Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 10: Hanging in there

M hasn't had a single accident since we potty trained on Monday. Of course, she hasn't pooped in the potty, either, so we are only part-way potty trained. I started her on Miralax yesterday, and she finally did have a BM during her nap today (I had put her in pull-ups hoping for this outcome because stool retention is a "thing to be avoided" according to our wonderful pediatrician). I'm hopeful that a few days of the gentle laxative will get things running which will give me opportunities to get her on the potty. This worked for E, and I can't see why it won't work for M. . . eventually.

This weekend, after I take pictures of the nursery (which I don't think I've ever done), we are going to convert M's crib into a toddler bed and redecorate a bit. Out with the jungle animals and in with pink and purple polka dots. I've kept her in a crib this long partly out of laziness, but partly because I dread her wandering. This is the child who, at fifteen months, climbed atop the kitchen table while I showered and who, at 16 months, learned to get out of the crib*. She has a knack for finding the single most precarious spot upon which to perch wherever we go, be it the edge of a steep retaining wall at my in-laws mountain house or the side of a duck pond. I shudder to think of what trouble she will find while we sleep. Still, with her third birthday six weeks away, it is time to move her.


Today I ran 2 miles and took the girls to a play date using the bike trailer rather than the car (very pleasant day for Coastal SC in July). I mainly stayed away from crappy food and tried to focus on filling, healthy foods.

Though 2-3 miles is about as far as I have been going, partly because of the heat, partly because of my spinal issues and party because of laziness, I'm going to push myself tomorrow to go 5 miles even if I need to alternate walking and running to do so. I keep thinking about signing up for a December or January half-marathon. Part of me thinks that this is exactly what I need in terms of a mental and physical challenge, but the another part of me thinks this is crazy talk given the previous spinal fusion and the new, but currently stable, herniated discs. Then there is my recently diagnosed hernia to consider. . . Crap. I'm getting old.

*Now we shall sing the praises of the crib tent.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Day 8: Two steps forward, two steps back

After months of trying to convince M to potty train, she hasn't had a single accident since the light bulb came on Monday afternoon. In case anyone stumbles across this after googling some combination of the following words potty training, stubborn, holding urine, scared of potty, screaming, almost three, terrified, or big girl pants, here is what finally worked after M had held her urine for about five hours and was obviously in pain from the effort.

1. Run water in bathtub.
2. Strip child from waist down.
3. Stand child (who may be screaming) in running bath water. Wait for trickle.
4. Quickly transfer child to toilet so business can be finished in correct place.
5. Praise child, suggesting that this was their wonderful idea.
6. Repeat.

The ah ha moment came the second time we did this. The third time, she asked me to run the water and that was enough. After that, she got it. There have been no accidents in three days. Of course there has been no poop in two days, but I have a plan for that.

Last night as I was telling J how happy I was about finally having payoff in the form of potty training success (I did 100% of the potty training), he said, "She was bound to get it on her own." Bastard.*


While M is off to the races, I am not eating well at all. I was too chicken to check my weight this morning. I have stepped up the exercise, however. This morning I ran a few miles and this afternoon I worked on machines at the gym and then lifted M in and out of the pool while E took swim lessons. I also charged my Gowear Fit and started wearing it again.

*Right answer: "You were so patient to stick with this. She wouldn't have been able to move up to the three year old classroom if not for you. You are a goddess. Which foot should I massage first?"

Monday, July 06, 2009

Day 6: Woo woo!

I gained weight overnight and ate terribly today--Devil, thy name is Wheat Thins--but who cares?

M tinkled on the potty five times! There is much work and reinforcement to be done, but the potty training train is finally out of the station. Woo woo!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Day 5: Looking ahead

If I was exhausted yesterday, today I am roadkill. As predicted, my pyromaniac neighbors shot fireworks late into the evening. And as predicted, my dog went apeshit bonkers. Having been sternly warned by the vet last week that we should not exceed the recommended dose of Xanax for fear of interaction with the dog's newly prescribed daily dose of clomicalm, we were expecting the meds to at least slow her down. Instead, she flung herself at the window, panted, shook, whined, and barked for hours on end. Over the course of the evening, we looked at one another guiltily, but we tripled her prescribed xanax dose. When she was finally calmer, but not yet asleep, we discussed the possibility that perhaps we would wake to find our dog dead of overdose. But barely an hour later, during round three of the pyromaniacs's festivities, we heard barking and pacing again. I did the only thing reasonable at that hour: I took an emergency Ambien.

