Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Diaper freedom! (sorta)

Today's blog post was kinda whiny, so I thought I'd make up for it with a little story that happened earlier today.

Katie and I went out to run errands this morning, and since she keeps asking to go to the library ("Book! Book! In in in in in!") I decided to indulge her. She had fun playing with some older girls in the wetlands exhibit, and then took off towards the children's area ("Book! Book! Book!") She climbed around in the pretend boat they have set up, pulled a whole lot of books off the shelves, and made sure I knew that the toddler computers were still "All gone!" And then, she said it: the word I hadn't even thought to worry about.


Now, this may not sound like cause for alarm. But Katie poops on the potty, and guess who hadn't thought to bring the diaper bag with the folding potty seat? That's right, me. Guess who also remembered that said diaper bag (in the backseat of the car) is empty of clean diapers? Every time I get in the car, I think "Ahh, I have to remember to restock that bag!" And then I promptly forget. Awesome.

Anyway, here we are in the toddler area of the library, no diapers, no potty seat, and Katie saying "Poo!" I decided that getting the poo out of Katie was probably the #1 priority, so I took her into the bathroom and sat her on one side of the grown-up toilet seat. Needless to say, she didn't go. (As an aside, could someone please invent a potty seat that can be permanently installed on public toilets? Like, instead of a lid, there could be a little seat you flip up or down. Obviously this would only be for toilets in toddler-friendly areas. I nominate the children's section of the library!)

So now we have no poo, and no clean diaper. I actually think she's been saying "Poo!" when what she really means is, "Mama, I'm peeing right now!" Her diaper had indeed been newly peed, so I decided to be adventurous. I put her little skirt/panty combo back on her...sans diaper! And then I grabbed her and practically ran out of the library. I threw our stuff in the car and flew home, doing some very questionable stops at the 10,000 stop signs between the library and our house.

And...we made it! Woohoo! Katie's first diaper-free ride!

No more viruses, please!

Brace yourselves, folks, thar be a rant brewing!

Katie caught another cold, probably from Gymboree. I can't say for sure, but she doesn't have that many opportunities to catch colds outside of her weekly class. There were maybe 10 days of "healthy" between this cold and the last one, and since I caught both of the colds and Anthony caught one, it feels like our entire family has been sick for the past 6 weeks. No Good.

But I've already subjected you to a rant about Gymboree, so this one will have to be different. This time, I'm fed up with people telling me that it's a good thing to expose Katie to germs, that it will "exercise her immune system." This, folks, is pure and utter crap. Sure, I do believe that it's important for kids to not be raised in a plastic bubble. I believe that America's obsession with antibacterial cleansers is a really bad thing. I believe that over-sterilizing our houses might be responsible for the recent rise in asthma and allergies. (Whew, it's nice to know my lack of cleaning prowess has a silver lining!)

So yes, I'm all for exposing Katie to common household dirt. I let her play in the mud, no problem. I don't freak out if I notice she's drinking the water that's been outside in her play sink since yesterday. Eww, but go ahead, sweetheart. If you don't think it's "wucky" then I don't either. Hopefully she'll get exposed to whatever microorganisms the "Hygiene Hypothesis" says we actually need.

Unfortunately, people have started confusing the common rhinovirus with these other microorganisms. People, please stop. There is NO BENEFIT to Katie catching a series of cold viruses. She can't build up immunity to the common cold, because it mutates. That's why there's no cure for the common cold. Sure, she's now immune to the colds she's already had, but those viruses have long since mutated into other viruses, to which she will not be immune. Is this really news to anybody?

I betcha Dr. Oz has something to do with this. *shakes fist*

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Poor little sweetheart!

I'm grateful for so many things today.

Gratitude is a really good thing; I try to be grateful as often and as much as I can. But, here's the problem: it's hard to force yourself to be in a grateful mood when you're just not feeling it. So today, when I started feeling it in spite of all that's happened this morning, I gave a little cheer. Hooray for gratitude, showing up when least expected!

Today, I'm so grateful that we have a washer and dryer. I'm so grateful that they're right downstairs, and that it only takes a couple of hours to wash and dry a load. I'm grateful that we have electricity and gas to run them. I'm grateful that Katie didn't see me stealthily sneaking her Lambie into the washer. I'm grateful that we have toys and games and things to distract Katie while I sneak upstairs to vigorously scrub the carpet in her room with a soapy rag.

