Saturday, 30 December 2017

Looking Back on 2017 and Ahead to 2018

Last year, inspired by Non Sequitur Chica, I decided to write down a list of goals for the year. As one of them involved a swimming event, I started this info with one of my swim teammates, who commented "Oh yeah, I used to do that too, but I just ended up cutting and pasting from one year to the next." Well, I wrote over my prior document and saved it with a new title. It was interesting to look back and now what I did accomplish this year, and what is left to be achieved next year.

1. Continue Whole 30 lifestyle.
I did a round in January and March, while I'm not strict all the time, I do hold to a lot of the principles, especially with regard to meal prep and planning. There were a few weeks where I developed "mean planning fatigue" and we ended up eating some prepared or processed food. We've also had a few nights where I've forgotten to defrost meat or missed a key ingredient and ended up ordering a week night pizza, but we're so much better than we've previously been. I rely on my Crock-Pot and use it at least 1-2 times per week. Myrtle gave me an InstaPot for Christmas, so I'm excited to try some new recepies. I would come across something that looked really good, only to be disappointed that it is designed for a pressure cooker. Sometimes someone would ask the author if it could be modified to use in a Crock-Pot, and the answer was usually, "well you could; but it wouldn't be as good..."

2. Improve my score on the Body Fat Test.
I was disappointed with my score in June, so I started working with a Nutrition Coach who put me on a plan of counting macronutrients. I did another Body Fat Test at the end of July and after only 5 weeks on his plan, I had lost 1.5 lbs of fat! I achieved a personal best with lowest body fat score by one tenth of a point. (Unfortunately, I had just come back from vacation and did a bit work related stress eating just before testing in October and regained a half pound of fat, ugh) So I know I'm re-starting from a higher point in my quest for a new PR in 2018. I did drop below my pre-pregnancy weight and I've stayed under 150 pounds for the second half of the year, something I didn't imagine was possible. As I realised that I was still wearing my work-out clothes from my pregnancy, I treated myself to a whole new wardrobe of active wear. Perhaps my greatest accomplishment of the year, was that I started receiving some complements from other women at the gym.

3. Maintaining friendships. My challenge for this year is that at least once a month I have to reach out to someone and plan an activity.
So when I wrote this goal, my intention was to connect with older friends. I successed with my aim to have a least one social get-together once a month, but most of them were play dates with other moms. I feel that I'm officially going through that transition of non-kid friends to friends with kids.

4. Be more politically active. Contact representatives, do some work with local activist groups. Attend the next protest rally. Do more than just posting links on as most of your friends already share your opinions.
Total disappointment with this one. I was inspired by one woman who challenged herself to take some sort of concrete action for every political themed Facebook post (sort of like a political action swear jar) I just stopped posted politically related stuff.

5. Read at least one book a month, which must be purchased at a local book store.
Fail on this one, although I did purchase all the books I didn't get around to reading from my local book store. In fairness, the last book I was reading was Al Franken's Giant of the Senate. I think it's pretty understandable why I won't ever finish it.

6. Keep up with blogging. I started this blog over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012 and submitted 34 posts. I wrote 160 in 2013, 91 in 2014, 48 in 2015 and 21 in 2016. This blog means so much to me and I want to continue with it.
Including this post I published 26! Aim for >35 next year.

7. Spend more 'Face Time' with Husband and make sure we spend less time on devices while we are together.
Still need to work on this one, but we've been really vigalant about not using any devices in front of Kate.

1. Hit my metrics for responding to messages, reporting results and closing charts
2. Submit a proposal for a lecture and next year's conference
3. Write an article for a peer reviewed journal

I may not always hit my metrics, but I didn't accrue any penalties for failing to close charts. I was asked to apply to be Site Lead for our department, and as I was the only one who applied, I was awarded the position, so one of my goals for 2018 will be transitioning into my new role. I also volunteered to mentor a student, and I found it to be much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. I really enjoy teaching and I'd like to find more opportunities to do so. Unfortunately, I did not submit a lecture proposal, but I am working an piece for a training manual.

1. Be able to do 5 strict pulls up and 10 kipping pull ups -Achieved !
2. Work up to doing a WOD at the Rx weight. Increase 1 kilogram at a time -Not quite there, but I'm within 5 kg of Rx weight on most WODs and I can Rx many non-weight WODs

I entered my first Cross Fit (scaled) Competetion in November and I was named 'Cross-Fiter on Fire' for the month of December. Yes, it is as dorky as it sounds, but it was nice to have the coaches recognize my efforts, which on many weekends, included brining Kate with me and sometimes doing squats and push-ups with her on my back.

