chatting with other moms and making play dates with her school friends

I started buying gifts for these parties. I felt like it was the price of admission to the Moms Club. Once I bought a gift even though I had no idea who the kid was. I went gender neutral as I wasn’t sure by the name if the child was a boy or girl. As Kate became older, I started involving her to select a gift and explained how we give gifts as birthday presents. Then just days before Kate’s second birthday party we received an invite for a party and the Mom wrote “No gifts, please” at the bottom of the announcement. I some what questioned she can’t really mean no gifts? What if I was the only one who didn’t bring a gift? I figured it was better to error on the side of commission than omission and selected a gift to bring. When we arrived, there was a small pile of presents, so I added ours. *

A few days later, it was time for Kate’s party. I didn’t make any mention about gift on the invite, but directed those who brought a gift to set them at a designated table. We decided not to have Kate open her presents at her party and we would stretch it out by having her open one or two a night. As I was keeping track of who gave which gifts to write thank you notes, I noticed that the mom who requested no gifts at her daughter’s party did not give a gift to Kate (even though we had brought one for her daughter’s party and for the record, we never received any kind of a thank you). Suddenly, it hit me. She really did mean no gifts! (Kate was later invited to the party for their older child and this time she capitalized NO GIFTS on the invite, just to make it really clear.)

It started to make sense to me. I could understand why a mom might not want birthday gifts. More stuff in the house, maybe the grandparents and other family members go overboard and they don’t need any extra gifts. Maybe they consider the party experience is enough of a birthday gift. Whatever their reason, if the mom writes ‘no gifts, please’ she means no gifts and to bring a gift would be violating the Mom Code. However, I noticed we received some other invites that were a little less clear…  ‘in lieu of gifts, please bring a book’… um that is a gift, you’re just specifying what you want. Or ‘your presence is the only present we need’. That is not exactly the same thing as ‘no gifts, please’. Thinking it was; I didn’t bring a gift to a party and was one of the few who didn’t bring a gift, and I felt a bit awkward. Although I did note that others who attended were much longer term friends and I has only started hanging out with this mom and her kids (friends from the gym) so maybe her message was just to make sure no one felt obligated to bring a gift. 

Then this really got me thinking; should I be requesting ‘no gifts, please’ for Kate’s party? Is this the thing that is done now? Am I going to be shunned for accepting gifts? While it has not been the intention or purpose of Kate’s birthday parties, I’ve appreciated the gifts we’ve received. Firstly, Kate doesn’t get gifts from her grandparents or any other family members, other than my aunt and uncle and cousins, who we invite to the party. Secondly, as her birthday and Christmas are about six months apart, I can get her to have a good clear out of toys she no longer plays with, so she can make room for incoming new things. I’ve also started having her participate in writing thank you notes. (My mom used to withhold my gifts until I had completed my thank you notes, and I’ll probably start doing this with Kate in a year or two). I also like getting new ideas for toys and games from other parents sharing what their kids enjoy. Additionally, when we’ve need to buy a gift for someone’s party, I’ll have Kate help with the shopping and wrapping, as I explain how we give gifts when it’s someone’s birthday. 

Then there is the issue of reciprocity. There is a brilliant episode of The Big Bang Theory where Penny informs Sheldon that she has a Christmas present for him. He is resentful,  as now he has to get something for her. “You’ve not given me a gift, you’ve given me an obligation!” His plan was to get a bunch of Bath and Bodyworks gift baskets of differing values, determine how much her gift cost, give her the basket that corresponds to that amount and return the rest. When Penny’s gift turns out to be a napkin used by Leonard Nimoy; Sheldon brings out all his gift baskets to give to Penny, although he admits “It’s not enough!” If Kate is invited to a kid’s party, are we obligated to return an invitation? Does the same thing follow with gifts? For Kate’s party last year, I really wanted to write on the invitation ‘no gifts if you’re a no gifts mom’. Instead I came up with ‘gifts appreciated, but not expected’. I found that we received gifts from most, but not all guests. I also notices that some of the simplest gifts (sidewalk chalk, WaterWOW books) were some of the biggest hits. (Interestingly, one of the moms who did not bring a gift to Kate’s party, used my phrasing on the invite for her child’s party) 

My good friend Amy, is a no gifts mom, so I might ask her why she is a no gifts mom and get some of her thoughts, but I’d also love to hear from you. 