I'm eternally grateful that Katie is healthy and strong, and that she greeted me cheerfully with "Hi!" and "Morning!" when I went into her room this morning.

Last night, we put Katie down as usual. She still isn't over her little bout with separation anxiety, so she cried. She also has another cold, so she's snuffly and congested. She sounded just miserable. Her crying sounded so pitiful, we just couldn't bear doing nothing. We debated whether to go upstairs and sing her another round of lullabies. On one hand, going into Katie's room when she's crying usually makes her even madder when we leave. On the other hand, her crying sounded like her little heart was breaking. We caved - we went upstairs. We sang the songs. We rubbed her little back. We gave her lots of kisses. We put her back in her crib.

And the crying instantly became wailing. Wailing became screaming. Is there another word for screaming that's louder and more bloodcurdling than screaming? Well, it became that. We trudged downstairs, knowing we'd been incredibly stupid. We'd made it worse instead of better. We plopped down on the couch and waited for her to stop. She did stop, after about 25 minutes. 25 minutes was worse than we've had for a few nights, but certainly not the worst since separation anxiety started. We figured all was well, and went about our evening business of collapsing on the couch in front of the TV. (I was too tired to even eat ice cream.)

This morning, I knew something was wrong the second I opened the door. What's that smell? It didn't smell like stinky pee - I remembered I'd put Katie in a disposable diaper because I'm having some overnight stink issues with cloth diapers. So what could it be?

The answer was puke. Lots and lots of puke. It was on her sheet. It was on her sleep sack. It was on her Lambie. It was on her dust ruffle. It was on her carpet. It was on her onesie. It was on the rails of her crib. It was in her hair. It was freakin' everywhere, and she'd slept in it ALL NIGHT.

We feel like the worst parents EVER.

We immediately gave her a bath, including hair. (Which she hates.) We washed all of her bedding, including Lambie. Anthony had the unenviable task of getting the dried up mess out of the carpet.

Five hours later, after leaving the windows open with a fan on, it still smells barfy in her room. Everything has been washed, and everything still smells faintly of puke, including Katie herself. So, after her nap, everything is going to get a second wash. (Except Katie, she'll have to wait until this evening.)

So I am also grateful to live near Bed Bath & Beyond, where I picked up a Bissell Little Green steam cleaning machine this morning. We'll see if it works on puke - this may be another blog post in the making. I'm sure Katie's just going to LOVE the noise. She screams and says "ALL DONE!" when I bring out the Dyson, so I doubt she's going to be a fan of this. But it's got to be done.


I mean it, though, I really do feel grateful that we were able to get through this mess. I'm so grateful that Katie doesn't seem affected by her stinky night at all. She's as cheerful as ever, except for the fact that she has a pretty bad cold. Come to think of it, maybe she couldn't smell anything with her stuffy nose! That'd be an unexpected bonus.

Poor little angel!!!!!!!!!!!  :(  :(  :(

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dennis the Constitutional Peasant

                              King Arthur: "Old woman!"
                              Dennis: "Man!"
                              King Arthur: "Oh, sorry. Old man!"
                              Dennis: "I'm 37!"
                              King Arthur: "What?"
                              Dennis: "I'm 37, I'm not old!"

You guessed it: today I am 37. And although Dennis would disagree, I feel a bit old. I used to love my birthdays. That's probably because Anthony and I used to celebrate them at Disneyland. For the past two years, though, we've had other things (Katie) going on. It's a 6 hour drive or 1 hour flight to L.A., and neither of us feel up to doing either with Katie. Not to mention the park itself - 12+ hours of walking in the sun, carrying or strolling or walking with Katie, trying to keep her from getting trampled? I don't think so!  So birthdays these days are decidedly more low-key than they used to be.

