Friday, August 26, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Potty Training: Day 3 Debrief

I went to pick up Norah at daycare. It was her third day of potty training. I was expecting her to be wearing ugly, mismatched daycare clothes after going through all the extra outfits I had brought.

She was wearing the same clothes I brought her in.

She ran over and hugged me, yelling, "Mommy! Mommy!"

The teachers swarmed me and said Norah did an awesome job. NO ACCIDENTS. It was a potty miracle.

That evening, I broke out the potty prize I had bought her (the game Don't Break the Ice) and we played and played. Only one accident that evening.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Potty-Training Bootcamp

"I don't think it's as hard as you're making it out to be."

This was my mother, Sunday morning, right after I told her I was about to wimp out on potty-training. Let me digress.

I dropped Norah off at daycare on Friday, and the teacher cornered me, inquiring about potty training.

Teacher: So, how's potty training going?
Me: Pretty terribly.
Teacher: Well, This Other Kid will be doing an intensive potty-training session over the weekend. If you and Ryan wanted to do that, then I could train both of them next week. It's more effective when more than one child is being trained.
Me: Huh. I, uh, suppose. We. Could. Maybe. Do that. Huh.
Teacher: Great! See you next week.


So, we had planned to go to our friends' place on Saturday, but Norah was ill. We chilled all day. Then Sunday came.

Me: Norah's still coughing. I think we should wait until next weekend.
Ryan: Good idea.


Me: I'm scared. This is going to suck. I don't want to do it. I'm not mentally prepared. I am not ready for the next phase. I don't want to plan our lives around bathrooms. I don't want to deal with accidents. I don't want to force her if she's not ready and make it harder than it would be if she were ready. I fear change.
Ryan: Ditto.

Then I called my mom to tell her we were postponing, and I got the message you read on top. And I listen to my mom. She's smart. And I felt somehow if we didn't do it, we'd be screwing over the teacher and This Other Kid. So we put Norah in underwear and let it ride.


  • We put her in uns.
  • We put her on the pot every 30 minutes.
  • When she peed, we reset the timer.
  • Then we regrouped and decided 25 minutes was better. 
  • Then we decided that if she didn't go during the potty time, to set the timer to 15 minutes. 25 after a pee.
  • We used tons of positive reinforcement, i.e. cheering and M&Ms. 
  • When there was an accident, we told her it was okay, and reminded her to think of how it felt before she went and to tell mom and dad if she has to go, etc. 
  • We made an Undie Bucket. We filled it with clean uns and told her that we wanted to have at least one pair still in the bucket at the end of the day. But the bucket got stepped on and broke (stupid knock-off Tupperware). We abandoned this. It was dumb anyway. We just read that we're supposed to make it fun. Hooray. Fun.

Here are our stats:
Sunday: 5 1/2 successes, 5 1/2 accidents. (We didn't start right away in the morning.)
Monday (Ryan was off): 10 1/2 successes, 7 1/2 accidents

(1/2's mean that she told us she had to go, but then she did immediately, and we only got her on the pot half way through.)

And here are some gruesome highlights. Warning: Not for the faint-of-heart:
Norah sitting on the potty for 20 minutes, not wanting to get off. I finally stand her up and shimmy up her uns, and she pees. This happened at least three times.

Two "number twos" on Monday. One success. One horrible, gag-inducing, non-success. And a bonus bath for Norah.

Auntie Sarah got Norah an Undie Day present of Moon-Dough. Moon-Dough is kind of awesome. But between that and the urine, we'll be replacing our carpet in the near future.

Ryan noticing some fidgeting or fiddling with private area and asking, "Norah, do you have to go potty?" and her saying, "Noooo," and then peeing 30 seconds later.

Me, never wanting to run down the street screaming obscenities while tearing my hair out more in my whole life. But squashing that urge down and saying, "That's okay, Honey. Remember to tell Mama if you have to pee. Or just sit on your potty, okay?"

Major worries that she'll never "get it." Well, "never" isn't accurate, obviously. High schoolers generally use the facilities when they have to go. But in the moment, it's a life-sentence.

A mix of fear, jubilation, and guilt. Fear of sending her to school in uns. Jubilation that someone else will be taking care of it and training today. Guilt because you've never been happy about sending Norah to daycare before.

And one kick-ass success:
This morning we removed the diaper. She peed on the potty. Then she ran to me and said, "I need my underwear. I'm a big girl." Wow.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ending on a High Note

It worked for George Costanza.

But ending on a high note with Norah is the worst thing you can do. In fact, leaving any event or place that's more fun than going home to get ready for bed-- which is pretty much everything and everywhere-- is always a very dramatic scene. Sobbing, wailing, "I don't WANT to go home," and thrashing. 

