Just do it

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Some things just need doing. The groceries. The laundry. The dishes. Crap like that. I expect E to help since I am pretty confident that that is the best way to raise a child who pitches in around the house and doesn't demand payment for measly chores. And whenever I've been tempted to do it myself (easier, faster, cleaner) I stop, look at him and think, "No, you're part of this family and dad goes to work and I stay at work and you, you set the table and feed the birds and help in the garden and unload the dishwasher. I'm doing us all a favor by patiently teaching you how to unload the silverware. It's expected and non-negotiable and a deep breath and go." I capitalize on the fact that as a two year old he wants to help and trust that later on chores will be another one of the things he just does, like brushing his teeth and tormenting his sister.


We're at Costco and we are standing in the receipt-checking line with the front door in sight. B is starting to suck on my shirt at oh, about where my nipple would be if I was about 10 years younger and sans-breast-fed children. I start to run out of "it." That "it" that would make waiting in line to have your receipt checked fun. Mostly I am trying to bounce and shush B and make eye contact with E so that he doesn't get too squirrelly, especially since the case of wine I just bought is precariously perched and I'll be damned if I have to go back and buy a whole new case of wine with a screaming baby (I'll do it - but I'll be damned all the while.)

It is finally our turn and as I approach the two checker-outers, I go with my gut. Although I don't recognize her, the lady on the right seems to be the most promising. E hands over the food receipt. He waits with bated breath. And she does not disappoint. She counts off our items and before handing back the slip of paper, she flips it over and scribbles something on the back.

With a sharp intake of breath, E looks up at me. "Mom," he whispers. "It's a smiley face balloon. It's a smiley face. And. A. BALLOON!" He looks over at the woman and yells, "I like it! I very like it!"
The Costco employee looks over at me, her eyes sparkling. "It always amazes me how much they love that kind of stuff."
"Thank you," I say to her as I watch E try to suck the smiling balloon in through his eyeballs. "You totally made his day."

We cross the parking lot wordlessly. I load the car and when I move E from the grocery cart to his carseat, crumpled up in his little boy hand is the receipt. "It's a smiley face balloon," E says to me, so earnest.
"I know, sweetheart. Isn't it great?"
"It is, mom. It's the best smiley face balloon I've ever seen. I love it. And I'm gonna put it on the table when we get home so that I can see it some more."

I buckle him in and walk around the car. I sweep B out of her carrier and into her car seat. Safely buckled in, I lean over and give her a kiss, something I always did with E when he was in the baby car seat, too. As I got behind the wheel, I look up and see E's reflection in the mirror. He is still staring at the receipt. My eyes get a little damp, grateful for the sweet reminder that although my special little guy is growing up - big enough to set the table, big enough to water the clover seed we'd spread in the yard, big enough to go upstairs, poop, wipe and wash his hands before I'd even realized he'd gotten up from the breakfast table - that he is still very much a little boy. A little boy who very likes smiley face balloons.

Au revoir pussy cat. Take the cow with you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010
E has "milk protein induced enteropathy." It doesn't really mean anything other than we have to keep him 100% dairy-free for at least another year and then challenge him to see if he's outgrown it. It is a condition that children usually outgrow by the age of four* and while it has caused some problems (vitamin deficiencies and maybe some liver stuff) it's really not that bad. He was diagnosed by a "real" doctor but after reading more on milk allergies after a friend's little boy got diagnosed with enterocolitis** sometime last week, I stumbled upon this and figured that based on the blood work and poop tests, this was probably what he has. But since we'd come this far and since we'd waited so long to see the 2nd best allergist (the 1st best had a four month waitlist!) and since the scratch test was not a big deal***, we figured what the hell.

And it's a good thing we went. E is severely allergic to cats. As in, he's pre-asthmatic and the doctor gave me a handout on how to use an inhaler. As in, "How old is the cat? Only ten? Oh, that's too bad he's not, um, older." As in, you better get rid of the cat before your son's lungs collapse. The irony is that the kid's first word(s) was "kitty cat" and he used to spend a good part of his day sprawled on top of the cat. Literally.

