Friday, 6 December 2019

2019 Goals and 2020 Targets

I’m posting this a little early, as honestly, I’m probably not going to accomplish too much in the remaining weeks. Secondly, I actually have some time on my hands. I’m in Arizona for a conference. I feel incredibly cheeky as it was only a one day event, but I flew in the day before and I’m leaving tomorrow morning, when technically I could have flown out tonight. However the price of the later flight was actually more than the cost of my room (in case I need to justify it when I hand in my expense report). I also hired a car (which cost less than a round trip shuttle to the airport) and I’ve enjoyed zipping around in my rental Camry (driving oh-so carefully as I didn’t pay for the extra insurance) and I dropped in on two Cross Fit gyms and met up with an old college friend. I also got my Holiday cards done! Oh and the conference was really good too! 

Weight Management
This year was interesting. I started by working with a “nutrition coach” who helped me gain 6 pounds of muscle. I also gained 1.5 pounds of fat with that muscle so my body fat percentage was the same in April as it was in October and my scale was reflecting the fact that I was pushing close to 160 pounds, which was personally distressing to me. I reached out to my old nutrition coach (who moved and isn’t around our gym as much) and we revised some macros, which I stuck to for a few months. (The one advantage of husband traveling for long periods of time is that I can be more strict on my diet plan when I am only cooking for myself). I almost wasn’t going to to the body fat test in October as I figured it hadn’t changed, or had even gotten worse and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to depress myself. I signed up, but almost cancelled at the last minute. When I realized I missed the deadline for my refund, I decided to go. To my surprise, I had lost some fat and my body fat percentage was only 0.1% off my best! It felt like a huge win and has been a motivating factor going into the holidays. 

I feel the improvement I have made this year include increasing my vegetable consumption and being consistent with meal prepping. I gave myself a week off during my visit to my parents, but other than that duration, every week I’ve chopped up vegetables and have even travelled with my baggies of veggies (I also switched to some re-usable bags to be better for the environment). I’m as active as I’ve ever been and have been very consistent with exercise, but my resounding lesson has been that my weight is much more tied to what I eat that how much I work out. It still bothers me that I am at my heaviest I’ve been in recent years, but I’m trying to focus more on how I feel, how I look and what I can do with my body than a number on a scale. 

Targets for 2020
Keeping weight around 155
PB on Body Fate Test 

I had a few specific targets:
Sub hour Murph Time – Yes! I complete 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air-squats and 1 mile run in 54 minutes and 24 seconds
Handstand push-ups -Almost! I violated the ‘strict before kipping’ rule and got my first kipping HSPU (with one ab mat) and recently began connecting a string of 3 (with two ab mats). I started an 8 week course to improve HSPU so when the next Cross Fit Open rolls around, I will be waiting to crush HSPUs.
Double Unders -Better! I got into week 3 of an 8 week course and became really frustrated, so I decided to take a short break and come back to this skill
Completed BOTH Cross Fit Opens, did one competition and my first Olympic Lifting Comp!
I took a 6 week Olympic Lifting 101 course and definitely improved my Oly lifting technique (although I still have so more room for improvement) I even purchased a proper bar and some used plates to do some work at home

I’ve decided to stay at my current gym for now, despite my frustration with the coaching. I’ve learned that the reality of CrossFit is that you won’t improve with the scheduled programming alone, you have to devote specific time to work on skills outside of the WODs. My game plan is use some on-line coaching programs to advance my skills and I’ll see if any of the coaches take notice. 

Targets for 2020
Murph -sub 50 minutes (really need to work on running to achieve this)
HSPU -lose the ab mat
Double Unders -50 Unbroken
Toes to Bar – 10 Unbroken consistency. T2B are such a fleeting movement for me. Some days I can hit 10 unbroken, then I’ll fail after 2
Strict Chest to Bar
Bar Muscle up -it’s a lofty goal, but it won’t happen if I don’t try!
Snatch 45 kg
Clean and Jerk 60 kg

I hit one of my goals, which was to avoid any long breaks (other than due to Husband’s travel) but they were a few days when I opted to go to CrossFit (especially if it was a really good WOD or a specific re-test) rather than swim, which has made me wonder if I should stop swimming to focus more on CrossFit? Then our meets come around, and I remember how much I enjoy the competition aspect of swimming (and getting ribbons!) and I don’t want to give it up. At least not yet. We’ll see what happens next year when Kate starts kindergarten at 8 AM and I’ll lose some of my morning workout time. 

I did manage two PRs at our SCM Championships in October -in my longest and shortest events! I dropped over 20 seconds off my 1500 Free and validated my 50 Free PR. Four years ago, when I was three months postpartum, I finished nursing Kate, handed her off to a teammate and wiped baby spit up off my shoulder as I climbed onto the blocks to swim my 50 Free. I don’t recall anything feeling special about this race, so I was in absolute shock when I saw my time 36.92. How the hell did I manage a PB when I was only three months postpartum and could barely manage a flipturn. I was. In total disbelief until I saw it recorded in the USMS database -yes, that was my time. In the next three years of swimming SCM, I never came close to that time. The doubt continued to linger. Maybe that wasn’t my real time, there was just a glitch in the timing pad (yet I’m not sure how). Then I swam lead off in the 200 Free relay (which granted me an official time) and I did it in 36.90! By 0.02 I had set a new personal best! Then I swam the 50 Free again as an individual event and bettered my best time with an 36.6. 

