Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monthly Musings, July 2014

• Whether Kellogg's Frosted Flakes when I was a kid or granola and raw oatmeal as an adult, a bowl of cereal has always hit the spot. #stonerfoodaintjustforstoners
• Do little girls still smell like wet dogs after their baths, or is it just little boys? Or maybe just my boy? #summertime #iusesoapiswear
• I hate bathing/showering in a tub with a visible dirt ring. By the time The Bud's bath is done and he's tucked into bed, I am convinced that I will die of exhaustion, so I rarely (ok, never) clean the tub before I go to bed. I shower in the morning. The sound of the water running in the tub while I clean it before my shower always wakes him (an hour early), making my morning hustle a bit...hectic. #whenwillilearn #logicfail

• I took the Otter Box cover off my smart phone and found cracker/cookie crumbs, chocolate smears and what appears to be, at first glance, snot. I get it now. THIS is how 7 year olds get their parents to buy them cell phones! It takes years of calculated grossness to make an otherwise intelligent, thrifty adult drop $300 on a consumable electronic device for a person who loses or accidentally throws away his possessions approximately once a week. #hestryingtowearmedown

• White sheets are about my only incentive to wash my face before bed, and even that rarely works. #sad #lazy #wishiwasajetson

• We play a lot of hide and seek these days. Even though he knows it's us, the Bud gets so nervous the moment before we catch him that he gasps, turns and runs toward the chaser and throws out his arms for a hug. That's one way to stop a monster!
• The State of Indiana has a summer travel ad blitz that I've been seeing on billboards lately. It says, "Indiana: named in the top 52 places to go in 2014!" Really? Right up there with the other 49 states, DC and Puerto Rico? #hopeitsajoke #dontthinkitis #hoosiers #NYTpunk
• In the last month, I've caught a guy licking his window glass while watching me put on lipstick at a stoplight and most recently, I looked over to find a man dancing excitedly in his seat and smiling at me. He had noticed me dancing, clapping, and singing along to Pharrell's, Happy, with The Buddy. I'm a magnet for unwanted attention. #stoplights
• I'm thankful for the Jack in the Box on S. Grand. The bathroom is usually vacant and always clean and saves me the indignity of squatting over a tiny toilet at daycare. #postpartumbladder #45mincapacity #isthatathing?

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Give Until It Hurts; It's My Cross to Bear

An old friend, who I just recently discovered is a faithful reader of this here humble blog, and who probably thought he could trust me, posted a tongue-in-cheek request for advice on my Facebook page. He’s father to two of the most adorable little people in the Midwest, which means he’s being manipulated on an hourly basis and is sinking fast under the onslaught of cute. Since I’m always looking for things to write about that take no effort on my part, I thought I’d exploit him here. Besides, he needs my help, and why am I here, if not to bring solace to those in need?

He writes:

Dear Leida (Abby),

I am the father of a child that likes to get up at five every morning for "dad payers". He will go back to sleep but then oversleeps and makes us both late. LOL... As I said, I'm exploiting him, so I choose to take this as a request for advice. You are welcome.

Dear, “P’ayers”:
Ah, yes...the pre-dawn “dad payer” sneak attack. I know it well. And I know you, too.

This little cupie doll has you wrapped around his finger, what with all the eyelashes, and bed head, and cuddles, and “p'aying.” He knows your weak spots and it looks like prayer is one of them. I can relate—my kid knows the only time I will let him play with my phone if he asks to use the Bible app on there. *shrug* #faithfulparenting. Your son knows you haven’t awakened to natural light since he figured out how to pole vault out of his crib. By the time sunlight shines through your windows, your little negotiator has worn you down with a list of inane demands, until he finally lands on one that will win you over.  You run 15 to 30 minutes behind schedule every morning because, after you finally give in and let him stay in your bed, you fall deeply asleep 20 minutes before your alarm is set to go off and sleep through the damned thing, And we all know there is no more satisfying slumber than that of the vanquished. It’s Stockholm Syndrome, for sure, but who cares when it feels so good?

Let’s keep it real. On your own, you don't stand a chance against him, and I can bet your wife is as susceptible to him as you are, so she’s no help. But take heart, I’m here. I’ve developed a tough, outer shell to these tactics and I’m not currently within smelling distance of your child (they smell delicious when they’re all sleep-warm, don’t they?) Ahem, anyway, I’m impervious to his charm. I might be your only hope. Follow these three, tried-and-true tips and you’ll see your way to waking up when your alarm actually goes off in the morning, again. Maybe you’ll even make it to the office in time to get a seat at the conference table for staff meeting, instead of skulking in and sitting in the back corner of the room with the Starbucks you just had to stop for. Crazier things have happened.