Here are some examples.

Where: On a picnic table outside of Mr. Twisty (Ice cream place that puts candy eyeballs on their kids' cones. Creepy or awesome? You decide.)
Who: Ryan, Norah, me. And a number of strangers eating ice cream.
Time: 7:45 pm

Norah: I love ice cream! I love Mr. Twisty! 
She stands up on the picnic table to wave back to "Mr. Twisty." 
Me: Are you all done, Honey?
Norah: Yes! Look at that dog! That is silly! (She points to a dog eating ice cream a few tables away.)
Me: That is silly! Let's clean up.
Cleanup ensues. Norah is giggling at the dog and wagging her imaginary tail. 
Ryan: Let's make our way to the car, everybody.
The happy child goes from complete contentment--if not glee-- to raging meltdown in less than two seconds. She loses her will to stand on her own and slumps to the dirty ground, sobbing. People freeze and stare, mid-lick. We scrape her heaving body off of the pavement and walk briskly to the car, not looking back at the horrified people as we try to strap her flailing body in her car seat.

Where: The park.
Who: Ryan, Norah, Sara, "Minta," Norah's BFF, and me. And other park children and parents.
Time: 8:00 pm

Minta: LOOK! Monkeys!
Sara: Monkeys? Where? What color are they?
Minta: Black! And red!
Me: That's disturbing.
Minta: Here they come!
Norah and Minta run away, screaming and laughing. Other children join in on this evil monkey game. Some are evil black and red monkeys, some are being chased by said evil monkeys. Eventually, the monkeys and monkey victims thin out.
Me: Okay, I think the last of the monkeys had to go home for bed. Let's get a-move-on.
Ryan: No! Remember? Give a warning.
I remembered our plan. Warnings will help Norah adjust to leaving. Instead of just scooping her up out of something she's into, we'll ease her out.
Me: Five minutes!
Playing ensues.
Me: Two minutes!
Playing ensues.
Me: One minute!
Playing ensues.
Me: Okay! Let's walk Sara and Minta to their car.
She runs across the little bridge, bursts into tears, and starts shaking her arms and hands as if she's trying to get something off of them. I climb up the playground equipment trying to catch her, as she darts between slides and ascends and descends to different platforms. After persuading her to at least walk to the car, she accepts that it is indeed time to go home, and wails "I want my Minta" and "I miss Minta" for three blocks. 

Where: Walgreens
Who: Norah and me. Customers, employees.
Time: 6:45 pm

Norah: TOYS!
Me: Yes, there are toys. Let's look at a few of them.
Blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.
Me: Okay, let's grab what we need.
Norah: No.
Me: Come on, Baby. Mama needs to get a few things, and then we've got to go.
Norah: NO. 
I try to hold her hand to gently drag her with me.
Norah: NOOOO!
She runs to the other side of the wide seasonal toys aisle and grabs a rubber snake.
Me: Do you want a treat?
I cringe at what I've said, but am feeling desperate. She's starting to act unstable. The clock is ticking.
Norah: No.
Me: Do you want that snake?
Norah: No.
She flings snake to the floor. Now I'm irritated. 
Me: Pick that up and put it away, please.
Norah: Nooo. 
She starts to cry. I put the snake away and pick her up. 
Me: Pull it together, Sweetheart. We just need juice and ibuprofen, and then we're home free. 
Me: I will buy you ice cream and a unicorn if you just hold it in until we leave.
Old lady looks at me with raised eyebrows. 
Me: Jesus, Kid, we're at Walgreens, not Disney World.
Me: I know, Baby. 
Grab stuff. Head to checkout. Norah has giant tears spilling out of her eyes. She's now just muttering her mantra. People are sneaking looks at us. I'm holding her, a jug of apple juice, and my precious ibuprofen tucked under my chin, and sort of bouncing up and down, as if she were a newborn, which may or may not have been soothing. 

So, what are we to do? Never do anything or go anywhere? Or just take the suck with the good? I suppose the latter. But if anyone has any tips on how to make leaving places less hysterical, I'd appreciate it. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's Story Time: Goodnight Moon

"Goodnight socks. Goodnight little house."

"Goodnight, Mouse."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Grocery Shopping Blows

I despise grocery shopping, as I suppose 90% of the population does. Of course, there's always that one person who says, "Really? I just love grocery shopping. Feeling and selecting produce is so spiritual." For the rest of us, here's a list of things I strongly dislike about grocery shopping.

