Thursday, 17 May 2018

Pet Peeves

I wrote this list for no other reason than it was satisfying to write all these things down. 

1. My Husband is very energy conscious and almost never leaves a room without turning off the lights. The problem is that he’s too good at turning lights off and will turn off the garage light. As he installed the lights himself, he knows that California codes require these lights to be motion activated and will also automatically turn off. It’s not so much an issue now during Day Light Savings time, but it really pisses me off in the winter when I’m driving into a dark garage. 

2. Kate clings to my leg. I know this is just a thing that kids do, but I really hate it. I’m not sure why it pisses me off so much, but it does. Last time she tried, I made a fake kicking motion to her and sent her away crying to her daddy

3. “I want Daddy!” I should be much more understanding here, but sometimes I feel that she doesn’t appreciate how much I do for her and it feels like he gets so much credit for doing less work than me. She also tends to throw the “I want Daddy!” If I’m trying to discipline her, which really works the mom guilt

4. Husband sometimes chooses the worst times to do the “Good Cop, Bad Cop”. We were running late on one of my early days as Kate was stalling having her breakfast. I needed to get her dressed ASAP so we could head out the door. She started crying and fighting as soon as I put a shirt on her. Husband decided to be the smooth talking sensitive caring one at this moment. “Okay, honey. Why don’t you pick what you want to wear?” I went ballistic. “No! She lost her right to choose by taking so long during her breakfast! Furthermore, do you think she really gives a shit what she’s wearing? She’s just trying to stall some more!” (Of note, I do recognize that there is value in giving kids choices. Myrtle actually came up with a good idea to have Kate pick her clothes out the night before. That way she chooses as we save time. It was just killing me that Husband was so oblivious to the fact that I was running late)

5. I know I shouldn’t complain about a Husband who is good at cleaning up, but sometimes mine is just too efficient. Like when he unpacks the unused items out of her snack bag. Gee, thanks now I get to pack her bag all over again, when you could have just placed the bag in the pantry…

6. We’ve flown at least 7 or 8 times with Kate and every time, Husband asks which stroller I want to take. I get so annoyed that he doesn’t know after flying 7 or 8 times, but more so, that he can’t figure out, would I want to take the smaller, lighter, Britax stroller, or the larger, heavier, clunkier jogging stroller? Really, someone with a PhD should be able to figure this shit out on his own. I also find it annoying that he asks if I’m checking a bag when we have a connecting flight. This tells me he has not done enough solo flights to understand how the $25 bag fee is money well spent when it’s one less thing to schlep across the airport with your kid in tow.

7. Speaking of strollers, my mom keeps asking when we are going to get an umbrella style stroller. I recall from my Baby Gizmo book, the authors describe that you probably will use many different strollers over your kids lifetimes, but I haven’t seen the need to change from the two that we have. My mom borrowed an umbrella stroller from her neighbors during our visit and I know have an answer as to why we don’t use an umbrella stroller. I hate it. It’s flimsy. Kate got her feet stuck under the flexible foot rest and nearly had a bad fall. The handles are too low, there is no place for storage, especially no holder for your coffee cup. No thank you. 

8. Our washer and dryer are about 10 years old and the dryer is starting to slow down, which is odd, because we hang dry almost all of our clothes and only tumble dry bed linens, towels and Kate’s clothes. You have to use the ‘High’ temperature setting to get it to dry anything, which takes twice as long. So it really kills me when Husband overloads the dryer and nothing gets dry…

9. I cut Kate off from breastfeeding before it could ever get socially awkward with her lifting up my shirt in public. It didn’t matter. When she drinks her milk, she likes to stick her hand down my shirt and touch my chest. I get felt up every night during her bed time routine. 

10. The Blue Light. Yes, we have a Kuri.g as we’re horrible people and hate the environment. Actually, I am environmentally conscientious, but I happen to enjoy the ease and convenience of having the Kur.ig make a perfect cup every time with no messy coffee grounds. No stained pouring cup. No horrid smell of burnt coffee that dripped on the heater… Anyway… One morning, after a rough night of Kate not sleeping, Husband snapped at me for ignoring the blue -needs more water-light. I was in just as bad a mood and pointed out (probably mentioning that I was up more times than he was) that we was capable of filling the Kur.ig. I added that if the worst part of your day is that you have to fill the water reservoir of the Kur.ig when you didn’t empty it; well guess what? You’re still having a pretty good day. However… now I’m finding that I’m always the one getting stuck with the blue light. He probably has two or three cups of coffee to my one, and yet I seem to be the one filling up the water. It’s really irritating me. “If that’s the worst part of your day… then you’re still having a good day…” he recently reminded me. I could add having my own words used against me on this list of pet peeves, but as I look back… if this is what I have to complain about, then I’m enjoying a pretty good life. 

Monday, 7 May 2018

My Life as an ABC Afterschool Special..

It was a sleepy Monday morning. I trudged into the kitchen. I needed coffee. I hadn’t slept very well. Either Tyler or Kate had woken me up multiple times, I can’t remember who it was. Maybe it was combined effort to sabotage my slumber. As I was waiting for my Kur.ig to warm up, I saw Kate’s snack bag was sitting on the counter. I peeked inside to see if there was anything left in the bag. I saw something that looked like a rolled up wrapper. Kate sometimes peels the sticker off her Sarg.ento snacks, which are a small little round tray of cheese and dried fruits. Except I hadn’t given her a Sarg.ento snack over the weekend and when I looked closer, I discovered that it was not a rolled up wrapper. It was a joint. A freshly rolled marijuana joint.

