Tag Archives: potty training

Radio Silent

26 Aug

Whine: I feel a little guilty. I should be rustling up some grub for my posse instead of writing.

Cheese: They’re not going to eat it anyway (we’re having fish). See? It’s magic. The guilt is gone.

I am not unaware that my most regular posting streak has been interrupted by a most unfortunate lapse in any and all communications. If I were a spy (which I totally am in my fantasy life) and my blog were a sat-phone, the last few weeks would be what we spies call “radio silent.” Which is a tactic by which a super-smart (and ridiculously good looking) spy decides to throw her enemies off the trail by no longer communicating with command central. Which is totally why you haven’t heard from me in such a long time.

While I’ve been out thwarting dastardly plans for world domination, life in my house seems to march on. Brother Bear continues his improbable growth spurt. 28+ inches at his four-month checkup. Which explains his ongoing need to wake me in the night. Last night’s hourly awakening being no exception. Except the night before, he slept all night. Which just goes to show you that he is quite clever, because he knows that changing up his attack each night will be the quickest route to insanity for me and therefore I will be pathetic and defenseless and prone to feeding him whenever he makes even a tiny peep. And yes, I am complaining about him sleeping through the night. Hate me if you must; it is very hard to save the world when you are sleeping in 1-hour increments, although it never seemed to bother Sydney Bristow.

Apparently all this world-saving has me neglecting proper nutritional education, as Lil’ Sis just pulled a lime half out of my drink and said “I love cherry limes” right before giving it a big lick. Yes, she thinks they are called cherry limes, since she only ever sees them at the bottom of my 44oz styrofoam cup.

Another byproduct of my super-awesome alter-ego is that there is quite a heap of big news to share, but I’ve been too busy kicking bottom and taking names (this is a g-rated blog after all) to share it.  So here are three of the biggest news items, in no particular order.

1) I have a job. It pays.

2) I have a ‘new’ vehicle. It does not require that the three car seats be stuffed end to end in the back seat.

3) Lil’ Sis is 95% potty trained. Goodbye Pull-Ups.

Both item #1 and #2 seemed to drop out of the sky and into my lap. #3 is as big surprise to me as it is to you.

The job is very part time. It is for my church, working with the elementary kids’ program. And every day is Bring Your Brother Bear To Work Day. Which is especially awesome, as I sit through a planning meeting with Slurps/Burps McGee attached to me. But it works for us, and I (ahem) LOVE my new boss.

The vehicle is new to us. It’s a minivan and it used to belong to some very generous people who also happen to be closely related to me. (In other words, my parents got sick of watching us cram their precious grandkids into the back of a sedan and gave us their car.) It is so much easier to get from Point A to Point B without having everyone have to hold their breath just to fit in the back seat. Also, the lock has a clicker. Which I realize is soooo 2001, but my old car didn’t have one, so I’m just saying it’s nice since I usually end up trying to unlock my car looking like a pack mule and/or bag lady (it’s one of my undercover disguises, you know).

And Lil’ Sis has just decided to make my life easier. At least in the bodily fluids department. I still clean up messes from time to time, but she has pretty much single-handedly potty trained herself. And for that, she will get a car when she is 16. (The minivan will still be running then, right?)

We have been jetsetting and swimming and living it up this summer, and I sure hope I eventually get a post out of that excruciating day of travel (only one excruciating day of travel? surely you jest.), but first we have to go on one last road trip because the all the other ones we just finished weren’t enough. And also because fantasy football drafts are just better when you’ve driven 8++ hours each way over a long weekend to do them. Heh.

My name is Aaron and I like to boogie. At 5 AM.

We got free hamburgers for dressing like this. So there.

A picture of my uber-blonde alter ego. But shhhhh, don't blow my cover.

Laugh Track

28 Jun

Whine: I just finished my yearly summer gig (It pays! Can you believe it??). Which means that the two weeks I spent waking the kids up and shipping them off to various babysitters was just enough to train their little bodies to be up and at ’em right at 6:15am. I like money as much as the next gal, but I’m not sure it was worth if they keep this up.

Cheese: You get a whole lot done when you start your day before Matt Lauer has even had his coffee.

Did you ever see the episode of [insert name of favorite sitcom] where [insert name of male character] had two dates in one night? Somehow this lovable goofball [I’m imagining Kirk Cameron as a young Mike Seaver here, although my extensive archival research did not produce evidence of said Growing Pains episode] had managed to get himself in quite a pickle, with one lovely girl waiting for him at the table of the Italian restaurant and the other standing by the punch table at the school dance. The camera cuts to Mike Seaver [or whoever] changing his tie and pocket square as he runs back and forth between venues, trying to call the right girl by the right name, often with the assistance of [insert name of awkward yet loyal best friend].