1. The planning.
Making a list, stressing about forgetting something really obvious like milk or toilet paper, having Ryan not really participate in the list-making process, but then scrutinizing said list and making comments such as, "Really? Ice cream sandwiches? Are those for Norah, or for you?" Then forgetting the list at home anyway.

2. The parking lot.
You inevitably go at the busiest time of the day, even though you purposefully try different times of day every trip. Then you pull into a semi-acceptable parking spot to find a lone cart in your way. Because the entitled jerk before you thought they were above the societal norms which indicate that putting carts in the cart corral is expected and shows respect for our fellow human beings. And I know some of you may be thinking, "Oh, it's hard to put the cart away when you have a baby/toddler! I can't leave them in the car alone to go put the cart away!" Park closer to the cart corral, or lock them in your car for the whole 30 seconds it takes to do a decent act. Geez, we used to beg my mom to let us stay in the car for the entirety of the grocery shopping mission, and once in a while she'd cave. Because even at an early age, people hate grocery shopping. (I don't recommend leaving your kids in the car while you shop, by the way. I understand times have changed.)

3. The carts.
I know it's cliche to make fun of grocery carts with one wonky wheel. And actually, our regular grocery store just got lovely, brand-new carts. But it still takes the reflexes and strength of a ninja to yank one apart from another. And when you're really tired and out of it, you could be all the way to the coupon bin before you realize you've got 30 carts trailing behind you and bewildered people staring at you.

4. The produce section.
Now, I really love produce. I'm a frickin' vegetarian. But the produce section is a plethora of disgusting sights and sounds not meant to be associated with food. There are people touching, squeezing, caressing, pressing, sniffing, and sometimes sampling food that has the potential to eventually be in your mouth. They're also sneezing and coughing up phlegm, using hands that have been doing God-knows-what, letting their sticky, snot-nosed kids touch, and other atrocities. Yes, we wash our produce when we get home. But there's always the lingering feeling that it's not enough.

5. Going there with a toddler.
This could be a post on its own. Because this blog isn't meant to be the length of a Russian novel, I'll just give you a couple super-short examples: running out in front of peoples' carts, loudly protesting the selection of food, begging in the bakery, popping holes in the valleys of toilet paper packages when you're back is turned for one second, the painfully slow pace which makes the trip a 3-hour tour, the meltdown at the cashier because we've exceeded our time limit of tolerance. Sigh.

6. Not being able to find stuff.
Really? The saltines are next to the soup? Fuck that. They belong in the cracker aisle. What authority declared that all saltines must be accompanied by soup? No one else eats saltines in any other way? And where the hell are my Fiber One pop tart thingers? Luckily, my pal Amy works at General Mills, so yesterday I texted her while staring blankly at 52,476 different types of Pop Tarts, granola bars, cereal bars, and the like. DISCONTINUED? I was so pissed I wanted to ram my cart into a stranger.* Don't worry, I didn't.

7. The checkout.
You are staring at the cashier's screen, watching your bill grow and grow and grow, and you want to change your mind about the donuts and organic hummus and fancy cheese but you can't because you're trapped. And you feel like shit because you probably should have stopped at the coupon bin, but you were too lazy.

8. Bagging.
You're either at a store that bags for you, which makes you feel kind of guilty because it's probably something you could yourself, or you're at a store where you have to bag your own, and you wish someone could bag for you because it's like playing Tetris minus the fun. Can't make them too heavy. Can't make them too light, or another bag will end up being too heavy. Can't have 40 bags because they won't fit in the cart. Can't squish the hamburger buns. Gah.

9. Unloading at home.
Forgot to purge the fridge of old and suspicious food and leftovers that we never eat, so there's very little real estate in the fridge for new stuff. Tired from the excursion and usually hungry. Ryan always mysteriously gets busy with Norah or something else and it falls to me. I get annoyed and just randomly cram things in cupboards, knowing full well that I won't be able to find the croutons tomorrow and I'll be irritated.

10. Eating.
Now we have too much food. Can't decide what to make. Screw it, it's a cereal night.

* Don't go grocery shopping while PMSed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cleaning House

My house is a pit. A pit of despair. And I really want to do something about it.

Think your house is worse? We just looked at a cute video of Norah dancing and decided it could never be shown to anyone because of the 5,000 toys strewn around and other assorted messiness. How sad is that?

At one point, I made a list of everything that needs to be done, from minor repairs, to cleaning, to whatever. It was so long, I had to go get myself a drink. And then I lost it and repressed the memory of it ever being made. Of course, I just remembered. Excuse me while I fix myself a little drink...

