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.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

A Day in the Life Winter 2018

A Day in the Life
Saturday 24 February 2018
Husband 43
Jane 41
Kate 2 years 7 months
Kayla 10 years
Tyler 4 years

0125 Wake up to hearing Kate cry
0127 Tuck her back into bed, she falls back to sleep quickly, but wait a few minutes before leaving.
0135 Back in my bed and fall asleep quickly
0410 Tyler is meowing incessantly. He wakes up between 4-5 AM like clockwork. Pick him up and take him back to my bed. He settles on my lap and starts purring
0440 Tyler is meowing again. I bring him back to bed with me, but he jumps off a minute later
0445 The meowing is getting louder. I check his food bowl and note it is empty and I'm out of dry food. Fill his bowl with cat treats. Cue Kitty Mom guilt.
0700 My alarm goes off, turn it off quickly so I don't wake Husband. Tip-toe around as I'm getting ready for the gym. I'm trying to sneak out like a fleeing one-night stand.
0715 Busted. Kate wakes up. I grab her milk and send her to our bed with Husband
0735 Husband whines about the fact that I'm going to the gym since I competed in the Cross Fit Open last night. He injured his thumb last August and hasn't been the the gym in over 6 months and has not so subtlety hinted his resentment toward my involvement. He expressed his concern that I'm putting myself at risk for injury by going back so quickly. Concern duly noted.
0740 Husband is also lamenting about the fact that I have a Dentist appointment and a hair appointment with a facial later today. "How long does it take you get your hair done?" He reminds me that he needs tomorrow afternoon to do our taxes. I laugh. When does he NOT get child free time on the weekends? I make no apologises about going to the gym on both Saturday and Sunday since it's the only time I get to myself on the weekends. The only other time I get is for a hair or medical appointment, my two swim meets, or work events, which I have to coordinate months in advance. Plus as we've started letting her watch Pig on the weekends, he really has an easy parenting shift.
0745 Leave for the gym. Kate insisted on giving me three hugs before going
0802 It's a easy recovery work-out. 5 rounds of a 400 meter run and 15 Overhead squats. I opt to use just the bar as my forearms are still on fire from last night's workout
0900 Finish at the gym, I hit Target before my Dentist appointment. It is so refreshing to be shopping on my own.
0955 Arrive a few minutes early at my Dentist appointment. I picked up a pumice smoother at Target and start filing the callouses on my hands.
0957 The Dentist is right next to a compounding pharmacy, which reminds me that I need to refill Tyler's Prozac. If I thought ahead, I could have picked it up while I was here and saved myself a trip.
1035 Finished with my dental appointment. Rather easy routine cleaning, no X-rays. Reminded that I need crowns for some old fillings.
1100 Arrive home. Discover that Kate's diaper leaked while she was in our bed, which tells me that Husband let her watch more than our agreed 2 episodes of Oh, and apparently she peed on him too. Laugh silently inside.
1105 Start packing Kate's snack bag and check the supply of spare clothes in the potty back pack. Ask her if she wants to shower with me, she says yes.
1115 Turn on the shower to let the water warm up. Give Kate the countdown.
1118 I get in the shower while Kate is still "warming up"
1120 I notice that Kate is going through our Cross Fit line drills
1123 She's still not getting in the shower, I yell to Husband for help. He assists with getting her undressed. I find a pack of fruit snacks in the shower to coax her. She doesn't want any, but I decided that some fruit snacks would be a good idea right now.
1125 As soon as she sees me eating her fruit snacks, she wants in the shower to claim her "fruit 'nacks"
1128 She screams while I try to wash her hair.
1130 Quickly dry off and get dressed. Kate is sitting in her room in her robe eating another pack of fruit 'nacks, because you know she did not get a whole pack.
1132 Husband is still whinging about how much child care he is being required to do today. Apparently, I didn't have to go to the gym this morning
1133 I wish someone informed him that having a child requires one to do some occasional parenting
1134 I surprise him by informing him that I booked him for a facial after mine. He still hasn't used a gift certificate that I gave him for his 40th Birthday (see his age above)
1145 Grab Kate's snack bag, backpack, Kate and Husband and somehow we manage to leave on time
1205 She manages to fall asleep as we're driving to the salon. He gets the nap during his shift
1215 Husband drops me off on time for my appointments. He plans to hit a drive through Star.bucks for lunch and then will take Kate to the park
1235 I share with the aesthetician  that I started using the Rodan and Fields skin care program (I have three friends who are consultants and I finally couldn't escape) She expresses that their products could be more abrasive and suggests stop using for a few days before being out in the sun for prolonged times (i.e. When we go to Hawaii!)
1345 Get dressed and get ready for my hair appointment
1355 Do my consult with the hair dresser. I always have thoughts about doing something drastic and different, but I end up telling her just to take off a few inches
1430 Text husband to let him know that I am done. Check out and pick up some new make-up and skin care products as I'll receive 10% off as I had services performed today
1435 Meet Husband just outside the salon. I offer to let him check in for his appointment and spend some quiet time in the relaxation room, but he offers to get a coffee instead.
1440 Husband has coached Kate to tell me that my hair looks nice. She does so over and over again.
1445 We park the car in a multi-level garage and head to Star.bucks
1450 While waiting in line, Kate request a "pink pea pop" I may have started buying Kate a cake pop while we shop to make my trip easier
1455 We're still waiting for our drinks
1500 Still waiting, which is surprising as our order wasn't that complicated and they are not too busy
1503 Finally receive our drinks
1505 Kate notices that someone in Starbucks has "the same 'puter [computer] as Daddy". We look over and notice that it is an Apple and wonder if she recognized the decal. We point out someone who has a Dell laptop and another non-Apple tablet and ask if that is the same computer as Dadd and she says no.
1515 Husband gets ready to walk back to the salon for his appointment. Kate begins to cry. When Husband tells her that it is his turn for a spa appointment, she proclaims "I want a turn..."
1520 This actually gives me an idea. There is a barber shop just across from Star.bucks that features toy cars for kids to sit in while getting their hair cut.
1525 We walk over to the barber shop, they take clients on a walk-in basis and have a female staff member who agrees to cut Kate's hair
1535 To my surprise, Kate is being totally cooperative getting her hair cut. The hair dresser gives me a tip to use a wet brush for easy brushing after washing, but she suspects that it will be easier to comb her hair with less tangles after the hair cut.