I always hated the two-dates-in-one-night episode. First, because I really hate tension. And what’s more tense than two angry girls in 80s shoulder pad dresses sparring over the adorable yet slightly-chagrined leading man? But I also hated those episodes because they were just. so. unrealistic. Nobody pulls off being in two places at once. Ever. Not even for the thirty (twenty-two without commercials) minutes of a sitcom. But apparently the live studio audience always bought it hook, line and sinker because they laughed with every close call and pratfall.

I live my life now trapped in a sitcom cliche.

Except for instead of two dates in one night, I’ve got three kids and one me. I run back and forth from room to room, putting out fires. Some are figurative.  Big Sis is in my bed in timeout for dishing out some unauthorized Swift Justice on Lil’ Sis. I turn on World Cup Soccer just to make the consequences that much more severe. I call it punishment by vuvuzela*. Lil’ Sis is sitting in the empty bathtub waiting for me to finish cleaning up the “oops I forgot I don’t wear diapers anymore” spot from the hall rug and come hose her down. All the while, Brother Bear lays screaming  in his bed as if his toenails are being ripped off by a hungry troll. Which is only partly true; I fed the troll this morning.

Scenes like this litter the sitcom of my life. Running back and forth, trying to remember whose name is whose and where exactly I was going in the first place and why there’s a bag of cheese under the pile of unopened mail. Except there’s no laugh track. And all the time I spend cleaning up bodily fluids in real life would be conveniently edited into a thirty-second montage complete with quirky background music. Good grief what I wouldn’t give for some quirky background music. The laugh track I can live without because cleaning up pee is never as funny in the moment.

But give it a couple of hours (days if it’s a really bad one) and I have edited the whole thing in my head down to what it really was, just a sliver of time in my twenty-two minute episode (I get NO commercial breaks around here) where I lost the numbers game (Kids 3, Mom 0) , sandwiched between the ubiquitous moments of character building and requisite sappy ending. Then I bring it you, my live studio audience, and we can all have a good laugh. I hope.

Mr. Dad reading to his live studio audience.

*Vuvuzela, in case your household calendar does not orbit the local/international sports schedule as mine does, is the sound of thousands of atonal horns being blown without skill like the droning of a stadium filled with tone-deaf bees. Also known as the South African fans at the World Cup. Trust me, it’s torture.


Oh, Canada: Guest Post by Rachelle

19 May

Whine: How may Canadians does it take to clear an overpriced package of diapers through customs? Too many.

Cheese: Somehow Lizzie Rabbit (my two-year old) understood just how imperative it was that she use the potty chair this week.

So I’m just back from Canada, eh.

I followed my loving husband (aka Go Daddy, due to his uncanny resemblance to the Energizer Bunny) here on a business trip.  It all went surprisingly well. At first.  The girls and I spent a relaxing day at the park and the art museum, followed by naps just before Go Daddy arrived back at the hotel after a long day of meetings. (He’s partly responsible for that ominous sounding “One World Alliance.”)

Once Go Daddy finished with his business making alliances with the world, he was itching to get out and do something (hence his name). So we gathered our two little darlings (two years old and 3 months old) and headed to the aquarium.  We took a cab there no problem. Unfortunately, after a loooooong day of smudging up the glass trying to get to the fishies, we discovered, much to our dismay, it was not quite so easy to get one back to the hotel.

So we walked back. Four miles. During nap time. It was all I could do not to join in the yelling and screaming that was coming from the exhausted kiddos. We finally arrived back only to have Go Daddy decide that we should take a water taxi to the nearby island for dinner.  After a surprisingly pleasant dinner, we got home around 11pm. Pacific time, my friends.  I only tell you this to let you know how tired we were before things got really ugly.

The next day we went through customs to our standby flight, taking care to mark our bags properly, crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s. Well, two cancelled flights later we were still in Canada and the bags were on their way home — wait for it — with the diapers. We went back through customs to another hotel and began to seriously dig into our resources.  “Lizzie Rabbit you must only use the potty from here on out”  “Tiny Tura,  no pooping, okay?”  We all ended up in various states of nudity because that’s all we had left.  But, you know, it’s Canada, so it was alright, right?

Once we handwashed a few items and made it to the airport I had to walk aboot a kilometer to the domestic terminal to the only pharmacy in the whole airport, only to find out it was closed on Sundays. Then I found a 7-11 nearby sure they would have diapers becaise I saw them there when I was desperately searching for wipes earlier in the week.  By the way, homemade wipes are awful, or at least I am not very good at it.  Well, irony of ironies, this 7-11 had lots of wipes, but no diapers. Of course.