*I started (but never finished) a post about the mess at this person’s house. The grass in the front yard wasn’t cut, but there was a weed whacked lying on the ground. I don’t know if their model is as easy as ours for a kid to use. They had a small playhouse that had slats and shingles falling off. It was hazardous. Kate and I ventured inside to go to the bathroom and we encountered a very dusty treadmill in the front hall, that obviously hadn’t been used in sometime, but there was a turquoise bra on the floor, which I imagine was left during the last use. The kitchen looked like it had been renovated recently, not that you could tell as every inch of the counter was covered in some kind of junk. I took a peek on their outside deck and saw their charcoal grill was right next to the kids water table and there were ash flakes in the water table, because who doesn’t want their kids to play with carcinogenic materials? I was trying to describe this mess to Myrtle by referencing the episode of Friends where Ross dates a messy woman, but after seeing that episode recently, I have to say this place was worse. Anyway,  the gist of my post was going to be -is a messy house a dealbreaker for a play date? 

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Kate 3.75

OMG, I just read my post when Kate was 3.25 and wow, have things changed. She is so MUCH better behaved now. I feel she is out of the ‘Threeranosauraus Rex’ stage but is still and ‘threenager’ Sometimes little things will set her off, like when he have lights on in the kitchen. It is a bit easier to get her out of her meltdowns and we’ve had fewer time-outs. 

Most of the time, she is a sweet little girl and I wish I could keep her at this age, where she has to give me a hug and kiss every time I leave the house and wants to snuggle with me at night. Then she wants me to help her wipe her butt and I’m ready to let her grow up a little.

Height: 41 inches 
Weight: 41.5 lbs

Likes: She still put her hand down my shirt and feels me up when she drinks her milk, although now she explains that she is ‘checking for tigers’ because for some reason, there might be some tigers under my shirt (it’s always tigers too, no other animals). Occasionally she find one and she’ll emerge with a closed fist and announce that she has to throw the tiger in the garbage, as apparently that is what one does with shirt tigers. 

Also likes announcing when she’s farted (even when it’s obvious). Especially in awkward places, such as a full elevator or the car.

Eating: Still has the worst table behavior ever. Won’t sit still, stalls and stalls. Refuses to eat any veggies. 

Potty Training: If there ever, ever was any thought of us having another kid, the thought of going through potty training again stops any thought dead in it’s tracks. I know what you’re thinking; Jane didn’t you start potty training two years ago? I KNOW. Kate grasped the concept quite easily and could make it to the potty most of the time, with the occasional accident (fortunately, no poop accidents. I do consider myself lucky in that regard). The trouble is that she often leaves it to the last minute and with wet her pants a little bit en route to the potty. The end result is the same as if she had a total accident. There is a little baggie of wet clothes tied to her lunch box when I pick her up. Then we came to President’s Day. As we both had the day off, I was probably too overzealous and booked us two playground play dates and she had two total accidents at each playground for a total of 4 soaking wet pants in one day. Both playgrounds have nice, accessible bathroom facilities, so there is no excuse. In fact one time, I could see her squirming and knew she needed to pee, but she refused to go. We abruptly left the play date after I saw a wet patch on her pants minute later and on the way home we had a conversation on how her apathy over her incontinence was unacceptable and I threatened that there would be no play dates until she started staying dry. I decided that it was time to introduce some consequences. 

The no play dates rule was tough as we had already RSVP’d to some birthday parties and well as a post race brunch where I had volunteered to help. I also have to confess that the play dates are also important for me as well in order to build social contacts with other moms. So far we managed to stay dry through three events just by threatening to leave if she wets her pants. We also took away watching her two shows in the evening if she wets during the day, which initially was harder for us, as I was reliant on the TV to keep her occupied while I made dinner or put the garbage and recycling bins out. I figured it would either get her to stay dry or wean her off TV and it’s done more of the latter than the former. While she likes watching her shows, she’s also equally content to play on her own, so I think I have to find something else to withhold. 