1537 She also revealed that "leave-in conditioners" are really just watered down conditioner, so she suggests making my own by adding some water to a drop of conditioner in my hands and rubbing it through her hair before combing, or using it on the comb itself
1545 I order the wet brush from my Ama.zon app while the hairdresser finishes up with Kate
1550 As we leave the barber shop, Kate mentions that she wants to see "The Mommies" I.e a group of women and kids selling Girl Scout cookies. Last week we passed a table and they gave her a cookie
1555 We visit the Girl Scouts. I buy a box to send to a friend living abroad
1610 Head into Gap as I have $75 in Gap.Cash that expires today
1615 I appreciate that the gimmic of Gap.Cash is that nothing in the store is on sale. Head for the clearance rack in the Kids section. I can't believe I'm already shopping for 4T clothes for her. Myrtle's daughter is 5 and is still wearing 4T. She and Kate can share clothes.
1620 Kate is actually picking out some clothes from a display table. I loathe buying clothes at full price, but I want to encourage her choosing her own clothes
1630 Kate finds the chairs outside the dressing rooms and declares it time for a snack break
1632 I open a box of raisins and a packet of Chia Seeds for her
1635 While she is snacking, I browse the women's sales racks
1645 Head to the check-out. Kate climbs into a display rack. She's sitting there quietly and isn't touching any merchandise, so I let her stay there while I pay, but I'm sure I'm drawing some dirt looks from others in the queue.
1650 Received text from Husband that he is done
1655 While walking back to the car, Kate announces that she has to go potty. We hit the Star.bucks that we patronized earlier that day as I figure that grants us one bathroom use
1705 Meet up with Husband, he's really happy after his facial as the aesthetician was able to get rid of some dark spots he had. I causally mention that he could have had this done three years ago...
1710 We stop at Fed.Ex to drop off a package. Husband runs into the store while I wait in the car with Kate. I go to plug my phone into the charger only to find it's not in my purse. I must have left it in the stroller
1712 Open the boot and pull out the stroller. My phone is not there! Start to panic
1715 Husband comes back to the car. He took my phone from the stroller console and has it in his pocket. Phew.
1735 We arrive at a local pub where we are regular Saturday night patrons.
1740 As we walk in, Kate asks "Where's Adam?" Yes my 2.5 year old is on a first name basis with the bartender as he gives her maraschino cherries
1742 We find a table that gives us a view of the Warrior's game
1755 The waitress comes to take our order and Kate asks for "Fishy-fish please" I don't think I ordered in a restaurant by myself until I was 6 or 7
1800 Kate announces that she has to go potty and she wants Husband to take her. He does so willingly. I take note that he seems to be in a much better mood since his facial
1820 Our food arrives. I cut Kate's fish for her. She is a weird kid that takes the breading off the fish and eats the fish first and may eat the breading at the end depending on how hungry she is.
1850 Kate has to go potty again. This time, it's my turn to take her. As we walk in, she goes straight for a smaller stall and tells me that she is going to do it herself. She locks the door.
1851 Fortunately, the next stall is a handicapped one. I stand on the back of the toilet stall and then step on to the safety bar while holding on to the top of the stall so I can peek in on her. I'm hoping that A. No one else walks into the bathroom at this moment and B. This safety bar can support my weight
1855 Kate manages by herself just fine. I jump down and flush the toilet so she thinks I was going potty too and not spying on her.
1900 Kate announces it's "Fro-yo time!" We walk to the Frozen Yoghurt stop. Kate goes through her rituals. Swinging on the hand rail at the Sushi restaurant. Saying goodnight to the wooden fish on display at a salon and to a stone cat and goose at the flower stop. We also wave to the owner of a book store, who is still working at his desk even though his shop closed over an hour ago.
1910 Arrive at Yoga.fina I wasn't planning to have any, but Kate hands me a cup. Why not?
1912 Assist Kate. She's allowed two yoghurt flavours and three toppings
1915 Kate sits next to another young girl at the kids table and the kids start talking about the toppings they have. I snap a photo as it's really cute, but then realise that I probably shouldn't be taking a picture of someone else's kid, but her parents are both engrossed in their phones, so I don't think they noticed.
1920 Kate announces that she is done even though she hasn't finished her fro-yo. I'm please to see that she knows when she's satiated and isn't finishing it all just to finish. I text Husband to tell him to drink up as he will finish his beer, just to finish it...
1922 I distribute wipes to Kate for her to clean her face and the table. I feel that keeping the place tidy allows us to be welcomed as regulars.
1927 Husband arrives and we all walk back to the car together. I stop at the ATM to get cash for the Farmer's Market
1930 As a bus drives by, Kate starts singing 'The Wheels on the Bus'. She starts to confuse it with 'Old MacDonalds Farm' and is coming up with new verses; "The Piggy on the Bus says Oink, Oink, Oink!' Husband and I start to join in with other other farm animals; "The Cow on the Bus says Moo, Moo, Moo!" "Duck on the Bus says Quack, Quack, Quack!"
1935 Husband and I start to debate the ending of 'The Wheels on the Bus' We've heard it as "all day long" or "all through the town". I argue that "all through the town" makes more sense as the bus is travelling all through the town and may not run all day long.
1945 Arrive at home. Tyler is meowing loudly to let me know that he needs to be fed. Kate offers to help. I watch as she tries to slop his canned food into his bowl and is getting bits of cat food on the counter.
1948 I clean out Kate's snack bag and replenish it for tomorrow. She is playing at her kitchen by herself. I should be gearing her toward getting ready for bed, but she seems to be in the zone with her play so I let her continue
1955 I go into the bathroom to use the new skin cleanser that I picked up today. Kate walks in and asks if I want a cup of coffee from her toy Kurig machine. I accept her offer
1957 As I'm washing my face. Kate returns with a toy cup and small wooden spoon. She tells me "Here is your coffee. It will help you poop." Um, how does she know this?
2015 While Kate is still playing on her own, I chat with Husband as we really didn't see much of each other today. Discuss logistics for tomorrow and plans for meals this week
2025 I hate to disrupt Kate as she is happily playing on her own, but she's overdue for getting ready for bed
2027 I prepare her milk and head to her room. Tyler is sitting on her floor waiting for stories
2030 Kate recognizes that I'm in her room and joins me. I let her pick out her jammies, but she's resisting getting changed.
2035 Husband senses that I'm struggling to get Kate dressed and comes in as back-up support. Kate wants him to help her change. Meanwhile, I pick her books to read, hiding her books of multiple stories as she'll choose those and want to hear every story.
2055 Finish stories and head her to the bathroom to brush teeth. Husband helps as for some reason he does better at getting her to brush her teeth. I drop her empty milk cup in the sink. I know the milk remnants will curdle over night, but I can't be bothered to clean it right now.
2058 Husband has tucked Kate into bed, I lean over and give her a kiss as well. Husband turns out the light and I settle into her chair with my IPad
2100 Kate requests that I turn on her Sleep Sheep
2102 She wants a different song on the Sheep. I instruct her to change it herself
2103 She wants her blanket on. I inform her that she can do it herself
2104 She lets me know that she put her blanket on
2105 She wants to know what I am reading. I remind her that there is no talking.
2105 For the record, I am looking up Montesorri pre-schools.
2110 I can appreciate a change in her breathing. She seems to be asleep
2113 Wait a few minutes before leaving. Night time routine is still not ideal, but much better than spending over an hour trying to get her to sleep
2115 Go back to the bathroom to complete my nighttime R+F skin care routine. Notice the cup of 'coffee' that Kate brought me is still on the counter. I bring it back to her kitchen and do a little tidying While I'm there.
2120 Head to bed. Husband is watching Eastenders. Appreciate the nostalgia for watching such an iconic English show, but also find it a bit sad.
2129 Finish my internet search on Pre-schools.
2130 Thankfully, Eastenders has finished. Discuss the results of my pre-school research with Husband
2145 Start watching last night's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. We started watching it last night, but both feel asleep during the opening  monologue
2200 Drift off asleep during Bill's interview with his first guest. Will watch again to try to make it to the panel discussion and New Rules.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Kate 2.5 years

I had the best of intentions. Thanksgiving was early this year, so there were four and a half weeks before Christmas. I was going to create and order our holiday cards and the Year of Kate calendar for the grandparents over Thanksgiving weekend, so I could mail the cards and the calendars to my in-laws by the first week in December. I was able to produce the cards over that weekend, but as I was working on the calendar, I decided I needed some pictures of Kate in front of our Christmas tree, which didn't get assembled and decorated until the first weekend in December. I downloaded the app on to my IPad (which is where I store all my photos) and got to work. I uploaded all the photos, added captions, noted birthdates, our vacations, my swim meets, and Husband's hockey tournaments. It took me over two hours to create. Then, as I was adding a photo to use as the cover, the app crashed and my two hours of work vanished right before my eye.

I was on the verge of tears. It brought me back to loosing my term paper the night before it was due when I was in the nineth grade. Husband felt so badly for me that he actually suggested getting a new I Pad as mine is close to 6 years old. A few days passed before I could start over again and I could only do a few months at a time (after I discovered that I could save my work). It took just over a week to finish and while it would arrive in time for my parents to open on Christmas morning, it wouldn't get mailed to my in-laws until after Christmas. Maybe they would not receive before the start of the new year. That was my silver lining.

