Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm not really sure where this post is going, but it clearly suggests I was Catholic in another life

My patience has been far too short lately. Is this what it's always like, raising an almost-four-year-old? When does the LISTENING start? When will my child actually take in something I say, think about it, and do what I FRACKIN' WANT HIM TO DO?!?!? I know, I know, it's the age. But it's not just the age, it's my reaction to this age's quirks and foibles and DIFFICULTIES. I yell. I pout and hold grudges. I even (and oh, I hate to admit this) spank on occasion. I do not BELIEVE in spanking. I think hitting your child (and oh yes, spanking is a type of hitting) only teaches THEM to hit. Not exactly what I want to encourage, you know? But yet, I have been so at my wits end that I HAVE DONE IT.

And I hate all of it. The yelling, the frustration, the repeating myself 15 times, the threats... the spanking.

I need a fresh start, a new approach. I need something more than "offer him choices" and "Have you read 1-2-3 Magic?" (Yes, I HAVE).

Tonight was a typical night, where trouble came from many minor areas that all served to push my mildly frustrated mood into a simmering, pouty, doom-and-gloom mood. Lucy was crying when I arrived to pick her up from daycare, and her teacher gave me the stink eye about her runny nose and cough. Finn was irate when I offered him yogurt-covered cranberries and chocolate-covered raisins as a snack, because WHERE ARE THE YOGURT-COVERED RAISINS? Lucy threw food during dinner, and Finn pulled a post-bedtime story poop fake-out to prolong his bedtime. Nothing out of the ordinary, but yet I couldn't help feeling inappropriately terrible.

As I picked up the house with M. (cleaning lady comes tomorrow), my simmering and seething began to focus on daycare. And I realized (tonight, at least) that it's not really the kids that were driving me crazy. It's my feeling (again) that we may not have them at the right daycare. The school is having a few staff changes - one teacher leaving, a shuffle to accommodate - and... I'm just not sure. I'm not sure I like the arrangements. I'm not sure these people are really qualified. And even if they are, I'm not sure I like that I'm even questioning whether they are qualified.

I plan to ask questions. I hope I like the answers, because there are many things I DO like about our daycare. But I'm getting tired of not feeling sure. Of feeling guilty.

As I thought even more about this though, I came to a second realization - that maybe guilt is the real culprit of my awful, no good, terrible evening. It's not the kids (even though it is), and it's not daycare (even though it is that, too). Mostly, I think my bad mood is coming from a conversation I had at work today. And the more I think about it, the more I have trouble believing that it actually occurred.

I was speaking to a group of women at work, all of us with kids of varying ages - some grown and struggling to find their way post-college, some starting grade school, and me with my little ones in daycare. The conversation was pleasant and nice and relatable and all the things you might think such a conversation would be among friendly women who get along. Then one woman told me a story that took me aback. She is recently back to work after taking several years off to raise her children. Her youngest child just started kindergarten last week, but she herself started back to work about 6 months ago. So during the late spring and summer, this woman enrolled her child in a preschool/daycare until kindergarten began. And one day, when she pulled up to daycare in her car, her daughter saw a baby being taken in to the school. She asked her mom what a baby was doing going to a preschool, and her mom told her that some women go back to work right after having a baby, and the daycare takes care of the babies for the mommies during the day. And her daughter replied, "Oh mommy, I'm so GLAD you stayed home with me, thank you!"

Now, I'm not begrudging this woman the appreciation she must have felt when her daughter said this. I'm sure it was very heartwarming for her. But this struck me as a very insensitive story to tell someone who did NOT stay home with her babies, who in fact still considers her children (or at least one of them) to be babies and IS NOT home with them. I have to admit, I felt a bit judged. OK, more than a bit judged, if I'm being honest; it stung.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive to this, as my mom stayed home with me, and M.'s mom stayed home with him. I feel like I SHOULD be with my kids, even if I CAN'T be with them, and to be honest, am not really sure I WANT to be with them all day.

