Saturday, February 27, 2010

the people in our neighborhood

A few days ago Kiddo left a message for her Grandma. The message was a basically unintelligible string of words that didn't even make sense to me. Then she started listing the people in her life (I'm not sure why). There was mama, dada, and kiddo (she used her name) of course. Then, in no particular order (and I know that because she mentioned them all two or three times, different orders each time): grandma, grandpa, grammy, aunt missa, and the kids.

Who are the kids? Well, they could be the children at the library playtime/storytime, or it could be the children at primary. It could be the non-specific "big kids" that we tell her about while potty training her, or it could be a mix of all three. I'm glad she has these (and many other) good people in her life. And I'm glad she knows they're there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

potty training, day 2

My sister-in-law was right. You may feel like no progress was made on day 1, but by day 2, things are much better. They were. I think we even still like each other.

Much of today's progress hinged on my husband's inspiration this morning to stick her potty chair under the table in order to make a little protected space for her. She loves enclosed spaces. The miracle of today was the lack of accidents, and the wealth of successes. One accident first thing in the morning was stopped midway; I think that's when she finally figured it out. Another accident not much later, but since I hadn't insisted her undies be replaced, at least only the floor was wet. Then she was accident free until almost bedtime (unfortunately when we'd extended her range a bit, so it wasn't quite as easy to clean up).

And today she took ownership of the idea that she was a big girl, and would/should act accordingly. We may make it through this experience after all. (Or, we may relapse tomorrow. I'm trying to be prepared for both.) Assuming it lacks the drama of the first day, I may even be done posting about this, and will find other things in our lives to talk about.

potty training, day 1

We started potty training yesterday. We did a lot of prep work. We bought a little toilet, and underwear, with monkeys on it. We've talked about how exciting it will be to use the toilet, be a big girl, wear underwear, etc. We bought a book for her and read it so many times that she can quote it, or read it to herself whenever she wants. We bought a book for me, written by psychologists who speak my language about learning processes, and understood the book, and were ready to apply the book. (But I should have remembered, it's a parenting book, and those always gloss over the nasty truth that it is never as straightforward as they make it sound (reference feeding my infant). Why do I still read them?)

But there were some glaring signs that should have indicated that maybe all would not be smooth sailing. Like every time we used the phrase "pee-pee" she replied "Peep, peep, ribbit" quoting another favorite book. Like the fact that we had previously had to bribe her just to sit on the toilet, so she expected chocolate just for sitting down. Like the fact that the answer to everything is always "no," even if it's done with a pleasant smile and often followed up with a yes.

There is a good chance that I will look back on this and laugh, so feel free to do so yourself, but I'm not ready yet.

I taught her with a dolly, and she thought that seeing the water in the potty pot and emptying the water in the toilet was very exciting. So when she sat down she announced "Here comes the water" and wasn't sure why it didn't work for her. She absolutely did not care when the dolly had an "accident" (so we could talk about consequences of the accident). And things just didn't go well from then on out. Kiddo stayed dry for about an hour. Then she peed about 5 times in the next 2 hours: on the floor, in the cupboard, by her toys, on my stool, on the chair, but never in the potty chair. At some point along here, the stress started to overwhelm her, and she would often cry, and suck her thumb (a sure sign of distress), a lot. (And yes, I thought about the cleanliness of that thumb.) I tried to convince her that wet pants were bad and no one liked that, and had her help me clean it up, and practice going potty, but every move I did seemed to reinforce an idea of hers that she didn't want to use the toilet. She did, though, announce to me her accidents by the information that we needed to "clean the floor." Her obsession with wiping up messes means that having her help clean her pee was not the supposed deterrent it was advertised to be.

I felt like everything, especially myself and my child (but not the potty chair), was covered with urine. I wanted to give up, to try again after nap time, but was going to persevere. Until her next accident. She peed on the floor. What does that resemble? A puddle. So she tried to splash. Pee puddle + bare feet (okay, bare everything) + tile floor = disaster. She fell down in it. And she hurt herself. Given the tension and stress of the morning, there was not much to be done but to pick her up and rock her for a while. Now we truly were both covered in urine.

Much too soon for her taste, I put her down, wiped her off, changed my shirt, and put a diaper on her (oh, and cleaned the floor). Then we rocked for a while longer, and then finally had to read the frog book to distract her from her sorrow. After that we had a pleasant lunch, then headed off for much needed naps. When we woke up a few hours later, I had to bribe her out of her diaper. We didn't make it into underwear (she just ran around in a shirt that afternoon). The afternoon was more successful than the morning, in that she didn't fall into any of her accidents. But she always seemed to go just before or just after sitting in the chair. Always.

Then, hallelujah, daddy came home. We had dinner that I didn't have to make. I insisted that we wear underwear for dinner. He sat next to her while we waited for her to go, which meant there was some successes before bedtime.