Let's rewind a year and I'll explain why I was smirking. Last Christmas I sent my in-laws and Husband's aunt and uncle some professional photos of Kate that I had professionally framed. I was honest about the money that I spent on their gifts on the customs shipping form and because of the amount that I spent, they had to pay a fee of 25 pounds when they picked it up from the post office. I get it. It's a really, really crappy thing to have to pay for your own present. However, I like to believe that I was raised to A. Just be thankful that someone went to the effort to send me a gift. B. Feel humbled by the amount the other person spent on me and decide that maybe I wouldn't say anything about it. C. If I felt compelled to mention it to the other person, I would wait a suitable amount of time AFTER I thanked the person for the gift. Not my Father-in-Law. The first thing I heard was about how he had to pay the fee. Husband didn't help the situation by claiming that I should have recognized that most of the cost of what I paid for the photos and the framing was the professional fees and the actual cost of the photo and frame was nominal, so I should have been more accurate in describing the value of the items. This enraged me as Husband wasn't showing any appreciation for the fact that I purchased, wrapped and mailed gifts to his parents, whom (and I can't emphasize this enough) I couldn't give a shit about. Even when we called my in-laws on Christmas morning, my Father-in-Law had to inform me that Husband's aunt and uncle also had to pay 25 pounds to pick up their package. No shit, I sent the exact same things. I just didn't hear from the aunt and uncle about their fees as they learned A-C.

So the fact that they would be getting their gift late this year, seemed to be my little revenge for not being thanked last year, but wait! There is more gift giving animosity related to my in-laws. Last year, they asked what they could do for Kate for Christmas. As we were coming to visit in February, I suggested that we could pick out some toys from Ar.gos and Kate could open them when she arrives, which would save us from having to bring toys with us. Ar.gos is basically the original Amaz.on. It's a small store front with multiple catalogues (think, the Sears catalogue) you write down the item numbers and employee search their warehouse for your products while you pay. You can also order stuff on-line and they deliver. Husband passed on my suggestion and my Father-in-law said that they would just buy Kate some toys when she arrived. Okay, few things annoy me more than when someone asks for your input and then completely disregards it. Well, we arrived and my in-laws had no plans to take Kate shopping, so Husband and I had to go out and pick up some stuff for her. I had really wanted to get some toys that were unique to England, but out of desparation, we ended up at Babies.R.Us -which basically has the same stuff that we could get back in California. We even got her another Baby Doll, so technically her "two babies!" are actually triplets. My Father-in-Law gave some cash to Husband to reimburse for the toys.

When Kate's birthday rolled around, the in-laws asked again what we wanted them to do. I replied that I just wanted her to having something that she would know was from them. I may have said something to the effect of not slipping cash in their kitchen like it was a drug deal. I also replied that I wanted her to have somethings that would represent England and I shared that I had found a few series while we were visiting and I gave them the titles. (I also specifically mentioned the store where I purchased the books and where they are located). Two months later, they sent some books. They weren't wrapped and there wasn't anything in the package to suggest it was a birthday gift. The books weren't the ones I suggested. They are probably appropriate for a second or third grader. If you don't want to take my suggestions, is it too hard to ask someone in the shop what books would be suitable for a toddler?

This year, I knew better to make any suggestions on what they could do, just so they could be ignored. I went into my 'whatever' mode.  Husband said the easiest thing was for us to get a gift for her and they'll give us money. So I went out to buy gifts for Kate, and wrapped them and put her Grandparents' names on it, so on Christmas morning, they could Face.time to see what gifts I bought for her.  I had to leave the room. Oh, and I won't get reimbursed until we go back over to England, but that's not the point. It just really annoys me that this is one more thing on my Christmas to-do list. My 82 year old Father-in-Law can fix his shower, but can't shop, wrap and ship a present to his granddaughter? I know there will come a time when we'll have to get gifts for them, but for now, they're capable. They're just being lazy. End Rant.

Height: 36.5 inches
Weight: Still at 34 pounds. I want her diet of eating snacks all the time and not gaining weight

Likes: ALL.THINGS.PEPPA.PIG. OMG we are so into the Peppa Pig phase. We introduced the characters with some books and then started adding some Peppa clothes and Myrtle sent some Peppa puzzles. Now it seems that we only read Peppa books at night and she even has Peppa socks and underwear. We've been letting her watch "Two Peppas" on the weekends, since A. It gives us a little more time resting in bed and B. It's a good incentive for good behaviour "If you don't do XXX, you can't watch Peppa" (we have been strict about following through with the threats). While I would rather her not be watching TV, as I fear it will become the Pandora's box that cannot be shut and she won't want to engage in other forms of play, I noticed that it has stimulated her imaginative play. She has a toy mobile phone and she'll call Peppa characters, Mr Rabbit, Madame Gazelle, Mr Bull... I'm not really sure what she has to discuss with Mr Bull and I can't help to notice that she is gravitating to the adult characters in the series and I wonder if it is a function of being an only child.

Her latest game is to play Farmer's Market. She'll go into the fridge and take out my bags of carrots, kale and other produce and will put then on individual squares in our tiled hallway. She then pushes her baby's stroller along the hallway and collects the bags. (Now, she has a cloth Ergo carrier for her baby, as she's a hip Californian Baby-wearing Mom) Our friends in LA gave her an activity desk for her birthday (which we finally assembled at Christmas) and it has a feature where it plays music. Kate will set the desk in the center at the end of the hallway (right where the live musicians play in the actual Farmer's Market). Then she asks me for a dollar to tip the musician.

Dislikes: Our main power struggles are taking a shower and getting dressed, although the latter has become a bit better. She initially agrees to go into the shower, then plays the stalling game. She strips naked and then declares that she needs to "warm up" and swings her arms by her side. We're not sure if this comes from waiting until the water is warm enough, or watching us warm up at the gym. I'll get through my entire shower (shampoo and conditioning my hair and even shaving my legs) while she is still "warming up". There have been days where I've had to drag her in kicking and screaming. We've gone through giving milk, soup (juice) fruit snacks, bath crayons and paints and even a Peppa pig wash cloth and she still resists. Right now, we're doing a shower every other day, but I think we're going to need to do it every day.

Milestones: Fortunately, I've not heard her use the F-word since my last post and she has discovered the L-word. One day she was sitting on my lap and I kissed her on the head. She turned and looked at me and said "You love me?" In an astonished voice. Hearing her say 'I love you" just melts my heart every time. Other important words she's learned...I caught her calling her VG her "hoo-ha". I'm pretty sure she picked it up from Husband and I didn't correct her as it sounds so cute when she says it. Then one day she walked in our room while Husband was getting dressed and I heard her ask "Is that your hoo-ha?" So, now she knows the proper anatomic terms. We also turned her front facing in her car seat. Question: what do you do when your kids starts kicking the seat?

Potty Training: I have a friend who is a Potty Training and Eliminiation Communication (EC) coach. She posted on her Facebook group that the stress of the holidays (going different places, family visiting, etc...) can either seal the deal with potty training or cause it to fall apart. I really thought we were going to be in the seal the deal category. She came home from Day Care in her undies TWO DAYS IN A ROW, she was using the potty by herself while my parents were here and when we were out, she would tell me when she needed to pee. I went over a week without having to use any of the spare clothes in our potty backpack. She was even staying dry through her naps and I don't think we've diapered her for a nap in over a month. Then she started peeing a bit in her undies en route to the potty. It was getting to the point of needed to change her undies and pants all the time. Next we progressed to full blown accidents, as in her bladder might as well be a water balloon that just burst over the floor and oh yeah, in our bed... She was having more accidents at Day Care and they were giving her two chances before going back into pull-ups. I even tried to bribe her by letting her watch Peppa during the week if she stayed dry at Day Care.

I was in denial for a while, but I needed to face the reality that we were in a full blown regression. We went back to naked training for a weekend. It was killing me. A few weeks ago I thought we were done and here we were back to square one with naked training. Fortunately, it stopped the accidents almost immediately and she was using the potty again. I decided we're going to spend quite a bit of time in the commando stage. Commando is meant to be pants without undies, as undies or training pants can sometimes feel like diapers. However, most girls pants are so tight, they're basically leggings. So I've been having her wear her pajama bottoms while we're at home and I found some looser fitting pants at a conseignment shop. At press time, it seemed to have worked. She only had one accident at Day Care this past week (which was during their Valentine's Day Party) and none at home. She had one accident at the park this weekend and another at the Zoo, but both times she told me she needed to go, but just didn't make it in time. I bring the Portette travel potty everywhere we go, but if she knows she has an option for a 'big potty' she'll refuse to use the Portette. I brought her to my swim meet this weekend and she insisted on using the big potty when there were only three heats of a 100 IM before my heat. She PR'd the potty run and I made it to the starting blocks on time.

