Saturday, March 26, 2011

This Post Has No Title

All I wanted was a nice dinner.  An adult dinner.  I've been craving male companionship, but god hasn't been jumping through his ass to send someone my way, so I settled for my parents.  When my mom called and asked what I was doing for dinner, then my kid ripped her poopy diaper off right in front of me, so I had to go clean that up, and then call her back, all I wanted was to go someplace and watch a basketball game and have a drink.

My life is all one big run-on sentence.

We went to my favorite (slightly pricey) Italian place.  Despite getting there early (5-ish) we still had a 40-minute wait, so at the moment we were just getting to the table, my kid had already outlived her normal "being good" time. 

I'll save you the details.  Suffice it to say that noone at the table went home without some type of food or chocolate milk - or both, in my case - either on their clothes or in their hair - again, both, in my case.  We provided a healthy dose of birth control motivation to the young attractive couple in the booth near us.  I can't tell you what my food tasted like, or my wine.  (I had wine?  Oh yea, I sucked it down in between shoving bites of food in my mouth while my kid cried in my mothers arms.  Now I remember.)

I love this kid so much it hurts sometimes, but my god, all I want is to go to dinner, and have a glass of wine, and be able to make eye contact with my dinner companions.  And come home without chocolate milk crusting in my hair.

I'm so exhausted I'm going to cry myself to sleep.  And start another day that can be described in run-on sentences.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lipstick Sunset

(One of my fave songs from John Hiatt)

The lipstick episode has a happy ending.  I covered the lipstick with a nice coat of Dawn, and filled the washer with Biz and cold water.  Soaked until I remembered them the next day.  Added a scoop of generic Oxy and ran through a wash cycle.  Added the rest of her dirty clothes and threw in a scoop of Tide.  Everything - even the white cotton - came out clean.

I am amazed.  Also, I love Dawn and Tide.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Party Angst

I don't know alot about kids.

I don't have friends that had kids.  Before having my baby, all my friends spent their free time drunk at our apartment pool.

Now, I have friends with kids.  But mostly kids that are my kids age, because I met said friends mostly through having said kid.

Last year my little one turned one year old.  I knew I was supposed to have a birthday party to celebrate.  I was trying to wrack my brain to think about how to celebrate in a way that would be meaningful to her, a one-year-old.  I came up with nothing.  I don't know much about kids birthday parties.  Other than, you should have cake.  You should always have cake.

Two weeks after our party, complete with dorky jungle theme, a fellow blogger celebrated her own daughter's first birthday.  She brought in large group drums and egg shakers, the same kind we use at music class, the same kind that my kid loves, and did drumming and singing, among other cool age-appropriate activities.

I slammed my hand against my forehead.  Of course.  That's it!  I should have had a music-class-like party, since my kid loves music class.

I feel like I'm a step behind on this whole "kid party" thing.  I feel like other mamas have been going to - and having - these parties and they're all experts and here I am, shopping at Target and going "treat bags, what the hell are those?  Why would anyone hand out dog treats at a kids party?"

It doesn't help that Spring Semester will always be the death of me.  No matter how well prepared I am, no matter what kind of students I have, by this time of year I have a creeping exhaustion that no amount of spring break can cure.  Why the universe decided that my kid should come at this time of year, and why I will perpetually have to plan her birthday celebrations this time of year, is beyond me.  But I'm doing it.  By jove, I'm doing it.  I got her photo taken on a custom-designed set, and had the photo made into a party invitiation.  I got the damn things all sent out, even the two that fell under the couch.  I passed out some at her daycare.  I'm ordering the cake today.  She's getting a awesome present from me, and related items from others, that I think she will love.  I've invited 100 freaking people and I'm really hoping the weather is nice so they're not all standing in my living room for three hours.  I'm doing it.  I'm planning it.

Yesterday at pickup at daycare I saw The Dude's mom.  "I have been meaning to call you.  I wanted to let you know that The Dude will be at Wee One's party!".  "Oh, great!" I exclaim to the leggy, raven-haired, thin, beautiful mother.

Oh, great.

The party was just going to be some-number-of-people (hopefully fewer than 100) cramming into my house, garage, driveway, front yard, and back yard, eating some food, bringing some presents, eating some cake.  I wasn't going to do games, I wasn't going to do treat bags, I wasn't going to do anything that required organization.

But now that there are Other Mothers coming, and now that there are Daycare Providers coming, I suddenly feel the pressure to have a "real" party.  Like, with treat bags and games and shit.