And then there is the issue of night time training… After we seemed to be on the right track in October, she had a complete regression in early November to the point of wetting three to four times per night. I was doing laundry daily and was exhausted. We took what was supposed to be a two week break with plans to get back at it during the long Thanksgiving break, but I soon discovered how wonderful it is to have uninterrupted sleep, and decided to delay until after my the Christmas holidays. Then after the trip to England/Ireland. Then after we visit my parents for Spring break. Now there’s no more excuses. I purchased Jamie Glow.acki’s night time training supplement for $17 and feel that I received more value of her experience when I was waiting in the ER and read her entitle blog from first post to last. Of course at thing time, we had just started training, things were going well and as Kate was not yet 2 she was considered to be ahead of the curve and now that’s she’s nearly 4, I’m feeling a bit shamed. She described that bladder capability varies wides, some 16 months old can old their pee all night long while three year olds can struggle. She loudly encourages her reader not to compare their child to anyone else’s. She goes on to describe that if you child is under 3, you have some wiggle room, but if by 36 months they are not showing any signs of being about to hold it at night and the diapers are still soaked, you need to get on night training ASAP, because as the bladder walls thicken it can head to a higher chance of bedwetting down the road. So if I’m not already feeling like a fraud and a failure, I basically read this as I fucked up for taking such a long break. 

I was hoping her supplement could come up with some new suggestions or strategy to try, it was not helpful at all.  So we’ll be back trying the same things. Limit fluids before bed. Insist on going potty before bed. Waking up for the dream pees every two hours. We tried a few times before we left for South Carolina and she only wet once, which I’m considering is not bad for a start. I feel as if every time I buy a box of pull-ups from Costco, I say this is going to be the last one. I just bought a box and not only do I hope it is the last one, I hope I am going to be able to give away unused pull-ups! 

Sleep: While we were in England and she was dealing with jet lag , we found that if we let her sleep a bit later, we could get her through the day and put her to bed at her usual time. Yet, as she adjusted to the time difference, we found that she still gets really grizzly during the middle of the day and needs her nap. As we’ve gone back to giving her a bath at night, I’ve noticed that we’ve been stretching our her bedtime at night. I admit it’s mostly my fault as I find I can get a lot of things done while she is in the tub. I’ve tried to be more rigid, but I find that we’re usually wrapping up stories after 9 PM, which I know is too late. One of Jamie Glow.acki’s other tips for nighttime dryness is to make sure kids get regular and consistent sleeping intervals and she notes that toddlers should be in bed by 7 and no kid under six should go to bed before 8, unless there are special circumstances. Um, I pick Kate up from school at 5:50 and we’re home between 6:15-6:30 depending on the traffic, so sure we can cram in dinner, bath, stories and bed in thirty minutes. 

I was speaking with another Mom at Kate’s school and her comment about those bed times is that they are not realistic in the Bay Area, which was really reassuring to hear. She also noted that her son (who just turned 4 last month) doesn’t nap at home, but the school requires him to nap, which means he doesn’t fall asleep until nearly 10:30. It did give me pause to question that she might go to bed earlier when she stops her naps, and there may be a silver lining to losing her nap time. 

Life Skills: I had been trying to curb the Gimmies to prepping her that we would not be buying any things from Tar.get or informing her that she could only get on treat at the Farmer’s Market, but after she was watching a recent episode of UmiZoomi! I decided to take a different approach. We started having her do some chores around the house and she can earn UmiDollars (felt money that I picked up at Tar.get). Then when we go out, we discuss how she wants to spend her money. Does she want to get a balloon animal at the Farmer’s Market or wait to get something at Tar.get? (I tried to emphasize that the balloon will only last so long, while something at Tar.get will last longer, until she bought a small recorder which quickly became ‘lost’) We’ve also been discussing if she wants to spend her money on little things, or save it up for something big. Overall, it’s been going well, except she can’t figure out the concept that a single note can have a higher value. While she accepts that 5 plus 1 is 6, she can’t accept that a 5 dollar bill is the same as 5 singles. Hence, I have to carry a big stack of single UmiDollars in my purse. 

Yet, speaking of giving into the Gimmies. I recently wrote how Kate wanted a make-up case from Tar.get and I relented and it ended entertaining her all afternoon as she pretended it was a suitcase and she packed it to take an overnight trip from her bedroom to the kitchen. When we were getting ready to visit my parents and we got our suitcases down from the attic, she found her ‘suitcase’ and put it right next to ours. I was just going to slip it back into her closet, but as we were loading the car, I discovered that she actually packed a pair of pajamas, her toothbrush and a toy. We decided to bring it as her carry-on.

She has also started picking our her own clothes and dressing herself in the morning.