As a wave of panic hit, I started to retrace my steps. I packed her bag on Friday night. No drugs included. We did a 5K run on Saturday morning and I kept the bag strapped to the back of her jogging stroller and then zipped in the underneath compartment. I don’t think I left it unattended long enough for anyone to stash the hash. We went to Safe.way in the afternoon and Kate rode in the blue car cart and I gave her the snack bag while we shopped. I usually check the car before she gets in, but the joint was small enough that I could have easily missed it. Then I remembered that during the chaos of unloading the cart, checking out and bagging up the groceries, I saw Kate’s snack bag on the ground and I admonished her to pick up her bag and I’m guessing she picked up something else. At least I’m hoping that she found it on the floor, rather than someone left it on a car cart. I left the snack bag in the car on Saturday night and just added the snacks we picked up from our race goodie bag. Then on Sunday, as we were driving to the Farmer’s Market, I handed her the snack bag full of drugs.

I was freaking out big time, for many reasons; but firstly because I am very drug naïve. This was my first encounter being this close to an actual joint. I am totally drug and disease free. I often joke that I am the only person living in California who has never tried pot. I have no idea how a bong works, let alone figure out how you can make one out of an apple. (Now I’m curiously paying close attention to the lyrics of The Bing Bong song on Pep.pa Pig) I would probably still miss most of the drug references on Scooby Doo.  When I watched Dazed and Confused, I was dazed and confused. (Although I did go around repeating the line “hey man, do you have a joint?... Sure’d be a lot cooler if you did…” BTW: I now have a joint; IT’S NOT COOLER!) It’s not that I had some sort of moral stance against it; it was mostly a lack of opportunity. I wasn’t cool enough for anyone to offer it to me when I was in my impressionable years. Then I just became older and comfortable in my life to realize that I probably wasn’t missing out of anything.

It’s not that I’m against it either. I’m in favor of legalization. I believe there is inherent racism within our justice system that has lead to the unfair incarceration of blacks and other minorities for possession and distribution. (While I’m not sure if I support her candidacy, I do applaud Cynthia Nixon for calling attention for the fact that minorities get jail time for marijuana use, it’s effectively legal for white people. She should have added ‘rich’ white people, but if this country can elect Trump after all the shit her said, then they can listen to a woman who speaks some truth) I believe in the benefits of medical marijuana and I think medicinal marijuana may play a role in solving the opioid epidemic. I’m down with Mary Jane. I just don’t want it in my daughter’s lunch bag!

Seriously, I was so not expecting to find drugs in my two year old’s lunchbox. This may be the reality of #bayareaparenting. Hey, if we were across the bay, I’d be worried about her finding dirty syringes and needles. What is mostly freaking me out is anticipating that one day I may open the lunch box and find a joint that actually belongs to her. We need to have the DATS talk. (DATS was the acronym from my gymnastics coach who gave us the pre-prom talk warning about the dangers of Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and Sex) It’s just coming a lot sooner than I ever thought it would. We went to watch Husband umpire a hockey match at UC Berk.eley on 4/20 day and as soon as we stepped out of the car, I noted that ‘a skunk had sprayed’ (I shared my story with a fellow day care mom, who described that her son must think that our city is infested with skunks as she blames a skunk whenever they smell weed). We walked into town to get some dinner and I saw a guy selling bongs outside a store and we saw two guys rolling a fattie (I do know some of the lingo). I applied the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ She didn’t ask any questions, so I didn’t offer any explanations. Now, I’m questioning, was that a ‘missed opportunity’? I would have laughed at the idea of discussing drugs with my two year old, but that was before I found a joint in her lunchbox. If I don’t have the talk with her, someone else will. I just didn’t think it would be so soon and I’m not ready.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Right Now -May 2018

Reading: Nothing non-work related. Determined to make some progress in Lena Dunham’s Not that Kind of Girl while we’re in Hawaii

Watching: Game Two of the Western Conference SemiFinals. This game is a lot closer than Game One, despite having Steph back on the court.

Listening: A new radio station! A few weeks and I pulled my car into the garage and noted that it smelled like an iron-transfer. The smell lingered for a few weeks and was odd enough that I thought it was prudent to pay a few hundred dollars for the men at the dealership to tell me ‘we can’t find out why your car smells like an iron transfer, but we can’t find anything wrong’ (the smell dissipated a few days later). The guys changed my radio station, which usually really annoys me, except I really like this new station. Although I didn’t want to admit it, I was growing tired of the 80s all.the.time. The new station is classic rock, so still a lot of 80s, but also some hits from the 70s and a few from the 90s. Plus they play two songs in a row from the same artist.

Drinking: Propel Fitness water. I’m getting addicted to this stuff. I bought (2) 24 bottle cases from Costco and I just bought 8 more plus sized bottles from the reduced-to-clear section at Safe.way.

Eating: Doing better. I was within my calorie goal 5 of 7 days last week

Wearing: I’m still wearing my workout clothes as I didn’t make it to the gym; nor do any work in my garage. I don’t think I can be bothered to take off my sports bra and I’m likely going to be sleeping in it.

Loving: I’m really happy with my skin after using Rod.an and Fields skin care products. Don’t worry! I’m not a consultant and I don’t plan to be one! Actually I was turned off from R+F when a woman who used to work in my practice, friended me (we’ve never met in real life) just to get me to become a client. However, another friend posted photos of her amazing eyelashes, I became intrigued. She then showed before and after photos as she had her Husband use the Lash.Boost on one of his eyes and the difference was striking (although, yes men do have amazing eyelashes to begin with). Then I realized these were the same dermatologist who created the Proactiv system. It feels so full circle, Proactiv helped me with my adult acne in my twenties, now I need their old-lady product line in my forties. I was informed that it would take about two months to appreciate a difference, but my skin felt softer after only a few days of use and after using it for six weeks, Husband asked ‘did you get a beauty treatment? Your skin looks good’ which is pretty remarkable as he is generally oblivious.

