Sunday, 11 November 2018

Kate 3.333...

I had a plan to wean off writing updates. After doing the monthly updates in her first year, I dropped to q 6 weeks for her second year, then quarterly last year and I was just going to do a semi-annual update this year. However, I need to write these updates even if no one reads them. We’re only three four months in and the threes are seriously kicking my ass. There are days where I feel that Rosemary had a better baby than me. I appreciate that she’s been through a lot of transitions. We took her out of her old Pre-School. She spent two weeks transitioned into a new school only to have three weeks off without any routine. Her grandparents stayed with us for almost four weeks. That was chaos. Then she started her new school full time. One week later, her father left for almost three weeks. During that time, my friend and her son stayed with us.

My friend is in the process of divorcing her abusive, alcoholic husband and plans to leave the state as soon as she can. She’s currently living in a house with three male roommates. One has to work early and has been less than polite about making sure her kid is quiet after 9 PM. As she was feeling really uncomfortable in that house, I offered that they could stay with us while Husband was away. They would come over in the evening after dinner, the kids would have a bath together and read stories, but I was finding it was hard to get her to go to sleep as she was a bit overstimulated. Mornings were even harder as we have to leave at a set time, while my friend and her son would be reading or playing, thus giving Kate a raging case of FOMO. I observed that while Kate is good at sharing toys at Pre-school; it’s a different story when it’s her toys in her house. There were so many arguments, so many screaming fits. We were averaging at least three to four meltdowns per day. It was getting to be really embarrassing. Finally, my friend started staying at her old house more often. It really shows how unruly your kid is if someone would rather take their chances with a confrontational ex-military guy.

I probably need to read Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Toddler on the Block again. I also picked up the book, Is This a Phase? I was disappointed that the section on 3-4 year olds was only a few pages, but some of the things they were describing were spot-on. Insisting that a particular person performs a task. Kate started doing that, “I want Mommy to get me water!” until I told her “you are lucky to have any one do any thing for you at all and you will say ‘thank you’” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, all I could think OMG I sound just like my grandfather! Hey, it worked! She hasn’t done it again. Some days there are small victories.  I just would like to return to a life where ignoring massive tantrums is not part of my daily routine.

While in general, I don’t pay much attention to my cousin’s advise on parenting, as I don’t think she’s a very good parent, she did have some useful insight to dealing with the meltdowns. “Just because they are so verbal, don’t assume they always will articulate what is going on with them” she explained “think of them as still being in the newborn phase and go through the check list. Are they hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Need to use the bathroom?” This was helpful as sometimes I would withhold giving Kate a snack or a drink because I felt it was rewarding her bad behavior, when it was actually the antidote! (Which has been really making me re-think using food as a reward) Ultimately, I just want to stop needing to make excuses for my kid.

Height (almost) 40 inches
Weight  40 lbs

Health Issues:  We made it 3 years and 3 months before needing a trip to the ER (for the record I made it 38 years and 7 weeks). I was finishing up at work when I saw the number for her Pre-School flash up on my phone and my stomach immediately turned in knots. Her teacher calmly explained that Kate fell off a play structure and cut her chin and she would likely need stitches. The mom instinct reacted, I grabbed my purse and keys and started running out of the office. Then the clinician in me caught up. Maybe it’s not that bad… I went back and grabbed some steri-strips and dermabond glue. When I arrived at school, she had a band-aid on her chin and was happily playing, until she saw me and had to engage in a dramatic cry. As she seemed fine, I really had it in mind that it wasn’t that bad, but I decided to swing back to the office to see if any of the pediatricians could take a look to confirm if she would need strictest versus gluing and taping. Our pedi was at his desk and quickly confirmed she needed stitches and he offered to do them, but his staff was leaving in one minute. I knew the most important part of the process would be restraining Kate… so we headed over to the ER. I grabbed some juice boxes and cheese cracker packets from our endocrinology department (as I hadn’t packed snacks for this occasion -note to self: make emergency snack pack for the car) and prepared for our wait. It wasn’t too bad. Kate befriended a sweet older lady who has a grandson about her age and she had a Hello Kitty nail polish game on her IPad. One of the techs who helped restrain Kate goes to our gym, so Kate had a friendly face to comfort her and the PA who sutured her went above and beyond the call of duty singing while she stitched. We made in out in just over three hours.

Eating: Still a fucking nightmare. Do you remember in the newborn days how they described ‘the witching hour’ in the middle of the night? That’s our dinner time. I absolutely dread meals because her table manners are so atrocious. It’s the same shit. I bought those ‘Dinner Winner’ maze plates, but it’s too much of a project for her to pick a plate, so I stopped using them. She won’t sit in her chair; she slouches, she twists and turns and then she lays across the chair on her stomach. I brought out her booster chair and I kept threatening to strap her in it. I have to make good on that threat. She stalls and wastes time, and then protests if you try to take her food away. As she’s in the 90th percentile for her weight, there have been times when I have taken her food away if she doesn’t finish in a reasonable amount of time. Myrtle gave us the great idea of using hourglass timers. It’s brilliant as she doesn’t yet really have the concept of ‘ten minutes’ versus ‘twenty minutes’. Although I’ve been trying to avoid Ama.zon due to their poor treatment of employees, I abandoned my principles and ordered a set of 4 (5, 10, 15 and 30 minute) hourglass timers. At first they worked perfectly. Kate accepted the challenge and would try to finish before the sand ran out. It was so successful, that I was almost grateful to Myrtle and her super fertile ness that she procreated so many years before me that she could share all her sage advice. Then Kate hid  the timers in a cloth shopping bag and I couldn’t find them for nearly two weeks. Next she started to insist on only using the pink timer (the 5 minute one) and resetting it over and over again didn’t have the same effect. We went from total success to total fail.

I also bought some books about table manners. One is perhaps a bit too long and includes two pages about not bringing a phone or electronic device to the table. Sigh. Such is a sign of our times, although I think those pages were aimed more toward parents. I had to let Husband break the no phone rule recently as it was “possibly the last game of the World Series” to which he was giving me a play by play update, until I informed him that I don’t give a shit and I got in trouble by Kate for swearing. Especially at the dinner table! I also found an Olivia Eats Dinner book, figuring she would listen to one of her favorite pigs. The story follows that Olivia has dinner at her stuffy friend Francine’s house, where her mother rejects Olivia’s offering of flowers (as flower pedals drop and make a mess) Francine’s father scolds her for telling a joke at the table and when Olivia spills some water, she and Francine get banished to the kiddie table. Olivia fears Francine won’t want to be friend anymore, while Francine fears the same thing. Francine then gets invited to Olivia’s house where she learns to slurp spaghetti. Not really the message I wanted to send…

Potty Training: Back on track during the day, although sometimes she doesn’t push her pants down in time while she is getting on the toilet and sometimes soils her underwear. I’ve had to stock her cubby with lots of spare undies, but so far we haven’t been charged the non-potty training fee. Night time has been a disaster. We started after Memorial Day by putting her to bed commando. I would check on her every few hours and she actually got to the point where she would only pee once a night, which was an improvement from her super soaked pull-ups. I introduced the dream pees and we were having dry nights! We began tracking her progress with a sticker chart. We seemed to be going in the right direction. Then my parents came to visit and not only did the dry nights become fewer, she would wet her bed up to three times a night and I would have to wash three sets of sheets the next morning. My Dad tried to politely tell me that she might not be ready as we only had a success rate of approximately 10%. I looked at the sticker chart. I had hard data. She was staying dry about every third night. We had a 30% success rate.

Not surprising, she seemed to do better once my parents left. Then Husband left, and she regressed again. I was beginning to see a pattern. I almost put her back in pull-ups, but I decided to push through and just before his return, she turned out a new PR of three consecutive dry nights. Then the dry nights stopped. No stickers went up on the calendar. She was wetting multiple times a night. I was doing laundry on a daily basis. The tipping point came when she came into our bed in the morning on a weekend. And peed in our bed. Both days. I relented that we needed to take a break and bought another pack of pull-ups. It has really hard to get her on board as I had to eat my words “You told me I don’t need pull-ups because I’m a big girl!” I had planned on only taking a break for a few weeks…but it’s been really nice not dealing with wet sheets and jammies every night (she has leaked through her pull-ups twice…) I’m contemplating waiting until after the holidays, the grandparents’ visit and after our overseas trip before starting again…

Sleep: She was sleeping pretty well while we were night time training. Even if she woke up wet, she went to back to sleep rather quickly, but it was getting tough on me to be waking up every 2-3 hours each night (brought back memories of my pumping days). Annoyingly, even while using pull-ups, she still wakes up a few times a night and it takes longer to get back to sleep. Grrrr If she wakes up after 5 AM, we just let her come into our bed, which is actually pretty nice. I love snuggling up next to her. Sometimes Tyler is also curled up beside me and it feels like life can’t get any better. Oh yeah, Husband is in the bed too, but he isn’t snuggly as Kate or as soft and fluffy as Tyler.