Manners: I noticed that while Husband and I often have to prompt her to say please and thank-you, she displays her best etiquette around others. She had dinner with my aunt and uncle while Husband was away and I had a work meeting and they commented on her manners. She scored a free kids snack pack on the plane as the steward was impressed with how polite she was. She even says “Excuse me Tyler” if she crosses the cat while running to the potty. 

Health Issues: Back in February, we hired a baby sitter and went out to a show with another couple on a Sunday night. When we returned, the baby sitter reported that Kate went to bed no problem. Really? I asked. She didn’t push for more stores or any of her usual stall tactics or other semantics to stay up later? I placed the thermoscan thermometer on her forehead and it immediately lit up red. On the second day with a fever, I took her the doctors and received the diagnosis of influenza B. Cue guilt for not taking her in to get a flu shot. The odd thing was, is that she was almost immediately better after we left the appointment. It was as if the nasal swab removed the virus. We kept her home one more day as it seemed prudent to do after receiving a diagnosis for the flu, but she was afebrile and back to normal and absolutely bouncing off the walls. Our pediatrician later told me that this year’s flu shot was ineffective against influenza B. Absolve guilt over not getting the flu shot.

She is still having a tough time with eczema, which I was kind of hoping she would grow out of it at this point in time. Eczema is like playing Whack-a-mole at a carnival. You get one patch under control and another one pop us. I’m going to try to switch her over to almond milk to see if that makes a difference. Especially as she won’t let me put any ointment on and I keep forgetting to sneak into her room and apply it while she’s sleeping. 

Activities: We have her enrolled in Spanish classes and soccer through her school. I was doubtful if she was getting anything out of the Spanish classes, but I received a note from her teacher that said she actually is doing well and loves to practice her Spanish during the day. I guess it’s like manners, she just doesn’t want to practice with me. We’ve been much more consistent about going to gymnastics on Saturdays. I was starting to feel bummed about the fact that she’ll be moving on to the four year old class soon and leaving our favorite instructor, but we just learned that he’s leaving the gym at the same time. She’s also doing well with her swimming lessons and is on track to move on to the next level soon. It’s the one thing that I really miss about her old pre-school is that she was able to take swim lessons twice a week (and I didn’t have to budget any extra time).  I feel she’d be ahead with her swimming if she was still on the twice weekly schedule. 

Looking forward to: I had been looking forward to going to Myrtle Beach to visit my parents and we’re four days in and the trip has lived up to the hype! Although we just had a major vacation three months ago, I was ready for a break from our usual routine and I love seeing my parents with Kate. I feel that she is fulfilling and possible exceeding every thing they wished for in their desire to be grandparents. We’ve had a great time meeting their friends and enjoying the amenities of their retirement community (we even played BINGO!) We’ve been to the beach and many playgrounds. Husband and I even found a CrossFit box where we could drop-in. He initially wasn’t too keen on this trip and vowed it would be his only visit, but after a few days, he admitted that the area was growing on him and he even started talking about staying longer when we come back next year! 

I’m also looking forward to two girls weekend trips. In June, Co-worker and I are going to a medical education event, that happens to be hosted at a Spa in Monterey. In July, Myrtle and I are meeting up with a mutual friend who lives in Chicago, as we figured it was easiest to meet up in the middle of the country. 

I’ve got to get my act together with Kate’s Forhth Birthday party. I’m really slacking as for the past three years, I had my theme decided, items picked out and the venue booked. I decided to do another picnic in a park, but selected a park that is in the same city as her school as we’ll be invited more friends from her new school. Kate’s request for a theme changes from week to week. Sometimes it’s Unicorns, then Paw Patrol, maybe PJ Masks and most recently Hello Kitty. Maybe there is a benefit to my procrastination. 

