Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Huh? What? Oh?

Thank goodness it's Wednesday and I don't really need to work at being coherent. I love using randomness as an excuse to blabber on. So, I might as well just cut to the chase.

  • Between too much Wow Wow Wubzey and Laura using the phrase crappity crap, my mind has started to turn all sorts of things into cutesy sayings. We have smackity smack Nerf swords, a poopity poop potty, and chuggity chug trains. It's like a disease, and I really need a curity cure.
  • I was on the phone with my mom this morning while I was getting Michael ready. I asked her to hold on because I was trying to put Michael's shoes on. She replied, "You must be having trouble squeezing your feet into his shoes." Ha ha ha. I responded with a "whatever".
  • After being accused of having no sense of humor, I explained that Michael was up a lot last night coughing and that I had just finished wiping up the antibiotics Michael had spit out all over his shirt.
  • My mom agreed that it was understandable that I'm not my usual happity happy self.
  • Don't tell my mom, but even if I was in a better mood, jokes based on grammar tend to fall a little short in the humor department for me.
  • Unless of course I'm the one making the joke. Then, they are witty.
  • Feel free to roll your eyes.
  • The lack of sleep over the past three months has been rough, but at this point I'm having more trouble dealing with the lack of mental down time than I am the sleep. Too many demands are starting to make me a little cuckooity cuckoo.
  • What do you think, do I need a little helpity help?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If you thought that was bad; or alternatively, Don't be such a chick

If you thought sleeping on the floor next to my screaming child or having said child puke all over us as we walked into the doctor's office was bad, wait until I tell you about how well Sunday morning went for me.

In case I've failed to make this clear, Michael does not like to take any kind of medication. He flat out refuses to do it. It's a matter of principle for him and seems to have nothing to do with the yucky factor of the medication. As I said in yesterday's post, Michael refused to take a grape flavored Motrin tablet even though he was in enough pain to cause him to scream and cry. Simply put, he has a policy on medicine, and he does not break that policy lightly.

To be perfectly honest, I'm still in shock that Michael actually took every dose of the amoxicillin from the last ear infection without a fight. I guess the benefit of that was countered by the full body hives that he got from it. I can appreciate the irony that the only medicine Michael has willingly taken also resulted in weeks of discomfort.

When I picked up this new prescription, I decided to use the same approach as I did with the last round since it worked so well. I explained that he had ear germs again, and that the doctor said he needs to take all of it to kill off the ear germs. I guess he was too sick to fight it on Saturday because he took two does for me. However, on Sunday morning Michael felt just good enough to decide that he didn't care about any ear germs or any doctor. He was not going to take any medication. It's yucky. End of story.

The only problem is that it can't be the end of the story. Stopping antibiotics after two doses will pretty much guarantee that the ear infection will come raging back to life. I know that. Almost everyone knows that. And trust me, I explained it to Michael too. He didn't care. The medicine is yucky, he will not take it.

I went into the kitchen to get the medicine and swore under my breath. 18 more doses to go, and Michael was already digging in against it.

We have been using a dosing spoon, which is like a test tube with a shot glass edge to drink from. I filled up the spoon and took it into the living room for Michael. I handed it to him and explained that he needed to fight the ear germs. He slurped the medicine right up.

Then, he spit it right back out into the spoon.

Crap.

I started in with the doctor says you need to do this.

"It's yucky!"

Crapity Crap.

I tried to explain that the ear pain will come back if he doesn't take it all.

"It's yucky!"

Son of a...

I was tired and frustrated, but I wasn't giving up yet. So, I got out a piece of paper and a pencil and started to draw an ear. I drew the external part of the ear, the Eustachian tube and the ear germs in the tube. Then, I erased some of the ear germs and explained that the antibiotics had only killed a few of the germs, and that's taken some of the pressure off the ear drum. I told him that as long as some of the ear germs were still alive they could start growing again. I drew in more ear germs and drew lines coming off the ear drum to show pain radiating from the ear. It was a good lesson and explained pretty well what was going on. It was perfectly rational.

Please feel free to laugh at me at this point. I realize that I may have been approaching the whole thing a little too rationally and scientifically for a three year old. In my defense, I was really, really tired and really, really desperate. I wasn't really thinking clearly at the time. Hey, if I'm doing bad parenting, I figure there could be worse ways to do it than giving useless biology lessons.

I'll give you one guess as to what Michael's response was.

Yep! "It's yucky."

#&*@

I'll be honest. I lost it at that point. It's essential that Michael take his antibiotics. There is no debate on this. He must take the medicine. MUST! But, the more Michael MUST do something, the less likely he is to do it.

Now this is the hard part for some people to understand. They suggest I should just put him in time out until he takes it, or take away his toys until he takes it. That may work for some kids, but not with Michael. He is determined to win. He is devoted to winning. There is nothing more motivating to him than winning. He would rather die than give in.

I was frustrated, angry, scared, powerless, and at a complete loss. What the hell do I do now?

I just sat down and cried. And cried some more.

Michael was surprised and disturbed that I was crying. He was very sweet. He walked over to me, hugged me and used his finger to wipe away my tears. He started asking me why I was crying, so I tried to explain to him about my frustration. I explained that I was concerned about his ears and that I didn't want him to be sick or in pain and how I really wished that he would take his medicine. He was very concerned about it and hugged me again.

That's when I realized I had inadvertently just given Michael his first guilt trip. I didn't feel very good about that, but decided to cut myself some slack because I wasn't doing it to try and control him. I was just being honest about my feelings. I think that being emotionally honest is an important lesson to teach.

I asked Michael to take his medication.

"No, it's yucky!"

I calmly removed myself from the room.

Nothing I was doing was working. This conversation had been going on for about 45 minutes. I needed to step aside and collect myself before things go out of hand.