3. Setting out birthday cards
Awesome! If your birthday is early in the year! Not so much as the year goes on and my card sending drops off. I use Birthday Alarm, but I sometimes find it annoying that I’ll send one card and then get another reminder. I stock up on cards and stamps, so there is no excuse other than laziness.. My charge for 2020 is that I’m going to try to send them in monthly batches. People have let me know that they appreciate the cards and I think it still represents a bit of human touch in our digitalized world, so I want to keep it up. I’m sure people will be fine getting a card early than not at all. 

4. Sending photos to my in-laws
I actually sent a few around Kate’s birthday and on her first day of school and didn’t receive any response; only because (as I noted previously) I don’t think my in-laws know how to use the WhatsApp. Although I find it annoying, I’ll go back to sending things by email, as I know my FIL can use email and he has told me that he appreciates them. Maybe I’ll coordinate with sending out my bday cards. Can you guys help me with this? For those who are friends on Facebook, if you notice that I’m liking cat videos or posting some political rant, remind me that I could be using that time to email my in-laws. Husband recently shared that he has the feeling that this year could be his dad’s last, so I want to try to fill it with as much of their granddaughter as I can.  Husband is good about FaceTiming with them on Sunday morning while I am at the gym. I skipped going to the gym on Sunday morning, and suddenly remembered why I go every Sunday. You know, because fitness and stuff… 

5. Run some 5K races with Kate
It was not a good year for running. I did a 10 K with some gym friends in February and then nothing until our traditional Thanksgiving weekend runs. This year, Kate did her first 5K by herself! As we approached the starting line, I noticed the jogging stroller had a flat and I made a last minute decision to ditch it. Kate ran the first mile by herself last year, so I figured it would be easier to manage just her rather than her and a busted stroller on a hilly trail. There were a few flaws with my plan. One: Kate’s willingness to run is predicated on whether or not she has the option to go in the stroller. Second: Since we had to be up early (and Kate had gone to bed a bit later the night before as it wasn’t a school night) I let her sleep a bit later and figured she could eat her breakfast while she was in the stroller (also if she stayed in the stroller for the whole race, I could run the course and get a better workout in). When I ditched the stroller, I forgot to grab the snack bag, so I had a hungry kid, who soon became a whiny one. As I knew our only option was to get to the aid station as quick as possible, I was urging her to walk faster and I know to everyone who was passing by, I must have looked like the meanest parent ever. I wanted to issue a disclaimer, ‘look, I know my kid, SHE IS JUST BEING DRAMATIC!’ She proved my point, by informing me that she only runs from monsters. So I pretended to be a monster and we ran 1.5 miles to the aid/snack station. 

A friend recently asked me to do a half marathon with her in May, and as I’ve recently struggled with some running in our WODs, I’m realizing that I am going to have to do some training.
Targets for 2020
Get a sub 10 minute mile
Complete a half marathon 

6. Parenting
I think one of my goals at the beginning of the year was to get Kate night time potty trained and I can happily report we reached that goal. When I last checked in we were trying some suggestions from The Difficult Child. The travel clock helped a lot, but the snack plate.. not so much. Kate wouldn’t want anything from her snack box and would head to the pantry, but I replaced the panty snacks with healthier options, so maybe we’re making some progress. I tried getting her to go to bed by herself by letting her read books on her own, but she kept getting out of bed to ask me questions, so it really didn’t work out too well.

Targets for 2020: Getting Kate to sleep on her own. And earlier.
Limiting her TV time. When I deliberately put on a Barbie movie to give myself a good block of time to get my Thanksgiving cooking done, I realized how much I rely on her being pacified. I’ve been starting by trying to direct her to other activities, or just saying ‘no’. She’ll throw a tantrum, but will eventually find something else to do. 
Other goals: Getting her accepting into Kindergarten and getting her ready for school. 

7. Maintaining friendships
I didn’t list this as a goal when I wrote this list, but it is something I have put an effort toward. I arranged a few play dates for Kate, which has allowed me to spend some time with her friends’ moms. I had two girls weekend trips and I’ve kept in touch with two friends who moved out of the area. I read somewhere that when you reach your adulthood, if you’re not making new friends, you’re losing friends. So included in my targets for 2020 is to maintain my connection with my blogging friends. I know since many of us are posting as frequently (or at all) and blogger has some glitch that doesn’t allow me to comment, I’ll reach out to message more regularly. 

8. Miscellaneous 
I finally got our pictures hung!  As we started planning our next Hawaii trip, I realized I had to get these pictures up before we get another batch. We made somewhat of a last minute decision to get professional photos done, as when else do we have the time and gorgeous scenery? Unfortunately, the only time we could book the session was early in the morning after doing a luau the night before. So I’m hungover in all of photos (which are now hung around our house) and I look pregnant with a food baby. 

So my targets for 2020 -getting professional photos in Hawaii again (maybe at Sunset -before dinner and drinking!) and this time I’m using Framebridge. Myrtle introduced me to Framebridge when she requested a gift certificate for Christmas last year. I was tempted, but I needed to match an existing frame we had in our living room and I had hand painted frames to match our bathroom cabinets (when I painted the cabinets) and I wanted to reuse them. I forgot what a pain in the ass it can be to frame photos. I had to get new mats. Change the orientation. Yeah. I’m so going with Framebridge next time although my former DIY self is cringing that I can’t even manage to frame photos. 

We also managed to finish the landscaping in our front yard. We planted and then got hit with an early frost and I think most everything died. So, we’ll likely be planting again next spring.. but hey we got it done. Targets for 2020 include updating the front yard, finally finishing the back yard and maybe tackling the mess on our hill. 

I wish you all the best of everything in 2020! 