Anticipating: Although there is still a lot that needs to be done, we’ll finally be able to enjoy our new back garden! (If only the weather would get a bit warmer) Pictures coming soon!

Hoping: I can maintain the friendships with the moms and kids from Kate’s current Day Care. I know it’s going to take a lot of work and I’ll obviously be out of the loop for a lot of things, but I’m committing myself to making the effort.

Following: The NBA playoffs. I don’t watch too many games in the regular season, but make sure to catch every playoff game. Oh, yeah and following the news to know the latest shit show in the Drumph administration

Trying: To improve my push-ups. Almost every CrossFit gym in the United States features the WOD “Murph” over Memorial Day weekend. It honors a solder killed in Afghanistan with 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 air squats followed by another mile run. The Rx way to do it is to so the reps straight through while wearing a weighted vest. Most regular people break the work into 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats. This year my goals are to complete the WOD in under an hour, and I want to break into sets of 10. I feel confident that I can go at least 6-7 sets doing the pull-ups unbroken in 10s, but my push-ups need work to do sets of 10.

Fretting: Still about taking Kate away from her friends in her current Day Care. They really are a great group of kids. One boy in her class fractured his femur and has been out since March. His mom recently sent all the parents an email to let us know how positive all the kids have been to him since he has come to visit on a few occasions. She concluded, “thank you all for raising such amazing little humans” I keep reminding myself that the kids are her new school will be awesome too.

Planning: My strategery to get Kate night time trained. I was planning to do it after her third birthday, but as her diapers keeps leaking and she’s soaking the bed almost every night, I figure we should take a stab at it sooner rather than later, so I may do over Memorial Day weekend, since Husband is away and I have a very long weekend. It’s also the anniversary of when we started potty training, so once again, full circle. Dream pee, keeping a potty in the room, give me all your tips and tricks…

Contemplating: Using a local meal service.  Myrtle gave me a referral for a free week of Blue Apron, and I was a bit disappointed in the sense that it’s really a shopping delivery service, as you still have to do all the prep and cooking, which doesn’t make it worth the $13 per person per meal fee. There are a few businesses that offer already made meals from $8-12 per person and I can avoid the delivery fee as they drop off the food at our gym. That way I have to make it to the gym to pick up dinner...

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Kate 2.75 years

I like to think that I am doing a decent job as a parent. Most days, I’m earning at least a B+, maybe an A- on a good day, and I’ve got some Ds and Fs thrown in as well. Husband and I remind ourselves that good parents sometimes still have bad kids, and we know some very well adjusted adults who had really bad parents during their childhood. We’re trying to do our best, but it’s a crapshoot.

Last year, I started reading Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler on the Block, which was supposed to decrease tantrums and somehow make your toddler more reasonable and pleasant. While I have found his tips and techniques to be helpful, I can’t say I use them all the time. I think Kate probably averages 1-2 tantrums per day. Maybe three on a really bad day. I’ve just come to accept this comes with the territory of having a toddler. Sometimes you can anticipate them. She does not wake up well in the morning or after a nap, so that usually leads into crying over something. Sometimes, the littlest thing will set her off. I just ignore her and within a few minutes, she’s over it and has moved on.

Prior to Kate’s arrival, if I saw anyone with a screaming child, I figured they were bad parents. I mean, why can’t they show their brats some discipline? This was even after I learned in my pediatrics class that the appropriate thing to do is to ignore a tantrum. While it’s easy to do at home, it’s much harder in public. Especially as everyone is looking at you and you feel everyone is judging you. Why can’t she show her little brat some discipline?

Kate and I flew to South Carolina to visit my parents last week. As there are no direct flights, we looked for ones that had the shortest layovers (I was going to do a red-eye, but would have had to wait over four hours at the connecting airport) and we ended up getting a 6 AM flight out of SFO. It was brutal. I woke up at 3:15, we got Kate out of bed at 3:50 and headed to the airport at 4:05. I had accidentally paid for priority seating (I thought I was paying my bag fees) which turned out to be a good thing as we got to speed through the security lines. Money well spent as Kate was squirming out of her stroller at that point. As soon as we found our gate, I headed to queue up at Peet’s to get some much needed coffee.

While we were in line, Kate started to ask for some milk. I tried to explain that I would get her some, but she wanted her blue sippee cup that I had left in the car. As I tried to explain why we couldn’t bring her cup through security* she started to meltdown. It was the mother of all meltdowns. She was laying on the ground kicking and screaming. I tried to pick her up, but she started kicking me and squirmed out of my arms. I buckled her into her stroller, but Houdini escaped moments later and was back on the floor. A security guard came over to tell her to get off the floor. I nearly gave out all my $5 Starbucks cards while we were in the line at Peet’s.

Finally, we made it up to the front of the line and Kate started eyeing the baked goods. I told her she could pick one, since she doesn’t often have such treats. She had significantly calmed down at this point. As I gave my order to the barista, she looked at Kate and said “Okay you, no more crying…” I was a bit irked, but I decided to let it go. Then when she gave Kate her donut, she said it again. “Here you go, no more crying!” It was the second time that pushed me over the edge. “Actually, it’s not for you to say that to her” I told the woman as she handed me my change.

