the potty diaries

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We’ve been having some..struggles…getting Zo to change her diaper. Most days we’re fine. She cooperates.  No blood is drawn.

Tonight, however….

Tonight she was all piss and vinegar (heh), flopping facedown so I couldn’t easily get the diaper off, shrieking like I was performing major surgery without anesthesia. After I finally wrassled it off her, I realized the cloth insert was bone dry…despite having been worn for well over an hour.

“Uh.” I squinted at my scowling daughter. “Big girl potty?”

“!!!!!” she said, and jumped up. Off we went to the bathroom. Onto the potty she went. I sat down across from her.

“Go potty, baby,” I said, and she gave me an exasperated Look. “Pssssss,” I said, making what I thought was a helpful sound. Another Look, saying, Back Off, Mom. I’m WORKING ON IT.

(My toddler can’t roll her eyes. But if she could, I’d have gotten such an eye-rolling.)

And whaddya know? I heard the music every parent wants to hear: tinkletinkletinkle in the potty.

She seemed pretty cool about the whole thing, but this maaaaay be an indicator that she’s becoming aware that there’s a connection between wet pants and her bladder. Who knows! She’s shown potty enthusiasm before, only to drift away when it stopped being fun.

Anyway, she got lots of applause and cheers tonight…then promptly tried to run off without wiping.

Ah well. One battle at a time.

Notes from Life is Turning a Year Older

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Started my morning early, because I can’t seem to sleep past 7:30 anymore, not even on my birthday. Made blueberry crumble bars, then woke up the rest of the house and we all trundled off to Fabulous Hillcrest for the farmers market.

Market-wise, it’s not all that different from Vista, there’s just more of it; I don’t feel like I’m missing much. The food stalls are where the variety is at.

So we wandered, and ate things, and watched our daughter flirt with strangers, which is merely adorable and instantly endearing at this age. I bought a floppy hat, because I need one for gardening, and it looked good on me. I cried a little when I saw they had fresh sardines for sale. So tempting…but no way they would have survived the trip. Okay, so that might be worth driving down to Hillcrest for. Or asking the fishmonger at Vista if they ever have some. Something to think about.

We rode the trolley to and from the market, then went down to Azúcar and had sweets, though I was pretty full from octopus balls, saag paneer, and a perfectly briny-sweet oyster. I wish now I’d bought a mojito cookie.

Back home, I puttered in the garden, putting down sesame oil to ward off bugs now that we have produce growing, and read “Are You a Cow?” to Zo at least five times in a row. I do silly voices. She loves it.

Later Mike, Zo, and I went for a walk to our little grocery store and bought fixings for nachos. Zo surprised us on the return trip from the market by refusing to walk with us. Like, pitched a fit and screamed bloody murder refusal. We joke about it, and I am trying to keep my mind open on the subject, but I suspect based on her parentage that she may indeed be a willful child.

I gave Zo her bath and later we cuddled in her bedroom. I sang her a few songs, and that was the perfect end of my perfect day with my husband and daughter.  I feel like I walked around all day with their arms hugging me.  Pretty great, no complaints, would do it again in a heartbeat.

waiting for waiting

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We’re still planning on #2 in 2015, despite Mike’s layoff. We’re optimistic he’ll be employed by then.  And hey, if not — free daycare!

Buuuut seriously.

It’s on my mind because of articles like this, which support the theory that what a mother eats well in advance of getting pregnant has an impact on the pregnancy, which means I kind of need to get on it.  Certainly being deficient in folate and Vit-D is a concern; I’ll be upping both in the coming weeks.

Aaaand…I’m old.  I need all the edge I can get.  That means getting back to the best I’ve felt.  And the best I’ve felt was when I was eating paleo.

Oh, the paleos.  Vegetarians hate it, normal people wonder what’s so bad about bread/pasta/donuts, waiters roll their eyes when yet another person asks if there’s gluten in their iced tea*.  I want to grab my walker and remind people I was doing the paleos before Tim McGraw was, and maybe to get off my lawn (seriously, I just got that thing to grow back), but what’s the point?  I don’t need to prove to anyone what makes me feel right.  It works for me, I’m not surprised when it works for other people.