Anyway, here’s what I suggest. Medical disclaimer: none of this will work.

1. Kick him out of your bed. It’s not time to wake up, and he needs to respect that.
Why won’t this work? He can’t tell time. He’s been asleep for 9 hours already and is too young (read: selfish) to care that you haven’t. He’s rested; therefore it’s time to party! He also has cunning. Much like a snooze timer, he will let you nod off for 4 ½ minutes, then shock you awake with requests to go pee in the potty, to sit in his high chair and have cereal (that he won’t eat), and the holy grail, a yelp of pain that catapults you out of bed and to his side, where you discover he was actually making that noise to simulate pain in one of his stuffed animals that he was hitting in the head with a train car. This pattern he will repeat until you accept defeat and get up to join him in his pre-dawn shenanigans.

2. Give him what he wants, the first time he asks. Maybe that’ll placate him so you can go back to sleep.
Why won’t this work? You give him an inch, he’ll take a mile. If he can get milk at 5 am on the first try, his pre-frontal cortex will cattle prod the little hamster in there on its wheel (I’m sure that’s how and where decisions are made—do not doubt me), making him wonder, “what else can I get out of this guy right now?” It’s a slippery slope from there. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up giving him your room, where he will relax, in your bed with your wife, eating dry cereal on your pillow, and watching Super Why on your iPad. Meanwhile, you’ll be down the hall, trying to steal a precious few more minutes of sleep in the toddler bed in the nursery.

3. Pull him into bed with you and commence to “p’aying,” in hopes that he’ll fall asleep once you’re done, so you can sleep for another hour.
Why won’t this work? Frankly, you’ve got me stumped. From your letter, it seems you’ve had a degree of success with this tactic, if you can call being late for all the things every day, success. Some of us have not been so lucky. We’ve tried this, only to have our kids wiggle, squirm, and punch in the circle of our arms, turning what was supposed to be a sweet, Gerber-style hour of spooned sleep into torture. It’s not until we can open our eyes all the way and our sensory receptors start to register pain (by 11 am, typically) that we notice the bruises and scratches they’ve left behind. And for our stripes, did we get any more sleep? No, we did not. SO not worth it, IMO...

What’s this all about? What is it they want, you ask? I'm only speculating, but my guess is your bed or your soul. *shrug* Who knows? But there is a bright side! Accept that there’s no way you can win. He gets what he wants and an opportunity for a 2 hour nap after lunch, and you get an excuse to drink in the afternoon.


Thursday, July 10, 2014


I love Throwback Thursdays, but I've never posted one, either on the blog or any other site. My slowness to contribute to the hubbub on social media each week is, in part, practicality. I don't have a scanner to post my 3X5's or 4X7's and I don't have pictures of my pictures sitting in my smart phone gallery to post. The other part, I'll admit, is pure vanity. My throwbacks ain't cute. I rarely pull out a photo of my younger self without a wince, so why would I share those images with you guys? I wouldn't, so don't judge me. Or, if you must, do it quietly.

So, in the spirit of vain self-preservation, I offer you, not a throwback picture, but a throwback memory:

I took three months maternity leave from work after The Buddy was born. Most of my memories of the time are pretty hazy; hospital rooms, doctor's offices, lactation consultants, 2 am feedings, Target. You know, the usual. One thing I did strictly for my own enjoyment was check out books from the library in my neighborhood. The man-cub and I took a weekly stroll there to get some exercise, to enjoy the summer days and to break the new-mom monotony. It was a great time. I love to read, so when I wasn't otherwise occupied, you could often find me with my nose in a book.

A few weeks after I went back to work, I started getting nastygrams from the library, telling me I had four overdue books to return. Each time I got a letter or email, I'd look for the books to return them, not find them, get distracted by something else and forget (again) that I hadn't returned them. This happened every two weeks for two months.

I said, do NOT judge me! I tried to find them, but they were gone! Sheesh!

Anyway, the last letter I got very politely gave me five business days to return the books, or I would be charged a $30 restocking fee plus the maximum late charge ($2) for each book. That's $128, folks. For four books I couldn't find.

And since nothing motivates me like a late fee, I hunkered down, determined to find those books before I could forget again. This was no easy feat since I was still staggering around sleep-deprived, with post partum/working mama brain. I looked high and low for the better part of an hour in all the places that it made sense to me that they could be--the bedroom, on book shelves, under beds, in closets, in drawers--nothing. I gave up, resigning myself to the mother of all late fees and determined never to check out another book from the library. I didn't deserve the privilege and obviously couldn't be trusted.

