Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Operation: Potty Train

 This is evidence of a desperate woman.

A woman whose newly minted two year old eschews any and all talk of potty.

A woman whose slowly blossoming tummy is a reminder that more diapers are coming.

A woman who has changed too many horribly disgusting poopy toddler diapers recently.

A woman who, when faced with the decision to order more cloth diapers in the next size up, rebelled and instead spent $24.99 on an obnoxiously hideous Sesame Street potty that makes NOISE.

A woman who sat in the toilet training aisle of Target begging her 2 year old to pick a potty, any potty, that he would deign to sit upon.

A woman who bought an over-priced package of liscensed children's underware, Thomas the Train variety, in the hopes of potty success.

Yes. This woman is me. And I am (mostly) not ashamed.

It does not bode well for me considering that during the two hour trip to Target my wily little guy discovered the phrase, "for go pee pee on the potty!" to have a magical effect on my wallet. No joke. That's how I came to buy those stickers. Even though the Sesame Street potty promised stickers included. And I almost bought a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, because he picked it up and said, "Need it!" and when I said, "No...we don't" he replied, "I need it! For pee pee on the potty!" I am proud to say I drew the line there.

I should have bought some Yuengling for Brad....I just need to remember to remind him that the Target run was cheaper than new diapers. That is....if all the new accoutrements succeed in convincing my small woodland creature darling son that pee pee on the potty is the way to go.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Beginning of Charity

Hormones are serious business. Especially when they hold you captive. Take Sunday, for instance.

Gianna wanted me to read to her. No problemo. She wanted me to read the library book she brought home from school; Dumbo. Excellent literature. I am pretty much morally opposed to books that were written based on movies, particularly Disney movies, but who am I to ruin a 4 year old's day? So we settled in to read Dumbo.

Do you remember the plot? Mrs. Jumbo gets a baby (finally) and discovers her baby has giant-sized ears. All the other elephants laugh at her baby, and then some boys from town are pulling on Dumbo's ears and laughing and then Mrs. Jumbo goes straight up postal and attacks the boys so they separate her from her baby and lock her up.

Not going to lie. I was crying.

Could be the ear thing. Touchy subject just a teensy teensy bit. Because I have to see my daughter get pointed at in the grocery store, and hear whispers...."What's on her head??? Why are her ears like that? What are those??"

Could be the mother-baby separation....gut wrenching. 60 years ago it was common for Deaf children to be sent to residential schools as young as four years old. The thought of Gianna and I being separated gives me a major stomach ache. Babies belong with their mamas.

Could be the hormones. I prefer to blame them, because when I read the story again, the next day, I was able to make it through with dry eyes.

I'll admit, though, that this goofy book brought out a good discussion between Gianna and I and about how to deal with the differences of other people with charity. Sometimes she's the one staring at another person who looks or acts different....and I can begin to teach her this most important of Christian virtues. "You are looking at that man and wondering about his legs. He has special legs, like you have special ears! Everyone has stuff, remember? Sometimes we can see it, and sometimes we can't. So we always try to treat everyone with love."

I know that when a kid is whispering to their parent about Gianna's ears, that parent probably wants to be swallowed up by the earth. It's embarrassing to walk your kid through this sort of social grace. Charity is a difficult concept to explain to a small child.

As the mother of a child with special needs, my personal preference is to encourage your child to ask his or her questions directly to the peer they are wondering about. Teach them to do this in a respectful and honest way. I'll never be hurt by watching a sincere child asking Gianna, "I was wondering about your ears! Can you tell me about them?"

I imagine not all parents of kids with differing abilities feel this way...maybe they are sick of questions. Maybe they have had a particularly difficult day. This, too, is a valuable lesson to our children to give others the benefit of the doubt.

When we encourage our kids to be charitable and to seek understanding rather than rest in fear of the different or the unknown, we help to create a world where all are loved uniquely as children of God.