Eating: I fear we've made no progress in this category. When I visited Myrtle just prior to my transfer, I was silently critical as she let her daughter watch cartoons on the IPad and play with toys during dinner and then wondered why her daughter wasn't eating. We had been eating in our kitchen and I was finding that Kate was getting easily distracted as we keep a lot of her toys in the kitchen for her to play while I'm cooking. We had also fallen into the habit of watching the news to absorb the latest scandals of the Trump administration and then bang our heads against the wall as we ask 'how is he still in power?'. After the New Year, I cleared my dining room table from what was gift-wrapping central, and decided that we would eat in the dining room -no TV. No change. Kate will squirm around in her seat for a while, before climbing out of the chair and finding something that she 'needs' to bring to the table. If I get her back in the chair, she'll request 'help' to eat, which really means that I have to spoon feed her. Sometimes she'll even whine "I'm a baby" We've tried explaining that if she's going to regress to being a baby, then she can't do big girl activities, but eventually, my maternal instinct to nurture and my desire not to waste food kicks in and I'll end up feeding her. Husband has been really pushing me to stop doing this, as she is in the 90th percentile for her weight, she can stand to miss a meal and it may be the only way for her to learn. I've been pondering going my grandfather old-school "Eat it, or wear it" but I think she'd find it fun and it would really be a mess for me to clean.

Sleep: Once Kate starting escaping from her crib, and we transitioned to the toddler bed and started sleeping on the pull out mattress next to her, I knew it was the wrong thing to be doing and it would eventually bite us in the ass. Yet for a while, it wasn't so bad, especially as she started sleeping though the night again. Husband and I accepted it as a trade off, it would take longer to get her to go down, but we got a good night's sleep. Initially, it would take 10-15 minutes, maybe only 5 on a really good night. Then it became more like 15-20 minutes. Next it stretched to 45 minutes. Around the start of the New Year, it was taking almost an hour if not more to get her to fall asleep. I was finding that I was delaying her bedtime (part of the problem) as I needed to make sure I had all my lunches, meal prep and other chores done, because there were some nights when I would fall asleep and I once spent the whole night on her pull-out mattress. This bull shit had to stop.

We consulted our friends in LA, who advocated for the Cry it Out method. Painful, but it works. I was planning to do it over the President's Day long weekend, but our Day Care provided baby sitting on Valentine's Day, so I decided to do it that night, as we were off our usual routine anyway. I closed her in her room and she cried for 28 minutes before falling asleep on the floor, leaving me just enough space to slip in and carry her to bed, where she woke up, but fortunately fell back asleep quickly. We tried it again the next night, and as we wasn't in such an overtired state, she really was trying to body slam the door. I was afraid she might hurt herself, so I came in and offered that I would sit on her rocking chair, which I did for a few minutes before moving just outside her door.
So this is where we're are now. I've read stories from other moms who have tried this approach, gradually moving themselves further away and staying for shorter periods of time. One friend offered that she would set a timer, telling her son it was for "ten minutes" and then she would set it for fewer minutes, until she was out in two minutes. I think that might work for us. At least for right now, while I'm in the rocker or sitting outside her room, I can use my IPad and feel like I'm being productive .

Clothing: I just purged out the remaining 2T clothes, save a few from Gym.boree that sometimes run larger on their sizes. Her 3T shirts are starting to look tight. [face palm] she is going to be wearing 4T sizes before she's actually 3 years old.

Activites: We started a new gymnastics class. While I loved our previous instructor and there were some perks to that gym (it was right next to a Whole.Foods and a Pet.Smart, plus there was a playground nearby) I didn't feel like it was challenging her. The "class" was just an open gym with 10 minutes of circle time to sing songs at the end. We even were able to drop in one the 2.5 - 4 year old class as a make up, and it was the same format. The new class is very structured, which is really making Kate work on her listening skills as well as her gymnastics. She likes working on the stuff she is good at (forward rolls, swinging on the bars and rings) and doesn't like the stuff she needs to work on (hand-stands, stretching) I feel that it was definately the right move, especially as the instructions progress all the way to team Competetion, and their teams travel and do really well. The only annoying thing is that while it's closer to our house, it still takes the same time to get there as it did for the other gym because Bay Area Traffic really sucks.

Looking Forward to: Having our garage back! Shortly after Christmas, we started a project of replacing the siding and Windows in our house. 'The Menz' (as Kate calls them) have been storing all their tools in our garage, so we've had to park in our driveway and sometimes on the street. It's funny that we didn't use our garage for the first five years that we lived in our house, but it's been a huge inconvenience to be without it now. Part of the reason is that we're in our rainy season, and I've been soaked while trying to get Kate into her car seat. The other reason is that we rely on Kate to fall asleep in her car seat to take her nap. There have been a few times, where I've had her sleeping in the car while it's parked on the street and I'll sit in the front seat and work on an article I agreed to write. I'm sure it draws looks from neighbours who are walking by.

A more serious reason for wanting the garage back, is that my car was, let's say "accessed" as I don't know if I can call it 'broken into' when I think it was left unlocked. I came back from picking up Kate from Day Care and brought our bins into the garage. I saw that Kate was holding my keys, but I wasn't really paying much attention to what she was doing with them. Husband was due to return from New York late that night, nearly at midnight, so I didn't set the alarm, so I wouldn't risk waking up Kate. When Husband came home, he discovered the boot of my car was open, as was the passenger door. The glove box and the console were also open. We found the tool used to break into a car; however as there was no damage to my car, we think Kate had played with the lock and it was my fault for not checking to confirm it was locked. Here is what was stolen; a bag of Kate's old clothes I had set aside to give to a pregnant woman at my gym, a pair of gloves, an umbrella, and a few socks stuffed with granola bars that I give to the homeless. Oh, and they also took my Garmin, which I haven't used in over 10 years. All I can say is that if the thieves really needed these items, I hope they make good use of them. It was kind of a no harm, no foul, break in, expect I realised it could have been much worse. My garage door opener was clipped to the driver's side visor. The thieves could have gained access to my garage. If I had heard the garage door open, I would have assumed it was Husband and when he didn't come in after 5 minutes or so, I probably would have gone out to see what was taking him so long to come in, and could have walked in on the robbery in progress. So today's security tip: don't leave your garage door opener in your car if you have to park in your driveway.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Right Now January 2018

Some articles on Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) as I agreed to write a paper on that topic, which is due by Monday. See also: what I should be working on right now.

My bed clothes. I'm taking a sick day. Yesterday I woke up with some body aches and chills and watched as my temperature gradually crept up all day. It got as high as 104-105, which resolved with taking Motrin. Other than having a bit of a non-productive cough, I don't feel that ill, which makes me feel guilty about staying home, but someone else in the office who has similiar symptoms was diagnosed with the flu, so I reckon I probably have a touch of the flu and it's best that I don't get everyone else sick. This is only the 5th sick day I've taken in the past 15 years, so I feel I'm due.

Watching: Pig. Yes, seriously. We've been letting Kate watch it on Saturday mornings and I really enjoy it. She also gets to watch it when she's sick, so I figure that can apply to me too. I'm getting caught up with Life in Pieces. They just did a sketch about infertility (in a cartoon format) that was funny, yet very real and honest. Kudos to the show for addressing the topic.

The sound of an air compressor, a saw and some intermittent banging. We're having the siding on our house replaced.

I'm going old school and I'm trying to flush this virus out with fluids, so I have a cup of tea, a Naked fruit blend and two bottles of antioxidant fusion water. It brings me back a bit to my second retrieval (one of the 5 sick days) where I had to drink a shit-ton of vitamin water.

A packet of Fruit Snacks, after I told Kate she couldn't have them for breakfast, because I'm sick.

Loving: I was contemplating placing orders online, as they offer free delivery for orders over $75. I figure this would save me per shopping trip, but it seems that each trip, I find new products and it really saves so much compared to shopping at the grocery store. Plus, it's an activity to do with Kate, who loves to sample.

