Saturday, February 28, 2015

Monthly Musings, February 2015

• Recently, I went into the kitchen to find The Bud and The Artist making breakfast. The Bud was standing on a dining chair at the stove, flipping bacon with his favorite set of tongs. He was closely monitored by his father, of course, but it was essentially done, by himself.

He's SO gonna start wiping his own butt.

• I've decided Lady's anthem is Ray Charles', Nightime Is the Right Time. I get up to pee at least twice a night these days, & I've noticed that she's up nearly every time I do, kicking away at my beleaguered bladder. She's pretty busy during the day, too. Constant baby movements in utero are very reassuring, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't bode well for when she starts making time one The Outside. #jusssayin

• Dear Family Bathroom Designers: Please consider installing a commode with a quiet flush, if not in all stalls, at least in these units. I'd guess that most little kids don't love how loudly, or seemingly without warning public toilets flush. I get it. Theyre short, so it's like having a giant, spitting monster growling in your face while you have your pants down. For the uber-sensitive ones, like my kid? The unexpected sound is a pretty big deterrent against public toileting; if he goes, it won't be without a fight, and I'm getting fed up. That's where you designers come in. Only you can change the experiences of parents in public for the better. The choice is yours. Just know that if you continue on your present course, there's at least one little boy who's peeing in the sink.

Thank you for your consideration.

• I've discovered that if I wear one of The Artist's belts, strapped low on my hips, I can still wear my non-maternity pants with comfort & ease. It's a real budget saver. Remembering to put them back when I'm done isn't going so well, though... #unwittingthief
That's all I've got, folks. This has been a monster of a month. I jotted down what I could when I had the energy to think at all. Mostly in the shower.

See you next month!

Friday, February 27, 2015


We've had a bit of pooping regression in these parts, lately.

Since we started potty training, The Bud has never been truly on board with a daily toilet constitutional. Peeing is no problem, but since we took his precious diapers away, he's preferred a more stealthy approach to #2. It's not uncommon to find him ready to skulk behind a cabinet, or secreted behind a closed door to do his business, according to his preference. Which is in his pants.

And that's if we're able to anticipate him at all. More likely, he comes out of hiding after the dirty deed is already done to inform one of us that he needs his bottom cleaned.

Dread of having to rinse out dirty underwear every day has turned The Artist and me into a two-man, crack pooping face detection team. We've become adept at reading his social cues, facial expressions, and even the tone of the silence in the house, either of us ready to jump at a moment's notice to get him to the pot on time. I'd say we're working with about a 90% success rate. It's not a perfect system, but I call it progress. We've been tripping along, hoping for that magic day other parents in the trenches talk about: the day when their unwilling charges decide that pooping in the potty is all of a sudden ok, and start doing it. Without a fight. No muss, no fuss.

Sadly, The Bud's not there, yet. Maybe nowhere near. He's changed it up a bit, though. NOW, he holds it for as long as he can--up to 5 days (yes, I count)--then gives in to the pot when the pressure becomes too great. He's driving us nuts. Five days is waaay too long to go without...well, without. So, of course, when he finally goes, it's so gigantic that, let me just say, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And stopping up of toilets, and fruitless plunging, and swearing daddies.

It's ugly ya'll.

Last night was bath night and The Artist was in charge. After a few minutes of splashing, I heard a desperate cry for help from the bathroom. I ran in to find that The Bud had skittered out of the tub to stand, naked and wet, next to his father. They were both staring in horror into the tub of water. I looked in the bathtub to find about a thousand makeshift tub toys floating in brown water. Yep. There was doody in the tub.

Apparently, The Artist hadn't checked for dingleberries, of which there were many, before depositing the kid in the water. How many, you ask? Let's call it a prohibitive number.*shrug* Could've happened to anybody, right? I have no idea. All I know is, I feel like we're stuck in a neverending loop of a sitcom episode called, 'You Can Lead a Toddler to the Pot, But You Can't Make Him Go.'

It didn't take long to realize that if the tub (and the boy) was going to get cleaned any time before 5 o'clock the next morning, Mama was going to have to step in. I put aside my disgust and innate germaphobia and did everything except set a blowtorch to the porcelain, the bath toys, (and the boy), and eventually it all did end, in a blur of scrub brushes and non-chlorine bleach. I've blocked out the details.


A moment I do remember, though, was after I saw what I was up against, I left the bathroom, headed for the basement and the big gun cleaning supplies. The Artist, fearful that I'd left him alone to deal with the filth, called out to see where I was. My instinct was to call back to him, "I am running away to a place where nobody can find me and nobody poops in tubs!"

I didn't say that, of course. I was too worried that I actually meant it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dark Days and Bubble Baths

The Bud loves to go to church. Bedtime on Saturday nights is always easy because he has the anticipation of a morning of chocolate donuts and train tables ahead of him. Shallow, but it gets us out the door on time. If I'm honest, my reasons for going to church this morning were as mercenary as his--it was my one chance to get out of the house and let someone else watch my kid while having nothing physical asked of me for two hours.

I am spent.