To my surprise, I actually got some nods of approval from the other customer in the line, and a few came over to me to offer the “it gets better” reassurances. What I really wanted to say to everyone, “Look, I know my kid is being an asshole right now. We woke her from a sound sleep in the middle of the night, it’s 5 in the morning and she doesn’t want to be standing in a queue to overpay for some crappy coffee. Really, she’s just expressing what everyone else is feeling right now!”

*Technically you can bring milk for a toddler or baby through security, but you have to wait for them to test it. Last time we flew, I brought an empty sippee cup and bought some milk boxes from Starbucks. I thought we could make do with a milk box, but Peet’s only had Soy milk in boxes. I ended up getting a coffee cup of milk with a plastic lid, which of course spilled twice on the flight. Kate also asked for water during the drink service and of course, they don’t have any tops, so she spilled water everywhere as well. Lesson learned: don’t ever fly without bringing a sippee cup.

Height:37.5 inches
Weight: She was 37.4 pounds when she recently stepped on the scale.

Eating: Much of the same struggles still continue. Won’t sit in her chair; wants to sit one some’s lap and when she’s really being a WLB**, she’ll want someone to spoon feed her. She also definitely into the picky eater phase. My poor mom keeps earnestly asking “Will she eat this? Will she eat that?” And I have to reply “I have no idea!” She can eat one thing one day and refuse it the next time it is offered. Our go-to for these situations is Annie’s individual cups of Mac and Cheese. Even better, Kate has even learned to make it herself. She brings her stool to the fridge so she can fill the water, parents will help with the microwave, but she’ll stir in the cheese packet and we learned a trick from a friend to add a slash of milk. It helps it cool down quicker and makes it creamier. She still loves her milk and will drink multiple cups a day. We easily go through 2-3 gallons of milk per week. She’s currently on 2% milk, but after seeing how heavy she’s become, I may do the Folger’s switch and go to 1% milk.

** Whiny Little Bitch

Sleep: We’re still doing the thing where I sit on the rocker and read while she falls asleep. She may wake up once during the night at the most. It’s not too bad. While she’s good about napping at Day Care, we can only get her to nap if she falls asleep in her car seat. As much as I’ll cry once naps stop, it will be nice not to have to deal with the pressure of when is she going to take her nap. When we were visiting my parents, she slept in my bed a few nights. While I was wary as I feared it could become a habit, I did love the closeness of sleeping next to her.

Clothing: We’ve officially moved into size 4T. I’m slowly purging out all her 3T stuff. She’s a beast.

Potty Training: I think we’re finally there during the day. Yes, I know she’s going to have an accident immediately after I post this. When we were interviewing at her new Pre-School (where she used the potty a few times) I told them that we had gone through most of the month of February and March without any day time accidents. The next day she had three accidents at her old Day Care. When we did sign her up at the new Pre-School, we agreed to pay our deposit at the higher cost non-potty trained rate and they’ll refund us the difference if she does use the potty during her first month, which hopefully she will.

She’s started telling me if she needs to go potty while were in the car, and I know it sounds crazy, but I think she knows when I can and can’t pull over as some of her accidents have been while we were on a busy highway. I put her in a back-up travel diaper while we flew, but it stayed pretty dry as she would tell me when she needed to go pee, and fortunately we weren’t too restrained by the fasten seatbelt sign. Oh, she did have a major accident when I put her in her room for a time out. #momfail.

Our biggest challenge is going to be night time training. We’ve been using Hugg.ies over night pull ups and she leaks. Almost.Every.Night. We’re constantly washing her bed sheets. I tried using crib sheets, but found they really only delay the pee from soaking through, so I’ve been placing them underneath the mattress pad to try to save the mattress as much as I can.  As I’m still delaying about getting a twin bed for her, I think I’ll wait until she is night time trained, then I can get rid of the pee-stained toddler bed mattress. Maybe we’ll burn it.

Someone recently suggested placing a pad inside her diaper at night, which I think it worth a try, although it brings back my PTSD of trying to chose a box of pads after my D&C only to discover that every pad has a wings, or is extra long and the basic Care.free pads that I remember from my ‘Growing Up and Liking It’ Starter-kit no longer exist. One source I read suggested doing a dream pee. You bring a potty into the room, place it under your kid while they are sleeping and make some ‘Pssss’ing sounds on the hopes that they’ll empty their bladders. I’m curious to try this only because I tried to get Kate to pee if she woke up during the night and one time she was still so sleepy that she almost fell forward off the toilet and face planted in the kitty towel litter box.

Milestones: She started dressing herself! It was a morning when we were already pressed for time. Kate was still wearing her hooded towel. I told her that I would go get dressed and then come back to get her dressed. I figured she would carry on playing at her kitchen, but when I came out of my room. I found her in her room, putting on her coat after she put on her undies, pants and a shirt. As for the color choices… it’s no worse than her father would do… Hey, she picked out her Warriors shirt and they did have a game that night. I was totally impressed. She even went out to the garage to get her boots and put them on in the house.

She’s really engaging in a lot of imaginary play. She likes to pretend “I am the mommy and you are little” and she’ll drop me off at Pre-school, or we’ll go to the park or the Zoo (she even found an old take out menu to serve as our ‘map’ to navigate the Zoo). She also enjoys playing ‘Circle time’ where she’ll place some of her dolls and stuffed animals (and will try to recruit Husband or me) in a circle and lead us through songs (I also learned she does her own version of Circle Time with her pre-school classmates).