One more week until swimming starts again! The pool has been closed for over a month as the heating system needed to be repair. Will be glad to have it up and working as it's been in the 40s and raining. I'm also getting ready to sign up for the Cross.Fit Games.

Kate moves out of this whiny, clingy phase very quickly.

Yet another day of national embarassement known as the shit show of the 45th Presdient

To figure out how to use my Insta.pot. I have to admit, I'm a bit scared of it. The instructions specifically warn that it is not to be operated by children or anyone with reduced mental and intellectual capacity. I've cleaned it and set it up, but have yet to do a test run.

Oddly, about nothing in particular.  Other than the general troubled state of affairs.

Our vacations for the year. We booked our time share week to go to Hawaii in May! Now we just have to figure out when to go to England to visit my ILs and I decided I would take Kate to go visit my parents during her April break, but I'm waiting to find out when our swimming championships will be before booking my flights as I think they might be that weekend. I also want to do some CME conferences in a destination location

I just received an email for a Pre-School Open house. Our current Day Care goes all the way through Pre-K and we've been really happy with their program, but I've been wondering if I should know what other options exist. I recently saw a post by Bernie Sanders that quoted how the most crucial time of learning development is in the first five years and yet we pay Day Care providers so little rather than investing in them. I feel that Kate's current teachers really do a great job with their cirrculum. They are learning letters each week. This month they are learning about the solar system -I don't think I learned about the planets until I was in the 3rd or 4th Grade. They have music classes, soccer, yoga and Spanish lessons. Plus she's got a great group of friends and I've been getting friendly with the parents. Of course, I'm really questioning if I'm just keeping her in her current pre-school because it's so convenient for us and I don't want to disturb our current routine.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Looking Back on 2017 and Ahead to 2018

Last year, inspired by Non Sequitur Chica, I decided to write down a list of goals for the year. As one of them involved a swimming event, I started this info with one of my swim teammates, who commented "Oh yeah, I used to do that too, but I just ended up cutting and pasting from one year to the next." Well, I wrote over my prior document and saved it with a new title. It was interesting to look back and now what I did accomplish this year, and what is left to be achieved next year.

1. Continue Whole 30 lifestyle.
I did a round in January and March, while I'm not strict all the time, I do hold to a lot of the principles, especially with regard to meal prep and planning. There were a few weeks where I developed "mean planning fatigue" and we ended up eating some prepared or processed food. We've also had a few nights where I've forgotten to defrost meat or missed a key ingredient and ended up ordering a week night pizza, but we're so much better than we've previously been. I rely on my Crock-Pot and use it at least 1-2 times per week. Myrtle gave me an InstaPot for Christmas, so I'm excited to try some new recepies. I would come across something that looked really good, only to be disappointed that it is designed for a pressure cooker. Sometimes someone would ask the author if it could be modified to use in a Crock-Pot, and the answer was usually, "well you could; but it wouldn't be as good..."

2. Improve my score on the Body Fat Test.
I was disappointed with my score in June, so I started working with a Nutrition Coach who put me on a plan of counting macronutrients. I did another Body Fat Test at the end of July and after only 5 weeks on his plan, I had lost 1.5 lbs of fat! I achieved a personal best with lowest body fat score by one tenth of a point. (Unfortunately, I had just come back from vacation and did a bit work related stress eating just before testing in October and regained a half pound of fat, ugh) So I know I'm re-starting from a higher point in my quest for a new PR in 2018. I did drop below my pre-pregnancy weight and I've stayed under 150 pounds for the second half of the year, something I didn't imagine was possible. As I realised that I was still wearing my work-out clothes from my pregnancy, I treated myself to a whole new wardrobe of active wear. Perhaps my greatest accomplishment of the year, was that I started receiving some complements from other women at the gym.

3. Maintaining friendships. My challenge for this year is that at least once a month I have to reach out to someone and plan an activity.
So when I wrote this goal, my intention was to connect with older friends. I successed with my aim to have a least one social get-together once a month, but most of them were play dates with other moms. I feel that I'm officially going through that transition of non-kid friends to friends with kids.

4. Be more politically active. Contact representatives, do some work with local activist groups. Attend the next protest rally. Do more than just posting links on as most of your friends already share your opinions.
Total disappointment with this one. I was inspired by one woman who challenged herself to take some sort of concrete action for every political themed Facebook post (sort of like a political action swear jar) I just stopped posted politically related stuff.

5. Read at least one book a month, which must be purchased at a local book store.
Fail on this one, although I did purchase all the books I didn't get around to reading from my local book store. In fairness, the last book I was reading was Al Franken's Giant of the Senate. I think it's pretty understandable why I won't ever finish it.

6. Keep up with blogging. I started this blog over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012 and submitted 34 posts. I wrote 160 in 2013, 91 in 2014, 48 in 2015 and 21 in 2016. This blog means so much to me and I want to continue with it.
Including this post I published 26! Aim for >35 next year.

7. Spend more 'Face Time' with Husband and make sure we spend less time on devices while we are together.
Still need to work on this one, but we've been really vigalant about not using any devices in front of Kate.

1. Hit my metrics for responding to messages, reporting results and closing charts
2. Submit a proposal for a lecture and next year's conference
3. Write an article for a peer reviewed journal

I may not always hit my metrics, but I didn't accrue any penalties for failing to close charts. I was asked to apply to be Site Lead for our department, and as I was the only one who applied, I was awarded the position, so one of my goals for 2018 will be transitioning into my new role. I also volunteered to mentor a student, and I found it to be much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. I really enjoy teaching and I'd like to find more opportunities to do so. Unfortunately, I did not submit a lecture proposal, but I am working an piece for a training manual.

1. Be able to do 5 strict pulls up and 10 kipping pull ups -Achieved !
2. Work up to doing a WOD at the Rx weight. Increase 1 kilogram at a time -Not quite there, but I'm within 5 kg of Rx weight on most WODs and I can Rx many non-weight WODs

I entered my first Cross Fit (scaled) Competetion in November and I was named 'Cross-Fiter on Fire' for the month of December. Yes, it is as dorky as it sounds, but it was nice to have the coaches recognize my efforts, which on many weekends, included brining Kate with me and sometimes doing squats and push-ups with her on my back.

Goals for 2018
1. Enter the 2018 Open
2. Strict Chest-to Bar (very close, can do kipping)
3. Bar Muscle Up
4. Improve consecutive double unders
5. Rx weights for most WODs
6. Murph under 60 minutes
7. Row 75,000 meters in one month

1. Set a PB in any Free or Fly distance (note, picking a new distance to enter for the first time doesn't count)
2. Swim the 100 Fly in Long Course Metres
3. Attend a clinic to work on starts and turns

I had a great meet at Short Course Yards (SCY) in April and achieved 4 new PBs! (50 Free, 500 Free, 50 Fly and 100 Fly) I dropped 4 seconds off my 50 Fly and 7 seconds on my 100 Fly, which made me a bit too overzealous when I signed up for the 100 Fly in Long Course Meters. I completed the event; but I tried to muscle my way through it and completely fell apart at the end. The next day, my coach told me she needed me to swim that stroke again for the 400 meter medley relay. I was close to hiding in the locker room and crying, but instead I talked to my teammates who swim fly and watched the 200 meter Fly. Focused more on race strategy and technique, I recovered from the disaster on the previous day, and achieved a new (unofficial) PB. Other swimming highlights included joining the Brute Squad (completing a 200 Fly, 400 IM and 1650 Free) and dropping 7 seconds for a new PB on my 400 Kick for Time.

Goals for 2018
1. Sub 33 50 Free (SCY)
2. Sub 40 50 Fly
3. Sub 1:40 100 Fly
4. Compete 7 Individual events at SCY and SCM Championships
5. Improve time on the Brute swim
6. Train for a 200 Fly (notice I did not say enter...)

