Mom Needs a Vacation

Photo by Sergei Akulich. From http://www.unsplash.com.

Mom needs a vacation.  Or maybe just fifteen minutes locked alone in the quiet bathroom.  I will take what I can get.  

It seems lately I am one step away from losing my shit.  I keep waiting for that one thing each day that will send me over the edge.  If you see me sitting in the middle of the floor crying somewhere, just move along.

Will it be kicking the bedpost?  (Seriously, how do I have toes left at this point?) Watching Finding Dory for the one hundred and fiftieth time?  Crying over not getting a second cookie as a snack?  Getting cut off in traffic?  Are we out of butter again?  Being growled at by Ursula,  the evil sea with at work?  Spilling my hot coffee on my belly?  Hearing “Eww, yuck!” twenty times at supper?  Going to the bathroom with a kid on my lap because she won’t let me have a minute to pee?

Work has been very stressful.  I feel like I don’t have enough time to spend with my husband and child.  I feel like I don’t have enough time to take care of household duties.  I don’t have any time to spend on myself, let alone time to dedicate to blog or paint or read.  I feel so exhausted at the end of the evening that I just want to sleep.
I love being a wife.  I love being a mom.  I love my job.  I love being pregnant.  I love getting ready for the new baby.  It has been extremely difficult to balance it all and stay sane.  I can’t even imagine what it will be like when there is a newborn in the mix.

How do all you mommas out there do it?  

  

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Potty Training Isn’t for Pussies

Photo by Dana Watson. From www.unsplash.com

Abby has been in the process of potty training for a while now. Some days I would say, “F-yeah! This is going awesome!” because she seems to be doing so well and other days it feels like I am fighting a losing battle. Sometimes 5:00 a.m. seems too early to deal with shit that isn’t mine.

Take yesterday morning, for example. Abby sat on the toilet every half hour after waking. Each time we sat for several minutes, talking, reading books, singing songs, etc., but not once did she actually use the potty. Ok, fine, that’s cool. But each time she left the bathroom she either peed or pooped in her pull-up right away.

Last night as I was cooking supper she ran into the kitchen with one side of her pull-up flapping in the wind, shouting “Poop! Mommy, poop!” before running to the bathroom. I ran after her with food covered hands praying that poop hadn’t and wouldn’t leave a trail behind her. Luckily, it turns out that she had just peed and had started removing her pull-up.

The evening before she was sitting on the toilet and I needed to go around the corner to get some wipes. She had pooped in her diaper but said that she still needed to go more so she was on the potty. I needed a wipe because she had poop all over her bottom. I was gone for less than thirty seconds, but in that time she had hopped off of the toilet and began fingerpainting all over the toilet with poop. That was fun to clean up.

I’m glad I am not squeamish about bodily fluids. I am glad I am past the point in my pregnancy where all things poop made me puke, or we’d really be in trouble. I know it is going to take time. I know that she is learning. I know she is on the verge of turning two. No matter how hard it is we will trudge on and get through it.

Potty Training Time 

I had bought a small potty chair and Elmo seat that sits on the toilet a few months ago.   For a few weeks it was novel and Abby wanted to sit on the potty all the time, but now it has been around long enough that the newness and curiosity bout them has worn off.  She has still sat on the potty chair when I am using the restroom, but has never really used it for anything other than a chair.  Once at my Mom’s house over Easter she peed on the toilet but hasn’t done anything since.

For the last week or so Abby has been starting to tell me when she has pooped or is in the process of pooping.  Last night she let me know when she was pooping, so we rushed to the bathroom and she finished pooping and also peed on the toilet.  She was very proud.

We started sitting on the toilet every half hour and she will continue the same routine at the babysitter’s house.  I try to read a couple of books or sing some songs to keep her attention and get her to sit longer.

As an incentive for her to want to use the toilet rather than her diaper, last night we put together a plastic container with M&Ms in it and small items (A couple bracelets from my jewelry box, a balloon, an old Happy Meal toy I found in my closet, some small Finding Dory puzzles from the dollar store, etc.) and decorated the outside with colored letter stickers spelling her name and other stickers.  If she pees in the toilet she gets a couple M&Ms, if she poops she gets to pick a toy.

This morning she peed one of the three times she sat on the toilet and was delighted with her two M&M’s.

How did you potty train your daughter? What worked and what didn’t work?  Do you have any helpful hints to share? 

Still Dealing with a Bully

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From http://www.picjumbo.com

Bullying is an important issue for kids that I don’t think gets all the attention it deserves.  I think it is on the public radar now more than ever due to kids’ access to electronic devices and social media, but still should be talked about and dealt with.

I was bullied growing up- quite a bit, actually.  I haven’t really thought about bullying in years, until today.  I never imagined I would be facing it at thirty-five and on a professional level.