After a several minute break, it hit me. I was doing it all wrong. I was approaching the whole thing the wrong way. What kind of idiot tries to use mature, rational, womanly tactics to get a little boy to take medicine? I'll tell you, a mom! Maybe if I approached it from a immature guy point of view I would have more success.

I took an extra dosing spoon and filled it with Benadryl (We have about 3 different kinds that Michael won't take) and called Michael into the kitchen. In a really peppy tone I explained that I needed to take the yucky medicine and that I needed his help being tough. I placed his medicine in his hand and I grasped mine in my hand.

Then, I roared!

I asked Michael to roar and I roared again. I told Michael that we were going to be big and tough. Big tough dinosaurs. I asked him to roar again. Then I told him to down the yucky medicine. We both tossed our medicine back like we were downing a shot of tequilla and finished with the very same shiver as the medicine went down our throats. We roared again. I announced proudly that we were tough and put my hand up for a high five. I grabbed both his hands and thrust them into the air with another loud roar. Hell, if Michael was taller, we probably would have done a chest bump.

I call it the frat boy approach. Probably not the most politically correct approach, but I've gotten five more doses of medicine into him, so it's totally worth it in my book. If you don't like it, I'm perfectly willing to puff out my chest, strut around, call you names, and if I'm in a bad mood, you might just get a thunder bucket.*

Do I make myself clear?

ROAR!!!

*On the off chance that you don't know what a thunder bucket is, it when you take someone's head, dunk it in the toilet, and then flush. I've never actually seen one done, but I've heard guys talk about it, so it must be legit, right?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Adventures in Mothering

Sorry about disappearing there for a few days. I was in a program management training class last week and it didn't leave me any time to think, let alone post. It was a great training session and I really enjoyed it, but it was also very intense. By the time I got home on Friday I was exhausted.

Friday is one of my days to pick up Michael and I was disappointed to notice that his nose had started running sometime during the day. We had a week without any illness, and I was starting to enjoy having a healthy household. But, what can you do. When kids are in contact with other kids, they will spread germs. I certainly wasn't surprised.

I was so tired Friday night that I went to bed at 10:30. I had just drifted off to sleep at 11:00 when Michel started screaming. Andy settled him down, but not long after Michael was screaming again. I went in to check on him and he screamed that his ear hurt. Well, that was quick.

Michael, being the most stubborn child on the face of the earth, refused to take anything for the pain. I'd offer, I'd plead, he'd refuse. The promise of the end of pain is not enough to motivate him to eat a little purple grape flavored pill. So, instead I laid a blanket on the floor and decided to camp out with him for the night. He climbed out of his bed and curled up next to me on the floor. He stole my pillow and my blanket and kicked me in the ribs. It was the perfect way to recover from two days of intense work.

We both survived the night. Around 1:30 in the morning Michael finally gave in and took some Motrin. He also decided that sleeping on the floor with me was miserably uncomfortable and crawled back into bed. We both managed to sleep through until about 6:20 in the morning. Andy took Michael downstairs and I tried to get a few more hours of sleep in the comfort of a real bed.

When I got up, it was clear that Michael was dealing with a bad ear infection. Not only did he have pain, but he was running a fever. I called the doctor's office to get him in first thing. He clearly needed antibiotics and I didn't want to miss the limited Saturday morning openings.

Michael cried a number of times throughout the morning and was tired and sick. When we got to the doctor's Michael wanted me to carry him. Of course, I was more than willing to oblige. As we approached the front door to the office, Michael was still crying. It happened in just a split second. One minute we were fine, the next we were covered from neck to toes in strawberry milk vomit. Neck to toes. Shoes, pants, jackets, shirts. Even my bra was drenched. Charming.

I put Michael down and just stared for a moment. What the hell do I do now? I was dumbfounded. This just highlighted the need to see the doctor, but I can't really take a kid in covered in puke, can I?

This is the moment when I remembered that I had taken the diaper bag into the house and cleaned it out. Before I refilled it, Andy had grabbed it and put it back in the car not realizing that it was empty. By empty I mean no wipes, no spare clothes. Nothing. All I had was a gross receiving blanket I had used after my last run and 4 tissues. Did I mentioned that both of us were covered from neck to toe?

I ran to the car and got the blanket and a very kind father who witnessed the whole thing came out to give me a package of baby wipes. (DUDE YOU ROCK!) I used our jackets to wipe us off and then did a little dabbing with the wipes to get the chunks off. Then, I picked up Michael, held my head high, and walked into the office for our appointment. It was not one of the finer moments of my life.

Guess what? If you walk into a pediatrician's office covered in throw up they will get you out of there fast. I mean fast. The entire office staff was kind and helpful, the nurse and doctor still did everything they normally do, but they did it quickly. In fact, we pretty much skipped the waiting room part of the whole thing. However, despite the joy of a fast tracked appointment, I still would not recommend giving it a try.

The doctor checked Michel's chest, throat and ears and diagnosed him with another double ear infection. Then, he told me I could pick up the antibiotics prescription at the desk and got his nose as far from us as possible. We headed home to clean up, fill Andy on on what happened, and get the prescription filled.

You know, that's the great thing about being a mom. It's never boring. Even the common cold can lead to wild adventures that one would never dream of (although it might be well within the range of nightmares.) You never know, when you wake up in the morning, just what the day may have in store for you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sneak Attack

Like most parents, I try to limit Michael's exposure to inappropriate subject matter. We don't watch the news when he's awake. I don't let him watch scary movies. I'm not being over protective, I'm just trying to stick with age appropriate material. For the most part, this has worked.