Likes: Playing pretend. Over the past few months, her imagination has really ramped up. Of course it’s great when she’s playing with her dolls or toys and she’s just totally content to be in her own little world…it’s harder when she can’t discern between her pretend world and the real world. Especially during her gymnastics class, she would decide that “I’m a baby!” Or “I’m a kitty” Her instructor was less than tolerant this. The worst episode occurred when we were in Safeway and she decide that the Star.bucks kiosk was a horse stable and she had to go save the horses and OMG I could not break her from this! She was refusing to go with me and threw such a fit when I picked her up that I was certain someone was going to suspect child abduction. I was ready to abandon my trolley half full of groceries in the aisle and head for home, but then she announced that she needed to go potty. After not making it in time and needing to change her clothes, she forgot about the ‘horses’ and we finished our shopping.

I decided we needed to install a rule that we only play pretend at home and in turn, I would be better about playing pretend with her. The only trouble is that when Kate wants to play, she is very particular with how she wants things to play out and will dictate “now you say ___________” and then “you say ___________” I can only put up with it for so long before I lose my shit and explain to Kate that it’s not fun to play with her. Apparently I used to do this when I was her age. I’m sorry everyone.

She’s also really into music. I listen to a classic rock station and she will demand “louder” “LOUDER” which makes me wonder if there is a problem with her hearing, or my speaker system or if she just wants to turn it up! Specifically she likes Adele. More specifically she likes the song “Water under the Bridge” and asked for it over and over again. I now have it on repeat and as soon as the song hits the last note, she’s requesting “Same song Mommy!”Actually it’s no different than any other radio station overplaying Adele.

Activities: After the disastrous gymnastics class with my mom, we tried to go with my Dad. I thought she might do better as my Dad is, well how shall we say it, less uptight and intense than my mom. Nope, she was worse. She absolutely refused to participate, interfered with others and I had to drag her out of the class kicking and screaming. As she fell asleep as my dad and I were driving home, it dawned on me that the class was too close to nap time. So I went to switch her to the 11 AM class and ended up getting moved up on the wait list for the 3 year old class with the head instructor! Even better, it was only a few weeks of waiting before we got the call that we were in and she LOVES the head instructor and has been doing much better! We also started swimming lessons on Tuesday nights. She is doing rather well and can swim a few strokes on her own, but she also has a habit of not going potty before we get in the pool and needs to get out multiple times during the lesson. I also have her signed up for soccer and Spanish classes through her school.

Looking forward to: I’m getting excited for the Holidays! We’re do our transitional 5K run on Thanksgiving (and I’ll do a 10K on Saturday to earn the coveted Mega-medal) and then we’ll go to my aunt’s house for dinner. I have Wednesday off, as Kate’s school is closed so I volunteered to make a few side side dishes. My parents are coming for Christmas (I think they are only coming for about ten days) and in early January we’re going to Ireland and England! Well admittedly I’m not looking forward to the long flights, the jet lag and being feeling like I’m under house arrest at my in-laws, but I’ve never been to Ireland before and we’re going for a wedding. Our friend Ryan, who everyone thought would be a lifetime bachelor (he was hooking up with tinder dates when we last saw him just over a year and a half ago) is getting hitched to some Irish woman. Remember the Baby Shower episode of Sex and the City, when Carrie explains to her friends “You see a sign that says ‘two-headed snake’ your pull over. Wild Lainey is having a baby shower. You pull over.” Even to this day, I’m not exactly sure what that is supposed to mean. Are we to pull over because of the danger of a two-headed snake, or is a two headed snake some sort of attractions? Either way, Sex Pest (his IRL nickname) is getting marred, we need to pull over to Ireland.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Halloween Fun

When I was in the trenches of infertility treatments, I considered myself to be a “serious blogger”who only wrote about “serious” issues related to infertility and I vowed that I would never write such fluff pieces, such as ‘Halloween fun’. Yet, as we’ve been leading into Halloween, I’ve been composing a post in my mind, so I decided to go through with it. Then, as I sat down and started typing, I realized I do actually have a Halloween connection to infertility. Back in 2011, I had a negative pregnancy test (the first of many) after the Plan B incident on Halloween. Two years later, I was administering my trigger shot for my first failed IVF cycle in the bathroom at a bar, while wearing my Sookie Stackhouse costume on Halloween night. Then on October 31, 2014, I received the phone call with my beta results. It was 175 and rose to become Kate. I still have the voicemail saved on my phone. Infertility memories still haunt.

I really wasn’t too into Halloween as a child. We lived on a small cul-de-sac that was a good distance away from the main road. There were only 4 or 5 hours and only two other children lived in our neighborhood, so we basically went around to each other’s houses. Since no other kids came to our hood for trick-or-treating, no one had much candy to offer. The grown-ups would carry on talking, which was so boring. I think one year I went trick or treating with Myrtle and her brother and his friend in a big neighborhood, which was a lot of fun. When I was in the 6th or 7th grade, I was asked to take the kids I baby-sit trick-or-treating. It was much more appealing to be making money and I didn’t have to dress in a costume. My final experience with trick or treating was in my senior year of high school. I was leaving field hockey practice, and a teammate, who I really couldn’t stand as she had the most annoying personality, asked me if I wanted to go trick-or-treating. I’m not really sure why I said yes. Maybe it was because I had just sent out my college applications and this was my last chance to do something youthful, or maybe I felt badly for her as I suspect she probably didn’t have friends to trick or treat with when she was younger. We became the annoying teenagers in last minute costumes who drew dirty looks for being too old to go trick-or treating, but I actually had a fun time with my annoying teammate.

The one Halloween memory I will always hold, is that my mother made my costumes. The first one I recall was when I was in the first grade and was obsessed with Annie. My mom sewed me a red dress with the white collar and knit a kick-ass red curly wig. The next year she made a cat costume. When she went back to work full time, she gave me ten dollars and sent me to a consignment shop to create a costume. We never used a store bought costume. I wanted to carry on that tradition with Kate, especially when she was and infant and early toddler and didn’t have any comprehension of Halloween. I had my mom crochet some animal hats (a bunny and a dog) and I completed the rest of the outfit. Last year was the first time, she recognized there was something called Halloween going on. I re-used the Olivia Costume from her birthday, and we walked the neighborhood to look at all the decorations without trick-or-treating.

One day in early September, Kate wanted to play Nella the Princess Knight and was going through her closet and mine to try to find a Nella outfit. I did my best, but it wasn’t “Nella” enough to suit her, so I began contemplating getting her a Nella costume, if she would actually wear it for play. I found one in the regular toy section at Target, which emphasized that it was not a Halloween costume, but I figured she could wear it on Halloween, so I hid it in my closet as I didn’t want her to possible ruin it before H-night. She found it while we had cleaned out our house for the flea treatments and of course, wanted to try it on. O-M-G that think was a fucking glitter bomb. Hot pink glitter everywhere. As we were vacuuming so frequently for the flea treatments, I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, then I discovered specks of glitter were getting stuck in the floor boards. I had to cut off the glittery skirt and I went to the fabric store to get a non-glitter replacement. She could have worn it without the mesh overlay, but the action of sewing for her costume made me feel connected to my mother.

Right after we hit the fabric store, Kate and I headed over to Tar.get to look for some pig ears (I’ll explain in a minute) She found a Unicorn costume and fell in love with it. Literally, she was hugging and cuddling this stuffed unicorn. I had a moment of weakness and relented. As Nella has a Unicorn, I figured it would complement her costume. (Kate always pairs Nella and Trinket together. She won’t wear her Nella underwear if it doesn’t have Nella and Trinket.) Once again, I justified my purchase as it is something she can play with year round. Already she’s insisted on taking her Unicorn out to dinner (we had to explain that the Pub has a no unicorn policy), to the farmer’s market, and to bed. I woke up one morning after Kate had climbed into our bed and saw that she brought Unicorn too.

Just when I figured I had Halloween sorted. I received an email from her school reminding parents that they would be hosting a wholesome Halloween parade. So nothing scary. No masks. No war toys. Acceptable costume included professions, objects (such as a crayon) or characters from books. I decided to re-purpose the Olivia dress again. Only to find that the Olivia dress she wore a year ago, is now an Olivia shirt. I quickly found a red velvet dress online, which is actually closer to Olivia’s real dress, and took the collar I made off her old dress and sewed it on to the new one. I hope I made my mom proud. We also added bows for the ears.

Olivia: today and one year ago 

Kate’s school had a field trip to a Pumpkin Patch. The kids learned about the life cycle of a Pumpkin, toured the patch on a hayride and each got to pick their own pumpkin. I love that Kate is deadlifting hers.

As Husband was away for a hockey tournament during the weekend of my championship swim meet (did I mention that my team WON!) I had to leave her with baby-sitters. I picked up some Halloween arts and craft projects for the sitters to do with Kate, as I thought this made me a “cool” mom. Neither sitter did them with her, so apparently not. Never mind. Kate and I did them together.

