Friday, December 16, 2011

More on Mom groups

Erin's comment (below) on Mom's groups reminded me of my own conclusions.  I'll share them with you here.  Because I've been to about 10 of them, so that certainly makes me an authority.

After reading the Bloggess's post I remembered that, among the reasons I will never be a great blogger, is that I'm always afraid of offending the people that read my blog.  In some sense, I miss the days when it was anonymous, because I felt I could say anything I want.  Now, most my reader's are friends or family in real life, so I need to be a little less of an a$$hole.  Oh, and there's also the issue of needing to be a much better writer, but I'm sure that comes easy once you get the friend thing figured out.

Regardless, some of the things I've learned about mom's groups are:

1)  If they sound offensive and smug in their online description (because that's how these things are organized these days), then they are probably worth getting to know.  By worth getting to know, I mean they probably serve martini's at their playdates.

2)  If they sound inclusive and kind, they are probably as dry as paint and hold their meetups at McDonalds.

3)  There is apparently no middle ground between suburban housewives who are afraid of driving into the big city because they don't know how to parallel park and smug city dwellers who won't allow their children to eat goldfish at your playdate but will allow them to eat Annie's organic cheddar bunnies.

4)  I can't relate to groups of women where people are deeply stressed about the cost of diapers.  Either use cloth (cheaper!) or don't complain.

5) I really don't know what to talk to other mothers about. If your whole day is your kid and your home, is that what we're supposed to talk about? Because, much as I love talking about my kid, it gets kind of old. I have no cleaning tips to share and don't really want to know where the latest sales are, so I'm sort of at a loss.
6)  MJ terrifies many parents.  I think she's my litmus test.  If they can't handle the crazy that is my child then they probably can't handle the crazy that is me.

7)  The whole time I've been writing this post, Ive been picking knots out of my hair.  Literally, knots.  Because tonight I have to go to a fancy dress party and schmooze with husband's colleagues and not get too drunk and embarrass him.  So the way I prepare to get ready for a big fancy night?  Pick knots out of my hair.  Let's face it, this is the real reason I have not had success at mom groups.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Head full of crazy

I spend a lot of time in my head.  Although I work half time, I spend only one day a week in an office, and the rest of the time I either work from home or am with MJ.  And since DH works a lot of nights and weekends, that means lots of one on one time with a toddler.

Particularly at the end of a day where it's just been me and her all day, I start to feel like I'm losing touch with reality.  Talking to a toddler is much like talking to a crazy person.  Part of what they say makes sense, but you have to wade through piles of non-sensical blather and barely understandable ranting to get to it.  I usually don't even realize I'm losing touch until I have a real interaction with a real person.  By real person, I mean adult.  And then the non-craziness of talking to a logical human being reminds me how crammed full of crazy my head is.

This is among the reasons that I think going back to work will be a good thing for me.  The lack of interaction is isolating.  I tried for a while to meet mom's at meetups, and I met some great ladies that way.  But even then you can't REALLY have meaningful conversations, because you're constantly being interrupted by TODDLER CRAZY and trying to make sure there is no destruction happening.  And I find, in the end, that I identify more with working moms.  I can't get over the "is this all there is?" feeling of watching a toddler all the time.  I love it, I just need something more. 

Lately, I've been having a lot of too-much-toddler-slowly-going-crazy time.  I look forward to the holidays, and family, and some more people around to share the crazy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

MJ's bucket list

MJ wants to do everything.  She wants to go into every house we pass on the street.  And drive down every street we pass in the car.  The only way we can allay these desires is to tell her that "someday" we will.  And then hope that "someday" she forgets about the fact that we told her she can go into mansions she has no business going in.

So her bucket list is quickly growing, and it just sounds so mournful sometimes.  Every day that I take her to daycare we drive over a freeway overpass.  She is very excited about going up and down hills (poor Minnesota girl, that doesn't happen much here), so she looks down at the cars on the freeway and says

"Someday.... I want to go down there..."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cute-isms

Alternate title:  2 years and 3 months
Alternate alternate title:  I suck at daily blogging.

I've been talking a lot about me lately.  And since this blog is my drama, not MJ's drama, I'm okay with that.  But I really love looking back to read what she was doing at various points and need to maintain some foresight.

In short, there's is nothing she's not doing.  (Other than peeing on the potty.)  The child talks up a storm.  She sings songs to herself in the back seat that are so loud we can hardly hear our conversation in the front seat.  It no longer matters if DH and I have anything to talk about at dinner, because she keeps the conversation going.

