Wednesday, 24 May 2017

22.5 Months

Mother's Day is still a tough day even on the other side of infertility. Last year was my first official Mother's Day as a mother with a baby. I felt that I had to be restrianed with how I observed the day. I had to remember what a shitty day it was while I was infertile, and I had to think about all the women who are still waiting to become members of this club. Yet at the same time, I also needed to acknowledge; this IS my first Mother's Day! I've waited so long for this! [Warning: serious whining ahead!] I really needed those around me to acknowledge this was my first Mother's Day. I thought my mother might have sent a card. I know Hal.mark makes such a card as I once helped an older gentleman find a card for his son on his first Father's Day. Nope. Husband, of course, had a hockey tournament and was gone all day. My first Mother's Day was spent pretty much like any other Sunday, with the exception that I went clothes shopping for our upcoming trip to Hawaii and I blew off doing meal prep for the week. Oh, and I was recovering from disappointment of the night before.

Our Day Care offered a Parents' Night Out on the Saturday night before Mother's Day, so Husband offered to take me out for dinner. We dropped Kate off and he asked me if I had $40 in cash to pay the Day Care. Yes, I did. I went to the ATM that morning, so I'd have cash for the Farmer's Market. Now, not only was I having to pay the day care on my night out, I would have to go to the ATM again on Sunday morning. Then, as we got in the car to leavem Husband asked me where I wanted to go. I was so annoyed over the fact that he hadn't put any thought into my evening. He then suggested going to our usual pub (where we go most Saturday nights) as we would be able to watch the NBA playoff game. If you've ever watched Shaun of the Dead (and if you haven't, you absolutely need to) it was like Liz and Shaun ending up at the Winchester for their anniversary. Husband paid for dinner, which since he ordered the special and consumed three drinks to my one, he was responsible for most of the bill. I'm not saying that he had to take me somewhere fancy or had to spend a lot of money, but I just wanted to feel that he was making some effort to recognise my first Mother's day. The Warriors lost in a blowout, which just iced the cake on my disappointing evening. 

Myrtle, who many remember how insensitive she was during my infertility struggles, was the only one who came through for me. She sent me a small little necklace that featured a mamma and baby bird. It wasn't expensive, but it was such a thoughtful gesture. This year, Day Care offered a Parents' Day Out on the Saturday before Mother's Day, and I spent my 6 kid free hours doing some long overdue yard work and I set up a play area for Kate on our deck. Earlier in the month, we received a flyer for Sherri's berries promoting chocolate covered strawberries, so I left it in Husband's office hinting that I wanted a gift. (They were actually rather disappointing, they look better in pictures and they look like the taste better than they do) On Sunday, Husband announced that he was going to take me to brunch. (because every woman really wants to endure the madness of a Mother's Day Brunch) Where were we going to go? The Winchester, of course! Husband argued that since the Winchester opens later in the morning and not too many people know they offer Sunday brunch, it wouldn't be too busy. He was right. We arrived at 12:30 and our favourite table was available. I enjoyed the bottomless mimosas for mothers and the Warriors won after being down by 25 points. It was a perfect Mother's Day. 

Stats: Weight 30 lbs Height 33 inches 

Dislikes: Baths. I could use some help here. Some how my baby girl who used to love her baths, is totally resisting the bath tub. We're still using her inflatable duck and I realised that she stopped sitting in it, and rather would stand during her baths (which I thought was so she could draw with her bath crayons on the wall). I thought she might be getting too big for the duck and I was planning to get rid of it as soon as I picked up some slip resistant pads for the tub. However, when we were visiting our friends in LA, she screamed when I tried to get her to go in the tub. I tried picking her up to put her in the tub, but she lifted her legs so high her heels were almost over her shoulders. I thought maybe she missed the duck, but since we've been home, she's still crying and resisting getting in the tub. Now I just stand her in the tub (next to the duck) and quickly wash and hose her down with the hand held sprayer while she cries. My LA friend and my mother have suggested I get in the tub with her. I'd really rather not, but I'll take advice from this group if anyone thinks it would help. She's not afraid of water as we went to baby swim class today and enjoyed being in the water so much that she cried when it was time to get out. 