One time in second grade a boy in my class cornered me as I was walking through the empty schoolyard on the way to my mom’s car.  He pushed me down, sat on my back, and forced me to eat nasty dry dead grass.  The same boy also enjoyed pulling my chair out from underneath me as I sat down.  I wore tortoise shell rimmed glasses and was made fun of daily by the same kid.  “Anti-snake eyes,” he would call me, because he thought the tortoise she’ll looked like snake skin and he apparently didn’t know the meaning of “anti.”

Once I got sucker punched in the stomach and had the wind knocked out of me just because I couldn’t remember the name of the new kid I was playing with.  I told my babysitter, the mom of the kid who had punched me, and she did nothing.

After I moved to a new town I was bullied by a mean kid that picked on all the new or “weird” kids in our school.  I remember walking home from school one snowy day and he appeared out of nowhere, throwing rock filled snowballs, which hurt like hell.

I was made fun of because I began puberty sooner than other girls.  I was body shamed about my weight and my breasts because I looked womanly when other girls were still small and flat-chested.  In middle school, the anti-snake eyes idiot loudly embarrassed me in the gym in front of the entire school after an assembly asking how big my boobs were and if I had to buy bras in the old lady section at the store, and more.

In my high school Geometry class I sat next to a girl who didn’t like me and only positively interacted with me when I had my homework done and she didn’t.  If I had mine done she would make me feel as though I had to give her my homework so she could copy it before class started.  If I didn’t she was mean and made fun of me.  She never realized that the joke was on her because I hated Geometry and didn’t try at all, hence my C grade instead of an A like I got in all my other classes.

When I was younger I never thought there was anything that could be done against a bully.  Trying to tell a teacher or principal just made the situation worse.  Telling other adults got me horrible advice like, “Sometimes boys tease you when they like you,” and, “Just ignore it and eventually they will get tired of it and stop.”

Today as I was sitting at my desk after a meeting I realized that a person I work with is just like the Geometry girl from high school.  She only acts friendly and nice towards me if I have something she needs or if I can do something for her.   If she has nothing to benefit from interacting with me then she ignores me entirely or is not pleasant.  In fact, lately she has been downright rude and mean because I have disagreed with her and I stood my ground and didn’t back down when she disrespected me in front of others.  Today in a meeting at work I dared to question something she said and she yelled at me in front of everyone.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was in shock.  My boss was on vacation so she wasn’t there to back me up, my boss’ boss didn’t say a word, and her boss didn’t say anything either.  After she yelled at me she moved on and acted as though it didn’t happen.

I won’t lie, in that moment I felt transported back to that playground in second grade with a bully on my back stuffing grass in my mouth.  I felt four feet tall and helpless.   I didn’t know how to react, but also felt that if I did allow myself to I would say something inappropriate to the situation and get myself in trouble.   So I did nothing.  It was horrible.

What can I do about it?  I don’t know,  probably nothing.  But it won’t stop me from standing up for myself in the future.   

Feeling Twitchy

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From http://www.picjumbo.com.

I have had an eye twitch since Friday.  It has not stopped, only varied in intensity over the whole weekend.  It is incredibly annoying and distracting.  

My first thought after my twitch did not go away after a day was of my sister.  A few years ago she developed an eye twitch and found out that she had Bell’s Palsy.  I text her about my eye this morning and she recommended that I go see my doctor to get checked out.  

I saw the doctor who told me she thought my twitch was caused by stress and not Bell’s Palsy, although she did write me a prescription for steroids to fill just in case I start having any other symptoms.   “Reduce your stress,” she said.  Gee, why hadn’t I thought of trying that?

Work has been extremely stressful over the past few weeks, and, I suppose it would stand to reason that my twitch would begin after a particularly stressful day on Friday.  

I am to give a presentation today for a large group of people.  Now, I hate public speaking, but I am not too worried about that part of my presentation.  Without getting too deep into the details, the part that has me stressed to the max is that I am waiting on someone to fix something so that I can actually finish.  Without her assistance I cannot conduct my presentation.  I have only a quarter of it completed, with less than three hours to go.  It is crunch time. 

This person has been actively ignoring my phone calls and e-mails for days.  When I tracked her down in person on Friday afternoon she seemed annoyed that I came to her.  She helped me with a small portion of what I needed, but when I returned to my desk three floors away, I noticed that not everything had been corrected and when I tried to call her she had already left work early for the weekend.  I feel like I am sounding paranoid, but the situation has almost gotten to the point where it seems overt and intentional.

So now I am taking a ten minute lunch, rather than my normal hour, figuring that I will need the extra time to work and hopefully get a lot accomplished.  I am trying to sit and relax in the peace and quiet of my office before trudging down to the basement to see if I can make any headway.  We’ll see what happens.