Health Issues: She had an ear infection at the end of January, but otherwise she made it through one of the worst flu seasons on record without so much as a cold. (Ironically, she was supposed to get her flu shot on the day she was seen for the ear infection, which had to be delayed due to her fever) She may have caught a touch of the second flu wave that hit in early April. On the horrible 6 AM flight, it took over an hour to get her to fall asleep, and she slept for nearly two and half hours, which is really long for her, but I chalked it up to the early morning start. When she woke up in preparation for landing, I thought she still looked really tired and had that glossy-glazed look in her eyes. When I strapped her in to the stroller to get to our next gate, she felt really warm and I could tell that she had a fever. I was really tempted not to give her anything, thinking the fever could help her sleep on the next flight, but as the wheels in my Evil Mom brain we turning, she told me “I need medicine!” I gave her some Tylenol and she slept another hour (allowing Mommy to have a nice peaceful lunch in the airport) and she woke up bright and alert and was even charming to the fellow passengers on the next flight.

She seemed back to herself once we arrived at my parents’ house, and then suddenly started throwing up all.over.me. Ugh, it brought back memories of her newborn days when I would get showered in puke and it would soak through my clothes to my skin. Yuck. A few days later I got the fever and chills, but (so far) have missed out on the vomiting.

Activities: I’ve been really frustrated at her gymnastics classes. We started this new class that is much more structured than her old one and maybe it’s too much for her as she’ll either be really clingy (she’ll just want to sit on my lap) or she’ll be really defiant and won’t follow along, forcing me to sit with her in a time out. It just kills me as she’s the tallest and oldest in her class and the younger smaller ones have no problem listening and going through the exercises. I began to wonder if it was a bad idea to start her at the free range gym, but one of my swim team mates (who used to teach at the new gym and her oldest is a standout on their competitive team) suggested a fight fire with fire approach. “Take her to an open gym session on a Saturday and let her run around everywhere and get it out of her system. Then she may be more willing to listen during the classes.” (She also echoed that at this age, it’s not so much the gymnastics skills that are important, it’s learning how to listen to instructions) Husband agreed that it’s not a bad idea to try, but before I had a chance to get her in on a Saturday, I went with the Mean Mom threat. “If you don’t start to participate, we’re going to leave and never come back” That worked. Some times old school parenting is the way to go.

Looking forward to: We’ve attended two birthday parties this month and we have another one next weekend, which has prompted me to start thinking about Kate’s third birthday party. I had thought about doing a Pep.pa theme, but Kate is so over Peppa and is really into Dora right now (Plus we did Olivia last year, so it would be two consecutive years of piggies). So I’ve started thinking about purple backpacks for gift bags and creating a map… As much as I can’t stand the repetitive formula of the show, it easily lends to a party theme. Oh, after watching Kate just lick the frosting off cupcakes two weeks in a row, I’ve decided I’m not going to bother buying fancy cupcakes. I’m just going to open some cans of frosting and distribute some spoons. Have at it.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Update on 2018 Goals

As I saw that Non-Sequitor Chica posted a quarterly update on her 2018 goals, I decided to hold myself accountable too.

1. Following Flexible Eating and continued weight loss

Fail. To my surprise, I only gained 2 or 3 pounds over the holidays (which I probably shouldn’t say only 2-3 as that it a lot of a short time). I hit the New running (literally doing a 10K and I went to the gym on NYD) and cleaned up my eating habits. I did well for the first two weeks of January, and noticed that I gained 2 pounds from my bloated starting weight. At the same time, our new siding and windows project was hampering my efforts as I lost access to my kitchen a few times and we ended up eating take out multiple times in one week. I need to do better. I’ve been yielding to too many temptations in the break room at work and I know my other culprit is eating some of Kate’s snacks. Perhaps in the month of June I’ll do another Whole 30, because we’re going to Hawaii in May. I’m going to try to be disciplined most days, but indulge at the Luau.

2. Enter the Cross-Fit Open
Success! I note only entered, but I competed in the Rx division and placed 15 out of 40 in my gym! Years ago, one of my swim teammates kind of poked fun at the idea of the Cross Fit Open. “Cross Fit Competition? What the fuck is that? Ooo I’m the best at working out” I laughed along with her at that time, but I now know that the laugh was one me, as with the exception of the super elite athletes, you’re really only competing with yourself to see how good you can be. The Open allows you to achieve some PBs, but it also exposes your weaknesses. I quickly learned that it was not just about getting through the workout, but maximizing my effort by being more efficient. Being smart as well as being strong. The WOD in the second week was a 1-10 ladder of Dumbbell squats (35 lbs) and bar facing burpees followed by a 1 rep max hang power clean all with a 12 minute time cap. During my first attempt, I finished the complex, but ran out of time for my clean. A few others also failed to make it to the clean, so we repeated the painful WOD a few days later. This time I came up with a time strategy for the squats and burpees, I found it was helpful to rest the dumbbells on my shoulders for the squats and I PR’d my clean when my coach “accidentally” put on plates heavier than I requested and said “Oops, no time to change, you’ll have to lift this”. I got to know a lot of people who go to different class times and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

3. Sending cards for birthdays
Success! I misses one or two as I needed to reset my settings after I found a few birthday.alarm reminders in my spam, but so far I’ve been pretty consistent

4. Keep up with Kate’s Share Days
Early Success, then Fail. Each week Kate’s Day Care leans a letter of the Alphabet and on Friday, they’re (read Moms) are supposed to bring a show and tell item with that letter. I did really well for the first few weeks of the New Year, I even rocked a quilt for ‘Q’ and a toy xylophone for ‘X’ (the weeks don’t go in alphabetical order -don’t ask me why) and then I faded. Will try harder after we get back from break

