Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh, Target. I Apologize.

We need to go to Target tonight. This is what will happen.

1. Go to MIL's to pick up Norah. (She watches her once a week.)

2. Listen to stories about all the cute little things her amazing Papillon did today.

3. Repress urge to vomit and collect child.

4. Go home, make dinner. At this time, Norah either watches a Diego or a Dora, or she stands on a chair by the sink and fills cups with water.

5. Eat dinner. Norah dips dinner in applesauce and proceeds to eat.

6. Clean up.

7. Tears or screams of "NO, MOMMY!s"during clean-up.

8. "Norah, do you want to go shopping?"

9. "YES!" Brief boogie dancing.

10. Chase around house with coat and hat.

11. Drive to Target.

12. Begging to forgo Target and enter Playland.

13. Tears.

14. Enter Target. Explore dollar aisle.

15. Long conversation ensues. Short version: "Can you put that back, Sweetie? No thank you, Norah. No-no, Sweetheart. We don't need a tiny pot that grows something. Nope. We don't need tiny notepads. No. No. No, Honey. No plastic bugs. No. No. Uh-uh. Sorry, Sweetie. OH, JUST PUT IT IN THE CART."

16. We move on from the dollar aisle.

17. I scowl at the bathing suit display. Norah says loudly, "Look, Mommy! Boobies!"

18. We hit the baby clothes and I pick out things that Norah doesn't need, but that are on clearance. Which makes them irresistible.

19. Norah starts to beg: "I want look at toys. Toys. I want toys. Over there, Mommy, over there. Mommy. Toys!"

20. We go to the toy aisles and she plays with the exact toys she plays with every time we go to Target.

21. When I can't take it anymore, I muster up an enthusiastic: "Hey! Let's look at something else!"

21. "No."

22. Eventually I pry her away and we desperately look for something else mildly entertaining in order to transition into the extra-painful part of shopping. Usually we end up in the camping area or backpacks.

23. We transition to the painful part of shopping-- actually shopping for things we need. If it's a cart-worthy trip, I will bribe Norah into cooperation by allowing her to sit in the cart-- not the seat designed for children, mind you, but the cart. I will brave judgmental looks from workers and random people. If it's a basket-worthy trip, I try to put Norah in charge of finding things. This works for one item. Possibly two.

24. After we make it through food, health and beauty, and hit cleaning materials, Norah is done with shopping. She starts getting extra squirrelly. This usually includes singing loudly, trying to escape my clutches, dancing or trying to skip, and pulling things off the shelves to play pretend. "This is Mommy," she will say, pointing at a box of Q-Tips she placed on the floor. "This is Daddy," she says about another Q-Tip box. "This is Baby," to a travel-sized Q-Tip box.

25. This will only last a few minutes. I've got a time-bomb on my hands. Once she gets bored, then entertains herself, the last stage is always "I GO HOME."

26. I take too long looking for something. Norah starts yelling, "I GO HOME! I GO HOME NOW!"

27. Now people are staring at us, as I try to reason with her, like a total moron. "Baby, we're almost done. Just let Mommy get the dryer sheets and we'll go home. Settle down, Honey. Come here, Norah. Norah! Stay by Mommy. Sweet Jesus, we'll get dryer sheets next time."

28. We go to the least busy checkout line.

29. I try to throw everything on the conveyor belt while holding Norah, because at this point, she has lost the will to walk.

30. People piling up behind us are visibly regretting choosing our line, as I try to open my purse and wallet while holding Norah, while fumbling for my check card, while apologizing for taking so long, while loading the Target bags back into the cart, while kicking myself for buying Norah more clothes.

31. Norah sweetly says, "Thank you!" to the check-out person. They smile, aww, and give her a sticker.

32. We stop by the customer service area and I chase her around with her coat and hat.

33. We head back to the car. Norah starts begging for Playland.

34. Tears.

35. We finally pull into the driveway.

36. Norah says, "I want go shopping!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Potty Training

Warning: Potty language ahead. Literally.

We've started the wonderful journey of potty training. And by wonderful, I mean scary and gross.

The first thing I did was research books and articles. Hey, it's what I do. The book I chose to be my potty-training bible is Stress-Free Potty Training by Sara Au and Peter L. Stavinoha. One, because "stress-free" is in the title, and two, because it boasted to tailor potty-training to a child's unique personality.

In the beginning of the book, you and your partner separately take a personality assessment of your toddler. Fun! The different personality categories are: The Goal-Directed Child, the Internalizer, the Impulsive Child, the Sensory-Oriented Child, and the Strong-Willed Child.

I started rating behaviors from always to never. I noticed myself semi-trying to push the results to what I wanted: The Goal-Directed Child. That seemed to be the best one. But as I went over the Impulsive Child questions, I couldn't deny it. Each one was always. Always. Almost always. Always. I was a little freaked out, but relieved that other child also exhibit these crazy behaviors. After we were done, we looked at each others' results, and they were nearly identical. Impulsive Child.

