Tag Archives: parenting

Potty Training War

potty training

We are by no means the poster children for potty training. It started off really good for us: within the first week he was peeing in the potty seat and telling us when he had to go and we even got him to poop in the potty twice! We thought we were potty training rock stars.

Then about a month into it everyone in our house got sick. Finn was one of the worst with diarrhea for about 2 weeks straight. This required us to put him back in pull-ups 24/7 (and even a stool sample to the doctor which was fun). We told the doctor about our reservations regarding the potty training and how this sickness and the pull-ups was setting him back and she sort of (probably wanting to shake us like we were overbearing crazy parents worried about the complete wrong thing here) assured us, “hey, he’s sick!” So, we went with it. And of course with that, our potty training was set back almost to the beginning and we went down a road of part time underwear and part time pull-ups for the next 5 months that had us pulling out our hair almost all the time and completely anxious ridden.

We’d leave him in a pull-up for naps and bedtime (and continue to) and until he would go #2 the next day because we didn’t like cleaning up the mess in his underwear and he refused to go on his potty seat. Well, because he has some serious constipation issues, sometimes that meant that he’d be in a pull-up all day or for days and as long as he had that safety net, he’d continually have accidents in his “underwear”. So we really weren’t getting anywhere. And because it was easier for us, we’d wear pull-ups anytime we left the house. So basically we had just switched from diapers to pull-ups and occasionally used underwear. Yeah what a racket those diaper companies have going!

It wasn’t until about a month ago that a friend suggested getting rid of pull-ups altogether during the day that our potty training really started getting on the right track. It was a total “duh” moment. Within 2 days he was almost back to where he was in December when we first started. Then of course we went to Disneyland (more on that later, I promise!) and that went to hell that whole week, but then once we returned we were back to underwear for GOOD.

Now we only use pull-ups for his nap and bedtime and he asks for his underwear in the morning when he wakes up. If he fills his pull-up too much in the night he doesn’t like it and will take it off and just free ball it until the morning much to our dismay. So, we’re on the right track now.

Except when it comes to doing the big deed. For that, he asks for a pull-up. Which is frustrating because he will absolutely not volunteer to sit on the potty seat. However, at the same time, as our doctor says its a good sign that he’s recognizing that he has to go and asking for a pull-up instead of just going in his underwear. The cleanup is much easier in a pull-up than it is in underwear, trust me! But this means we’re not fully potty trained and he most likely can’t go to preschool come August. The doctor says with his medical issue, it is very important that we do not force him on the potty and cause him anymore anxiety than he already has about going #2 but I don’t know if he’s ever going to volunteer to go there on his own! We do get him to go about 2-3 times a week with a lot-a lot of coaxing, so that’s something.

One thing we are getting really good at rocking is peeing in public. We used to always have to bring his special green potty seat with us and let him use it in the back of the car and then just dump it wherever we are (gross I know, but he was terrified of public toilets). Now we’ve graduated to using the portable seat that sits on the toilet. I just have to make sure I promise him I won’t flush it while he’s in the stall because he’s terrified of the loud noise. This works because he’s only peeing right now… when he graduates to other deeds, I don’t know!!! But I am so proud of both him and me for getting through this incredibly difficult and daunting part of potty training!

Everybody says it just “clicks” and one day he’s just going to be this potty trained machine… I’m just waiting and waiting and waiting for that day. Until then, you’ll still probably find me pulling my hair out here and there, but I think we are finally winning the potty training war.

Volcano Boy

my_boy

Finn is truly a special boy and certainly very unique. It is true what they say that you can try and try to “make” your children what you think you want, but ultimately they will be their own person. This is a very candid and personal photo of our favorite little guy. This is him. The real deal. He loves grandma’s tank tops and shirts and tonight he found a bunch of jewelry and 2 large weeds that Dada had pulled out of the front yard that he had one in each hand (not pictured) and was waving them around, while covered in stickers, saying he was a “Volcano Boy”. I don’t know where he gets this stuff. I don’t know why he prefers our shirts to his. But I seriously just adore him just like he is. His individuality suits him just fine. He’s perfect!

Parenting in Public

Mom_Feelings

I’ve come to the realization that I am never going to be this perfectly calm, collected, and put together mom. Or wife, or daughter, or *person* for that matter. That just isn’t me. I have this tendency to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’ll share them with anybody whether they want me to or not, admittedly. Yes, I’m a bit of an over-sharer. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram- you already know this. I think about this a lot and sometimes I’ll try to change that and post less, but what it always comes back to for me is that I just like to share. If I get rid of Facebook for a month, I miss that aspect of my life for some reason. So, I’ve just come to accept it and instead decided that to those who don’t like it… don’t belong in my inner circle. I’ve carefully curated my “friends” list to under 100, because really… I don’t have 100 friends and once it starts creeping up there I have to go through and be really selective about who I want to share my life with once again.