Thursday, 14 March 2019

A Day in the Life Winter 2019

A Day in the Life
March 5, 2019

Husband 44
Jane 42
Tyler 5
Kate 3.5

0142 Tyler is incessantly meowing
0143 You’re probably thinking ‘you’re still dealing with that cat meowing at night?’
0147 Meow! Me-OW! MEOW! Yes. I am
0148 You’re likely thinking ‘why does she put up with that ?’
0150 I scoop Tyler up in my arms and he snuggles his head against my shoulder and purrs
0151 That’s why
0153 I bring Tyler into the kitchen and give him a few drops of Kitty Medical Marijuana 
0157 He follows me back to my room and jumps on my bed
0159 I think we both fall asleep
0343 Tyler is meowing
0345 Again
0350 Get out of bed and go to the kitchen. His food bowl is empty. Kitty Munchies are a real thing.
0455 Husband’s alarm goes off. He needs to catch a flight to San Diego
0500 Although he’s usually very conservative with electricity; for some reason when Husband gets up before me, he has to turn every single light on our room and the bathroom on
0545 Apparently I feel back to sleep quickly as Husband wakes me to say good bye
0605 Kate wakes up and climbs into my bed
0607 She asks for some milk
0609 I grab a cup from the fridge as I want her to go back to sleep quickly
0645 My alarm goes off. I was planning to get up to foam roll
0646 I don’t feel like getting out of bed
0649 Tyler jumps on the bed and snuggles next to me. Now I can’t get up
0700 My alarm goes off again. I check my phone before waking up Kate
0705 Kate wakes up. I agree to let her watch one show before we get in the shower
0720 I ask Kate to turn off the TV and she obliges. We head to she shower and she undresses as I am adjusting the water. I am a bit surprised with how cooperative she is being 
0723 While in the shower she starts working on the knots in her hair. Her hair has tangled into a small rat’s nest. I coat it with some deep conditioner 
0730 We get out of the shower and head to the kitchen. Kate has decided to play ‘cafeteria’ and has started moving chairs around in the kitchen 
0735 I finish washing dishes left in the sink from last night and clear the drying rack
0737 Kate is still playing her cafeteria game. I open a Danimals yogurt and tell her that Dazzle from Butterbean’s café made her a Smoothie 
0740 I make my breakfast and sit down to eat. To my surprise, Kate has finished her yoghurt while she’s pushed all the chairs into an aisle
0743 Continuing with Butterbean’s Café theme, I ask her to deliver a Cat Food Salad to the customer Mr Tyler and she does it. 
0745 Dump my breakfast dishes in the sink and pop a Zicam. I’m on day 10 of a cold. I bragged that I didn’t get the flu after Kate was diagnosed, but a week long cough is not much better
0750 Give Kate the ten minute warning before it’s time to get dressed
0805 I got distracted by a Whats App Group chat with my Cross Fit team
0807 Start to do “spinny thing” to work out the knots it Kate’s hair, it’s not enough, we’re going to need a brush
0808 I try to sneak a brush, but she sees it and runs
0809 I chase her and attempt to brush her hair as she screams. Feel horrible
0817 Dressed and ready to go. Nearly on time. Kate has a stuffed dog under her dress and is telling me that she has a baby in her tummy. She also informs me that I am to congratulate her. 
0818 Kate wants to wear a pair of shoes that are too small; convince her to wear a different pair 