So Baci lives with my sister now. And while I am sad and still "see" him around the house, there was really no choice. While I know that in part it is because I want to believe it so, I honestly do think that Baci will be better off with his aunt. She is a loving and patient woman who has more time for him and whose lap is a lot less occupied. Not to mention that he will no longer be the bottom rung of a tall ladder. And there are no coyotes terrorizing her neighborhood. And Scout won't keep chasing him out of the kitchen at dinner time, off of the couch at end-of-the-day snuggle tv time and generally hazing him as if he were a nerdy freshman from the local community college. And...I could go on and on. It's better all around...right?

* I really hope he outgrows it by this time next year. I mean, one summer without ice cream is bad enough.

** For those of you who have had aha moments with your own children after reading about E's symptoms, our friend's son had diarrhea, projectile vomiting, and face rash amongst other things. They noticed that it was exacerbated by dairy. His allergy tests also came back negative, so it's not a "true" i.e. IgE-mediated allergy, but who cares what you call it. Dairy makes him sick.

*** It really wasn't that bad. I had the nurse scratch me first to see what it felt like and it's like getting scratched with a sharp plasticy thing. The hard part is that the whole appointment took almost three hours (included a trip down to the lab for bloodwork) and about 30 or so of those minutes are spent trying not to scratch the itchies. In a moment of genius, as we were leaving the house I grabbed the brand new box of beads that E had been pining over and brought them with me. I was torn - the potential for the 900 piece version of 52 pickup almost kept me from viola-ing it from my purse, but E was really calm that day and he needed something soothing and introverted to occupy him. I put the sectioned tray of beads on the spinny doctor's chair and we laced beads with a quiet intensity for almost an hour. And once again, E amazed me with his bravery and maturity, much beyond his years.

Catching Up, Link Style

Monday, March 15, 2010
There's a bunch of miscellaneous stuff that I want to talk about, so I'll compile it here. For those of you who love following links, go nuts. For those of you who don't...sorry Charlie. I got links to share.

I've been meaning to talk about Nurture Shock. It was so good. A book that is easy to read because each chapter is independent of the others - perfect for nursing mothers or those who like to read while on the potty toilet. If anyone else has read it, mention it in the comments - if anyone wants to talk about, let me know and I'll dedicate a whole post to it. Because it's so freakin' good.

E and I made these for our neighbor. We actually took it a step further and painted coffee filters with water-based markers and then sprayed them with water till the colors ran together. Then we walked them across the street and handed them to our neighbor because she's nice to us and we wanted to show our appreciation. Photobucket

Just received my latest cloth diapering accessory from Petunias over at Etsy.
Photobucket Isn't it beautiful? I love it. And thanks to chubby girl baby butt, I have a newfound passion for cloth diapering. And I'm doing a good job of not buying one of these. Keep telling myself that front-snapping diapers are not for us.

I'm addicted to Caspar Babypants's More Please and Ziggy Marley's Family thanks to Stefan over at Zooglobble. Thanks to Stefan, we listen to some rocking toddler tunes instead of annoying and crappy kid "music."

Watching The Pacific in hopes that it's half as good as Band of Brothers. I don't like wars or movies made about them. That being said, I loved Band of Brothers. Have watched it half a dozen times and grow to love it more each time. Have a Brian Williams-esque crush on Major Winters.

Joined a CSA. I'm really excited about it. D commented the other day that now that E is basically a miniature version of perfection an adult, we fill the dishwasher almost every day. And with B starting solids last week, there will be four of us eating healthy, locally-grown organic produce.

Watching Always Sunny in Philadelphia from the beginning. It's so wrong, but so funny. And now that we have the back story, last season makes so much more sense. Frank is their dad.

I have kicked my addiction to these and replaced it with this. Figure I eat a ton less of it and it's better for me. It is the methadone to my heroine.

I'm hopelessly addicted to Hipstomatic thanks to Mike over at one of my favorite blogs. If you want to read something short and funny, go here or here. If you have a fresh box of kleenex and an evening you'd like to spend reading what will someday undoubtedly be turned into a novel, start here. I mean, look at what it does...

Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape or form benefiting from a single one of these links...not even the Amazon one. In fact, I recently got a letter from Amazon saying that because Colorado politicians are a bunch of $@%%*! (sorry, I couldn't decide on what to call them) they will no longer be doing "business" with Colorado bloggers. Not that I was pinning my hopes and dreams on making my millions through links to Amazon, but considering how much money I spend with them, making a few bucks here or there by recommending things I love seemed just.

The Half a Million Dollar Potty Training Solution

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I've successfully potty-trained one child and we all know what that means. I am now a potty-training expert. Bestow your wealth of excremental knowledge upon us oh maven of all things urine and feces, you all scream. And I, of course, will oblige you. So here you have it. The all-inclusive, fail-proof and easy-to-follow guide on how to potty-train your any my child using the $500,000 Potty-Training Solution.

- Spend $1.89 on The Wonder Pets "fruit" snacks. Try not to cringe when you watch him eat red dye #5 saturated high frustose corn syrup nuggets shaped like Tuck's head. Because no amount of jelly beans will overcome the fear associated with dropping a load into the unknown aqua abyss that is the toilet.

- Spend $5.95 on a potty-training book and only read the first few pages. Try not to roll your eyes at how stupidly obvious it all seems and then kick yourself in the ass when you make the rookie mistake of leaving the house too soon with a newly minted potty trained preschooler.

- Spend $7 on a good bottle carpet cleaner. Try not to inhale the highly toxic but very effective fumes. Because like cat puke, no one wants to step in pee-saturated carpet.

- Spend $9.95 on a pack of 7 underroos. Try not to take it personally when he will only wear 2 of the 7 because he only loves the Wonder Pets and does not want Diego nor Spongebob spread across his skinny little cheeks.

- Spend $11.48 on gourmet jelly beans. Try not to gag when you realize that part of the reward is in fondling each and every one of the jelly beans, scooping them up in his little hands and then letting them slip through his fingers like a delicious rainbow of sugary goodness, finally settling on one and holding it in between his fingers, turning it over and over in wonder...even though it's his 50th jelly bean in three days.

- Spend another $17.95 on more underroos because you found a 3 pack that has Ming-Ming, Tuck AND Linny. Try not to laugh out loud when he screams, "Momp! You! found! Linny! I'm gonna wear Linny and I'm not going to pee or poop on her head. But farting is ok. I can fart on Linny. But not poop or pee. That would not be very nice."

- Spend $26 on two cushy for your tushy potty seats. Try not to fall over laughing when he slips off of one of them (the other is still untouched) so many times that he sends it cartwheeling down the stairs in frustration.

- Spend $51 on out-fitting all three bathrooms with Wee-man urinals. Try not to get frustrated when he will only use one of them, leaving the other two to collect dustbunnies. Hmmm...I wonder if dust-bunny moms have it any easier?

- Spend $87 on custom-made training pants. Try to get all your money back on the FSOT (for sale or trade) board at your favorite cloth diapering website when your child decides that "pull-ups" are not his style. All or nothing, baby.

- Spend $440 on cloth diapers so that your son is perpetually marinating his balls in his own urine, prompting him to realize that ew, gross his balls are marinating in his own urine and maybe he should try peeing in the potty like everyone else. Try not to buy one of these.

- Spend $789 on a camera so that you can catch all the priceless moments. Try not to break it.

- Spend $498,552.78* on a house and don't leave it for three days. Try not to get stir-crazed after learning that a freshly potty-trained child will proceed to pee his pants within 20 feet of the front door of Target when faced with the prospect of having to pee in a public restroom.

And TA-DA. That's it. That's all it takes. And one morning, your child too will wake up and exclaim, "I'm wearing my Ming-Ming underwear." And that will be that. It literally took us a few months of flirting with the idea, not counting the time he sat on the potty and read a magazine when he was about 18 months old. And then one morning, he woke up and decided that he was peeing in the potty and he has. Almost exclusively. As long as we're at home. We have yet to successfully pee in public for a 2nd time. And I don't think that pulling off to the side of the road and running him across a mud field and into a port-o-potty and expecting him to pee on some else's floaty turd helped any. But that's a hurdle we will overcome. I just hope it doesn't cost us another half mill.

*Not the actual price of our house.