But where was I going with this? Oh yes. Disneyland. Oh I didn’t already explain that? Okay, well let me get there. We went on a fantastic family trip to Disneyland a couple weeks ago and as an added bonus we got to also go with some of our best friends and their families! It was great. However, I was a hot mess at times. I would be *that* mom with the kid who wasn’t listening and because I had to be left with my kid while The Count went on a ride with his buddies (and totally vice versa of course), sometimes I’d freak out a little. I think I’ve mentioned a few times here that because of my different health issues I haven’t been the most “traditional” mom (what’s that anyways?) from the get-go with taking Finn in public places and bearing that responsibility on my own, so it is still, believe it or not, a challenge 3 years later. Anyways, only a few times Finn had a meltdown and of course it was when I was alone and I felt like I looked like the one mom of our group with the one out of control child and my embarrassment and anger would creep up and then my resentment towards The Count for being gone would take hold and I’d start to lose it in my mind and then take it out on Finn and *especially* The Count (bless his heart).

Where I’m going with this is that I never realized that I’d be judged for it. I felt like a shitty mom, trust me, I did. But I always had hoped that other people were more understanding. There was only one glimpse of this but it was enough to rattle my cage. At one point one of our friends (who I love more than anything and is in my top 5 of people who I love most on this earth, for reals) was going to go on one of the big rides with the guys and leave the three young kiddos with me and our other friend and I remember there being talk about leaving the two of us with three kids and it possibly being too much when one said to the other, “Oh I know *you’ll* be fine…” Needless to say, she didn’t end up going. It made me feel kind of sad. I wondered if she thought I just couldn’t handle anything more than my own, couldn’t be trusted, or am I just too paranoid and she was just trying to be considerate of the tantrum that my own son had just had and didn’t want to leave us stranded with three in case that happened again? Am I just overthinking this? Of course the Count says I am.

But I still wonder because I know I complain a lot about Finn’s little tantrums or if I have a hard day with him and maybe I’ve just given off this impression that I am this crazy mother that can’t handle my own kid, let alone any others and is ready to fly off the handle at any given moment? Have I been too trusting with my own feelings? Have I been too open with what goes on in my life? Maybe it’s not best to be an open book, even though I always thought it was. No secrets. Nothing to hide. This is me. This is who I am. And this is what you get. Then I start to think… I’m probably not the first person people turn to to watch their kid. Well how can they? I don’t even have my own place. For now. Then my thoughts turn to self pity and we go down a darker road that I’ll save for another post on another day when I’m feeling like dredging myself completely through the mud.

Bottom line, I’m a good mom. I’m a great mom. I know I am. I’m still learning how to handle temper tantrums in the privacy of my own home, let alone in public. My child is special and unique and not like any other. They all are. There’s no book that I can read that will tell me how to handle him in tough situations. Or he, me! I guess I really shouldn’t care what other people think about me or my parenting or my or my son’s temper tantrums because we’re both still learning and that’s not going to change for a very long time. Or ever.

A Legit Mama

There are those moments where I feel like a total stand-in in my life, like I’m just playing a part. I have this a lot of times when I’m doing “mom things”. For some reason, I still view myself as the 22 year old who doesn’t have kids and so when I find myself doing these “mom things” I can’t help but think to myself, “Who are you fooling?” Half the time I feel like people look at my like I am Finn’s babysitter, not his mama. I don’t know why I feel like this. Sometimes I have to play back memories and remind myself, “Holy shit, you are a mom.” Sometimes the tune is more like, “You are that mom” when I am doing something I said I would never do or never let my kid do. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. In fact, I love it more and more all the time, but it still feels unreal. It’s flown by so fast that sometimes I don’t have time to come to terms with not only whatever next stage my son is in, but with what stage am in.