0819 Buckle Kate in her car seat. We have to deliver her ‘baby’. I wrap the dog in a blanket that we keep in the car and hand him to her. 
0820 Fuck. I can’t find my keys.
0821 As I search the back seat, Kate tells me that my keys on the floor
0822 I find them where we keep shoes. Pissed that we’ve lost a few minutes when we were on time
0835 It’s raining and other drivers are acting like it’s K-Y. Traffic is backing up as I am getting closer to Kate’s school.
0836 Decide to be an asshole and get off the next exit just so I can get back on the highway. 
0843 Traffic is still moving slowly as we make it to school
0855 Finished an easy drop off, but I’m going to be late to the gym due to this traffic 
0912 Arrive at the gym and sign in for Independent Program, which suits me as I want to do yesterday’s work-out rather than today’s
0947 Complete my work-out. It was 21-15-9 of bar facing burpees and over head squats (30 kg) I was hoping to do more sets of the OHS unbroken, but went 12/9 and 10/5 but did 9 unbroken 
0955 Finish stretching and using the foam roller 
1024 Hit Safe.way on my way home as I forgot to pick up fruit to take for Kate’s school snack while I was shopping this weekend
1028 Pick up sliced apples as I can’t be bothered to cut up fruit. #lazymom
1029 I spend almost three hours each weekend doing meal prep for me and Kate #bittermom
1033 Stop to get gas as it’s a nightmare to fill up with Kate as she wants to get out of the car
1040 Arrive at home. It’s the first time in a long while since I’ve been alone in my house. 
1043 Bring in the laundry from the garage. It’s raining and the garage is damp
1045 Dump the clothes on my bed. Really tempted just to leave them there and deal with it later, but decide to put them away now 
1050 Return to the kitchen to clean the breakfast dishes I left in the sink
1055 Make a cup of coffee
1057 Cook chicken to take for lunch
1100 While chicken is cooking; prep green beans for tonight’s dinner 
1115 Finish a few emails, pack up the chicken and the rest of my lunch. Make my protein shake and T.ang for my “work out carbs” I haven’t had T.ang since I was a kid
1130 Change into my swimsuit and pack my work clothes into my swim bag
1135 Pour my untouched coffee into a travel mug and leave for the pool
1201 Arrive for the noon swim class. The coach lets me swim in a lane with a beginner swimmer, so my out of shape swimming self gets to feel like a rock star
1210 Take a sip of my T.ang. Much different that I remember as a kid as I used the correct ratio of powder to water 
1245 Time to get out so I can get cleaned up for work
1250 During the winter break, someone changed the outdoor shower so you have to hold the button down to produce water, which means you have to shower with one hand. It’s essentially taking a dry shower so you can use both your hands and then when you turn the water on -it’s fucking cold! I used to love this shower -it was the best shower in the world! Now it fucking sucks! 
1257 The water is finally warm. I soak it in
1300 Drying off. There is a strange guy doing jumping jacks on the deck
1301 I’m pretty good at doing a deck change, but don’t quite feel comfortable changing near jumping jacks guy, so I change in the storage shed. 
1310 Throw my swim bag in the boot of my car. Fuck. I just realized that I forgot Kate’s swim stuff 
1333 Walk into work. I’m a few minutes late. Hit the bathroom to comb my hair into a bun. Probably not too professional to have wet hair, but I need to get my yards in

