Random Thoughts: Notes

I haven’t meant to have disappeared like that. Things are super busy. Which is, mostly, good.


Potty training Kate continues to be a disaster. I blame inconsistency on our part.


On the other hand, I have a post in mind called “Control Freak”, all about Kate, and how she wants to be in control of EVERYTHING right now, right down to her poop. And I don’t mean whether or not to poop on the potty — I mean that she doesn’t care to choose to poop at all right now, and will hold it… for long periods of time. If you’ve ever potty trained a stubborn toddler, you know the catch-22 this behavior leads to. Yeah, we’re there. Advice welcome in the comments.


Also, advice on helping my children fall asleep when they need to. The bedtime coups continue. Dan is ready to turn to melatonin? Melanin? Something like that? Help me out here, Interwebz. A 10 p.m. sleep-time is BAD for growing children. And their mommies.


Finally, Kim Z recommends the Fiery Furnances in my music post, and then adds that some people can’t stand them. So I checked them out on YouTube, and if you seriously are annoyed by this, something is wrong with you. (IMO.)


Happy Easter weekend, peeps. See you on the other side.


Kate had a tough weekend.

Kate is trying to figure things out, and testing her boundaries in a big (and rather relentless) way. I mean, it’s pretty bad if she’s hiding under the table at a restaurant and hitting Pap-pap. Otherwise, aggressive behavior and pushing her big sister’s buttons (not to mention her mommy’s) are par for the course.

She decided she wanted to wear big girl underwear, but also decided to poop in it instead of going on the potty.

She said no. A lot.

She had tantrums and melt downs and was generally cranky.

Kate missed my nephews’ birthday party (Saturday) and didn’t get to go to the toy store (Sunday).

On the plus side, she spent a lot of time outside and was too tired to wake up in the middle of the night. She adopted worms and rode her scooter. She got a lot of one-on-one time with daddy (on Saturday) and mommy (on Sunday).

I don’t know if she is old enough to internalize what she missed and try to behave better (yet). She’s only 3. (Only 290 days to go!) I do know that enforcing boundaries is hard work. With Flora, it’s getting her to listen and getting her to finish a task. With Kate, it’s… everything.

We work hard to let her control what she can control. But I think we work harder in making it clear what she cannot control and what our expectations are. When she pushes boundaries and buttons, we try to respond reasonably and consistently. As the cliche goes, we try to pick our battles, and when it’s overwhelming (at least for me), I give myself a time out.

It’s the only way we’re going to survive.


Flora came into our room at 4 a.m.

I let her climb into bed with us, because I was too tired to do anything else.

This was a mistake.

Because now, as I mentioned on Twitter, I am running on five hours of sleep and two hours of angry. That child poked me, sighed at me, stole my blankets. What she did not do: GO BACK TO SLEEP.

When I asked her to go back to her own bed, she cried. When I angrily got up at 5:30 a.m. to shower and go to work, she cried.

“No one goes to work at night, Mommy,” she told me.

No, dearest older daughter of mine, people sleep at night.

I wouldn’t care all that much, except I have two hours of BRAND NEW LOST to get through tonight. If I could throw in the towel at 8:30 or 9 p.m., wouldn’t matter. But I gotta make it, awake and alert, to 11 p.m.

It’s the only show I watch. I’ve been waiting nine months for this.

Let’s hear it for a cat nap after dinner. I’ll even let them watch Max & Ruby if they want.


My 3-year-old is trying to kill me.

The 5 a.m wake ups.
The epic temper tantrums.
The refusal to use words and just whinge at me.
The flailing about when she is told ‘no’.
Telling me ‘no’.

(Tanget: The new rule in the house is that the girls are not allowed to say “no” to their father or me. If it’s something that is optional (i.e. a second helping of peas), they may say, “No thank you.” Last night I told Kate to stop crawling under her bed — where I knew she was going to poop in her pull-up — and to get on the potty. “No,” she said. “You’re not allowed to say no to me,” I reminded her. “No sank you,” she replied.)

Telling me no LOUDLY.
Yelling or screaming at me at all.

Oh, and the potty training thing.

Kate is done with diapers. She just doesn’t know it. She has horrible rashes from pooping four or five times in a short time (like, an hour) and needing to be cleaned up over and over again. That fifth clean up is an epic struggle akin to the gladiators fighting the lions. (Am I mixing my metaphors? Yes? Well, see point one above.)