Friday, January 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes: Things I am Currently Avoiding

1. Running the knives? No problem. I can.....karate chop everything with my mom skillz.

2. Bathing the Doms. It's such a pain, plus he hates it (hmm wonder why? oh maybe because you have bathed him 4 times in his entire life and now the process frightens him yuh idiut) plus. Little boys are supposed to be grubby...

3. Making Gianna's lunch. Making lunch is the bane of my existence (plus poopy diapers, middle of the ngiht yogurt sessions, cleaning in all forms, and a few other choice activities.) When, oh when is it realistic to expect her to make it herself?? Please say, "Monday."

4. Putting on G's ears...I just can't muster the energy to walk in her room, assemble and toupe tape the communication failures between the two kids are just too hilarious this am to end so soon. His lips must be really hard to read.

5. The laundry. Can I get an Amen.

6. The grocery store. I've been avoiding that place all week. Not even sure why. Not really sure about what we've been eating but we've run out of the criticals (bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, yogurt) so it seems today is the day.

7. Speaking of seizing the day....if you haven't read this yet, you ought.

More quick takes here...have a niiiiiiiice weekend.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Must Remember

The night before Dominic's birthday party I was up way, way too late putting the finishing touches on his cake, cupcakes, etc. It was well past midnight and I was still in the kitchen, feverishly mixing the frosting to the right shade of neon green for the dinosaur cake. To those of you left reading this blog with no children (if I haven't scared you away yet) 12:45 may not seem that late. But it is. It is, when your now two-year old bebe arises between 6 and 6:30 am ready to rumble. This is after he has awoken you multiple times during the night, asking for contraband MAWK or to be taken to the kitchen for a yay-durt  snack (yogurt snack) or informs you that he has pooooooop in his diaper or he needs water.

Um anyways so back to my story. So there I am, sitting in the kitchen frosting dairy-free cupcakes for the multitudes of dairy-free friends we have acquired, and I'm feeling pretty motherly. It's easy to feel motherly the night before your child's birthday party because you are sacrificing FOR THEM, frosting the cake, cleaning the house, setting out the perfectly selected plastic-ware, all while the little darlings are fast asleep. I love my children deeply and fiercely. Sometimes I love them even more when they are sleeping. I finish my work, and it is good. Very good.

I think I am supposed to say I found the ideas for both the cake and cupcakes on Pinterest??
I crawled into bed a little past one o'clock, the cake encased in aluminum foil, the cupcakes stored in airtight containers, the balloons drifting gently on the living room rug. As I lay in bed, I mentally run through my check-list.....must remember: Trader Joe's--more eggs, jelly, yogurt, kefir....BAGELS, half and half, cream cheese.....prep coffee in am, must vacuum rugs, make beds, wipe down bathroom, sweep floors.....

I felt that I had just drifted into a deep, deep sleep when I was rudely awakened. It was Brad.
"Sorry....but Gianna is awake and I think she doesn't feel good and she only wants you."
Hmph. I look at the clock. It's barely past 2 am. All feelings of motherliness are long, long gone. I trudge down the hallway. Attempt to communicate in the dark (never, never works out) and finally bring Gianna into the kitchen, where she asks for some yogurt. I move to lay on the couch but she insists I sit right next to her at the counter. Sigh. Fiiiiine. Fine. Fine.

As she eats her snack, she revives as bit and looks around. She  notices the cake and cupcakes and balloons. In her sweet, slightly-too-loud nighttime voice (she doesn't wear her speech processors at night and thus cannot hear how loud she is talking) Gianna asks me,
"Is everything ready for Dominic's party?? Did you do that when I was sleeping?"
Well yes, my daughter, I did. She is in awe. She smiles widely at me. Then she says, "We are having special time right now! Just you and me in the kitchen! Daddy is sleeping, Dommie is sleeping, Aunt Monica is sleeping, Uncle Richard is sleeping, baby Thomas is sleeping! But not us!!"

