Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I found one!

Hooray! I found a fairy godperson today! I was convinced that there weren't any in California - everyone seems so distant and into their own thing here.

Today at Trader Joe's (where else, right?) I got to the cashier and realized that my wallet wasn't in my purse. Not cool at all - especially when Katie's running amok with her tiny shopping cart. I asked the cashier if he could put my groceries to the side while I went to the car to look for the wallet. Then I walked (dragged) Katie across the parking lot and let her climb around in the car while I frantically looked for it. I found many things, some of them sticky, some of them smelly, but no wallet. So I dragged Katie back across the parking lot (why is it that her legs turn to jelly the instant she realizes I'm in a hurry?) and back to the cashier, thinking that maybe the wallet had fallen out in the cart during my disagreement with Katie on whether she should be sitting in it. No dice. So I had to abandon my groceries, but the manager was nice enough to tell me she'd hold them in the back until later.

On our way back to the car, our fairy godperson appeared. It was the nice lady who had been in line behind us. She saw me struggling with a squirmy, escape-happy toddler and a round pregnant belly, and she offered to buy my groceries for me! Wasn't that the sweetest thing ever? I thanked her profusely but told her it wasn't necessary. It was only a few items, and we'd just go get my wallet and come back later. But still - faith in humanity restored! It also made me realize just how desperate and bedraggled I must look, but that's another story.

When we got home, I cleaned out my car while Katie looked around for trouble in the garage. Cleaning one's car while 7 months pregnant is easier said than done. I tried to crawl around and look under the seats, but I'm just too big! But it felt great to get all those layers of junk out of there. My goodness - the back seat looked like an episode of Hoarders. And, truth be told, it didn't take THAT long to clean it all out, so why do I let it get so awful before I finally do something about it?

Anyway, still no wallet, which means it's probably at the car dealership, where we were last night. We leased a new Nissan Leaf, for some very specific, strategic reasons. The primary reason is that the Leaf is one of only a handful of cars that qualifies for a carpool lane sticker in California. That means that Anthony can drive to work in the carpool lane, even though he's by himself. He commutes 25 miles each way, and the traffic is so bad that it sometimes takes him over an hour each way. So we'll see what a difference the sticker makes. I hope he gains at least 30 minutes roundtrip. Who couldn't use 30 extra minutes in their day? Anthony wants to spend every single second with Katie. :)

The second reason we got the Leaf is that it was insanely cheap! There's a $7500 federal tax credit that the dealership can collect for every Leaf they sell, so they are offering crazy-low monthly payments and very little down. We'll save money on gas, too, because there are free charging stations at Anthony's work. He'll only need to do half of his charging at home. The dealership says (so I'm taking it with a grain of salt) that it costs about $1.50 for a full charge. Even if he had to charge it fully at home every day, that's still better than the $8/day he was spending on gas. Depending on how good the battery's range is (dealership says 110 miles, real-life users say 75) he might be able to skip charging at home altogether! Woohoo!

And the third reason, of course, is that I'm sorta crunchy and I like the idea of supporting greener technologies. Of course, I realize that the batteries in these things are far from eco-friendly, and that electricity is not necessarily a green energy source. I think people forget about that. According to California's online Energy Almanac, only 14.6% of the electricity we produce in-state comes from renewable sources. But, I still think the electric car is a step in the right direction, and I hope that our purchase makes an impact (however small) on improving infrastructure and encouraging innovation.

So, hooray! New car! Now let's hope the dealership has seen my wallet...


Monday, April 29, 2013

L'il Houdini

What an interesting week it's been! Katie has been demonstrating her ability to stay one step ahead of us. I believe I already mentioned the time she escaped out of the garden gate, several months ago. Well, Wednesday she discovered that she can unbolt the front door and disappear that way too. I'm so lucky that I was just in the next room when I heard the front door swing open. Thank goodness it makes a unique swishing noise that I recognized immediately. I dropped everything and sprinted (waddled) after her. She is FAST! She made it almost all the way to the next cul-de-sac before I caught her. I'm really glad she likes to run on the sidewalk instead of into the street, but still!

So I went to Target in search of a solution. We have lever door handles on every door of our house, which, in addition to being decorative, are extremely toddler-friendly. They're not parent-friendly, though - not if the parent prefers to keep her toddler from running out the front door. They do sell childproof locks for lever handles, but they are pretty complicated to install. So I got an idea. I bought a three-pack of those round doorknob covers, but instead of snapping them onto the door handle, I put them around the deadbolt! It's totally working! I also put one on the hot-water valve under the bathroom sink (which she loves to play with) and the hose outside. Woohoo!