Friday, 15 November 2019

Right Now Autumn 2019

Right Now
Autumn 2019

Reading: The Baby Sitter’s Club: Kristy’s Great Idea and Otherwise known and Shiela The Great. Not kidding. I found these books for sale at our local library and I couldn’t resist purchasing two classics for $1. I really suck at reading. I heard that children of readers are more likely to be readers themselves, so I’ve been trying to make sure Kate is seeing me read. I was bringing a book to her gymnastics and swim classes, but then I started sewing non-slip elastics in my gym shorts, so her class time became my sewing time and it’s been getting too dark at the pool to do anything. 

Listening: Hamilton: An American Musical Original Broadway Edition. I saw the play with my parents this summer and like many others before me; I’ve become obsessed with it. I carved a Hamilton Star for our Halloween pumpkin, and like Martha Washington, I’m considering naming my next Tomcat after him. (Kidding)  Kate and I listen to it Non-Stop. Kate has focused in on the more colorful lyrics. “Mamma, can we listen to the song ‘I’m keeping her bed warm while her husband is away” “Mamma. He just said ‘fuck’” Yes dear he did. For the record it took me 4 of 5 times listening before I caught that f-bomb and you picked it up straight away.

Watching: I just watched the finale of The Affair. The fifth and final season has been really scattered and rather annoying, but the last episode ended on a good note -and even included a dance number. I’ve been keeping up with This is Us and have been relatively pleased with this season so far, especially as I felt it became really irritating last year. Kate is generally my least favorite character, but I like the story line about her developing friendship with her neighbor as he recovers from a stroke and shout out to the casting as the actor himself is recovering from a stroke in real life. Sadly, my other television pleasure is the children’s show Bluey. It’s a Australian cartoon and I like it because unlike other kids shows, it’s really relatable to kids. It addresses sibling disputes, being too bossy when playing with friends, to meeting a friend on holiday and then being disappointed when they leave to go home. It’s also really relatable to moms, as the dad somethings struggles with the kids at times. (Such as the kids are acting up when picking up Chinese food because Dad is waiting for spring rolls while Mum tells him it’s not worth it while the kids are hungry and tired or Dad takes the kids to the pool and forgets everything) I’m guilty of enjoying watching Dad struggle. As it said, it’s really relatable.

Eating: 110 g Carbs/48 g Fat/125 g Protein for a total of 1372 calories per day 

Drinking:  A protein shake as my dinner. I started a holiday weight challenge at my gym.

Wearing: My favorite gym shorts and shirt from the 2018 SCM Championships. I read my last Right Now Post, which was October 2018 and I was wearing the same thing. HA! 

Anticipating: I’m participating in my first Olympic Lifting competition this weekend! Feeling a mix of excited and nervous 

Hoping: Kate gets into our first choice of kindergarten. We have our first open house next week and start the application process in December. 

Loving: As of today, Husband is DONE umpiring collegiate field hockey games. He has been away for a total of 40 days and nights this season. Even better, he’s planning to take off the 2020 Winter Men’s league, so I won’t lose my weekend gym time. 

Following: The Impeachment Hearings

Worrying: That the Senate will not vote to remove Trump from Office. I really fear what he could do next and I worry that he will not leave office, even if he loses in 2020 or even if he gets re-elected and serves another 4 years. 

Planning: My vacation time for next year. My work situation is not necessarily better but definitely not worse than it was last year. Basically I get through each day by counting down and focusing on my next day off. I try not to have more than 5 consecutive weeks without a day off.  We’ll likely visit my parents in SC over Kate’s Spring Break and we’ll go to Hawaii in the summer. 

Contemplating: Seriously naming my next cat Hamilton. Also, I’ve been considering switching to a different CrossFit gym. For a long time, I’ve felt that I’m not in the coach’s clique, but lately I feel practically invisible. It’s to the point that I’ve been questioning why I am paying money to a gym where most of the coaching staff don’t given a shit about me. The answer has been that it’s cheap (since Husband is also a member we get a family discount) and they have class times that are convenient to me (with Kate starting Kindergarten next year, I may need to go to a 5 AM class and our box is the only one in the area with a 5 AM and Sunday classes) I’ve also been questioning if the grass is really greener on the other side, or if the devil who know better than the devil you don’t know. I’ve decided to stick with them for now.

Wondering: Why my 81 year old aunt is having to host Thanksgiving at her house this year after we did it at my cousin’s house last year. I wonder what I’ll need to bring. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