She's two.  They're two.  What does it matter?

But, what will the Mothers and Daycare Providers think?  It has to be organized, right?  It has to be age-appropriate, right?  What will The Dude's thin, leggy, raven-haired Mother think when she comes and there are 100 crazy people milling around and there is Nothing For Her Kid To Do?  Except eat cake.

I do have sidewalk chalk, they can color on the driveway.

I do have a Thomas DVD (The Dude loves Thomas.  He even gave Wee One his Thomas to play with one morning.  I think it's True Love) that they can watch.

I do have a plastic toddler-sized slide thing in the backyard they can play on.

I do, logically, understand that it doesn't matter a damn.

Then why am I freaking out so damn much about this stupid party?

Gotta run, I have a cake to order ...


Seriously, do I need treat bags?  And what goes in them?  (Say "treats" and I'll kill you.)  What is essential to have at a birthday party for a two-year-old? 

Family Cloth It Is, Then

I use cloth wipes on my kid sometimes.  Especially when we're at home.  It's actually easier, because she doesn't have any fascination with playing with the cloth ones.  I wash them, put them away under the bathroom sink. and they are handy for bathtime.  Or for use as, you know, cloth wipes.

TMI alert.  Leave now if you're sensitive.

I also use the cloth wipes as "family cloth".  Which is code for cloth toilet paper.  It helps my environmental sensitivities, and is GREAT when I forget to buy toilet paper.

So, in case you hadn't picked up on it, we're potty training around these parts.  Also, she's in the mimic-y stage where she does everything that I do.  So she knows that the cloth wipes are under the sink.  She knows how to wipe with them.  She knows that they go in the wet bag when you are done.

But then I hesitated.  They use toilet paper at daycare.  They will use toilet paper at school.  Other families and households use toilet paper.  Should I maybe use paper and teach her to flush it?  Otherwise, will she always look for a wet bag ... and not always find one?

So I started teaching her about toilet paper.  Then I had another concern.  If I use cloth and she uses paper, and she flushes her paper, will she acccidentally flush a cloth wipe?  So should I start using paper too?

So I buy toilet paper.  I start only using cloth in 'my' bathroom, at night, when she's asleep.  Don't want to confuse her.  Don't want to do something different than daycare, than other families.


About a month ago I started noticing that it smelled like poop in my basement.  Only on occasion.  Only when I would go down to do laundry would I notice it.  I thought maybe it was diapers. 

Last Wednesday I noticed that some clothes on the basement floor were wet.  Really wet.  Sopping, soaking wet.  Over the next couple of days my dad and I troubleshooted by flushing and draining different toilets and sinks.  His theory: I have roots in the sewer line.

By Sunday water was no longer just coming up through the sewer drain, it was standing and not going back down.  I halted all Sunday chores, including diaper laundry, dishes, and the kid and I planned to bathe and sleep at my parents.

Luckily they called a local plumbing company just to see if they would honor their special offer on the weekends.  The answer was yes.  A few hours later, I have a quote for replacing a sewer pipe that has several root balls growing into it.

And instructions not to flush any paper down the toilet.

Back to cloth wipes it is, then.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Do You Think Dawn Will Work?

I've been going through my kid's clothes.  It's a very long story, one that I have composed a blog post on in my head.  Just suffice it to say that I have way too many clothes for my kid, and I've been trying to organize things so that seasonal stuff that actually fits at this point can fit in the damn closet.

In the process, I have found some really cute stuff.  Stuff that we have been given, stuff that my mom has bought, cute, cute stuff.  My dear, beloved cousing gave me a ton of girl stuff when Wee One was tiny.  Meanwhile, my mom has gone outlet mall shopping a couple of times and found some bargains.  I had them all separated by size in totes in the basement.  Finally, we are getting into the 18- and 24- month items.

Some of the clothes are really nice.  They are things we have been given, or things we caught on sale.  I've been trying to keep them really nice.

Today my Wee One was wearing a particularly cute (and expensive) top.  White, with pink embroidered roses on the collar.  Hartstrings brand, which, even when bought at the outlet mall, are still expensive.  So I've been trying to take care of it (not easy for a slob like me with a toddler like her).

Tonight for dinner we met the 'rents at our favorite mexican restaurant.  I kept her jacket on-and-zipped to avoid having to get tomato-based salsa out of the expensive top.

Then we came home.  I really wanted to watch the episode of PTI that discussed the firing of Bruce Pearl (off topic, sorry).  I was watching TV, she was brushing her teeth ...