1. Try running 5Ks with Kate
We did a run in March that went pretty well. Kate only became fussy at the very end of the race and she really enjoyed the post race snacks. We were signed up in April, but that was the week that the puke monster hit, and I thought it was best to give it a miss. I didn't enter another race until Thanksgiving weekend, where I also convinced Husband to run with us (which actually became leaving us in his dust...) On Thanksgiving Day, she squirmed her way out of the stroller at the first Aid Station as she wanted to run, which lasted all of 500 yards or so. The rest of the race was me refusing to pick her up, insisted she had to ride in the stroller or walk. During the last half mile, I got fed up with her very distracted walking and carried her on my back, while I pushed the stroller. It was one of the worst races of my life. I considered bailing on the race on Saturday, but I decided to give it a go, and Kate did much better (she only wanted out at the last quarter mile...) We're doing another 5 K on New Year's Eve, which may determine if I include any races with Kate in my 2018 Goals.

2. Do some practice runs in my neighbourhood -Did not happen
3. Run a half maration -I had a dream about running a half, does that give me some credit?

1. Accomplish potty training by the end of the year
Well she's using the big potty on her won, but is still having the occasional accident. I keep reminding myself that it is a skill and it take lots and lots of practice. Steph Curry is perhaps one of the most skilled shooters in basketball and even he still misses some shots. My aim is to be completely diaper free at this time next year, including naps and night time.

2. Work on language aquisiton with her, continuing signing and introducing Spanish
As I've written previously, I was very worried about language development and my cousin's oldest son exhibited major language delays (which were later diagnosed as part of other intellectual deficits) and her younger son who was due to start Kindergarden this fall, had to postpone due to serious speech issues. Kate started speaking in complete sentences around August and she seems to have good command of pronouns, tenses and proper conjugation of most verbs. Maybe it would have happened on its own, but I give a lot of credit to doing baby sign, as it has finally lived up to the promise of kids having more advances verbal skills than their non-signing peers. We need to work more on Spanish. And by 'we' I really mean 'I' and I'm bored of one word per page books, but I need to practice more.

3. Send my in-laws photos and updates on a regular basis. I was sending her monthly photos to them, but as I'm not doing monthly photos any more, their updates have dropped off.
Totally sucked on this one. I sent them photos from Kate's party and none since (I did mail them a bunch of her artwork...) I have to hold myself to doing this by taking something away. Photos must be sent by the 1st of each month and if I fail to do so, I can't go to the gym

4. Host a successful birthday party for Kate
Her party rocked! Everyone seemed to have a good time and no one was sick the next week! It was a lot of work to set up, so we'll look to simplify next year and I know Husband wants to spend half as much next year. Hopefully if our back garden is done, we can host at our house.

Goals for 2018
5. New furniture for  Kate's bedroom
She needs a proper Big Girl twin bed and a storage unit for books and some toys. I've been struggling to find anything that I like after checking out IKEA, a local children's shop and, although I just learned that some Costcos in our area sell kids furniture. I do acknowledge that I have an emotional attachement to her room as they way it is. It's just the way we set it up when we were still anticipating her arrival, and knowing that we won't have another baby, I know every time we modify her room, it's brining us closer to when she moves out and her room can go back to being an office again. Sigh. I decided I'm keeping the rocker in her room a little longer. Even if it doesn't serve the original purpose, Tyler likes to sleep on it.

6. Get Kate to go bed on her own.
I'm really sick of having to stay in her room until she falls asleep. Mommy has a lot of stuff she needs to do.

7. Continue to limit TV and other media
We made it through 'No TV before 2' and decided to let Kate continue to think that the big rectangular box only played sports and news. Until the we set the clocks back and she woke up at the old 6 AM but new 5 AM and I was solo parenting that day. I let her watch Pig just so we could stay in bed until 7. Since then, we've been letting her watch "One Peppa" on Saturday mornings and I've been trying to justify that A) Saturday morning cartoons is part of childhood B) It keeps her connected to her English roots C) We're watching it with her and talk to her about what we watch to make it interactive D) I now know to do a French accent for Madame Gazelle when I read the books, although I feel I should have figured that out on my own.

8. Discipline
I need to be be firmer and more consistent with Kate while she's melting down into tantrums. Sometimes I fear I do too much of picking my battles and dismissing toddler unreasonableness as typical two year old behavior when it is something that needs to be corrected.

7. Swimming.
After much of my debating over continuing the lame classes just because Kate's classmates attend; they discontinued the Saturday classes so now we have to find a new option for swimming lessons.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Kate 2.375

At the time I sat down to start composing, I had just completed five full days of solo parenting. As in Husband left at the ass crack of dawn on Wednesday morning and didn't get back until the wee hours of Monday morning. Five Full Days. Actually, it wasn't too bad, but it is exhausting and wears on my patience. As Husband always points out, she's in Day Care for three days, so I'm really just on my own for the weekend. In some ways it is a bit easier. I don't have to worry about what he wants for dinner or have to work around his schedule, I just have to sort out myself and Kate. The trouble is that it's not just taking care of Kate on my own, it's taking care of a kid who is missing her father. As the days pass, she gets clingier and grumpier, any my patience wears thin.

On the fifth day, we went to Tar.get as I needed to get some new pants for Kate. I decided to have her try them on in the store so I could buy multiple pairs of any pants that fit. [Face palm.] Never have your toddler try clothes on in a store. No matter how long or slow the queue is at Customer Service to do a return, it is much easier than trying to have your kid try clothes on in the store. Kate was insisting that the pants were "too big" before she even tried them and she was resisting with all her might. When she really doesn't want to cooperate with getting dressed, she'll make her legs weak so that she can't stand up. It's probably one of the things she does that pisses me off the most. I yelled at her. In Target. Many people heard me. Not my finest parenting moment.

As we were leaving Tar.get, they were cleaning the woman's restroom and there were at least three people waiting for the family restroom. She had recently peed, so I was hoping she would make it until our next stop. Nope. While I was opening the boot of our car, I heard the sound of water splashing on the concrete floor of the parking garage. I looked over and saw that she had peed whilst sitting in the cart. Fortunately, this was the one day that I had forgotten to bring cloth bags and I had to pay 10 cents each for plastic ones from the last store in California that still distrubutes plastic bags. I had to empty everything out of the bags into the car and then change her out of her wet clothes. Once I got her buckled into her car seat, I tossed the bags into a garbage bin and pushed the cart toward the back corner of the parking garage where I turned it upside down, so no unsuspecting Tar.get customer would accidently start pushing around pee soaked cart. Then I went back into my car and cried.

I don't think I've cried since Kate was two weeks old when I was super hormonal and we thought she had colic. I felt I was being pushed to my limits and it had only been five days. I've said it so many times; I don't know how single parents manage, or even parents with more than one kid. I felt so relieved when Husband returned on Monday morning and could help her get ready for school and I could just enjoy some time to myself while I was drying my hair. Later that day, Husband learned that he was selected to umpire in the NCAA tournament and would be gone another three days...

Nicknames; Katie-Kate
Weight: 34 lbs
Height: Not Sure

Her activity bag! When we flew back east, I decided to take advantage of the fact that she was a seated passanger and would be allowed a carry-on item and I loaded her lion back pack with coloring books, stickers, silly putty, small puzzles, a few craft projects I scored from the clearance table at Jo.ann fabrics. It was enough fun to keep her entertained an occupied during the flight that I decided to keep it stocked for when we go out to restaurants

The Golden State Warriors. This girl loves her Dubs. Not only can she cheer at appropriate times, but when we start to watch a game on TV, she realises that she needs her Warriors shirt. It's hard explaining to a 2.375 year old that things we do during the playoffs (watch every game, dress in the team clothes) we don't need to do during the regular season. I've started carrying a GSW shirt in her diaper bag, so if we encouter a game, we can get her into her team wear.

Oh she also likes her Active wear... because I started singing the Active Wear  song.

She also likes her winter boots, as I played 'The Boots are Made for Walking' to add to the list of inappropriate songs I've shared with her.