A Day in the Life Autumn 2019

3 September 2019
Husband 44
Jane 43
Kate 4
Tyler 6

0227 Tyler is meowing
0228 Seriously, he has been MUCH better
0229 Tyler jumps on my bed for snuggles
0347 Kate enters our room, I make sure she is dry and let her onto our bed
0350 We both quickly fall back to sleep
0500 Husband has to get up to catch a flight to San Diego
0511 Enjoy the fact that I am sleeping through my usual wake up time
0555 Husband comes in to say good bye; Kate wakes up and says goodbye as well
0556 She wants her milk. Husband agrees to get it for her
0700 My alarm goes off. Quickly check news stories before waking up Kate
0705 Agree to snuggle with Kate for “five minutes” before getting in the shower
0715 Consider my plans for the day. I was going to go into work after dropping Kate off at school as I have a lot of catch up work to do, but I’m loathe go spend extra hours in the office as I have an all day training on Saturday
0720 Decide I’ll go to the gym before going into the office and pack my work clothes into my gym bag and change into my gym clothes
0730 Direct Kate to the kitchen, she says she doesn’t want breakfast and goes to her room to play
0735 Finish packing our lunches, make my protein shake
0740 Sit down to eat my breakfast
0749 Throw my breakfast dishes in the sink. Since Husband isn’t home I can leave them to wash later
0750 Start to get Kate ready a bit earlier so we’ll have time for photos.
0753 Kate is playing in her room and is completely ignoring me as I am standing next to her telling her to get dressed
0754 Repeat the warning. Still ignored
0755 We’re supposed to give kids options. I inform Kate she can choose to put down her toys or Mommy will snatch it out of her hands
0756 Still no response. I warn her that no response means she wants me to take it out of her hands
0757 Still nothing.
0758 I grab the Mr Potato Head out of her hands and apparently I hurt her thumb. She is now hysterically crying, which is just slightly out of proportion to the amount of contact.
0759 She is now running away from me as I am trying to get her dressed. Fuck. We don’t have time for a meltdown today
0803 Somehow I manage to calm her down and I apologize for hurting her thumb. Of course, I can’t resist bringing up that if she put the toy away when I asked, she wouldn’t have hurt her thumb..
0804 and we’re back to crying again! Fuck.Me.
0806 I ignore her for a few minutes to make my coffee and I decided to bring the lunch boxes and school bags to the car.
0808 Kate was freaked out thinking I was leaving without her and is now getting her shoes on to go outside for her picture
0815 Manage at least one decent FDOS photo in front of her front door.
0817 Buckle Kate into her car seat, she starts screaming “it’s too tight” “IT’S TOO TIGHT!!”
0818 Drive off as she is screaming. Figure she either needs something else to be an issue or it really cutting off her circulation
0823 I start playing ‘What Makes you Beautiful’ by One Direction on repeat. Kate starts singing along, so I guess it’s not cutting off her circulation
0835 Ugh. It’s the day after a long weekend traffic…
0845 Arrive at Kate’s school and fortunately find a parking spot. I also discover that her new Peppa water bottle is leaking
0847 I sign Kate in and notice that while she still has the same teacher and classmates, she’s in a different classroom
0848 I also discover that someone Kate’s friends won’t start until later this week. Whoops I was talking about seeing a few of them during the drive
0850 Kate is starting to get clingy and teary at drop off, but her teacher distracts her by showing her new books in the library.
0851 I run out while I can!
0907 The traffic on the way back is even worse
0920 Since I’m already late to the gym, I post our first day of school photos to IG while sitting in the parking lot
0930 Walk into the gym. Gutted that I arrived so late as it’s one of my favorite instructors. He offers that I can jump in. It’s a Tabata style WOD that I can actually do from home, so I’ll save if for a time when I can’t go to the box and I’ll do tomorrow’s WOD instead
0940 After warming up, the first part of the WOD is a three rep max of a back squat.
0955 I warm up at 45, then add 10 kilo plates to go up to 65, then add 5 kilo plates to hit 75 kg and finally 2.5 kg small plates to reach 80 kilo.
1010 A guy who just finished the class comes to chat with me. He’s 71 and is fitter and stronger than some guys who are half his age. He competes in triathlons and I’ve been trying to get him to join our swim team. He asks me if I want to do a competition with him in a few weeks. Unfortunately, I can’t as I have an event at Kate’s school, but I’m really flattered that he asked me. Plus, as my parents are friends with their neighbour’s kids who are younger than me, I like to report that I have a friend who is their age.
1020 Hit 3 reps of 85 kg which was my goal.
1021 Decide to push for more and attempt 88 kg, definitely not as low in my squat as my earlier rounds, but still breaking parallel
1023 Since I didn’t die at 88, I decide to try 90, even if it’s just one rep.
1027 Complete my third rep at 90! I think my last one just barely went slightly below parallel, but I’ll count it.
1030 As I’m putting my weights away, I decide I’ll call it a day and not to do the other part of the WOD which is “Karen” 150 wall balls
1033 I can hear my swim coach’s voice in my head “IT’S ONLY 150 WALL BALLS OF YOUR LIFE!”
1035 I decided to do it. Plan to break it up 25/12/25/13/25/13/25/12 with 10-20 seconds rest. We’ll see how this goes
1042:43 Failed at 19 during my last round of 25, so finished with 18 in a time of 7:32
1045 Log my workout. Surprised at my time as the national average was 9:00
1047 Head to the gym’s shower. Fuck. I discover that I took out my travel shower stuff when I went to Chicago earlier this year. I am going to have to be that person who uses someone else’s soap and shampoo
1052 Unfortunately there is only one woman’s shower gel as everything else is Irish Spring or Axe or some other manly scent. I take a scant amount and try to put it back exactly where I found it as I fear there will be a facebook post in our members group page about not using other’s shower stuff.
1105 Leave the gym and head to work
1125 Sit down at my desk and sign into my computer
1127 My inbox isn’t too bad for coming off a long weekend
1315 Stop for lunch before my afternoon starts
1335 Receive a message from an IVF patient who had some spotting over the weekend. Agree to see her at the end of the day
1415 Co-worker comes over to my desk to remind me about an upcoming training we are attending this Friday and Saturday. I thought it finished at 4, but she informs me that it goes until 5. Fuck. I was hoping to have some free time before I need to pick up Kate
1600 ohh my legs are starting to feel stiff. I’m going to be sore tomorrow
1705 The IVF patient is still viable. I suspect the spotting was from stopping her luteal phase meds
I have a connection with this patient. She did her first IVF cycle at the same time I did my forth transfer. Mine was a BNF. She became pregnant, but miscarried at eight weeks. Then she spontaneously conceived and she was about a week behind me when she miscarried again. Now she’s finally pregnant and just passed the fateful gestational age.
1735 Finish a few emails and leave the office a few minutes late
1745 Fuck! Evening traffic is heavy too. Not good to be late with pick up on the first day
1803 The sign out book is in a different spot. I pretend that is the reason why I am late
1810 Buckle Kate into the car seat. She’s asking for a snack, which of course, I forgot to pack.
1811 Give her a granola bar that I saved from her birthday party to give to the homeless
1820 Remind Kate that she has swimming tonight
1825 Kate asks if she can skip swimming. I had been considering giving swimming a pass tonight as it was the first day of school. [My swim coach later informed me that most youth swim teams don’t hold evening practice for the first two weeks of the new school year to let the kids adjust to their new school schedules]
1826 Agree that we can skip swimming, but realise I probably shouldn’t have let her have the granola bar
1835 Arrive at home and bring lunch bags into the kitchen
1840 Decide to let Kate watch TV in my room, so I can watch the US Open in the kitchen. Feel more selfish about letting her miss swimming
1855 Finish washing containers from my lunch and Kate’s
1900 Make “energy balls” for Kate’s lunch tomorrow. My new school year’s resolution is to try to make things from the Little Bento book that Myrtle gave me for Christmas
1915 As I put these together, I wonder if they will be rejected by the lunch police at Kate’s school since they are made with cocoa powered and a few chocolate chips [they were]
1935 Finish the proteins balls. 10 minute prep time, my ass!
1940 Realize I should start thinking about dinner. We usually do Annie’s Mac and Cheese on Tuesday’s as it’s quick to put together after swimming. Feel guilty giving her such a high carb dinner when she didn’t go to swimming.
1950 Wow. The Federer match is going to a fifth set
2005 Oh shit. I got distracted watching the match and forgot that Kate needs a bath, we usually do a quick shower at the pool after her swim lesson
2015 Put her in the bath and try to go back to the kitchen; she is insisting that I wash her now
2022 Finish with Kate’s bath and send her to her room to get dressed for bed. Agree to let her play so I can finish up in the kitchen
2040 Pick up I my IPad and head to her room, put away some of her clothes and tell her to wrap up her play
2045 She selects her books and sits on my lap in the glider. Tyler walks in and jumps on Kate’s bed. He hasn’t been joining us for stories as much since we upgraded to Kate’s big girl bed.
2103 The last story runs late; quickly usher Kate to the bathroom to brush teeth and go potty.
2108 Finally get her into bed
2110 She wants one more hug
2115 She’s been quiet for a few minutes, maybe she is falling asleep!
2117 Husband comes through the garage door and she wakes up
2120 While Husband says good night to Kate, I sneak out to catch the match. Federer is down a break.
2123 Put Kate back to bed. Feel guilty about my 4 year old staying up so late
2130 Brief chat with Husband about our days. He turns the light out as he’s knackered and wants to go to sleep
2135 Realize that I forgot to pack me swim gear. Grab a suit and throw it in the guest bathroom. Discover that I left my towel in the dryer from Monday morning. It’s still damp, run the dryer again
2140 Tyler jumps on my chest for a cuddle
2200 start to drift off to sleep, interrupted by the dryer
2201 Place the towel over the garage door handle as I fear I’ll forget it. Feel that I spend most of my time prepping and packing
2210 Find I can’t fall back to sleep. Husband is snoring next to me. Attempt to watch the latest episode of the Affair as I feel asleep on it this past Sunday.
~2230 Fall asleep on it again…
September 25, 2019 2352 Finally finish this DITL post…