The hardest part with Michael is that he likes a lot of nonfiction books and shows. You can't be obsessed with dinosaurs without coming across the concepts of extinction, meat eaters, big scary teeth, and dying. I try to limit the scary stuff, but there is only so much I can do. We just got a new dinosaur book recently and it included a big poster of a very scary T-Rex. Michael insisted on hanging it on his wall. So, the kid who is afraid of chompers - whatever they are - and has a sign on his door to keep chompers out also has a terrifying picture of a T-Rex on his wall that he loves. Go figure.

To try and limit Michael's exposure to scary nature stuff, I do try to limit his non-fiction books to close to his age range. I admit, I also skip over a few lines in some of his books as well. He really doesn't need to know that floods kill people yet. However, being cautious isn't always good enough, because you never know what's going to cause a problem.

Last night it took about an hour to get Michael to sleep. We had read for quite a while before bedtime, and Michel was tired and yawning by the time I tucked him in. Unfortunately, right as I was tucking him in the wind picked up and knocked over the sled that was sitting on the front porch. "Mommy, what's that?"

I tried to explain that it was just the wind. No good. I went out and checked to see what it was and reported back that it was the sled. No good. Before long I was kneeling on the floor explaining that there were no thieves trying to break into the house and steal his toys. I explained locks and keys and how we have a busy neighborhood and, blah, blah, blah. I'm not sure I made it any better. Andy finally had to step in a distract Michael from the topic and then repeat the bedtime routine before Michael would go to sleep.

Why is Michael worried about thieves? He didn't learn it from the news. He didn't learn it at school. It wasn't that we weren't being careful. It's all because of one line in one book. Michael has a small book about pyramids. It's very basic. There is no talk of mummies or anything scary like that. It simply states on one page that some tombs had secret doorways to keep thieves out. He picked up on the one line the first time I read the book and ran with it. He asks questions about thieves all the time, and we do our best to answer in a way to avoid scaring him. However he still thinks someone is going to break in and take his toys. Poor kid.

On the other hand, it's probably safe to say that his Thomas the Train tracks and trains are worth more than most of the electronics we have in the house. Which would you pay more for on eBay, an old CRT TV or a huge bin of Thomas trains and track? Maybe we should lock them up?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Only One Small Problem

We had an amazing weekend. There is just no other way to describe it. It was warm, we were all reasonably healthy, and we didn't have any commitments. I suppose in my pre-mommy life, that wouldn't have ranked as much of a weekend, but after three months of snow, illness, and sleep deprivation, warm and mostly healthy counts as amazing.

The outdoor time was the best. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all in the low 70's. Perfect. We even had the windows open during the days, so the house smelled fresh. Michael spent hours outdoors over the weekend. It started with a trip to the zoo on Friday with my mom. He played with the neighborhood kids each day, including bike races, rock throwing, and picking up litter. (It's never too early to learn about taking care of the environment.) We also took a trip to the playground and another trip into the park to throw more rocks. Not only did Michael have fun, but he was pleasantly tired by the end of each day and went to bed without stalling.

We also really enjoyed our trip to the mall for a ride on the carousel, a trip to the grocery store, and a trip to the book store. Michael was cooperative, pleasant, and reasonable on all three trips. He was so cooperative, that I can actually say that I enjoyed the trips as much as he did. What a treat after some of the tantrums we have had in the past few months.

And, OMG, the sleep! I got sleep! For several nights in a row. I feel like a human being again.

There was only one problem with this past weekend. I don't have anything to whine about! The best problem in the world to have. I'm sure I can manage it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Phone Photo Friday - Sleepy Head

For the most part, I'm very happy that Michael goes to daycare/preschool two days a week. Being around other children has been so beneficial. Every day I can see how much he enjoys school and his new friends. The social skills he is learning are amazing, and that's just not something he could have gotten with my mom.

There are two downsides to daycare. The first one I've been whining about all winter, so I think you all know my opinion of daycare germs. The second downside is the daycare nap. Twice a week Michael takes a nice long nap for his daycare teacher. After lamenting the lose of the nap at 2.5, you would think I'd be thrilled, but I'm not. On nap days, instead of going to bed at 6:30, Michael will not got to bed until at least 8:00. Not only does it screw up our routine, it also screws up when Michael wants to wake up.

On weekdays, we give Michael a gentle wake-up. Andy starts it by taking a shower across the hall from Michael's room. When he's done his shower, he opens the door to let the steam out, which also shines light into Michael's room. When I head down stairs, I turn on the hall light to provide even more light. By the time I'm done getting everything ready downstairs, Michael is normally awake.

This is what I discovered when I turned his light on low this morning. He was out cold.

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Let me just say that I hate being woken up. Ha, who doesn't really? My parents used to do the most annoying things to try and wake me up. My dad would do this sing-songy "Joey, Oh Joey" thing that I could not stand. When that didn't work, he would turn on the lights. Infuriating! If that failed, he would tickle my feet. How dare he!

So, I stood there trying to wake Michael up, but nothing was working. So what did I do? "Michael, oh Michael" I sang, cringing the whole time. "Michael, oh Michael."

Nothing.

What next?

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Yep, I flipped the light all the way on. I confess, I'm evil. Michael responded with the normal roll over and try to ignore it defense.

The sing-songy voice failed. The bright light failed. Time for foot tickling.

Nothing. His feet aren't really that ticklish anyway.

I was pretty much out of ideas from things I swore I'd never do to my kids, so I had to get creative. I very gently reached down and pulled the covers off of him. That didn't seem to work, so walked down the hall to get ideas from Andy. (I did have one more idea, but I'm really not ready to resort to slamming garbage can lids together like my dad did.) As I walked out of the room, Michael started crying. "Mommy, don't leave me!" He was so sad. It was pathetic.

But, he was awake.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shhh...maybe if I say this quietly I won't jinx it

There has been a change in our house that I have not spoken of. Not because I am ashamed, but because I don't want to jinx it.