So I obsess, and wonder constantly if I'm doing the right thing - pay the mortgage, or stay home with the kids? Buy stuff, or stay home with the kids? Clearly, for now, I've chosen to buy stuff and pay the mortgage. But then I wonder constantly about the care they get during those long, long days at daycare - at the quality of their stand-in mommies. And even though I yell and scold and threaten and even, occasionally, spank, I just can't convince myself that they measure up to ME.

Blah, blah... Sorry for the overly long, downer post. Quick, let me distract you with pictures of my adorable children (and husband)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Faces of Finn

Green bean walrus

Typical "Watch me make a face" kid face

The Pop Star

The Pensive Rocker

Bonus: Video of us trying to get Lucy to dance on film, which Finn takes as an opportunity to have some kind of dance seizure.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This is not actually a post about triscadecaphobia, the fear of the number 13. This is just a post about more random, unrelated stuff. But I heard someone on the radio discussing triscadecaphobia this morning, since tomorrow is Friday the 13th, and I just kind of liked the way the word sounds. Thought it would make a good blog post title, but couldn't come up with anything relevant as I'm not particularly superstitous.

So, on to my unrelated "stuff":

1) Had a bit of a scare today. Finn went on a field trip to a local playground yesterday, and when I picked him up from daycare, I noticed that he had flushed cheeks and a bit of a rash mixed in. During bathtime, it was revealed that he actually had an all-over body rash. I chalked it up to heat rash, since he played outside for a few hours in the middle of the day, slathered on some Aquaphor, and thought nothing more of it. Then I received a call this morning from the Director of his daycare, letting me know that one of the kids in Finn's classroom had been diagnosed with scabies. Yikes!!!!! If you're not sure what scabies is, give a look at the link. Basically, it's like lice for your entire body - incredibly contagious, involves an all-over body lotion treatment that has to be applied at least twice, quarrantined clothes, stuffed animals, bedding, and lots and lots of laundry. Needless to say, I was not psyched about this turn of events.

The story ends well (for now), as it turns out Finn actually has parvovirus, not scabies. And a mild form of it to boot. Lucy has since started to come down with a similar rash, so I guess it's making it's way through the family. However, for the next month or two, however long it takes scabies mites' eggs to hatch, we need to be on the lookout for any signs and symptoms. All digits are double and triple crossed over here that it stays far, far away from our house.

2) Lucy is pushy. Literally. Usually about food. She often wanders into the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner, clutching her empty snack bowl and saying "nummy, nummy." Which apparently means, give me some more yummy snack, lady! When I don't comply (as I often don't, because I want to make sure she eats the dinner I will serve mere moments later), she weasels her way between me and the kitchen counter and pushes on me. I'm not sure exactly what she's hoping to accomplish with the pushing. Is she trying to get me to the pantry, where all the nummmy food resides? Is she trying to push me over to her high chair, so I can load her in and feed her dinner? I don't know, but she is STRONG.

3) I bought Lucy new sneakers online, and they arrived today. They look like adult sneakers, but miniaturized, and I find this quite adorable. Is it strange that I momentarily considered buying myself a matching pair?

Picture from here.

4) Finished "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" this week. I liked it, but didn't love it. I felt like the story was interesting, but could have been written in a more suspensful, exciting manner. Plus, something is lost in a Swedish-to-English translation that utilizes the word "anon" at least twice, perhaps. Still, good read, I shall tackle the remaining two books in the series. Just not sure it's quite deserving of all the hoopla it's been getting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Some random thoughts, etc:

* Two of my favorite songs on my running mix right now are Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers "Runnin' Down a Dream." The rhythms match my pace, the songs are energetic but not annoyingly so, and can you get more on topic/relevant than "Running Down a Dream?"