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Life’s hard lessons

Life’s Hard Lessons

Astute readers may have taken note that while I wrote a lot about my old cat Angus, especially his rather sudden illness and death five years ago, and I write a lot about Tyler, I don’t mention our other cat Kayla too much, except to occasional acknowledge her in a DITL segment. There is a bit of a reason behind that. Kayla was meant to be a cat for Husband, as he was very jealous of my relationship with Angus. While Angus was welcoming toward Husband when he moved in after we married, he always made it clear that I was his human. We added Kayla to our family when she was a four month old kitten, she bonded with Husband and would sit out his lap while he worked.

When we moved to our new house two years later, I noticed she was less friendly toward me. She would tend to run away if I approached her, but if Husband were away, she would come to me looking for affection. She was never a lap cat in the way that Angus and Tyler were, but she would enjoys some pets and cuddles and then move on when she was done. As I look back now, I think she became more standoffish near the time when Angus became sick, but eventually she would start to run away from everyone all the time and never seek any attention. I once joked with my vet that I thought she might be on the Kitty Autism Spectrum as she refused to make eye contact and my vet replied “Oh, I’m sure animals have all those disorders; we just don’t know how to identify and diagnosed them”

Perhaps, she was trying to signal to us that Angus was getting sick. I have no doubt that she knew long before we recognized his drastic weight loss. She started peeing on stuff. It could be the bath mat. Or out bed. She would pull towels off the drying rack so she could pee on them. Husband and I both made the mistake of leaving a jacket on a chair only to have her drag it to the floor and urinate on it. It was an effective tool as I often remarked how sometimes Husband could get as close as to hang his jacket on the knob of the closet door, but not go the distance to hang the jacket inside the door… I set up a special litter box of cheap towels for her in our guest bathroom. It was both awkward to shop for towels for your cat to pee on and then to explain to guests not to use those towels. However, it worked. For a while…

Then she started peeing on our couches. At first it wasn’t too often. We’d wash the couch pieces and spray with Feli.way spray, which is supposed to help cats feel more calm and less stressed. I brought dipsticks home to test her urine. Always negative. The vet ran bloodwork. Totally normal. We tried more Feli.way diffusers. Kitty anti-depressants and CBD oils. We’d be pee free for a few months at a time. During my parents visit this past Christmas there were some peeing episodes which prompted an urgent cleaning session as we were hosting my aunt and uncle on Christmas Day and our friends on New Years Day. Despite the team effort to clean every piece entirely, the horrible stench of cat urine still lingered. I lit multiple “Evergreen” scented candles to try to hide the scent,  which I explained was to compensate for our artificial Christmas tree. A clever rouse, but I’m not sure if anyone bought it.

