Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Those Days

The post-cold season colds have been hitting our family pretty hard, culminating in me sleeping on the couch most of last night.


Charles and Jamie are both stuffed up and have coughs, even though it is April and I really thought we might get through this year unscathed by viruses.  Alas, no.  And Tony will probably be next, since tax season is now over and he can let all his subconscious or involuntary defenses down.


Isn’t that the way it works?  Like, when I was in college, I only seemed to get really sick over winter or spring break.  It’s like my immune system was fighting to get me through finals and then just completely shut down once I had turned in my last paper or test.  Or maybe it’s just that I stopped self-medicating with copious amounts of coffee and alcohol.  Seriously, how did my liver make it through college?


Anyhow, yesterday was one of those days.  You know, THOSE DAYS.  Nothing seemed to go my way.  Jamie and Charles both threw fits, and you know what?  I am tired.  I am just tired of the tantrums and the whining and the pleading and the fighting.  No matter that I am firm in my consequences or mean it when I say no (I don’t give in), they still whine and cry and try to get me to change my mind about things like candy or snacks before dinner or toys at preschool (they’re not allowed to take any and they know it) or wearing pants.  It’s exhausting and my patience is running very thin.  Do I know that losing my temper and snapping at them when they start to cry because I won’t read them a story when I’m late for work doesn’t help the situation?  Yes, but I can’t seem to help myself.


And whether you want to blame pregnancy or just my natural brain dysfunction, I am very forgetful.  I felt like, yesterday, several of the balls I was juggling crashed to the ground, the largest being that I got halfway through a roadtrip to buy a new car (yes, more on that later) and realized that I forgot the title to the car I was trading in.  By the time I got back to the house, I didn’t have enough time to turn back around, make the deal, and get home in time to pick up the kids.  Oh, right, and then there was dinner that wasn’t planned (you mean you people want to eat again? I just fed you!), or the meat for Taco Tuesday at the office that I was supposed to bring and forgot about until 8:30 yesterday morning, so the kids and I were late as I thawed chicken in the microwave and packed my crockpot and spices to take to the office.  And since the crockpot was working all morning in the same room where I hang my jacket, my jacket now smells like tacos.


I used to come home from dinners out at Mongolian food or Mexican food and take a shower because I cannot stand to smell like food.  Worse than smelling like cigarette smoke from the bars, even (you know, back in days of yore when I went to bars and people were still allowed to smoke there).


And I gave up sugar yesterday, too.  Not permanently, just for one day.  Turns out I chose the wrong day (“to quit sniffing glue”).  Think I can make it through another day?  Maybe.  Or maybe I’m going to go buy a banana cream pie this afternoon.  You just never know.


When the kids both wandered into our bed last night around 2:30 AM, sniffling and coughing, I retreated to the couch.  I didn’t wake with achy hips this morning, so at least one benefit came from the interruption in sleep, I guess.


Who has two thumbs and is glad tax season is over?  This girl.  I need someone to take care of me for a little while.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Three Months to Go

I awoke in a panic the other night.  I couldn’t breathe; I was lying on my back. 


Welcome to the third trimester, baby.


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Holy big belly, Batman!  Three months to go!


My face is rounding out, I need to go bra shopping again, and lots of maternity clothes that I have worn for the past six months no longer fit.  I am also at that point where moving becomes difficult.  I now sleep with three pillows (one under my head, one between my knees, and one behind my back to keep me from rolling over) and I have trouble getting off the couch or out of bed in the morning.


Now is the point in pregnancy where all compliments will be gladly received.  I know I have a bit of a beached whale thing going on; it’s only going to get worse.  Lie to me, is what I’m saying.  And if you want to lie to me while also plying me with cake or pie or cinnamon rolls, I certainly won’t complain.

Friday, April 11, 2014

No Potty-Training Advice Contained Herein

Jamie is potty trained. 


*Drops mic* *Brushes off hands* *Walks off*


Okay, more details, fine.  But you all know I’m not some sort of potty-training wizard, right?  I, quite literally, put in the minimum amount of effort with Jamie that I have ever heard about for potty training.