The biggest problem, of course, is that meat ain’t cheap, and I’m off one of the cheapest sources (eggs), and we kind of are on a restricted budget right now (see: layoff).  I’ve been cutting our meat portions in half and supplementing with rice, potatoes, and corn, but it’s not — strictly — paleo.  And I don’t have that buzz I got when I was doing the very strict, very meaty, full-of-fibrous-vegetables paleos.

Historically, I tend to use the day after my birthday to “reset” my diet clock, and this year’s no exception.  From my birthday, I have 6 months before we start “trying”, and if Zoe is any indication, “trying” will take a few months, possibly less.  When mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, I said, “Steak, please.”  What better way to go back to what works for you, then at the hands of your own mom?

And of course, there are two other matters: I want to lose the last of the Zoe-weight before I pack on another kid, and I want to get some exercise in, too.  We were actually doing a really good job of going for walks, Mike and I, during the first pregnancy.  Then I miscarried, and we cut back because of the anemia, and then I whammo got pregnant again, and between moving and adjusting to the current wee one, it’s been a yo-yo.

But I think — knock on all the wood — things are settling.  My physical therapist seems to think I need to get my back strong, and I agree.  So I’m going to start focusing on strength training again, and getting in my 7500 steps a day, and not go too crazy.

I’m a planner.  I like to plan.  For all its pain and tribulations, pregnancy is an exciting time.  Unique, surprising, promising, and sometimes rife with pain and fear and constantly needing to pee…but also great potential.  I hope we’re successful again.  I’d like Zoe to know the joys (and eye-rolling tests of patience) (but mostly joys) of being a sibling.



* You laugh, but boricha is made with barley, so technically, it’s possible!

On Large Families

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Large families. Speaking as someone who was lucky number four of four, I clearly benefited from one. Mom had a girl followed by a boy, and by all rights could have said, “Welp, got my set, I am DONEZO.” But she didn’t, and thus, you are reading this post.

As for myself, we’re probably going to have two and call it good unless there’s some sort of freak accident or immaculate conception. I’m no spring chicken, as my dad likes to say, and on top of that with #2 we’ll need to be considering the expense of day care.  Which I have been considering.  Often.

Which brings me to the aforementioned large families.  A Facebook friend commented on this blog, which asks “When did we start hating large families?”  In my case, when I see a large family I don’t think “oh, that’s terrible, what freaks, don’t they know about birth control?”, but instead “holy crap how can they afford that?” It’s genuine curiosity on my part. Does one spouse have a really, really good job? Do they have a live-in family member who watches the kids while mom and dad work? Are they living mortgage-free (did they inherit a house, do they live with family)? How do they manage this? How?

I am the chief number cruncher for the Paddock compound, and I can tell you right now that if Mike’s unemployment income evaporated, we’d be making some drastic changes in record time. Yes, we have savings, but I’m cautious of breaking that glass.  Basically, the worst thing* that could happen would be for us to foreclose on our home. To stop that and live only on my income, we’d need to sell at least one of the cars (possibly both), stop 401(k) and college contributions, and a whole list of other micro adjustments.  We would have to question visits to doctors.  Vacations would be few and far between.  Eating out would be maybe a monthly event.

I run through these scenarios constantly, and all we have is one kid.  If we had four, I’d probably be investigating EBT and other government assistance.

This is not unusual, especially not in California, where rent is laughably expensive and food isn’t much better, and having a large family means either being well paid or constantly checking the couch for spare change. And though the norm used to be very large families (especially in pre-reliable birth control days), it isn’t anymore.  We tend, as a society, to react poorly when we see something that doesn’t match the patterns we’re accustomed to.

There are people who will rant about “the breeders” and how the planet is overpopulated and why don’t you just adopt?  Those people have their opinions, and as one of the breeders they rant about I obviously think they’re wrong and can take a short walk off a long pier while wearing concrete boots.  But hey!  I have my biases and I know it.  Also, adoption in America is a) expensive and b) difficult.  Making a baby — if you are able — is comparatively easier and a lot cheaper, providing you don’t have complications.  Not to mention that US birthrates are actually on a decline, so congratulations, ranters!  Mission accomplished!  And while it may not seem that way, the truth is that a society that doesn’t replenish itself is a society in crisis. Just ask Japan.