Too bad they don't make pediatric Ambien, because M could have used it last night. It turns out that, like the dog, she is terrified by fireworks. As the dog barked, M wailed. Unlike the dog, M is allowed in our bed in cases of bad dreams, illness, or frieworks. We put her in bed with us and finally moved her to her room in the wee hours of the night. Less than an hour later she woke mid-dream freaked out s it was back to our bed until 6:08 a.m. when she woke insisting that I feed her NOW.

Now that the house is quiet (no!I hear fireworks again and I WILL go talk to the pyros if this upsets beast or child), I am trying to take stock and plan my week. Tomorrow is forecast to be rainy so I'll need to come up with some indoor activities for the girls. The house is a mess so I may try to make cleaning up some sort of game. Both girls see the ENT at 2:45 and E has swim lessons at 4:45. I have the sitter from 9-2 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and will be at my office each day attempting to be focused.

Today's being better stats:

Weight: 124.6 (down .2 lbs from yesterday, or 1.4 lbs from Wednesday)
Diet: I had crackers today. And m&m's. Tomorrow is a new day, right?
Exercise: Half hour beach walk using waves as resistance.
Dogs: Did not kill the Vizsla.
Husband: Very annoyed with. Just because.
Beauty: Sunscreen at beach?
Patience with children: M was a sleep-deprived beast today. I didn't snap at her because I knew where the behavior was coming from. E had her first good day of the long weekend.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Day 4: Exhausted

Thanks, Bittermama for the excellent sibling advice. I am going to try and get the book you recommended this week. Nic, this week excepted, E's behavior improved at about 3.75 years old, but 2.75 to 3.75 was all about the id.

Today we picnicked with friends at their house. While the kids splashed in the baby pool, the adults chatted. D, our hostess, is 8 months pregnant so much of our talk was centered on pregnancy, delivery and the aftermath. I asked M if she knew what was in D's belly and she answered enthusiastically, "cake!" E, on the other hand, understood what was baking and was fascinated. Just before we left, another of our hosts' friends popped by to visit. She has a new baby (delivered at home by her husband who was on the phone begging the 911 operator to get the ambulance to them faster) and a two year old. J, our host, met them in the drive so he could carry the baby in. As he walked into the backyard with the infant in the carrier, E shouted excitedly, "Oh, did Katie's mommy just have the baby?"


I am exhausted this evening. I anticipate that my pyromaniac neighbors continue shooting fireworks well into the evening, and we will likely be kept awake, if not by the fireworks, then by our neurotic, noise-phobic dog who is already shaking and panting. We've pretreated her with xanax in anticipation of the noise, but we aren't expecting much in terms of efficacy as it hasn't been working for thunderstorms.

My July 4 update:

Weight: 124.8 (down .2 from yesterday)
Exercise: None.
Parenting: Better, I think. I'm trying to potty-train M and I was the model of patience today. Potty-training has been a hard sell, because while she is ready for underpants and can hold it forever, she is frightened of going on the potty. We did not have any potty successes today, but I did manage to convince her to pee in front of the potty on a towel. That probably sounds pathetic, but she was pleased with herself, and I felt like a little progress was made. E and I took a shopping trip while M napped and had a pleasant time.
Anti-hag activity: I used my revitalash. Does that count?
Dogs: Drugged.

Happy Fourth!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Day 3: Summer break

Stats: 125 lbs (down 1.8 from yesterday or 1 from my Wednesday weigh-in.)
Eating: No chocolate, but I did have crackers and cheese this evening. Oops.
Exercise: Does lifting a toddler in and out of the pool for 1.5 hours count?
Dogs: I haven't mentioned euthanasia today. Not once.
Relationship with J: Hooray Sarah Palin for giving us something other than children to gab about.

June 26 was the last day of preschool for the girls until August 25. I like the college's child development center, but its closing for summer break does not work for me. Despite having hired a sitter for 15 hours a week, one week in, I am not entirely certain that I am going to survive the break. At the moment, it seems like the girls move from one meltdown to another, and I am sometimes melting down with them. This week, E (nearly 5) is leading the way (overtired? should I try to force her to nap?), but M (nearly 3) has her moments, and her standard response to my requests or commands is a somewhat regal "I will not."

It isn't just the individual meltdowns and defiance that have me on edge. There is something about the way they interact, that seems to bring out the worst in each other. Separate, they tend to behave, but together, well, that is another story. When I was pregnant with M, I had this hazy, pleasant image of a future in which two little girls--best friends and sisters!--held hands as they skipped along the beach. While that happens--sometimes-- at any given moment it is more likely that they are squabbling over a toy that, though it has been in the toy box unnoticed since Christmas, is now VERY important and MINE, MINE MINE. On the positive side, I have learned that if I confiscate said toy, I can be a uniter, not a divider, because my action results in a sense of solidarity between the girls along with agreement that mommy is a "mean meanie."