Likes: She has taken her 'nite, nite' game to a whole new level by recreating her night time routine. I was going through her closet and drawers to pull out things that didn't fit, while I noticed her playing with her dolly. She took her baby to her potty. Then she brought her step up from the bathroom to her changing table and stood on it and tried to put a diaper on her doll. Next she climbed on to the rocker and held her baby on her lap and read her a book. Finally, she put (threw) baby in her crib, turned on her sound machine and her sleep sheep and directed me to turn out the light and leave the room as 'shh, baby sleeping.' It was so adorable. I brought her to the gym one day and she walked over to some girls stretching on yoga mats and tried to make them go 'nite, nite.'

Health Issues: Husband picked Kate up from Day Care on a Friday afternoon and learned that some kids had been out sick with a stomach bug earlier in the week and two were sent home that day. Kate had been fine all week, so I thought she missed getting sick. The next morning she threw up after drinking her milk. She didn't have a fever and otherwise seemed fine. A few hours later, she had held down her breakfast, so I decided we'd continue with our normal routine and hit the Farmer's Market. I didn't get to far, before I heard what sounded like a cough, and looked in her mirror and saw she had spit up a bit. I turned around to head home and just as we had turned onto our street, I heard what sounded like a faucet turned on full blast. The week before, Husband had taken my car to the car wash because he wanted to do something nice (read: was trying to build credit to ask me for something, or was feeling guilty about something). I had to drive with the windows down for the rest of the weekend and I dumped about half a bottle of Febreeze into the back seat and yet I still get a whiff of puke every now and then. A few days later, I came down with the bug and it lasted almost a week. I lost almost 9 pounds. Then it was Husband's turn. I think even Tyler puked once or twice just for good measure. 

Milestones: I'm considering this to be the 'Hall of Shame' edition. The things I'm not so proud to report. She can slip her arms out of her straps on her car seat. I was driving on the highway and looked up into my rear view mirror and saw she had popped her arms out and was sitting sideways and just said "hi, there" as she caught me looking at her in the mirror. She now slides her arms out on a regular basis. We've adjusted the straps to make sure they're at the proper height for her. I make sure it's tight almost to the point of being over tightened. My next step is either a bungee cord or some duct tape. She can also climb up her changing table. It has three shelves, so she walks up them as if it were a ladder. She can also get down that way. Since it's still such a challenge to get her to cooperate for a diaper change, on a few occasions, I've held the table steady and let her climb. She's also super close to being able to get out of her crib. She can get her leg up to the edge of the crib, so I think the only thing preventing her from getting out is that she's still in her sleep sacks. We need to start shopping for a big girl bed. Oh, and we taught her how to do 'Cheers!'

Oh, I also let her ride on the trolly while shopping

Sleep: She's still really good at going to bed, although she's starting to learn how to stall. Like saying she has to go pee-pee about 5 or 6 times before I catch on to her. Or requesting 'one more book'. I'm failing at teaching maths skills as 'one more book' usually turns into three. Oh, and if I skip a page -there's hell to pay. She started going to phase of waking up early. Brutally early. 5:00 sharp on a Sunday morning early. We were taking her into our bed with the hope that she'd go back to sleep, but she wouldn't. She lie down for a few minutes and then spring up and announce 'hungy'. We'd bring her milk in the hopes that she'd go back to sleep in a post leche bliss, but no such luck. She'd be ready for breakfast and after eating, she'll want to go 'outside'; not grasping the concept that it's cold and dark at 5:45, oh and it's five fucking forty-five in the morning! One morning, we convinced her to play the nite, nite game with us and she brought her swaddle blankets on to our bed so she could cover us and the pat our backs to go 'nite, nite'. Hey, we got to stay in bed for an extra 40 minutes. But our girl is pretty strict. You have to lie on your front and you get told off for turning on your side. If you try to lift your head up, (don't even think about checking your phone) she pushes your head back down demanding 'NITE-NITE'. During this past work week we had to introduce some reverse sleep training. The new rule is that Kate does not get out of bed until 6 AM, which meant almost 30 minutes of crying one morning, but she started sleeping until 6 and even later after that. Cry it out is my best friend.