Today I felt like a legit mom. Like I was meant to be in this role and this day was mine. Ours. It was Finn and I’s day. And it was a great feeling. I went to school in the morning (was 4 minutes late and my professor wouldn’t let me take the quiz… which was a bummer but I got over it fast) and then rushed over to the rec center where my son takes a music class on Thursdays so that I could be there for the last 20 minutes of it. It’s a parent-tot class. I snuck a few pictures of him singing in Grandma’s lap and throwing scarves in the air before I went in and switched places with my mom. He was so glad to see me and gave me the biggest hug. He sat on my lap and we sang songs for the next 15 minutes until his class ended. I hate that I can’t be there for his preschool class Monday through Wednesday, but I am grateful that I get to at least make it to the end of his music class on Thursdays.

music_class

After class we played on the playground for a few minutes. He loves parks and playgrounds. And there’s one right outside the rec center, of course, which means that he doesn’t want to go to music class, and he can’t wait to get out, all because of that dang distraction going in! I usually have a hard time getting him to leave the playground; we leave kicking and screaming with him in my arms 1 out of 3 times. But today, I told him we were going to the “chefraunt” (his word for restaurant which I don’t correct because it’s adorable) for lunch. He happily walked to the car with me, thankfully, giving my back a break.

playground

We went to this cute little taco place in our small downtown with some friends (old co-workers) of mine. Finn was awesome. He was perfect. Not a complaint out of him. He sat there the whole time happily eating his fruit, the orange slices that us girls gave him out of our tea, and coloring on the recycled kids menu (from the last kid which meant NO tic-tac-toe was happening), and of course didn’t eat a bite of his cheese crisp. He wanted to hold my hand the whole time and of course my friend reminded me to cherish this moment. He got his first (temporary) tattoo and was so proud of it. Both my friends loved him and couldn’t believe how well behaved he was. He may become a regular at our weekly lunch date!

joyride

That was a huge validation for me. That he behaves well in public and that I was recognized for it. For me, it means that I’m doing something right. My kid is really, really, awesome. He’s likable. I swear, getting a compliment on your child is huge. I spend so much time doubting and punishing myself over the littlest things when it comes to parenting, that a small compliment like, “your kid is awesome” goes such a long way. It’s also incredibly assuring that I’m not the only one who sees it. ;)

We both walked back to the car with our heads held high. So high, that I wanted to keep this momentum going. I think I have shared here before that I don’t take Finn alone to places a whole lot. I don’t think I took him alone anywhere until after he was 1. With my back and health, it just didn’t happen very often and because of that, I’m sort of stunted in that department. I get such anxiety about doing it. I think of all my mom friends as superheroes because they do it all the time – some with two kids, which is completely unfathomable to me. So, anytime I can do it, I feel accomplished.

books

We decided to go to the library and exchange our books (I will talk more about this later). Now, the last 2 times that we went to the library it did not end well. The first time was with Dan and the second was with my mom. Both times he had to be taken out kicking and screaming. So, I was really taking a chance with this. We got to the library and Finn got to feed the books to the return-machine which he thought was cool. We stopped at the giant dollhouse that he just loves to stare at. I was alone so I couldn’t leave him there while I went and looked at books, so after a few minutes I finally coaxed him to the children’s section where he could play with blocks and I could pick out our books. It went amazing. I got his favorite train book that he keeps wanting to check out and some favorites like Skippyjon Jones and How Do Dinosaurs _______, and many others that caught my eye. Finn happily played. We’re still trying to figure out how to get him interested in picking out his own books, but at this point, I’m just happy that he’s in a library. I packed up our books and then winced when I told him it was time to go, waiting for his reaction. Amazingly, he went. Just like that! We came up to the dollhouse again and I sort of panicked about how this would be the time I wouldn’t get him to leave. I left him to the dollhouse while I ran about 20 feet away to check out the books and when I got back I told him it was time to go and again, he went willingly. He really spoiled me today. He must have known I was alone and feeling anxiety and he wanted to help mama out.

library

It was overall a really wonderful day. I loved going around to all of the different places with him. I felt like a mom. A good mom. And we had a good day together and I’ll never forget it.

One of Those Nights

those_nights

I totally just had one of those nights. You know the one. Where I was that mom. Impatient and yelling at my kid far too many times than I’d really like to admit. And yet, here I am, admitting it. I really do have the sweetest kid. He is not a brat. He is not a “spawn from hell” as some people call their kids. He’s fucking great. He comforts me when I need comforting. He’s funny when it’s expected and least expected. His comedic timing is perfect. He just gets things. And he never ever deserves any meanness or impatience or negativity, least of all from me.

However, today was a horrible, no good, very bad day. I came home from work with the start of a migraine (my second in a week, but at least this time I wasn’t 2 1/2 hours away from my home and didn’t have to deal with blinding headlights from oncoming traffic while we drove home). This would have been fine except that after lovingly cooking Finn his macaroni & cheese, and sharing cucumbers, carrots, and apple sauce, he decided after 30 minutes into his nap that he wasn’t going to sleep any longer and I still had over 2 1/2 hours until The Count was due home from his first day of class. My head was pounding, not just pounding – throbbing, stabbing, every descriptive word you could think of for head pain, and I was running on 4 hours of sleep, but the show had to go on. We went out to the family room and I put on George and, sadly, I tried to snooze on the couch while he watched tv and played. Finn had other plans. And the 1 ibuprofen and 1 Tylenol did, too.