After one day of this, she can pull up and down her underwear, empty the potty pot into the toilet, and tell me when she's had an accident. I will pretend this is progress, as I gear up for another day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I took a look, I saw a nook

"...but a nook can't read."
Kiddo has had a love affair with books from an early age. She spends at least some of each day reading books with me or her daddy, and she spends some of each day reading books by herself. She has definite likes and dislikes, that change periodically.

And she has a frightening memory, which means that she can sit with a number of her books and recite them to herself, so you would think she was reading, if you didn't know that she can't. Not yet anyway.

Given her parents, this love of reading is not surprising. But it is gratifying.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

let the negotiations begin

Kiddo has entered the stage of her life where she knows what she wants (sometimes). And those things don't have to be necessarily in front of her to ask for them. So when I offer her noodles (meaning Kraft macaroni) or a sandwich, she can say "Noodles. Red and green ones. With dressing." So then I can make her tri-colored rotini.

Or, I can not clean up after dinner last night, so her bowl of chips are still on the table from yesterday, and she can refuse her usual breakfast (bread and jam) for a request of salsa for her chips (which chips we have because last week she asked for chips and salsa, which we have not had around the house for months).

Sometimes she gets what she wants. But recently we've started negotiating. Hmm, maybe I've started placing conditions. I told her she could have salsa after she ate a piece of her bread and jam. She contentedly ate all of it, but then quickly remembered her need for salsa. For lunch, I convinced her to eat most of a quesadilla before she could have her hot chocolate.

This is really having ramifications with our upcoming efforts in toilet training her. We bought her a duck toilet seat, which, given her love of ducks, was very exciting to her. She was even okay with putting it on the regular toilet seat. But there was no way she was going to sit on the toilet. ("No, no, no" has been her response every time it's been offered to her over the last few weeks as we've been gearing up for the adventure.)

My husband asked how we would get her to sit on it. "Bribery," was my simple answer. Last night, we convinced her to sit on it with her clothes on for about 1 second for a Hershey kiss (Kiddo loves chocolate, and Valentine's candy is on sale). This morning we got three or four minutes. Later this morning, I convinced her to do it without pants. Each time, she got her chocolate. We are warning her that soon she'll need to do more, but as for now, I'm just grateful she's overcome whatever concern she had about sitting on the toilet. Obviously that had to be overcome before we made it any further.

keeping perspective

Last Thursday was a hard day. It started out that way. So I let Kiddo watch "the dress movie" (Cinderella) so I could take a shower. I've learned that being clean does a lot for my state of mind.

When I finished my shower it was clear that Kiddo had been by to check on me, because the bathroom door was open. This had some unfortunate consequences, primarily that when I opened the shower, all the steam rushed out of the room, setting off the smoke detector. This was bad news all around. Of course it upset my child. She wanted to be near me, but I needed to be near the smoke detector so I could turn it off. And of course I had to find something to wear before I dealt with the smoke detector, and a chair to stand on, because we have high ceilings, so I can't reach otherwise. And my reach is slightly reduced by the basketball I carry in my abdomen. I am still not sure if I can reach the detector, because it finally turned off just before I had to try. After that, the good influences of the shower were gone, and I had a good cry.

After a little wallow in self-pity, I decided that if I could just get something meaningful accomplished, I could snap out of it. Since we only had three (business) days left to get the car inspected, I decided that would be my task. I figured out where to do it, packed a bag for my child and I, bundled us up, and headed out the door. I walked the block and a half to our car, went to open the door, and got it about three inches open before it hit the huge mound of snow piled on both sides. I had convinced myself in the safety of my house that I was capable of digging the car out. Now I was confronted with the fact that I could not dig out my car by myself. I couldn't even open the door to get the scraper out, let alone clear it off while watching Kiddo play in the snow. So we turned around, and leisurely returned to the house, nothing accomplished.

(I did call my husband though, and he came home from work to clean off the car, so it did get inspected, and so that's taken care of. We couldn't put it off because of the various holidays between then and when the inspection was due. And he did make us dinner while I was off getting the car inspected.)

Kiddo and I returned to house in time to make lunch. And since it was a bad day, everything was hard. She was whining to me about something, and finally I looked at her, and with tears in my eyes said "Kiddo, I've got about this much to give today" illustrating how much that was with my thumb and pointer finger about three inches apart. "And you need this much" I continued, spreading my arms wide.

Her little angelic face lit up, and she threw her arms wide open too. She read my actions as an invitation for a big hug, and was quick to take me up on it. So I obliged. My day didn't get much better, but I at least remembered what was important, and all that (family) was fine.

daddy's snow day

Last Wednesday we got 8 -10 inches of snow. That's really not so much, but exciting when it all comes in one day. Since it actually came during the day (as opposed to overnight) Daddy stayed home from work. He did a lot of it from home, but took some time off in the afternoon to take Kiddo out for her requisite snow time. She made, of course, footprints. They also went to the bakery to buy treats. I was spared having to go outside since Daddy was there. What a blessing.