The masks came out well. The pumpkin.. not so much 

Our final Halloween project was the pumpkin carving. As a I have a few tool sets, I decided to look online for patterns to download and we couldn’t resist making a Peppa Pumpkin!

Finally we celebrated Halloween. My Dentist was hosting a Halloween carnival, which I felt was a good alternative to trick-or-treating. As Halloween wasn’t really a thing done in England, Husband perceives trick-or-treating as begging and doesn’t want her to do it and I don’t want her to get lots of candy. Co-worker started taking her boys out when they were three, but she only goes to five houses. This will be their fourth year of hitting only five houses. She is aware that eventually they will discover that you can knock on six of more doors. The carnival was just on our way home after picking Kate up from school, but I didn’t factor extra time for the traffic. It was listed as 4-7 and we arrived around 6:20. It was getting dark and they were starting to pack somethings up. If we do it next year, I’ll get out of work earlier as they had lots of carnival games. Kate did get to get her face painted. (The woman was getting ready to pack up, but couldn’t resist Kate’s charms) She got a balloon animal (which looked more like a sex toy…) We posed for pictures in a photo booth and ate pizza from a food truck that had an actual brick oven. It was pretty cool. She received a goodie bag that had some candy, a few mini packages of M&Ms and a few lollipops. So she got a little candy that night. We came home to find our bowl of Do-it-Yourself non-candy Halloween treats was empty, which means they were a big hit... or some decided to be an asshole and take all of them. I may find out when I rake leaves if any got dumped back on our yard...

The balloon lady tried really hard to fulfill Kate’s request for a Unicorn
I didn’t have the heart to tell her it looks more like The Rabbit 

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Right Now October 2018

Reading: Blogs, which is where I got the idea to do a ‘Right Now’ post.

Watching: I just finished the fourth season of The Affair, and it may have been the best. I appreciate the way the show has been able to re-invent itself each season and keep the storylines compelling. I think the only network show I’ve been watching is This is Us. While I appreciate that they are doing an infertility story line, I wish they stuck to the fact that Kate is a high risk pregnancy due to her weight. I once had to care for a nearly 400 pound woman who conceived with IVF, ruptured her membranes at 30 weeks and was put on bed rest, where she developed a blot clot in her lower leg. Fortunately, she and the baby made it after a very careful C/section and long NBICU stay, but we really thought we were going to lose them both.

Listening: to Kate whine about the fact that I won’t give her a cup of water to take to bed

Eating: About 1700 calories, 185 g of Carbs 65 g of Fat and 135g of protein on a work out day.  I just did my body fat test a few weeks ago. I knew my weight was down a bit and I was hoping my extra time in the gym had translated into an increase in muscle. Well I lost 3 pounds, 1.5 of fat and 1.5 of muscle. The guy administering the test thinks I’m not eating enough, which is really not what I was expecting to hear, as I know there are some days when I am less than honest about what I record on MyFitnessPal. Like when I yield to my weakness of pumpkin spice cream-filled cookies and polish off nearly a whole box. Sigh. It’s about eating the right foods and I’m still trying to figure out what they are.

Drinking: I just chugged a shot of Kate’s Zyrtec. No kidding. Long story short. We have fleas. Well, our cats have fleas and once they are treated, they feast on me. No one else in the house. I’m glad they are not bothering Kate, but I think Husband could take a few bites for the team. My ankles are completely scratched up and now I have bites all over my torso. I didn’t have any adult strength anti-histamines, so I took an adult dose of Kate’s meds.

Update: I accidentally took a 15 mg dose in the morning and it nearly knocked me out. Beware! 

Wearing: My favorite gym shorts and my newest long sleeve T-shirt from our recent swim meet which MY TEAM WON!

Loving: See above. The Pumpkin Spice Cream Filled Cookies

Anticipating: Halloween! Kate is really getting into it this year, as she keeps asking “Is Halloween tomorrow?” Her school is having a costume parade and of course it’s a wholesome Halloween parade, so no masks, scary costumes or war toys. A few weeks ago, Kate wanted to make a Nella the Princess Knight costume out of her and my clothes, which didn’t really work out too well. So, I brought a Nella costume, breaking my vow not to buy costumes, as we tried the home made route and failed, and it seems that she would wear it after Halloween. Anyway, I figured a Princess Knight costume (Even though she doesn’t have a toy shield and sword) would be frown upon by the Wholesome Halloween Police, so at their suggestion of selecting a character from a book, I’m reusing her Olivia costume from last year’s Birthday party/Halloween for the parade and she can wear Nella in the evening.

Hoping: The flea treatments work. We had our carpets professionally treated and now we have to vacuum all the rugs three times a day for the next two weeks. We’ve everything out our closets, which is now being stored in the garage and I have most of Kate’s stuff in our dining room so we can keep the floors as clear as possible. I’m also hoping we can have a good cull and get rid of stuff that we haven’t used in years.

Following: The midterm elections, although I’m not feeling optimistic. I feel that between the Russian interference, gerrymandering, and blatant voter suppression, we’re fucked.

Wondering: If Kate is ever going to be night time potty trained. I know she won’t be the six year old still in pull-ups as she refuses to wear them, but I think I might be the mom of a six year old who is still washing three sets of sheets every day…

Trying: To figure out what to feed our family. I’ve tried two meal service companies that both deliver to our gym, but Husband isn’t too keen on either of them. Actually he dismissed one just by looking at it without even trying it. I feel as if I am so done trying to make an effort for him when there is so little appreciation.  I’m ready to declare every night is a FUFFY. (Fuck yoU Fend For Yourself)

Worrying: It’s been a stressful week at work. Hence, stress eating a box of cooking. Everyone is under pressure to meet productivity standards and with my administrative position, I’ve become Public Enemy Number One. I’ve felt as if I were walking on eggshells all week, just trying to keep to myself at my desk, but I have to lead our department meeting on Monday with a team that is pissed off at me right now. Awkward.

Planning: How to spend the remaining days/weeks of the year. This morning I worked out how much I have left before I reach the max on my dental plan and how much my insurance will cover for a new crown and to replace some fillings. I have two visits booked. I’m also trying to work out when to do my brute squad swim (200 Fly, 400 IM and 1650 Free) during the month of November. I want to try to set up a play date while Kate and I are off for Veterans Day. I need to figure out what to make to take to take to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  I also need to do a Costco run, especially so I can purchase items for the local food banks, but want to make sure I get in before it gets too close to the holiday madness. Don’t you wish your life were as exciting as mine!

Contemplating: Well, I was briefly considering changing jobs earlier this week, but I wasn’t serious about it. Four years ago, when we were really overworked and I was on the verge of being burnt out, I didn’t make a move to switch because I knew going somewhere else would have a nice honeymoon period for maybe a few months to a year, then it would be same shit different venue. The other reason why I didn’t leave is that I have an easy commute in an area with shitty traffic. Now I’m also locked into this location due to it’s proximity to Kate’s Pre-school. Co-worker and others who work close with me have assured me that all this will blow over in time. I just hope it get there soon.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Pre-School Progression

The final days at Kate’s old Pre-School were difficult emotionally. And awkward. I didn’t tell the other moms that we were changing Pre-Schools. Husband broke the news at Kate’s birthday party. Part of the reason is because I struggle with crucial conversations (as I’ve learned in my leadership classes) and the other reason is because I felt like a dick. When we started looking at other schools and I saw how competitive the process could be with long wait lists, I went into self protection mode. Hey, it’s a dog eat dog world. I kept the details to myself to eliminate the competition. Although I knew they weren’t looking for other schools since they both have a younger second child and had commented that it’s hard to find sites that provide both infant and toddler care. Maybe the real issue was that I was feeling left out as I didn’t have a second baby.

Anyway, as if they were making a final plea to keep us enrolled, her Pre-School held a Science Fair on Kate’s last day. We had just picked up a book of 101 Science Projects to do with your kids at home and I opened to the page with a Make Your Lava Lamp. You only needed a Mason jar, water with a few drops of food coloring, vegetable oil and add Alka Seltzer. I won’t deny it; I wanted us to have the best project in her class. As we were cutting circles for the poster board, Kate asked me “Mommy, are you doing this for you or me?” Then to answer her own question, she apologized as it was “her fault” that I had to do the project.

I dropped her off that morning and it was the first time in months that she didn’t cry to cling and I left quickly and wiped tears away as I walked to my car. My afternoon schedule was too heavy for me to attend the Science Fair, so Husband went instead. I had wanted him to wear his “Back Off, I’m a SCIENTIST” T -shirt (quoting Ghostbusters’ Peter Venkman) but apparently it’s a designated night shirt. He did wear a work shirt that displays a chemical molecule, which is actually the structure of Viagra. Fellow chemists who can recognize what it is can enjoy a tee-hee-hee together. Actually, as Husband’s former boss was fired due to sexual harassment and misconduct… maybe it isn’t so funny…

A few weeks earlier, when he was picking her up at the end of the day, Husband asked the lead Pre-School teacher about how Kate was doing. “Very well” was the response. “Actually she’s ahead of most of the class” Hearing that sealed the deal. I knew we were making the right decision to switch her to the Montessori school. 

