Monday, January 30, 2012

I did it...I finally did it.

It's been a long time coming. My 3 year old has known for over a year how to use the potty and when it's time to go and has just outright refused to go...she views the diaper as a security item at this point because she's afraid of having an accident. My husband and I have tried our hardest to let her know that we wouldn't be mad and she wouldn't be in trouble and that we would just clean it up and put on fresh clothes, but she's still fearful of it for some reason. I've come to the conclusion that we just have the non-risk taking, nervous-temperament child and it's time.

Chloe's been doing a LOT better the last few months and while I've been very pleased with her interest in the potty, she hasn't improved the frequency and just views the potty as something to do on a whim. So yesterday she stood right in front of me making the face- all parents know the "pooping face" their child makes- and I asked her if she was pooping (which she definitely knows she is supposed to be doing in the potty). When she replied "yeah, I pooped in my diaper", I immediately became irritated and asked her why. "Well, because I like using the diaper and don't want to use the takes longer to get there and I might have an accident." Calmly I just said "it's okay if you have an accident, but if you poop in your diaper on purpose one more time, I'm taking the diapers away and you can start wearing panties all day until bedtime. You can have a diaper then and only then." I guess she didn't believe me. Chloe paused and pooped in her diaper in front of Drew today and it began. After getting her cleaned up, Chloe didn't get a diaper for the rest of the day, and my eardrums sarcastically thank me for it. Not since teething has that child spent an entire day whining and crying, but she made it accident-free!

My husband and I even explained that anything you do is scary the first time because you have to learn to do something you've never done before, but the more you do it the less afraid you become. And when you do something often enough, you stop being scared because you know how to do it and it just becomes part of your life. She's still worried about the accidents that I know are coming. We seem to have such a nervous child and I've tried so many tactics- rewards, stickers, bribes, letting her come to it on her own, you name it- and none of it has worked. I've always been a little too soft on the discipline side (oh, Supernanny would love to get a hold of me) and one pediatrician even worded it as "you're being a marshmallow when she needs you to be a rock for her" when I broached the behavior topic. Well, I guess this is another approach, my attempt at being a rock. My fear for her is that she will take this diaper security issue too far and will refuse to use the potty to the point that she will have to go to school a year or two late (she'll be 4 in November) and I don't want her to go through that, the other kids wondering why she's older than them and possibly teasing her. There's also the fact that Chloe is an extremely active child and has asked me a few times if she could learn to swim and I hate for her to be deprived of the joy of learning new things like swimming, or dancing (she LOVES to dance), or tumbling. I'm really not one of those parents obsessed with scheduling their kids into constant activities, but I would love for her to have the opportunity to be around other children her age and socialize a little bit and maybe come out of her shell just a hair.

While I realize that some children just can't be pushed into something they aren't ready for, I'm wondering if there are some kids that have to be pushed or they won't even try. Yeah, she's a perfectionist and I'm concerned that she's going to develop that fear of failure complex that I'm all too familiar with myself, having dealt with it my whole life. Gestapo parenting has never been my thing, but my thing hasn't been working, so I guess it's time to try something else, because I like to be proactive in problem-solving. I hope I'm not scarring her by forcing her to use the potty, but I guess I won't know until I try, and it's time that I practice what I'm preaching to her. There's no way in good conscience I can tell my child to take a risk and try something new when I'm not willing to do it myself, so here goes! We'll see how tomorrow goes and whether I have any hair left at the end of the day, because there's no going back now, or everything we said will be undermined. Yes, I'm scared that this attempt will fail too, but it's high time that I learn to stop fearing failure because it's inevitable that all parents screw up their kids in one way or another, but to what degree is different with each person. Alright, time to make like a rock and sit at the shore, weathering the storms.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Once upon a time when I was around 21 or so I thought I had a lot of things figured out (but not everything). A real job was something I didn't want...meaning corporate- the idea of self-employment was very inviting, or working for a mom and pop. My dorkiest days surely had to be behind me, now that I was pierced and tattooed  and had adopted a sense of style and learned when not to make a MST3K reference out loud. POS cars were something you're supposed to not have again after you settle down and start building a life with someone. I would never live near my hometown after I was 25. The things I enjoyed as a kid were just part of what made me who I am, but not necessarily something I would still find interesting. Once you're in a real relationship and have kids, your insecurities about the way you look and your own personal weirdness are supposed to go away because your partner should take that away merely by their love for you. The list goes on.