My mother suggested that we try to rehouse Kayla and Husband was on board with that idea and suggested we pursue it after we returned from England and Ireland at the end of January. I knew it would be very difficult to place an older, unsocial cat with a behavior problem and knew we had to consider a different solution. We came back from our trip and continued to wash certain couch cushions and covers on a monthly basis. Like every prior occasion, we just hoped that she would magically stop. Then one week in June, while Husband was away, I thoroughly cleaned each piece of the couch. One week. Only one week later, Kate and I came home from the Farmer’s Market on a Sunday afternoon. When we pulled into the driveway, I discovered that Husband had taken apart the sofa cushions yet again. The smell of cat urine filled the garage. We couldn’t live this way any longer.
We never used our living room. The couch was draped with blankets and plastic scat mats to discourage the cats, but they only worked for so long. I was reluctant to have anyone over to our house because I was afraid our house might smell like cat pee. We asked ourselves if we were sure that it was only Kayla doing the peeing. I was and it was more than just my instincts to protect my Tyler kitty. There was never any pee in the other places of the house where Tyler spend his time. Not on our bed, not in the guest room or on the glider in Kate’s room. In fact, I took note that Kayla never spent any of her time outside of the living room. I began to question what quality she had to her life.

My vet had the same thought when I contacted her about putting Kayla down. If she was urinating outside her box that much, then she must be really stressed. I reckoned that she never really got over Angus’s death and was never quite the same after he passed. I began to think about them being together again as a way to make peace with our decision. “Are we doing the right thing” Husband must have asked at least a dozen times. As hard as it was going to be. My answer was always yes.

Not as hard as having to explain it to Kate. We briefly introduced the concept of death when explaining about the dangers of cars and why she must hold a hand in a parking lot and not slip her arms out of her car seat straps and my little Houdini is so good at doing. “If you get hit by a car or if we get in a car accident you might die, which means you wouldn’t ever see Mommy or Daddy again” Husband explained, perhaps with a bit of fear factor thrown in to get her to comply. Since the date we scheduled for the cat’s appointment was the day after Kate’s birthday party and I didn’t want it to be a sudden announcement or for her to look back and remember it was right after her birthday party. We started explaining that Kayla was very sick, and sometimes when you’re sick the doctors can’t make you better and you might die, which means you leave this earth.

“Just tell her that Kayla is going to live on a farm with other cats” Co-worker suggested while admitting that is what she told her soon to be six year old twins earlier this year when she put her ailing cat down. “The boys said goodbye to [their cat] but this way Kate won’t worry about you and Husband dying.” I just couldn’t do that. I feel we’ve whiffed a bit at explaining some big issues. Husband did the ‘Santa couldn’t fit this toy on his sleigh and gave it to us to give to you’ when she found an unwrapped present in my closet. When Kate asked about the few spots of blood she saw on my underwear? “Mommy has an owie.” “Yes, on my hoo-ha” For the record, she does know the proper word for vagina. It just is really cute when she says hoo-ha.

This time I knew we needed to step up to the plate and deliver. I went to the library and searched the card catalogue for books about losing a pet. I flipped through the first one and started bawling in the children‘ section of the library. The second one I found was by Fred Rodgers. I didn’t even open it in the Library. It just seemed so full circle. I grew up with Mister Rodgers and long after his death, his lessons and his love would help my child through one of the most difficult times of life.

So we plowed through the difficult conversations. Reassuring Kate that Tyler, Mommy and Daddy, Grami and Papi, Nan and even though my FIL was recently admitted to the hospital as he barely had a blood pressure, none of us are dying anytime soon. Talking to Kate about what happens after you die “No one knows, so we make up what we want to believe about it” was the answer from an atheist. Saying goodbye to Kayla that morning and explaining to her on the way to school that no, she could not come to the vet with us. “Kate, I don’t want to be there!” I expressed in a hopeful attempt to get her abandon her request.

As we were busy unpacking and cleaning up after Kate’s birthday party, it provided a bit of a distraction, but I couldn’t help feel waves of guilt every time I looked at Kayla. She doesn’t know this is her last night. Her last time eating… I had taken the afternoon off from work. Husband closed all the doors to the bedrooms to make it easier to capture her. As soon as I walked into the living room I saw her looking out the sliding glass door window. That’s her last time looking outside… Tears welled up in my eyes at that moment and as I’m typing , once again, they are rolling down my cheek.

It wasn’t too much of a chase before I was able to grab her and put her in her cat carrier. I held her on my lap while Husband drove. She meowed a bit and I stuck my hand in the carrier to pet her. It’s probably the most affection we’ve shared in years. Our vet had been really supportive of our decision, she acknowledged that we had tried so many things to stop this behavior and she she twice revealed that she probably would have done the same time. She is also nine months pregnant and the other factor that added urgency to our situation as I wanted her to be the one to do it, rather than an other vet in the office. She’s a fellow swimmer (taking a break during her pregnancy) and she was the one who gave us Angus diagnosis and grave prognosis.