5. Adjust to my new role in a leadership position
Work in Progress. I was really reluctant to take on this challenge. I served as a Lead Clinician many years ago and I concluded that I’m not very good in a management or administrative role. However, our current site lead was stepping down (and was later promoted to a higher leadership position) I’m the third most senior person in our group, no one else applied for the position and it pays a bit extra. At a minimum, I have a newfound respect for how hard it is to be in a leadership position as people can be really annoying and I hope I was never this difficult. Our service line manager wanted to arrange an in service dinner with the three other department in our affiliate and proposed a central location and suggested 5 possible dates. I presented these dates to my team and had two people responded with  “can’t we do a different location?” “Can we do our own meeting, why do we have to meet as a big group?” Oh, because that’s not extra work for me to arrange another meeting at a different location. I had to be the bitch and say, ‘just reply yes or no to these dates. I’m not arranging a separate meeting’. (Not just because I don’t want to do the extra work, but the goal of the meeting was also for everyone to meet as a group and I feared it wouldn’t go down well if we did our own thing)

6. Send my In-laws photos on a monthly basis
Success! Well, I’m 4 for 4 so far this year. I made a deal with myself that if I didn’t send the photos by the 6th of each month, I wouldn’t be able to go to the gym or swim. There was extra motivation as I could hear my swim coaching yelling; “What do you mean you missed practice because you needed to email your in-laws some photos? I need you to work on relay starts!  How hard is it to pick up your phone and send some damn photos? Do it NOW!” Send. And done.

7. Run some 5K races with Kate
Success! We did one on New Year’s Eve and another on President’s Day weekend. We’re signed up to do another at the end of the month

8. More FaceTime with Husband
Success and Fail. We’ve been taking advantage of the Parents Night Out provided by our day care (something I’ll really miss when she goes to the new school, but I’ve found some other options) and when we’re out, phones must be put away (except one time, I drunk texted our friends in LA about visiting…) We’re still really bad about using our devices late at night and first thing in the morning, rather than talking to each other. We’re hoping once my schedule changes and I’m home earlier in the evenings, we’ll have some more family time.

9. Swim Times
Fail and some Success. The pool was closed for repairs for most of the month of January, some of my teammates found alternate locations to practice, but I took the time off. Unfortunately, as we got closer to the championship meet, I missed a lot of practice due to Husband’s and my own work conflicts, a few nights where Kate didn’t sleep well, and I just wasn’t where I wanted to be in term of my training. I had to bring Kate to some of our smaller meets leading into the Championships, which is not ideal, as I can’t really warm-up and warm-down as I need to, but I did manage to somehow get a new PB in my 50 Free. I went to visit my parents during the week before my meet and I ended up getting a bad cold. In hindsight, it just wasn’t a good idea to spend a day traveling, and then show up to a meet jet lagged and expect to swim my best. I surprised myself by dropping 14 seconds in a 500 Free (and placed second) but struggled in my other events, especially Fly. I did better in the 100 Free than I did last year, so it’s a PB post baby, in my 40-44 age group. I’ll take it.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Pre-School Predicament

So, when we last left our heroes, Husband and I had toured SLM, a Montessori school very conveniently located close to my work. While the facility was impressive, Jane especially felt that they were rudely dismissed by the director. She immediately asked if Kate was potty trained, as I replied yes, Husband felt the need to disclose that she was still having the occasional accident, and lately was having multiple accidents a day. As the director was explaining how all kids MUST be potty trained, since they don’t even have changing tables and their staff can’t take the time to teach potty training..yada..yada...yada... (by the way, I think this is the most detail she told us about her school, until I cut her off to say that Kate would be fully trained by September enrollment) As I was thinking about how much I wanted to kick Husband at that moment, I decided I needed to put it in a way that he would understand. When we were walking to the parking lot, I asked if he remembered watching the original Ghostbusters film. “Of course, many times” he answered. “Ray, if someone asks if you’re a God; you say ‘yes’” I quoted. “If a Pre-School is asking if your kid is potty trained, you say YES!!”

After chastising ourselves for not looking into alternative Pre-schools sooner, we re-grouped and I booked two more tours for the following week. I would look at one school, Husband would look at the other and who ever could make the best sales pitch for the school they toured, the other person would visit that school. I checked out 5CM on a Tuesday. The main drawback to this school is that it is on the other side of the city where I work. My colleague’s son attended this school and she recalled that it took about 10 minutes to get there from our office, so it adds an extra 20 minutes to my commute, which is not that bad. I acknowledge that I’ve been so spoilt to have our Day Care so close, and I always knew this luxury would come to an end. However, it is close to the highway, and I have an option to take back roads should traffic be an issue.

I really liked the school. The class rooms are well organized and the program includes Kindergarden. A teacher explained how different areas of the classrooms work on language and reading, science and math. “We teach addition and subtraction to the pre-schoolers and the Kindergardeners start working on multiplication and division.” She explained. Seriously? I pretty sure I didn’t learn my times tables until I was in the third grade. One teacher was doing circle time with her kids teaching them sign language with her song. I recognized most of the words. After much pleading, Kate got to check out the play area and immediately seemed to give it her approval. While she was playing, I met with the director, who informed me that they have not yet accepted applications for next year’s class, so we have a shot at getting in.

I already had the feeling that this school was going to be our winner. Husband toured the other one a few days later and felt it was more chaotic and less organized. “A little too free range” he commented. That other one is just a touch closer to my work and not as convenient to the highway. He visited 5CM a few days later and agreed it was the better the other one. He would have preferred SLM, due to their location and the fact that they’re about $4,000 less than 5CM (the price for 5CM is about what we are currently paying, but it doesn’t include summer, which would cost an extra $3,000 but we’re trying to see if my parents can come out for the whole month of August). His other hang up is that all Montessori programs that offer extended day care only provide care for a total 9 hours. He’s not sure I’d be able to pick her up in time with my work schedule.