The girl who was content to waste water all day has now soured on showers. In fairness, it has gotten cooler and she doesn't like getting out of the shower and feeling cold. I get that. Unfortunately, she still refuses to take baths. When she was over bath crayons and paint, we had to take the bribery up one notch. One of Husband's umpire friends has a ritual of taking a beer with him to his post game shower. Depending on how the game went, how much the coaches/players/fans yelled at him determines if it will be a 'one beer shower' a 'two beer shower' or the rare 'three beer shower' So for her, it's one milk shower and sometimes a milk and Annie's fruit snack shower.

She also dislikes getting her hair combed post shower. She may inherit my thick but fine hair, which is prone to tangles. I had to switch her from Baby.ganics to a combo shampoo and conditioner and
start using a spray-on detangler. I have to admit Husband is much better at getting her hair combed than me. I mentioned this to my friend Amy and she reported that she thought her husband was better than her with their daughter's hair, until she discovered that he was only combing the superficial surface and leaving tons of snarles underneath.

She dropped her first F-bomb. On Tuesday mornings, I try to leave early enough to allow for traffic when we go to gymnastics. This particular morning, we were already 7 minutes passed my desired departure time. I loaded her jogging stroller and my swim gear into the boot of my Jetta and tossed my purse and her diaper bag in the front seat. Then I opened up the rear door and discovered that Husband had taken the car seat out as it needed to be cleaned. Oh fuck, I quietly thought to myself, but I remained calm. At this point I had resigend to the fact that we were going to be late and a few more minutes to transfer stuff into the Honda wouldn't matter. Kate disagreed. "Oh, for Fuck's Sake!" she exclaimed. I was feeling both horrified and proud that she at least used the word properly.

F-words aside, she is rapidly developing her vocabulary. I'm often surprised at what comes out of her mouth as she spouts off words and terms we haven't used with her before. (Totally guilty on the F-word, especially during my solo parenting stint, but I did point out to Husband, that OFFS is an English expression, so she must have picked it up from him) Maybe once or twice a day we'll have to ask her to repeat herself of speak slowly, but for the most part, her speech is really clear and she using tenses, possessive pronouns approrpiately and conjugating verbs correctly. We were really concerned about speech development as my cousin has two kids with severe langugage delays and our pediatrician warned that since she was ahead with physical development, she could lag with language. My older cousin, who is a Speech Language Pathologist, visited recently and commented that she was impressed with her 'linked word utterance'. Linked word utterance is a fancy and cool SLP term that means abilitly to string words together. Somehow they mostly seem to be in the form of various commands, "Mommy, turn the light on in my room, please!" "Thank you"

She has developed a cute little routine of saying good-bye when we leave our house. As I'm backing out of our driveway, she'll shout out "Bye House!" "Bye Daddy!" "Bye Kitties!" "See you Soon!" This has lead to saying good bye to everything all the time "Bye Farmer's Market!" "Bye Gym!" "Bye Costco!" "Bye Pool!" "Bye Transfer Station, See you soon!"

I think I read on another blog that she should be able to play by herself for 20 minutes at this age. She can do so, but it's so unpredictable. One Saturday, we can back from the gym to get cleaned up before going grocery shopping. I was ready to leave, but she ended up spending an hour playing by herself in the room. Since I didn't have anything else to do, I let her carry on playing while I did some random chores around the house. She also seems to be taking her pretend play to the next level by assigning actions to her toys "Mommy! Kitty hit Baby!" "Puppy Dog is not listening to me!" Oh really, I can't imagine how frustrating that must be..

We may be hitting another milestone if we decide to take the plunge and turn her car seat to front facing. We recenly took it out to have my car washed, so it would be an opportune time. Her legs are getting pretty scrunched and there are other kids in her class who weigh a lot less than her who are turned around, but still... I'm hesitating... recommendations say to keep them rear facing as long as possible. 'As long as possible' can you be any more vague? Admittedly, I have a secondary motive for wanting to turn her around. Whenever I am stopped for a stop sign, a red light, traffic, Kate commands "Mommy Drive!" "DRIVE MOMMY!!!" I would like to be able to explain to her why Mommy can't drive right now...

Potty Training:
My cousin and her new Husband (who has a 10 year old daughter) came to visit when we were one month into potty training. I quipped that the potty training learning curve is not linear and he described that it's more like a sin wave that trends in an upward direction. I've found that to be a very accurate description as we seem to be in a cycle of two steps forward, one step backward. Overall, I feel like we've made great progress since my last post. Here are some of her PRs:

Using the travel potty on the airplane! I had very low expectations when we flew to the east coast. I put her in a pull-up as I didn't want to be dealing with changing wet clothes whilst traveling by myself. We used the bathroom twice before boarding and her pull-up was still dry. I brought her to the bathroom on the plane and she was scared of the airplane toilet. I get that. I know some adults who still fear they'll be sucked in and spewed into the sky. When we got back to our seats, she told me that she needed to pee-pee, so I pulled out the Portette used it right in the seat. It worked really well as the guy sitting in the aisle seat was rather large and slept the whole flight.

She started waking up to pee at night. While we were in Rhode Island, she twice woke up my Dad to go potty and her diaper was relatively dry in the morning! When we got home, as she was waking so frequently during the night, I decided to try to have her go to the bathroom. We had some success, but one night she was still really sleepy when I put her on the toilet that she nearly fell off and almost face planted into the cat box. We've held off on night time training for a while, which has also coincided with a recent stretch of sleeping through the night.

While at home, she is very independent and insists on going herself and is using the big toilet. She moves her step stool from the toilet to the sink to wash her hands. She even used the bathroom all by herself while we were in a restaurant that we frequent.

She told me "I no need it" when I tried to put on a pull-up just before gymnastics class. She has stayed dry during three classes in a row.

As I was composing this post, I was planning to write that she is almost fully poop trained as she had not had an accident since August. I was questioning of writing such a declaration would bring about a jinx, but I was so confident that she had been doing so well that typing and posting such words would not have any impact. Wrong. She had her first poop accident since August that night. Note: do not even think about writting about any potty training success without risking a jinx. Sigh. Our days Without a Poop Accident counts goes back to zero.

We moved from being proactive in buying 3T clothes to being reactive. She is genuinely a 3T, especially for pants. Part of my meltdown in the Tar.get parking lot was over the challenge of buying her pants. If she is wearing a diaper, her pants barely fit over it, so she looks like a teenage boy with his underwear hanging out. Even if she is wearing undies, she still has a plumber's crack showing. My baby is not even three years old as she has a big booty. No matter what I do with trying to make her eat healthy and introducing exercise, she has my genetics. She's stuck with junk in her trunk. BTW, why do all girls' pants have such tapered tight ankles that get caught on their heels and are a major pain in the ass to take on and off?

Ugh. There is a reason why I saved this one to the end. We're pretty much at the same place we were at my last update. In fact, I probably could have done a copy and paste. We're still staying in her room until she falls asleep and she's waking up anywhere from 0-3 times per night. Actually, we enjoyed a five night stretch of her sleeping through the night, but she has woken up at least once over the past two nights. The goals for 2018 are going to include getting a twin bed for her and getting her to go to sleep on her own and stay in her bed. The only new highlight is that Tyler is joining us for her stories. It's really cute, as soon as we get settled in to read some books, he comes running into her room and sits down next to us. One night, he hadn't entered the room yet, so Kate called out to him "Lylah! You're missing stories!"

Looking Forward to:
My parents are coming in two weeks, so I'm looking forward to another family Christmas together. We're keeping presents really simple for Kate as it doesn't really seem like she needs anything right now and I'm still so pleased with how she can entertain herself just with her stuffed animals and blankets. We're also getting ready for our back yard project in the New Year. Husband decided to replace some of our siding and replace our front door as part of this project. We've been doing a little bit each weekend to clear out old shrubs. Kate has been pretty good about playing outside while we work.

Overall, it feels like a very depressing time in our country and in the world right now, so I hope things can only get better in 2018.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

A Year in the Life... A Year Later...

