Sunday, 22 April 2018

Kate 2.75 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

** Whiny Little Bitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Update on 2018 Goals

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

1. Following Flexible Eating and continued weight loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Pre-School Predicament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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