Yet, change is hard; even when it’s good. We started Kate’s phase in with having her attend one hour on her first day, two hours on the second day and she worked up to a six hour day. When I picked her up on the second day, she was out of the playground playing with three other kids calling out, “C’mon friends!” She seemed to fit in well and I was getting reports from her teachers that she was very receptive and they were impressed with her verbal skills. Yay, we wouldn’t have to extend her phase in until the official start of school, which would have required Husband or I to have to take time off from work. 

One of the annoyances with the new school is that they do not provide lunch, so I have to pack a lunch every day (they also don’t have a fridge, nor can they heat foods, which I’m not sure how that is allowed in over-regulated California, but it really limits options). They also insist that we don’t pack any sugary treats. I’m a health food advocate, so that sounds good to me! Except I didn’t know how strict they would be. I got busted for a small 60 calorie box of yoghurt covered raisins. I really had to bite my tongue and keep my eyes from rolling back, as one of the teachers lectured me (a 4 time Whole 30 Veteran) about sugar and how I should not give Kate anything with more than 5 g of sugar. For fuck sake, it was yoghurt covered raisins, not Twinkies and Pixie Stix! I spoke with a mom friend who’s kids go to a different school, but has similar rules. She feels it is a little intrusive. “I’m the mom. I should be the one to say what goes in their lunch” BTW do you know how few foods have less than 5 grams of sugar?

Weekly Meal Prep for Kate 

When we signed Kate up for the new Pre-School, she was still still two years old. The charge a higher rate for kids under 3 and those who are not potty trained, as they seemed to not believe that children could be potty trained under the age of 3. Upon her arrival, we reminded them that she is potty trained and had the extra fees credited toward our tuition for September. Then on the first day she stayed for nap, she had an accident. [face palm]. She had two other accidents and we had to bring in pull-ups for her nap time (although we’ve been getting reports that she is keeping them dry). We haven’t heard from the administrators that we need to pay for the potty training fee, but if they do, I think I’ll argue that it’s a big transition. You can’t be surprised to have a miss or two. 

In anticipation of her attending the new school, Husband suggested that we get her some nicer clothes. Hey, I didn’t need to be told twice to go shopping! Although she doesn’t need to wear a uniform, I saw a few stores had a “uniform collection” of basic skorts and polos. I picked one out for her during her second week of school. She resisted getting dressed (which is usually for her) but really didn’t want to wear the skirt. As in she was pulling it down and bearing her butt as I was trying to put her in her car seat. She calmed down quickly as we were driving and I was hoping that she would get over her dislike for her skirt, but once we arrived at school, she started to pull it off again. I quickly directed her to the bathroom and changed her into her back up clothes. Later that evening, I asked her why she didn’t like the skirt. Her response “it’s not pretty” Sigh. I went to Jo.ann Fabrics to purchase a bunch of iron-on patches and I let Kate help pick them out. Since I don’t trust the iron-on process, I tacked down the patches with some loose stitches and as I was sewing, I couldn’t help wonder ‘is my kid just a tad spoilt?’

Update: she still hasn’t worn these skorts 

On the first day of school I selected two outfits and gave her a choice, you know, like you do with husbands. Kate decided she would pick out her own clothes and grabbed the first two things in her drawer, which were grey leggings and a blue T-shirt. All I could say is that it at least sort of matched. I didn’t imagine she would have camel toe on her first day of school pictures. When I came home that night, I moved all her play clothes to the top drawer and filled her bottom drawer with her school clothes. #momskills. 

Not the Picture I had in Mind

My work schedule shifted by 30 minutes with this new Pre-school change, and I have to say, I appreciate the extra time in the morning. We have to leave at 8:15 sharp, where we used to leave between 7:50 and 8:00. Despite the pressure to be punctual (we need to arrive at school by 8:40, so I can leave at 8:45 and arrive at work by 9:00) our mornings have felt more relaxed and less hurried. This does put a little more pressure on our evening, as the first thing I learned during our first week is that I have to get dinner on STAT. As her new school is providing so much extra stimulation, she’s a bit tired and cranky when we get home. Throw being hangry into the mix, and it’s the recipe for an Epic meltdown. 

I know some kids are doing their phase-in, but it looks like Kate is the last kid to get picked up each day. I was fearing they would ask us to move up her pick up time, but so far no one has said anything to us, and we’re pretty psyched that Kate gets some one-on-one time with her teachers. We’re only two weeks in, and I’ve been on time for every pick up. My secret is that I leave my desk at 5:28 and start walking to the parking garage, so that I’m getting in my car to leave at 5:30. I do realise that leaving two minutes each day translates to a loss of 10 minutes per week, and 6.5 hours per year, but I’m just hoping no one takes notice. 

As expected, she was clingy and crying at her first drop off, but by the time I sorted our paying her fees, the crying seemed to stop. I had the opposite problem when I came to pick her up, she was refusing to come with me and was even running away. I know Montessori is supposed to be all about gentle discipline, but I think the teacher who was waiting to leave approved my ‘I’m going to pick you up and throw you over my shoulder’ technique. Yet after a few days, I started finding her sitting at a desk, coloring or working on a puzzle. When I arrived, without any prompting she starts to clean up and put away her materials. Who is this child and what have you done with mine?

That has been the biggest progression after a 5 week break for full time Day Care/Preschool; Kate’s behavior is much better now that she is back in a routine. We still have struggles with getting dressed and eating dinner, they just seem more manageable and everyone seems less frustrated. We’re three weeks in and it feels like it was the right decision and the right move. 

