Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Thoughts

Tax season is over in 3 weeks.


Charles is back to happy-most-of-the-time and sleeping a bit better, since he seems to only be working on ONE molar, and the other three are mostly in.


We have a new playdate friend for Buster: my longtime friend Monica’s puppy Waylan.  Waylan’s sister Mayla doesn’t like Buster playing with Waylan, though, so we have to keep Mayla separated from the boys.


Charles and I are heading to Walla Walla for Easter weekend to visit my friend Stephanie.  Tony will get some extra sleep, Buster will be sad without us (but Stephanie has cats, so Buster can’t come – he eats cats), and we’ll enjoy some non-rainy Eastside weather.  AND, we’ll get to see Sarah and the kids on the way back!


My lawnmower is fixed!  For free!  Because I am so cute and helpless-looking.


We’re going to the beach for Loyalty Day, and I’ll get to scrapbook with my mom and mother-in-law.  Still working on the “before we had Charles” scrapbook…


I haven’t lost any weight on the new diet, but I feel pretty good eating lots more veggies and way fewer carbs and fats.


I’m taking a guest of Goodwinds to see the tulip fields tomorrow AND we’re having turkey burgers, which is awesome.


Tony told me to go spends some money on new clothes.  Now if only I had time… wait, do you think that was an insult to my current wardrobe?  No matter, I’ll buy new clothes and be happy about it anyway.


Cadbury mini-eggs… yum!  Fortunately, my grocery store was out, so I didn’t pig on a second bag this Easter season.  But there’s still time.


My French sister, Solene, is due soon with her first baby!  I am sending a big box o’ goodies to her and Chris in Texas this week… boring baby stuff, but I reserve the right to send cute things as soon as the baby is born and we know if it is a he or she!


I’m on the waiting list for several books at the library – it’s like Christmas whenever they come in!


I’m taking all year to look for the PERFECT Christmas gift for Sarah and Andy, and it’s super fun, providing me with actual incentive to visit garage sales.  We give each other second-hand holiday decorations.  Tony and I were nice this year, and we got burned with a hideous Easter bunny in return.  It’s so on.  My goal is to find something for a really obscure holiday.  Or at least something really crazy for a normal holiday. 


I weeded my whole yard and planted three hanging baskets.  My veggie seeds are ready to be started indoors as soon as the weather seems promising: probably mid-April.


As soon as tax season is over, I get to work my way through a bunch of spa gift certificates Tony gave me for Valentine’s Day.


Think happy thoughts with me!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Because You Said It was Okay.

Does anyone else have to physically restrain their toddler while they take a shower? 

Every day, though I have repeatedly tried to let him roam free and occupy himself, I have to strap Charles into a chair in the bathroom while I bathe.  If I’m at the gym and Tony is taking a shower, he does the same. 

You see, Charles cannot play alone quietly.  I could lock all the doors in the house except for the one in his room while I am in the shower, and if he is free, he will wail outside the bathroom door and throw himself bodily into it in an attempt to break it down, instead of playing blocks or taking all the books off of the shelf in his room.

If I leave the bathroom door open and Charles is free, he pokes his head into the shower, tries to climb over the tub, works at forcibly compromising the integrity of the magnetic child-locks on the under-sink cabinet with the bleach in it, plays with the toilet (gross!) and finds other ways to potentially kill himself. 

The kid is a tornado, and I’m beginning to sense that this isn’t normal.  I mean, many of you have toddlers… what do they do while you’re in the shower?


Charles is vexing on so many levels.  Now, don’t get me wrong, he is an adorable child, full of laughter, intelligent and playful.  But he is a tantrum-thrower of epic proportions.  This morning he got mad at me when I changed his diaper, and the resulting scream-fest lasted 20 minutes.  He hurls himself to the floor, shrieks at the top of his lungs, launches himself out of my arms, and resists the torture of a cold, wet washcloth, a sippy of water, or, God forbid, getting dressed (so we can get to work on time).  I did manage to dress him and get him in the car this morning, at which point he promptly fell asleep.  Sigh.