I didn’t buy him any potty training books or have him watch any potty training videos.  I rarely remembered to give him a treat after he used the toilet.  Unlike Charles, he didn’t get a big bribe (Charles got a bicycle) when he was done.


He just decided last Friday that he didn’t want to wear diapers anymore.  We had two very wet, very dirty days during which I changed his pants and underwear so many times that I went out and bought more pants for him.  But on Sunday and Monday, he didn’t have any accidents.  On Tuesday he had one.  And he hasn’t had any since.


He’s potty trained, and I didn’t do a damn thing.


Indeed, if I remind him to go potty, he just looks at me like I’m nuts.  He tells me when he wants to go.  He refuses my help in the bathroom.  I walked upstairs to help after he announced to us all, “I need to go pee-pee!” and ran off, but as soon as I poked my head into the bathroom, he yelled at me, “Go away, mommy!”  I guess I’m not needed here.


My child astounds me.  I’m still not used to not changing his diaper.  A week ago, I was lugging a diaper bag everywhere.  Now?  A purse filled with snacks and a rolled-up set of underwear and pants just in case.  Not that Jamie will need them.  He’s got this.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life With Boys



Jamie, after bonking his head: “I’ll prolly be okay.”




Conversation at breakfast:

“I love you, Jamie.”

“I love you, Charles.”

“I love you, poopy.”

“I love you, pee pee.”

“I love you, penis.”

“I love you, butt.”




Charles, whispering to me: “Mommy, Jamie smells like a raccoon.”




Never a dull moment, I swear.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Doing Something Good

Last summer, I read this article.  Maybe it was posted on Yahoo News for, like, a day, or maybe I saw it in another feed.  Regardless, it touched me.  You know that overwhelming feeling of sympathy, when you read or see something terrible, and your chest hurts?  Yeah, I felt that.


And then, the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon kicked in: I started seeing the same report everywhere.  Articles kept popping up.


I’ve known about diaper need for a few years; I’ve read about it through Rookie Moms and their affiliation with Help A Mother Out.  I was guilty of thinking, “somebody should do something about that here.”  But in late August, I realized that I was somebody, and I could do something.


I contacted the Community Action Agency of Skagit County and asked them if they would be able to store and distribute diapers if I organized a diaper drive.  Yes, they said.  Enthusiastically, even.  They have space in the food distribution center to store as many diapers as I could find and the means to distribute them to needy families through the 13 Skagit County food banks and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.


Then I got pregnant.  And sick.  So I let the idea sit on the back-burner for awhile.  I enlisted some friends to help brainstorm how to go about enticing all the people I knew and could reach to donate diapers.  A great friend of mine is also a graphic designer, and volunteered to create our logo and fliers.


Spring came, and it was time.


Skagit Diaper Drive 6-12



The cycle of poverty IS a cycle, and a depressing one at that.  30% of families in need report reusing dirty diapers or keeping their children in dirty diapers long after they should have been changed.  Dirty diapers can lead to unhealthy kids who suffer from diaper rash, bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, fevers… the list goes on.  Parents need to work – impoverished parents, if they have jobs, need to keep them – but some daycare facilities require an adequate diaper supply to keep the children there.  Not enough diapers leads to sick kids and increased medical costs and missed work.  Missed work means less income.  Less income means the ability to pay for diapers decreases.


I can only imagine the guilt and stress that must come with having to choose between buying food, medicine, or diapers, or paying utilities and rent.  When the cost of diapers can be up to $100 each month for each child, this is a reality for many poor families.  And that just plain sucks.


I know I can’t fix the world.  I can’t make sure that every child is well-fed or clean-diapered.  I can’t fix poverty or the myriad reasons people find themselves in poverty.  But I can organize a diaper drive.  In fact, it has been remarkably simple.  If you’re in Skagit County, you can donate disposable diapers, even loose ones (like if, for instance, your child grew and you had leftovers) at the following locations:


The Skagit Valley Family YMCA and all 5 YMCA Early Learning Centers

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce

The Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce

The Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce

Three Little Birds Boutique & Salon (offering a 10% discount on purchases with diaper donation!!!)