Goals for 2018
1. Enter the 2018 Open
2. Strict Chest-to Bar (very close, can do kipping)
3. Bar Muscle Up
4. Improve consecutive double unders
5. Rx weights for most WODs
6. Murph under 60 minutes
7. Row 75,000 meters in one month

1. Set a PB in any Free or Fly distance (note, picking a new distance to enter for the first time doesn't count)
2. Swim the 100 Fly in Long Course Metres
3. Attend a clinic to work on starts and turns

I had a great meet at Short Course Yards (SCY) in April and achieved 4 new PBs! (50 Free, 500 Free, 50 Fly and 100 Fly) I dropped 4 seconds off my 50 Fly and 7 seconds on my 100 Fly, which made me a bit too overzealous when I signed up for the 100 Fly in Long Course Meters. I completed the event; but I tried to muscle my way through it and completely fell apart at the end. The next day, my coach told me she needed me to swim that stroke again for the 400 meter medley relay. I was close to hiding in the locker room and crying, but instead I talked to my teammates who swim fly and watched the 200 meter Fly. Focused more on race strategy and technique, I recovered from the disaster on the previous day, and achieved a new (unofficial) PB. Other swimming highlights included joining the Brute Squad (completing a 200 Fly, 400 IM and 1650 Free) and dropping 7 seconds for a new PB on my 400 Kick for Time.

Goals for 2018
1. Sub 33 50 Free (SCY)
2. Sub 40 50 Fly
3. Sub 1:40 100 Fly
4. Compete 7 Individual events at SCY and SCM Championships
5. Improve time on the Brute swim
6. Train for a 200 Fly (notice I did not say enter...)

1. Try running 5Ks with Kate
We did a run in March that went pretty well. Kate only became fussy at the very end of the race and she really enjoyed the post race snacks. We were signed up in April, but that was the week that the puke monster hit, and I thought it was best to give it a miss. I didn't enter another race until Thanksgiving weekend, where I also convinced Husband to run with us (which actually became leaving us in his dust...) On Thanksgiving Day, she squirmed her way out of the stroller at the first Aid Station as she wanted to run, which lasted all of 500 yards or so. The rest of the race was me refusing to pick her up, insisted she had to ride in the stroller or walk. During the last half mile, I got fed up with her very distracted walking and carried her on my back, while I pushed the stroller. It was one of the worst races of my life. I considered bailing on the race on Saturday, but I decided to give it a go, and Kate did much better (she only wanted out at the last quarter mile...) We're doing another 5 K on New Year's Eve, which may determine if I include any races with Kate in my 2018 Goals.

2. Do some practice runs in my neighbourhood -Did not happen
3. Run a half maration -I had a dream about running a half, does that give me some credit?

1. Accomplish potty training by the end of the year
Well she's using the big potty on her won, but is still having the occasional accident. I keep reminding myself that it is a skill and it take lots and lots of practice. Steph Curry is perhaps one of the most skilled shooters in basketball and even he still misses some shots. My aim is to be completely diaper free at this time next year, including naps and night time.

2. Work on language aquisiton with her, continuing signing and introducing Spanish
As I've written previously, I was very worried about language development and my cousin's oldest son exhibited major language delays (which were later diagnosed as part of other intellectual deficits) and her younger son who was due to start Kindergarden this fall, had to postpone due to serious speech issues. Kate started speaking in complete sentences around August and she seems to have good command of pronouns, tenses and proper conjugation of most verbs. Maybe it would have happened on its own, but I give a lot of credit to doing baby sign, as it has finally lived up to the promise of kids having more advances verbal skills than their non-signing peers. We need to work more on Spanish. And by 'we' I really mean 'I' and I'm bored of one word per page books, but I need to practice more.

3. Send my in-laws photos and updates on a regular basis. I was sending her monthly photos to them, but as I'm not doing monthly photos any more, their updates have dropped off.
Totally sucked on this one. I sent them photos from Kate's party and none since (I did mail them a bunch of her artwork...) I have to hold myself to doing this by taking something away. Photos must be sent by the 1st of each month and if I fail to do so, I can't go to the gym

4. Host a successful birthday party for Kate
Her party rocked! Everyone seemed to have a good time and no one was sick the next week! It was a lot of work to set up, so we'll look to simplify next year and I know Husband wants to spend half as much next year. Hopefully if our back garden is done, we can host at our house.