She attacks people with chapstick, irregardless of need or desire.

She continues to increase the number of babies she looks after at once.  She discovered that she can put them all on a food tray and therefore carry them together.  This way, she can put 8 babies (of various stuffed natures) to bed and then carry them around.

I have to get used to, and learn to appreciate, her independence.  She's happy to get her own water these days, but it often involves about 6 ice cubes, and water in the bathroom (because that's the sink she can reach).  Both of these irk me, but really, I should just be glad she can start to look after herself.  She wants to learn to dress herself, which is a good thing.  I have to learn to relinquish control.

Other isms?

Yesterday she asked for a bottle of cheese.

She has started to call DH by name.  I'm not sure what prompted that.

Her and Vito fight like siblings.  They steal each others toys, and wrestle, and when he does something she doesn't like she comes whining to me, asking me to fix it.

She climbs, or tries to climb, EVERYTHING.  Really, everything.   Including the wall and the standing mirror.

She negotiates.  She asks for something, like a snack.  We say no.  So she asks again, and says "Okay?  Okay?  Okay?" ad infinitum.  If we say "no", she just interrupts us with "Okay?"  I can tell that, had she the words, this is where she would be inserting every reason she can think of why we should agree.  But, at 2, her sole negotiating tool is "Okay?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

A cloth diapering veteran?

We have now been through every stage of diapering.  Itty-bitty newborn, crawling, walking, and toddlerhood.  Although there are certainly many with more experience than me, I do feel like a veteran.  I feel like we've been through it all.

In actuality, we stopped cloth diapering about 9 months ago, then started again about a month-and-a-half-ago.  We stopped because MJ was getting HORRIBLE diaper rashes.  It was clearly so painful for her.  I did everything I could think of; I stripped the diapers, I tried new detergents, I tried new creams.  We found that the only creams that helped were absolutely not cloth diaper friendly.  After all, good diaper creams repel water, which is exactly what you don't want your cloth diapers to do.  So we stopped.

After I stopped working full time, I thought I should try cloth diapers again.  I figured if I just changed them a lot we'd be fine, because the wetness wouldn't be sitting against her skin.  But then we moved houses.  And then we unpacked, and I didn't even know where they were.  And then I didn't want to figure out how to wash them in our new high-efficiency washer.  And then I figured she'd be potty trained any day, so why bother?  See how good I am at coming up with excuses? 

When it became clear she would NOT be quick to potty train (the novelty wore off and she was no longer interested....*sigh*) I dug out our cloth, thinking this would help her learn more quickly.  While it hasn't sped the potty training process, it is nice to be back in cloth.  It has been easy to wash them in the new washer, and it turns out that she hasn't been getting any rashes.  The problem, I think, was daycare.  They didn't mind doing cloth, I just don't think they were changing her fast enough; they were used to kids in disposables, which absorb more and don't sit against their skin. 

So now we have a mixture.  She does disposables at daycare and at night.  And whenever DH doesn't feel like dealing with cloth.  And cloth the rest of the time.  I wash them every few days.  And I don't stress if we have to use disposables because I didn't get them all washed in time.  We are using fewer disposables (probably 1/4 as many), producing less trash, and the smell in her room is noticeably improved.

I have several friends who have chosen to go the diaper service route, and, in the end, I'm so glad that we didn't.  It's nice to be able to go back and forth to cloth when we want.  It's nice to be able to use a mixture of cloth and disposables, which isn't economically justifiable with a diaper service.  And once you have your diapers, there's really no more expenses (other than detergent).  I won't need any more diapers, for this kid or the next, and I've already spent much less than I would have had we gone the diaper service route.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's official.

I'm taking a new job.  Starts 9 January.  75% time.  I'm a little disappointed with the pay, but in all other aspects it sounds perfect.  I have to remind myself, though, that my current "hourly" rate is not legitimate, because I have to spend so much additional time prepping and grading.  So supposing that this job doesn't have outside time commitments, and supposing I actually really enjoy it, then it will be worth it.

Now I want my current job to be finished, so I can get some other things in my life done before starting back to more hours.  The list of things I'd like to accomplish?

1)  A bed frame for our bed
2)  Pictures on the walls
3)  Boxes in the basement finally unpacked.
4)  There's some other things, but I'll spare you the details for the time being.

I can't decide if I'm looking forward to actually having to look presentable or not.  If someone could just make me magically look presentable, and I have an excuse to not be wearing yoga pants all day, then that sounds good.  But getting up and actually looking professional every day?  Sounds a little bit much. 