When Michael was a baby, he was not interested in binkies or lovies. I thought that was great until a little before he was a year old he latched onto binkies and Shirt and all hope was lost. See, I was a thumb sucker, and I know how hard it was for me to break that habit. In fact, it's something that I did not achieve until I was nine years old when my orthodontist had to place a metal rake in my mouth. We won't even go into how long I've hung onto my security blanket...

Anyway, last summer we tried to get rid of the binkies. In fact, we had gotten to the point that Michael hadn't used one for a week when he started with the night time wake-ups. I'm not going to mince words here, I am weak at 3:00 in the morning. I will give in to just about anything to get some sleep. And give in I did. Michel asked for a binky and I gave him one.

With all of the recent illness and night waking, you would think this would be a bad time to try and get rid of the binkies. However, something strange happened a few weeks ago. Michael stopped asking for them at bedtime. He didn't ask, I didn't give him one. After a week of this I collected them all and hid them. He hasn't asked for one since. I have no idea what happened, but I'm not going to complain. Michael has been binky free for about three weeks now.

Even stranger than that, Michael has also abandoned Larry the Mama Snake and Hannah the dinosaur. One morning he got up and just left them behind in bed. He hasn't asked for them since. They are still in his bed, but more than once I've found one or both of them tossed on the floor in the morning. I guess he just doesn't need them anymore.

And I'm ok with that.

Mostly.

Well, maybe a little sad at how quickly he's growing up.

But what mom isn't?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Randomness

It's that time again! Too many thoughts and not enough coherency. I'll just toss out some stuff and see if any of it sticks.

  • Michael has started to pick up books and "read" them. Between the pictures and the few words he can actually read he's coming up with some funny stories. Last night he picked up Green Eggs and Ham and went to town butchering the wonderful rhymes of Dr. Seuss. He was so serious, yet everything coming out of his mouth was completely absurd. Andy and I couldn't help but sit quietly, listen, and smile.
  • You know how I was raving about my heart rate monitor in yesterday's post? I wasn't raving about it last night. The weather was gorgeous yesterday so I went for my first run of the season. I started off with a five minute warm up walk, clicked on the monitor, and started to run. About 20 steps later, the alarm went off alerting me that I had surpassed the maximum recommended heart rate for me. That didn't seem right, however, I decided to listen to it for the first mile I ended up doing a lot of walking to bring my heart rate back down every time the alarm went off. For the second mile I decided that I felt fine and ignored the alarm. I ran the final 3/4 of a mile against the wind and felt really good. According to my heart rate monitor, my heart is no longer functioning.
  • I will be adjusting my training approach in light of the fact that I'm currently dead.
  • I've clearly crossed over to the dark side of crazy people who enjoy exercising. Andy just purchased a Concept 2 rowing machine and it's an awesome workout. I'm exited about finally having something that will work my core, shoulders, and arms. I'm trying to figure out how to work it into my overall workout plan. What kind of sickness is it when you get excited about working hard and sweating?
  • Last night we continued the sitcom of sleep interruptions. Michael has a lingering cough from ho ever many colds he's had this year. He feel asleep fine, but must have woken up a little when Andy and I were getting ready for bed. He managed to cough enough that I would go to him, I'd get him settled, then I'd head back to bed. As soon as I would start to drift off, he would start coughing again. This went on for over an hour before we could finally get him back to sleep. His timing with the coughing fits was perfect every single time. He was so proud of the achievement that he decided to repeat the entire routine again at 3:30 in the morning. Andy tried to help out on the hour long round of trips down the hall, but Michael freaked out anytime Andy walked into his room. It was charming.
  • It's a good thing I'm dead, otherwise, I might be really tried today.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

500 in 2010 Progress

It's been a few weeks since I updated my 500 miles in 2010 progress. As you can see in the chart below, my actual performance is coming in above plan. For some reason, knowing that I'm 25% to meeting my goal was not overly impressive to me until I looked at the chart and saw that little pink line approaching 150. I did that? In less than three months? Cool!
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The interesting thing about being ahead of plan is that instead of showing how well I can stick to a plan, it really just shows that I'm a very conservative planner. (Shh...don't tell my boss. He hasn't figured that out yet.) While I have achieved my weekly miles goal, I have not been meeting my weekly workout goal. I really want to be able to get four workouts in a week, but I have only sucedded a few times this year. The crazy weather and numerous illnesses have really thrown off my plan. Andy and I have spoken and he is going to help me balance some of the recent changes in our lives a little better.

In addition to being frustrated by the number of workouts I get in each week, I've also been frustrated by my seeming lack of progress. I keep a log of all of my workouts, and when I reviewed them I discovered that I was still doing the same workouts in the same amount of time. Very disappointing.

After thinking about it more, I went back to the logged and looked at some different information. I compared my average heart rate for each workout, and discovered something interesting. My average heart rate for similar workouts has consistently decreased over the past 2.5 months. That means I'm expending less energy to complete the same workout.

Using this information, I decided to increase the level of my cross training intervals on the bike. What do you know, I can do it! I also picked up the speed a little on the elliptical and I discovered I could do that to. I am so excited about this, and I'm really motivated to make further progress.

I'm also very excited about what the recent time change and warming weather mean. Pretty soon, I should be able to head out to the park and actually run outside. I cannot wait for this to happen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

At Least it Wasn't Snow

We had another Nor' Easter this weekend. We had drenching rains on top of already saturated ground and high winds whistling all around. All I can say about the storm was at least it wasn't snow. That's not exactly a glowing endorsement.

One thing that saturated soil and high winds are pretty much guaranteed to do is bring down trees, and enough of them came down this weekend to knock out power all over the place. We are working on a project to reorganize the storage room in our basement, and that effort came to a halt around 4:30 on Saturday when the basement went dark.