The separation anxiety! Oh my hells. I thought children were done with separation anxiety at this age. Honestly, Kate has asked me to not go to work three out of four mornings this week alone. Which, while kind of adorable, is a little stressful when my gentle refusal to quit my job on the spot escalates to screaming and barnacle-type clinging as I am struggling to walk out the door with my mammoth purse, a packed lunch, and a traveler’s mug of hot coffee. At 7 a.m.

(The fifth morning this week she was still asleep when I got out of the house. However that was the same morning that Flora wanted me to sit with her and watch her eat her breakfast. One.Cheerio.at.a.time.)

Telling me I am a bad mommy.

That one hurts. A lot. Because, as many a parent knows, that is our deepest, darkest fear. That we are a bad mommy, and not in the cool way, but in the way that means that we are damaging our children, by time outs or yelling or supplementing with formula (or not any of those things), by staying at home or by working, by sending them to public or private school. The worst charge that can be leveled by society, at us: You are a bad mommy.

Which Kate tells me when she doesn’t get her way. When I tell her no she cannot have another piece of chocolate, or another 1/2 hour of television, or that it is time for her bath right now, or she has to sit on the potty. Or when I lose my temper and yell.

“You’re a bad mommy.” Arms crossed, lower lip pooched out.

And I know that I am not a bad mommy (although, yes, sometimes in the cool way), but oh my goodness I am tired of fighting with her.

Only 342 days until she turns 4.

What A Man

Before I leave my sick days behind us, I have a word of praise (or two) for my husband.

Dan was a good man — nay, a Good Man — throughout the bug’s dread hold on our household.

He stayed up with the puking Flora Monday into Tuesday. He helped me (as much as he was able) in my time of extreme stomach distress very early on Thursday morning.

He tended me — or at least checked to make sure I was breathing and brought me ice chips — on Thursday. At my request we “watched” some Lost together for a bit in the afternoon in a very darkened room. I say “watched” because both of us dozed off during the three or four episodes we tried to get through. He gave me the couch, and stretched out on the floor. That evening, he warmed up some vegetable soup for me, and gave me ginger ale (generously provided by my MIL).

He took care of the children Thursday night with absolutely no input from me. They could have had chocolate cake for dinner for all I know.

Over the weekend, he did a lot of cleaning. The Christmas tree finally got disposed of, and he vacuumed the needles up. He moved the furniture back to its non-holiday positions.

He broke down all the cardboard boxes for recycling, and fended off a raccoon in our back yard.

Sunday, he stayed home with Kate while I took Flora to a birthday party at a bowling alley. (As an aside: I love the birthday-party-at-a-bowling-alley in theory. Built-in entertainment, someone else doing the muss & fuss, beer if you want it. But bowling alleys are LOUD. Loud, loud, loud. And when you have a Flora and a Laura at the same party… well, some things are bound to get mixed up. Like whose turn it is to bowl, for example.)

He helped with baths and bedtimes without me even asking! And he let me veg with a book (almost) as much as I wanted to.

Of course, now that I’m feeling better, I’m probably going to have to make this all up to him. Somehow.

Tick Tock

My baby turned 3 yesterday.

I don’t know if it’s hormones or heartache, but some days — like the day my baby turned 3, or the day I spend in the company of my now 9-month-old nephew — the longing for another baby is intense.

My brain has a lot of things to tell my heart (and my womb) on those days.

How hard it would be. I am toward the end of my fertility (although not the very end, as the box of Tampax under my sink can attest). Even with the right timing, it could be difficult to conceive now.

The risks involved. Neither my eggs nor my husband’s sperm are, so to speak, spring chickens. The risks of advanced maternal and paternal age should be considered. (My brain then counteracts its own argument by pointing out that my paternal grandmother was 44 years old — and my pap-pap even older — when she had my father, and he’s just fine.)

The hard, cold fact that having babies isn’t the easiest thing for me to do. My body (to date) has conceived just fine. But somewhere around week 32–34, it’s ready to shut down production. I would end up on modified bed rest again, end up getting induced, etc., etc. Two out of three times this has all gone just fine, but, you know, that one time weighs heavy.

The time I would need in terms of personal/vacation hours just for midwife appointments and sonograms.

The mere fact that my exhaustion and disorganization, already problematic, would increase, and probably result in my house becoming so cluttered and/or dirty we would end up on Hoarders or the 11 o’clock news.

And so on and so forth.

Why can’t my biological clock accept that fact that I have reproduced, successfully, twice already, and leave me alone? The rush of desire, yearning, lust when I’m in the presence of a baby is just insane-making.