Then I became a grown up. While a lot of this is still true for me, the meaning behind most of it has changed a little. I still don't like working for big companies as I like the idea of being completely responsible for each project and deadline and creative decision. Unfortunately, my dorkiest days were NOWHERE NEAR behind me...if anything it's gotten worse. I still drive a POS car and live near my hometown, but not because I've "given up" so much as I'm being practical with money right now. And no matter how much my husband loves me for who I am, it's not a bandaid for all the insecurities I have because love doesn't cure fat days, being yelled at by a boss, or making a bad spice decision and destroying a potentially delicious dish. And of course I still have a sense of style, but it's been put on hold, since I rarely have the opportunity to put on mascara, much less coordinate an outfit and accessories. Comfy clothes and little to no makeup have become my uniform, which is something I would have been appalled at when I was younger...I didn't even consider leaving the house without makeup back in the day. However, being with my husband has made me realize that some of the things I was so self-conscious about were ridiculous and that I needed to get over it and be the person I really am. Enter the dork. Yes, I watch scifi shows and jeopardy, I make up my own words to popular music and insert said songs into play with my kids (I'm bringin' paci back...nuh nuh nuh). Puns roll off my tongue with ease these days. So many things I said I'd never do, yet here I am.

Never did it cross my mind that I'd be a stay at home mom with two little girls and a cat, owning meal times- sorry man, but I'm proud of my cooking, figuring out how to rig a broken toy to work temporarily, feeling more feminist with age (seems ironic, huh?), and excited to go somewhere like Home Depot. Yet in six short years I've managed to almost do a complete flip in my lifestyle. I didn't even notice for a long time that I've slowly been reverting back to my childhood interests, like getting crafty. In fact, I didn't notice until Christmas time, 2011.

When I was a kid, crafts was something you did at camp or just to pass the time. Most crafts back then seemed to have no practical use and just took up space once completed. And most of the materials seemed horribly cheap looking and actual books were needed to learn how to do a lot of it, and most of them seemed outdated. Then you had to meet up with old ladies to learn first-hand how to do most of it (including old lady-looking embellishments on everything). I've always loved the arts, but have no personal talent for anything like drawing or painting, so crafting was what I did to be "productive" and get my visual creativity out- I say visual because I've also always written and for a long time played clarinet. Although the idea of having a vision, setting a goal, and completing it was very inviting to me, I always found crafting to be unsatisfying no matter what kind I tried. There was cross-stitching, sewing, handpainting any number of decorative things, jewelry, making containers of various sorts, you name it (besides knitting, still haven't learned that one). The access to quality materials, tools, and information just irritated me, so I moved on to other things, like my obsession with music and movies.

Well, recently, going back to Christmas, I was confronted with the problem of trying to decorate a baby-friendly tree- nothing that could break or needed hooks. I didn't have time to embark on the journey of intricate homemade decorations and wanted to include Honeybunch in the making of said ornaments. There isn't a lot that a 3 year old can handle safely and neatly, so I went generic. Posterboard, construction paper, markers, glue sticks, hole punch, ribbon. I let her make the decorations and I assembled them. I never knew that I could have so much fun doing something I hadn't done since childhood and the bug started to bite. During a period of deliberation I thought about cake decorating and knitting but still wasn't sure what I could do to really satisfy my own type of creativity. Then it occurred to me, maybe I should try card making...requires practically no drawing or painting, but does necessitate an ability to make something comprised of high attention to detail and placing geometric shapes in an order that looks attractive. Being me, I decided to do some research. When I use that word around my husband he cringes because that means lots of hours spent online looking at several articles and cross-referencing to find the common denominators, etc. and then sharing what I found. Yeah, it probably bores him, but my mind is like a sponge for things I read and see- some have postulated a partially photographic memory? Who knows- so when I verbalize the information I take in it seems to help my brain organize it. So I started looking around and I'm not too proud to admit that I've been absolutely overwhelmed! When I was researching I found that there are a zillion sites dedicated to examples, templates, tutorials, and supply sites and started to feel like I was drowning. If you don't have someone that's been doing it for a while to talk you through it, how are you supposed to know where to start?

