Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Throwback Tuesday old blog from the paper.

Should I be freaking out right now?

    Like many moms, I've been through my share of "freak-out moments" when I am absolutely, positively convinced that something is horribly terribly wrong with my child, or even worse, wrong with ME for not teaching my kid to do or not do whatever milestone we're supposed to be on right now. I was set up for this obsession by giving birth to a premature child, and I was warned early on that she would experience delays in direct proportion to the time in the womb that she missed out on. 
    I used to be right there with the milestone charts... I tracked my daughter's progress from her first weeks until her 3rd birthday with meticulous detail, as I'd been reassured that by three years old she would be all caught up with "typical" children. By typical they mean the babies that got to bake in the oven the full 40 weeks, instead of busting out at 34.5 weeks and messing everything up. In the grand scheme of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, however, this was easy-- sure, there were some tears on the day I was released from the hospital to go home WITHOUT A BABY, and several weeks of driving back and forth from Lawrence to KCMO to be with her as much as possible. But there were parents at St. Luke's whose babies were in the NICU for MONTHS. Months!! When the time came, I gratefully took my daughter and her 5 weeks of "delay" and tiptoed away from that place, brandishing hand sanitizer at anyone who approached us and clutching my tiny bundle of joy tightly to my chest. 
    She followed a predictable course of development in all areas except for walking which she did at 22 months. I admit, my cool confidence that everything was fine wavered slightly during this time. (For those of you who remember me having the community child development center on speed-dial and harassing them daily about my daughter's refusal/failure to walk, shaddup.)
    I've continued to monitor her progress, but with less and less worry about when things are happening, and I've sort of reached an understanding with the childhood milestone gods. I will assume that everything is fine unless I am shown otherwise, instead of assuming that nothing is right unless I'm proven wrong. I must say it makes for a much more relaxed parenting experience. So keeping in mind that I'm all relaxed and cool, right? See? I still feel the need to stage-whisper "Wait... shouldn't she be potty-trained yet?"
    I've been told to give M & M's. Don't give rewards. Use non-edible reinforcers. Use charts and stickers. Give one non-edible reinforcer paired with behavior-specific praise and allow her to redeem her non-edible reinforcers for one larger highly-preferred reinforcer, and then slap her a high-five and say "Way to go, buddy." Or "princess". Or whatever.
    Well, it's not working out so well. She doesn't care. She likes some things some of the time, and other things at other times, and will only work for things that she likes at that moment, which may change at any moment. Get it? She wants to wear panties, she doesn't want to wear panties. The potty seat should be left up or possibly down but certainly never without a stool to climb up on. If asked, she does not ever have to go to the bathroom. "No,thank you. I don't need to go." She doesn't want to walk to the bathroom but gets upset if she's physically guided there.
    She doesn’t like to be reminded, and the timer startles her when it is set to remind her, so it must be set in another room. She knows to wipe front-to-back, but demonstrates this skill without actually touching herself and then missing the toilet. She wants someone to sit in the bathroom and keep her company, until “Will you please leave the room? I’d like some privacy.” She wants the door open except for when she wants it closed, the toilet flushed immediately or sometimes not at all, and wet panties/pull-ups may be tossed on the floor to the side of the toilet or daintily carried, bare-naked, to the kitchen trash can. She knows that her friends wear panties. That’s nice for them.
    She wants her pullup because she might pee on her panties. She will romp around freestyle for hours and then stand quietly in the corner and pee on the floor. 
    She is no longer on the research program at school that studies successful potty training methods, so there is no progress being made at school, or if there is I’m not getting it…I need to see the data. Give me the graphs. I need some concrete evidence that something is happening that is working so that I can replicate it at home. I’ve been told “It will just happen when she’s ready”, and “You have to TRAIN her”, and “Get her on a schedule”, and “Don’t put her in pull-ups”, “Let her pee on the floor/car/sidewalk” and “Buy her some panties with Dora on them”. Really? Like I didn’t do that when she turned 2 and I thought “Aha!! Maybe THIS will be the thing she’ll really excel at.” 
    So I’m not sure if I should be freaking out now. She’s three and a HALF!! Are we there yet? I don’t know if I am supposed to take the relaxed approach or the proactive approach. Should I force feed her liquids and camp in the bathroom with her for a weekend? How many kids start Kindergarten wearing pull-ups? Do they make sassy little “Miley Cyrus” style pull-ups for the ‘tween who swears she does NOT have to pee, GAWD, Mom.” 
    Don’t tell me about how you gave your kid an M&M and that was that. I will cut you. My kid has gotten M&M’s, skittles, gummy worms, tootsie rolls, McDonald’s gift certificates, toys, cars, a pony, and yet, when you ask her if she has to pee, she says: “No, thank you.” And then she pees on the couch.
    Tagged: crazy-mamapottykids

    Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Randomness and musings

    APRIL.  I'm glad it's over.  It was a crappy month with crappy weather...although May is not looking so hot right now.  freezly & drearpy.   Spring is apparently suffering from erectile dysfunction and just can't get it up.  