Then she was quiet.  Too quiet. 

I went to investigate.

And found ...

How do you get lipstick out of an expensive cotton t-shirt?  Regular soap got it off her skin eventually, and a wipe got it off the sink.  The white cotton?  I'm afraid might be a little more difficult.

All advice welcome ....

The Hitting

I was totally ready for the Terrible Twos.  I was ready for meltdowns and tantrums.  I was ready for "no" in all of its glory.   Thankfully, we seemed to avert much of the biting that she was learning from daycare.

What I was not ready for?  Was the hitting.

I have physical boundary issues anyway.  So when my kid started ripping my glasses off my face and laughing about it, it tested my ability to not get angry.

But the hitting?

(Breathe.  1... 2... 3... )

I have read popular articles, and some of the scholarly ones also, that discuss how bad spanking is.  I was determined to be a mother that did not spank.  Okay, maybe a swat.  Only when necessary.  Reserved for life-or-death things like running into the street.

So when my kid punched me for the millionth time the other day, totally out of the blue, I reflexively smacked her on the backside.

It wounded her grievously and she cried pitiously in my arms.  My heart broke. Immediately, I was remembering everything that I read.  That spanking makes them emotionally withdrawn.  That spanking makes them hit more - how can you teach "no hitting" when you, yourself, hit?  That spanking breaks trust.

Spanking goes against every ounce of attachment parenting I have practiced for two years.

So ... what am I left with?  When my kid hits me, or steals my glasses, what do I do?  Other than breathe deeply and try to squelch the instinct to hit back, what is left?

I've tried stern.  I've obviously tried spanking.  (So has my dad).  I've tried time out, which she doesn't at all understand or comprehend.  I've tried just simply removing her to another room when she got so excited she hit my mom, and she was so wounded at that, she started to cry.

Other suggestions?  Is it just a phase? 

The good thing is, in the Great Car Cleanout, I found a book I had checked out of the library last summer about positive discipline for the under 3 crowd.  Since I probably already owe a hundred bucks in fines on it, I might as well re-read it and see if it has any suggestions.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why I'm About Over Cloth Diapers

I have been on the cloth diapering bandwagon for over two and a half years now.  I bought my first cloth diapers and covers while I was pregnant, to get an idea of what all the mamas on the message boards were talking about.  I've been an addict ever since.  When my daughter was born, she was tiny.  She was about 6 weeks old when I started to cloth diaper her most-of-the-time, and at about 2 months we went full-time prefolds and covers, and haven't looked back.

But today, I'm at the end of it.  I'm just about done with cloth diapers.  I know I'm just overwhelmed.  I know it's just a culmination of events making me feel really foul.  But I'm about to go buy a pack of sposies this afternoon and call it done.

Our diapers are all in really bad shape.  Thirsties Duo Diapers are designed to hold up for 200 to 250 washes.  I got our first ones in November and December, 2009, so they've been laundered two or three times a week for a year and 4 months.  We're getting close to that 250 washes mark, and they look it.  Our covers look pretty crappy too.  The laundry tabs are pulling off, the leg elastic has poop stains, and the tabs are curling.  Not to mention all the crap that is stuck in the velcro.

I don't want to invest in more diapers, though.  Since we're sortof potty training, and will be hard core potty training as soon as my classes are done in May, there is no sense in buying more diapers.  Besides, if I'm spending money, shouldn't I be buying cloth training pants?

Bringing me to my next rant.  While there are thousands of kinds of cloth diapers on the market now, the cloth training pants selection isn't so grand.  Which is a good thing, I guess, because I'm not overwhelmed with choices.  Yesterday I bought a set of Gerber waterproof training pants at Target.  The smallest size they had was 2T, and they are WAAAAY too big on my kid that still wears 18 month sized pants.  My biggest peev is that the outer, waterproof layer isn't PUL.  It's PEVA.  Plastic.  The absorbent layer?  Is polyester batting.   They sewed a cheap Gerber prefold inside of even cheaper plastic and sold it as training pants.  I can't put my kid in these for a minute, let alone all day at daycare.

So I can't decide what kind of training pants to get, my diapers are all a shitty mess, and then ...

My plumbing backs up.  There is standing water in my basement.

It's a long story that either means there are roots growing into my sewer line or my kid accidentally flushed a cloth wipe.  In that case I'll write a blog post so fucking funny I'll win an award for making the most number of people pee their pants.  In the case of the former, I am screwed.