We had no power. No heat. And no way to cook any food. While not the best situation, it was still better than if we were also in the middle of a blizzard. Instead of being trapped in the house with sub-freezing temperatures outside, we were able to venture out for dinner and the house stayed warm enough that no jackets were required. I was getting a little panicky around 8:00 am Sunday morning when I realized I had no caffiene, but it was nothing a trip to Starbucks couldn't solve.

The storm hosed our organization project, but the power came back on around 8:30 am on Sunday so the weekend wasn't a wash.

It did however, remind me of our last major power outage that caused me a significant amount of stress.

Michael was born in May of 2006 and I was planning to return to work at the end of July. Being a first time mom, it's possible that I may have worried about things that, in retrospect, don't really seem like a big deal now. One of the things I worried about was making sure I had enough pumped milk in the freezer for my return to work. I started pumping just a few weeks after Michael was born and built up a considerable stock by mid July. Having that backup made me feel much better about what would happen when I returned to work.

A few weeks before I was to return to work we had one of the most amazing thunderstorms I've ever experienced. There were no tornadoes, but the wall of wind that burst through at the beginning of the storm and the hail that followed did widespread damage. There were a significant number of power outages, including our little town home community.

At first it was annoying, but after several hours it was clear that the power wasn't coming on any time soon. That's when I realized that my entire stash of milk was sitting in a freezer with no power. It was pure torture counting the hours until keeping the door closed wouldn't be enough to save the milk. Ten hours, twelve hours, fourteen hours.

Then the power came on and I breathed a sigh of relief. That lasted about an hour when...fzzz...gone. An hour later, they restored partial power. It was enough to turn on lights and power the stove, but not enough to run the A/C or the dryer. My question was, is it enough to power the freezer?

This went on for days. I laid awake each night worried about those precious bags of milk locked in a freezer that I forbid Andy to open. I wasn't going to let one breath of frozen air escape if I could help it. The milk must be protected! The milk had to be saved!

When the power came back to full, I cracked open the freezer and discovered that everything was fine. Even the ice cream sitting on the door was OK. Phew! To think I lost three nights of sleep over that.

The true irony of my quest to save the milk is that once I got back to work I discovered that I had no problem pumping enough for Michael. In fact, I was able to pump enough that I was able to increase my freezer stash while supplying Michael with milk.

You want to know what eventually happened to all the milk that was in the freezer that fateful stormy day? I threw almost all of it out because it sat in the freezer for so long. That's right, the milk I lost three days of sleep over ended up in the trash.

Typical.

Friday, March 12, 2010

They are ganging up on me

When Andy and I got married, there was a silent vow that I did not know I was agreeing to. Even though I never said it, it went something along the lines of: I relinquish all control over what is playing on any TV at any time. Additionally, I will happily subject myself to random channel changing and strange verbal outbursts during sporting events. Any attempt to alter this vow has been met with confused looks and flat out denial that any such vow exists.

Whatever.

However, when we are riding in my car, I have full authority over what radio station we listen too. Comments such as, "What is this crap?" are not appreciated and are met with a sneer and a raised eyebrow. I'm pretty much behind the curve on most new technology, so the fact that I was an early adopter of satellite radio should tell you just how passionate I am about my driving audio experiences. I do not listen to commercials. I do not listen to the band Primus. There is no debate. My car. My radio.

I do try to be understanding, and we often listen to the grunge station on Sirius because we both like a lot of that music. I'm not completely unreasonable.

The other day I was driving Michael to daycare and listening to some Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

"Mommy. I want to listen to Daddy music."

"What's Daddy music?" I asked.

"The music we listen to in Daddy's car." Ah, I see. Michael doesn't like my music. He would prefer to listen to the rock music that Daddy listens too.

"Fine," I responded and then flipped to the grunge station. It wasn't worth the fight.

At least he didn't ask, "What is this crap?"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ah, the joys of motherhood!

It's no secret that Michael is pretty late with potty training. I know it really bothers Andy and my mom. I can see where they are coming from, your average 3.75 year old should most likely be potty trained. I'd be more concerned if I thought there was something wrong with Michael that was inhibiting potty training. However, when he does seem interested, he is able to do what needs to be done. The problem is not ability, it's attitude.

To combat this, we have been working very hard at making potty training an entirely positive and optional experience. He get's praise for using the potty, we talk up the positives of using the potty, but if he's not comfortable with underwear or the potty we back off. He's gotten pretty good about peeing on the potty, but he refuses to poop on it.

A few weeks ago (um...two months ago) we took Michael out and let him pick out a toy as a poopy reward. He picked out a small table soccer game. We bought it, brought it home, and put it where he could see the game but not reach it. The idea was to have a visual incentive to motivate him. Any time he asked about it, we reminded him that all he had to do was poopy on the potty and he could have it.

Last night when I got home from work, Michael and Andy were playing the soccer game. YAY! Big party. Hugs and kisses. Tons of praise. Our house was filled to the brim with positive reinforcement. Michael was so proud to be a big boy.

In fact, he was so proud to be a big boy that we had to help him got to the potty every five to ten minutes. I'll be honest, I don't even know how he was doing it. Many of the trips were number 1 trips, but a disturbing number of them were number 2 trips.

Folks, last night I discovered that Michael is actually a rabbit! He would run into the bathroom, jump up on the potty, and drop a single little pellet into the toilet. When he was done, we would clean up and head back to play. A few minutes later, he would hop up and head back to the loo and drop another pellet. This went on for two full hours. It was like watching a long drawn out version of Plinko on the Price is Right.

Now, Michael was so very proud of himself. He was finally doing the ultimate big boy thing. He was pooping on the potty!