Today, I am afraid that I snapped as much as I usually do. J, who had the day off, suggested that I just ignore them, but I will have to work on that harder. The whining and squabbling are like the drip, drip, drip of water torture.

*The terrible twos weren't so bad for my girls, but at about 2.75 year, all hell breaks loose.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Day 2: Jumping in

I guess you could say that Day 1 of my July "better me" experiment was just a day of deciding I wanted to do better, not actually doing better. This may explain why my weight was up to 126.8 this morning. Yes, I gained .8 pounds over night. Sweet.

With no further ado, here is my daily report.

Diet: Today being a new day and all that, I did somewhat better on the whole eating front. My basic plan is to stay away from bread and crackers and fistfuls of m&m's (which are supposed to be bribes for potty training). I confess that I still ate a good bit: fiber bar for breakfast and string cheese for a morning snack, three veggie dogs for lunch with baby carrots and dip (sue me), hot air popcorn for afternoon snack, laughing cow light cheese for pre-dinner snack, ratatouille (100% local produce!) and broiled tofu for dinner, and skinny cow chocolate truffle bar* for dessert. Like I said, it was a good bit of food, but I am not missing the bread and m&m's at the moment. I guess the scale will tell me if I need to cut back further.

Exercise: I walked a couple of miles between campus and the treadmill, but it wasn't strenuous. The most strenuous thing I did today was walk five flights of stairs rather than take an elevator. I worked out on machines at the gym and feel sure I'll feel that tomorrow.

Not snapping at my children: This is hard! Hard! Why must it be so hard? Perhaps I have a genetic sensitivity to whining and screeching and moaning and groaning. My maternal grandmother was an alcoholic whose elder care fell to my mother. One day when I was reluctantly pressed into service at her house, I decided to risk asking her how she started drinking. She slurred, "The whining and noise of children bothered me. I did not care for it ONE BIT." It figures.

Conversing with my husband: This morning, when he was playing on the computer and I was trying to dress two children, run the vacuum, and get ready for work, I remember thinking I should tell him an amusing story about our governor who, after going missing last week, has been the center of national attention. Instead, I told him that "I'm not getting much out of marriage these days."

Beauty: Surely there is a better word for my efforts in this area. Is there a word for "not looking like a tired hag?" This morning I remembered to use my salicylic acid peel which is basically a pretreatment for the glycolic acid peel that I will do tomorrow. Now, I just need to remember to pick up the tube of cream the dermatologist prescribed the melasma on my jawline.

The dogs that I should love more: The elder dog who is 16 had five teeth extracted yesterday. He is a sweet, arthritic old man, but should we really be plunking out $340 on a dental treatment for a dog whose bladder is sometimes faulty and whose time is limited? The younger dog who, at 11, would be considered old in any other household, has an anxiety disorder. She has just started medication for it, but we can't tell a difference thus far. More on this later, I promise.

*Seriously delicious.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

An experiment

I'm not keeping up with my blog, am I? I blame Facebook, summer, and the countless hours I have spent tracking the folly that is my governor (maybe not for much longer), Mark Sanford. I'm back now, though, big time.

Lately I have been suffering from a severe case of feeling like I'm falling short.

-I snap at my kids too often. The bickering, the whining, and the meltdowns wear me down.

-I don't watch what I eat. Before I had E, I weighed about 113 pounds. After E, I weighed about 116. Now I weigh 126 (as of Monday). I am small framed and the extra weight shows.

-I spend my time at the office inefficiently. I find that I only settle into my work after several hours of reading, chatting in the hall, walking around campus, etc.

-I don't converse with my husband enough. It seems like every conversation is about children or dogs these days. "Did she just have another accident?" "How long are dogs supposed to live anyway?"

-I don't exercise regularly. I have exercise equipment. I have running shoes. I lack willpower.

-My teeth are dingy thanks to my caffeine habit. I am lazy about bleaching them

-My hair isn't shiny. This, I think is due mostly to age, but still.

-My skin is dull. Age and sun damage.

-My car is dirty. No excuses here. I need to go to the carwash.

-I don't like my dogs enough. In the last month, we (and by we, I mean J) have spent approximately $1000 on our 11 and 16 year old dogs. I'm not feeling the love.

-My garden is neglected. No excuses.

-My house is dusty.

-I don't call my friends often enough. Why is this so hard?

I declare July the month of being better. *Me* being better.

Surely I can do better. Right? This will be the month of daily weigh-ins, teeth bleaching, counting to ten before I respond to whiny children, trips to the gym, facial peels, and deep cleaning. Each day, I'll post an update on my progress or lack thereof. Let the experiment begin.