In conclusion, I don’t think most of us hate or disdain large families. I think most of us see an anomaly and freak out a little about it, and a few of us (like me) are wondering how they do it. Because in this day and age, in this economy, it’s the only question I don’t yet have a good answer to.


* “The worst thing” in the sense of our personal finances.  Obviously, death, injury, disease, locust, and cats puking on the duvet are infinitely worse.

The Problem with Pink

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Slate writer Allison Benedikt recently wrote

What is it with you moms of girls? I have never met a single one of you who isn’t tortured about pink and princesses. It is a given that if you are a mildly feminist mother (or father, but more mother), you are going to do everything within your power to steer your daughters away from anything that has the stink of “girly” on it. I shudder to think how many pink ruffled onesies, gifts from less enlightened relatives and sexist friends, have gone unworn because America’s feminist mothers could not stand to dress their 3-week-olds in the color of oppression.

Yes, I’m one of the moms the author’s talking about. I steer my daughter away from pink, and I’ve asked my family members to consider a different color when buying her clothes or toys.  I have taken back onesies that say “princess” on them.  I am, according to this author, part of the problem.

But the suggestion is that I have a problem with women or femininity, and that’s not it. The problem I have is the suggestion that this is Zoe’s only choice for color in her life. And if consumers like me didn’t raise a ruckus, we’d never have options. Everything would be pink or blue if not for the hard work of iconoclasts like me.

Because, here’s the thing: Zoe wears pink things. Her Nana made her a beautiful, stunning pink quilt when she was born. I bought her pink gDiapers along with the sunshine yellow and light blue ones. She will undoubtedly get more pink stuff in her life and I will accept it because she looks cute in it and heaven forfend I stop my daughter from looking cute, taking a photo, and uploading it on Facebook.

What I don’t like is when I go into Target, and see an alarmingly pink aisle of everything pink starring pink with a side of pink…and nothing else.  It feels like Communism. In pink.

I also have this nagging suspicion that the deliberate “boys are blue/girls are pink” branding came from companies realizing that if they made things strongly feminine or masculine, they could sell the product again when a family has another baby of a different gender. I mean, uck! Who wants to put pink on a boy? (Answer: probably me.)

Fact is, I grew up with My Little Ponies and Cabbage Patch Kids, and some of them, yes, were pink…but not all of them. And that’s the difference: I had my choices. And that’s really all I’m asking for. My daughter should be able to pick blue, or yellow, or green…or pink.

But I want it to be a choice, not a default.

Notes From Life Has a Migraine

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I spent part of Saturday staring at my most recent blood test results and switching over to read The Wahl’s Protocol.

My TSH is low, which means I’m probably being over-medicated for my Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but my T4 is good, so maybe not. Either way, I’ve started cutting back my synthroid dosage and I’m pondering trying a therapeutic ketogenic diet in the short term. Because I’m still fighting to lose weight, and I have migraines, and it would actually be nice to skip lunch.

Breakfast was a smoothie, and consequently my hands are mottled with blueberry juice as I type this. Despite the ingredients (blueberries, coconut milk, spinach), it did not taste like much of anything. I may need to add some seasoning.  Ginger. Cinnamon. Battery acid. You know. Something to give it a little zip.

The semi-annual disruption that is daylight saving has begun to wear thin, and Daughterbot has started waking up at 7AM again, which is good because tomorrow I’ll actually get to see her before I go to work. I cannot bring myself to wake that baby when she is fast asleep; it just seem selfish.

Zoe, enjoying one of mom's purple smoothies.

Zoe, enjoying one of mom’s purple smoothies.

That said, mornings are awesomer with her in them. She shares my smoothies, remarkable and otherwise.

My week was plagued with headaches. Which, again, may be due to the over-medication for the thyroid, or may not. I think there has been a significant amount of stress in my life lately, what with Mike being laid off and some work-related interpersonal issues (which are now on their way to resolution!), and I think it’s catching up to me. Stress, plus overactive thyroid, plus being a working mom. This is how baby migraines are made, children.