Goals for 2018
5. New furniture for  Kate's bedroom
She needs a proper Big Girl twin bed and a storage unit for books and some toys. I've been struggling to find anything that I like after checking out IKEA, a local children's shop and, although I just learned that some Costcos in our area sell kids furniture. I do acknowledge that I have an emotional attachement to her room as they way it is. It's just the way we set it up when we were still anticipating her arrival, and knowing that we won't have another baby, I know every time we modify her room, it's brining us closer to when she moves out and her room can go back to being an office again. Sigh. I decided I'm keeping the rocker in her room a little longer. Even if it doesn't serve the original purpose, Tyler likes to sleep on it.

6. Get Kate to go bed on her own.
I'm really sick of having to stay in her room until she falls asleep. Mommy has a lot of stuff she needs to do.

7. Continue to limit TV and other media
We made it through 'No TV before 2' and decided to let Kate continue to think that the big rectangular box only played sports and news. Until the we set the clocks back and she woke up at the old 6 AM but new 5 AM and I was solo parenting that day. I let her watch Pig just so we could stay in bed until 7. Since then, we've been letting her watch "One Peppa" on Saturday mornings and I've been trying to justify that A) Saturday morning cartoons is part of childhood B) It keeps her connected to her English roots C) We're watching it with her and talk to her about what we watch to make it interactive D) I now know to do a French accent for Madame Gazelle when I read the books, although I feel I should have figured that out on my own.

8. Discipline
I need to be be firmer and more consistent with Kate while she's melting down into tantrums. Sometimes I fear I do too much of picking my battles and dismissing toddler unreasonableness as typical two year old behavior when it is something that needs to be corrected.

7. Swimming.
After much of my debating over continuing the lame classes just because Kate's classmates attend; they discontinued the Saturday classes so now we have to find a new option for swimming lessons.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Kate 2.375

At the time I sat down to start composing, I had just completed five full days of solo parenting. As in Husband left at the ass crack of dawn on Wednesday morning and didn't get back until the wee hours of Monday morning. Five Full Days. Actually, it wasn't too bad, but it is exhausting and wears on my patience. As Husband always points out, she's in Day Care for three days, so I'm really just on my own for the weekend. In some ways it is a bit easier. I don't have to worry about what he wants for dinner or have to work around his schedule, I just have to sort out myself and Kate. The trouble is that it's not just taking care of Kate on my own, it's taking care of a kid who is missing her father. As the days pass, she gets clingier and grumpier, any my patience wears thin.

On the fifth day, we went to Tar.get as I needed to get some new pants for Kate. I decided to have her try them on in the store so I could buy multiple pairs of any pants that fit. [Face palm.] Never have your toddler try clothes on in a store. No matter how long or slow the queue is at Customer Service to do a return, it is much easier than trying to have your kid try clothes on in the store. Kate was insisting that the pants were "too big" before she even tried them and she was resisting with all her might. When she really doesn't want to cooperate with getting dressed, she'll make her legs weak so that she can't stand up. It's probably one of the things she does that pisses me off the most. I yelled at her. In Target. Many people heard me. Not my finest parenting moment.

As we were leaving Tar.get, they were cleaning the woman's restroom and there were at least three people waiting for the family restroom. She had recently peed, so I was hoping she would make it until our next stop. Nope. While I was opening the boot of our car, I heard the sound of water splashing on the concrete floor of the parking garage. I looked over and saw that she had peed whilst sitting in the cart. Fortunately, this was the one day that I had forgotten to bring cloth bags and I had to pay 10 cents each for plastic ones from the last store in California that still distrubutes plastic bags. I had to empty everything out of the bags into the car and then change her out of her wet clothes. Once I got her buckled into her car seat, I tossed the bags into a garbage bin and pushed the cart toward the back corner of the parking garage where I turned it upside down, so no unsuspecting Tar.get customer would accidently start pushing around pee soaked cart. Then I went back into my car and cried.

I don't think I've cried since Kate was two weeks old when I was super hormonal and we thought she had colic. I felt I was being pushed to my limits and it had only been five days. I've said it so many times; I don't know how single parents manage, or even parents with more than one kid. I felt so relieved when Husband returned on Monday morning and could help her get ready for school and I could just enjoy some time to myself while I was drying my hair. Later that day, Husband learned that he was selected to umpire in the NCAA tournament and would be gone another three days...