Sedro-Woolley Public Library

Key Bank in Mount Vernon

The Skagit Children’s Museum

Riverside Health Club in Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley (inside Kids’ Club)

Goodwinds (of course)


Thank you to everyone who has helped so far, Community Action, the drop-off sites, my friends who are donating and spreading the word, and especially my dear friend Heather.  No mater how many diapers we collect, it will make a big difference in someone’s life, and for someone’s cute, little, diapered bottom.


And if you decide that you want to be somebody and organize a diaper drive in your town, let me know.  I can give you tips and encouragement.  At the very least, your hometown food donation centers might already accept diapers for distribution, so pick up an extra package next time you have a coupon!

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Promising Start

This morning, I was awakened at 6 am by the shuffle of little feet… out of bed… down the hall… and into the bathroom.  It took a minute for my brain to register that the footfalls were not Charles’s, but Jamie’s, and that he was going potty.  I got up to see if I could help, but he had his pants down and his diaper unsnapped and just looked up at me and said, “I had to go pee-pee, Mommy.”


I told him it was awfully early, and would he like to put on a clean diaper and come back to bed with me?  He indignantly cried, “I have a diaper right dere!”  I picked up his nighttime diaper and it was totally dry.  D. R. Y.  I snapped it back on him and led him back to bed.


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He got up, finally (he and Charles both slept extra long this morning) at 7:30, ate breakfast, and was still dry when he got dressed at 8.  He toddled off, naked, to the bathroom to do his thing before we put underwear and pants on him.


After a particularly wet and dirty day Friday, a day on which he steadfastly REFUSED to wear a diaper, as he has every day since, I was feeling a bit defeated by potty training.  Why couldn’t he wait?  Why did he choose a week and a half before the end of tax season to decide he was ready to use the bathroom?  And did he just like the idea or was he actually ready?  Because I was not ready AND I was already tired of cleaning up messes.


Another problem is that he sometimes wants to go, desperately, but can’t.  Because, you know, he just wet his pants.  This is what happened Saturday morning, after we were completely on-time for Baby Boot Camp, until he decided that he needed to go pee-pee and threw a twenty-minute tantrum when none came out.


But then Sunday was better, perhaps because Tony took him and his brother fishing at a nearby lake and Jamie learned the fine male art of peeing outside.  Perhaps because it just takes time to “click” or something.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I am impressed.


Jamie is such a willful child.  When he decides he wants to do something, be it climb the tree or ride his tricycle or learn to use the toilet, he does it.  It might take him a long time to decide to do something, but once the decision is made, there is no turning back.  I’m a little in awe of him.


The teachers at pre-school say he does just fine pooping in the potty when he’s there, though he has yet to do this at home.  I hope he’ll hurry up and decide to, though, because I don’t know if I can handle more dirty underwear.


However, my loads of diaper laundry are significantly reduced.  I was hopeful, but not too sure, that we would have Jamie potty-trained by the time the new baby comes this summer.  Looks like we’ll reach that deadline with time to spare.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Potty Time

I had completely forgotten how terrible potty training is.


You guys.  It sucks.


Instead of changing diapers – those easy, mess-containment systems that seem so horrendous for the first baby and then become so darn routine – I am changing pants.  And tiny underwear.  And washing the floors.  And butts.  And legs.  And my hands, again and again.


It’s early days yet, and I’m just not willing to commit myself 100% to potty training.  I had said that I wanted to wait until tax season is over so that I can trade off cleaning duties with Tony or at least ask him to clean up the grosser messes, but Jamie is ready now.  Sort of.


He wants to wear underwear, and he sometimes tells us when he has to go, but he often forgets.  So I end up half-assing things and putting him in diapers a good chunk of the time.


He has lots of underwear, but not nearly enough pants if we’re going to do this right. 


Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share?  I honestly don’t remember much of what I did for Charles, other than buy him a two-wheeled bike and tell him he could have it when he used the potty consistently.  Insofar as bribery as a parenting tactic goes, Charles was much easier to manage than Jamie.