    Aaaand there you have it.    Just had a wonderful 24 hour vacay to Lawrence/KC for Fleetwood Mac concert. It was a great concert, but more importantly, it was an incredible experience to go on this trip and to the concert with my dad.   It was just a really nice getaway, and we hit a #bucketlist event by going to see Fleetwood Mac.    We had great seats,  by sheer luck... if you can call handicapped seating because my dad can't stand for long and needed a wheelchair and his tremors are getting worse and he may not be able to eat jello ever again Parkinson's madness ...a lucky thing.  Not particularly lucky, but I appreciated the manner in which he was treated by the Sprint Center. They were wonderful and responsive and did everything possible to make it a reality and to have us sit in a place where we could really see everything. 

    I can't stop thinking about tomorrow.    Being in Lawrence made me homesick, of course.  I really noticed when we drove through Topeka I had an overwhelming sense of being close to home.  I miss it so much.  It didn't help that everything is green and blooming and lovely up there, while down here on the prairie it's still pretty brown.  We have buds, but they keep getting frozen by the ridiculous weather that we are having. 
    Anyway, I was glad to be home to my house as well, I ran in and out of there this morning and felt good being home.   So I guess I have dual citizenship in my heart for my two places to live...each has specific advantages and disadvantages, and I just need to plan and execute regular visits to Lawrence over the next year prior to moving back.   Grace misses her Grandma and Grandpa in KC as well... need to get her in touch via skype or something,

    I have several people weighing on my mind,  I miss people in waves.... and my current list includes Megan and Lily, Heather Mac, Wendy, Lydia, and both Andy T and Andy B. 

    I make a trip up there just after school is out and make it a priority to see them.  

    Glad to be back at school, although the kids said they did NOT miss me.  That's ok... I still like them.   Mostly.

    I'm just so damn glad I'm not in middle school.  It's a wonky time.  

    Thursday, November 8, 2012


    It's day 8?  jeez. I'm grateful I'm still alive and that I didn't pass out from the stress of getting the president re-elected and worrying about the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

    Tonight Grace finished her dinner and says  "Mommy, I need to do something more exhilaration...exhilarating."

    --"okay, what does exhilarating mean?" --me

    "It means even more awesomer than before." --Grace

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012


    I apologize in advance for the rant.  I'll try to keep it minimal.

    Ick.  I need to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth from hearing the hateful, hurtful, and shameful things that people have felt it necessary to spew about the election.   Should have stayed OFF of Facebook.   Here is what I've learned:

    *Apparently "everyone" who voted for Obama is a slacker, looking for a handout, expecting people to just hand them things.

    *On top of that, you must be willing to be spoonfed  specific interpretations of the bible, following this scripture but not that one, and you are going to hell if you are not interested in policing or restricting other people's activities and curtailing their civil rights.

    My reply to all of this is 

    NOT THAT RELIGION HAS OR SHOULD HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH GOVERNMENT,   but I'm pretty sure that IF you believe in God, that deity is perfectly capable of deciding who and what was right or wrong as soon as everyone starts knocking on heaven's door.

    NOT THAT RELIGION HAS OR SHOULD HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH GOVERNMENT, but if you identify as a Christian, why would you not want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and help others, giving selflessly, and acting in the most loving way possible, rather than hiding behind bible verses intended to prove how very powerful you are because GOD is on YOUR side.    

    Christianity is not the only religion, it's not the only way to heaven, there might not be a  heaven (oh my!!), you just might  need to get your shit together and be of service to others here and now,  do what you can to make the world a better place, keep your own side of the street clean, live and let live.   Hey, those things work for those of us in certain 12 step programs,  in fact, I'm pretty sure they are the KEY to a well-lived life.

    But no....   It's all about "personal responsibility", and never more so than the morning after the election when the Republicans started blaming and pointing fingers to determine what went wrong and why? Oh why? I heard someone on Fox News say "This country needs to get back to what's important."   Oh really?  Good luck with that.  Because this country is deciding that what's important now is very different than what was important 25-30-50 years ago.  This country's focus is more diverse, more global, more accepting, and frankly, moving forward.

    As with any new concept, these things take time to come to the midwest.   I hope it doesn't take another 50 years for Kansas and other midwestern/southern states to get with the program, but it might.   And people wonder why small town America is dying... rural living is harder and harder with town populations dwindling, people have very little to do, there is limited cultural opportunity, but plenty of chances to score or cook your own meth. And the Walmarts keep us supplied with our pajama jeans and Dream Lites.

    And the Republican party is the party of 25-30-50 years ago.   Personal responsibility is a crock... it's all about the bottom line financially.    How to keep the money rolling in?  Stay in power.  How to stay in power?  By any means necessary.   ("The Republican Party needs a MORE conservative, religious leader" WRONG!)   By subjugating women, ignoring the needs of children once they are OUT of the womb, utilizing fear tactics about the most personal and important things people have:  Their religion, their property, their families.  If you can convince people that the DEMOCRATS intend to mess with all of those things, boom!   The midwestern white masses will do as told. 