I finally prayed, literally, for a miracle.  I randomly stopped in a magazine stand to cheer myself up with something trashy to read (there’s no therapy quite like that of Star! Magazine), and low and behold- diapers!   “Yay!”  I actually yelled that, out loud, and the cashier said “Congratulations, that’s our last pack.”  We finally did make it on the plane, but we had a very hard time trying to explain to the customs officials why we had no luggage and only a bag of diapers to our name.

Rachelle is married to Go Daddy (who is Mr. Dad’s “little” brother) and a very full-time mother to two little darlings. She spends her “free time” rearranging the eye shadows in her Caboodle and would love to work as a frappuccino tester for Starbucks when she grows up.


Through the Looking Glass

6 May

Whine: I am living in the Poop Years. Every day I clean up poop. Off bottoms, out of clothes, off the floor of the public restroom stall. Some sweet day I will look around and realize that I have not cleaned up anybody’s business all day long, and that will be a very good day. But for now I arm myself with Resolve carpet cleaner and lots and lots of SoftSoap.

Cheese: Angsty teens doing melodramatic ballet to my favorite 80s uber-cheesy love ballad? Yes, please.

Yesterday it happened. I have always wondered when the day would come when one of my kids would figure out that they could turn the deadbolt and lock me out of my own house.

Well, yesterday was that day.

I unloaded Lil’ Sis from the car, unlocked the front door, tossed my keys down, and turned to retrieve Brother Bear from the car.  Then I turned to discover Lil’ Sis smiling at me from the other side of my front door glass. I tried the handle. Nothing. I banged on the door and shouted encouragingly for Lil’ Sis to turn the lock and she made a few feeble attempts. Nothing.

Then my little imp, who looked concerned about the situation for all of one nanosecond, turned tail and wandered off to explore the empty house Home Alone-style. I watched helplessly from the driveway as she toddled over to the table, still replete with unwashed breakfast dishes. My cries of horror went unheeded as she reached up to take a big drink of the milk that had been sitting out since breakfast.

I frantically called Mr. Dad who suggested I try the windows and see if any were unlocked. I was glad when there weren’t any, as we all know how it goes when I try the window approach to home entry. By that time Lil’ Sis had wandered back to smile and wave at me through the double-paned glass of the front door. Then she ran off to the far reaches of the house, probably to scald herself with hot water or pull bookshelves on top of herself.

No, of course I didn’t panic or freak out or think about calling 9-1-1.  Ok, maybe I did. But then I moved on to more productive behavior. I managed my internal near-hysteria by doing the following:

1) Thanking GOD that Brother Bear was not locked inside with his doting older sister, who would surely have suffocated him with kisses and hugs and pillows or bitten his toes off (she actually tried that the other day).

2) Running through all of the possible window-breaking scenarios to see which one would be least likely to cost me lots of pain and/or money.

3) Thinking what a HILARIOUS blog post this would make once I got Lil’ Sis out of there without drinking all my household cleaners or cutting her own hair.

4) Praying.

And miraculously, after I rang the doorbell about seven hundred times, Lil’ Sis walked back over and turned that lock.

I pushed open the door and scooped up that little sweetie, repeating over and over what a good job she did and how much I loved her as I squeezed her as hard as I could. Then I gave her guardian angel the rest of the day off. Heaven knows he needed it.

Home Alone 4: Revenge of Lil' Sis

Dear Whine and Cheese

22 Apr

Whine: Today I made the mistake of buying the sisters each a butterfly net. Then, once I got the nets off their heads (and mine, once) I spent the better part of my afternoon bug hunting with the girls. And by “with the girls” I mean me digging through the dirt with a stick and picking up worms with my bare hands while they called out encouragingly from the safety of the swingset. 

Cheese: I got a “Bravo!” and a “Take a bow!” and even a “You’re an expert, Mom!” Man, if I’d known worms would make me so popular, I would have bought a worm farm a long time ago.

So NOT my idea.

Many of you out there are wondering just exactly what it takes to survive as a multi-child mom. I’m no octo-mom, but being home alone all day with three little urchins requires some creativity, and I’m happy to answer your burning questions. (Actually, if they’re burning, you should probably see your doctor.)

Dear Whine and Cheese,

Since having my baby a month ago I haven’t figured out how moms actually eat. Doesn’t my baby realize that if I don’t eat, neither does he?

Sincerely,

About to Eat my Own Arm

Dear, um, Hungry,

You’ve asked the central question of motherhood. Whether you are struggling to eat because your jelly-bean-sized fetus is rejecting all nourishment or because every time you get some food multiple someones are a)crying, yelling and hollering or b)climbing on top of you trying to get a bite, you’ve got to figure out how to eat, lest the very underpinnings of our civilization (i.e., happy mommas) crumble and fall apart.