She is so thrilled by this notion that I smile...genuinely, this time. It might be easy to feel like a fantastic mother when I pretend I am being asked to give much of myself as I frost a cake in the peace and quiet of my kitchen late at night. It might be more difficult to embrace my vocation when it's not on my terms, but ultimately...this is what matters. Cakes and balloons are nice, but my kids want me. I realized that they desire a quiet conversation and stolen snuggles in the middle of the night, more than they want the perfect birthday cake. I think I knew this, but lately, I forgot. They are growing into incredibly unique and funny little people, but I'm going to miss it if I get distracted by all the things that don't really matter.

The party was a success, I think adults and children alike enjoyed a fun day of delicious foods and NFL playoffs and adult conversation while the kids entertained themselves. My thoughts about mothering and my children's true needs were still fresh in my mind when around 4 pm the birthday boy, having partied hard all day, climbed into my lap, snuggled up, asked pitifully, "Mawky?" and promptly passed out in my arms. I held him and I was thankful; thankful for the opportunity to hold my baby Dominic who is not really a baby anymore, thankful for the daunting task of mothering this little soul, thankful for moments of clarity amidst the joyful chaos. Must remember the purpose of what I am doing. Must. Remember.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Dom

she's signing CUTE, the morning after the birth. she slept through the whole thing.

Hard to believe it was 2 years ago that The Dominator made his hurried appearance, beating the midwife, arriving in the caul, and giving my mother chest pains when she was pressed into the job of bebe-catching.Not a whole lot has changed....he's still kinda a crazy, and still giving us chest pains. But he's also still very snuggly and silly and my buddy all day long while Gianna is at school.

Doms is choosing to celebrate the day by contracting a pretty fantastic cold and definitively losing our house phone (again.) Later, we'll  go to Target, where I will purchase a replacement phone, wrap it, and give it to him as a gift. And then ban him from ever touching it again.

positively THRILLED to be two

Friday, January 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes: Was That Wrong?

1. Firstly, watch this video. The person or persons who uploaded it to YouTube disabled embedding so I have to do this the lame way and make you click on the link.

2. To let Dominic open a dusty box of tampons and shred/strew them all over the house. And driveway.

3. To purchase and then consume Christmas M&Ms (50% off at Target) all on my own in the same manner in which an alcoholic might surreptitiously take small sips of liquor throughout the day. In my defense, they were peanut M&M's and thus had four grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving.

4. To forget my prenatal vitamins at my parent's house during Thanksgiving in such a way that I just remembered last week-ish that, Oh yeah. I'm supposed to be taking prenatal vitamins, then forgetting again until today that, Oh yeah...I am supposed to be taking prenatal vitamins and should get more prenatal vitamins.

5. To allow Dominic to wear nothing but PJ's in public everyday this week.

6. To allow myself to wear PJ's  in public everyday this week.

7. To extract, when executing my tri-annual cleaning binge on the Camry, enough trash to fill 2 Kroger bags along with copious amounts of items that need to be returned to the house (dishes, clothing, toys, books, drinks, old food, very old food, Tupperware, artwork by Gianna, shoes, money--ha I wish, baby carriers, diapers, etc.)

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaappy Weekend! More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Look Crazy At The Grocery Store (Guaranteed)

Previously, I have written about being successful (read: surviving) during a trip to the grocery store with your children. Today, we forsake this sound advice and discuss how to look truly insane while at the grocery store.

You'll still need a couple of hooligans in tow. These will do nicely.

Go to the store at about....4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon. This is the worst possible time to go. You are hungry, the children are hungry, and the store will be packed full of people who have left their jobs for the day and are on their way home. They will not find you and your burgeoning family as cute as the old people do on Tuesday mornings, your usual shopping time.