Chores: While my parents were visiting, Kate jumped off my lap after having her bedtime milk and ran toward the kitchen. I thought this was another stall tactic, but she went in to throw her bottle in the sink and then ran back to her bedroom. So now we have her bring all her empty bottles and plates to the sink. She is also feeding Tyler (Ly-la) which means I slop the wet food in his bowl and she gets credit for it as she's the one who places it on his mat. She's also responsible for turning off her sound machine in the morning. Especially if I'm sore from yesterday's workout and I don't feel like bending over.

Diapers: In preparation for potty training, I bought a package of Pull-Ups. O-M-G where have you been all of Kate's life. Pull-ups are so much easier than diapers! Seriously, they need to make them in all sizes starting with newborns and recognise they are not just for potty training. There were nights when she would leak and I was sure it was because her diaper was fastened wonky as she was squriming away while I was trying to put it on. Pull-ups fit perfectly every time and they rip off like stripper pants. No fussing with tabs!

Potty training is going really well and this is actually before I took some time off work to focus on training her. We came back from a birthday party a few weeks ago and I decided to try some naked training. It only took two times of peeing on the floor before she was telling me that she needed to 'pee-pee'. Then she wanted to put her pants on and go commando (the next step in her training). Some times she'll request 'Mommy pee-pee' and one time when I oblidged, she starting clapping and shouting 'yay!'. Yeah, it's probably been about 39 years since someone cheered for me to go to the toilet, and I have to say; I kind of appreciated it.

She's had some misses, (sometimes it's hard to distinguish if she's saying 'baby' or 'pee-pee' signing helps, but sometimes she's telling us that baby needs to pee-pee and she puts baby on the potty) but for the most part is doing all her wees in the potty at home (announcing "I DIDIT" each time) and she's even used the potty at Day Care a few times. We've also used the potty in public on a few occasions. (NB: I love the Potette travel potty, absolutely brilliant) Once was at the DMV. When we arrived, they were on number 44 and our ticket was number 66. When they were at number 64, she announces 'pee-pee' 'PEE-PEE'. It was close, but we made it.  At press time, she's graduated to using the 'Big Potty' with a seat reducer. 

One of the big challenges will be doing a #2 on the potty. On my Tuesday off with her, I heard her fart and placed her on the potty. Apparently the GI virus wasn't finished, but since everything happened rather quick and easy, she didn't have time to get scared or freak out. I thought this may be a fortunate oppportunity. Wrong. Oh, so wrong. The Big D struck with great anger and furious vengance. Three hours later, I had cleaned all three of our bathrooms, started two loads of laundry, hosed Kate down three times and cursed a lot. Lesson learned. Diarrhea and potty training? NOT A GOOD IDEA!

Since her training is going so well, we had essentially stopped using cloth diapers. I called our service and had them do a final pick up. Cue an emotional moment. I really loved the company we used for our diaper service. They were so helpful and they stuck to their pick up schedule even on Thanksgiving morning. I left a thank you note to the driver and the representatives with the last batch of diapers. Husband is just estatic about the fact that we save $75 per month.

