Monday, November 30, 2009

Camp Potty Training, Outpost Abandoned

Well, two days of screaming, crying, flailing (and that was just me) later, we have abandoned the potty training attempts. He just doesn't want to do it, and since there is no particularly pressing need, other than saving $40+ a month on diapers, we have decided to wait awhile.

I really don't need a kid with bathroom issues. Lord knows my family has cornered the market on those: Prior to having a child I could not piddle if I thought someone could see me, and for a time I also couldn't if I thought they could hear me. Public bathrooms were a drop zone of anxiety and dread. I got past the hearing part by counting tiles on the floor while trying to pee. Nothing like a little distraction for the mind.

I also went through a space as a young child of being obsessed with having to go to the bathroom. I had to go all the time. Or so I thought. The story as I recall it is that finally one of my teachers sent a note home that I might need medical attention for all this need to pee. There might have been a child psychologist involved. My mother can confirm or deny that, my memory is foggy. But whomever I ended up seeing, they very wisely determined that I was simply an overly conscientious child, who was worried about being caught needing to piddle when no opportunity to do so was present.

I will also point out that one of my parents knows exactly where the bathroom is in every store or library etc. frequented. This acorn did not fall far from the tree.

So, I would like to avoid some of these landmines and bogeymen if possible with my child. Odds are that because he looks so much like his father he will undoubtedly be wired more like me. In good and bad ways. He already likes to holler at the top of his lungs outside, which I spent a LOT of time doing as a kid. There is nothing quite as cathartic as a good Tarzan yell, a la Carol Burnett, or a good ol "HEY YOU GUUUUUYS" like Rita Moreno on the original Electric Company, out on the playground. Bob is fascinated and horrified all at the same time. "You are very noisy people" he said the other day as we were singing and marching around doing something silly. I will take joyful loud shouting over bathroom hangups any day.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Camp Potty Training: Day 1

We are 15 hours into day 1 of Project Potty Training. I.Am.Exhausted. I probably should have checked the calendar and picked a week when I would not be knee deep in PMS, but we have ripped the bandaid off, so forward ho and stiff upper lip and all that.

The thing with this project is I have gotten a very interesting look into my sons' psyche. We have had three different potty options for him in the house for months. Two small potties to sit on, and then a seat you can put on top of a regular toilet so a small bottom can sit on it without falling in. We have two videos about going to the bathroom on the potty - Potty Time and Elmo's Potty Time. He loves watching them. He totally knows what going on the potty is all about. He knows WHAT to do on the potty. I think he even knows to a certain extent what it feels like before he needs to go. He starts holding his little peeper, and crossing his legs. He knows what needs to happen.

He just doesn't want to. "I don't WANT TO" he announced loudly at least 12000 times today. "No, I DRY" he would say to me when I would ask if he had piddled at all and doubled checked his undies. This is just like when anyone asks him what color something is. In school, during circle time, when they are reviewing colors or numbers, he will answer for everyone else with the right answer. But when it comes to his turn, he stops, puts a hand to his chin and says "Hmmmm..." and gives the wrong answer. He just likes being contrary. And taking control wherever he can get it.

I guess I can understand that. When you are three years old and only 40 inches tall, there are a lot of people telling you what to do, when to do it and if you are at all slow in doing it, they pick you up and carry you where you need to go. You have almost no control or say in how your day is going to go. So why not assert yourself where and when you can?

I think we will be successful in our training, but WOW is it going to be fun. I really considered backing off altogether at least 3 times today. I chose to walk the dogs in the rain today when Bob came home from being at the real estate office just to leave the house and not be in charge of pee patrol. At least the dogs already know not to pee on the couch. I trust my child will learn the same lesson at some point in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Once upon a time...(or a review of hideous hair styles and fashion statements through the years)

Once upon a time there was a little girl and a little boy.

The little boy lived in Minetto NY, growing up raising chickens, and goats who would chase him around the yard and hunting in the woods. The little girl was growing up in Rochester and White Plains NY, babysitting for Brooklyn Dodger players and watching her grandmother make ravioli.

The little boy eventually went to Syracuse University to study Aerospace Engineering, and the little girl went to SUNY Oswego to study to be a teacher. Sometime during his senior year and her freshman year they met. Apparently sparks flew, because on November 26th, 1959 they were married.