That being said, here are a few tips for avoiding the low blood sugar meltdown:

1) While you sit in your car to nurse the baby who screamed through all twenty-four aisles of the grocery store to the pitying (judgmental?) glances of midday shoppers, scrounge around through the jumble of bags until you stumble upon something edible, like a bagel or a candy bar or a few of both. Wash them down with a warm Diet Coke or the cup of day-old water that has hints of dog hair floating around in it. I’d go with the Diet Coke if I were you.

2) When a lovely, kind and compassionate person brings dinner for your family, immediately serve yourself a plate, shoot your husband and kids The Death Look and run to your bedroom. Enjoy your feast while you sit on the floor and watch the reruns of Hoarders on A&E, because at least someone’s living room looks worse than yours.

3)  Two words: Drive Thru. Because they can’t get to you — or your food — if they’re strapped into their car seats.

I hope this helps you retain all your appendages, for this week at least.

Yours Truly,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I’m now a mother of three. How on earth am I supposed to leave the house, let alone grocery shop?

Sincerely,

Old Mother Hubbard

Dear Mother Hubbard,

When grocery shopping it is important to remember a few things: your grocery list, your coupons (all expired, of course), and a few giant lollipops. Don’t hesitate to utilize the XXL-sized Racecar shopping cart. Just be warned that you will need to complete a driver safety course in order to maneuver the cart without knocking over the cardboard display filled with sample-sized bottles of Irish Spring bodywash that not one of those pitying midday shoppers will help you pick up. Also know that despite the ungainly size of the cart, no actual groceries will fit inside without a delicate house-of-cards-like arrangement. By the time you reach the check-out your chips will be totally crumbled and the labels will be ripped off all your boxes of cereal, but at least you’ll have food to rummage through when you’re stranded in a parking lot feeding The Hungriest Baby Who Ever Lived.

Yours Truly,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I’m thinking of having children. Should I have noise-reducing headphones surgically attached to my ears?

Sincerely,

La, La, La, I Can’t Hear You

Dear La La,

You pose a fascinating question. Certainly the sounds of early childhood can be overwhelming. The crying in the night when you just barely just fell asleep. The shouts of “she’stouchingmeWAAAHH” from the back seat. The disturbingly loud and metallic crinkle of the new biodegradable chip bag (seriously, SO loud!). The dollar store cd of kids’ songs whose squeaky fast-forward sound makes you wonder if when recording a cd for the dollar store you pay for the recording studio by the minute.

But if you were to muffle all the cries, shouts, crinkles and squeaks, you’d also be muffling the sound of the tiny sweet baby stretching and yawning next to you. And you might miss out on hearing your six favorite words: “Mom, I have to go potty.” (Even if it is a false alarm.) And when you’re up to your wrists in worm slime, you might need your ears free to hear the encouragement of your biggest fan.

So, La La, I wouldn’t attach the headphones, but I’d sure keep ’em handy for roadtrips. Or trips to the grocery store. It’s hard to push a huge grocery cart with your fingers stuffed in your ears.  

Yours Truly,

Whine and Cheese

The Sisterhood of Wearing No Pants

26 Feb

Whine: I went from a deep, dreamy sleep to being jolted wide awake in an instant this morning. I’d forgotten all about the joys of pregnancy charlie horses. I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to move my leg, as it had decided to freeze itself mid-spasm, right at the peak of the pain.

Cheese: Thankfully, Mr. Dad wakes up a lot less crabby and a lot more coherent than I do and showed that charlie horse who’s boss.

In the weeks and days before the arrival of Lil’ Sis, there was much anticipation. Big Sis was excited to meet her new little sister. Excitement turned to awe when she met that squirmy little red-haired baby. But the awe quickly faded to disinterest when she realized that babies don’t do anything. I distinctly remember the disappointment in her voice one day when she said, “(Audible sigh) She’s asleep, again??”

But the disinterest turned into irritation the minute Lil’ Sis got mobile. Her only objective, it seemed, was to be in Big Sis’ space and destroy whatever it was she was building. I spent the better part of a year encouraging one sister to acknowledge the other’s existence and schooling the other on the concept of personal space.

And then one day, it happened.

I looked over from my perch on the couch to see them playing. In the same vicinity. Almost together. I held my breath, afraid that any sudden movement on my part would break the spell and I would be back to officiating another round of NO! That’s My Most Valued Piece of Carpet Fuzz and You Can’t Have It!