Activities: Baby music wrapped up another 10 week session, and as I always seem to do, I hemed and hawed about signing up again, and when I tried to register, the class was full. We started spending Tuesday mornings as a play place in the city where I work. It's fun, they have bouncy castles, climbing structures, play houses and a few little tykes crazy coups. Plus, you can buy a book of 5 passes for $35 so it only costs $7 for the morning, where Baby music is $225 per 10 week session. The only down side is that I sometimes run into some of my old patients and I'm wearning my glasses and workout clothes. We're going to be starting Li'l Kickers soccer next month for our Tuesday activity. I started looking for an alternative Saturday swim class, as the one near our house was temporarily closed due to change of management and I wasn't too impressed with it. As I never got around to signing up anywhere else, and it was really hot on Saturday, so we went back to the old pool and found Kate's Day Care friends Alex and Greyson where there. So now I'm torn over whether or not to stay with the old swim clas, so we get to know Kate's friends and thier parents better, or should we try a new pool and maybe make some other friends. 

Eating: Surprisingly, nothing too much to report here. She wants to eat at the table without a booster seat and she wants to drink out of a regular cup, so there are still a lot of argument around meals. I should probably have included this in the 'Hall of Shame' section, but she likes to double park. Drink her milk and water. (I think she gets that from Husband as he'll order two beers if the Winchester is busy). Then she moved on to two packs of Chia Seeds. 

Clothing: In anticipation of potty training, I hit some conseignment shops and got a bunch of elastic waist band pants. To keep them separate from her school clothes, I was storing them in the bottom drawer of her dresser, which she can access, so she started to try to dress herself. She's been kind of getting the hang of it, until she tried to wear her shirt as pants. Yes, one leg in a sleeve and the neck was around her waist. I think she actually pulls it off. I also cleaed out all her onesies. Cue another emotional moment.

Look carefully at the first photo:
Did you notice she's wearing a shirt as pants?

Hair: We've finally achieved pigtails! She actually kept them in long enough to make it to Day Care.

Looking Forward to: We have picnics for the next three weekends, then we have a weekend with nothing planned. I'm going to San Diego for a conference on the last week of June. Then it's 4th of July weekend and the next weekend is Kate's second birthday party. My strategy this year is to do a little bit of work each weekend. Start working on decorations, put the gift bags together, purchase non-perisdable food and beverage items...etc... I want to think with this approach it won't feel like party planning is my second full time job, but who am I kidding? 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Other Kids' Parents

We flew down to LA this past weekend for a mini Ex-pats reunion. Our friends Barney and Robin served as hosts. I should say from the start, I really didn't like Robin the first time I met her. We ended up going shopping, and I had to watch her try on (yes, pose in front of a mirror) various $800-$1,000 purses; I wrote her off as a pretentious LA bitch. Yes over the years, I would come to learn that she is more down to earth. She was one of the first to whom I disclosed our fertility struggles, and she was surprisingly supportive. We bonded further when we were pregnant and new mothers together, often texting various questions or admitting when aspects are hard. However, outside of motherhood, we have very little in common.

Still, I was looking forward to getting together and meeting their daughter Little Myrtle (who has the same name as the other Little Myrtle and as Robin is again pregnant after another first attempt, so the nickname fits). Yet, I would learn that motherhood can unknowingly change the dynamics of your friendships, especially when it seems like your friends are mothering your kid. I have to acknowledge one rookie parent error; when we visit another kid's house, I have to ask their parents 'what are your house rules?' Where is food allowed? Shoes on or off? I get the no shoes rule, we do the same thing in my house, but are you allowed to walk one foot in the door before you remove the shoes, or do you have to take them off as you pass through the threshold? Also can you also appreciate that my daughter's shoes Velcro in the back so that she can't take them off herself before you scold her for not taking off her shoes? If she tries to climb up on the couch, is that allowed or is it considered 'climbing on furnature'?

I feel that I should have asked these questions, so that I could have done more to teach Kate about how we behave we were are a guest in someone else's house, and maybe I wouldn't have felt that I was walking of eggshells, so afraid I was going to get admonished for doing the wrong thing. But what really getting to me was the way she was interacting with Kate.

"Kate, do you know what colour this is?"
"Kate, can you sing a song?"
"Kate, [after she placed a sticker in the wrong spot of a sticker book] that sticker is improperly placed. Can you say 'improperly placed?'"