Enter the store and discover the deli counter is 10-deep. You wait a moment, but the kids starts to squawk about their free cookie and you start to feel a the nicely dressed, probably recently showered, people who are holding loaves of french bread and bottles of wine instead of pushing a cart stocked with bananas, Yo-baby yogurt, and peanut butter. Decide it's best to hit up the bank first, so you head to other side of the store.

On the way, snag the free cookies. Gratefully accept any offers of "mama bite????" from the little tykes because you are starving and really, really wish it were acceptable for adults to get the free cookie, too. 

At the bank, the line is shorter, but the kids expect to be allowed to stand on a chair at the counter where normal people quietly fill out their deposit or withdrawal slips. They use up about 50 sheets of each and monopolize all the pens. The actual teller desk is not exactly close to the mess they are creating, so it is possible to pretend you don't know whose kids they are and complete your transaction in relative peace.

Back to the deli. Still busy, but possibly not as bad. Realize belatedly that the almost 2 year old has pulled about 50 numbers out of the little machine (when did his arms get so long??)  and the already disgruntled deli counter employees are staring with narrowed eyes at your little group. Extract numbers from child, attempt to laughingly distribute numbers to arriving customers and get rebuffed. Stuff numbers in your coat pocket, because a mother is also a walking trashcan. Marvel at the young man who appears to be only purchasing a package of shredded mozzarella cheese and a half gallon of Private Selection chocolate chip ice cream, and, apparently, some deli meat.

You rejoice when your number is called because the children are starting to mutiny and this is the last stop....if you can just get your Boar's Head Ovengold Turkey Breast (half pound please sliced thinly I can stretch it farther that way thankssssss) and survive the check out aisle, you are home free.

The deli employee disdainfully asks if you were actually jumping up and down when your number was called. Resist temptation to explain that the kids are about to blow the place up and that hearing The Number (this time, 70) is sweet, sweet relief that the whole terrible operation is almost over and YES, YES you did possibly give just one little teensy jump, more of a hop, exuberant hop with the remaining energy you possess.

Feed children half of the very expensive deli meat purchased for a week's worth of lunches. Gird loins for the check out aisle, where Gianna will inexplicably douse herself in hand sanitizer and Dominic will beg to be allowed bang on the credit card machine.

Make your exit. Load kids, groceries, self. Back into shopping cart. Return shopping cart. Go home. Kids, self, in house, (remember: unload groceries) eat dinner, brush teeth, stories, (crap, the groceries!) prayers, nurse toddler to sleep, (OMG the groceries...), snuggle with pre-schooler until she falls asleep, (GROCERIES NOTE TO SELF DON'T FORGET), hastily clean up living room, beg friend to come stay with sleeping children so you can go pick up husband from work (GROCERIES must remember), arrive home from retrieving husband and now-functioning second vehicle from car shop, thank friend profusely, put both children (who are now awake and angry) back to sleep, get ready for bed.

It is now well after 10 pm and you remember.....THE GROCERIES. Send husband out into the cold to bring them in. Thank God for the freezing weather that has preserved your forgotten groceries, pretend He won't notice that hours earlier you bemoaned the chilly temps as you bundled kids, coats, and gloves to and fro.

Gloat over your now sweetly sleeping children, and thank God again, this time for the abundance of good things in your life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year + Famous

Brad and I are being interviewed on the Mike Allen Show today, at about 5:15 EST. We're supposed to be bringing "Catholic perspective and humour to the insanity of young parenthood." We def have the insanity part down.

Click here to get to Real Life Radio's website and listen live. Your life will be changed, and I'll get famous. It's a win-win.

Oh. And Happy New Year. Our New Year's Eve was AMAZING. Gianna chose not to fall asleep until well past midnight, despite being put to bed at 9 pm and being threatened, entreatied, begged, scolded, abondoned, cuddled, rocked, held, snuggled, etc. Totally rockin'. Good thing we didn't make any New Year's resolutions concerning increase in patience; it's not good to fail so early on in the year.