Gilmore Girls was, and probably always will be one of my favourite TV series. In addition to the fast paced whitty reparte and plethora of pop cultural references, I loved the series because Stars Hallow was based on my hometown in Connecticut. Especially as I was living out of state for the first two seasons, I could be transported back home once a week. No, we didn't have town meetings, but our selectman was a bit like Taylor. I thought the series wrapped up at just the right time. It struggled a bit when Rory went to Yale and I'm not sure it was prepared to handle her post graduate life. It's always better to leave your audience wanting more. Except maybe when you give them more and it's not quite what they expected.

I was so excited about the GG Revival last year, and it was perfect that it debuted on Black Friday, also know as my Stay-At-Home-All-Day Day. I watched the six hour segment at least twice that day. I had the same question a lot of people asked that day; 'when did Rory become such a whiny entitled little bitch?' Until I re-watched that series and discovered Rory had always been that way. The revival really made me change the way I viewed the series. I was not alone in this observation, as I spent a lot of time reading on-line reviews from TV critics (this was before my 2017 goal to spend less time looking at crap online) other expressed similiar sentiments; 'why did I even like this show?'                                                                                                  
Yet because I cannot help myself, I recently re-re-watched the revival and decided to compose my own list of comments and observations. As you can see, the whole goal of not wasting time on senseless crap is not really happening...

Rory does look impossibly fresh to have just flown in from London. I know this from experience. To arrive in Connecticut midday, she would have needed to wake up at the ass crack of dawn, if not earlier, schlep accross London (oh wait, I forgot Logan sent the car to take her to the airport) go through check in, security and then travel seven hours trapped in a tin can surrounded by people with consumption, diphtheria, scabies, hummus dip and rabid dogs. Once she lands, if she flew into JFK, she could take the train to Connecticut, which involves at least 5 transfers and while dragging your luggage, is really not fun. Taking a taxi or an Ooo-ber would probably cost the same amount as her flight, which we're really not sure how she can afford, seeing that she has no steady income and is presumably living off a trust fund that her grandfather or her noveau rich father set her up. She could have flown into Bradley International Airport, but would have needed a connecting flight, thus adding more time and wear to her journey, unless we assume in magical TVworld there are direct flights from LHR to BDI. Afterall, Stars Hollow is supposed to be 20 minutes from Hartford, but Bradley itself is not in Hartford. It's about tweny minutes from Hartford heading toward Springfield, Mass. The really burning question is: why didn't Rory's loving and devoted Mother pick her up from the airport?

Working Kirk into Friday Night Dinner was brilliant.

Lorelai re-used her daughter's analogy of loosing her virginity as a ship that had set sail.

Emily is right. At 32, Rory is too old to be couch surfing and 'crashing' here and there.

During the series, Gilmore Girls was criticised for it's lack of diversity (with the obvious exception of Michel) but I had to admit it was accurate. I grew up in the town that provided some of the inspiration for Stars Hollow. There were a total of three black kids in my school (and I'm talking Kindergarden to High School graduation and two of them were sisters) My mom had to ask me if I would feel comfortable going to see the new dentist who was black. It is however, painful to see how they treat the few black characters who show up in the Gilmore's world. In the series, we had Logan's driver, who Rory asked to move Lorelai's TV set upstairs. After his heartattack, Richard had a black nurse, who was berated by Emily as she expected the nurse to do the maid's work. Even the one black guy with some status (Logan's partner for their failed business) had disgusting eating habits. Apparently the trend continues in the revival as Paris humiliates and fires her black assistant. Sigh.

I'm not sure why Luke and Lorelai would need a surrogate to have a baby. Did she have a hysterectomy or an endometrial ablation since the series ended? We can all do the math to figure out that Lorelai is 48. Most REIs will recommend donor eggs after the age of 43. It was a missed opportunity to shed some light on donor eggs. Instead we were confused along with Luke on whether or nor Paris was running a fertility clinic or a brothel.

What was the point of the two second cameo of Lane's father [who I always presumed was dead]? Um, where was he when Lane got married? Had her twins? Renounced the Seventh Day Aventists and joined a band? Got drunk? Dyed her hair and dyed it back again? Yet he shows up for the Stars Hallow International Food Fesitval?

The Gay Pride Parade discussion was really awkward. Was Gypsy trying to out herself or Taylor? Also, as a former resident of Woodbury, Woodbury does not just lend out their gays...

Yes, of course the A-list stars want to stay in Woodbury.

It is clear Rory really thought Mitchell pulling some strings at GQ was going to set her up with a job, instead it seemed that they only spent time with her as a courtesy to him.

Not only did Rory miss the opportunity for her story about lines when she stumbled on a group who didn't know they were lined up behind some guys eating lunch while she was nodding off and sleeping with Wookiees; she missed the commonality (the word used by the publisher who pitched the idea to her) which her mother discovered by bonding with the kitchen staff to get the goods and learning that the person waiting in one line may hold the items desired by another. It shows how far she's fallen from Chilton Rory who wrote a great piece on the boring topic of repaving the parking lot.

I have to admit I was enjoying seeing Rory fail in a job interview that she thought she was beneath  her. Even more satisfying that she couldn't deliver a decent come back line. Also, her lucky dress was not that flattering.


Was anyone else disturbed by the way Lorelai and Rory were treating the two young boys holding the parasols?

Rory thumbs her nose at the offer to join the faculty at the prestigious Chilton, but is willing to become the unpaid editor of the Stars Hallow Gazette?

Um who is writing all the stories for the Stars Hallow Gazette? Elves? The portrayl of Ester filing the same piece of paper and Charlie falling asleep at his desk is a bit ageist

The Secret Bar is awesome.

Every time I've re-watched the revival, I fast foward through the Musical.

It was exceptionally tacky for Rory to write "Break up with P" right in front of Jess, but maybe I can understand a little given how hot he is now.

Sorry Jess, it's actually not that compelling of a story. Privledged girl gets pregnant as a teen, runs away from home and raises her daugher on her own until she needs to borrow money from her wealty parents to send her kid to a fancy-smancy private school where she ends up being a legacy admission at Yale* (which her father paid fully) and then does nothing with her life. But if you want to add in a bunch of colourful characters as townspeople and replay the tension between the grown single mother and her resentful parents; maybe she should pitch it to Doyle as a TV series...
*Albeit Rory was valedictorian and deserved to be admited to Yale on her own merits, she seemed to think that would set her up for her life. I don't think she was ever as driven or prepared for anything after her Ivy League admission.

Why is Lorelai still so sour on Jess? Does she not know that he was the one who got her to go back to Yale? That he ended up doing pretty well for not having a father and having a ditzy mother? More so, has she not see how hot he is?

Yeah Rory, I don't think you're going to be able to retire on the royalties from his book, so don't be too dismissive of grad school (nice to have that option) or groveling for jobs that you don't want (and didn't get)

Autumn (sigh, 'Fall')

The whole doing Wild thing was stupid.

I like how they wrote TJ and Liz into the story line, but didn't bring the irritating characters back. It is fitting that they would get kicked out of the vegtable cult.

I thought the scene with the Life and Death Brigade was a dream sequence. Really, did we need to be reminded of what privledged rich assholes they are?

It's a bit ridiculous that Logan still calls Rory 'Ace.' Also she never needed rescuing? Isn't that all he ever did for her?

I couldn't really beleive the story of 13 year Lorelai bonding with her Dad when he caught her ditching school, but I found it compelling when she recounted getting the call from her mother about her father's death and suddenly her phone went back to being a calculator again...

It was really satisfying to hear Emily Gilmore say "bullshit" Why did the writers wait until last episode to discover they could curse on Netflix?

I didn't pick up on Rory asking her Dad about Lorelai raising her alone the first time I watched the revival, but I did notice that she didn't take a sip of the large cup of coffee in her hands...

I also lived outside Scranton too. Dean is right, it is really boring, but I didn't become pregnant with four kids because there is this thing called birth control.

Emily lacing up her sneakers to volunteer at the Whaling Museum is a throw back to Emily in Wonderland from the first season.

"Mom, I'm Pregnant" In the fifth season, after Rory brings Logan to Friday Night Dinner, Emily asks Richard, "can't you imagine a baby with his blond hair and her blue eyes?" Yeah... I don't think this is how she imagined it...

Yet, despite all the flaws with the revival, they left me wanting more...