Friday, 31 August 2018

A Day in the Life Summer 2018

Day in the Life
24 August 2018

Papi 72
Grami 69
Husband 43
Jane 42
Tyler 4
Kate 3

0139 Oh shit! I missed getting up at 11:30 for Kate’s dream pee
0140 Arrive in Kate’s room and discover that she has wet the bed. Take off wet clothes and put her on the potty while I strip off the wet sheets and find some dry PJs for her
0142 She falls asleep as soon as I place her back in bed. Cover her with her blanket and take a moment just to watch her. She does look so angelic while sleeping
0145 Climb back in bed trying not to disturb Tyler, who is sleeping on the foot of my bed and seems to have claimed more space while I was gone
0307 Something wakes me up. The next alarm for Kate’s dream pee is at 0330, but I decided to do it now.
0310 Gently wake Kate and bring her to her potty. I have developed such an appreciation for the sound of urine hitting the plastic kiddie potty. It is music to my ears
0314 Dump the contents of the potty. Funny how there doesn’t seem to be too much there, but when she wets the bed it soaks everything
0449 Tyler is meowing. Why is he still meowing? He is on Kitty Prozac and Kitty Medical Marijuana and had been doing so much better!
0500 As he won’t shut up, I go to the kitchen to investigate. He still has some wet food and his dry food bowl is full, but he has no water. I cleaned his bowl last night and ran it through the dishwasher and didn’t put down a replacement bowl. I fill one of Kate’s plastic bowls for him and feel like an asshole
0515 To let me know how thankful he is, Tyler returns to my bed and sits on my chest, brushing his tail in my face a few times
0545 Appreciate that I’m off today and don’t need to get up to go to work
0620 Alarm goes off as I planned to get up and go to the gym. I thought Kate would be up by now, so I could say good bye to her. Oh well, if she freaks out that I’m not home, there are three people who can console her
0630 Dress for the gym. Weight 151.2. Not where I want it to be, but pleasantly surprised as I had two dinner meetings for work this week and am guilty of a little stress eating. Plus I didn’t swim or gym this week
0640 Leave for the gym
0703 Arrive a little late as I was delayed by a freight train. I’ve never attended this time slot before and I don’t know anyone. The woman who was my partner for the warm up asked me if I just finished basics.
0720 The Strength portion of the WOD is a 1 rep max Power Snatch. I hit 38 kg (84 lbs) which is a PR!
0735 Staring working up for the rest of the WOD. It’s 5 rounds of 8 Dumbbell Thrusters at 35 lbs and 8 ring rows (on a box to Rx) It doesn’t sound too bad
0737 I’m struggling with the 30 lbs dumbbells. I don’t think I can do the Rx weight
0740 For seeming so simple, this WOD is a bitch. I feel disappointed that I couldn’t Rx it
0749:51 Finish the WOD
0755 Get ready to leave after some stretching and using the foam roller
0808 After thinking I’d be home earlier than expected, I hit major traffic just after the last exit where I can take the back roads
0813 I’ve barely moved. Not sure if there was an accident or this is just normal congestion for this time of day
0824 Arrive home in twice the time it usually takes to get home
0830 Find Husband is on a work call. Kate and my mom are in the Kitchen watching Nick Jr cartoons and my dad is in the shower
0834 I get out some sweet potatoes as I was planning to make some packets for Kate. It’s a struggle to get any vegetables into her, so I’m making my own squeeze pouches of sweet potato, carrots, banana with a little spinach thrown in 
0835 My mom sees the sweet potato and asks if I am making sausage scramble. She and Kate are interesting in eating some, so I guess I am now
0837 I take note that Kate is still in the same clothes I dressed her in last night, so she stayed dry for the rest of the night. I’ll take only one accident as a win
0840 I multi-task setting up the cats’ water bowl, cooking the carrots and sweet potatoes, and making the scramble
0850 Breakfast is served! My mom and I sit down to eat with Kate. Kate says it’s too hot and gets down from her chair and heads to play in her room. I don’t chase after her as the food is a bit hot and I’m hungry and just want to eat. 
0900 My phone starts blowing up with text messages and alerts. I start to freak out thinking it could be work related, as shit always seems to hit the fan when I’m out of the office. 
0901 I check my phone. Phew. It’s only coupons from Jo.ann Fabrics and Lake.shore Leaning, plus a reminder from MyFitnessPal to log my weight 
0905 Husband has finished his conference call and comes in to the kitchen for more coffee. He is surprised to see me, as he forgot I am off today and thought I already left for work. 
0920 I’m using my Mini Ninja Chopper to make the packets. I have to do it in two batches and I can hear the motor is starting to strain. I need to see if there is a larger sized Ninja as I am still loathe to drag out my food processor
0925 As I set up the filling station for the packets, Kate wants to help and drags out her ‘Tower or Power’
0926 She thinks were are making applesauce (as she does have packets of applesauce). Well technically, the French word for potato is ‘pomme de terre’ (Apple of the land), so it’s not too much of a stretch… hey, I’m all for deception if it gets them to eat more vegetables. Yes, Kate; we’re making applesauce 
0930 She actually does a good job working the filling station. I put Pig stickers on the packets and prepare them for the freezer. Since her new Day Care doesn’t have a fridge, my thought is that these packets will provide some cool insulation 
0940 To my surprise, Kate goes to the table and eats her scramble without any prompting. She only eats half if it, but I’ll take it. 
1008 Finish cleaning up in the kitchen. Kate brings the packets into the garage to put in the chest freezer. She sees a package of Adelis sausage and decided we need to bring it into the house to have for dinner this week. Sure, why not?
1015 I bring in the clothes that were drying on the drying rack in the garage. Kate follows me and starts playing in the garage. 
1020 Start a load of Kate’s wash so I can clean her wet sheets from the night before. I discover that my parents didn’t hang her wet swim stuff and left it in her swim bag. I throw the whole bag in the washer
1024 Kate is playing in my room as I’m hanging clothes up. She wants to make a tent. We had to bring out the spare duvet this week as Tyler puked on our bed (seriously, my life is awesome) 
1025 She tucks an edge of the duvet in the top drawer of my dresser and the pulls the duvet over my bed. I secure it by placing our foam roller over it. 
1026 Kate is sitting in her tent so she can hide from ‘monsters’ 
1030 I go into Kate’s room to tidy her room a bit. I collect some play food and return it to her kitchen. I end up re-organizing the foods in her refrigerator and pantry and wonder how I ended up with another kitchen to clean
1035 Kate finds me and announces that she wants to move the tent to the other side of my bed
1037 I try to explain that her existing space is better as it gives her more room, but she’s figured out that she can use my night table to help support another blanket wall. This kid know how to build forts
1040 After helping Kate with her tent, I go into the kitchen to grab a yoghurt. It hit the expiration date two days ago, but passes the sniff test
1045 Although it’s a violation of my ‘no eating in the bedroom’ rule, I oblige Kate and eat my yoghurt under her tent. 
1055 Take my empty yoghurt container and spoon to the sink. Discover that the recycling container are full and bring them out to the larger bins in the garage. My parents (with help from Husband) have consumed two bottles of wine, three 2L bottles of diet tonic water, and a big-ass bottle of Costco Vodka. Is that a lot for three weeks?
1110 Change into my swim gear and load my bag into the car. Since I missed going swimming at 6 AM all this week, I somehow managed to talk my parents into watching Kate so I can swim in the noon class.
1115 Start to explain to Kate that I will be leaving. She has been more clingy lately and threw the mother of all tantrums when I left for the gym last Sunday.
1120 She starts to fuss and whines that she will be “lonely” in her tent. I suggest getting some of her animals from her room and she thinks it is a great idea
1125 As Kate is busy brining her stuffed animals into my room,  I slip out patio door. My Dad had just finished putting the final touches on Kate’s new playhouse and wanted a dustpan and broom to sweep up. I hand them to him and feel really guilty as it’s something I should do after he and Husband worked so hard to assemble the playhouse.
1130 Leave for the pool
1155 Arrive at the pool. At 6 AM, the drive only takes 15 minutes, but downtown traffic at noon on a Friday is a nightmare
1156 I place my parking tag on my real view mirror. Whoops I never sent in a request for a summer session tag and the one I have is from the spring semester.  Hopefully, the parking lot attendant will be on lunch…
1157 I text my mom and dad a list of the items we need for dinner tonight in case they decide to go to Safe.way I am swimming. The nagging voice inside my head is telling me that I should have done this earlier as it’s cutting into my warm up time
1204 Dive into Lane 7 which is my usual morning lane. There are already two swimmers in the lane. The noon swimmers are a little slower than the 6 AMers so I always get a bit of a confidence boost. 
1208 Annoyingly, a 4th (and slow) swimmer joins our lane while there is only one swimmer in Lane 8 (the designated slow lane). I move into Lane 8 as I’d rather split the lane and swim at my own pace than try to circle swim with three others. 
1230 The main set begins. Our coach announces today is backstroke day and there is a loud collective groan, save the one or two swimmers who are decent at backstroke
1231 The set involves 6 x 75 of various backstroke drills and to my surprise, I’m crushing it! I’m keeping up with a guy in Lane 6 and I’m way ahead of everyone in Lane 7
1245 I get moved to Lane 6 and discover that one of my former 6 AM Lane mates (who moved to Seattle for a graduate program) is back visiting. I barely have time to say hello before we have to do 50 yard backstroke sprints x 2. He and the other swimmer in Lane 6 decide that I get to be the Lane Leader.
1247 Finish my second fast 50 backstroke. I think I need a defibrillator
1250 My former lane mate tells me that my backstroke is looking good. He must not be swimming very much is Seattle 
1302 We finish the set at last! Since there isn’t a class to follow at noon, our coach has no qualms about pushing us passed the hour mark
1315 I open up my swim bag and discover that my mom took my towel and cover up out of the dryer and folded them before placing them in my swim bag. I’ve been swimming for over 6 years and each time I throw my wet stuff in the dryer and then shove it back in my swim bag. It never occurred to me to fold anything
1317 I’m the last to use the outdoor shower, which means the water may be cold or
1318… really hot. On a hot day it’s unbearable, but today is cloudy and a little cooler, so it feels really nice. 
1325 Make it back to my car. No ticket. 
1327 Quickly check my work email to make sure I’m not missing anything urgent. 
1349 Arrive at home. Husband has already left for his hockey game and my parents and Kate are playing in the back yard. She has not had a nap and they did not do the shopping. I kind of thought they would have done this, so that Kate can nap in the car (as still, this is the only way we get her to nap with us) but I say nothing.
1350 She also hasn’t had lunch, but I am saying nothing
1351 Of course, Kate wants chicken nuggets for lunch, which I know will take too long to make and I don’t think she’ll hold out that long. My mom gives her some Tris.cuit crackers with vegetable cream cheese. Works for me.
1400 My mom informs me that after three and a half weeks at our house she is “losing her identity” She needs to watch the news and take walks each day. I nearly give myself a migraine trying not to roll my eyes as I feel she is being *a touch* dramatic, but instead I offer a few suggestions of some good places to walk
1420 After her ‘lunch’ something sets Kate off into a titanic meltdown
1421 My mom says “I don’t know what this is about”
1422 Captain Obvious states “She’s overtired and needs a nap”
1425 After much back and forth with my mom, I offer to drive Kate so she will nap and do the shopping
1430 Grab the shopping bags and take Kate to the car, I should try to get her to use the potty, but she’s still in full-on meltdown. She is refusing to put on pants. I decide I’ll just cover her with a blanket 
1437 I took a long detour, which was unnecessary as Kate is fast asleep, at least it is a very scenic route
1443 Slowly drive past a house with an amazing garden and stare longingly. 
1450 Fret as I’ve added so much unnecessary extra time to my trip and now I’m stuck in traffic
1455 This time the traffic clears, just as I’m about to jump off the highway on to backroads
1510 Arrive at Safe.way. Check work email to give Kate a few minutes to stay in deep sleep after I’ve turned off the car
1515 Successfully transfer Kate into her stroller. Cover her bare legs with her blanket
1517 I really need to pee, so I head to the store bathroom. Laugh to myself as we’re usually running to this bathroom when Kate needs to go, now it’s my turn
1520 I consider doing a ‘dream pee’ with Kate as I’m not sure when the last time she went. Consider texting my mom to ask, but decide against risking waking her up. 
1525 I leisurely walk up each aisle. It makes such a change to have a peaceful shopping trip
1530 I have an obsession with Open Nature Yoghurt. It’s cheaper than other brans and has less sugar and a better protein to carbs ratio. My favorite flavor is coconut, but not all stores carry it, so I have to stock up when I see it. I clear the shelf of all twelve containers of coconut yoghurt
1531 Giggle to myself as the last time I was here with Kate and she saw my excitement over the coconut yoghurt, she grabbed a random container of some yoghurt and exclaimed “Yessss! They have my yoghurt Whoo-hooo!” She may have been mimicking my behavior 
1540 I think I see one of my patients in the produce department
1545 Head to the check out. The guy behind me asks me what I did to Kate to make her sleep (um, she’s tired) and then comments on how much yoghurt I am buying. I really want to get away from him and suddenly I remember that my Dad wanted me to pick up so more tonic water
1550 The tonic water is on sale 2/$3.00 I decide that I should by the two bottles, even though it’s really awkward to balance the basket and the two bottles of tonic water while pushing the stroller
1551 Yup, that is my patient, fortunately she doesn’t see me, especially as I’m now jugging the stupid bottles of tonic water.
1600 Make it through the check out and drop groceries off in my car. I also need to go to GNC for more protein power and they are having a BOGO sale that ends tomorrow
1602 Fuck. GNC is closed for 30 minutes for lunch, although they don’t know what time this lunch break started…
1603 I decided to walk the length of the shopping plaza
1605 toward the Fro-yo place. After hitting the gym and the pool today, I’m really tempted
1610 I walk into Yoghurt Deluxe. They don’t have coconut 
1612 I taste a sample of New York Cheesecake, but decide against getting fro-yo as it could get really awkward if Kate wakes up while I’m eating some fro-yo and didn’t get any for her
1613 Stick a dollar in the tip jar as I feel cheeky just coming in for a sample.
1625 After walking all the way up and down the shopping Plaza, GNC is open. Not only can I take advantage of the BOGO sale, I had $55 in rewards to use. As Kate would say “Whoo-hoo!” 
1635 Transfer Kate back into her car seat. She wakes up. Fuck.
1637 Kate sees the bottle of coconut water that I bought for myself and wants some. 
1642 As I’m stopped at the light, waiting to exit the shopping plaza, I look in my rear view mirror and note that Kate has fallen back to sleep, holding the coconut water
1643 Carefully remove the coconut water from Kate’s hand, just as the light turns green. The guy behind me is slamming on his horn, but fortunately, it doesn’t wake Kate. 
1703 Stuck in traffic on 580 for the second time today
1718 Finally arrive home. Kate is still asleep!
1720 Start to put away groceries. My Dad is watching the Red Sox and my mom is lying down on the couch
1730 Just as I finish putting groceries away, my mom asks if I need any help
1735 I decided to have a lay down myself, knowing full well that as soon as I get on my bed…
1736 Kate wakes up
1737 I get Kate out of her car seat, fully expecting her to be soaked, but to my surprise she is dry!
1738 I put her on the potty despite her protests and she takes the world’s longest pee
1740 Kate is asking to watch a show
1745 We curl up on my bed and start watching Team Umi Zoomi
1750 Tyler comes to join us
1800 At some point I nod off. The backstroke set is catching up with me. I recall that I managed to take a short nap during my last DITL post, but it really is a rare occurrence. 
1840 Because I was so tired, Kate managed to sneak in one more show. Thanks to Team Umi Zoomi, she can figure out “If I get three shows and I watched one, I get two more?”
1845 Head out to the patio and find my parents drinking wine. 
1846 Kate is playing in her playhouse
1910 I go into the kitchen to start dinner. My mom follows and she wants to check out the Insta.pot
1915 We’re having Chicken Tacos. It’s one of my favorite go-to meals, and one that we used to do in the crock pot, but I find it’s better in the Insta.pot
1916 My mom seems impressed that I prepare and store batches of the dry ingredients to save time. 
1918 Dump the chicken thighs, spices, water and salsa into the IP and set the Poultry setting to 21 minutes
1930 The IP is finally ready. I always forget to add time for heating and for releasing the steam. Fortunately my mom has poured another glass of wine and doesn’t notice how late it is
1940 I go outside to check on my Dad and Kate. My Dad is sitting on Kate’s picnic table, which he moved to be adjacent to the Playhouse. Apparently he is in “Pretend Crog.ans” [our local pub that we frequent every Saturday night] and she is “Pretend Mallory” [the name of our favorite waitress] who is serving some food to my dad and a few stuffed animals who are also sitting at the picnic table
1951 The Insta.pot is finally ready to be vented
1955 Crap. I also forgot it takes another 8-10 minutes to sauté the excess water
2005 Which is also the same time it takes to bring Kate in from the Playhouse and collect her animals after convincing her that she doesn’t want to leave them outside overnight
2015 Grateful to my mom for heating the beans and corn. Dinner is ready !
2017 I stick some shreads of chicken in Kate’s guacamole 
2025 To my surprise, Kate has been sitting in her chair and is eating her dinner. Maybe the solution to her eating struggles is just to smear all her food in guac
2030 As Kate finished her dinner, she is rewarded with a mini-ice cream Drum.stick. I don’t like doing dessert every night, but I’m going to let it pass as a treat while the grandparents are visiting 
2031 Another perk of the IP, clean up is easy. I was the pot and stick everything else in the dishwasher
2040 Give Kate her 5 minute warning until her bath
2041 Run the bath water. Enjoy a few quiet minutes to check and email
2050 Spent a little too much time on my I.pad. A little late getting Kate in the tub
2051 Kate is resisting her bath, so I offer to be a “unicorn” and let Kate pretend to be Nella the Princess Knight and ride on my back to the tub
2052 It works, but as soon as we get to the tub, she runs off
2053 Find Kate in the kitchen looking at the I.pad with my Dad
2055 They’re watching a news video about some naval ship in the Boston Harbor
2056 I tell Kate that the video is “sooo boring!” To try to re-direct her focus back to the bath. 
2057 My Dad informs me that it’s not boring as this ship represents important military history, but he can appreciate what I am trying to do
2058 No, it is really boring. 
2100 My mom asks me how often I use the IP, which leads to a conversation about how Husband is not helpful at all with meal planning.
2110 Apparently, I can go on about this topic for a while
2111 Kate has moved on to looking at pictures of my cousin’s wedding with my Dad
2112 I conclude that it’s too late for Kate’s bath
2113 I let my Dad know that I’m really annoyed with him for showing her an I.pad when he knew I was trying to get her into the bath and for not backing me up when I tried to get her to stop watching and go take her bath, but I’m really annoyed at myself for not being more firm. I can’t be upset about Kate’s lack of decorum while my parents are visiting if I let her get away with bending the rules
2115 Kates says good-night to my parents and then brushes her teeth for two seconds
2118 Change into bed clothes and start reading stories, we have already read her library books multiple times and we only checked them out a few days ago
2130 Turn out the light and kiss Kate good night. 
2140 It doesn’t take long for her to fall asleep
2145 Say good night to my parents who have already gone to their room
2150 Climb into my bed, Tyler jumps into my lap
2151 Start watching Real Time with Bill Maher.
2204 Husband arrives home. Ask him how his game went and feign interest 
2230 Fall asleep before Bill Maher’s New Rules
2310 Wake up as Tyler jumps off the bed
2311 Take Kate for her dream pee. This is my life. Wash, rinse, repeat. 