The next day, Anthony and I were sitting in the living room gloating over the success of these new devices. We were comparing notes on how long it takes each of us to catch Katie when she gets away. All of a sudden I realized I hadn't heard her make noise in a few minutes. I went to make sure the back gate was latched. It was. But then, I realized...THE GARAGE DOOR WAS OPEN! She'd snuck out that way and run around to the front, undoubtedly right past the living room windows while we sat there! I started running and calling her name, and finally found her four houses down, playing with a neighbor's lawn ornaments. WOW.

Since then, we've been extra-vigilant about the garage door. We haven't had any front-door or garage door escapes for the past three days. But...

Just to keep us on our toes, Katie has also decided to escape from her crib. The first night she did it was Friday, when Grammy was watching her. Grammy has been having zero success with putting Katie to bed, so we told her she might have to put Katie in the crib and let her cry. (Which we HATE doing!) Grammy did that, and soon after heard a big THUMP! followed by Katie opening her bedroom door. Not good. We figured it was because Grammy had also been unable to put on Katie's sleep sack, which generally prevents her from getting her leg up high enough to climb out of the crib. However, last night Katie managed to climb out, sleep sack and all. At 4am. And wouldn't go back to sleep until 4:45. Sigh.

So now we're going to have to convert Katie's crib to a mini toddler bed with a guard rail. I don't like the idea of doing this, because it means Katie may be getting up at all hours of the night and coming to find us. But I think it's the only safe thing to do. Apparently "crib tents" are no longer sold because of safety issues. Darn it, that would have been a really good solution to our problem.

Any tips on keeping kids in their own beds? I'm all ears!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How dry I am...(now)

I'm depressed. Just when I think I have all the answers, Katie throws me a curve ball. I've spent the entire day today studiously avoiding asking Katie to go potty. I've been a paragon of restraint! I didn't ask when she woke up. I didn't ask before or after breakfast. I do admit I lured her into the bathroom when I needed to go, then said "Katie's turn!" when I was done. (Which, by the way, worked.)

I didn't ask her at the park. I brought her potty along but I was pretty sure she wouldn't need it. I just put it down in the shade and didn't say a word. I didn't ask her when it was time to leave, or before getting in the car. I didn't ask her before she sat down to have lunch.

I didn't ask her before her nap. And that's the one that came back to bite me in the you-know-what.

I thought about it, and I kind of alluded to it before we put on her sleep sack: "Is there anything else we should do before we put on your sack?" She ignored me, so I shrugged and proceeded with the nap routine. I knew perfectly well that she hadn't peed in almost three hours, and that she wasn't going to make it an additional two hours for nap. I'd just changed her sheets from the accident she had overnight, and I knew I'd be taking them right off again after nap. I was ok with all of that.

But I had no way of knowing how it was all going to go down. I figured she'd take a nice nap and wake up wet. Then I'd just start another load of laundry, no biggie. Her mattress is waterproof. But no. Instead she woke up screaming and crying, after 45 minutes of napping. I knew why instantly - she had to go pee! I went into her room and tried to console her. "Oh, I see, you need to go potty!" "NO! NO! NO! NO POTTY! NO!" I saw a small wet spot on her sleep sack, so that meant she'd started to pee and was now holding it. "Let's take off your sack." "NO! NO! SACK ON!! ON!!!!" I walked her up and down the hall once. "KATIE'S ROOM! KATIE'S ROOM!" We went back to her room. This time I didn't ask, I just unzipped her sack and took it off. She screamed and thrashed more than ever. I tried to put her on the little potty in her room. "NO!!! NO!! WALK, MAMA, WALK!!" So I took her back outside into the hall. And then she started to pee, all over me. I quickly ran into the bathroom and sat her on the potty, where she continued to pee. I tried to mop her up. She continued to scream. I brought her back to her room and offered her a choice of undies. She kept on screaming, but chose one. I put them on her (more screaming). I put the sleep sack back on (with the small wet spot, don't judge! I couldn't find the other one). I tried to rock her and soothe her, but she was getting more upset by the second. She even rejected Lambie! The only thing that distracted her was reading her favorite book. Finally she calmed down. I put her in her crib, and thank goodness, she was able to go back to sleep.

And then I went and changed clothes. My only clean shirt and the only jeans that fit me, are now soaked. Lovely. The carpet in the hallway outside Katie's room is also sprinkled with a trail of pee that leads to the potty. But I can't steam clean it because it'll wake Katie up. Good lord.

I seriously do not think I could have done anything differently. I obviously should have insisted that she potty before nap, but insisting only makes her resist more! I'm so frustrated! I thought that dropping my end of the power struggle was going to solve our potty problems. It really galls me that I was so wrong!

Ughhh...oh well, at least I'm in dry clothes now. A load of laundry and some steam cleaning, and we'll move on. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Drop the rope!