What it means in real life is that I can't flush toilets, rinse the dishes in the sink that I just washed, take a shower, or do laundry.

Hence, why I am headed to the store to buy disposable diapers and then to my mom's to spend the night.  I know neither my kid nor I are about to sleep well at all, but at least I'll be able to pee.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Day

At the Wee One's daycare, they have started learning about colors.  Each week they learn about a different color.  On Wednesday of the week they are supposed to take in a magazine photo featuring the week's color, and then on Thursday they are supposed to wear the week's color.  Last week was red.  I was so absolutely stoked that I didn't forget, and that I got my kid to school wearing Red on Thursday, that I forgot to take photos.

This week's color is Green, to coincide nicely with today's holiday and celebration theme.  (No, not basketball.)

I remembered the camera!!!!!

And without further ado, the most precious little leprechaun in the entire world:
She keeps running.  Away.  I can't seem to get a shot other than her back.
Finally, a side shot.  No time to get down to her level.

Yes, I know that cow print babylegs don't match the zebra print skirt but noone else in the whole world seemed bothered by it.

Then this afternoon was a party at snack time.

Her two besties

The guy in the middle is talked about all the time.

Op, now she's off to play!

Vote! Vote! Vote!

If ever I needed my MommieV-ites, its' now.  I am officially entered in DaMomma's Messy Car Contest for Festivus.  Go to her post and comment a vote for MEEEEEEE!


I'm dying to see what the "little something from me" is that she mentions.  And the picture will dress up this dungeon of an office I'm blogging from.  And dude, cookies.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dear Toddler

Thank you so much for helping me tonight with my tenure notebok.  This is an important document for Mommie, and it's due to be turned in tomorrow.  So when I got home tonight after not picking you up until almost 6, getting McD for dinner, and then pulling out the documents to continue working, you were so very helpful.

Getting caramel sauce from your Happy Meal apples on two of the pages will really help me keep them together.

Ripping out the middle page of a set of papers that really I wanted to keep stapled together, then writing all over it, will be incredibly endearing to my Division Chair and all the senior faculty in the department, I'm sure.

Laying a pile of wet baby wipes on top of a large stack of documents, making them damp and wrinkled had to be the best part of your "helping".

Thank you so much, baby!
Love, Mommie


Although I have to tell you all, having her next to me, writing and counting, as I was calculating percentages from my student evaluation numbers was the absolute highlight of my day.  The rest of the stuff is saved on a thumb drive and can be re-printed tomorrow.  The moment of her "working" next to me, repeating numbers and writing with "her" pen?  Made my whole day worthwhile.  And males the extra printing I have to do tomorrow worth it too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Great Car Cleanout

About a year ago, I tried to call attention to myself by posting a twitpic of some goldfish crackers spilled in my car, and tagging one of my blogging idols.  She had been talking about finding overripe bananas in her Loser Cruiser, and wanting to be liked by her, I thought she would find my pool of mushy goldfish crackers an offering of acceptance into her crowd.

Instead, she called me an amateur.  I was crushed.

(I am waaaaaay too lazy and busy to go back a year in twitter to link to the exchange.  You will have to take my word on it.  Or go back a year in twitter to find it yourself.)

So here we are, a year later.  My kid is a year older, I am a year busier.  (Wait, what?)  Anyway, so my car has been accumulating crap.  I managed to clean some of the crap out before adding more crap on a four-day spree we called a vacation.

Then my blogging idol?  Invented a messy car contest.  Okay, here we go.  I'm bound to get her attention now.  My car is a real trash bin right now.

So I decide to use the motivation to clean.  Also?  My dad would have to ride with us to the park and he wasn't going to sit on a case of water or ... how many times do you eat at McD, MommieV?

Here are some before shots:

This is a different angle from the previous photo.  Also, without the black work bag.  Because you know, I have to go to work sometimes.
I think the sleeve of that jacket sticks out the door when its closed.  I had someone honk at me on the interstate, and I think that's why.
Cheese.  Among other things.
Here are some after shots:

I didn't say it was totally clean, this was just after I'd worked on it for an hour.

In her reply tweet, DaMomma called me an amateur because the goldfish crackers weren't something that could rot.

Okay, Liz, are you ready?

There is stuff growing on my back seat:

And on the passenger floorboard:
This stuff is really fuzzy too.  I'm sure it can make penicillin or something.

Am I still an amateur now?