This week, when it snowed again (only about three inches this time) Daddy was not home. So Kiddo and I braved the storm ourselves in our attempt to attend story time. We did, and being at the library was a success, as always. I am so grateful for public programs like that.

princess and the apple

Monday, February 15, 2010

supermarket theatrics

Kiddo doesn't really like shopping carts, and never really has. So, for the most part, she runs free, which causes problems. We do grocery shopping as a family, so that usually means one parent has the cart, while the other has the kid.

Last Saturday, I was debating which product to buy when Kiddo ran down the aisle from my husband to me. She tripped along the way, fell to her knees, then fully down, and skidded a little. I always take my cues from her as to how serious the fall is, so I waited to see her reaction (although it looked pretty impressive, so I was ready to run and pick her up). She informed me "fell down." Since she wasn't upset, I acted less upset. "Oh, well, get up then" and I kept shopping.

She knows Daddy is much better at sympathy, so she headed back in his direction. She told him how she fell down, then re-enacted the fall. And then she did it again, and again, and again. We eventually had to pick her up so that she would find something else to do rather than lie prostrate on the gross grocery store floor, showing us "fall down."

It's clear she was not hurt.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

anticipating Sundays

Our new church isn't like our old church. So, the doctrine is the same, and the people are great, but there are major differences as well.

The first has been well documented by me, the lack of a peer group, and thus a nursery for my child. Something may be in place eventually. I just hope it happens by the time I bring my second child to church (about 2 1/2 months from now). I don't think I can take care of them both for the three hours. (Yes, my husband is there, and ever willing to help. But somehow Kiddo has decided that only I will do. A crying 2 year old detracts from church, so she stays with me.)

The second is the time. Church used to be at 12:30, which meant with some careful planning all we needed were a few snacks for Kiddo to get her through the meetings. Now it is from 11 - 2. There is no way to avoid bringing a full lunch, plus snacks to this event. In addition, we rarely just go for church. There are often meetings beforehand, or choir practice afterward, or other events that call for our attention. We spend most of our Sunday at church, which wears us all out.

Take tomorrow for example. Both my husband and I need to be at a meeting that starts at 9:30, then we'll stay until the end of church. I'm grateful to be needed, but how am I supposed to bring enough stuff to keep Kiddo occupied for 6 hours? and fed? and while we're feeding, what about me, at almost seven months pregnant? I need a lot of food at this point. I think Kiddo will be watching movies on the iPod for the first set of meetings (the extra ones). I think she and I will walk the halls a lot to help her burn off energy during some of the others.

I love church, and would feel terrible to miss it. It fills me in ways I don't completely understand, but do not want to miss. In addition, it's one of the most important ways I show my devotion and obedience to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. For that alone I want to always attend. But sometimes by Saturday night, I'm not sure I'm ready for the next day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

needs vs. wants

Kiddo's first phrase/sentence was "need dat" which shortly thereafter expanded to "need dat too" where I was given the luxury of divining what "that" was. Her vocabulary has exploded since then, so often enough, she can actually tell me what she needs. We only really have problems when I miss what she wants, and ask her to repeat herself. She doesn't get that, so instead adds "pease" and repeats her polite word over and over, while I have no idea of her actual desire.

After a while "need" became "want" which was probably the more accurate word to describe the things she was asking for. Recently though, it's expanded into "need-want ___" (fill-in-the-blank). Sometimes they are closer to needs, like when she wants a drink. Sometimes they are wants, like "need-want watch dress movie." My husband commented that it was a weird phrase, but I figure it only makes sense. The meanings of the words overlap so much, it's no surprise that she doesn't know which word applies, and thus uses both.

comprehending a sibling

Almost as long we've known I was pregnant, we've been telling Kiddo about it. Mostly she either gave us a blank look or ignored us, which either means she doesn't understand what we're talking about, or doesn't care. But she did like looking through my books about pregnancy, especially looking at the pictures of the "baby in the mama's tummy."

On Sunday, I guess I finally looked enough pregnant (i.e. matched the pictures) that she exclaimed, "Mama has baby in tummy!" So she finally seems to know. She even brought up the idea independently while talking to Grammy yesterday.