He is still a horrible sleeper.  In fact, I’m taking Charles to the beach this weekend because Tony might just fall over dead if he doesn’t get some sleep.  As you can imagine, Tony works late, but I think it’s the getting up twice in the middle of the night and then finally at 5 am that really does him in. 

So, here’s the trajectory of Charles’ typical night: Dinner at 6pm, followed by a bath, which is either a display of hyperactive mirth, or a total breakdown into tantrum-land, usually set off by a bonk to the head sustained during said hyperactive mirth time.  Then, if he’s happy, a quick run back and forth in his crib totally nude.  To help you visualize, I’ll describe: imagine a chunky boy with a full-of-food belly (you parents know what I’m talking about – it’s adorable on kids, their bellies all distended from the meal, looking like a 40-year-old man with a tragic beer gut) running nude from one end of his crib to the other, slamming himself into the side and dissolving into peals of laughter.  Frankly, it’s adorable.  He jumps, he stomps, and eventually, he is corralled into his super-stuffed overnight diaper (an insert and a prefold!), which makes him look even more ridiculous, as now he has the butt to balance the belly.  Then come the pjs, the tooth-brushing (which has set off the screams lately, due to the advent of several molars), and finally the kiss-goodnight from myself.  Tony reads a story, and then sets him in bed, at which point he screams for five minutes before I go in and give him his water bottle.  He drinks furiously, then flops into bed and goes to sleep.  He wakes again at 9pm, almost on the dot, and ends up crying, on and off, for about 2 hours because I refuse to sit in his room with him while he sleeps.  Which is what he wants.  He wants to see me every time he wakes up.  By 11pm, at which point I have done all the laundry and dishes and other household chores to the inspiring soundtrack of periodic screaming, he drops into a deep sleep.  Now, don’t misunderstand, I go into his room every so often when he screams, give him water, settle him down, and give him Tylenol if his gums look irritated, I’m not mean, for goodness’ sake.  But I have tried sitting with him for two solid hours (and then nothing gets done) and I have tried letting him cry the entire time, and the result is the same.  Between midnight and 5 am, he usually wakes one or two times for a drink of water, and then is up and ready for the world at 5 am, sometimes as late as 5:30, if we’re lucky.

Now, who wouldn’t be exhausted by this?  I’m fairly certain the reason the dog wants out in the middle of the night sometimes is for the peace and quiet of his kennel.


So what I want to know is, what is your secret?  How is it possible that there are these other toddlers who don’t have to be strapped into a chair for their parents to shower, don’t throw crazy temper tantrums several times daily (let’s remember that he is 16 months old, not 2 years old), and sleep peacefully every night?  What are you doing?  What is wrong with my child?  Lest you think Charles is not given enough love or discipline, I can assure you that is not the case.  I got a horrifically judgmental look after revealing the strapped-in-during-shower thing at MOPS the other day – clearly, I am a bad mom.  I was also told that I should help Charles to understand the meaning of “no.”  Seriously?  Charles knows exactly what “no” means.  In fact, he has his hand or cheek slapped so many times for “no, that’s hot, we don’t play with the stove, we don’t touch the doggie, we don’t climb on the table or the curtains or the banister, no, we don’t eat dirt or dog poo, we don’t throw things, we don’t eat pens, etc, etc, etc,” ad infinitum.  He loves to test his boundaries and to wait until my back is turned to do so.  He is mischievous to the nth degree, and it’s almost as if “no” is an invitation to do something and see if it is really as bad as mama says it is.  Consequences (whether a smack or a time-out) be damned.

I keep thinking that I have some sort of anomaly living with me, a child that climbs more than other children, is more interested in the things that will hurt him than in the toys made for kids his age, and more apt to drive me out of my ever-loving mind than any other child in the universe. This one goes to eleven.