Monday, 13 August 2018

Three Years

I first heard the term “terrible twos” when I was a teenaged babysitter and experienced them first hand with one of my charges. As subsequent years passed, I began to believe that she was just a spoilt bratty little kid and I imagine today she is probably a terrible 32 year old. When my friends started to procreate, I began to hear that the twos weren’t too terrible, the threes were worse. Some others have suggested that if your twos are really bad, you’ll have a better third year, but if you had an easier year two, you’re in for rough waters during the threes. I asked my Pedi to confirm these theories and he explained that by the age of three toddlers are more cognitively developed…he rambled into a long dissertation that I’ll simply paraphrase as ‘three year olds are able to be aware that they are being assholes.’

Most of the time Kate is a sweet but curious child. I don’t think she’s having more tantrums, but oh boy, have they ramped up in their intensity and it takes longer to get her to calm down. Some days, they seem easier to provoke, or they come out of no where. She’s started throwing herself on the ground when she throws a fit, and O-M-G does that push my buttons. I’m not sure why it’s such a trigger, other than it seems to epitomize the image of an unruly, ill-behaved child. At home, on the advice our pediatrician, we ignore her. One night I walked out of our kitchen and turned out the light. The challenge is what to do in public. Loyal readers may remember my nightmare in the airport, when we were catching an early morning flight and I could attribute it to her being tired from her disturbed sleep and not understanding why I couldn’t bring her sippee cup of milk though security… Yet a few weeks ago, full from a good lunch and after a decent nap, she threw a tantrum in Safe.way complete with rolling around on the ground. I’m not a germaphobe mom, in fact I’m even a bit pro-dirt, but Safe.way probably has some of the dirtiest floors around and I was watching in horror as black marks were collecting on her pink shirt. I started warning her that it wasn’t safe to be on the floor; she could get run over. Then to prove my point, I fake stepped on her. (For those who are old enough to know the reference, think Christian Laettner in the Duke Kentucky game in the 1992 Regional Semi-Finals) I drew some horrified looks, but no one called Social Services and Kate got off the damn floor, so I’m calling it a win.