1334-1640 Two of my patients who are seeing me for a two week follow up ask me if I am feeling better. I realize that I must have seemed really sick last time and this cold is lasting a fucking long time.
1728 Leave the office to go pick up Kate
1735 It’s time for Chris Jackson’s Mystery Riff on my radio station. It’s “Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones. These are really obvious or impossible 
1745 It was right about the Mystery Riff
1747 Sign Kate out. I made it before the 1750 deadline 
1750 Gather Kate’s stuff and get her ready to go
1755 Buckle Kate in the car. She immediately wants to listen to “number 2” referring to the second song on the Adele 25 CD
1759 I make her listen to “Hello” before we listen to “number 2” (“Send my love to your new lover”) because I should also get to listen to the song I want to her as well. I’m trying to emphasize that it’s not all about her
1808 She’s asking for “number 2” again. I put it on repeat because now I don’t give a shit
1820 Arrive at home to pick up Kate’s swim stuff. Try to bribe her with a snack so I can run into the house quickly 
1821 It doesn’t work, she’s insisting to go in with me. I send her to get her swim bag, while I grab my book.Ironically, it’s  The Difficult Child. 
1830 Arrive at the pool just as the swim classes are getting started, quickly change Kate into her swim gear and discover that I forgot to pack her crocks. Mom Fail #1
1835 Reading the introduction to The Difficult Child. They have a do you have a difficult child? Quiz. I think I’ll do it with Husband so I can get his input
1840 Read the descriptions at the end of the quiz, I’m thinking Kate may be ‘Easy with Difficult Features’ or maybe I’m thinking wishfully 
1850 This book also has a chapter of tales of parents with really difficult kids. I’m feeling a little better after reading this section, which maybe is the purpose of the book 
1900 Class has finished. Kate runs out of the pool and I discover that I forgot to pack a towel Mom Fail#2
1901 Just take off her wet swim stuff and dress her in her sweats. Fortunately, we have a quick drive home.
1903. Kate never wants to wear a jacket in her car seat and now is no exception. She takes her jacket off and buckles herself in shirtless. I unswaddle her doggie from this morning and put the blanket over her
1910 Arrive at home. Get my wet swim stuff out of the boot and strip Kate down. Quickly run her under a warm shower and after toweling her off, I send her to her room to get dressed in jammies
1915 Ugh. Husband didn’t empty the dryer when he did the laundry on Sunday.
1916 Throw all the dry clothes on my bed. This time I really will deal with them later
1920 Kate successfully dressed herself
1922 Put Bubble Guppies on her Kate as I prepare dinner and try to wash up her lunch stuff. 
1925 I make her a grilled cheese and slip a piece of ham inside. Then we use a flower shaped cookie cutter because she’ll eat things that have interesting shapes.
1927 I make another sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch
1930 Make my dinner. It’s cooked ground turkey with the green beans I cut up earlier today and a black bean sauce 
1940 Sit down to eat with Kate. Surprisingly she doesn’t protest when I turn off the TV. She wants to eat the other grilled cheese sandwich, so now I need to think of a new idea for her lunch
1955 Work on cleaning up dinner dishes while trying to pack Kate’s lunch for tomorrow
2005 She tells me that she wants to go to bed. I still have more work to do, but I’m not going to miss the cue that she’s ready for bed
2007 Except Tyler reminds me that I haven’t fed him yet 
2010 Meet Kate in the bathroom. I recently bought her a new Paw Patrol toothbrush, but she doesn’t want to give up her old Shimmer and Shine toothbrush, so we’re having issues over which toothbrush to use. I am regretting getting this new toothbrush 
2015 As I’m getting out her night time pull up, Kate informs me that she needs to take her jammies to the wash as there is pee on them
2016 I check. There is a wet spot
2017 We have a conversation about why she peed her pants. Kate tell me that her brain forgot to tell her that it was time to go potty. 
2019 Discuss how she needs to pay more attention to her brain
2020 She picks out books to read. Naturally she goes to the ones with sound, which are usually too overstimulating. 
2025 As we sit down on the mattress next to her bed to read stories, I feel a small wet patch on her bed
2026 It’s time to play Why? Is? This? WET? 
2027 I decided to pretend it’s from her water bottle and ignore that she just wet her pants
2045 Inform Kate that it is time for lights out. She has developed a routine where she turns out her lights, turns on the night light and runs into bed
2050 Kate is asking for milk
2051 I inform her that she can’t have milk because she peed her pants. We are enforcing that there are consequences for wetting her pants
2055 She starts to whine and cry
2056 I put in my headphones and listen to some WODprep videos 
2103 Tyler opens the door and enter her room. She’s distracted long enough to stop crying and ask me to close the door
2110 Now she wants to give me another hug and kiss
2115 She asks “What are we going to do tomorrow?”
2116 I go back to listening to my videos
2125 I think she’s drifted off
2135 Wanted to give her a little more time and got caught up reading an article
2140 Head back to the kitchen to finish washing the dinner dishes, packing my lunch and Kate’s. Prepare my protein powder and Tang for tomorrow. Top up Tyler’s water bowl and dry food. 
2159 Eat a few mini-chocolate chips before brushing my teeth and washing my face
2205 Take my swim stuff out of the dryer and leave Kate’s stuff on top of the dryer. Go out to the garage to pack my swim stuff into my bag and load my car for tomorrow.
2207 Clean cat box
2210 Finally make it into bed
2211 Fuck! I forgot about the stuff I threw on the bed earlier
2212 Put away my clothes and husbands and place Kate’s stuff and the towels back on top of the dryer for Husband to deal with *
2214 Think about foam rolling
2215 Decide that I can’t be bothered
2217 Now Tyler is sitting on my lap. I obviously can’t get up now.
2216 Watch ‘This is Us’ as I’m still an episode behind and start writing notes for this post
2235 Husband arrives home and starts telling me about his day
2240 I feel that I’m being rude if I pause the TV, but he is talking during a good part
2245 Fortunately, it has captured his attention and he’s watching too
2247 Now he’s asking me to catch him up on the while episode
~2300 Fall asleep on the end of ‘This Is Us’ (will look up online the next morning to see what I missed)
Husband dealing with the laundry on the dryer was him shoving the towels into the linen closet and dumping Kate’s clothes on to the chair in her room. Real helpful. 