My dad once told me that if you don't want to play tug-of-war anymore, all you have to do is drop the rope. It's easier said than done, especially when you really have a vested interest in winning said game of tug-of-war.

But today, I've done it. And it's actually working (so far, anyway).

When Katie woke up this morning, I vowed not to say anything about the potty. And I did pretty well for the first hour. The second hour I caved - I asked her if she wanted to go potty. "NO!" I was really starting to get tired of following her around everywhere in hopes of either catching an accident before it happened, or at least seeing where the accident landed so I could clean it up. The third hour, I was starting to get desperate. Katie said she wanted to go out in her stroller, and I told her that she would have to potty first. We went back and forth with that for quite some time. I really tried to be neutral and matter-of-fact about it. I told her it was up to her, and as soon as she went on the potty we could go.

I watched her do several different variations on the pee-pee dance: crossing her legs, holding her hand to her crotch, shifting from side to side. It was a Herculean effort not to just grab her and force her on the potty. But we all know how that would have turned out. In the end, she FINALLY, FINALLY went on her own. And I immediately dressed her and whisked her off to run errands. There was no time for a stroller ride, so Grammy's coming over later to take her for a stroll.

During our errand-running, she intermittently drank water out of her sippy cup. When we got home, she drank lots of milk with her lunch. I didn't say a single word about the potty even though it had been over 2 hours since her last pee. And guess what? While we were playing, she suddenly said "Potty!" and turned and walked to the bathroom. I silently helped her with her clothing and that was that.

So, lesson FINALLY learned. Katie is not me. She is not Anthony. She is not anyone else I've ever known. She is the only human being on the face of the earth who can wait 3 hours to pee after waking up. But hey, I think this is proof that she does actually know when she needs to go. So quit nagging, Mama!!!!

Makes you wonder: with potty training, who's training whom? :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm doing it all wrong!

Well, folks, potty training got off to a pretty good start, but it hasn't been exactly smooth sailing since then. That first day, Thursday, we had the two misses I mentioned in my last post. Friday we had more misses, and these were more serious. I know this is an unrealistic goal to have as a parent, but I fervently, passionately do not want my house to smell like pee. I am a pretty bad housekeeper as it is - I do not need peed-on carpets undermining my halfhearted efforts to keep the house smelling clean.

With equal fervor, I don't want to freak out when Katie pees on the carpet. I don't think that would be good for her self-esteem or the potty learning process. But it is a lot easier for me to be nonchalant and casual about misses that happen on the bathroom floor, which is tile. So I tried my very best to keep my tone of voice light as I watched Katie pee on her bedroom carpet, the carpet outside the bathroom, and the rug in the den. But I probably failed miserably. I vaguely remember saying "Wait wait wait, on the potty! On the potty!" and trying to maneuver her over to the potty without making the mess worse. Oh dear. But she didn't seem to notice anything was amiss. She enjoyed helping me with the steam cleaner afterwards, so much that I was worried this was becoming a fun new game.

By Friday evening, when the third carpet-miss of the day happened, I turned to Anthony and said, "I'm done. Let's go back to diapers. I just can't do this right now - I'm too exhausted to keep reminding her to potty, only to have her pee on the rug within 45 seconds after being reminded." But that night as I was trying to fall asleep, I vowed to keep going. After all, I'd have Anthony's help for the next two days.

And of course, the next two days went really great! We only had one miss on Saturday morning, on the bathroom floor. I was in the shower when it happened, and the first thing I heard when I turned off the water was the sound of the steam cleaner. But, it turns out that there was nothing on the carpet - Katie just thought it would be fun to get the steam cleaner out. (See, she thinks it's a game!)

Sorry, it's taking me a long time to get to my point. Yesterday and so far today, we haven't had any misses, but some serious power struggles are brewing. I'm having more and more trouble convincing Katie to go potty, even when I'm 95% sure she has to go. And I'm getting more worked up about it than I'd like to be, because of the aforementioned carpets. For the past five days, Katie's overnight diaper has been dry in the morning. (Which is awesome and completely unexpected - I thought we'd still diaper her at night for at least a few more months!) But doesn't that mean she probably has to pee when she wakes up? I mean, doesn't everyone? When she finally agrees to go on the potty, she pees a lot! So, aside from the fact that she is two, I have no idea why she keeps saying "NO! NO! NO!" when I ask her if she'd like to potty. I've tried waiting a few minutes before asking. I've tried giving her a choice of potties. All I get is "NO! NO! NO!" until she finally decides it's time.