I should realise that she was just trying to engage her, but it was annoying the shit out of me. "She knows her colours." I informed Robin, while wanting to add; she's a bit overstimulated in a new environment, and you're a stranger, please don't expect her to perform. Of course, I interpreted her questions to Kate as an interrogation of my parenting skills, where she was checking in to see that Kate was learning appropriately.

At the same time, the visit did serve as a useful learning opportunity. Little Myrtle is about two and a half months older than Kate, which is a significant gap for their ages. Her speech is very progressive, she's speaking in small sentences. She can recognise letters and numbers very well. We probably should do more singing with Kate, although I think she does quite a bit at school, as she knew 'The Itsy-Bitsy Spider' and 'Wheels on the Bus' before Robin tried to take credit for "I got her to sing 'The Itsy-Bitsy Spider!'". We definitely need to work on manners, expecting her to say 'please' and 'thank you'. Maybe I just feel so resentful as I was able to make these observations myself without Robin pointing them out to me. Or rather, I feel that I didn't need her to tell these things to Kate, and make me feel like I'm not doing my job as a parent. In what ways are friends allowed to extend parenting to our kids?

I'm in such an unfamiliar territory; yet I also have to admit that I'm guilty of judging other people's parenting in the way I felt it was done to me. I went through the Denver Development check list with my cousin's sons to make sure they were meeting their milestones, and I actually got down on my hands and knees to show my cousin's nine month old son how to crawl. I've been silently critical of the ways Myrtle is raising her little Myrtle. At the same time, I was acknowledging our deficiencies during this trip, I was scoring the areas where we are ahead. Kate is physicially stronger. Kate is ahead in potty training. We use less screen time. We serve healthier foods. I lost my pregnancy weight (okay, that last one was just me being petty).

Why do we do this? Parenting is really hard. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Some of us are better at disclipine. Others are more creative at thinking up games and activities. No one is perfect. We're all really making it up as we go along, just trying to get from one day to the next. We're on the same team. But how do we work at teammates? How do you incorporate your friends who are parents with your kids?

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Right Now -May 2017

Celebrating: We've had a few birthdays this past month. My Dad's was over a week ago, and my aunt's 80th was over this past weekend. We attended a party for a colleague's 4 year old son and Kate has been singing "Happy Dirthday" since then.

Reading: I finished Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi. I had a free subscription to Rolling Stone for a year and I love Taibbi's writing style. It was probably the only section I read of the magazine. I also just downloaded Diaper Free by Three on to my Kindle. A friend who is a Urology PA recently posted an article written by a pediatric urologist who concludes that just about every pediatric urologic disorder is the result of potty training too early and he insists the ideal age is between 3 and 4. I've been reminding myself that he is a specalists who justs sees the problem cases and not normal healthy kids, but it freaked me out a bit, so I had to do some back up reading, even though the points in Diaper Free were already stated in the previous book I read (almost on the borderline of plagiarism)