* Why is it that whenever you are awakened in the early morning hours by something (I'm looking at you, CAT), it is the exact moment that you start to sink back in to sleep that a child decides to wake up? This is the absolute worst time to be forced out of bed, in my opinion, because you have JUST gotten comfortable again. Couldn't they time it a smidge better, for example, during that post-wake-up, wide awake period where you are thinking angry thoughts about whatever woke you up (again, CAT) and wondering if you actually have more time to sleep? Or, if not then, perhaps a good 20-30 minutes after you fall back to sleep so that you can actually feel like the second round of sleep was restful and worth it?

* I have renewed my love of pesto. At one time in graduate school, M. and I were in pesto-love, and even made our own homemade pesto sauce, stockpiling little baggies in the freezer to get us through the winter. Then something changed, and it appealed less to me. This happens to me often, like with white wines. First I LOVED oaky chardonnays. Then I couldn't stand them, and loved all things sauvignon blanc. Now SB's seem too acidic to me, and I'm all about the unoaked/steel aged chardonnays. But, back to the pesto. Things changed (was I trying to be more health conscious? Frugal in my food purchases? I'm not really sure what happened), and pesto and I were on the outs for a bit. But I recently picked up some Buitoni pesto sauce to go with some strangely-colored-but-aptly-named "Four Color Five Cheese Ravioli", as I didn't want to cover the brilliant colors of the ravioli (seriously, you should see the red ones) with tomato sauce. And... it was fantastic. Fan-freakin'-tastic. Pesto, we are back on! Now if you could just see about creating a low-calorie, just-as-tasty version of yourself...

* When watching a House Hunters-type show, where you follow people in the market for a new house as they look at properties, it always annoys me when the prospective homebuyer gets into the bathtub. I've seen both men and women do this, and my first thought is always "hey, you're still wearing your shoes! That's someone else's tub!" What is the purpose, exactly? If you are a giant, and wondering if you will fit in the tub, well, hey - you are old enough to buy a house. YOU SHOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT YOU WON'T FIT IN THE TUB. Even worse is when they lie down on the master bed. It strikes me as kind of pervy and gross. Unless this is House Hunters International, where all the houses seem to come fully furnished, YOU ARE NOT BUYING THE BED. And also, someone else probably (hopefully) has sex on the bed you are currently lying on. With your shoes on.

* I co-hosted a shower this past weekend, and finally purchased something through Etsy, an online collection of vendors with an array of handmade products that I have often searched through, coveted, and ultimately not bought (sense of budget-mindedness always took over and convinced me NOT to buy the oh-so-adorable-but-not-cheap necklace/earrings/scarf/baby hat/etc). But in this case, I was looking for favors for the guests, and wanted something unique and un-cheesy. And of course, I was doing this at the last minute because that's just how I roll. Anyway, I found these:

picture from Bebe Sniklefritz

Button mirrors with the non-mirror side covered in different colorful fabric patterns (with an overlayer of mylar to protect the fabric). It was great - I ordered the mirrors in an assortment of fabrics, they were mailed out the next day, I got them in time for the shower, and best of all, they came already inserted into little gauze bags. I added a small lip gloss into each bag and... voila! The perfect party favor (IMHO, of course). The mirrors were cute, and now that I'm no longer an Etsy virgin, I have a feeling I'll be shopping there more often.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Simply Shocked

Last night I served veggie burgers and french fries for dinner (and fresh cherries, but that is not a central point to this post). I opened a new bottle of ketchup for the burgers and fries, and half way through I realized that it tasted funny to me.

Now, I'm a Heinz ketchup girl - it's clearly the best ketchup brand, and generic just doesn't cut it. But I wondered if something was going on, as this bottle tasted too sweet and just a bit off to me. I looked at the label, and it said "Simply Heinz Tomato Ketchup." I don't recall the "Simply" being on the label before.

I happened to have the old, empty bottle of ketchup waiting to go out to the recycling bin. Sure enough, it confirmed that the "Simply" wasn't on the old bottle. I compared the ingredients list between the two, and the only difference (aside from the order being a little off) was that one bottle had corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, while the other had sugar. Guess which one I preferred? Yup, the one with the evil HFCS. This shatters all kinds of snooty, preconceived notions I have about my palette and my health conscious-ness.