My other parenting gripe is the whining. No one really prepares you for the whining. Sure, people warn you about the sleepless nights with a newborn. Now I look back and think, big fucking deal! So you wake up, change baby, feed baby, it takes about an hour, then you’re able to sleep again. Seriously, why don’t we warn each other about the whining. This is another trigger that makes me lose my shit. I mean truly lose it. I once got into my most obnoxious voice and started whining back at her and it actually shut her up. Of course, I can’t do it too often, or it will lose it’s magic.

One of our current struggles is getting ready to leave the house in the morning. Kate needs a 10 minute warning, then a 5 minute warning and then a 2 minute warning. She has a habit of deciding to do her most imaginative play when I’m trying to get her to wrap up what she’s doing and focus on getting ready to go. One morning, after I gave the 10 minute warning, she decided she was going to be an art teacher and set up three of her stuffed animals with a piece of paper, a paint brush and their own jar of paint. It was adorable and I felt like such a bitch, but I needed to admonish her for the fact that she wasn’t cleaning up and putting on her shoes as I asked her to do. I get so frustrated and I feel like such a failure as a parent that I can’t get my one child out of the house on time, while there are super moms out there juggling two or three kids. There are some days where I relent and let her play a little longer. Is it a big deal if we’re late to the Farmer’s Market? Well we may lose out on potato Kuku and get left with the spinach ones. The other day we were late leaving for a birthday party As she had to take her baby to school. To go support her fantasy, I offered that Tyler would take her baby to school. She didn’t think he was capable of the task, so I had to convince her that he is a very responsible kitty. She insisted on giving him instructions, so he would make sure Baby has her lunch box and her blanket. So she is demonstrating that she is understanding responsibility. Now we need to work on responsibility and punctuality.

Height 3 feet 3 inches
Weight: 39 pounds

Potty Training
I read one source say that you know your kid is fully potty trained when you don’t have to spend all your time thinking about ‘does my kid need to use the potty?’. I’d add the the definition of success includes being able to handle an outing after you forgot to bring along the backpack of potty supplies. Or you’re really toting the potty backpack just for the coloring books and other forms of entertainment that get us though eating out at a restaurant. Next challenge is getting through the night. I really wasn’t going to tackle this until later in the summer going into the fall, as I had a distant goal of getting rid of diapers by the end of the year. However, I was finding that she would soak through her nighttime pull up about 3-5 times per week. I decided that if I was going to be constantly washing sheets, we might as well learn to night time train.

We started on Memorial Day weekend, which was our potty training anniversary. I stocked up on extra sheets and pads and I would wrap her bed in extra layers as if we were playing ‘Pass the Parcel’. I started putting her to bed in undies and was soon discovering that she would only pee once a night, some time between 2 and 4 AM. I decided to take advantage of the fact that Tyler was meowing at all hours of the night and I would try to wake her up to do a dream pee whenever Tyler woke me up, but she really wasn’t cooperating with the dream pee. So then I decided to try an night time alarm. I found one that has a little clip that attaches to her undies, but I need to get some thicker training pants so it would be more comfortable for her. The alarm just really didn’t work. Some nights it fell off. Other times, her bladder would empty so quickly that even with me sleeping next to her, by the time the alarm went off, her bed was already soaked. Plus she was really scared of the alarm, which made for a good challenge to try to stay dry all night to prevent the alarm from going off, but she became so scared of it that she started to hide it on me. So basically, the alarm was a total fail.

The one night I decided to revisit the dream pee; and it worked! She got up to pee and stayed dry for the rest of the night! She even once got up own her own and used the small potty we placed in her room. I really didn’t want to use any incentives when we started training, but I thought I’d make an exception for night time training, and we started letting her put stickers on her calendar every night she is dry. (She’s fascinated by my sticker chart that I use for going to the gym and to swim practice, so we started comparing calendars) I think we had two weeks were she was dry every other night and maybe one PR of two consecutive dry nights.. then her pee schedule changed. Despite being more restrictive with evening fluids, she started needing to pee earlier, so I’ve been getting up twice a night to take her to pee, but she’s been peeing earlier and earlier. One night it was two minutes before my alarm was set to ring. Then she doesn’t have to go when I get her up later and she’s waking up wet at 6 in the morning. 

I’ve had Co-worker, my aunt and my cousin all tell me not to worry about night time training at this age, that it will be okay if she’s in pull-ups until she’s 6 or 7. Please see above; she soaks through pull-ups. Plus, I really, really want to be done with diapers. I was finding that she was regressing a bit in the pull-ups as she would pee in them while reading stories, rather than using the potty. I then decided the training pants had to go as well, as they are thick like diapers. We’re going back to commando with loose shorts as that is what worked to get us through day time training.  Commando for the win again! (I hope)

Eating: This still remains one of our biggest challenges. She has a limited palate won’t try anything new, so we end up going to our usual staples: meatballs, fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, breakfast sausage links or dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets. Sometimes she gets so busy playing that she refuses to come and eat, which it never a good start for a peaceful meal. Does anyone remember reading about the worst fight of all from the story of Helen Keller? ‘Teacher’ Annie Sullivan chased Helen around the dining room before she finally got her to eat her breakfast and fold her napkin. I feel ever meal with Kate is the worst fight of all, except my child isn’t blind, deaf and dumb, she’s just an asshole. 

We’ve been making a point to reduce distractions during dinner. No TV, no phones and we’ve been engaging Kate in conversation. She’ll often ask “how was your day?” We’ll chat for a bit and then she’ll get bored and will start squirming around in her seat. I honestly feel like we’ve become immune to her poor behavior at the table. If anyone has any tricks or tips; please share.

One of the hardest things about switching her Pre-school was that she was doing swim lessons and soccer through her old school and we did gymnastics on Tuesday when I was off from work. Weekends were completely free of scheduled activities. Saturday and Sunday gymnastics classes fill very quickly, but I found there was still space in a 2 year old class on Saturdays and I got us on a wait list for a 3 year old class than only has 3 people ahead of us and it’s with the head instructor, so I’m feeling optimistic that things might work out well. Since her new school doesn’t offer soccer until the end of September and it didn’t want to lose her momentum (as she had been doing well with the soccer lessons at her old school), I signed her up for a six week session (though the same company that does her school lessons) on a Saturday morning. I was weary about doing soccer and gymnastic back to back, but figured if she can make it though a 9.5 hour day at Pre-Schoo, she could handle two activities.

Among the many lessons I learned; firstly it’s not worth booking activities in the Summer. We missed half of the soccer classes anyway due to birthday parties, the Summer festival for the Library reading program and picking up my parents at the airport. Second lesson, I was wrong to assume she’d seamlessly transition into a new soccer class. When we arrived on the first day, she clung to me and refused to participate. The second time, she wanted to run around the park and showed very little interest in the soccer lesson. I get it. It’s a new teacher, she doesn’t know anyone and there is so much new stimulation at this park, a duck pond, two play grounds and many people walking their dogs. At her Pre-school, she’s in a familiar environment, she’s with her friends and I’m not there. It was a total failure due to my unrealistic expectations. My comfort is that she was not the only kid not paying attention and I’ve become friendly with some other parents as we commiserate about what a waste of time and money this endeavor has been. And yes, soccer (even when not fully participating) followed by gymnastics leads to a very tired and cranky kid who didn’t want to cooperate in gymnastics and is too wired to nap. Total fail with the added bonus of having my mother rub my nose in my failures. “You’re not taking her back [to soccer} next week are you?” Well, it is the last soccer class next week. “And the last gymnastics class too?” Well no, given that the gymnastics classes run on their own schedule as they are a completely separate program. Thanks for emphasizing that I suck.