As the days and weeks passed, I noticed more and more of this erratic, illogical behavior. Instead of 100% fighting, 0% cooperation, they had moved on to 99.9% fighting and 0.1% cooperation. I was ecstatic.

You can imagine my shock this morning to walk into the bathroom and see two kids with no pants on. At first I was truly alarmed. But once my heart rate slowed, I realized that Big Sis had not only used the bathroom herself, but had assisted Lil’ Sis in removing her Pull-Up and using the potty chair. AND THEN she was emptying the potty chair and rinsing it out without making a mess. Talk about heart failure.

In that moment, I saw family. Big Sis doing what big sisters are made to do and lending her Lil’ Sis a hand. Teaching her the ways of the potty. Being kind and gentle and encouraging without having a glaring mother forcing her to do so.

Just a few minutes later, Big Sis had been banished to timeout for refusing to share her toys and for yelling at her sister. Incidentally, as I was trying to explain to her why she had been disciplined, she turned around on the chair and mooned me. I suppose Big Sis should have been a child of the 70s, using civil disobedience (and nudity) to fight The Man. Well, I am The Man. With difficulty, I suppressed my grin and swatted that bare little bottom. (FGTKY anyone?)

So Big Sis sat in timeout, sulking and pondering the injustice of having to share her toys. And what do you know? Lil’ Sis wandered over and started offering toys. The next thing I know, they were snuggling in the chair together playing and chatting like best buds. 

In that moment, I saw grace. Even though Lil’ Sis had just moments earlier been the victim of Big Sis’ maniacal tirade, she has a short memory for that sort of thing. And in the end, she likes her Big Sis so much, she’s willing to put up with some ugly parts to get to the good stuff. Stuff like jumping on the furniture together, making a two-headed ghost out of what is supposed to be fabric for the baby’s quilt, and, most importantly, ganging up on Mommy.

Moments like these give me hope that my girls will grow up and be friends. Not just the kind of friends who share jeans (although noone around here seems to like wearing pants, so that may be a non-issue) and lip gloss, but the kind of friends who hang out on the porch swing and talk, just because they want to. The kind who jump in and lend a hand when their sister needs help. And who have short memories for petty arguments and bring peace offerings to heal the wounds of battle.

Speaking of battles, I’d better go. I think the now one-headed ghost is terrorizing her other half, who is running for her life.

Proof of the 0.1%.

Freaky Friday

16 Feb

Whine: Curse Sonic and their “Limited Time Only” ploy. I was on the verge of making a good decision and settling for a half-price Diet Coke. But then I realized that if I didn’t get the chocolate cherry shake today, I don’t know when I’d get another chance. Limited Time Only, my foot. I fall for it every time.

Cheese: The reason we were at Sonic in the first place is because Lil’ Sis used the potty chair. AT PRESCHOOL. Are you kidding me? What kind of alternate universe is this??? I don’t know, but I think I’ll stay a while. I like it here, it’s very clean and dry.

Speaking of alternate universes, I suppose it’s time to for me to hop on the bandwagon and post my “holy-cow-we’ve-never-seen-this-much-snow pictures.” Let me just say, I grew up in the frozen tundra of the midwest and I know my way around a snowbank, so last Friday was not the first time I’d seen a large amount of snow. But I’ve lived in Texas for almost twenty years now and have got to say that for us that snow was EPIC.

Now I know that while the more southern states were freaking out and cancelling school, the true northerners were probably feeling quite Snowlier Than Thou. My Uncle Dave defines this as “the attitude exhibited by persons of Northern descent towards those that are more snow-challenged after any snowstorm, whether it is one inch or three feet. Usually accompanied by eye-rolling and mocking laughter.” Don’t deny it, yous guys, you know you were.

But I sure didn’t care who was rolling their eyes or laughing, I got to play with my kids in the snow!! I have such fond memories of sledding and skiing and building snowmen and eating snow (the white stuff only), and I felt such joy at getting to let them in on what winter is actually like.

Until it was time to get ready to go outside.

First, I made sure everyone had gone potty. Those layers are a beast to peel off in case of a tinkle emergency. Then I put three layers of pants on each person, me included, which ensured that I looked like a whale who was seriously off course. Then we went for the coats, hats, gloves, scarves, etc. Which left all of us in pretty good shape. Except for the feet. Noone in Texas owns snow boots. We hardly have close-toed shoes let alone waterproof boots. I was tempted to cover the kids’ feet in plastic bags, but the fact that we’d already spent 30 minutes bundling up won out and we headed out with our inadequate footwear.

The "before" shot. You can tell because noone is crying yet.