Seriously, I will NOT have another child until I can at least shower alone, because our bathroom will not fit two chairs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tax Season Blues

I keep thinking about sitting down and just writing here, letting you all know what’s going on in our lives, my head, etc, but I am continually plagued with insecurity.  You see, I worry that the only reason anyone reads this blog is to get photos and anecdotes of Charles.  I don’t want to rant too much about my life in case you all think I am crazy, or depressed, or WORSE, you all get bored and never come back.


It might be better if I had time for two blogs, and if I could then split readers into two groups: those of you who want the Charles-centric blog, and the rest, who care to read my awful prose (I’ve no illusions about myself as a creative writer, but I do know I can beat the hell out of an academic paper) about my life and feelings.  But I don’t have time for two, so I’ll give some updates here and add some photos and hopefully please everyone.  Or no one, that could happen.


It’s tax season, and those of you who don’t work 80+ hours a week for three solid months or have spouses who do cannot possibly understand what that means (though I appreciate sympathy).  There have been days this month during which I have actually been envious of my friend whose husband works/lives in Auburn 5 days a week because at least she gets to see him on the weekends.  I am jealous that she doesn’t have to do her husband’s laundry and she doesn’t have to cook for him every night, but she still gets to have someone to go to Costco with her on Saturday, to stay up late watching a movie with her at least once a week.


It’s exhausting.  And tax season is so drawn-out.  A business trip is one thing to live through, but three months is LONG.  Some days I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to always be a single mom, because then I wouldn’t have the expectation of a husband, ever, whereas this way, I get used to having a true partner throughout the year and then have to give that up cold-turkey for a few months (single moms out there, please don’t think that I am saying your job is easy – I know that’s NOT true).  I have these holdover expectations of life from the rest of the year that just won’t work right now.  My yard cannot be kept groomed because I just can’t weed in the dark.  The vacuum cannot be run after Charles goes to bed.  I can only fold so many loads of laundry each night.  Blogging will be done when I get the chance, not the inspiration.  The dog will have to get his exercise from walks tethered to the stroller, not extended playtime.  Sigh.


Tony has been really great and dedicated to us, and for that I am so thankful.  Not only does he work hard so that we can live the lives we do, but he does come home almost every night for dinner and to put Charles to bed.  He empties the dishwasher and does other chores when he can (not often, but every bit helps!).  I know this is as hard on him as it is on me.  In years past, I could go to girlfriends’ houses, call on any number of backup husbands to take me out, and more, but now I am pretty much stuck.  And it seems so stupid to pay a babysitter for a night out alone.


Mostly, though, I’m really tired.  Charles likes to get up early.  And Tony and I used to trade off on the weekends; he would sleep in Saturday, I would sleep in Sunday, and then switch the next weekend.  Not so anymore, now that Tony goes into work by 8 no matter what.


So mostly I read and watch movies, do chores, and sleep when I can.  I just finished an amazing book called Nurtureshock that I wish everyone would read so I could discuss it with someone.  I ordered a couple of copies from Amazon today.  I think I’ll loan one to Charles’ daycare director.  It will certainly change the way I relate to Charles and any future children, and it will change how I interpret his actions.  Every bit of that book, from the preface to the conclusion, was riveting and insightful. 


Well, here are your gratuitous Charles photos.  Isn’t he adorable? 

March 2010 004

He has three molars now, which are coming in slowly and causing us both grief.


This next one is from when he fell asleep in the jogging stroller a couple weeks ago as I slogged through a couple of miles with Buster in tow.  Who knew jogging could be soporific?

March 2010 005


Finally, here is Charles outside in his new, green boots.  Adorable!  Why don’t they make them in my size?

March 2010 008

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Video Thursday

I don’t have a lot of time, but I do have a lot of videos.  I’m not offended if you don’t want to watch these several minutes of Charles being cute.  However, he is very cute.  And he clearly loves domestic tasks.  And yes, he has his own vacuum.


And Buster is very dog-like.


Happy Thursday, everyone!