I have so many cute pics of my kid on my camera.  I was trying to get video of her singing the ABC song, and she got reeeeeally tired of it and knocked the camera out of my hand.  That jammed the lens.  My parents fixed it while we were on vacation (lucky for me I had a decent cell phone camera and a personal photographer Jellybean Mama).  I took some photos at the park this weekend (see previous post) and of cleaning out my car (see next post), and then downloaded them.  Tons of cuteness here.

Getting ready for vacation.  Or the Miss America pageant.  One of the two.
She loves the dress from Aunt Patti.  And mugging for the camera.
Yea, what did I say about the mugging?
I don't normally dress my kid in crazy clashing nightclothes.  It prevents good sleep.  Sometimes, tho, you grab what's handy and pray.
Some lucky local people are getting this particular invitation (not with the identifying information concealed, however, that would defeat the whole point.)  Guess what our theme is.  Go on, guess.

Walking to Grandpa's, Early Spring Edition. With Bonus Park Photos

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Still Alive and Kicking

Yes, we are still alive.  The kid had a major sickness, then I had a major sickness, that included antibiotics for a sinus infection.  It's been loads of fun around here.  And since I made a little mini-vow not to do too much complaining on the blog about the weather and about sicknesses, well, there wasn't much else to write about.

Meanwhile, taking two master's-level online classes about various aspects of higher education has not been a picnic at all.  On top of that, I have become weeks behind on grading, and given that there are big time questions on student evaluations related to that, it could very well affect my tenure status after next year. 

In addition, there are some festering personal things that have become stumbling blocks.  I am perpetually worried about money.  I didn't realize just how expensive the expensive daycare was until I didn't have my overload class to help pay for it.  Rather than take the summer off to relax with my kid, I'm going to be teaching two online classes to try to bank money for the fall.  I'm struggling with some things related to relating to my mom and dad.  There are some boundary issues that were easier to deal with when I lived 100 miles away.  Now that I'm only 5 doors down from them, there are some glaring issues that I feel unequipped to deal with.  (Like, my dad canNOT leave my freaking mailbox alone.  Every time he walks past it - daily, with the dog - he has to check to get my mail for me.  I know he's just trying to help.  But dude, mail can be personal!)  The third issue I've been mulling is my weight and my skin issues.  I have gained about 20 pounds since weaning C in October and I have developed some kind of skin affliction.  Scheduling OB/GYN and dermatologist appointments has been on my mind and my to-do list for months.  I just keep changing the due date in Toodle-do.

So between not really having the time to write, and feeling like if I'm going to write, it should be one of the things due twice weekly for my classes, or if I have time then I should grade, and feeling totally run down with various sicknesses and infections, and then having emotional stress limiting what I write about ...

So there you have it.  My litany of excuses.

The one bright spot?  My girl.  She's wonderful.  Even when she's sick she's wonderful.  She sings the entire ABC song now, in addition to being able to count 1-10.  They're starting on colors in her room at daycare, which is something she REALLY needs help with.  I am worried she may be colorblind, until I remind myself that she is Not Quite 2Yet.  Then I relax.  But that's what the expensive daycare has paid for, yo.  Teaching my kid numbers and letters and potty peer pressure.

The other mamas all wanted to move their girls up, so I went along with the crowd.  She has been visiting the other room twice last week.  She's okay with it, but she still talks about Ms. Danielle.  I think she was more attached to Ms. Danielle than I realized,  She's doing fine, and she has done well with all her transitions so far, and once all her friends are moved over to the new room I think she'll feel better.  But she knows there's a change afoot, and she's kindof been asking about it.  And her TOTALLY CHANGE-AVERSE mother has been trying to act like it's totally no big deal.

She babbles all the time, she LOVES to write (hello, mini-me!) so she begs for paper and pens or pencils.  She talks to herself while she writes, and she's just so dang adorable when she does it that I can't even get mad when one of her shirts gets ruined with ink when neither of us are paying enough attention to what she's doing.

This week is my Spring Break, but I'll be working.  My tenure notebook is due on Monday the 21st, and I have two papers and two discussion board posts to write for my classes.  In addition to grading, which is still my third priority, unfortunately.  Aaaaaand two posts for Our Mommyhood which are two days overdue at this point (I have drafts!).  My goal is to feel caught up by the end of the week, so I can concentrate on planning a certain 2nd birthday party, doing some spring cleaning, and making some doctor appointments for us both.

So we're here, just plugging away at the grind.  I'll try to be better about keeping in touch.  Even if it does mean some complaints :)