If this were anything but potty training, I would just let it go and let her do it when she wants to. I know that's ultimately what I'm going to have to do. And I will just have to keep steam cleaning the carpets until she gets it. WAAAAAH! But this does put a bit of a strain on going places. It's one thing if she wants to take her time going potty upon waking up. But I'll be darned if I'm going to let a fledgling undies-wearer leave the house without pottying first. So it's been taking us FOREVER to leave the house. Luckily, we only have one or two things each week that we need to be on time for. If we had to get out of the house at a certain time every day, I think I'd be going insane.

Thanks for letting me rant! I am going to try an experiment when Katie wakes up from her nap today. I'm not going to mention the potty even once, and we will see what happens! It reminds me of something I once heard at a parenting class: "Sleep - you can't make 'em do it!" Same goes for pretty much EVERYTHING with a toddler. Pottying? Can't make 'em do it. Eating? Can't make 'em do it. Even sitting in the car seat. I thought I could make Katie do it, but you all remember how that turned out.

Cross your fingers for dry carpets this afternoon!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's happening!

Wow. Remember how I said I was gonna let the pee part of potty training "just happen?" Well, it's happening! Today it happened all over the play structure at the park, and later, all over the downstairs bathroom floor. Suddenly I'm not so sure I'm a fan of potty training! LOL!!

It actually started last Thursday at our weekly park playgroup. Two of the little girls had potties at the park, as they'd just started training. Katie was fascinated. I don't really know why - she has (at last count) four potties of her own and two potty seats, and has had them since before she could walk or talk. Of course, these were different shapes and colors, so maybe that was it. Anyway, I took the opportunity to point out Katie's friend Molly's cute "big-girl" undies. I've been trying to persuade Katie to wear undies for the past 8 months or so, and she just refuses and screams for her diaper.

But maybe seeing Molly in her big-girl undies did the trick. Yesterday at Target I asked Katie if she would like to wear Hello Kitty undies. (They had a 7-pack, super cute!) Unlike last time I'd asked her, this time she said "Yes!" I explained that she'd be wearing these instead of a diaper, and she seemed OK with that. So I bought them. Cool!

I should also mention that for the past couple of days, Katie's had a ton of what E.C. calls "catches" - basically pees that went in the potty instead of in the diaper. A pee anywhere but a potty is known as a "miss." We usually would have a catch or two a day, and 5 or 6 misses in a diaper. I wasn't really keeping track because I'd just decided to let potty training happen on its own. Katie had an entire day (Saturday, I believe) with no misses at all! Every time we'd go to change her, the diaper would be dry. Then we'd put her on the potty, and she'd pee. It was great!

Yesterday before dinner we let her pick out a pair of new undies, and she wore them until bath time. She successfully (with a little help from Dada) got them off when it was time to pee. YAY! We diapered her as usual for bedtime (baby steps)! This morning she peed on the potty, and then we put a new pair of Kitty undies on her. And then I guess I got greedy.

Since I knew the other girls would be at the park today with their potties, I figured Katie would probably be willing to go potty alongside them. So I put her in undies and brought a change of clothes and one of her potties. I was pretty worried about the car ride, but it was fine. We got to the park, and I asked her if she wanted to go potty now, next to the car, or at the park. She said park, so off we went. I put Katie's potty in an accessible spot in the shade near the swings, and asked again if she wanted to go. "No!"

She was climbing on a play structure when it happened. She stopped suddenly, and shifted her weight to one side. One of the other moms said, "Oh, she's peeing!" OMG! I grabbed a diaper from the diaper bag and tried to mop up. Then I stripped Katie from the waist down, saying, "Guess what? I have a dry change of clothes for you in the diaper bag!" She chose a new pair of undies, we put the dry clothes on, and that was that. Then I used my water bottle to rinse off the play structure. Ay yi yi. Hope the other moms were OK with that - I didn't know what else to do!!!

I realized that next time I'll need to bring two changes of clothes. After the first accident, I realized that we were out of options if there should be a second one! All I had in the diaper bag was a onesie for a 6 month old, some wipes, and a couple of cloth diapers without covers. Not exactly Boy Scout caliber. Thankfully, we made it home dry. As soon as we got here, I asked Katie if she wanted to go potty. "No!" She played in the garage for a bit while I made lunch. Then I asked her to come in and wash her hands in the sink. Once there, she wanted to wash her tea set too. I let her do that for a while. When I went to check on her, she was squatting on the floor, clearly trying to get her undies and pants off, but they, the floor and her socks were soaked. Oh well. We changed again and ate lunch.