The world of crafting has changed drastically from when I was a kid (think 90s)! It's actually become a huge market, full of people of all ages, not just old ladies and little kids. I knew that the scrapbooking thing was huge, but I had no idea that there was such a large group of people willing to share so many resources and with their own "language" for items and such. Even though the internet was around back then, it was nothing like it is now, and I'm glad to have so much information at my disposal. So now I'm plotting exactly what materials I'm going to go with, just to dunk my toe in the water. I'm too practical to go spending a wad of cash on a bunch of stuff for a hobby I may not even like or be good at. Crafting is a hobby that I never thought I would even consider having an interest in again, but seeing how many projects there are that can yield useful items that serve a purpose, I'm starting to think that it's high time I get over my fear of dorkdom and just do it. Hopefully card making is something I'm good enough at that I'll want to stick with it become proficient in.

Here's to getting a hobby, after many years of being too busy to have one!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Oosh, I haven't posted in a while, but after reading the comments on a blog entry of a momma I like to read, I cringed at a subject that was brought up that I'm finding to be more and more visible the last few years: Stay at Home Parents vs. Working Parents.

I have personally been on both sides and I have news for the haters on both sides- both types of parents work equally hard! When I was pregnant with my first child my husband was badly injured at work and had to have corrective surgery on his shoulder one month before the baby was born. In the very beginning of the recession, when every single company was laying off there was pretty much a hiring freeze until the last year or so. Although the money was scarce, it really was a blessing having my husband home to watch our child while I worked, and we both credit his having to hold a growing baby everyday with his speedy recovery from surgery (cheap physical therapy? Haha.). I was working an hour away and was trying my best to breastfeed for as long as possible, but it was so hard having to pump at work because, as one would expect, the time I had to take to pump had to happen off the clock, so every time I went to the little room to pump was time I had to stay later in order to make up the time lost. Which meant even more time away from my baby. Needless to say, the stress dried me up, which stressed me out more and that first year or so of her life was really hard on me, until I was granted permission to come home to work. And even though I was home, I still didn't get to spend that much time with her (I had work to do!). Having to clock out and come downstairs, think about supper, giving my husband a break, and keeping the routine going was absolutely exhausting and led to a lot of anxiety that I wasn't doing any of my "jobs" well. Yes, it makes you feel like crap when you realize that you're not a superhero and can't be with your child as much as you want, the house will never be picked up enough to have people just drop in, you have next to zero time with your partner, your ability to focus on your work will suffer, and supper will always have at least one pre-made element to it. All of this made me want to come home so badly I couldn't stand it.

During this time I found out I was pregnant again and really mourned that I would have to miss another child's infancy because of work. Luckily, my husband came into some work and got me thinking about asking if he would mind if I quit my job. My husband was fine with it, as long as his job proved to be solid, as within two months of Stinkbug being born, I quit my job. Here starts the stay at home portion of my life.

At first I thought "okay, I'm going to get tons of housework done, have a meal from scratch made every night at a decent hour, and maybe even get more sleep!". Within a week I realized that I was definitely overestimating the time I would have available to me each day to do these things. Every night I felt like I needed to apologize to my husband for the house being a wreck because it was never that messy when he was at home (and there was only one kid) and I somehow wanted to make sure he knew that my coming home wasn't for nothing.  Having a baby and a 2 turned 3 year old running around the house is so much harder than you would think. When you're not dealing with the constant demands for attention from the older one, you're running over to the baby every ten seconds to dig something non-edible out of their mouth. It doesn't matter how clean you keep your house, they will ALWAYS find some little jewel of rolled up reese's wrapper, a petrified green bean, a lost earring or button, you name it. Even now that the baby is about to turn one, I still find myself up constantly and have but a few rare moments during the day to do something besides running after children, making sure no one is trying to climb on something dangerous, dealing with the never-ending "I'm hungry!" or "I want to watch a movie/new movie!". Then there's the fact that someone always needs a fresh butt or a drink or has tripped and is crying, or needs wiped down head to toe from getting into something (the other day it was half a bowl of yogurt I set on the table and forgot to pick up before the baby found it and was attempting to wear it like a hat). Today I loaded and ran the dishwasher and felt like I accomplished something.

So to those on both sides that want to stir the pot about who has it harder, I say to you, stop stirring! There's really nothing to argue about, because both kinds of parents have it rough on the point of trying to uphold all of the duties of being a parent, because no matter your situation, we all just want to do the very best we can to raise our rugrats to the best of our ability. So enough with the haters! We're all working, whether at home or for a paycheck and we're all contributing something to our household.

Also, if anyone wants the name of the blog that inspired this, it's by a hilarious mom that always lifts my spirits when I read her stuff.