A week or so later (I know: I learned absolutely nothing), I dug a bunch of The Bud's newborn clothes out of the basement storage to loan to a friend who was about to have a son. I pulled out the first box of 0-3 month sleepers and what did I see? Four library books! Somehow, I'd packed up my library books when I put away the sleepers. It made absolutely no sense and I had no recollection of doing it, but there they were! 

The next day, I stopped after work to drop them off and throw myself on the mercy of the (book) court. I approached a rather unfriendly-looking librarian at the desk, ready to tell my tale. She looked up at me, I took a deep breath and started talking, fast.

"Hi, I have books that are two months overdue to return that I just found in a box of baby clothes in the basement. I know, it makes no sense and I have no idea why I put them there. The only thing I can plead is that I was two months post partum at the time. Is it possible that, since I found the books and I only missed the last call date by a few days, the restocking fee can be waived and I can just pay the late fees?"

I stopped for breath and waited to hear what she would say. Her next move floored me.

She put both of her palms flat on the desktop, leaned in and smiled, saying, deadpan, "sweetie, two-months post partum is the only excuse that makes sense. Because of my kids, I don't remember the 70's!" Then she waived the restocking fee, took my $8, demanded I show her pictures of The Buddy on my phone, and sent me on my way.

I just checked out four, new books there last weekend. I love the library. :)

Happy Thursday! #tbt

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Don't Poke the Sleeping Bear

Last weekend, we converted The Buddy's crib to a toddler bed. The novelty of being able to get up and out whenever he wants is still fresh, so as you can imagine, many hijinks have ensued...
The first night, he climbed into his bed 10 minutes early, with no whining, begging or requests for "more books, pwease?" We congratulated ourselves on our prodigy and broke out the sangria and trash television to celebrate. 15 minutes later, we were reminded that we had a wily toddler on our hands.
He ran out with a delighted-to-be-free smirk on his face, asking to go pee pee in the potty. That was the only legitimate excuse.
10 minutes after that, he needed to poop. False. Back to bed.
5 minutes later, he was thirsty. He knows the no drink after 7:30 rule, so, since he wasn't a kid we'd just met for the first time, we again called false.
5 minutes after that, he cried hungry. He'd eaten a lot (for him) at dinner and the snack he requested was a chocolate Clif Bar, so his pajama-covered butt was marched back to bed, only 45 minutes after his original bedtime. Not bad, we thought, and commenced to drinking sangria. That was Saturday, and each night since has been pretty much the same, with variations in the time lengths and excuses. Not too terrible, really.
The other morning, however, was the proverbial straw. I can suffer many a fool--gladly and at great length--but even I have my limit. He woke up two hours early; while I was still sleeping. Before sunrise. I awoke to his warm, little body draped across mine, where he commenced to wriggle and squirm and kick until I could no longer ignore him and gasped deperately for consciousness to make the torture stop. Needless to say, I was pissed.
Don't get me wrong, I see how it all went down. He probably wakes up at 5 am all the time, but when he was in a crib, he understood he could either stay awake in his cage, bored and lonely, until a parent rescued him at sunup, or go back to sleep. He chose sleep. Now, he wakes up, gets a charge when he realizes he can get out of bed all by himself, and chooses to wander instead of slumber. The only problem with that is that his toddler logic requires a playmate and who better to call on than dear Mama? In case you haven't picked up on it, I find this all completely unacceptable. I had to take drastic measures to insure that it (insert: voice of the guy who growls over the trailers for suspense movies) Never. Happened. Again.
A friend of mine says the only time her children fear her is when she's asleep. This is brilliant and was, in my case, very easy to execute. I already had the melty face (see this post, #3), the crazy hair, the sleep-raspy voice, and, oh yeah, RAGE to fuel my performance and believe me, it was Oscar-worthy. I sat up in bed, hinged at the waist a la Linda Blair, and yelled, "what on Earth do you think you're doing?? Get out of this bed and go back to your room, right now! It's still sleeping time!" I think the skin peeled back from my skull at one point.
He did slump his tiny shoulders and leave the room, but I didn't go back to sleep.
He's only three years old, for crying out loud! What, did you think I'd leave him alone to tear up my house while I slept? No, thank you. Besides, he can't do anything without my help, yet. He'd have come back in there a hundred times asking me for stuff anyway, which would've just pissed me off more. But he won't wake me again without serious, prior consideration.
I hope.