Then we went upstairs for her nap. I asked if she wanted to use the potty. "No!" I put her in undies again, knowing that I'd probably be washing her sheets and sleep sack afterwards.  She took forever to fall asleep, talking and singing at the top of her voice. Then she screamed. It wasn't a real scream - it was high-pitched and short, and sounded like her frustrated scream. But because of the diaper situation, I took the stairs two at a time. I expected to find her standing in a soaking-wet sleep sack. But no, she'd screamed because I'd left her curtains open. (wtf!! Toddlers!!!!) However, I was able to convince her to use the potty. Hallelujah! I'm fairly confident that she will make it through her nap dry, as long as I go and get her immediately when she wakes up.

And just now, as I was hanging diapers on the line outside, I realized...if I'm able to keep this up, we could be done with diapers. Just like that! Obviously we're going to have more misses, but this might be the end of diapers! Am I ready for this? Am I ready to constantly ask Katie whether she has to go? Ready to have her say "Pee pee!" just as we're pulling out of the driveway, late for school, when I've just spent the last half hour begging her to go? I know diapering is kind of a nuisance, but in a way it's also very convenient.

Oh well, I'll adjust - it was just a shock to think I might not be washing diapers anymore. At least, until Little One #2 comes! ;) Can't wait!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Big, Big, BIG slide!

Well, folks, this proves it. Despite the fact that Katie pretty much hasn't been out of my sight since the moment she was born, I think she must have been switched at birth. She can't possibly be my child. (Let's also ignore the fact that she has my cheeks, my stubbornness, and my narrow feet.)

Today, at the ripe old age of not-quite-2 1/2, Katie went down the biggest, steepest slide imaginable. Seriously, it's said to be the second-largest in California. Here are some pics:



See? I couldn't even get the whole thing in frame. It's nearly three stories tall! And not only did Katie go down it once, she wanted to go again. And again. And again!

Here's a video - watch the grin on her face as she shoots out the bottom at 100 miles an hour. (OK, it wasn't that fast, but when it's your firstborn, it sure seems like it!)

video

We had so much fun at this playground. There were only 3 or 4 other kids there, so that made it even nicer. I didn't have to worry about bigger kids pushing Katie out of the way on the climb up to the big slide. All I had to do was make sure she safely got past the last opening on the staircase (she loves to try to climb down things that are way too advanced for her - in this case, a 10-foot vertical rock wall). After that, the staircase was entirely enclosed. I climbed up with her the first time to make sure it was safe. She didn't need the least bit of reassurance, just a reminder to go feet first! After the 5th or 6th time, I was finally comfortable enough to let her climb by herself while I hurried to the bottom of the slide. I heard her say, "Feet first, here comes Katie!"

My little daredevil! Who knows where she gets it from!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Date night!

We finally had another date night! I'm pretty sure our last date was at the end of July 2012. We were way overdue! It was so nice, too. We had Grammy come over around 4:30 so the transition wouldn't be too abrupt. Despite Grammy's protestations that she could handle it, I gave her a quick rundown of the basics of Katie's bedtime routine. We left around 6:30. We told Katie goodbye, emphasizing that we would be back after she was asleep. I also told her we'd come in and say goodnight to her, since that seemed to work OK last time. Grammy held her up so we could all wave bye-bye as we drove away. Everything seemed fine, no tears or anything! Yay.

We went to a cute bar & grill with outdoor seating and (thankfully) heat lamps and fire pits. I had fried polenta with goat cheese on top, with bolognese sauce. (Sorry, probably boring you with unimportant details, but it's been SO LONG since I ate in a restaurant!) And we talked! We joked, we laughed, we commiserated about missing Katie even though we'd been gone less than an hour. We got to have an entire conversation without being interrupted every 45 seconds! It was delightful.

I didn't even worry about Katie, well not much anyway. I did check my phone for texts pretty often, but it didn't get in the way of our evening. We decided to text my mom on our way home, to find out if everything had gone smoothly. She didn't reply, which could mean that she was still trying to put Katie down, or that her phone was out of battery, or that she'd left it downstairs, or that she couldn't figure out how to send a text back. Sigh, parents and technology!! So we got home, not knowing what to expect. If Katie was resisting going to bed but Grammy was making headway, we didn't want to interfere.

We tiptoed into the house and listened. We didn't hear anything. Good sign. Then I crept up the stairs and saw a light coming from under Katie's door. D'oh! That meant Grammy was in there with Katie, with the light on. Probably in the rocking chair. I went back downstairs to report this to Anthony, and just then we heard Katie start to wail. She sounded really, really unhappy, so we gave up and went in and got her. Poor baby - she was standing in her crib, crying, while Grammy was sitting on the rocking chair, trying to say soothing things. Katie kept crying after I picked her up, but soon calmed down. Then Grammy informed me that Katie had a regular diaper on, not the one we use overnight. She was also not wearing her pajamas underneath her sleep sack. So I unzipped her and started over. A few minutes, one book and one lullaby later, and Katie went into her crib without further protest.