I did not have that rush before I had babies. I accepted motherhood as a positive aspect of my marriage to Dan. I didn’t marry Dan out of a desire to have babies. I didn’t marry Dan out of a desire to be married. (Not that there is anything wrong with fantasizing about being married or having babies. I just didn’t do it before I was getting married and having babies.)

It’s not even about wanting or not wanting to have another baby. Yes, I do, in my heart, in my body; no, I don’t, in my brain, even in other parts of my body that are so flipping tired at the end of a day.

I don’t want to want. That part, if it were over, would make it so much easier to face the fact that it’s not likely (or advisable) that I have any more babies.

Of course, I don’t exactly want to go through premature menopause, either. So I guess I’m just stuck for a few more years.

Weekend: Wrestlemania and a New Recipe

The thing about being POD nearly all weekend is that it’s like 36 hours of Wrestlemania as far as Kate is concerned. And her goal is to take me down to the mat. By Sunday afternoon, she nearly succeeded, and Sunday evening I had to gate the girls in the living room while I stole a few moments to make dinner all by myself. Flora was a mass of emotions too, which I attribute to two things: her dramatic personality and being tired. It was another weekend of doing A LOT, and not enough chilling at home.

I love that Kate is so tough, I do, but when getting her removed from a location requires brute force, it is difficult to admire her pure bull-headedness and wiry strength. Saturday she and I had a tete-a-tete at Beaver Valley’s Festival of the Trees that required me leaving Flora with Bella to let Kate ride out the tantrum (with me) in the car. It was quite something, I tell you, not made any easier by the fact that at one point she wanted either her stuffed monkey (George) or her stuffed bunny (Cuddle) and we had neither with us. Note to self: the kiddie survival kit requires a stuffed animal. Stat.

Then Sunday, I thought we could ride out naptime at the OTB Bicycle Cafe fundraiser/Steeler game we attended. I was wrong, and when it looked like she was going to insist on inflicting bodily harm and/or chocolate stains on other attendees, I figured we’d better load up & head out. (Flora, incidentally, was an angel). I got some very concerned looks as I headed out the door with Flora hauling her wheeled backpack and Kate pretty much hanging upside down from my head. (We made it home safely, everyone.) Napping was no longer an option by the time we rolled in, and I just prayed to make it to bed time. (We did. There may have been a lot of shouting.)

On the plus side, Dan and I attended a little get-together Saturday night for which I invented a new recipe that we are calling Pesto Fagioli.

4 cloves garlic
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
A big handful of basil (1 loosely packed cup, maybe)
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Throw everything except the olive oil into a food processor. Add the olive oil while pulsing until it is the consistency you prefer. Next time, I am going to try to make it chunkier; it was too smooth to my taste.

The basil lends this a lovely green color (really!) so this is a good one for the Christmas season. Or St. Patrick’s Day.

(As to the Year in Review: My favorite recipe from 2009 is the vegetarian corn chowder I stumbled upon. I think I’m going to have to make this again soon! Just reading this recipe gave me a hankering. Now, to find the time.)

Problem Child*

Kate and I are having some issues. More to the point, I am having some issues with Kate and her behavior.

She is an energetic child, and she does not sit still. It has become much more of an issue in public than anywhere else, and it’s exhausting. I felt like my Friday evening and most of the day on Saturday was spent literally wrestling with her.

On Friday, the combined mis-behavior of my two children lead to us leaving a restaurant for the first time ever (we got our dinner to go). (So much for all that Progress.)

Saturday, we were at an indoor craft fair in Dormont (organized by my SIL), and I was unable to relax and look at things. Kate had to touch everything, run, kiss the metal frogs, and just generally be my Wild Child in spades. I wanted to buy pottery mugs (or goblets) for Dan and me, and order personalized books, and check out a couple other booths, and Kate made it impossible.

I worried that I was going to have to bail on Saturday night dinner with ClumberKim and her family, plus two other tweeps (Abby and Beth). The girls were tired of running around (truth be told, so was I!), but I wanted to see our friends, too. It turned out to be okay (although putting a party of 9, including four kids, in the middle of the restaurant was a risky decision on our hostess’ part), but Kate barely ate, and I barely got to eat, and I did not get to have a conversation with anyone. Despite Flora and Oliver being happily occupied, I was fielding questions along the lines of “How do you spell ‘publicity’?” from Flora and trying to keep Kate from falling out of her booster seat (although Mr. Clumber should be lauded for his ability to occupy two under-3s at the same time).