After a few years, after moving around to places like San Diego, Spokane and Elmira, TX they landed in Connecticut, and they had a baby.

Not quite three years after that they had another baby, and their family was complete.

Life hasn't always been perfect, but the family always had a roof over their heads, food on the table, at times a boat, a canoe, bikes, college tuition, family vacations, and a variety of dogs. There was a lot of laughter and love. This couple has been through some serious ups and downs. Downs that might have ended the marriage of other less hardy couples. But this couple has survived. They have moved from Connecticut to Ohio and back, twice, then to Florida and finally Oregon. They have become grandparents. They are funny, intelligent, loving people and I am proud to call them my parents.

Mom and Dad, Happy 50th Anniversary. While I have at times followed a very different path than you did (I will have to live to be 90 to see my 50th anniversary with Bob), and different than I think you might have expected of me, ("Psychology is not a real science" Dad said) it is because of your influence, your patience and encouragement that I have in part become the person I am. You have given me so much and I hope you have many more years together. I wish Bob, Cooper and I could be there with you in person on this momentous occasion. On today, Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for the blessing of you.

UPDATE: It was Abilene TX, not Elmira. That is in NY. I had NY on the brain.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

At least I didn't have to committ a parent to rehab this week

Life has been a little extra stressful this week. Work things have cropped up that are annoying and stressful and I feel a distinct lack of control over the outcome of any of it. Which creates additional stress, and causes me to want to nap or eat copious amounts of carbohydrates, or ideally, both, one right after the other. I am trying to avoid both.

Home life is okay but money continues to be a stressful issue. This is a short work week for me, which is good, and we will be having one step son over for Thanksgiving, so that will be a quiet day. But, and this is a big BUT, we have chosen to begin potty training Cooper this weekend. The big boy underpants have been purchased, extra pairs of pants have been purchased, so we don't have to do loads of laundry EVERY day. This will add a little extra stress to the weekend, but he is ready and so are we.

On balance, life is fine. Compared to some people's lives, it is down right fabulous with extra sparkly unicorns and rainbows. A friend of mine had to help get her mother enrolled in an inpatient rehab program Monday. Her mother is 80 years old, a chain smoker and anorexic with COPD on top of being an alcoholic. This will either add 10 years to her life or kill her. But my friends' father, also 80, finally reached the limit. He had picked his wife up off the floor three times on Sunday, and announced he just can't do it anymore. So Monday brought an intervention moment, and then they went to one of the hospitals in Boston which offers inpatient rehab services for seniors.

And then there is Anissa Mayhew. I didn't know anything about this woman, a blogger of apparently extraordinary talent and humor, and who is considered a force of nature by those who know her. She suffered a massive stroke this weekend, for the second time in her life. She has a husband and three children, one of whom had and defeated cancer. She has certainly faced her share of turmoil and difficulty in her life and continues to fight for her life.

I am pretty sure that my life is GREAT. Every time I begin to feel a little bit sorry for myself, the universe manages to put things in perspective for me. It doesn't mean the things I am facing are unimportant, they just aren't worth wallowing or consuming my own body weight in pasta over.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thankfulness...A life in review

This week the photo challenge at the Women's Colony is Things We are Thankful For. Or Things for Which We are Thankful, if you want to get picky. The full list of participating blogs will appear tomorrow at the WC. Check them out!

Here is my contribution (some of these pictures have appeared on this blog before, but they represent the best of what I am thankful for):

My father's photography

Friends to ride a train with in Maine

Silent snow in the woods

Grandparents who will still dress up for Halloween

Friends to get silly with



My brother and his lovely family

A dad and son being good friends and enriching my life beyond measure.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

WMD's (Weapons of Mouse Destruction)

AGH. I just posted nothing but a title. I got all trigger happy.

On to my story. So. We had a mouse. At least one. I was in the basement working out at 5:30am one morning this past week, and out of the corner of my eye I saw this little scurrying flurry of fur. Sure enough, there was a little mouse, running around the top of the foundation and up into the wall. GAHHH. So that day the Bob went off to Home Despot, and bought

The Weapons of Mouse Destruction.