Then I went downstairs to hear what had happened. It turns out that, unlike when Dada watched her, Katie wasn't happy at all to be left with Grammy. She'd get interested in something for a few minutes, then remember we were gone and start to cry. Grammy did everything she could think of to entertain her, but nothing would last. Finally it was bedtime, and Grammy took her upstairs to change. Katie absolutely refused to have her diaper put on. She writhed and screamed and bucked and kicked. She had an absolute meltdown. Apparently she ran downstairs, screaming, and was trying to open the door to the garage, when...she started to poop. Katie prefers to poop on the potty, so she must have been pretty wrapped up in her tantrum and pretty focused on getting that door open. To Katie's credit, my mom said she turned and ran for the potty, one little hand over her bottom, trying to keep the poop in. (omg!) Suffice it to say that Katie had another reason to say "Dada clean it poo-poo rug" the next morning. Thankfully, there were only two tiny little spots and they both came out completely.

After my mom cleaned Katie up, she still didn't want to put on pajamas or a diaper. So my mom turned on the TV ("Thank goodness Lawrence Welk was on!" Seriously??) She quickly put a daytime diaper on Katie while Katie was standing up, mesmerized by the wholesome mid-century musical antics on TV. I'm guessing she got Katie's shirt and sleep sack on in the same way. I don't know how she got Katie upstairs, but I'm guessing Katie didn't go quietly. And that's roughly where we came in.

So date night didn't go all that smoothly. Good thing Grammy wasn't scared off - she actually wants to try again, which I think is kind of a miracle. Wish us better luck (and less poop) next time!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Flash Flood

Sometimes I feel guilty about how much time I let Katie spend entertaining herself. I've developed a sixth sense that's mostly based on sound. As long as I can hear what Katie is doing, it's almost as good as seeing her. I have a razor-sharp awareness of unfamiliar sounds (like something breaking, or ripping, or foreign objects being scribbled on the walls). Ditto anything to do with the toilet. If she so much as touches that thing, I'm there in an instant.

And that is how I get through my day, especially now that I haven't enough energy to do anything besides sitting down. I let Katie play and I check in on her periodically. But then I watch Anthony or Grammy with Katie, and they seem to do a lot more active playing. I rationalize that they don't have to watch her for 12 hours straight. I wake up with Katie and I put her to bed, so I've learned to pace myself. But I still feel guilty, like I'm being lazy.

Well, today I wasn't being lazy. I wasn't lying in a hammock, eating bonbons. I wasn't watching soap operas or reading romance novels. I wasn't painting my toenails (ha, like I can even reach my toes these days!). No, I was simply trying to have five minutes to myself in the bathroom. Is that so much to ask? If you're a mom, you know what I'm talking about. I never dreamed I'd be going to the bathroom with an audience. And most of the time it's fine - I tell myself that it will help Katie to potty-train if she watches me. But sometimes, I just want to be alone.

Today was one of those days. I sneaked upstairs to the bathroom and perked up my ears to listen in on whatever Katie was doing. At first, all was well. Then I started to hear some weird sounds. Weird sounds are never good. This sounded a little bit like dripping. Oh dear. But I shook off my feeling of dread. Then I heard Katie's "frustrated" scream. It's a little more high pitched than her usual screams. But I figured being frustrated for 5 minutes wouldn't kill her. Then I heard a real cry, but it didn't really have that much urgency. When Katie hurts herself, there is no doubt. The entire county can hear her. And then I heard a sort of splat, and an even louder cry, and that's when I gave up on my uninterrupted bathroom time.

I hurried downstairs to find Katie crying, naked, in the middle of the biggest puddle of water I'd ever seen on the kitchen floor. It clearly started at the fridge water dispenser that I'd thoughtlessly left unlocked, and it reached nearly from one side of the kitchen to the other. It was a LAKE. It was creeping under the baseboards under the stove, leaking under the fridge, and had almost made it all the way to the pantry. And Katie was right in the middle, getting frustrated because she kept slipping and falling down. I just stood there, mouth agape, for several seconds. I literally didn't know where to start mopping it all up. I took off my socks, waded over and picked up Katie, and went in search of a couple of old towels that we use for big messes. It took two full-size bath towels to soak up the water!

And this was all fun and games until I realized that our kitchen floor might be permanently ruined. We were stupid enough to put hardwood flooring in our kitchen, and even stupider to use an engineered wood instead of the real thing. This stuff has a pretty thick layer of real wood on the surface, so it's supposed to be much more durable than what you find at Lumber Liquidators. Even so, you're really not supposed to dump gallons of water all over it. I see quite a few areas where it's warped. I pray that leaving the windows open helps it dry and that the warping goes away, because I really don't want to explain all this to Anthony. He may be the world's most understanding husband, but he's still not going to be happy about thousands of dollars' worth of damage.