Me? Well, lets just say the excitement wore off a bit faster for me. After the fifth or sixth trip it was getting a little old. Of course, I didn't say anything. I refuse to let my intolerance of repetition interfere with the most awesome achievement ever. I didn't roll my eyes or sigh when we ran to the potty for the sixteenth time in an hour. I praised him enthusiastically on the first trip and the twenty eighth trip. I was all about the potty praise.

Well, I made one slight little slip. On one trip I tried to encourage him to stay a little longer and see if he could finish things up for the evening. Which is how I found myself standing in the bathroom saying, "You know, if you just push a little harder, you'll be a much more efficient pooper!"

Maybe I should leave the program management for the office.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hush Little Baby

As I've blogged before, reading is very important to me. So it's shouldn't be surprising to anyone that reading is a big part of Michael's bedtime routine. It's something that both of us look forward to every night, and we haven't skipped a night since before he was a year old.

While bedtimes stories are an important part of the routine, the goal is not to get through a certain number of books each night. It's a time for Michael and I to cuddle and share some quiet time together. Sometimes we read simple board books like Good Night Gorilla and Guess How Much I Love You. Michael just curls up and listens and I recite the simple words and help lull him to sleep. Other times we pull out the Smithsonian books, which are a bit over his head, and he asked questions like, "Did I grow out of your belly mommy?" We end up discussing more than we read. Still other times, Michael plays with his dinosaurs while I read as background noise.

I love all of these different scenarios. I love that reading before bedtime can be so many different things depending on our moods and desires.

There is one thing that I would prefer bedtime stories not be, an excuse for stalling.

Last week Michael pulled out a book we haven't read in over a year. I have a number of books that are basically illustrated books of a song, like The Ittsy Bittsy Spider and Frosty the Snowman. I really do have such a difficult time remembering song lyrics that using the books allows me to sing more than just Silent Night to him. He pulled out my copy of Hush Little Baby and asked me to sing/read it to him.

The first time through, he listened quietly. Then he asked for it again. And again. And yet again. Night after night. He would grab the pages and turn back to ask me questions about the looking glass getting broken or the diamond ring turning brass. Then, he'd pull out his dinosaurs and play with them instead of listening to me answer. I don't mind the question part, but I do mind the not listening to the answers part. Oh, and the repetition. He would have me do it over and over again.

He also insisted that I sing it, not read it. At one point I tried, and he got very upset with me. Another time I tried to get away with turning the light off and singing it in hopes that I could transition him to the next part of the routine. He wasn't having any of that either.

I'll be honest, I was getting annoyed. This was really starting to feel like a major stalling tactic, as opposed to him just enjoying the book. I was considering hiding the book so I wouldn't have to go through the wiggling, questioning, singing, ignoring process anymore.

The other night he asked for the book again. I opened to the first page, and before I could say anything, Michael started to sing Hush Little Baby. I sat quietly as he worked his way through the entire song while turn the pages for cues. He put in a few extra diamonds (like the diamond goat instead of billy goat) but for the most part nailed the song.

And I melted on the spot. All that fidgeting and questioning was worth hearing his sweet little voice sing such a sweet song to me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm Screwed

There is a woman that I work with who drives me out of my mind. She's very nice, and she means well, but she's not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer. There is no single thing that she does that is that bad, but when you add all of them up, it can be a bit grating on the nerves.

One of her "things" is that she's always sharing her food. If she pops popcorn or has a bag of grapes, she always pops up and asks the people in the surrounding cubes if they would like some. Every time someone says "no thank you" she then has to confirm with a "are you sure". No one ever wants any of her snacks, but she still asks several times a day and we go through the same process again and again.

This morning she picked up a plate of fruit that was left over from a meeting she had attended. Not wanting any of it go to waste, she started lobbying my whole aisle with an aggressive campaign of "are you sures".

I have a very low tolerance for repetition, but I do my best to be polite in situations like this. Like I said, she means well. She really does seem to be very emotionally invested in the fate of the fruit. However, after asking me if I was sure I didn't want any fruit for the fourth time in five minutes, I was finding it difficult to hold back the snark.

Oh how I wanted to go off on her. First of all, YES, I'm pretty sure I'm capable of determining that I don't want any slimy fruit that people have had their hands all over. It's pretty safe to assume that I'm not so indecisive that I can't make basic decisions and stick with those decisions for a full five minutes. Second of all, it's fruit! Yes, it's a shame that it's going to waste, but I really don't think we are going to hurt it's feelings by not eating it. It's not going to sit in the garbage sobbing over being rejected. It is not alive! Fruit has no feelings! ARGH!!!!!

Don't worry, instead of freaking out, I calmly replied for a fifth time that I would not like any fruit and excused myself. Best not to tempt being asked again.

As I walked away, the first thought that came to mind was that I could lend her Michael for a while, and that would teach her not to ask the same thing over and over again. Mr. Contrary would not tolerate such a thing, and I'm pretty sure she'd change her habits if it would reduce the tantrums. (Hey, it worked on me.)

I've known all along that Michael gets his contrariness from me. That's why I'm more tolerant of it than other people. I get it. What I have failed to recognize is that my contrariness comes with a huge dose of sarcasm and snark. At 38, I still have to bite my tongue to avoid being a smart ass, so you can imagine how bad I was as a teenager. And that's when it hit me. My contrary child is going to grow up to be a wise ass teenager.

And I am going to be his target.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's so bad I had to name it!

The cold, that is.

As I've mentioned a few (and by few I mean whining incessantly) times, Michael starting preschool has allowed me to gain a new appreciation for the subtle differences that each new cold has to offer. This most recent cold lead to more sleeplessness than any previous cold we have experienced. It has caused more sleeplessness than even the dreaded "an alien has moved into my head" cold which resulted in my sinus infection and Michael's double ear infection. Granted, the symptoms where not as bad, but it really did earn the name "The Sleepless Cold."