I’m believing what I want to believe, but Kayla actually seemed at peace when we arrived at the vet, and that was before the vet administered the sedative (I was relieved she didn’t have to place an IV). We all pet her during her final moments and I told her that we loved her and let her know she was going to see Angus soon and I asked her to tell him about Kate. Husband and I both broke down in tears. When we went to pay and make arrangements for her cremation, the receptionist asked if I wanted her name etched on the box and if so to write it down on the form. It wrote “name etched on the box” on the line where it asked ‘Name:’ “No, the woman explained “You have to write the name as you want it to appear on the box” We finally had some laughter to cut a bit of the tension on a terrible sucky day.

Husband and I went furniture shopping after we left the vet. While it did feel that we were dancing on Kayla’s grave (even though she’s being cremated) it’s a rare event that we have some time to ourselves without Kate to do boring adult things like furniture shopping. Also, as Husband hates spending money, I kind of had a fear that it we didn’t get a new sofa now, we might be stuck with our pee stained ones, which might encourage Tyler to get through his grief by peeing on the sofa and we’d be in a whole new cycle.

Overall Kate handled the situation rather well. We let her Pre-school teachers know what was going on and the school director actually printed some pictures of cats for her to make a special art project on the day we put her down. I’m somewhat viewing it as a ‘dry run’ for the next time such a situation presents. Kate’s actually been dealing with another tough lesson in life; her best friend at her current school is moving on to a different school. I can relate to this as my friend from the gym just moved to SoCal this week. She’s accepted a 1-2 year teaching position and is hoping to be back (they haven’t sold their house, so I’m somewhat hopeful that they will return, especially as her husband really wants to come back, but my last friend in academia who left for a 3 year position in Scotland 8 years ago hasn’t returned…). I’ve been in denial about it for quite a while, but she moved this weekend so it’s finally real. It’s hard to be a mom in your 40s and find friends, who are your age, your kids are about the same age and play well together, and you have something in common outside of your kids. I just really wish I hadn’t taken so long to see her as a potential friend. That’s the lesson I’m really trying to share with Kate. You never know when people and pets will be in or out of your life, so appreciate all the time you have with them.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

2019 Goals: mid year update

1. Weight Management

I’m scoring this as Mixed. After I was disappointed with my weight gain over the holiday hold ‘em competition at my gym, I decided to try an on-line coaching program recommended by one of the coaches. I like the approach, you follow foods in categories, vegetables don’t “count” (think zero weight watchers points) you eat fewer carbs on your rest days, and you don’t track any calories, which I though was odd, but the coach was very strict about this. I had to weigh in twice a week and they coach would make adjustments to my template. The first issue that I had was that I would do all my meal prep on Sunday and he would tell me to make changes after my weigh in on Monday. Not only do I not have time to re-do my prep, I can’t afford to waste foods. While I did get some helpful tips, and I feel I pay more attention to pre work out fuel and post workout recovery, I didn’t find the coach was that helpful (Definitely not worth the cost, which was really disappointing) I also started gaining weight, which was really frustrating and after my compliance was being questioned, I kept ‘accidentally’ forgetting to weigh myself because I just didn’t want to see the number.

Frustrated, I did a body fat analysis in April and learned that in six months I had gained six pounds of muscle and one and a half pounds of fat. Well, I was pleased with the muscle gains, especially as the previous fat test guy told me that it’s hard for women to gain muscle in general, especially he whispered in a hushed tone when you’re of a certain age. I so wanted to tell him “Dude, I know I’m old. There’s no need to whisper about it” Anyway, I had hit a PR for my lean mass, but what about the fat gain? “Oh,” the guy said casually “You won’t gain that much muscle without gaining some amount of fat.” SAY WHAT. You won’t gain that much much without gaining some fat. It’s almost impossible he repeated for me. SO WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT?  I screamed inside my head, but came close to saying it out loud.

I recently met up with my original nutrition coach from my gym who confirmed the same thing the body fat test guy said, although he used a bunch of big words and technical terms such as amino acids, so he sounded totally legit. He thought it was an impressive gain of muscle with a relatively minimal gain of fat, which was comforting to hear coming from someone with his experience, but my body fat percentage is the same it was in October. I’ve spent over six plus months, going nowhere… He slowed my some old photos to show that my physique looks the same despite being heavier. My clothes fit the same. Yet, I hate the optics. I hate the fact that if I go to my doctor for a physical, I’ll be ten pounds heavier and she’ll think “Oh, wow. Jane has really let herself go.” When actually I’m working out more and eating better. Ugh, I still haven’t figured it out. Let see where we are at the end of the year.

*update: If you can permit me to be really catty for a minute. While I was disappointed in myself for not being where I wanted to be when I had my Girls Weekend with Myrtle and our mutual friend, I did feel a bit better about where I am after seeing Myrtle, who is rather frumpy. Additionally, Myrtle wore a denim jacket with every single out outfit during our trip (there were a total of five different outfits that involved three different denim jackets) Insert joke about the 80s calling and wanting their look back. I know, meow!