Sigh. I wonder exactly how she caused the flood? She was naked, so I wonder if she took me seriously all those times I joked about the water dispenser? She likes to press the valve that makes the water come out, and I sometimes say, "It's a good thing that's locked, or you'd be getting a very cold shower right now!" Maybe she was hot?

Never a dull moment around here!

Friday, April 5, 2013

A stinky little secret

I've posted before about how much I love cloth diapering. I really do - it's great. And most of the time if the subject comes up, either in my blogging or in conversation, I find myself being a great big cheerleader. I guess it's because I don't want to say anything negative, just in case someone is on the fence about giving cloth a try.

But let's face it! I don't think there are that many people on the fence. Most people I meet are either cloth diapering and loving it, or using disposables and loving it. So I'm not worried that what I'm about to post is going to change anybody's mind. Although, I do hope it won't give the cloth-diaper-haters ammunition to use against us cloth-diaper-lovers. No hating, please!

My secret is: my cloth diapers have got a case of the stinkies. They smell just fine coming out of the washer - like nothing at all, which is exactly how they're supposed to smell. They smell fine once dried, too, whether I dry them outside or in the dryer. But once they're wet, they get stinky pretty quick. When the diapers were new, they would only smell very faintly of fresh pee when I took them off Katie. Now they're a little more likely to have ammonia-funk-smell. And gone are the days of being able to go three days between washes - the diaper pail gets pretty ripe after two days!

So, it's time to strip them. I've been really lucky so far - this is only the third time I've stripped diapers in almost 2 1/2 years. so really that's not so bad. Unfortunately, my internet research has turned up 10,000 different methods on how to strip diapers. I am lucky to have the absolute easiest diapers to strip - cotton prefolds. I've heard that synthetic fabrics hold stink a lot more, thus have to be stripped more often. Not so with cotton. Plus, my prefolds don't have any waterproof fabric attached, so I can toss them into a pot and boil them. All-in-ones or pocket diapers often have the waterproofing attached, and it can melt if exposed to high temperatures.

So Katie is in her crib for naptime (although she's definitely not asleep yet) and I have just put a big pot of water on the stove to boil. I'll add 2-3 diapers at a time once it's boiling, and boil them for 5 minutes or so. Then I'll cool them off in a colander, wring them and hang them outside. I know it sounds pretty arduous, but a) I'm only boiling a dozen diapers, so it won't take long, and b) there's something about boiling laundry that makes me feel like a pioneer woman. This is great, because I can get that homesteading feeling with a project that will probably take less than an hour and won't create any additional mess for me to clean up. Yay for that!

Got any household rituals that take you back to our homesteading roots?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Toddler Scramble

Isn't it funny how quickly things happen around toddlers? One second you're introducing a fun new activity, and the next second your house is a complete mess. Today Katie took my breath away with her powers of destruction. Not in the scope of the disaster, which was pretty small, but how quickly it happened.

It started with me offering Katie some scrambled eggs for "second breakfast." Ever since I stopped giving Katie a bottle when she wakes up, I've been at a loss about when breakfast time should be. She used to drink her bottle, then have breakfast around 8:30. Now that the bottle is gone, I've been feeding her around 7:30, and then feeding her again before we go out around 9:30. Maybe if I skip the second breakfast, she'll be hungry enough to eat the 10:00 snack at school. We'll see.

Anyway, Katie said an enthusiastic "Yesh!" to scrambled eggs, and immediately followed up with "Help!" (Meaning, Katie help make eggs!) So I let her pull a chair over to the kitchen island while I cracked the eggs into the biggest bowl I could find. I handed her a whisk and let her go to town. It was a real challenge to put the frying pan on the stove and get the milk out of the fridge while keeping my eyes on her at all times. Last time we tried to scramble eggs, she wanted to stick her fingers in for a taste. I never used to be afraid of salmonella - I've practically eaten my weight in raw cookie dough over the years - but since Katie was born I've become paranoid. Luckily, this time she was having too much fun with the whisk to be curious about how raw eggs taste.

I got out the pepper grinder and let her do that for a bit. It's too difficult for her tiny hands, so I had to help her out a little. She sure had fun watching the pepper come out! Then it was time for salt, and that's when things went a little haywire. After years of watching Food Network, I keep coarse kosher salt in a little ramekin, and I use my fingers to add a pinch to my cooking. Katie has watched me do this a million times. I approached the bowl with my ramekin, and quick as lightening, Katie grabbed a whole fistful of salt and threw it partly into the bowl and partly all over the countertop. Then, after I wrestled the bowl away from her, she furiously swiped the countertop from side to side with both hands, scattering salt EVERYWHERE. I stood there, stunned, having gone from "fun with cooking" to "Sodom and Gomorrah" in less than 1.2 microseconds. (Ok, that's a stretch, but you know, salt...)