We put glue pads under the stove. We put glue pads on the top of the foundation in the basement. But most importantly, we implemented the Zapper. As cruel as it sounds, it is a Skinner box on steroids. It lures the mouse in and zaps it dead. I am still trying to avoid poison, since we have dogs who are not the brightest, and a three year old.

I tried to set the old school snapper mouse traps. To say I nearly lost several fingers is an understatement. I do not know how you are supposed to set those. They are SUPER sensitive. I might have PTSD now from them snapping and leaping from my hands as they tried to remove my fingers. I see them in my sleep, snapping at me in all their peanut butter smeared glory. I gave up before I was injured. I am pretty sure there was at least one mouse sitting around watching me and laughing.

Anyway, for the last week we have been watching and waiting. No meeces on the glue pads. No meeces in the Zapper. And then today I went down to start a mosaic project, and decided to check the Zapper, and ladies and gentleman, we have a winner. One little dead mouse. There was a moment of silence, a prayer to the mouse god, and then into the trash he/she went.

It has been reloaded with peanut butter and put back in place. If there are more mice, they will be caught and destroyed. Of course all of this could be avoided if they just stayed out of my house.

WMD's (Weapons of Mouse Destruction)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Her name was Lauren

More years ago than I want to count (probably around 15) a friend of mine died from breast cancer. She fought a good fight, but ultimately it attacked her lungs, bones and eventually her liver, destroying her one organ at a time.

I knew her because she was a college counselor at the community college where I began my financial aid career after I finished grad school. She was funny, intelligent and one of the most graceful people I have ever known. When I was fussing over a stupid man who was treating me badly, in the midst of her own pain and frustration from dealing with cancer, she looked at me and said "Life is too short to waste time on people who don't appreciate you." Flat out the BEST words of wisdom I have ever received.

She found the lump herself during a self exam. She went to her doctor who looked at a 6 month old mammogram and said it was nothing to worry about. She didn't like that answer, but it took her another month to get anyone to listen to her and do a new mammogram. By that time she was stage 4.

She was 42 years old when she died. She left behind a husband and one son, and countless friends, coworkers and students who were blessed to have known her, worked with her, loved and been loved by her.

Gross negligence.

Those are the words and phrases I think when I consider the latest word from the powers that be regarding the latest recommendations for how often, and at what age women should now get regular mammograms. When I consider they say that self breast exams don't do anything.

Lauren found the lump herself, but was then delayed in getting treatment by incompetent doctors. I don't know that she would have lived if she had been treated right out of the gate, as soon as she brought the lump to someone's attention, but it certainly could not have hurt her chances for life.

I believe with all of my being that this latest announcement has nothing to do with real science, and everything to do with the health care and insurance industry trying to find ways to save money. I feel that there are entities in this world that are willing to put women's lives at risk, to save a dollar. We should not accept this at all. We should not be willing to die unnecessarily because someone wants to make a profit.

I don't know what the end result of these new recommendations will be, but if women die, because they don't get diagnosed early enough, or at all, then what will we do? What will we call it?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bill Belichick owes me an apology

In case you are the one person in the northern hemisphere who doesn't know, the New England Patriots lost last night to the Colts.

The game was on a little later than usual, so Bob recorded it rather than stay up to watch it. Which means it wasn't until this morning that he watched the Patriots lose a 13 point lead, watched the coach, Bill Belichick make a really bad call that involved 2 yards to first down, 70 yards to a touch down blahblahblah end of story: the Patriots lost the game.

I don't really care who lost the game. I like watching football, I even like rooting for a particular team, and usually that is the Patriots. But I really, ultimately don't care who wins. What I do really care about is that after watching this apparently bone headed move, and subsequent loss, Bob was in a BAD MOOD.

I was upstairs getting Cooper up for the day, when I heard "That was a dumb flibflabbing call!!!" and then a few minutes later Bob stomped up the stairs to recount the sordid details. Then he proceeded to be in a bad mood for the rest of the morning. Snappish one might say. Short of temper. Grumpy.

I found out via Facebook that this was not an uncommon response to last nights' game. Some people had a hard time sleeping. I wondered if that would have been a better alternative to being grumpyassed in the morning.