Sent from

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Maybe our parents had it right

It had been a trying weekend. Husband and I often found ourselves admonishing Kate, and then cringing inside as we realized “OMG, I sound just like my mother!” So when I was scrolling through my feed later that night, my eye was drawn to an article 20 Useful phrases to Use When your Child isn’t Listening. The author begins:

I replaced my judgmental, negative, threatening tone with a neutral, problem solving, empathetic, encouraging one, and my little girl's behavior improved dramatically. The lesson was clear for me. Talk to mini-humans the way you'd like to be talked to and things will go a lot smoother. 

I was immediately intrigued. I’d love to see Kate’s behavior improve dramatically and have a much smoother process. Added bonus if I don’t sound like my mother! 

As I started to read, I found that most of her suggestions made sense and I could see myself adopting them. For example:

1.What do you need to remember?"
Take a break from: "Be careful."

I had heard this suggestion somewhere else. “Be careful” is just too vague. Be specific about their actions or explain the consequences of doing something that they shouldn’t. Got it. 

2. Please talk softly."
Take a break from: "Stop yelling!" or "Be Quiet!"

A more positive tone. Makes sense. Also follows saying “Please do ___________” rather than “Don’t do this!” So far I’m following with you.

Then I started to deviate a bit..

Let's add that toy you want to your birthday list."
Take a break from: "We can't afford that" or "No, I said NO TOYS!"
Example: "I am not willing to buy that, would you like me to put it on your birthday wish list?"

Her explanation;  If we're being honest, we often CAN afford the $5 lego at checkout, we're just not willing to purchase it. But then we buy a $5 almond milk latte from Starbucks. Instead of blaming our finances and creating feelings of scarcity, own your limit, then offer ideas to help them learn how to get it (birthday, earning money, etc.)

I feel that we should teach our kids there are limits and they should know that they are not going to get every item they want.  Saying you’ll add it to the birthday list, isn’t saying ‘no’. You’re really hoping your kid is going to forget about it, but you could be setting up unrealistic expectations for a very long birthday list. Another parenting blog had a suggestion to have the discussion before you get to Tar.get and explain that you will not be buying any toys from Bullseye’s playground, so you avoid the tantrum in the store. 

This is going to counter my point; but I have to admit you never know when you give into buying an item and it turns out to be really useful. After having our talk ahead of time, Kate didn’t protest when we went past Bullseye’s playground, but then she spotted a small plastic case in the make up aisle that she just had to have. It decided to buy it as it was on clearance. That afternoon, she pretended it was her suitcase. She packed it herself with a pair of jammies and a tooth brush. Took a plane ride from her room to the kitchen, then changed into her jammies as she was an overnight guest. An afternoon of self entertainment for only $4.99, but I am digressing. 

Here is where she lost me. 

Do you want to leave now or in ten minutes?"
Take a break from: "Time to go…now!"
Example: "Do you guys wanna leave now or play for ten more minutes, then leave?

Her rationale: “ Kids love to be in charge of their own destiny, especially power kids! This takes a tad bit of proactivity, but it works like a charm! Give them a choice & they'll respond much better when you say "Okay, 10 minutes is up, time to go."”

Pausing for a moment to get to my main objection to this suggestion. I feel the notion of giving kids choices works only in theory. Yes, it works on Husbands. You’re choosing tile to update the backslash in your kitchen. You find two designs that you like and present him with the choice between the two. Ultimately, you get a design you like and he feels like he was involved in the decision process. Win-win. Yet for kids, the decision process is an opportunity to make things more complicated. I used to give Kate options for picking her clothes (sometimes presenting it as a choice between ‘freakin A or frecking B’) and she would reject both choices and try to pick something for herself. We had to stop using the expensive ‘dinner winner’ maze plates as it was an ordeal just to have her select a plate before we even entered the disaster zone known as meal time. 

Firstly, what kid is not going to go for the option of playing for ten more minutes and we know what follows from there. Ten minutes turns into twenty…  More so, what if you need to leave now and you don’t have ten minutes to spare? It feels like you’re venturing into letting the kids make their own rules. Call me old fashion, but I think the parents should make the rules and the kids should know that the parents make the rules and that they need to follow those rules. 

She had one more suggestion about getting ready to leave the house.

We are on cheetah time today and need to move fast!"
Take a break from: "Hurry Up!" or "We are going to be late!"
Example: "We're on racehorse time today! Let's see how fast we can move!"

So I tried this with Kate one morning, explaining that cheetahs are among the fastest animals, so we needed to move fast like cheetahs. Kate responded “I’m a baby cheetah, so baby cheetahs move slow.” I had to concede that yes, baby cheetahs probably do not move as fast as adult cheetahs. It was a fail. 

I think when I was 6 or 7, I was stalling getting ready for school one morning and my Dad yelled, “Get your ass in the car now!” There was no ambiguity. No choices. No discussion about animal speed. I knew I was in trouble because my Dad used the word ass, and I knew that if I didn’t get my ass in gear, there would be big trouble. The next morning I made sure I was on time. 

So maybe our parents had it right after all. Obviously, we all turned out okay. Now when I hear myself sounding like my mother, instead of cringing, I’ll take it as a sign that I’m doing something right.