As the school is close to my work, it will mean that I will be doing most of the drop offs and pick ups. The program is also structured for 5 days a week (I could opt to only send her for four days, but the fees would not be discounted). Husband was so enthusiastic about the school that he declared “I want her there full time, I don’t care if you get a day off!” While I would love to have a day off to myself during the week...I just can’t justify it...Currently, I work 36 hours a week, 10 hours on Monday and Fridays and 8 hours on Wednesday and Thursday and I am getting a bit tired of the long days, even though I hate to admit that, as I fear I shows my age. I’d also like to have a more consistent schedule.

I accepted an administrative position at the beginning of the year, and so far it’s been a lot of insufferable bullshit, but it does pay a little extra, so currently I’m working 36 hours, but receiving pay that corresponds to a 40 hour work week. I decided I’ll keep myself at 36 hours, so I can have Tuesday morning’s off and I’ll do my administrative work on Tuesday afternoons (which I can do from home). On a purely selfish note, this schedule opens a lot of opportunities for me. I can swim four mornings a week. I can go to the gym on Tuesday mornings and go to Safe.way or Cost.co and I can swim at noon. Husband also agreed to let me keep going to the gym on Thursday nights as the instructor that night is my favorite.

It does mean I lose my day of one-on-one time with Kate. Again, I always knew this day would come, but I thought it would be two more years down the road when she starts Kingergarden. I joke that I’m a stay at home Mom one day a week, but as Husband works from home, I find that we spend most of the day out of the house, so I’m trying to justify that most of the day is actually spent with us in the car. There have been some days when Husband is away for the day and we’ll spend the day playing at home. Those days are my favorites. No schedules, no pressure, we just do what we want. I just love watching how her imagination works and being able to follow her lead.

Another impact of changing her Pre-School is that it affects her gymnamtics classes. Although you can pay on a monthly basis, we’re signed up for the entire year and of course weekend classes fill up first. I asked about getting on a waiting list, but I can’t start that process until she turns three (as she’ll be in the three year old class in September) which is in July. As long as we submit a drop request in time, they’ll stop our payment and we can attend open gym on the weekends, but not at the member-rate. Ugh. I’ve been toying with the idea that maybe I’ll rotate her through sessions or soccer and swim lessons on Saturdays and fill in with gymnastics open gym in between sessions. Her current Pre-School offers an awesome soccer class and she started taking swim lessons twice a week, which is great as I think she does better with her friends. This is one of my biggest hesitations about switching to a different school, but I am keenly aware that I shouldn’t be basing my school choice on the extra programs and not the actual school itself. (Of note, her new school offers a ‘Tuff Tumblers’ gymnastics and ‘Super Kickers’ soccer class, but they seem lame compared to her current classes).

Then there are her friends. I mean I know she has a new best friend each week, but there is something to be said for the fact that she’s been with this group of kids since she was four months old and there are really good group of kids with good parents. I’ve actually made friends with two moms who don’t plan to transfer their kids who are Kate’s age, as they have younger children and don’t want to do the multiple drop offs yet. I haven’t told them that we’re not re-enrolling. We all know how these things pan out; we say we’ll still hang out and do play dates together and we make an effort at first but then it stops... It’s been a really tough decision, so I’m hoping that means it was the right one.


Thursday, 15 March 2018

Invisable Rainbows

Life in Pieces almost immediately became my new favorite show when it debuted a few years ago. The pilot aired a few months after Kate was born and featured a couple in their mid 30s who just gave birth to their firstborn. The doctor came by during her rounds the next morning and asked the new mother how she was doing. Before she could answer, her husband replied that his neck was sore from sleeping on the partner bed in the hospital suite. That is exactly what Husband did when my parents arrived to see me and Kate and my dad asked, "How are YOU doing?" As Husband started to complain about his neck, my Dad cut him off to clarify that he was directing the question to me "the one who was sliced opened and had a small human pulled out of her" Thanks for the graphic recall Dad, I'll need to remember that the next time I need Husband to shut up. On a side note; I've generally regarding L+D tours to be rather useless. Maybe it's because of my own familiarity with the rooms and I feel they merely existed to promote the millions spent on making the suite seeming more like a hotel and less like a hospital, but the experience really was akin to stay at any other hotel with an en suite. However, if they explain how to move the arms on the sofa so it does stretch out like a full bed, and no other support person has to complain about a sore neck, then maybe it is time well spent.

Anyway, as we watched the first season of Life in Pieces (which follows the lives of a baby boomer couple and their three adult children) we were drawn to the couple who were new parents as many of their experiences were following ours. Then came the "invisible rainbows" episode, which we would later discover, absolutely nails the Pre-School Panic. Jen and Greg were attending an extravagant totally over the top 6 month birth party for a child in their neighborhood. The party was complete with a bounce house, tables Full of fancy baked goods and gifts bags, clowns, balloons and a stuffed animal petting zoo. You know, because real animals carry E.coli. But don't worry, there were plenty of hand sanitizer stations, so kids will know what to do if they should ever touch a real animal. Oh, and to make it really authentic; there was hired help to clean up their "poop" (chocolate covered raisins).
It soon became clear that the real guest of honor at this party was Marta, the headmaster of an exclusive private pre-school. "You know those kids you had every advantage and we hated them?" Jen asked Greg "Don't you want that for Lark? [their daughter]" Greg soon learned just how competetive these schools are when we was chatting with two parents whose kids attend Marta's superstar pre-school. One mother describes that she married a woman and that only moved them up a few places on the wait list, but she does love her partner, or at least loves having orgasms. When the tiger moms start pressuring Greg about what other pre-schools they are considering, Greg panics and conjures a pre-school called Invisible Rainbows. Don't bother googling it, because they are so exclusive that they don't even have a website. In fact, they don't even have an address as it's a pop-up preschool...just like a rainbow...