One problem with catching a cold from your child is that you don't realize how poorly they feel until a day or two later when it hits you. Let's just say that I'm very glad that I was very sympathetic with Michael when he was having his sleep issues last week, or I would have felt like a real jackass once I was having the same sleep issues.

I've already shared what Thursday night was like. Friday and Saturday night were not as bad, but I was still only able to get about 6 hours of sleep both nights. That's not enough even when I'm well rested and healthy, so I was really dragging by yesterday afternoon. Andy helped me out and let me take a decent nap yesterday, which was really refreshing.

By yesterday evening, both Michael and I were feeling well enough that we went outside to play in the 53 degree weather. It was wonderful to be outside without having snow driving into my face or making my knees cold because my Wellies didn't come up high enough. Michael hopped onto his big wheel and started tearing around the cul-de- sac. Within about 10 minutes, all the neighborhood kids were out on their bikes and skates, while us parents tried to catch up on everything that has gone on this winter. What a treat!

After getting Michael to bed, I still had enough energy to get a workout in. After and hour on the bike, I realized that my head felt clear for the first time in weeks. What a long, snowy, sick winter it has been. I know that Michael will probably pick up something new at school on Tuesday, but until then, I'll enjoy the warm weather and health.

Andy and I went to bed at 10:00 and I hoped for a night of hopefully good sleep. Not long after we laid down, Andy started coughing. And coughing. And coughing. At 11:00 he started fumbling around in the dark grabbing pillows, tissues and who knows what else, and headed down to the sofa. *

Yep, he's got The Sleepless Cold.

Poor thing.

*The reason the sick person gets the sofa is so that the coughing doesn't wake Michael. The only thing worse than not being able to sleep, is not being able to sleep AND having to deal with a kid in the middle of the night.

Friday, March 5, 2010

We are half way there

Michael had a great night last night. He slept through until 5:00 am, which is half an hour before our alarm goes off. I tucked him in, patted his hiney and he went right back to sleep.

So, all is good, right?

Not quite.

Julie caught something important in yesterday's post.

A sick kid breathing in your face? You better take some Vitamin C!

By the time he was breathing in my face, it was already too late. I already had Michael's cold. The good news is that I now understand why Michael was up so much the other night. I love solving mysteries. The bad news is that I know from experience.

I was so tired last night that I decided to go to bed at 9:00. I expected that Michael would be up throughout the night, and I wanted to try and fit as much sleep in as possible. My nose was running and my throat was a little scratchy so I grabbed some tissues and some Cepacol and settled in for the night.

As soon I laid down, my throat got super scratchy. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn't resist coughing. I got some throat spray. I started to drift off...then the tickle would start. I'd will myself not to cough hoping I could drift off before I couldn't fight it any more. No luck.

After an hour of trying to find something to calm my throat down I just hit a wall. I'm tired. Really, really tired. I'm working full time. I'm dealing with an unpredictable and sick 3.75 year old. I've been using every shred of energy I have trying to be patient and understanding. And damn it, I just want to sleep!

So I lost it. I just broke down and had a good cry. I let it all out. It felt so good.

For a moment, that is. As I calmed down and tried to relax and give sleep another go I discovered something. If you have a cold, and you bawl your eyes out, your sinuses will clog right up making it impossible to breath through your nose. I also learned that if you have a scratchy throat the worst thing you can do for it is breath through your mouth.

I laid in bed sniffing, snorting and coughing for a few more minutes before giving up completely. I grabbed my pillow, tissues, and the baby monitor and headed down to the sofa. I closed the door behind me in hopes that at least Andy might get a good night's sleep.

I won't go into all the gory details about just how bad my night was, but let's just say that it was bad. In fact, these past few weeks have felt almost like when Michael was a new born. I am so tired I can barely see straight, and I'm pretty sure I'm not thinking straight. I really hope we can fit a few decent nights of sleep in soon, or else I'm going to start babbling like a mad woman.

**********
I always wonder what it's like to experience this stuff through Andy's eyes. I imagine that if he had a blog, his post would go something like this.

Joanna was a little punchy again last night. I guess she's just as tired from these night wakings as I am. Why can't that kid sleep?

Then she decided to go to bed at 9:00, because she is sick. I can't stand when she is sick. She makes these weird sounds with her throat until she falls asleep. Then, once she does fall asleep, she normally ends up snoring in my face. I hate nights like that.

After a while, for no apparent reason, Joanna just freaked out. I was practically asleep and she just started bawling her eyes out. I tried rubbing her back, but dude she was a mess. She calmed down, and I tried to go back to sleep. As I was drifting off again, she flew out of bed like she was being attacked. She ran around the dark room grabbing random stuff and then started to leave.

I felt really bad for her so I asked her if there was anything I could do to help. She barked back something about making her throat stop itching and disappeared, closing the door behind her. She is so weird when she has a cold.

And the worst part of this is that she's going to be in such a crappy mood today. I hope we don't have a repeat tonight. Sheesh. To make matters worse, she'll probably start babbling like a mad woman again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lessons Learned

One of the joys of motherhood is that it never gets stale. There is always something new and exciting around the corner. There is always something new to learn. So, please join me for another round of lessons learned.

  • Never - I mean NEVER - post something along the lines of, "I just might get some sleep tonight" on your blog.
  • If you swear up and down that you will not allow your child to come sleep in bed with you, be prepared to eat those words at 4:30 in the morning.
  • It's really difficult to sleep with a sick 3.75 year old breathing in your face.
  • It's really gross having a sick 3.75 year old breathing in your face.
  • And, once again NEVER post any comment about getting some sleep on your blog. Trust me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You Won't Believe What I Did Last Night

Andy, Michael and I were all very tired last night. Not a big surprise considering all the night time disturbances from the night before. Michael had no trouble falling asleep. Andy and I were both so tired that we decided to go to bed early. (And yes, it does make me feel old to go to bed at 9:30.) All I wanted last night was sleep. Glorious sleep!