In any event, everyone seems unified in placing the blame squarely with the Patriots coach, Bill Belichick. So I guess he owes EVERYONE an apology. That or free tickets to a home game.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three years of change and blessings

You came into our lives three years ago today, quite unexpectedly and two months early. I never expected to be someone's mother. I never really WANTED to be someone's mom. But the universe had a different idea about how my life would go. So approximately 6 months after marrying your father, I found myself pregnant. From that moment on there was really no looking back.

Since the day you were born you have been reminding me of how much love I have to give. You have been reminding me how much joy there is in this life. You have been challenging me to think about life in a different way. You have been reminding me how big the world is, and how everything is new and even the little things can be massively exciting. There is so much fun in hunting for earthworms in the back yard. You love anything I draw for you, even managing to recognize that I drew you a cow or a cat or a dinosaur. You don't care how well I draw, you are just happy I am drawing for you. You challenge me to find new ways of playing with blocks or toys even if they are totally not the way anyone who made the toy meant for them to be played with.

You also manage to frustrate and aggravate me in ways that make me crazy. If anyone else in my life pushed those buttons that way, I would want to walk away from them and not engage with them again. But that is not a choice I have with you. You are my responsibility, and you are my joy. I have to find a way to respond to that frustration and yes, sometimes anger, in a way that educates you on how to do things differently, without scaring you or hurting you. And in the effort of doing that, I have learned more about myself, and it has made me a better person in other parts of my life. I think I listen better to people at work, and I am better at thinking of different ways to solve a problem because of living my life on a daily basis with you.

You have grown into such a beautiful, funny and engaging little person. I am so happy and blessed to be part of this ride and I am excited to see where it goes from here. I hope your father and I manage to be the best parents we can be for you, and that we don't do anything too horrific or humiliating in your lifetime. Although I cannot promise that I won't wear silly costumes or sing silly songs in public, because I have before and I will again. There is always a price to pay for having parents, I just hope your price is one you can look back on some day and laugh.

I love you Cooper. Happy Birthday my sweet boy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thank you

It took me 39 years, one failed marriage and many many many attempts at other relationships to get to you. Once upon a time I had someone tell me that based on my lifeline on my palm, I would have to go through many relationships before I found the one that would last, and I guess they were right.

I wonder if I could go back and tell my younger self, the one who felt lonely when she had no one special in her life, or the one that cried for two weeks when that particular boyfriend broke up with her in her mid twenties that it just didn't matter, because the right guy was down the road a bit and totally worth the wait, would I tell her those things? Maybe the fact that she experienced that loneliness and pain and still survived to see another day and to hope for more in a relationship is what helped form me into the person I was when I met you. The one that was ready for a mature, healthy and non-angstfilled relationship. And would the younger me even care what the current me would have to say? Does youth ever listen to the voice of maturity?

I am so grateful I met you, and so grateful that when we met we were both in the same place in our lives. We were both done with marriages that hadn't worked out, both ready for each other. I had resisted going onto for months. Friends of mine had been on and experienced various levels of success and were encouraging me to try it out. I had to wait until I was ready. I had been fine being alone at first, because that was so much better than living daily with someone who had been so unhappy. Eventually I was ready to venture forth, and whether it was just coicedence or cosmic destiny, it was just the right time to be out there and catch your attention. All I had hoped for was a decent first date. I never expected to find a soulmate, but that is exactly what happened.

Thank you for picking me and contacting me via Match. Thank you for being a loving husband and caring father to our son. Thank you for always walking the dogs. I know our life has taken a few turns we didn't expect, but you have been there, supportive and loving and making me laugh the whole way.

Happy Anniversary Bob.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A study in green

Over at the Women's Colony this week the photo challenge is Green.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Building a better mousetrap...

Yes, today started out with finding a mouse in my kitchen. It is not the first time we have had a mouse, and we usually go for long stretches in between sightings/catching and destroying them. The first time was when my parents were house/dog sitting for us while we were on our honeymoon. I came home to my mother informing me that one was dead in a mousetrap in the basement and she had left it there for me. House sitting duties do only extend so far.