One memorable summer, my birthday happened to coincide with an unofficial celebration at Disneyland: Bats Day in the Fun Park. It's basically a big Goth convention. Although it's not officially sanctioned by Disney, there's not a whole lot they can do about it if hundreds of Goths decide to show up on the same day. They were everywhere, wearing capes, parasols, corsets, knee-high lace-up boots, outrageous hair, piercings, and black, black, black from head to toe! It was awesome. However, they didn't really think it through: August is one of Anaheim's hottest months. It was in the 90's. Makes me kind of faint just thinking about it.

Another memorable visit was my 33rd birthday. Through sheer luck, my uncle happens to work with a guy who knows someone who's a member at Club 33, Disneyland's exclusive and posh "secret" club. It's not really a secret, I guess, but not many people know it's there. The entrance is right next to the Blue Bayou restaurant, and for years we wondered about the mysterious door with the discreet doorbell next to it. There is a 10-year waiting list to become a member, not to mention something like a $100,000 yearly membership fee, so to be able to go as a guest was an incredible opportunity. The food wasn't bad, either! But the real treat was being up on the balconies in New Orleans Square, where we'd never been before. So cool!

So this year, I'm feeling pretty apathetic about the big day. Maybe it's also because I'm now officially in my "late 30's." My thirties have been pretty spectacular so far, so I'm not thrilled about them being nearly over. But hey, they say 40 is the new 30, so that's good news.

Hopefully we'll be rested and energetic enough to take Katie to Disneyland soon!

33 at Club 33!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sleep regression!

All is not well in the Cerna household.

On the upside, we are ecstatic to have our calm, peaceful house to ourselves again. Crazier Grandma - aka Grammy, aka Wammy - has gone back to Southern California. Whew. Katie has been asking for her, but so far no major tears or anything. Double whew. Mama is back to sleeping in a bed instead of on the couch. Triple whew. (It's a long story.)

But something has happened. The night before Wammy left, Katie went on a sleep regression bender. She was up from 2-5 am, and so was I. (This may or may not have been instrumental in convincing Wammy that it was indeed time to leave.) The next night she wailed for 45 minutes before falling asleep. Last night she cried for only 20 minutes when we put her down, but woke up screaming four times. Four! And the first waking, she screamed for 45 minutes before she finally went back down.

Anthony and I are frantic.

What on earth has happened? Her diet hasn't changed. She doesn't seem to be teething. She isn't sick. She seems totally fine during the day. But as soon as she cottons on that the naptime or bedtime routine is starting, she loses it. Does she suddenly hate her bed? Is there a monster in her closet? Does her lambie blanket need a wash? (Well, more than usual? That thing is gross.)

I know she'd rather be out playing. Today that was abundantly clear. I couldn't even get her to come in for lunch, but that was totally my fault. You see, Anthony and I just bought Katie the best toddler toy ever: the Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Water Park. She played with one at a friend's house, and it was obviously made for her. It has everything: water, balls, squirty fish, a ferris wheel, and a giant spirally funnel in which to throw the balls. Plus, Katie's extensive collection of giant bouncy balls fits perfectly through the spiral! Score.

I forgot all about the clock as I assembled this thing for her today. By the time I was finished, and Katie was dumping balls in at record-breaking pace, I realized it was already 12:20. Whoops, we were supposed to have lunch at 11:30! So I lured her inside with goldfish crackers (don't judge, I had to do something to tear her away from this fabulous toy!) She only picked at her lunch, which is typical these days, and then I took her straight to her room. She knew what was up by the time I'd reached the stairs. Somehow I managed to keep her calm through her diaper change, but once I got out the sleep sack it was all over. Scream city. She couldn't even hear me singing the bedtime song over the din.

I feel awful letting her cry. Awful! I hate sleep training. I hate everything about it except how well it works. Well, how well it USED to work, anyway. I don't know what to do. If I go in there and calm her like I did the first night, she will not let me put her back in the crib. It's terrible. I don't want to teach her that I'll go running in there every time she cries, but...it's so awful to listen and not be able to comfort her. She is crying right now.

Please, please, please, little girl, remember how to sleep again!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Dream of Blogging

Last night I dreamt that I came up with a great idea for a blog post while I was cleaning the kitchen. Wait, why am I dreaming about cleaning the kitchen? Oh, maybe because that's all I seem to do, day in and day out. Anyway, this blog post idea was so great, I was chuckling to myself in anticipation. I might have even been chuckling aloud in my sleep. I have no idea, I sleep with earplugs. In the dream, I used my phone to record a voice memo that was somehow linked to Blogger. The phone created a new post for me, complete with title, all ready for me to start typing.