    It is good news that the rest of the country (THE MAJORITY) are moving forward, living among all types of people, leaving discrimination and hate behind for the most part, and refusing to believe that  standing up for ALL people to have their civil rights does not threaten anyone else's big stuff.  Don't mess with my stuff.   The Republican Party has some fine ideals from years ago.  Unfortunately it's not about most of that anymore.

    Anyhoo. I'm done.  The election turned out just fine, as the people spoke and the overall majority AND the electoral college proved that this country (at least that which is not in the middle) is interested in moving forward and getting on with things.  

    And bottom line... It's not affecting my day today, it won't affect me tomorrow.  However, if I am able to somehow procure affordable health insurance sometime in the next few years, I might have a chance of being a mom to my lovey at least til she's an adult.  I'd really like to do that.  I know, I'm asking a lot.

     The truth is that I can't keep up my health without regular care, and as one of the dumbasses who dedicated the majority of her career to helping professions, social services, etc.  I'm kinda screwed. I won't be getting rich, and it's harder and harder to find work AT ALL because budgets for these type of services have been and continue to be slashed dramatically.

    That's what you get for being a bleeding heart liberal.  :)    But at least I can sleep at night.  

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012


    Today I took my daughter to vote.  I told her it was an important thing for us all to do as adults, to use our right to vote.  I told her that I hoped and prayed that we would have a president who cared about what happened to us, who wanted the best for us, and who was willing to help us get through tough times so that we could pass it on and help others. 

    I didn't talk to her about why, as a woman in particular, her future  vote is so important to her ability to make decisions and care for her own body.  We do talk about how her body is hers, and no one else gets to tell her to do anything with it that makes her uncomfortable or scared.  

    I didn't talk to her about public policy vs. private interests, choosing money over compassion, or social policy.    We do talk about being fair and honest, being nice to people whether we agree with them or not, and considering the feelings of others when we take action.

    I didn't talk to her about Social Security, Medicaid reform, or FEMA.    We did talk about the hurricane, and how it continues to affect people and will for a long time, and how a lot of people sending in a little bit of money can make a difference for the people who are having such a hard time.

     For now, I want her to know that a lot of what we talk about at home regarding being a nice person, caring for and helping others, being fair, working hard, and being honest are all also tangled up in the big world out there, not just here in our home or the classroom, or the playground.    We haven't talked much about specific characteristics to look for in our leaders, or politics in general, but we do regularly talk about fairness and compassion here at home.  

    Today Grace knows it's Election Day. She knows that "Mama voted for Obama" just like she did when Grace was One.   She knows that a lot of people here in the small Kansas town we live in are voting for the same guy I voted for, and some are voting differently, but that hopefully each one of us that takes the time to do this is doing it with the same intention as us... to vote with our conscience, our hearts, and our values.   

    Monday, November 5, 2012


    Monday again... Grace has a "Free Day" due to a professional development day at school.   After a full weekend of playing with a visiting friend then having mommy and me time on Sunday afternoon, the charm of the weekend has worn off and I am done.

    I'm grateful for Nyquil cold medicine, although I can't take more than half a dose without passing out so I'm just biding my time til Grace's bedtime.   I've somehow picked up a cold and I'm sniffly sneezy coughy but not achy, and I just want to lay here and stare at the ceiling.   Ugh.  Mommy being sick isn't very fun.  

    Finally around 5 I was rescued by my parents, who sent some food over and made sure me and Grace both got supper.  I have to admit I was so adamantly against going to the grocery store yesterday that I stood in the kitchen and picked hot dog slices out of the Spaghetti-O's  so that Grace would eat them.   She only likes plain Spaghetti-O's. 

    Did I spell adamantly correctly?   Adamant.   Adam Ant.   I wonder if Adam Ant was making a play on words when he came up with his stage name because he had been stubborn from an early age?   

    Again...grateful for Nyquil.  I'm going to sleeeeeb dflkgdkla

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    Hat in the Cat.

    It's a beautiful Sunday, and that right there is plenty to be grateful for.  I love Sunday afternoons,  even though I rarely utilize them in the manner that I believe I should.  I have high expectations for my free-time with Grace, and hardly ever live up to those expectations.  In my ideal world, we would fingerpaint and play hopscotch and work on writing skills and read a couple of new books together and visit some friends and practice putting our things away in all the well-labeled places in which they belong.   

    The reality is more like...have some ice cream, watch Busytown mysteries together and give Grace my opinion on why Pig Will and Pig Won't are so annoying, play with chalk outside together, (we wrote some letters... does that count?) and snuggle up in my chair to have a little nap.   Well.  I napped, she monitored the status of The Hat in the Cat.

    It was not as productive, educational, or well-balanced as I had hoped, but it was just right for us.