“Can we build a house?”
“Mama, you head hurts?”
“You head has an ache?”
“I have to go potty.”
“Do you need hug, Mama?”
“It won’t hurt anymore.”
“Don’t cry, Mama.”

So, literally all the sweetest sentiments possible but just not the time for me. If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know. It’s like you don’t want to hear or see anything, but when you are a parent and you have a child to look after, it makes having a migraine (or any sickness) 10x worse!

Then…

“Mama, I need to wash my hands.”
“So, go to the bathroom and wash your hands.”
“No, I need help.”
“Finn, mama’s head hurts really, really bad. Can you get a stool and wash them in the kitchen?”
*then a cry of panic*
“Please I need help, mama!”
*looks over and sees green shit everywhere*

Not. The. Time.

All that apple juice I gave him to try to keep him happy and quiet was not his sensitive tummy’s friend. We had an early bubble bath and I’m texting The Count about how much I can’t wait for him to get home, and yet, my dad is texting me at the same time about what’s for dinner. Ugh. No break. So, I start preparing dinner. I get everything ready for fried chicken, start boiling water for mashed potatoes, and leave the frying for the Count while I lay on the couch and listen to Finn some more.

“Play cars with me, mama.”
“Want to build a tower?”
“I have to go potty again.”
“Can I have Gatorade?”
“Where’s my tools?”
“Mama, you sick?”

It’s like, as I read this, I feel like an asshole. Why was any of this annoying to me? Why was I so impatient? What the hell was the problem? Well, the migraine was the problem. The piercing pain in the back of my skull was the problem. And then… we all heard it. He did it again.

“He did not just do it again.”
“Just take him in the shower and spray him off.”
“I already dealt with a blowout earlier today, it’s your turn.”
“I’m frying the freakin’ chicken!”
“Ugh, fine! Come here, Finn, don’t touch anything!”

As I resentfully take him to the bathroom once again and he wants to take another bubble bath and he asks about 1000x and I tell him no 1000x because we already had one and we’re just cleaning him off because he went to the bathroom in his pants and not his potty seat and then I just lose it and he starts crying. I tell him, I’ve had enough of his crying today, I’m done, my head hurts and I can’t take anymore crying today and I don’t want to hear it and I don’t care. I told him I don’t care. Which is so not true, because I do care. I care about every little seemingly insignificant thing that happens in his life. So, the Count comes in mad at me, rescues Finn, tells me to go lay down (which I don’t), I instead go in and prepare Finn’s dinner feeling awful the whole time about what I said to him. I sit my plate next to his at the dinner table and after he returns from the bathroom and cleaned off and in fresh undies, he says, “Hi mama! I’m back!” Just like that.

After dinner, I still felt pretty bad about the whole day, that I decided I would take him in to his room and we would have an extra long bedtime. I picked out 5 books to read and after getting him in his jammies, started reading. Daddy came in after book #2 and then after we were done reading, we sang about 6 or 7 songs. Bedtime took about an hour when usually it is 20-30 minutes. I savored every last “big hug” and “big kiss” and as I closed his door I just couldn’t help think about what a remarkable little person he is and how lucky I am that he had already forgiven me for this crappy day and therefore I should forgive myself. But I still haven’t. Maybe it’s this unrelenting migraine and the fog of the additional 2 ibuprofen and the 40mg of Relpax that I took, but I’m just not over it. I don’t like to be this parent. How lucky am I that he is my biggest fan and so loving and easily forgiving. I hope he always is and that I continue to learn to be a better parent on this amazing adventure we are sharing together.

Alas, tomorrow is a new day and I really should forgive myself because, again, this really was just one of those nights.

Stream of Consciousness

This is one of those nights where I don’t have any kind of planned post for my blog, but I just feel like writing to relieve stress. About nothing in particular, I just want to write whatever comes to mind. And after all, at the end of the day, that’s why I have my blog. Of course to document our lives, Finn’s life, and all that, but mostly just to write. :)