Okay. Embrace the label. Impulsivity has it's pros: energetic, willing to try new things, outgoing, adventurous. These are good things. Most of the time. Granted, sometimes I wish she'd just sit and play with one thing for five seconds and let me veg out without worrying that she's about to do something dangerous with it. But it's good.

So after this little revelation, we read on (I read on. Ryan listened to my summary.) and started to plan on implementing The Plan.

Ikea potty
We bought four little Ikea potties. My sister, Sarah, was unimpressed and bought some cushy pinky princessy one for Grandma's house. Whatever.   We also bought a Dora toilet ring, since potty chairs are outlawed at daycare. Sarah had a good point about children learning to potty in different types of toilets. It's good to encourage flexibility in all situations.

Norah loved her little potty and would sit on it with her clothes on and giggle: "I potty!" This was good.

Then we implemented phase one: Announce you are going to the potty. Invite child in to observe. Awkward? For us, yes. I'm an uptight WASPy kind of person. But we're doing it. One thing that is a challenge for the Impulsive Child is remembering to take time to notice bodily sensations, so by reminding her that sometimes you need to stop what you're doing to pee or whatever is a good thing.

Now we're in phase two: regularly sitting on the potty at key times. These times are right away in the morning, after nap, and before bed. Of course, if she says she has to potty in between, we rush in there and let her go. Sometimes she sits with her pants on, sometimes off. She has successfully gone in the potty a number of times. She number twoed on the big potty, which was nice, because I am dreading having to clean out that little Ikea potty. Ew.

She still has wet diapers, so we're a long way off, but it's a pretty good start.

On the dark side of potty training, Norah has learned that "I go potty!" is an out for everything. She doesn't want to get dressed? "I go potty!" Bedtime? "I go potty!" In these situations, I'm 90% sure she is bluffing-- just looking for an excuse to stall something she doesn't enjoy doing. But you never know. I don't want to squash her potty training by not allowing her to go. But I don't want to send the message that by declaring her need to pee, she doesn't have to do something. I try to judge the situation, but then she gets desperate.

"It's nigh-night time, Baby."
"No! I go potty!"
"We just sat on the potty a little while ago."
"It's bedtime."
"Norah. Do you really have to go potty?"
"YES! Widdle [little] poops." She makes a gesture with her thumb and pointer finger, indicating small.
"Do you have to go poop?"
"Tiny poops." More gesturing.
Sigh. "Okay. Let's go sit on the potty."
"YAY!" she laughs and runs toward the bathroom, smugly.
"Sit on the potty."
"No! I brush my teef [teeth]!"
Dammit. Fooled again. 

I haven't even read phase three yet. Maybe that's the part about being stress-free.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Great Timing

Toddler have a way of saying inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times. And with the most inappropriately loud voice.

Women's locker room after swim class: "Mommy puts on her booooooobies!"
Leaving Menards (home improvement store where Daddy and Papa work): "Bye, 'Nards!"
Trying to leave the patio furniture area of Target, amongst a crowd of shoppers: "You make me sad!"
Eating dinner at a friend's house: "YUCK."
Grandma's house, after being asked something by Grandma: "Hell no."

That last one is my fault, obviously. I vow to watch my sailor mouth starting.... shit-dammit-asshat.... now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Best Dollar You'll Ever Spend (disclaimer: gross exaggeration)

My book is on Amazon!

Expect This: A pregnancy memoir

Once a formally anti-kids couple decides to chuck their birth control and go for it, this mom-to-be soon learns that pregnancy isn't all about playing Mozart to your stomach and glowing. Along with relentless nausea, unleashed emotions, and interfering bystanders, Heather learns to deal with her fear; fear of her body changing, of her shifting identity, and the fear of having to be responsible for another living being.

Author: Heather Slee
Price: $0.99


1. Why should I buy this? 

The book is all about my pregnancy, so it's new stuff to you. And it's kind of funny. And it's short-- only 60 pages or so. And it's cheap.

2. It's only available electronically. What if I don't have a Kindle?

You can download the Kindle Reader for PC for free. This way, you can pretend to be working on something important on the computer, when you're actually reading my book and taking a break from your chaos.

3. Why is it only a dollar? Does it suck?

Because it's short (60 pages or so) and only available electronically, which can be kind of a pain for some. Also, "suck" is a relative term. However, here are things that cost around one dollar that rule, and are more fleeting than a book:

  • Dollar menu french fries at McDonald's
  • Two tries at a skill crane game
  • A Diet Coke from the fountain
  • Paddle board from the Target dollar aisle 
  • Two songs from a jukebox (suckiness may vary)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bathing Ritual

"Noonie, is it bath time?"

"No. NO BATH."

"Splish splash?"




Sigh. "Do you want to get naked?"