As if to encourage my decision to work more, MJ has been a total terror lately.  Constant challenge to authority, constant defiance, and sometimes just downright nasty.  I think a little more time apart will do us both some good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wither goeth the bottle?

Mj is about 2 years and 3 months of age.  And she still uses a bottle.

I feel like this is confessional.  And that I'm getting many a side eye.

She falls asleep with her bottle every night.  And for every nap.

More side eye.  Tooth decay!  Oh my!

In truth, she falls asleep with a bottle of water.  So no tooth decay.  She started doing this a very long time ago (in toddler time; maybe at about 7 months of age?)  She no longer wanted her pacifier, just her bottle.  And with it she slept.  So we ran with it.

But for how long?  Every night I ask myself this question.  But she NEEDS that bottle.  It soothes her.  It calms her.

But it rolls out of her bed now, sometimes a couple times a night (and sometimes not at all).  So I would really like it to be gone.  Or at least, replaced by something that doesn't fall out of bed.  Though, on the upside, I can hear the loud THUMP when it hits the floor, indicating it is time to go root around in the dark until I find it.

Why aren't there manuals for these children?  Much as I begroan the automated help line you get when calling some companies, I would really love one of those for children.

But goodness is she a strong willed child.  I KNOW this would be a huge battle.  Is it worth it?  To remove something we know soothes her and makes for easy bedtimes?

(Only 4 days in and already a day behind.  I was never good at doing anything cold turkey, always much better at the gradual approach, so starting daily blogging cold turkey may have been a little much.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

10 years.....

So the hubs turns 31 today.  I did the same thing a few weeks back.  Although neither of us can quite pinpoint when, exactly, we started dating, we know that we were definitely dating for our 21st birthdays.  Which means we've been together for 10 years (except for that time, in the midst of dating long distance, when we decided to "see other people").  It's really, really hard to believe.

I can say, without a doubt, 100%, that it's been wonderful.  Perhaps not every moment of every day, but the sum total has been exactly what I hoped it'd be.  Your humor and loyalty have helped get us through everything, and I wouldn't for an instant go back.  I distinctly remember the feeling of dating you at 21, not really having any vision of this grand, huge thing our lives together would become.  This amazing little creature we would create, this dog that we would cherish.  I'm glad I didn't see all that, it would have been too good to be true, and thus terrifying. 

And you've become things I didn't even know were important at the time.  A wonderful father and provider.  A companion for the rough times.  Someone who tolerates me at my worst, and even loves me.  I couldn't ask for more.  Happy 31st.  It wasn't quite the same as your 21st, but I suppose we can really only be 21 once.  Thanks for making these last 10 years the best so far...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Reverse Blogger Cleanse

This sounds like a combo between a diet fad and a difficult exercise maneuver (or worse).  But this blog has been dwindling, so I'm going to try to jumpstart it a bit by vowing to post daily for the next month.  I don't promise anything interesting, just words.  Quantity over content, that's really what I'm aiming for.  Quick posts with no time spent editing them.  Woohoo, you guys are in for a treat.

Today, I tell you of my stroller dilemma.  Remember that lovely trip to Disney World I briefly mentioned?  It ended with the airline destroying our beloved jogging stroller.  Did you know that when the airline makes you sign that little slip saying they're not responsible for damages to car seats or strollers they really mean it?

We previously had this one:
In red, though.  So that when I wore my red Gore-Tex and put MJ in her red winter coat, it really looked like we had a theme going. Although I would not have bought the fixed wheel in retrospect, I otherwise loved it.  A lot cheaper than the BoB and a great stroller.

So now I have to decide what to do.  We have a cheap umbrella stroller that barely makes it down city sidewalks, and with winter coming (or here) we need something more substantial.  My question: do I buy another single stroller?  Or do I buy a double thinking we'll fill it sometime soon?  And then walk around looking like I lost one of my kids and didn't notice?  They have those fancy-schmancy strollers that convert from one seat to two, but that would require MJ sitting underneath an infant at some point, and I can't imagine her being willing to not be able to see what's going on.  

The truth of the matter is, we need something to contain her.  Although she is physically able to exist without a stroller in many scenarios, she likes to run wildly away.  Twice this week I've had strangers tell me they've never seen a child that young move that fast.  I have no basis for comparison, but DH blamed it on the fact that I drank coffee when I was pregnant with her.  So it seems it is not really the airline's fault that we need a new stroller, as they made me agree to with my signature, but instead my bad caffeine habits.