Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Story Time: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I don't care what you think about the boat ride. This is clearly the most disturbing part of this tale.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Toddlers and Cats

Well, we got a friggin' cat.

Norah has been saving her money in a bank for months. It's a bank that calculates the contents through some magical coin detector thingy. She had an idea that once it was filled, she would buy an orange cat.

We have a lot of loose change in our house. In drawers, on desks, in flower pots, in my bags. Everywhere. She hunted for every coin.

Then it filled up on Sunday.

Now, we're not "those" parents who fulfill every whim and wish of their child. We had actually planned on picking up a feline around Norah's birthday. We used to have a pretty kick-ass cat named Hobbes. We sort of missed having a furry companion anyway, and thought a pet for Norah would be a fabulous idea.

And there it was-- the bank was full. I had checked out the humane society's website and they had a ton of cats-- more than usual. Maybe it was the right time now.

So first we went to PetCo to get cat stuff-- litter box, brush, food, etc. When we arrived, we saw they were having an adoption event. There were four cages stacked two-on-top-of-two housing four cats. Norah was grinning ear to ear and poking her fingers through the bars. The cats were smashing their heads against the cage doors vying for some attention. And then Norah fell in love with Mongo.

Mongo, a grey and white little guy, is neutered, one and a half years old, and a very mellow, cuddly fellow. The other cats were also great, but the two kittens were too wild and bitey, and the bigger one didn't like being held. These traits are fine, of course, but not right for a "spirited" girl like Norah. He was the one.

As Ryan filled out 276,000 forms, Norah and I paraded Mongo around PetCo and she announced to every single patron that she "buyed" a cat. We met a couple people with dogs, to which Norah would say something like, "Meet Mongo! I buyed him," and then she'd grab some bone or ball from an end cap and hand it to the dog owners. "You need this?"

We got home, and I expected the cat to hide out under a bed for a week or so, but he made himself right at home, exploring every corner of the house and being very relaxed and accepting of the toddler following him around, shrieking with laughter and shouting out commands like "Sit here, Cat!", "Come here, Mongo!", and "Look at my Bear Bear!"

Norah showed the cat all of her favorite toys, like Bear Bear, Go Go, and the like. She threw tiny unsettlingly realistic toy mice for him, and he chased it and attacked to her delight. She even brushed his head, which resulted in a quiet purr. They played Doctor Noonie together and Mongo silently submitted to his physical, which included being measured with Ryan's tape measure and reflex checking with a toy hammer. He even licked her after she was done, which was sweet, but Norah was confused that his tongue was "ow-y." And after school on Monday, Ryan and Norah came home and for the first time, I didn't hear, "MAMA!" I heard "MONGO!" (Sniff.) But I'm glad they're good buddies already.

Mongo and Norah, spying on the neighbors

Gentle and sweet with Norah
Cuddly and playful
Gives Norah something to play with that might allow me to read my book for ten minutes

Litter box. I forgot how unpleasant that is.
Hair. Not much so far, but I know it's coming. Ugh.
Mini blinds. Just leave them alone, you little asshole!
Begging. I dislike the begging for people food. Annoying.
Claws. So far I'm the only casualty. He was cuddling my head a couple nights ago and kneaded my scalp. Ouch.
Meowing. Not so bad, but unfortunately he only seems to do it really loudly when I'm on a work call.
Escape. He wants outside badly, but won't wear a harness without flipping out. So he lingers by the door, plotting his escape. Worst-case scenario, he gets out, runs away or gets killed by a car, and Norah is scarred for life. Great.
Farting. Since when do cats fart? Seriously? The "reason for surrender" stated "too many animals." I think the real reason was "unnaturally smelly farting."

Hmm. Maybe we should have made this list before getting the cat...

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Story Time: Good Night Mess

In the small blue house

There was a full garbage can.

And a red ketchup stain on the carpet.

And a picture of...

What our house looked like when we first moved in.

And there were three little bales, of useless junk mail.

And two nasty socks, and some collected rocks.

And a shoe and some goo and a bowl of something fuzzy that grew.

And a small little toddler who was screaming at the top of her lungs, I'M NOT TIRED!

Goodnight house.

Goodnight garbage.

Goodnight fruit flies swarming over the garbage.

Goodnight bales of mail and dirty dishes.

Goodnight socks and yucks and ishes.

Goodnight fridge that's turning scary.

Goodnight bowl of something hairy.

Goodnight laundry.

Goodnight dust.

Goodnight to the toddler screaming "LET'S WATCH BLUE'S CLUES!"

Goodnight Moon Dough squished in the rug.

Goodnight Heather.