My first order of business was to teach the girls about snow angels before the snowy yard became covered in tiny footprints. I showed them how you carefully plop down on your bottom. Then you lean back and swoosh your arms and legs across the snow. And then you gingerly get up so as not to disturb your angelic silhouette. Except I forgot to factor in one tiny detail.

I am eight months pregnant.

So there I am lying face up in a heap of snow, stuck on my back like a very unfortunate and bloated turtle. My kids are not too compassionate, mostly they are laughing at me flailing around in my eight layers of clothing as I try to return to an upright position. Forget not disturbing the angelic silhouette. I just needed to get up. I finally rolled over onto my knees and hoofed myself up, but not before making a note to myself about who should and should not do snow angels.

At that point Big Sis had taken enough direction on how to enjoy the snow and proceeded to spend the next thirty minutes engineering a snowman. Lil’ Sis spent the same 30 minutes whining, fretting  and crying. Girlfriend does not like to be cold. She finally stopped fussing and found a suitable activity. Walking next to the curb, dragging her feet through the three inches of slush. In her mary janes. Whatever.

Looks like fun, doesn't it?

Two jolly, happy souls.

The next day was even better though. First, because we got a bunch more snow. And second, cause Mr. Dad had the morning off. So we went through our layering ritual, stuffed the fluffy children into their carseats and headed to a nearby school. Then we went sledding.

What do a plastic swimming pool, a tabletop, a garbage bag and a laundry basket have in common?

Yep, you’re right. They double for a sled when you are in a pinch. We slid down that tiny hill about a hundred times. I’m not sure who had the most fun, although I can guarantee you it wasn’t Lil’ Sis, who again spent most of her outdoor time railing against the cruelty of Old Man Winter.  I feel sorry for that girl if she ever has to live where forty degrees is a mild winter. And as luck would have it, she’ll probably marry a Canadian.

But Mr. Dad and I had a blast sledding down that hill long after Big Sis lost interest. I felt a tad foolish, a grown woman who couldn’t even use her kids as an excuse for sledding down that hill again, cause one was off crying and the other building yet another snow man. But hey, we get this much snow down here once every lifetime, so I was not going to let feeling sheepish stand in my way. Even when I fell off the sled at the bottom and couldn’t get up.

Lil' Sis did not find this amusing.

By Saturday most of the snow had melted, we had used our annual bundle of firewood and the heavy coats and scarves had been returned to the back corner of the closet. And I was glad. I used to think I missed the snow. But now I know the truth: two days a year of the stuff is plenty for me. If I need more than that I’ll book a flight to Canada.

It’s the Little Things

2 Feb

Whine: Had an unfortunate “streaking” experience today at church. Meaning that Big Sis took herself to the restroom (All! By! Herself!) and when she needed assistance, came running out of the restroom and across the foyer (did I mention that the “foyer” is a big open space covered with glass windows that face directly into the parking lot?) with her pants closer to her knees than to her bottom. Luckily almost everyone had cleared out before the “full moon” appeared.

Cheese: Didn’t you read the last paragraph? She went to the restroom all by herself, well, almost. I’ll take that (with or without the full moon) any day of the week.

I am a housewife. A stay-at-home-mom. A domestic engineer, if you will. Yet since I began this career over four years ago, I have had a chronically cluttered house. More days than not I’ve lived with the fear that my laundry pile may actually get taller than me, grow arms and legs and suffocate me in my sleep (although the arms and legs would not be necessary, as the smell of sweaty socks is usually sufficient for suffocation.) Attempts to make dinner often forced me to trek across my sticky kitchen floor that could double as flypaper only to arrive at a fridge whose distant regions were best left alone. And my dishes. Usually piled in the sink, sometimes rinsed off, growing until my choice was to load the dishwasher (which was only eighteen inches away) or call in a Hazmat team.

Oh, I somehow managed to restore order every so often, so that when invited guests arrived, I at least looked like someone who believed Louie Pasteur’s germ theory. But spontaneous visits by friends often elicited many apologies and a strong “enter at your own risk” warning.

The stress of having to hide my laundry in the guest room and hope that noone ever looked too deeply into my fridge drove me crazy. I always wanted to be like my clean friends, what with their clean laundry and empty sinks, but I’m just not one of “those people.” I’ve tried a million times to “get my act together” and to no avail. I run out of steam after just a few days of trying to be something I’m not (i.e., perfect).

And then over Christmas, I had a conversation with one of “those people.” You know, the friend who always remembers your birthday, always sends a thank-you note within days of receiving a gift, and generally doesn’t eat soup straight from the can for lunch. Luckily I’ve known and loved this friend since high school (i.e., the time of braces, bangs and marching band), so I know she likes me even though we’re, well, different. In the course of our conversation that night she made a passing remark about how she runs her dishwasher every night before she goes to bed.