Nicknames; Katie-Kate
Weight: 34 lbs
Height: Not Sure

Her activity bag! When we flew back east, I decided to take advantage of the fact that she was a seated passanger and would be allowed a carry-on item and I loaded her lion back pack with coloring books, stickers, silly putty, small puzzles, a few craft projects I scored from the clearance table at Jo.ann fabrics. It was enough fun to keep her entertained an occupied during the flight that I decided to keep it stocked for when we go out to restaurants

The Golden State Warriors. This girl loves her Dubs. Not only can she cheer at appropriate times, but when we start to watch a game on TV, she realises that she needs her Warriors shirt. It's hard explaining to a 2.375 year old that things we do during the playoffs (watch every game, dress in the team clothes) we don't need to do during the regular season. I've started carrying a GSW shirt in her diaper bag, so if we encouter a game, we can get her into her team wear.

Oh she also likes her Active wear... because I started singing the Active Wear  song.

She also likes her winter boots, as I played 'The Boots are Made for Walking' to add to the list of inappropriate songs I've shared with her.

The girl who was content to waste water all day has now soured on showers. In fairness, it has gotten cooler and she doesn't like getting out of the shower and feeling cold. I get that. Unfortunately, she still refuses to take baths. When she was over bath crayons and paint, we had to take the bribery up one notch. One of Husband's umpire friends has a ritual of taking a beer with him to his post game shower. Depending on how the game went, how much the coaches/players/fans yelled at him determines if it will be a 'one beer shower' a 'two beer shower' or the rare 'three beer shower' So for her, it's one milk shower and sometimes a milk and Annie's fruit snack shower.

She also dislikes getting her hair combed post shower. She may inherit my thick but fine hair, which is prone to tangles. I had to switch her from Baby.ganics to a combo shampoo and conditioner and
start using a spray-on detangler. I have to admit Husband is much better at getting her hair combed than me. I mentioned this to my friend Amy and she reported that she thought her husband was better than her with their daughter's hair, until she discovered that he was only combing the superficial surface and leaving tons of snarles underneath.

She dropped her first F-bomb. On Tuesday mornings, I try to leave early enough to allow for traffic when we go to gymnastics. This particular morning, we were already 7 minutes passed my desired departure time. I loaded her jogging stroller and my swim gear into the boot of my Jetta and tossed my purse and her diaper bag in the front seat. Then I opened up the rear door and discovered that Husband had taken the car seat out as it needed to be cleaned. Oh fuck, I quietly thought to myself, but I remained calm. At this point I had resigend to the fact that we were going to be late and a few more minutes to transfer stuff into the Honda wouldn't matter. Kate disagreed. "Oh, for Fuck's Sake!" she exclaimed. I was feeling both horrified and proud that she at least used the word properly.

F-words aside, she is rapidly developing her vocabulary. I'm often surprised at what comes out of her mouth as she spouts off words and terms we haven't used with her before. (Totally guilty on the F-word, especially during my solo parenting stint, but I did point out to Husband, that OFFS is an English expression, so she must have picked it up from him) Maybe once or twice a day we'll have to ask her to repeat herself of speak slowly, but for the most part, her speech is really clear and she using tenses, possessive pronouns approrpiately and conjugating verbs correctly. We were really concerned about speech development as my cousin has two kids with severe langugage delays and our pediatrician warned that since she was ahead with physical development, she could lag with language. My older cousin, who is a Speech Language Pathologist, visited recently and commented that she was impressed with her 'linked word utterance'. Linked word utterance is a fancy and cool SLP term that means abilitly to string words together. Somehow they mostly seem to be in the form of various commands, "Mommy, turn the light on in my room, please!" "Thank you"

She has developed a cute little routine of saying good-bye when we leave our house. As I'm backing out of our driveway, she'll shout out "Bye House!" "Bye Daddy!" "Bye Kitties!" "See you Soon!" This has lead to saying good bye to everything all the time "Bye Farmer's Market!" "Bye Gym!" "Bye Costco!" "Bye Pool!" "Bye Transfer Station, See you soon!"

I think I read on another blog that she should be able to play by herself for 20 minutes at this age. She can do so, but it's so unpredictable. One Saturday, we can back from the gym to get cleaned up before going grocery shopping. I was ready to leave, but she ended up spending an hour playing by herself in the room. Since I didn't have anything else to do, I let her carry on playing while I did some random chores around the house. She also seems to be taking her pretend play to the next level by assigning actions to her toys "Mommy! Kitty hit Baby!" "Puppy Dog is not listening to me!" Oh really, I can't imagine how frustrating that must be..