It could have been much worse - coarse salt vacuums up easily - but WOW. We enjoyed our salty eggs anyway, though, and I hope Katie got some good learning out of it! I sure did - next time, a normal salt shaker! LOL.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 5, Bottle Free

That's right! I finally did it. I decided to go "cold turkey" - mostly - with bottle weaning. I've been putting it off due to illness and fatigue, but now's the time. I want to make this change well before the baby comes, so Katie doesn't have to get used to too many new things at once. The baby will be quite enough change all by herself! So on Saturday morning I talked to Katie about the fact that she knows how to drink her milk from a cup now, so she doesn't really need a bottle anymore. She seemed to accept the idea, and even said "No more bottles," so I thought that was a good sign. Of course, she was drinking a bottle right at that moment, so I'm not sure if she was fully aware of the reality of "no more bottles."

But, since then it's been pretty much OK. Saturday afternoon was the first completely bottle-free wakeup from her nap. She protested (read: screamed) when she realized I didn't have a bottle for her. I told her cheerfully, "Remember? No more bottles?" and then distracted her with her favorite book. She soon forgot all about it. That night, however, it was clear that she wasn't ready to give up her goodnight bottle just yet, so we let her have one. The next morning and nap went a little smoother, and at bedtime she forgot to even ask for her bottle in the excitement of having her hair washed and blow-dried. Monday was ok again, but Monday night she threw a fit and we gave her what I hope is her last bottle ever. Tuesday went ok, and this morning did too. We're on our way!!!

In other news, I took Katie to our local science/wildlife museum yesterday. To say she loved it would have to be the understatement of the year. Her favorite exhibits were the fog machine (much of the museum is focused on our local ecosystem) and a really cool vertical wind tunnel, into which the kids can throw styrofoam shapes. The shapes go swirling around the tunnel and come shooting out the top, and then you can pick them up off the floor and start over again. Endlessly fascinating for a toddler! (Pretty fun to watch as an adult, too!)

We also saw a live falcon and a live owl, on the arms of museum staff members. Katie was totally fascinated by the owl, and wanted to get a *little* too close for my comfort! (Its beak looked really sharp!) There was also a super-amazing sand and water table, meant to demonstrate erosion or drainage or something educational. Katie couldn't care less about that stuff yet, she just wanted to get as wet and dirty as possible. They had little step stools for her to stand on (her new favorite thing) so she was in hog heaven. I was really impressed that they also had a small bubbling fountain in which to wash off sandy hands. Naturally Katie went back and forth, washing, then getting dirty, then washing again. We could have stayed there for several more hours, I bet.

I thought about buying a membership to the wildlife museum, but I don't want to go too crazy. After all, come June I'm not going to want to do much museum-ing. We've already bought an annual pass to the aviation museum, which I didn't really think through. But, it was pretty cheap and we've been there every week since becoming members, so I think that one's paid for itself. Plus, we got in free to see the Easter Bunny arrive by helicopter, which Katie's been talking about ever since.

What other good stuff is happening here? Plenty of baby kicks and hiccups in my growing belly. (Seriously, I am already huge.) I am also exhausted. I don't really remember being this tired in the third trimester with Katie, but maybe I've just blocked it out. I do remember not sleeping well because of hip pain, and that's definitely happening again. My friend Emily asked me a month ago how on earth I was able to keep up with Katie amidst the fatigue (her two boys are over 6 years apart, so it wasn't an issue for her). I told her it wasn't too bad. Well, that's because I was still in the second trimester! Now I'm really drooping. Yesterday I even considered asking my mom to come over and watch Katie for a while. Longtime readers know that I must be REALLY tired if I'm willing to put up with Crazy Grandma!

Yawn! Oh - I almost forgot I promised you a tale of stalking! When we used to go to Gymboree, there was a little girl named Anna who used to come with her nanny. We've bumped into them a whole bunch of times outside of Gymboree, like the library, the store and, most recently, the aviation museum. The nanny told me that they go to the aviation museum every Thursday, and they usually meet up with another little boy from Gymboree. In my search for a babysitter for Katie, I suddenly remembered Anna's nanny, and how great she is with Anna. I wonder if she would be willing to take on a couple of extra hours here and there? So I'm trying to accidentally bump into her at the museum. Last week they weren't there, but here's hoping for tomorrow! There's a 90% chance of showers, so hopefully some of Katie's regular playgroup will show up too, and I won't look like a stalker at all. :) Wish us luck!