Today we were visiting the midwife, and thus spent some time in the waiting room. We talked to her once again about the baby, and she asked where the baby in mama's tummy was, then proceeded to take a look down my shirt to see if she could find it. Although it took me off guard, I totally should have been expecting that.

ps - All is well. Growing well, healthy, and on track for an April baby still. We got to visit the labor/delivery area. No surprise, it looks like a hospital.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Departures is the title of a Japanese film that my husband and I recently watched. It was really good. If you are looking for a good movie to rent, I would definitely recommend this. Yes, there are subtitles, so you'll have to actually pay attention, unless your Japanese is really good.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I have a little shadow

As Kiddo plays, I try to organize a little, which involves putting things where they belong, throwing things away etc. This also means that I move in and out of various rooms. Any time I leave the room we're in, I then hear little running feet and a tiny voice yelling "pease wait for me!" as she follows me in. Apparently we are not to be separated.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

return to the DMV

My husband called Tuesday morning and said, "Let's try the driver's license thing again today." We thought, Tuesday afternoon, how busy could it be? Once again, we failed to give credit to the fact that we live in a urban environment, with the number of people that come with that. The DMV was packed. This time though, they only tried to kick my husband out when they thought he was waiting for me. Once they figured out he also needed to get paperwork done they let him stay.

We waited in a line to get the right paperwork. Then we waited in a line to make sure we had brought proper documentation to prove our existence. Then we waited in line to get new licenses. (Oddly enough, I was six-months pregnant in my last license photo too.) Then my husband waited in line to change our title and registration. Each line moved at a relatively good pace, but still, there were a lot of lines and a lot of people, so it certainly wasn't quick. Kiddo was a trooper, and only laid down on the gross floor two or three times (blegh!). It isn't easy to watch her and fill out paperwork, or communicate with the DMV workers, so I was grateful that there were two parents there.

An interesting moment came when they asked for my weight. I'm six months pregnant. Do I really have to write down that weight? I settled for the average of my pre-pregnancy weight, and my post-pregnancy goal. I figure that's more accurate than most women's drivers licenses. And, the number isn't even there, I guess it's just for their computer records.

[A side note about pregnancy growth. At a church activity the other night, they were handing out t-shirts. My husband was not there. They asked me what size he wanted, I indicated a large would be good. Then they suggested I wanted a large too. I responded that, in fact, I would not be this size forever, and it was not a good idea to suggest that I was the same size as my husband. He's at least six inches taller, and I refuse to admit we would ever wear the same size. The person offering the size quickly retracted his statement, and the story makes me laugh.]

our "new" couch

My cousin lives (sort of) near where we live. When I started calling her about moving and such she offered me her old couch. I told her yes. You see, when we left our duplex of five years, we threw out our couch. It was old, and tired, and sucked you in deeply, and was hard to get out of, and generally uncomfortable. We knew if we kept it then we may never find the money to replace it. But if we threw it out, then we had to get a new couch. This was a great plan until five months later because of a myriad of circumstances, we still had no couch, pregnancy was making it increasingly uncomfortable to live on the floor, but at least now we had a (semi-)permanent residence.

I saw my new couch for the "first" time when we had dinner at my cousin's near Thanksgiving time. Except when I saw it, I knew I'd seen it before. It had been in my aunt's house in the living room when we lived near each other. I'm not sure if I had ever sat on it though, after all, when I first knew it, it was the nice couch (read: the kids stay away). So this is a hand-me-down of a hand-me-down. We love it.

We picked up the couch on another visit for pizza at my cousin's house two weeks ago. My cousin's husband and another cousin (cousin A - you made the blog!) helped my husband load it in, and friends on this end unloaded it. And now we have a couch. And I'm really happy. It has improved my life immensely, and also meant I didn't need to find money for a new couch, which is a blessing too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

our Saturday morning

Now that we've moved, we really need to get our licenses and car registration changed over. We determined that we would go first thing Saturday morning to beat the lines. We arrived at the nearest DMV to find lines out the door. Husband and child got in to the waiting room, but I was parking the car, and would have been stuck outside for however long it took for there to be room for me. This would have been a problem for two reasons, 1) Kiddo would have freaked out with me close enough to see, but not close enough to touch, and 2) it was 18 degrees outside. So we got in the car and started to drive home. As we drove away we watched the line grow longer and longer of people determined to wait it out, despite the cold. Good for them.

We decided to get directions to another, less urban DMV, hoping for shorter lines. Silly us, there is no such thing as not-urban around here. When we arrived at the other site, equally long lines in equally cold temperatures were there too. We've determined to try this again, on a week day.

One reason we decided to go the second DMV is that it is close to a Trader Joe's grocery store, which we hoped would have some tahini paste, so we could make some hummus. It didn't. But, we passed a small arabian grocery store on the way there, so we stopped on the way back, and they had tahini. It was a big morning, where nothing really worked out how we wanted it to, but hey, we have tahini now.

And, a new appreciation for the flexibility of my husband's job. There are many jobs where he could not just take off on a weekday morning to do errands. We try not to abuse this privilege, but we have it, and that's really nice. I guess all that education will pay off after all.