M. couldn't tell the difference between the two.

I guess regular Heinz ketchup is going to have to join Diet Coke, canned green beans and Oreos (among others) on the List of Foods I Love But Know I Shouldn't Due to The Presence of Harmful Chemicals/Substances. Any of you have a similar list?

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Summer of the X-ray

A couple of doctor's appointments of note in the last few days. The first was Lucy's 15-month well check-up on Friday. She wowed the doctor with her charm and growth, and managed to recover pretty quickly from the three shots she received. The stats rundown:

Height: 31 and 3/4 inches (85%)
Weight: 24 lbs 12 oz (75%)
Head: something that comes out to 50%

Nothing really to note, other than the fact that we are being advised to give Lucy a vitamin, despite her non-picky, voracious appetite. This is because she is still on reflux meds, and apparently long-term treatment with PPIs can reduce absorption of some vital nutrients. Hence, the Flinstones will be coming to dinner every night, once I can get my act in gear and remember to actually give them to her (and Finn while I'm at it). We have a bottle of the gummy vitamins, just haven't actually remembered to bring them out and use them.

That was our planned doctor's visit. The need for the unplanned one occurred right as we were filling our trunk with a bunch of frozen Costco purchases on Saturday. It involves one of those moments as a parent LauraC referred to when you are proven to be SO RIGHT. Though I can't say it made me feel particularly awesome. Per usual, I opened Finn's car door for him so he could climb into the car, then walked around to get Lucy into her seat (as M. unloaded our cart into the trunk). Usually once I have Lucy buckled in, I then walk around the car to help Finn with his carseat straps. This time, though, as I placed Lucy in her seat, I heard a car door shut, a gasp of surprise, and then a slow build-up to screams. Lots of panicky screams. Before I even looked, I knew what had happened.

Finn has, on a few previous occasions, decided to shut his car door himself, from the inside. EVERY SINGLE TIME he does this, I yell and scold and worry and try to get the message across that THIS IS DANGEROUS. HANDS COULD GET CAUGHT. DO NOT DO THIS. EVER. Well, he now knows this firsthand. I had to drop Lucy in her seat, run shakily around to the other side of the car, and open the door to free Finn's right hand. And while our Costco purchases languished in a hot trunk, Finn got this:

A nice trip to urgent care, and the third M. family X ray in less than 3 weeks. M. went in with Finn to get the X-ray while I wrangled Lucy, so I can't say for sure, but I'm betting they didn't ask Finn if there was a chance he might be pregnant :-). Fortunately, all he received were a few dents in his skin that went away fairly quickly - no broken bones, and not even a bruise to remind him of the experience. Hopefully the memory will last a bit longer than that, and keep him from harming himself further with doors of heavy machinery. Gah!

Once we got that out of the way, and gave Lucy some time to nap, we headed off to the local splash park. Both kids had a blast, and were very brave (despite the cloudy skies that made things pretty chilly, for a change). Lucy amazed me with how willing she was to just wade right in to the center of the fray. Photo taking took a bit of a back seat while we chased after them, but I was not too busy to notice the extremely inappropriate clothing I saw on many of the adults at the splash park. Who goes to one of these places without a bathing suit? Do you really expect to NOT get wet? I saw women in heels and (short) skirts, jewelry, dresses, etc, completely wet. And then there are the ones that wore very casual clothes, apparently intending them to get wet, but no bathing suit underneath. If we were lucky, there was perhaps a bra. If we were very lucky, they weren't wearing very thin white T shirt (you know, the type that become transparent when wet). Good lord, people, let's use some common sense here!

We did manage to snap a couple of pictures, though, for your enjoyment. Of the kids, of the kids. Not the see-through clothes :-).

And a couple of bonus pics:

Zoning out in front of the TV, but at least they're dressed well!

Kicking back with the remote