And then there is the whole potty issue. At one time, Kate was willingly peeing on the toilet — she had to be prompted WAY more often than she asked to go (I mean, like, 15-to-1), but I figured we were making headway.

But she refuses to poop on the potty. And lately, that refusal to poop on the potty has turned into a refusal to poop at all. She goes two days at a time between BMs, and by the end of the second day, she is a miserable, cranky, non-eating almost-3-year-old. This refusal to poop on the potty has lead to extreme reluctance to even sit on the potty to pee, so every half-hour turns into a struggle just to get her into the bathroom.

Dan says my expectations are too high, but we haven’t gotten to discuss this in depth yet. I’m not sure if he doesn’t think she’s ready to potty train (he has tried to be encouraging in this endeavor too) or if my exasperation at some of her other behaviors is out of hand.

She is a terrible listener; she is stubborn; she is aggressive (Flora was never aggressive). Trying to channel her behavior is futile, whether I’m trying to play a game with her, get her on the potty, or otherwise occupying her time. Hallmarks of a typical almost-3?

Conversely, I am impatient. I’m not sure if I am more impatient than I was with Flora or if I am more impatient in general, or what exactly. My stress levels are definitely different now, with Kate at this stage, than they were when Flora was here.

Good points: Kate will occupy herself (she just doesn’t like direction). Her attention span is good. She will clean up when asked (three times out of five, anyway). She still naps. (Whew.) She is dang funny.

I’m not sure what to do. Stay home a lot more for awhile on the weekends — I think that would be good for all of us, frankly. Pull back on the potty training? They are trying to get her to go on the potty at daycare, too. (I haven’t trained a kid as a WOTHM, so I’m not sure of the most effective approach to this.) Anything else?

*Just to clarify: Kate, of course, is not a problem child. She is, simply, MY problem and a child, and this is really about me and not about her. Okay, it’s a little about her.

Rest for the Weary

Saturday night, I got home with the girls from a very busy day. We all got into our pajamas and settled in for the night.

It was barely 6 p.m. We popped some popcorn and watched T.V.

I finally threw in the towel at 10 p.m. Dan was out having a beer with a buddy, so it wasn’t like I had anything to wait up for. I think I was asleep before 10:15.

I woke up Sunday at 6:30 a.m.

I haven’t slept that well in a long time. I didn’t even know I needed to sleep that well.

We had a pretty low-key weekend — obviously. Sunday was spent putzing around the house and yard. What great weather. Sundays without the Steelers seem so formless, but Dan and I got a lot done in terms of cleaning.

We’ve plennn-ty more to do, however.

Random Thoughts: Brief and Bad

I don’t really have much good news.

I’m at trouble at work because of how much time I have been home with sick children. And you know what? I think I did the right thing staying home with them. So that’s that.

Flora woke up SCREAMING at 11:30 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. with ear pain. Dan’s taking her back to the doctor this afternoon.

Guess those antibiotics aren’t working.

I had ear infections as a child, and I remember how very much they hurt. As hard as it was to be empathetic at 2 a.m., I think Dan and I did okay with Flora. We were a little crankier — all right, a lot — with each other. Really have to work on that.


Oh, wait, I do have good news. The plague of insects that has descended on the house in the past few months has been stemmed. Thank goodness for cold weather.

I still see the occasional G-D FRUIT FLY buzzing around the kitchen. I make it my priority to track it through the air and squash the life out of it. We’ve a few Asian lady beetle carcasses laying around, too. It’s amazing that some of those seemingly dead bugs will rediscover their will to live (and their tiny little feet) and crawl out of the pile of crumbs I have swept up.

They aren’t very fast. They get dumped with everything else.


I have a lot of baking to do in the next 10 to 14 days. This is bad news if you are on the receiving end as I’m not much of a baker. But Flora needs cookies for her class (she’s going to be 5 years old in less than a week) and I am attending the infamous Cookie Swap with Burgh moms on Nov. 14. I have a couple of pretty easy recipes on tap; the trick will be how I deal with the kids while baking.

If I suit them both up in hazmat uniforms, I guess I can let them help.


Our new back door won’t go in because of wood rot and other problems. Do we just do something half-assed for now (and not use the back door) or do we spend thousands of dollars to do the job right and make the payments? FUDGE.


Updated to add: Flora has infections in both ears, a temp of 102, a new, stronger Rx, and she threw up in the doctor’s office. This day is just going swimmingly!