At 1:00 am I woke up to the sound of Michael coughing. It was the kind of cough that normally precedes changing all his sheets and doing a load of laundry in the middle of the night, so I flew out of bed as if the house was on fire. Then, halfway down the hall I stopped and listened. Silence.

I paused.

Michael coughed.

I debated. Do I really want to risk waking Michael up? I spent over and hour last night trying to get him back to sleep at 1:00 am. I really, really, really don't want to do that again.

But, I don't want to clean up throw up either.

So, I did it. I woke him up and made him drink some water.

I was exhausted, I was desperate for sleep, but I had to do it.

Fortunately, Michael was just as desperate for sleep. He laid down, pulled his pillow over his head, and crashed.

And, for even better news. Michael started up his swim lessons again this morning. Nothing makes Michael sleep better than swimming.

I might just get some sleep tonight.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tired

The past two months have been a little rough with Michael's transition to daycare two days a week. He's handled the emotional adjustment very well. He really seems to enjoy going to school and playing with his new friends. While he only seemed to like one girl at the beginning, he now talks about playing with most of the kids in his class. He's also doing well with going back and forth between daycare one day and my mom's the next.

The big problem for Michael has been the inevitable illnesses he's picked up from the other kids. I knew this would happen, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. Michael has had endless colds, a double ear infection, and two weeks of hives as a result of his newly developed penicillin allergy. They all have different symptoms and require different care. But, they do have one thing in common. Night waking. Lots and lots of night waking.

Andy and I don't get enough sleep as it it. During the week I'm lucky if I get a full seven hours of sleep. It's not uncommon for Michael to wake once, maybe twice a night. If I can go in, tuck him in, pat his hiney and head back to bed, it's not a big deal. However, if Michael wakes up gagging, coughing, or crying clearly a pat on the hiney isn't enough to help him back to sleep. In the past two months we have been up in the middle of the night cleaning up throw up, administering Motrin, and administering Benadryl. Obviously, this is not the result of bad sleep habbits, and it's appropriate for us to be up tending to Michael when he's sick.

However, appropriate or not, it still sucks the life out of me. As every mother knows, lack of sleep doesn't do anything to stop the demands of the waking world. I still have to get up and go to work. I still need to make sure dinner's on the table. And somehow, even though Michael is sleep deprived as well, he still has tons of energy and still needs the same level of attention - or more - that he normally needs.

I thought things were settling down a little. Michael's ears seam to be OK, the hives are almost gone, his latest cold is improving. I was looking forward to a night or two of sleep before Michael picks up a new cold today at school.

Nope. I went to bed at 10:15, Michael woke at 11:15. He let me tuck him in, but I knew that something was wrong when he asked me to stay. Do'h! I managed to get back to bed around 11:30 only to hear a quite, "mommy" from down the hall at 12:15. Over the next hour he claimed he had a stomach ache, that he was hungry, that he needed me to read to him, and that he was itchy. He yawned and rubbed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep many times, but nothing seemed to work. I read to him, gave him water, and gave him Benadryl and nothing worked. Andy finally came in and Michael actually let me leave the room without having a fit. At around 1:15- 1:30, Andy finally made it bad to bed. We were all able to sleep until the alarm went off at 5:30.

Now I'm left exhausted and confussed. What was wrong with him that made it so hard to sleep? His skin looked really good this morning. His nose and breathing were pretty clear. His ears seem just fine. So what was it, and how do I fix it? I'm sure we'll find out soon.

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent and *yawn*.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Really Needed That

There are a number of different aspects of the 3.75 crazies that get me down. The plastic dinosaur fights leave bruises on my hands. The endless stalling makes me want to pull my hair out. Oh, and the spitting, I don't even know what to say about the spitting. But the worst part of it is that at times it makes me feel like a bad parent.

Recently, I feel like all I'm doing is correcting, and counting, and taking away privileges. I feel like I'm always coming down on Michael for something. That's not how I want things to be. I realize that there will always be a need for constancy and consequences, but sometimes it feels like that's all I ever do. After a while, it makes me feel like maybe I'm just flat out doing something wrong. Add lost sleep and stress over missed days of work and I start questioning myself.

This weekend was a nice break from that. Michael was so good all weekend long. He played nicely with some kids on Friday during our snow day. On Saturday he was mostly good as we ran errands and did shopping. We played in the snow again, and for once he didn't fight me when I said it was time to go in. Then yesterday he was a perfect angle at the grocery store.

The biggest reward came when we ran to the local Learning Express store. I told him on the ride over that we were only going to buy some train track and a new place mat. No letters, no blocks. Just the track and the place mat.

No problem! He played with the toys throughout the store. He didn't try to get into anything that wasn't already set out for demonstration. I let him pick out a place mat, and he didn't hem and haw over various choices. He didn't try to get me to buy anything extra. And when it was time to leave, he left! It was wonderful.

But, the best moment came when the manger walked by us. We had been in the store for about 30 minutes playing with the trains and the race tracks. She made a point to stop and tell me that I'm a very patient mother. She completely made my day. I've been so caught up in the frustration that comes with 3.75, that I may not have been appreciating the good times that come with 3.75. It was nice to realize that just because it feels like I'm always yelling or counting or dodging a lick on the face, doesn't mean that that's all that's going on. It was nice to have someone call a good moment to my attention, and it let me enjoy the moment for what it was. Simply nice.