Toddlers rear-facing in the car. Just do it. Yes, they may look uncomfortable to you, but trust the experts when they tell you, it isn’t for them. Yes, you may think they want to look forward but really any window is fine by them. They may not get as much air, but for the love of your children, face them backwards. Please. It is the absolute safest way for your child to ride. It’s so safe that EMT’s call the rear-facing seat ‘the orphan seat’ because in a bad car accident, that child is often the only one who survives. Dan and I did a lot of research on this. We wanted to know why? Why are child seat safety experts and pediatricians so adamant about this? The car seat seems to be safe enough and he’s strapped in in multiple places, not to mention the actual seat is belted in. So, why does it matter which way he faces for so long? Well, infants and toddlers have large heavy heads in proportion to the rest of their body and very fragile necks. And the straps of the car seat only restrain their body and not their head, which causes their head to thrust forward, easily injuring their spinal cord. Their neck bones are so fragile that the neck bones actually separate during a crash. Picture what happens if someone yanks an electrical plug out of a socket by the cord, causing the wires to break. If they are rear-facing, their entire body is better supported by the shell of the car seat and it’s even better for side-impacts. In a head-on collision, a rear-facing car seat spreads the energy of the crash across the toddler’s entire back, not just across a narrow portion of a tiny body. I know how fragile the spinal cord is. Someone very close to my family once upon a time was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident and if I could do anything prevent that from happening to my Finn in any way, then I will. And if that means him facing backwards longer, that’s nothing. As Dan says, “We’re just a lump of meat driving around in these big metal machines at high speeds and that’s unnatural. Anything I can do to make Finn safer, that’s fine by me.” We bought a Britax Marathon car seat which Finn can sit in rear-facing until 40 pounds and then the seat is good forward-facing until 70 pounds if you can believe that! I feel really good about Finn rear-facing until he no longer can. I’m not a perfect mom but this was an easy choice, a simple choice, and the right choice for us.

Here’s a picture of a 3 y/o (long legs and all!) rear-facing in the exact same car seat we bought Finn (w/ link to her blog):

rear-facing

 

scaleSo, what’s on my mind? I stepped on a scale last night for the first time in months and I was in shock. I have never been one of those people that’s obsessed about my weight. Sure, I think about it now and then but it’s not something on my mind daily. Except the rare times when I’m feeling really down on myself or comparing myself to super skinny people. But overall, I’ve always been pretty comfortable in my skin and happy with my looks. I’m not a glamorous person. I don’t wear a ton of makeup or focus a lot on my beauty even though as I age, I probably should. Anyways, what I’m saying is that I know I’ve always been a little overweight but it’s never seriously bothered me to the point where I’ve been depressed about it or anything like that. I eat what I want because I enjoy food. Should I? No. I have issues with blood sugar and cholesterol. I’m bad. But I’ve always maintained the exact same weight. I gained 40 pounds when I was pregnant with Finn. And lost it by the time I went home from the hospital. I don’t know how, it’s crazy. Now, that’s not to say my body went back to it’s same shape but weight-wise, I lost all 40 pounds practically overnight. So where was I? Oh yeah, this is my stream of consciousness, bear with me. Back to the shock after stepping on the scale last night. I’ve lost 20 pounds since November. I’m now close to what I weighed just after high school when I met Dan. It’s crazy. I’m not in that same shape or close to it (I wish), but I’m creeping to that weight and that just shocked me because I’ve done nothing. In fact, I’m eating worse than ever. I eat fast food 3-4 times a week (that’s got to stop). I know how/why this is happening. It’s my anti-seizure medication. It actually was just approved by the FDA as a weightloss drug. Now, WHY somebody would want to take this for weightloss with all of the neurological  side effects that go along with it, is way beyond me! I looked it up last night and read a lot of stories about people on it who had weight loss on it and it just kept going. One person lost 60 pounds. I can’t lose 60 pounds. Not interested in that, I’ll whittle to nothing. Already NONE of my work pants fit me, I feel like I drown in them and look very very frumpy in all my clothes. I need a Goodwill shopping trip with the girls or my mom here very soon. So, that’s one thing on my mind. I can’t talk about it on Facebook because I don’t want to sound braggy to all those people struggling with weightloss when here I am pounds just melting off me by doing nothing. =/

So, that’s what’s on my mind. And my sick cat who has had blood in his feces since Saturday. Yuck. And sad. We’re worried about him.

We Do a Heck of a Lot Right

joys

Found this on another blog, and it’s so true. It reminded me that I don’t do this enough. Especially when it comes to my parenting. I’ve been pretty down on myself there lately and not really for any good reason, other than insecurities and my incessant and totally unnecessary but human need to compare myself to others.

But when I really get down and think about it, we do a heck of a lot right and are pretty damn good parents. We, along with every other parent out there, were never given any manual on how this all goes (other than my awesome mom who’s kind of like a cheat sheet, if you will). So, I just wanted to make a list of the things that I think we do right as parents:

So yeah, I need to remember when I’m feeling especially hard on myself that we’re doing pretty alright. Finn’s a pretty good little baby and he’s going to turn into a pretty good little kid. And I need to talk about that more. :)