Word of this new hot exclusive pre-school spreads like wildfire at this party. Just as Greg and Jen spot Marta standing alone and are ready "to pounce on her like a fake tiger at a stuffed zoo", she approaches them to express her concerns about the director at Invisable Rainbows. "She cannot be trusted," Marta warns and further elaborates "the only thing invisable there are the iPads. We offer a 1.5 iPad per student ratio" (not a selling point to me, by the way). This was the tipping point for Jen to decided that the pre-school down the road from them would be good enough and Greg adds, "the people there aren't full of chocolate covered raisins" as he stuffs a handful in his mouth.

This episode prompted us to have the discussion about Kate's schooling. We love where we live, but there aren't very good schools in our area and we had tentatively planned to move to a location with better schools. At least for now, we decided to stay where we are and look toward private schools for Kate, which kills me a little bit as I'm a proud product of public school education (my elementary school was actually rated as one of the best in the country). We figured that we had a couple of years to figure this out before she enters Kindergarden, as her current Day Care/Pre-School provides services until Kindergarden. As I mentioned in a previous post, we've been really happy with her current program. They provided great infant care and Kate seems to be thriving in the toddler and twos programs. They work on letters each week, discussed the solar system in the month of January, she has music classes, goes to soccer and will start swim lesions next week. They've previously offered Spanish and yoga classes, although I haven't seen any sign up sheets recently. I recently passed on an open house to look at other pre-schools as I was happy with our status quo.

My eyes were opened the day after Valentine's Day, when I received an email in the middle of the day announcing the abrupt departure of one of the most tenured Pre-school teachers. I figured there was some back story to explain why she was let go, but I didn't think too much of it, until I started getting texts from some parents who had older kids in the Pre-school and were particularily fond of the departed teacher. The director held a parent meeting a few nights later. The take away that I took home is that it sounds like the dismissed teacher was going through burn-out. Parents with the older kids remembered her as a very dedicated and loving teacher and newer parents saw the concerns that the director had with her. I spoke with a mom whose son just recently moved into the Pre-school program and she commented that when she dropped off her son in the morning, the fired teacher was spending time on her phone. Not the worst thing in the world, but it doesn't impress you either. There seemed to be a collective opinion that the quality of care seems to drop off at the Pre-school level.
I'm trying to be optimistic. As the director announced that they are looking to hire two new pre-school teachers, I'm seeing it as an opportunity; maybe they'll be awesome and will re-establish our facility as a top notch Pre-school. However, I also thought it would be prudent to start looking at other schools, especially if they are not successful in replacing the teachers, we'll be competing with everyone else for spaces at other schools. My Father worked sort of as a handyman for a Montessori school and had been promoting the Montessori method pretty much since Kate was born. Husband was a bit resistant, I think, just because he saw my father being intrusive, but I was able to get him to agree to take a tour with me.

We looked at a school that is on my way to work. As in, it's so close that I could just slow down and kick her out the door and continue driving (kidding, of course). The school is very secure and features four classrooms with a playground courtyard in the middle. It looks like an actual school. The director let us peek in on a classroom, which looks much like a real Kindergarden classroom. The kids were engaged in circle time and seemed to be happy. After 15 minutes of chatting, she talking about putting our names on the wait list and explained how that process worked. Even after the brief encounter, Husband was totally impressed. "I want her in that school!' he declared. I agreed that it really would be an improvement from her current Pre-school and I started to fret that we were too late and wouldn't get in and went into full blown Pre-school panic mode.

I have to admit my privledge that not only is she currently enrolled in a good pre-school program, but I was able to find three other Montessori schools that are along my way to work, or near my office. I will whine a little bit that I had to exclude some schools even though they are only a few miles from our house, the traffic in our area is so bad that I would be looking at adding two extra hours of time in the car each day. Oh, and I excluded some others and the cost for one year is more than my college tuition (albeit that was in 1994, I shutter to think about what my University is charging today). I'm hoping that with these four school, we get accepted into one that will be the right fit for Kate. It has been a bit of a mind fuck and I feel like I've become one of those parents at the Life in Pieces party. I even confronted Husband about it. "We're obsessing about this school after the director didn't even ask about Kate, showed us one classroom and directed us right to her wait list" Maybe she figured that didn't need to sell it, thought Husband. I added that we may be so far down on the wait list that it was her polite way to avoid wasting our time and raising our hopes. (Co-worker confirmed to me that schools with Wait Lists, basically spend a few minutes with you, then lead you to the door)

There is so much emphasis on the development in the first five years, but there is a part of me that also says we shouldn't be putting so much pressure on this time as being a predictor of future success in life. Kate's Pediatrician, who is a truly brilliant man, recently revealed that he wasn't able to read until he was 6 years old. It also reminds me that Husband and I have to be Kate's primary teachers and her schools are meant to supplement. I'm probably going to question my decision over and over again should she get accepted into a Montessori or if we keep her in the current school. There is no such thing as a perfect school. It's an invisable rainbow. Life in  Pieces totally nailed it.