2. Cross-Fit
I’ve modernized from my sticker card. Our gym participates in an app that tracks all your workouts and activity. So far I’ve had 147 work out days and only 47 rest days this year. I’ve been squeezing in some Friday morning classes and I dropped in a four different CrossFit gyms to keep active while I’ve been away from home. Overall, I was pleased with how I did in this year’s CrossFit Open. I did better than expected in some areas, and my glaring weaknesses were once again revealed. I did place 9th overall for females in our gym (out of 39) and I was 3,834th (of 17,762) in the world for my age group

Targets for 2019
Hand stand push-ups *This was bumped for improving my Double Unders
Rope Climbs*I finally learned the technique and can do them, but don’t do often as they tear up your shins
CrossFit Open plus 1-2 more Competitions *done and scheduled to compete next week
Working more on lifting technique *I’m overcoming my insecurities and I have been videoing myself to improve technique

3. Sending cards for birthdays
Mixed. I forgot some this week.  Including Isabelle

4. Work
Mixed Success. There was a difficult situation involving my colleagues at the end of last year and things got really ugly. We’ve made some resolutions to move forward, but I’ve come to accept that things will never be back to the way there were. I can’t remove some of the things that were said from my mind and I can’t get past they way some people were treated by certain people. Many true colors were exposed and you can’t just cover it up. Some friends and family members were asking if I were considering looking for a new job. It didn’t yet come to that. I want to stand my ground as I’ve spent the past ten years establishing myself where I am. Logistically, it’s an easy commute and close to Kate’s school. Realistically, if I went anywhere else, I’d have a brief honeymoon period, the discover it’s the same shit; different venue.

I also came to terms with the fact that as I am of a certain age (43) I don’t need to be friends with any of my colleagues. I don’t have anything else in common outside of work. Having a job with an easy commute allows me to pursue my other passions (swimming, CrossFit) where I see people I actually enjoy. I go in, do my work and go home leaving my work at work. There’s my success: the subtle art of not giving a fuck.

5. Send my In-laws photos on a monthly basis
Total Fail. Husband set up a chat with his parents on WhatsApp. I sent them videos from Kate’s school concert. My FIL replied a month later “Hello Jane. Sorry I am a bit late thanking you for the pictures of Kate scool consrrt. [new message] there I have made a mess of sending you this message. Sod it part2” I’m thinking WhatsApp might be a little too much for them to handle

6. Run some 5K races with Kate
Kate “ran” a 5K with my parents on New Year’s Day while Husband and I ran the 10K. My Dad was a little miffed about placing last in his age group and he any my mom were delayed by Kate’s potty stop. I informed him that the guy who won his (70-75) age group would beat my 5K time. I did a 10K in February, but we’ve been away or busy during other runs. I’ll do one in August, but then probably not until Thanksgiving

7. More FaceTime with Husband
Getting better, but still need to work on this. We made our Valentine’s Day baby sitter night a double date with some friends, which was super fun, but defeated the purpose of us connecting more. My parents let us have a date night while we were in Myrtle Beach, but we were distracted playing BINGO. We’ve been doing more projects on our back (and front) yards, which has forced us to sit down together to discuss plans and even make trips to look at plants.

8. Swim Times
One of my goals was to avoid any long and unnecessary breaks, but our pool was closed until Mid February and then when it was re-opened, there were still issues with the water’s chemical balance, so we had to practice in the 2.5 feet shallow kiddie pool with 6-7 people per lane. So my training took a hit and I didn’t get any PRs, but I did swim a full program on 7 individual events and 5 relays in the SCY Championships. Oh, and I’ve only swam once in the past two weeks, so yeah, need to work on that avoiding long and unnecessary breaks.

9. Parenting
As I detailed in Kate’s Four Year Old update, we are realizing that we are in trouble. One of my biggest criticisms of my cousins is that they tuned a blind eye to the warning signs that their children were struggling. My second criticism is that the ignored the advice and suggestions they received from my aunt (a pediatric nurse) and older cousin (a speech and language pathologist). So we have been resolute that we will not be the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand and we will listen to any helpful suggestions. I was a little offended when our friend of the gym gave us a copy of The Difficult Child as Kate was behaving well at the time and I had considered her to be a relatively easy child, but as I try to teach her; you should always appreciate it when someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you. Secondly, I recognized that just because I didn’t need the book now, it didn’t mean I wouldn’t need it in the future.

Some of the suggestions I’m going to try to put into place include having calm, planned discussions about the expectations for her behavior prior to the actual event. We’re going to get a battery operated digital clock especially for her to help with transition times, such as time to leave for school and bath and bed times. We’ll introduce some rewards for exemplary actions, such as getting dressed for school without being prompted to do so. I’m also going to set up her own snack box in the fridge so she can feel herself and hopefully will have less hunger related meltdowns. We’ll see how all this goes. Hopefully by the end of the year, I won’t fear that my child is heading down the path toward becoming a juvenile delinquent.

10. Miscellaneous
Last Christmas, I asked for some gift cards to a local framing shops so I can finally display our pictures from Hawaii and update photos in out bathroom that we have been looking at for the last ten years. I went as far as ordering the photos, now I have to get in gear to get the mats and frames and then the next challenge is actually hanging them on the wall. I hoping that by writing this task as one of my goals, it will actually get done.

Finish the bluestone and plant one planter box in our back yard. We did a bit of a renovation in our backyard last year. After getting new siding and windows for the house, we ripped out of old deck, installed a newer smaller one, created a patio area with pavers and put in fake grass. We started putting blue stone around the house, but discovered that we (read:Husband) did the math wrong and miscalculated how much stone will needed and we ended up being short and ran out of time to finish last year. Husband also discovered there were roots within our new planter box that needed to be dug up and has spent many weekends digging roots and then complaining about how sore he is after he digs. The back garden is still on a bit of a delay as we’ve received three letters from our HOA about the unsightly front garden, but we’re ordered the stone (although not set a date for delivery) and we’ve started looking a plants for the planter box. Again, I’m hoping that by writing this goal in here; it will get done.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Kate 4.0

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Birthday Party Etiquette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Kate 3.75

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

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

Height: 41 inches 
Weight: 41.5 lbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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