We were able to keep her in her swim lessons at her old school for the rest of August as she’s on break until her new school starts after Labor Day and I’m hoping we can get her in a class on Tuesday evening, which will be a bit funny as Wednesday is Husband’s gym night (although he rarely goes) Thursday is my gym night and Tuesday will be Kate’s night. I’m also looking to sign her up for a 5 week Sunday night swim class in September, where she will attend with a friend and I can swim during her lesson. It runs during the three weeks when Husband will be away, and I’m not looking to do in long term. We’ll see how this all goes…

Looking forward to: Our (new) normal routine. I’ve been thinking about how they say that nothing in life is free… especially as my parents have been visiting. While it is really awesome having them here to plan, shop, prep and cook meals. Plus help with our back garden renovation and do some house work. Not to mention helping with child care… it comes with a price. Some of the cost comes with my mother trying to be helpful, but really annoying me with her efforts. The other expense is a change in Kate’s behavior. The other day I arrived at the gym practically in tears. It seems like there is nothing like a visit from your mother to make you feel like you’re failing at parenting your own child. Fortunately, there were some seasoned moms in attendance to console me. “Oh yeah” said one “My kids always become little shits when my parents come to visit. Yes, I think they are trying to make us look bad. We probably did the same thing to our parents.” Suddenly, the escalation of her worsening behavior made sense. She has additional attention from her grandparents, and sometimes has to compete for attention if everyone else is distracted by something else (like something sports or related to our house) I recall that during their Christmas visit, she hit a potty training regression that I think was attention seeking. She’s over-stimulated, her nap and sleep schedule is off and it is easy to get out of sorts. At least that’s what I am telling myself with the hope that I’ll get my house back and my normal child back at the end of the month.

Come the day after Labor Day, Kate starts full time at her new Pre-School five days a week and I go back to working five days a week, except I kept myself at 36 hours and I will still have Tuesday mornings off. On the advice of my HR cousin, “If you go back to 40 hours, it will be hard to cut back down again” so we’re going to see how this works for a while. I’ll be happy to stop doing ten hour days, as they were getting rather tiring and I’m going to be happy to keep a consistent schedule for a while. Yet, I will miss my stay-at-home-mom-for-a-day time with Kate. I enjoyed all our activities, baby yoga, baby music, the first attempt at soccer (I had forgotten about that failure) two gymnastics classes, many trips to the park, a few play dates and all the times I dragged you around It’s been real.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

La Fiesta

Toward the end of last year, as Kate was into all things Peppa.Pig, I began to contemplate a Peppa themed birthday party. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would put it together. Maybe let each kid represent a character? Hold a puzzle challenge with all our Peppa puzzles? I really didn’t have any great ideas, but I found Peppa birthday balloons along with paper cups and plates,, so it had to be a legit theme -right? However, I had done an Olivia party for her second birthday (which some people thought was Peppa…) could I really feature a pig two years in a row?

Then Kate discovered Dora the Explorer and she was so over Peppa. Initially, I found Dora really annoying. The show is so formulated between the map and the backpack. I mean, does she really need a map to find her own house? There is no way all that stuff can fit into that backpack and be light enough for her to carry it. I started getting into the show a little bit when I learned about Swiper. I think Swiper appeals to me because his big brushy tail reminds me of Tyler, but I actually started rooting for him to steal her stuff. Every time I hear him saw “Aw man!” I want to tell him, next time Swiper, you’ll get her next time…

Then I had to confess that Dora was having a good influence on Kate. She started speaking in Spanish and she could solve a lot of the questions posed on the show including some math problems. Then one day Kate and I went shopping, I had a lot of stuff and I decided to accept help out to my car. I let Kate into the backseat and worked with the clerk to unload the groceries into the boot. When I came to the driver’s door, Kate was sitting in her car seat, so I presumed she was buckled in. . As I started to back out, she shouted “Mommy, why didn’t you buckle me?” As I pulled back in to my parking space, ripped the handbrake and climbed over my seat, Kate was finishing buckling herself into her car seat and then looked up at me and said “Seatbelts! So we can be safe!” Okay. Thank you Dora. That sealed the deal on the decision to have a Dora themed party. Oh and I’ll stop cheering for Swiper to steal your shit.

I discovered a park very close to our house through one of her school functions. It features a great playground, which would be easy entertainment for the kids. The only trouble is that the picnic area available to reserve, is on the other side of the park, so I made a sign with “Map” to help show people the way. I searched through Google images and found one with a picture of a park (which is from an episode where there is a birthday party in the park for Swiper), but annoyingly, the actual park was on the opposite side to the picture on the map.

I knew I wanted to do “Backpack” goodie bags, so I found some cheap purple draw string bags on Amazon and the googled ‘what is inside Dora’s backpack’. Don’t try doing that. Apparently, there is a sex act called the Backpack. I didn’t read too closely, but it ends with someone saying “Yum-yum, delicioso!” After that, I just started paying more attention to when Backpack made her entrance while Kate was watching Dora. The gift bags has a (jump) rope, a small flashlight, a multicolor pen, a snack, bottle of water,  a squeeze ball globe (which is as close as I could get to a map) and a passport and stickers. I brought a Polaroid camera and took a picture of each child to put in their passport. I don’t think many of the boys understood the whole Backpack theme, but seemed to think the stuff was cool. 

“Backpack, backpack. Whatever you might need I have inside for you...”
Do not google ‘what is in Dora’s Backpack.’

For lunch we ordered from Chipotle, as we did last year, because we needed to do the Mexican thing to be consistent with our theme. Chip.olte definitely is more expensive than other catering options, and I was considering finding somewhere else to provide the meat, but thought I could cook my own beans and rice, get one bag of shredded cheese…then reality hit me. It was worth the cost not only to have it all prepared and but delivered too. I under ordered a bit, as we had so much left over last year. My formula was to count the kids as half and subtract 5 from the total. It was pretty accurate as I only had 3 or 4 meals as leftovers. However, I fell into one trap. I decided not to buy any Dora themed plates or cups, as I still have paper ware from her first birthday party (which I used at this party and if we have a Peppa themed party next year, maybe I can get rid of the Olivia cups and plates from her second party…) Chip.olte catering provides plates, napkins and utensils, but I didn’t take into account that I had undercounted, so we ran out of plates. Whoops! I had guests eating off of the plastic lids to the bowls or having a burrito or taco. My tip from last year; I brought plastic containers for the left overs and baggies for the unclaimed cut up veggies. Bam! Clean up and meal prep done in one action!  

We’ve been to a few birthday parties this year and I’ve watched the parents present beautiful professional cupcakes, only to have the kids lick off the frosting and toss the cake. I was seriously considering just serving tubs of frosting.. but I came up with another idea. I got nice cupcakes for the adults and went with crappy Safe.way cupcakes for the kids. Actually the bonus to the Safe.way cakes is that they do a lot of Nickeledon themes, so when I saw they could do a Dora number cake, I was sold. I placed my order with our local store and the woman informed me that they didn’t have any of the plastic Dora cake toppers. Did I want to do a different cake -Shimer and Shine maybe? I had my first ‘this woman doesn’t have kids’ moment, as she obviously didn’t grasp. THIS IS A DORA THEME. WE NEED A DORA CAKE!!! Not to worry, Amaz.on came through with some Dora related candles.  Personally, I was a little disappointed with the cake as I thought it would be more Dora-esque, rather it was just a Dora looking backdrop, but the kids liked requesting the color of their cupcakes “I want yellow!” “I want green” I will forever love the convenience of cupcakes for a kids’ party. Cupcakes for the WIN!

Kind of lame 

Kate is totally eyeing the grown-up cupcakes 

My friend Amy was in London for a wedding and missed the party, but her parter Sheldon (who I imagine wanted to maximize his time out of the house while he was solo parenting their two kids) offered to help set up. I noticed that he brought a small tent out from his car and was setting it up. I didn’t think we needed the tent, but I was too busy with other details to say anything. Good thing I didn’t -the tent was a huge hit! All the kids were running around in and out of it. It was a cave, then a goal for the soccer ball. Sheldon later told me that his kids insisted that he assemble it. Gotta listen to the kids, as they know what makes a party. While we were shopping, Kate requested to have some watermelon. The plastic bowl of pre-cut watermelon was gone, while I was bagging up all the cut up veggies I had prepared and assembled to go along with another picture of map that detailed the three different dips I made and included little Dora characters on a stick to list the ingredients… because I was trying not to get carried away….

I picked up some outdoor games from the dollar bin at Mic.haels just to have on hand in case some of the kids didn’t want to go the playground, but I tried to restrain myself don’t go overboard with this, the kids may not even play with these! Wrong! The bubbles and hula-hoops and styrofoam airplanes and sidewalk chalk was a huge hit! Some kids never made it to the playground because there was so much fun at the campsite, so my worries about the distance between the site and the playground were for not!

The only downside of the party, was that I spend too much time hosting and didn’t spend much time with Kate. Honestly, there were times when I had no idea were she was and was just hoping that someone was watching her. I’m grateful for my aunt and uncle who not only watched her in the morning while we went to set up, but captured most of these pictures as I didn’t take any at the party. Although it’s time consuming, I feel like I’m getting pretty good at hosting birthday parties and I’m learning how to be better and more efficient each year. This year, the only thing I asked Husband to help with was scanning and emailing the signed permit to the Parks Department, and picking up balloons and ice on the morning of the party. He and I carried the coolers full of ice and Sheldon helped him carry the tents and tables, which I had packed into the his car. I think the only thing he carried on his own was the travel folding chairs while I lugged up the crates of beer, water, food etc… Yet he said to me while we were cleaning up “How about next year we do her party at Chuck E Cheese?”
Obligatory number balloon 

Kate’s Birthday Gift -her own Backpack and Map!