Then I found mouse turds on my counters almost two years ago, and by then Cooper was in our lives, so we called the exterminator, who gave us those glue pads that are not poisonous but smell to die for (HA, get it?) if you are a mouse and they get stuck to them. We slid it under the stove where we believe the point of access is, and lo and behold, the next morning we had a mouse stuck to the pad. I put the whole thing in a bag, konked the mouse on the head with a heavy object, after apologizing to him/her and explaining that we would not have come to this juncture had he/she just stayed outside. Like John Cusack's character in Grosse Pointe Blank explaining that if you find him at your door (he was a hit man) it was because of something you did.

Last week we were sitting around in the evening, when all of a sudden the Schnauzers launched themselves off the couch from a dead sleep, dashed into the kitchen, then into the dining room in a mad, snarling frenzy. They were quite obviously chasing something but we never found what it was. So I took another sticky pad and put it under the stove. Days passed, no mouse, so I forgot about it. Until the morning, when Bob interrupted me while I was working out in the basement. The pad was moving, and there was a mouse attached to it. No, he was not touching it. Oh my brave hunter. I went upstairs, put the mouse and pad in a bag, and out to the garbage. After, of course, the obligatory apology and explanation of how this particular path he/she chose was his or her undoing.

But this post was really supposed to be a rant about bras. Brassieres. Over the shoulder boulder holders. I hate them. They are a necessary evil, since I am "blessed" and the ladies are very much in a different location than they were pre-Cooper. One of the joys of bearing children, regardless of age, is that your boobs look GREAT during the first two trimesters, then take on National Geographic proportions during the final trimester and during the nursing phase, if you go that route. But once weaning has taken place, there is deflation. And sagging. Nothing is where you had left it before the blessed experience of motherhood.

I am in need of new undergarments. Specifically, I need a nude colored, seamless bra that will make the girls look fabulous in the dress I have to wear in my friends' wedding. So I went to Macy's looking for a new beige bra. Do you know how many beige bras there are at Macy's? 765. WHY do we need that many choices??? And whoever, whomever, whatever, thought that lace on the booby was a good idea OBVIOUSLY never wears a bra. One word: ITCHY. And this is not a place one needs to be itchy. Itchy = CRANKY. Same with seams that cut across the front of the cup. Just stop the madness.

My foray into seeking a new bra has led me to the conclusion that I need to go for a fitting. An honest to goodness "measure me and tell me what size I really am" analysis. Because most days I end up pulling at the bra, the straps are always slipping down, I am being poked by underwires and even without lace by the end of the day the synthetic fiber is making me sweat and itch. That is SOOO attractive, isn't it.

I would like someone to build a better bra. One that doesn't bind, poke, itch or make me sweat and puts things in the general vacinity of their former glory. Is that too much to ask? If anyone out there has a recommendation of a really well built bra, do let me know.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How many licks does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Pop?

I don't know, but Cooper managed to get to the center of his Tootsie Pop last night after a successful first time out Trick or Treating, without biting into the pop part. He has suddenly becomed enamored of lollipops, which - YAY he is eating something new - but could he have picked something less sticky? Once at the middle of the pop, he looked suspiciously at the tootsie roll center, poked at it with his finger and handed it to me. I asked if he was done and he was all "UH, YES."

But back to his first Trick or Treating outing. At the first house he was not sure exactly what we were doing, then he realized people were GIVING OUT CANDY. From that point on he could not get to the door fast enough. He would say "Trick or Treat" grab a piece of candy, say "Thank you" and sometimes "Happy Halloween" and then turn and yell "NEXT HOUSE!!" It took all of my energy and concentration to keep him from hurtling off of top steps and curbs without looking.

One of the houses in our neighborhood goes all out with the spooky decorations. I thought he might find it too scary, but Cooper either gets that it is fake, or he just doesn't know what he is looking at, but when we got to this house, he said "Oooooo, scary" and then made "oooooo, oooooooo, ooooooooooooo" sounds while walking up to the door. He was decidedly NOT scared.

This is the display that was in the garage. Because I used a flash it is not as spooky as it was in person.

And yes, that is a plastic shopping bag Cooper is using for his candy. I have a soft pumpkin bag SOMEWHERE in this house for him that I bought last year, and now cannot find. It is probably in the attic. The good news, he did not care at all he was using a plastic bag.