So we made it a lazy weekend, for the most part. Went to my sister’s to celebrate mom’s 71st birthday, ate out once, but otherwise I slept, cooked, and played with my family. I prepped three meals for the week, and I made corned beef Sunday night in the sous vide, and as usual, it came out moist, tender, and delicious.

And now I am trying to get rid of my brain problems with what I hope is science. Either that, or I rely on the science that tastes like minty ass for the rest of my life. I guess what it comes down to is this: I’d rather drink coconut milk smoothies.

This is just to say….

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That the wonderful Kim let me know what WordPress plugin she’s using, and now I have an easy way to publish to multiple social networks.

And also, that I kind of nuked all the comments on the last post by accident.  Sorry.  -_-

And also also, I had some scotch tonight, which was a nice capper for the steak, potato, salad, and wine.

For a day that started out with me feeling like the world was sliding sideways and how was I going to get to work (hint: I didn’t), it sure ended a-okay.

More Notes from Life

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I have terrible water luck. We knew plumbing in House House would be dodgy when we bought it, and on Sunday it proved out when a flushed wet wipe backed up the whole system and had water running over in our bathroom. This was also the morning I’d finally grabbed our bathmats to throw in the wash. So there was nothing on our floor to stop the output of water. So…that was fun.

My ebike is glorious, though it is experiencing technical difficulties at the moment. Fortunately, it folds up, and we can take it back to where we bought it to have them service it. Though I could have gotten it cheaper online, this is why I settled on a local shop. a) Support local business and b) fix it when it breaks. That makes me happy. Getting to work faster and on my own terms makes me happy. Fresh air and sunshine — guess what — make me happy. If I have to do this commute, I may as well be happy.

Daughterbot loves to wrassle. Mom and Dad like to wrassle with her. When she is in the wrassling mood, she lies down on her belly on the carpet and wiggles around. This is the universal signal for “Wrassle me!” Then you have a choice — ignore her, or grab her and roll around. Ignoring her would be unwise, of course. Wrassling an 11-month-old is much like rubbing a cat’s belly: if she extends the invitation, you must accept.

Personally, I like to pretend I’m a tarrasque and flop around like a big ol’ Chinese New Year Dragon, which is fun, and she loves it, but a bit hard on the knees.

I have nearly planted all the things, and dug up a couple more bushes.  I kind of want raspberry canes now that I have realized I don’t have a raspberry cane. And I murdered a bunch of sprouts by neglecting them. So sorry, sprouts.

Notes from Life

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Is there anything better than a shower after an honest workout? Okay, yes, probably there is, but I admit that I love that feeling of hosing myself down and (temporarily) cooling off. It’s amazing.

We are trying to figure out how to make the train work. It may involve an ebike. We’re going to try one this weekend and see if I like it; it’s a sizable investment, but we’re trying to regain time here, and there is no replacement for that. Right now my commute includes about 40 minutes (roundtrip) on a shuttle and 20 minutes of waiting at a station because there’s only one 5:11 PM shuttle for the 5:41 PM train. So an ebike may be the solution, because all I really need is a way to close that last 2.5 mile distance between work and the station. Wheee.

Zo is walking. Sometimes running. To be clear, the walking isn’t really all that steady yet, so when she decides to run it’s a little hair-raising in the oh god baby no don’t plow into that wall vein. She’s beautiful and fun and not exactly a “cuddly” baby, but when she’s tired she flops against you and gives a sigh that melts your heart. She also eats everything I put in her mouth. Some things she adores (strawberries) and some things she tolerates for a few bites, but lets me know via complex facial expressions that this will not continue.

Salmon was not popular. We won’t be feeding her that again. I had hoped she wouldn’t inherit the genetic distaste for salmon, but it’s a double whammy seeing as both her father and I have never liked it.

Back to that workout: 20 minutes of alternating runs/walks, 5 sets of 20 kettlebell swings (@ 20lb), 15 squats, 10 pushups (girly style).  My knees aren’t thrilled, but when are they ever?

Oh, and soup is back to being a thing for me.  I made this soup when I was pregnant with Zo, and it was pretty damn good.  I may need to make it again.