Finger Painting Father’s Day Project

With Father’s Day coming up, Abby and I decided to get creative this morning and make a present for my husband.  He doesn’t buy new clothes very often, so we had already bought him a shirt, but we wanted to give him something homemade as well.  We had to be a little sneaky and work on it while he was occupied, as it is Sunday and he was home with us.

I looked at several cute ideas on Pinterest, but several of the ideas required items I did not have.  I wanted to try to use supplies we already had at home if possible. 

Abby loves to finger paint, so we got out a piece of 8 x 10 construction paper and acrylic paint.  We decided to use different shades of green, which is my husband’s favorite color.  I draped her high chair and the table in plastic and placed an old towel on the floor.  At first she daintily stuck her index finger in the paint and made polka dots on the paper like she was afraid to get dirty, but eventually she got into it.

Abby’s finished painting, below.

After the paint dried we added some leftover colored letters from Hobby Lobby that I had used for another project.  The letters are a tad crooked and not quite evenly spaced, but we had fun.  She is learning her alphabet so we had to review all the letters several times and she was very picky about what colors we used.

Lastly, I framed the painting with a black 8 x 10 frame.  I could not find an empty frame in storage so I ended up buying a $2.00 frame at Walmart.

Abby is pretty proud and excited to give her picture to Daddy!

Are you making any projects for Father’s Day?  I would love to hear about them!

Making Friends

Photo by Chiara Pinna. From http://www.unsplash.com.

I have written about this subject before, so please forgive me if it seems duplicative or redundant.  

My husband has friends he is able to call and talk to, go out for a beer with, hang out with, or workout with.  I don’t have any friends like that.  I will say it plainly, it sucks.  

It just feels weird, nay, wrong, to honestly say that I have no friends.  It’s lonely.  It feels pathetic. 

It would be nice to have a mom friend to have play dates with or to be able to say, “hey, my kid just did ____, has your kid ever done that?  What do I do?”  I would like someone to go out to lunch or coffee with, someone to call after I have had a bad day, or to call if I know that she’s had a bad day.  I would like someone to talk to about important things, random things, dumb things.  

When you’re a kid it is easy to make friends.  There are kids in your neighborhood to play outside or ride bikes with.  At school each day you are in classes or riding the bus with the same kids.  If you are on a sports team you are always around the same group of kids.  When you are an adult it becomes different.  How do you make friends after a certain age?  Real friends?

Yesterday I picked up Abby from the local aquatic park where she had been swimming with her fellow daycare kids.  As I was pulling out from my parking spot I noticed the mom parked next to us.  She appeared to be close to my age.  She was carrying a young baby boy and leading a toddler girl.  Wrapped around her waist was a Star Trek beach towel.  I immediately thought, she looks like someone I could be friends with.  We seemed to have several things in common.  But how weird would it be to stop the car, get out, and start up a conversation with this random stranger in a parking lot, “Hey you don’t know me, but you look cool.  Can we be friends?”  I would look like a crazy person. 

So how is it done?  I don’t know.  Honestly, it is a question that has always baffled me, but I never had an issue until after high school. 

When I first started working at my current place of employment sixteen years ago, I worked with a very sweet lady named Kathy.  She mentioned to me several times that she thought I and her daughters would get along very well and she wanted us to be friends.  Finally I gave in and accepted her invitation to come to her house and hang out with them.  The whole evening was totally awkward.  We didn’t have anything in common and struggled to make conversation.  It was worse than a blind first date.  

I have tried to set up a game night at my house on a weekend and invited people, but it never really works.  I tried joining a mom group but there was not much interest and it disbanded.  

I don’t know, I guess I am at a loss at what to do.  

Have you ever felt this way and overcome It?  What did you do?  

Being a Nerd and Owning It, or Just Be Yourself 

Photo by Derik Hussein.

I was a super nerdy kid.  I was never interested in sports.  I was involved in Girl Scouts from first through tenth grade.  I played three different musical instruments in the school band and participated in our church handbell choir for almost ten years.  From first grade on I wore glasses.  In the early years I was not particularly careful with them, so I was prone to breaking my glasses; I remember having a couple pairs held together with tape until I was able to get a replacement.  My mom encouraged reading early and I excelled at reading.  In second grade I could read at a fifth grade reading level, and the older I got the farther ahead of my classmates I read.  I remember once during library time I wanted to check out a copy of a children’s version of Moby Dick, but the school librarian didn’t think I should check it out because she believed it was above my level of reading and comprehension.  She quizzed me in front of the other students and I was able to take the book home.  My voracious appetite for books only grew as I grew older. I was lucky to have several adults who recommended or gave me books to read that expanded my horizons.
In elementary school I discovered the Star Trek and Star Wars movies.  In the fifth grade I began to beg my mother to let me stay up past my normal bedtime to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation on TV at 9:00 p.m.  I was made fun of for my glasses.  I was made fun of because I liked to read at recess rather than playing dodgeball or some other game I wasn’t interested in or good at.