We may be hitting another milestone if we decide to take the plunge and turn her car seat to front facing. We recenly took it out to have my car washed, so it would be an opportune time. Her legs are getting pretty scrunched and there are other kids in her class who weigh a lot less than her who are turned around, but still... I'm hesitating... recommendations say to keep them rear facing as long as possible. 'As long as possible' can you be any more vague? Admittedly, I have a secondary motive for wanting to turn her around. Whenever I am stopped for a stop sign, a red light, traffic, Kate commands "Mommy Drive!" "DRIVE MOMMY!!!" I would like to be able to explain to her why Mommy can't drive right now...

Potty Training:
My cousin and her new Husband (who has a 10 year old daughter) came to visit when we were one month into potty training. I quipped that the potty training learning curve is not linear and he described that it's more like a sin wave that trends in an upward direction. I've found that to be a very accurate description as we seem to be in a cycle of two steps forward, one step backward. Overall, I feel like we've made great progress since my last post. Here are some of her PRs:

Using the travel potty on the airplane! I had very low expectations when we flew to the east coast. I put her in a pull-up as I didn't want to be dealing with changing wet clothes whilst traveling by myself. We used the bathroom twice before boarding and her pull-up was still dry. I brought her to the bathroom on the plane and she was scared of the airplane toilet. I get that. I know some adults who still fear they'll be sucked in and spewed into the sky. When we got back to our seats, she told me that she needed to pee-pee, so I pulled out the Portette used it right in the seat. It worked really well as the guy sitting in the aisle seat was rather large and slept the whole flight.

She started waking up to pee at night. While we were in Rhode Island, she twice woke up my Dad to go potty and her diaper was relatively dry in the morning! When we got home, as she was waking so frequently during the night, I decided to try to have her go to the bathroom. We had some success, but one night she was still really sleepy when I put her on the toilet that she nearly fell off and almost face planted into the cat box. We've held off on night time training for a while, which has also coincided with a recent stretch of sleeping through the night.

While at home, she is very independent and insists on going herself and is using the big toilet. She moves her step stool from the toilet to the sink to wash her hands. She even used the bathroom all by herself while we were in a restaurant that we frequent.

She told me "I no need it" when I tried to put on a pull-up just before gymnastics class. She has stayed dry during three classes in a row.

As I was composing this post, I was planning to write that she is almost fully poop trained as she had not had an accident since August. I was questioning of writing such a declaration would bring about a jinx, but I was so confident that she had been doing so well that typing and posting such words would not have any impact. Wrong. She had her first poop accident since August that night. Note: do not even think about writting about any potty training success without risking a jinx. Sigh. Our days Without a Poop Accident counts goes back to zero.

We moved from being proactive in buying 3T clothes to being reactive. She is genuinely a 3T, especially for pants. Part of my meltdown in the Tar.get parking lot was over the challenge of buying her pants. If she is wearing a diaper, her pants barely fit over it, so she looks like a teenage boy with his underwear hanging out. Even if she is wearing undies, she still has a plumber's crack showing. My baby is not even three years old as she has a big booty. No matter what I do with trying to make her eat healthy and introducing exercise, she has my genetics. She's stuck with junk in her trunk. BTW, why do all girls' pants have such tapered tight ankles that get caught on their heels and are a major pain in the ass to take on and off?

Ugh. There is a reason why I saved this one to the end. We're pretty much at the same place we were at my last update. In fact, I probably could have done a copy and paste. We're still staying in her room until she falls asleep and she's waking up anywhere from 0-3 times per night. Actually, we enjoyed a five night stretch of her sleeping through the night, but she has woken up at least once over the past two nights. The goals for 2018 are going to include getting a twin bed for her and getting her to go to sleep on her own and stay in her bed. The only new highlight is that Tyler is joining us for her stories. It's really cute, as soon as we get settled in to read some books, he comes running into her room and sits down next to us. One night, he hadn't entered the room yet, so Kate called out to him "Lylah! You're missing stories!"

Looking Forward to:
My parents are coming in two weeks, so I'm looking forward to another family Christmas together. We're keeping presents really simple for Kate as it doesn't really seem like she needs anything right now and I'm still so pleased with how she can entertain herself just with her stuffed animals and blankets. We're also getting ready for our back yard project in the New Year. Husband decided to replace some of our siding and replace our front door as part of this project. We've been doing a little bit each weekend to clear out old shrubs. Kate has been pretty good about playing outside while we work.

Overall, it feels like a very depressing time in our country and in the world right now, so I hope things can only get better in 2018.