The conversation quickly moved on to other more interesting topics, but a little light went on in my brain. She runs her dishwasher every night? What if it’s not full? How can she run it if she knows that she could probably jam two more sippy cups in there if she was creative? I do not understand.

But I went home that night and decided that I would make January “clean dishes” month. I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution, because mine usually involve overhauling every aspect of my life so that I can be Supergirl’s better looking older sister.  I just decided to try this new idea every day in January. I even made a chart, so I could check off the days. Because checking things off makes me happy. And if, after the month was over I had succeeded in my new venture, I would give myself a reward.

Which is embarrassing. I’m thirty-two years old and I needed a reward to wash my dishes.

But you know what? It worked. Instead of getting ready to make dinner, then, being rebuffed by the stack of dirty dishes and ordering out, I could walk into my kitchen and actually make dinner. And what I walked away from this month knowing is that most of the time, it’s the little things that count.

A little remark made in conversation. A little more effort toward running my dishwashwer regularly. Little things that have changed a lot of bigger things. Now the whole house stays cleaner because I’m not overwhelmingly paralyzed by the menacing glares from the row of stinky sippy cups. Now we eat out a lot less because I can find my frying pan clean and in its rightful place instead of as a storage receptacle for old bacon grease. Now we enjoy being at home because sitting in the living room doesn’t seem to involve rearranging large piles of stuff to make a space. Isn’t that interesting?

But if I had resolved to keep the whole house clean in January (or heaven forbid, for the year), the first time I fell off the wagon, which would have been almost immediately, I would have chucked the whole idea and given up. So instead of trying to be perfect, I decided to do what I can.

Little things. They really add up. I have a lot more to say about this topic, but in the spirit of little things, I’m going to stop here and pick up where I left off another day.

Some People Never Learn

18 Jan

Whine: I’m totally getting sucked in to 24, even though I know I don’t have the emotional stamina to make it through 24 episodes of world-on-the-brink-of-disaster tension.  I’ll have to quit around Hour 10 and read about the rest online. But I may stick around to see more of my favorite bad guy, David Anders. (Mr. Sark sure makes the rounds, doesn’t he?)

Cheese: We rented Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs this weekend and had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Big Sis thought it was the best day of her life, a dinner of her favorite food followed by a movie about her favorite food?? She doesn’t have to know it was a complete coincidence. 

On Saturday my Facebook status read, “I am very thankful for neurotic people who ask for (and get) steam cleaners for Christmas, then happily lend them to you when potty training goes terribly, terribly wrong.”

Knowing that not everyone is as amused by potty humor as I am, I was planning on leaving it at that.  But then my awesome readers, who obviously share my love of scatological humor, or perhaps just really love hearing stories of my misery, clamored for more details. So if you don’t think poop is funny, you should probably stop reading now.

I hate to state this on the record, (because if I have learned anything, it’s that as soon as you write something on your blog, you are sure to jinx it) but I am potty training Lil’ Sis. Actually I should say, she is potty training herself.  After spending the last two years of my life sitting next to the toilet waiting for something, anything to happen, I was not about to start that again with another stubborn kid (they get that from their father’s side, of course.) But when Lil’ Sis started asking to use the potty and then actually using it for things other than washcloths and cell phones, I figured I wouldn’t stand in her way. Besides, anything shorter than two years will be a bonus.

So the other day, Lil’ Sis told me that she had to go. Then she went. And there was much rejoicing. And candy. A few minutes later, she told me she had to go again, so I put her back on the potty and waited. Since this whole potty training thing was her idea, I wasn’t about to force her to sit there for long, so when she wandered off, I let her go. Besides, I was trying to put on my makeup. Even Mommies like to look halfway decent sometimes.

Then the phone rang. I answered it, chatting and putting on the last of my mascara. I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I distinctly remember saying, “I guess I should see what Lil’ Sis is doing, since she’s running around the house commando. But it’s probably not a big deal since she just went potty on the potty chair.”

5. . . 4. . . 3. . . 2. . . 1. . .

Lil’ Sis walked in and made a beeline to the potty, stark naked except for her brown shoes. Wait a second, I think, I didn’t put shoes on her. The horrific realization began dawning and I sputtered into the phone, “OhmygoshIgottagothere’spoooooop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and hung up.

Using my heightened Mommy-senses, I followed the trail of disgusting little footprints (why couldn’t she have used breadcrumbs like Hansel and Gretel?) to the source. It was an ugly scene. I hosed off the kid, secured the perimeter (i.e., put a diaper on that bottom), rolled up my sleeves and got to the cleaning up. But at least I had my makeup on.