I need a hug.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Your Toddler to Listen

We've been talking a lot about listening at our house lately. And it turns out, so have some other parents of toddlers. More specifically, all of them. So I've decided to share with you the secret of how to make your toddler listen to you.

1. Present your need.

"Hey, please come over here and get your shoes on."

2. Confirm understanding.

"Hey. Norah. Shoes on. Let's go."

3. Convey the reasoning behind the request.

"You need your shoes on before we go to the park. You don't want to step on something sharp or gooey or anything, do you?"

4. Focus on the action you wish completed.

"No, Honey, we're not playing piano with our butt right now. We're getting our shoes on."

5. Present options.

"Would you like your pink shoes or your shiny shoes that make you extra fast?"

6. Illuminate alternatives.

"Fine. We can either get our shoes on and go to the park, or we can clean up your toys. Your choice."

7. Discuss and affirm feelings.

"I thought you wanted to go to the park. Why do you make Mommy crazy?"

8. Consider a show of vulnerability.

"Look, Baby, you wanted to go to the park. Mommy called our friends. Now they're waiting for us. We need to go now."

9. Put on an air of authority-- firm, but kind.

"We. Are. Getting. Our. Shoes. On. Right. Now."

10. Explain what it means to listen and comply.

"Honey Buns, you know when you demand a cup of milk? And I go get it? That means I'm listening. And I do it because I love you. So when I ask you to do something, it would be nice if you did it, because we love each other."

11. Use force only when necessary.

"Stop squirming!"

12. Console and affirm feelings once again.

"Oh, Honey. You're okay. We're going to the park! There's no need to cry. Mommy loves you."

13. Present an opportunity for positive behavior and reward such behavior.

"Baby, if we get out the door, Mommy will give you an M&M. If we make it to the car, a unicorn."

14. Know when to engage and when to disengage.

"Fine. I'm putting on a Blue's Clues and you're eating broccoli for dinner and nothing else."

15. Remain in control, confident, and cool-headed.

N: "I want to go to the park now! Put your shoes back on!"

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Story Time: Guess How Much I Love You

"Guess how much I love you. This much!"

"But I love you this much!"

"I love you as high as I can hop!"

"But I love you as high as I can hop!"

"You just can't let me have this, can you?"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

If Dads Were Moms

Disclaimer: This post is riddled with sexism. However, it's also just a joke, so don't freak out.

If dads were moms...

The world would be crawling with filthy children with ridiculously long fingernails.

Meals would be planned according to difficulty level and speed. Eg: donuts, Happy Meals, cereal. Repeat.

Clothing would be ill-fitting and mismatched.

Bedtime would be at whatever-o'clock.

There would be an abundance of Star Wars action figures and Hotwheels in the toy chest all over the floor.

ER visits would quadruple.

They would be singing AC/DC before Itsy Bitsy Spider.

School would be optional. Eg: "Daddy, can I stay home today?""Hell yes. I will, too. XBox marathon!"

There would be no braids, barrettes, or any hairstyle more difficult than a ponytail. Some children may be forming natural dreadlocks or hair is just shaved off. Including girls.

All children's sports would keep score. Snacks would be beef jerky and Red Bull.

Routine dentist appointments, eye exams, hair appointments, school registration, professional photos, playdates, and well-child visits would not happen.

Potty training would happen at a much earlier age.

Less children in ballet. More children in UFC.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Potty Training and the Indulgent Leisure Time of Heather

Potty training is still going well, surprisingly. Just one accident yesterday, and that's probably Ryan's fault. Anyway, she's doing great. We're still nervous about taking her places, but so far we did go to Target accident-free, and went to the park accident-free. Whew.

Speaking of Target, because that's where I spend too much time and money, I went there last night solo to get a few necessities. Upon coming home, Norah and I unpacked the bags, I cleaned up her little accident (stripping her down, putting her on the pot, throwing the clothes in the washer, washing the floor in the kitchen, soothing her, washing her shoes, wiping her down, etc.), and ran a bath for her. I asked Ryan if he'd like to do bath time and he said:

"You just got to go out. Why don't you do it?"

And I did. But here's what my brain was saying as Norah and I facilitated Ernie and Elmo's diving contest in the tub.


(Before you think I'm a selfish jerk, Ryan works many different shifts, like 2 to 10 or 7:30 to 4, so he has a great deal more alone time than I.)

And it's not like I don't love spending time with Norah-- I do. She is hilarious and sweet and perfect. But once in a while, I want Ryan to give her a friggin bath so I can have 30 minutes of solitude.

Don't worry-- I'm not a complete wuss. I told him that doing errands isn't considered Heather Leisure Time after Norah went to bed.

Anyway. This isn't a very funny or well written post. I just wanted to vent. Thanks!