Needless to say, when I woke up this morning, I found that my phone does not magically link to Blogger, and not only is there *not* a cleverly-titled blog post waiting to be written, I have zero idea what the post was supposed to be about. Maybe it was some funny spin on stressing about one's lack of blogging. Maybe it was some cutting insight about parenting a toddler. Maybe it was some gratuitous eye-rolling at the dazzlingly banal Olympic commentary I've been hearing the past few nights.

Probably, though, it was a whiny, complainy post about having houseguests. Does anyone really like houseguests? Martha Stewart, probably. But that's just so she can lord it over them what a nauseatingly good "home-keeper" she is. Me, I'm not going to win any home-keeping awards any time soon. On a given day, if I've figured out what's for dinner before 5pm, then I've done my home-keeping duties.

But I digress. Having houseguests is really not my favorite thing, particularly when it's my mom. Benjamin Franklin and I agree about fish and guests starting to smell after three days. Each day I find some new idiosyncrasy to marvel at. Or maybe, it's just that her idiosyncrasies and mine collide when she stays here. As you know, I'm crunchy and try to conserve water and energy, and minimize waste. My mom is the QUEEN of disposable everything. Where I use Tupperware, she uses layers and layers of plastic wrap, followed by another layer of aluminum foil. Where I use dishcloths, she uses gobs and gobs of paper towels. I can't remember the last time I even bought paper towels, that's how infrequently we use them, but since she's been here we've mysteriously run out! We've run out of tissues and toilet paper too. (Don't worry, I still use toilet paper. I'm not that crunchy!)

When my mom loads the dishwasher, she meticulously washes each and every dish before she puts it in. While she's doing that, she leaves the hot water running full blast. I'm surprised she hasn't run out of hot water yet - it's only a 50 gallon tank! And while I'm super grateful to have someone in the house who's willing to load the dishwasher, it's hard to sit back and watch her make one of the house's most useful appliances redundant. Sure, I get it, some stuff needs to be scraped off before it goes in the dishwasher. But not everything has to be hand washed first.

And then there's the subject of day-old bread. I recently got a bread machine, and have been baking fresh bread about every 2-3 days ever since. It's a mini bread machine that makes a teeny tiny loaf, but even so we usually have a hunk left over by the time the next loaf is baked. So I basically have a never-ending supply of stale bread. It's great - I can make homemade breadcrumbs or French toast. Well, I made French toast once. Not so much with breadcrumbs. But anyway, I was about to compost a particularly stale bit of bread when my mom threw a fit. She insisted that I keep it, despite my protestations that there was plenty more stale bread where that came from. She wrapped it in three layers of plastic wrap and some tinfoil, labeled it, and stuck it in my tiny fridge, where it sits today, 10 days later. I've baked 4 loaves since then, and we haven't finished a single one. I've had to sneak out to the compost bin when she wasn't looking.

I don't mean to suggest that I like to waste food - quite the opposite. But my mom's food-hoarding is a little over the top. She saves (in plastic wrap, of course) the weirdest, smallest bits of food imaginable, and she won't let me get rid of any leftovers. She stashes her hoard in my fridge, which is overflowing. I should post a pic but I'm too ashamed. In there right now is a partially-eaten hard boiled egg, some tiny wedges of baked potato from 2 weeks ago, and three separate batches of old, congealed spaghetti.  Even though I don't like to waste food, over the years I've come to the realization that it's still wasting food if you put it in your fridge for two weeks and then toss it out when it's moldy. So I like to cut out the mold middleman and only save what we will realistically eat.

So my fridge is overflowing, my TP and paper towel rolls are empty, but you know what? Katie is absolutely over the moon having Grammy here. She even asks for her in the morning. "Wammy! Wammy!" I've never seen anything like it. Today she tried appealing to Grammy for safe harbor when it was time for her nap. Nice try, little one! So even though it's trying, I'll put up with Grammy's shenanigans for Katie's sake. Now if only I could get her to stop hinting that I need to put on moisturizer...