"YES. Naked!"

She happily lets me take off her clothes and we go into the bathroom, where the tub is already filled with water, and her toys are all lined up on the edge of the tub. Then she pushes each one in the tub, laughing and screaming, "Whee!"

"I go in tub. Diaper off."

"Okay, honey... okay, count for me!"

"One, two, fwee, four!"

I lift her into the tub and she giggles. I start wetting her hair down with a wet washcloth.

"NO, MOMMY. Hold dis." She gives me a toy. Then her toy and my toy have a conversation (sort of) about taking turns jumping off the side of the tub into the water. Her toy wants to go first and won't let other toy have a turn. I try to make it a teachable moment, and she makes a sound that makes me dread the day she learns how to roll her eyes.

I try to wash her hair.

"NO, MOMMY. Hold dis." She gives me her ducky and takes her purple octopus, which is like a little cup with holes in it. She fills it up and lets the water come out like a tiny shower. Now I am to put Ducky under it.

"Rain, rain!" she screeches.

"Oh, no! I need an umbrella!"

She puts a little red cup over Ducky's head and laughs hysterically.

This little skit repeats for a minimum of ten times.

I try to wash her.

"NO, MOMMY. Hold dis." She hands me a seahorse and she holds a blue whale. Blue Whale squirts Seahorse.

"Oh, no! Blue Whale squirted me! You are so naughty, Blue Whale!"

She laughs hysterically and tries to fill up the whale with water, unsuccessfully.

"Mommy, you do it."

I fill up the whale and the little skit repeats about ten times or so.

Now it's time to rinse. At this point I have semi-successfully fit in washing hair and body. I stand up.


"It's time to rinse!"

I turn on the faucet and take down the shower head. Then I push the plunger and the shower head springs to life.

"Who's turn is it?" It makes her feel better to throw one of her toys under the bus first.


Ducky gets rinsed.

"Now who's turn?"


Turtle gets rinsed.

"Now it's Noonie's turn!"

The torture of hair-rinsing ensues, and I pull the tub plug. Norah starts desperately flinging her toys out of the tub, soaking me and the rug. I think she thinks they're going to get sucked down. After her "fwiends" are safe, she stands and says, "Noonie."

I lift her up and she shivers. I put the big towel around her and she turns to the drain, making sucking noises.

"Bye, bubbles!"

"Bye, bubbles."

This is a minimum of 30 minutes. If we add bath paint or bath crayons, it's easily 45, and somewhere in between we have to add more warm water.

But I love it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Suck It

Nuks, that is. Pacifiers, binkies, whatever. These cute little plastic plugs seem to inspire some hostile attitudes in some people.

Daycare frowns upon nuks. I can sort of understand that policy, because toddlers don't seem to understand how germs are spread and that it's socially unacceptable to take something out of someone's mouth and put it in your own.

Family members make a sour face and yank it out of the kid's mouth, invariably saying, "You don't need that."

Strangers make passive-aggressive comments.

Me (at a store): "Norah, can you say thank you?"

Norah: "Tank you."

Clerk: "Aww.. I heard her. ...Through her plug."

So why am I the only person who isn't disgusted by my two-year-old using a pacifier occasionally? Am I just a pathetic enabler?

For what it's worth, I've read plenty about the subject. I've read plenty about every subject involving babies and toddlers. Mostly because I freely admit that I'm an idiot and need a special amount of studying to just keep me from being harmful. I know that the American Association of Pediatrics recommends that you ditch the nuk at two. Nuk usage at two may mess us baby teeth. And nuk usage at three and above may mess up permanent teeth. I am concerned with this.

I also know the theoretical arguments, such as nuks impede speech development. Norah is a crazy talker, though, and I'm not very concerned about that.

So, what are the benefits of a nuk?


Um, okay. It's soothing. That's all I've got. Sucking is the first soothing strategy a human learns. Before nuks were invented, babies sucked their fingers and hands, and of course their food source. Sucking is a calming force. That's why nuks were invented.

I guess I'm a little hesitant to take it away because of this. Her soothing mechanism. When she's upset, she wants nuk. When she's sleepy, nuk. And I give it to her. I want to make her happy. I don't want to be the cause of her angst. I don't want to force her to face her nuk addiction. Maybe it's because I smoked for so many years, and I know what it's like to quit. I don't know.

Anyway, we're establishing a new rule: Nuks Are For Nigh-Nighs. Of course, if she's completely freaking out about something, like we only let her brush her teeth for 20 minutes, and she screaming and begging for the nuk, we'll probably give it to her. I don't want to be a total hardass about this. But for the majority of the time, Nuks Are For Nigh-Nighs.

But if you see a toddler with a nuk when you're out grocery shopping or whatever, and you feel the urge to spout off some judgmental bullshit, try to restrain yourself. Think about what the toddler is doing to the nuk. That's right. Suck it.