When I was in middle school I became obsessed with reading science fiction and fantasy novels.  I devoured The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  Of course, in middle school there is a change in school social structure.  Unlike elementary school where everyone is friends, middle school becomes divided into different groups and cliques form.  I always felt as if I didn’t really belong in a certain group and tried to hide my nerdiness, to no avail. My haircut, the hopelessly uncool clothes my mother bought, and my ginormous glasses all branded me as a nerd.  I attended a small school and never had a group of friends that shared my interests.  Recently when my husband and I watched Stranger Things on Netflix I thought,  “Wow, that’s the group of friends that I should have had as a kid!”

During my high school years I still felt like a nerd.  I got all A’s and was the editor of the school newspaper for a year.  I participated in the Academic Contest with other school students in our school’s League. I was a member of the Scholar’s Bowl and the National Honor Society.  I tried harder to be cool and hide my nerdy interests so that I would fit in, but I never really did.  I often felt ashamed that I was so “weird,” as other kids called it.  I never dressed right, never played sports,  never had the right car, the right hairstyle, the right interests, the right music, and whatever else was or was trying to be, have, or do.

After high school I took a semester off and traveled.  When went to college I slacked off my first two semesters and did not do well.  I had a somewhat late rebellious phase and was determined to not be the dorky person I had always been.  I lived a much more carefree and bohemian lifestyle for quite a long time, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.  I remember having an epiphany at a Dead concert at Red Rocks.  I was having a conversation with an older couple who had followed the Dead for years.  They were living the lifestyle they loved.  They were doing what they loved.  They weren’t trying to be something other than what they were.  They were happy.

I had never lost my love for all things sci-fi, superhero, or fantasy.  I am a huge Doctor Who fan.  I love graphic novels and am chomping at the bit to read The Walking Dead Compendium 3, which I received for my birthday but haven’t started yet.  I am dying to watch the new Wonder Woman movie.  I could sit down and discuss at length why the newest Star Trek movies totally suck and why the newest Star Wars movies are fantastic.  

My husband and I have attended three Comic-Cons together.  They have been some of the most fun experiences of my life.  There were so many people there that were having the time of their life, surrounded by so many encouraging people who shared so many of the same interests, some of whom had dressed up as their favorite characters, not caring a bit what the rest of the world thought. 

I am tired of trying to fit in to someone else’s mold, of trying to be someone else’s ideal.  I don’t care if I wear more band or TV show themed T-shirts than LulaRoe leggings or skinny jeans.  I am happy with who I am, nerdiness and all.  I no longer feel like it is something I should feel ashamed of.  I have never been more comfortable in my own skin.  I no longer care to change who and what I am to make others like me; if they don’t, it’s not my problem.  Love yourself.  Be who you are and own it.  It’s the only way to be.

Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed

Photo by Ali Inay. From http://www.unsplash.com.

Saturday we took the step to transition Abby from her crib to a twin bed.  It was necessary to change because while she still fit in the crib and never (to my knowledge) tried to climb out, she was getting big enough to be too heavy for me to lift over the crib rail and my belly is now too big to comfortably and easily lift her over the crib rail.  

Abby was so incredibly excited when she saw her new bed.  Immediately she wanted to jump on the bed, play with her toys in bed, read books in bed, and pretend that she was sleeping in bed.  The one thing she hasn’t wanted to do is actually sleep in bed.  At least, not alone.

Therein lies the problem.  Each night I have put her to bed she has refused to sleep alone.  If I put her to bed already asleep, she often wakes as I am leaving the room or shutting the door.  If I lay with her until she falls asleep, most of the time she will wake as I get out of bed.  Sometimes it takes two or three attempts to get her to fall asleep and stay asleep.  If I try to put her in bed awake she will get right up and try to follow me out of the room or bang on the door and throw a fit.  She refuses to let Dad lay with her, so each time it is me.

None of the conditions of her room have changed, other than the bed.  I still have her nightlights positioned in the same spots.  I still play white noise to help her sleep.  I still close the door so the noise from the TV or me doing chores does not wake her.  

When she still slept in the crib I could put her in bed wide awake or drowsy and she would lay right down and go to sleep without any problem.

I know that Abby is adjusting to something new and will take time for her to become comfortable with sleeping in her new bed, but it is currently a frustrating situation. 

I spoke with my coworker Sammy about it yesterday.  She said her son had done the exact same thing when he was transitioned from a crib to a bed.  Each time she would put him to bed she would set an alarm and go in two minutes later to put him back in bed.  Gradually she would increase the number of minutes waiting to go back into his room until he learned to stay in bed.  This is basically the same approach I took when I began to place Abby in her crib awake at night.  It sucked for a few nights but eventually got better.  I think I may suck it up and try it again.

Have you ever been in this situation before?  What helped?  What advice would you give?