I've nodded off a handful of times in the last few hours, marked by brief moments of consciousness at the hand of my three year old, reminding me unceremoniously that it's 'time to wake up now,' or 'it's not sweepy time now, Mommy.' Poor kid. All he wants is my attention, which I feel completely unable to give him, but explaining the whys to a person who follows each answer with yet another why would take more effort than I can currently dredge up, so instead, I stare at him wordlessly, wishing I was anywhere but here...

It's been a rough go, lately. Work is a nuthouse, The Artist and I are tense and crabby as we wrestle with finances and the impending reality of raising two children in a Crackerjack box, parenting a toddler is a constant exercise in frustration and futility, and doing it all while growing a new person inside my body? Yeah, that's doesn't make the rest of it any easier to handle.

If such a thing as A Dark Night of Pregnancy exists, I'm in it. And I've been here before. My circumstances this time around are quite different than the last--I'm not single, lonely, bereft, and scared for the prospects of mine and my unborn child's future. I'm not eaten up with the anxiety of a first-time mother. Well, not the same anxiety, anyway. There's always something to worry about, of course, but my worries this time are different.

This Dark Night, while different in a lot of ways from the one before, has this in common: the feeling of being completely unequal to the daily effort of living my life. I'm sick of opening my eyes in the morning, as tired as when I went to bed the night before, thinking 'I cannot do this. Not even one more time.' It's not self-destructive, so much as the slightly tantrumy urge to sit down amid all the things and just...have a good cry.


I get that what I feel is typical. I'm not reinventing the wheel, here. Jobs in corporate America have been around longer than I. So have relationships, pregnancies, and three year olds (God help us all). And in spite of all the muck and mess, people do get up to rave another day. It's ordinary. It's reality.

But, the world where I want to live is a lot less like reality, and more like a never-ending bubble bath, where the hot water never runs out and the suds never fizzle. Pregnancy brain is an old wives tale, not a well-worn excuse for failings. Misunderstandings, pride, self-centeredness, and unmet needs do not exist. Kisses really do heal all wounds. Parenting springs from an unending well of patience. Laundry, dishes, and cooking do themselves, and no one ever coined the phrase, 'decision overload' to characterize the poor schmuck, on his/her daily grind, fed up with the responsibility of it all.

Today my grind followed me to church. There I was offered a chance to be quiet and to rest in the stillness. It followed me to laughs with old and dear friends, who reminded me that while some things change, they also stay the same, and that feels really great. And it followed me home again, where I didn't get a quality nap, but I did get sweet cuddles  and giggles with my kid, all the way up to his (early) bed time. It followed me to the personal rock concert I'm getting right now from my guy, while my baby girl kicks and squirms in my belly. And the laundry is done.

I'd better get going. Tomorrow's another day on the grind.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Portrait of Valentine's Day

Disclaimer: this post contains graphic content. But, there's no need for gasping, clutching of chests, or any other such shenanigans. It's about Valentine's Day for parents of a three-year-old, for crying out loud.  Nobody is having any kind of sex, whatsoever. I hope that makes you happy.


7:00 am: Awaken to a small mouth-breather, standing 3" from your sleeping face, demanding help to go pee (he can do it himself, he just chooses not to first thing in the morning, when it would mean the most to his exhausted parents).

7:03 am: Crawl hopefully into bed and try to go back to sleep.

7:05 am: The kid climbs into your bed, takes over your pillow, and starts an annoying dinosaur growling war in your ear. Daddy gives up and lets him take the iPad, as long as he promises to use it in his room. With the door closed.

8:35 am: Reawaken with a start, guiltily realizing that you've let your child start his day watching almost two hours of unsupervised dinosaur fight scenes on YouTube. Do not get out of bed. The damage is already done, may as well savor the relative peace for a few more minutes.

9:15 am: Daddy gets up and starts coffee. You start the chai latte you've become addicted to since you successfully convinced yourself tea was just as good as coffee to kick start a day. Turns out, it is. Make breakfast.

10:30 - 11:15 am: Field 3 temper tantrums caused by various parental infringements upon the will of a threenager.

11:20 am: Spank and time-out.

11:30 am: Bath.

12:30 pm: Mama takes (an accidental, but much appreciated) nap.

1:30 pm: Daddy puts the kid down for a nap. This one's on purpose.

[1:30 to 4:00]: Blessed peace ensues.

4:30 pm: Family Jenga. The kid wins. He cheats, but tattling is frowned upon in your house, so...

After Jenga but before dinner is a blur, really. Somebody threw several fits over pooping in the potty, resulting in soiled shorts and wiped bottoms. *shrug* Could've been any one of you.

7:00 pm: Mama and Daddy finally sit down to a lovely, home-cooked Valentine's Day meal with the soundtrack to yet another fight scene echoing romantically in the air. The kid touches none of it. He eats cereal. Mama and The Belly got a single, precious sip of Daddy's wine. (Sue me, it was delicious).

7:45 pm: Mama calls a moratorium on tantrums for the day, declaring it (early) bed time. Books, prayers, songs, and kisses see the kid down for the night.

The day ends with Mama and Daddy, huddled together for warmth and strength, watching a movie and feeling the baby kick. Each declares today the best day, ever.

And it was.