Watching: I haven't yet cancelled my subscription to Netflix, so I'm still making my way through the Gilmore Girls. I had conversations with a few people who felt surprised a what a spoilt little bitch Rory had become in the revival, but then realised she was always like that. I think I found the episode that reveals just how obtuse she was. (Spoiler Alert, Risa!) In season 5, Rory practically stalks Marty (aka 'Naked Guy' from her freshman year) and invites him to hang out with her, even though he clears doeesn't want to. He reluctantly agrees to get together for a Marx brothers movie marathon. She makes quite an effort; dressing in costume, hanging movie posters around her room and offering an array of snacks. There is an awkard tension at first, but the both seem to relax, especially as Rory has her legs over Marty's lap. Then Logan shows up to see if she wants to join him and his friends for Chinese food. Rory knows exactly how Working Class Marty and Spoilt Rich Kid Logan feel about each other as her first encounter with Logan was to confront his disparagaing and demeaning behaviour toward Marty. Nonetheless, she offers little resistance and Logan invites Marty along as "if you're going to be hanging out with Ace, I should get to know you outside your uniform." A pointed dig and a bit territorial. (BTW, the nickname 'Ace' seems really ridiculous as we now know she was a failed journalist) Poor Marty is forced to listen to the rich guys brag about their drunken escapades at their fancy foreign private schools while he watches Logan play with Rory's hair. Then he's subjected to more humiliation as he can't pay $75 for his share as he doesn't have the cash in his wallet nor his bank account. Rory lends him the money just so he can save face (Logan payed for her) which does beg the question why he didn't just give a credit card. Rory is sensible enough to pass up the post Chinese food night clubbing and walks embarassed Marty home, where he admits he has feelings for her and she reveals that she likes Logan, just in case it wasn't obvious. Then she begs Marty to still be her friend, making you wonder if they ever were truly friends, and suggests coming back to finish their movie marathon. Logan has to spell it out for her that Duck Soup is one of his favourite movies and doesn't want that movie to be tarnished with his memories of such a shitty night.

I also finished watching the second season of The Detour. Although the ending was strange, it's a brilliant series and worth watching just for the parody of Hamilton.

Listening: I really don't listen to any pod casts, but when I google searched Insane Clown President to check the spelling of Matt Taibbi's name, I noticed there is an audio version of the book narriated by the author. Almost exactly 10 years ago, I struck up a conversation with the most intimidating perinatologist in our department as he noticed by copy of Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them. A few days later, I was in clinic when he paged me. I was struck with panic. It is never a good thing when the perinatologist is paging you. Except this time he wanted to share that he bought the audio version of Lies after he read a chaper of my book and wanted to share that I had to hear the words in Al Franken's voice. He was right, listening to the audio version enhanced my experience of that book.

Drinking: I've been making my own version of Cacao Almond Milk. Safeway sells it, but at $3.49 for 8oz, it's a rip-off. I read the ingredents and bought some cacao powder, liquid dates, and Himalayan sea salt. Now I can make it whenever I want for much less.

Eating: I've been struggling to find a balance. I completed another Whole 30 in March and my game plan was to follow the Whole 30 rules during the week, but give myself some freedom on the weekends. Sounds easy right? Well I think I've been over doing it on the weekends when I am compliant, or I'll bend a little during the week, as I'm not doing a "true" Whole 30. As a result my weight fluctuates with my eating. If I have an occasional glass of wine, baked treat or Friday night pizza, my weight will balloon to pre-pregnancy digits at 155. If I avoid temptations, I can get down to 151. I have to decide which is more important to me.

Wearning: An old but favourite long sleeve Nike shirt and gym shorts. This is kind of a pervey question.

Loving: So many things, I'm feeling like I have a good rhythm with work and family and I never thought I'd be this happy.

Anticipating: We're going away this weekend to visit our friends Robin and Barney in LA. They have a daughter who is 3 months older than Kate and are expecting their second.

Hoping: Trump gets impeached soon.

Following: I haven't done so yet; but a few of my teammates follow [Olympic Gold Medal swimmer] Nathan Adrian and I'm tempted to join because he posts pictures of his cats.

Wondering: If I am doing the right thing by potty training Kate now versus waiting until later. My instinct tells me that I am, but that article got in my head a bit.

Trying: New recepies, fitting in some more exercise. I've had to miss some swim practices or gym nights due to my work and husband's work schedule. I started a sticker chart and I'm trying to at least get some squats or push up done on the nights I miss.

Planning: I have to figure out meals for the week we come back from LA. We land at 2 PM and I'll need to hit the store and do meal prep

Contemplating: How to best spend my time when I have a parent's day out on the Saturday before Mother's Day. My plan is to clean the deck, so I can set an outdoor play area for Kate. I also should do some gardening. I know I will have unrealistic expectations for what I can get accomplished. I should hit Lowe's earlier in the week so I don't waste time on Saturday.