And do you want to know the worst part ? That whole scene was déjà vu. I lived through the same horror two years ago, down to the ironic “I wonder what Sophie’s up to running around the house naked” phone conversation. When am I going to learn to put some pants on these kids?

 Some people never learn.

 And apparently I am one of those people.

Yes, that is a Pull Up on her head. That explains a lot, doesn't it?

Big Time

3 Jan

Whine: I had a dream that I went to my OB appointment and had gained 10 pounds in a month. Based on the fact that all my pants are currently cutting off the circulation in my belly, I’d say that either my dryer likes playing cruel jokes or I’m a psychic.

Cheese: I’m starting out 2010 with a clean junk drawer. Which, by it’s very name suggests that having it cleaned out is a significant accomplishment. Based on that, and the fact that I took a 2-hour nap today, I think 2010 is shaping up to be a pretty good one.

New Year’s Day, 2010, I  awoke to a head butt. Followed quickly by the feeling of having a snotty little nose wiped on my pajama shirt.  Before I could counter, a pair of tiny little lips were blowing a gigantic, slobbery raspberry (or zerbert) on my exposed belly. You know, there are worse ways to start a new year.

Speaking of good starts, I’m sitting on my living room couch and there is not even a hint of Christmas left in this room, (unless you count all the sugar cookies and eggnogg I’m wearing around my middle). The decorations are packed and stowed. The oodles and oodles of new toys have somehow found hiding places. I’ve even mostly slept off three weeks of constant activity and sleep deprivation.

I mention all this not to make you wish to stab me with an ice pick, because that is my general reaction to people who are done with Christmas before February. No, I mention it because as far as my mommy memory can tell, it has never happened to me before. And, based on the fact that my personality has a lovely procrastination/overcomitting/sitting-around blend and I’m about to have another kid, it will probably never happen again. So I would like to mark this momentous occasion with a moment of silence. Or computer solitare. Or a giant rootbeer float. Or feet up on the couch watching Return of the King. Who am I kidding? I did all three tonight. (By the way, do you think when they cast the role of Aragorn(the king) they were specifically looking for someone who looks really good with greasy hair and a stubbly beard? Cause boy, they found their man, didn’t they?)

I like this feeling of not living in total chaos all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be a little bored without some chaos. Why do you think I keep having kids? But total chaos 24/7 wears on even a hype-junkie like me. So I’ve thought of a few new habits I’d like to try out for Janurary: like battling the dirty dishes on a daily basis instead of letting them set up their own colony in the sink; remembering to feed myself a breakfast not comprised entirely of Little Debbie snacks before I leave the house; doing laundry when the basket is full instead of when I have to choose to run to the store to buy more clean underwear or wash some clothes.

We will call these things “healthy life habits.” We will NOT call them resolutions. Because we all know that the quickest way to not do something, is to make it your New Year’s Resolution, right? In light of that fact, I do have a few New Year’s Resolutions to make. In 2010 I resolve to gain lots and lots of weight. To not sleep through the night at all. And to be a mean and crabby person. See? Now I’ve guaranteed that I will be skinny, well-rested and kind at least in 2010. I’m glad that’s taken care of, especially with that new baby coming and all.

So now I’m feeling pretty big time, you know. Doing things (er, I mean planning to do things) that most other people do without needing a round of applause (or rootbeers). But I can’t help it. I’ve got a lot going for me. Mostly that, after taking almost two years to completely potty train one child, the other one seems both (gasp) ready and (gasp, gasp) interested. I’m not claiming she’ll be potty trained in one day (it’s already been a week) or even a month, but at this point, anything’s better than two years.

And for Christmas, I received the sweetest present from Mr. Dad. He went out and found a tiny little sterling silver whine wine bottle for my charm bracelet. And not because I get tipsy every night. He tried really hard to find a tiny little cheese charm to go with it, but was unsuccessful. Isn’t that sweet? He not only tolerates my blogging habit and all it entails, he actually reads my posts and is sweet enough to make me feel like a real, live writer by buying little wine bottle charms for me, cause that’s what makes you a real writer, right?

And finally, I feel really, really BIG TIME because I now have my own website.  It looks exactly the same but can now be found at www.alittlewhineandcheese.com. So bookmark it, highlight it, frame it,  forward it, throw it a party.  We are official now!! I’ve got some “healthy blogging habits” I’d like to put in place (NOT resolutions), but we’ll talk about that next week. . . (I told you I was a procrastinator.)

I’d like to leave you with a picture of one more of my big time accomplishments from this week. A birthday cake for my niece who really likes Snow White (and by “my niece” I actually mean “her mommy”).

Snow White's Chocolate-Coated Cottage