Okay. So, I need a better approach. I learned of a website that can help: Flylady. Anyone heard of it? She gives you assignments and tips and gets you into a pattern, or habit, of cleaning and organizing. But it's not supposed to be overwhelming like my frickin' "honey-do" list, or whatever wussy women call it when they want to nag at their lazy-ass husbands, but in a cute, non-naggy sort of way.

I'm going to get started tomorrow. The first step is to clean your kitchen sink. I can do that. I hope the second step is to hire a cleaning person with the funds I'm about to receive from a distressed dignitary from Nigeria. Cross your fingers!

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's Story Time: The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

My version:

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so much wine and Xanax, she didn't give a shit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Toddlers are Weird

Here are just a few recent and weird things my 2.5 year-old has done and/or said.

Where: Target food area (I know, I'm an awesome mother and provider.)
Who: Norah and Me
What: We were sitting down, Norah eating chicken nuggets, me eating a giant pretzel. There were three flies buzzing around. 

Norah: Those are my buggy friends.
Me: Okay.
Norah: They love me so much.
Me: I'm sure they do.
Norah: Oh, buggy friends! Eat this nugget!

She tears a bit of nugget off and sets it on the corner of the table. 

Norah: Oh, buggy friends. Come here, buggy friends. Look, Mama! That buggy friend looks at me!

Another family comes in and sits at the table next to us; a mother, grandmother, and a girl around 4 years of age. The girl promptly starts running around the table, shooing the flies away.


The family freezes and stares at Norah. The little girl continues shooing the flies.


Norah gets up and gets in Little Girl's face.


The mother and grandmother look at me blankly. Probably expecting some sort of parenting.

Me: Uh, the flies are her friends.
Norah: They love me so much.

Luckily, the mother and grandmother started laughing, and the little girl and Norah started to both talk to the buggy friends and all was well. 


Where: In the car on the way to Grandma's.
Who: Norah and Me
What: I have no idea.

Norah: Our house is going to break.
Me: What?
Norah: Our house is going to fall down. It's going to break.
Me: Well, that's kind of chilling, Prophet-O-Doom. Why is our house going to break?
Norah: Because the other houses are mean.
Me: The other houses are mean to our house?
Norah: Yeah. And our house is nice.
Me: That's good. Being nice is a good thing.
Norah: Yeah. I want to go to the farm with Minta (her BFF).
Me: Okay, Honey. You tell Nana.


Where: Target (Yeah, we go to Target a lot.)
Who: Norah and Me
What: Shopping for soap, wipes, a new pillow, and bananas.

Norah is dancing down a main aisle, heading toward the produce section.

Norah: Old MacDonald had a farm, and Bingo had a name-O! LOOK! A rocket ship!

She hugs a column/pole that has a service phone on it and probably supports the roof or something.

Norah: I'm in a rocket ship! 1-2-3 b'astoff!
Me: Let's get some bananas.
Me: Okay, okay.

I grab the column.

Norah: NO! Get closer.

I get closer. Passersby are looking and smirking. 

Me: Okay, Honey. Off to the bananas.
Norah: 1-2-3 B'ASTOFF!
Me: I think it's 3-2-1 blastoff. Backwards.
Norah: 3-1-2 B'ASTOFF!
Me: Close enough.
Norah: Yay, rocket ship!

She promptly lets go of the column and stares hard.

Norah: You hold rocket ship. I'm pooping.

A couple alarmed looks from passersby. 

Me: Okay, Astronaut Baby. Then can we get the bananas?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Swearing Conclusion

I did actually reduce my swearing. Not completely. It's a hard habit to break. But I learned something valuable. There are words that are much worse than curse words that I don't want Norah to say.

We were at my Mom and Dad's, and I had just changed Norah's diaper and was attempting to put her pants back on. As Norah loves nakedness, this can be a struggle. She ran away from me, and I said, "Norah, please come back here." And she said...

"I hate you."

Without thinking, I practically shouted, "Norah! We never, never say that. Never!"

I rarely raise my voice; it's just not in my nature, I guess. So this outburst from me scared the shit out of Norah and she just burst into tears. I picked her up and shimmied her pants on without a word. She ran into the kitchen to Grandma. Grandma said, "Oh, honey, why are you crying?" Norah just sobbed. She couldn't even muster a "Mom was mean to me" or anything.

But while I feel a little guilty for scaring her, I am actually glad that it made a real impact. She can say "shit" or "Bambi sucks" or anything (not that this is a regular occurrence), but "I hate you" is unacceptable. Hating anything, or at least saying you "hate" something, isn't really great either, especially from a two-and-a-half-year-old kid. It's disturbing.

So I am going to keep watching my bad language, but I'm going to focus on truly "bad" words, like "hate."