Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Something I "love"

Sorry guys. 

I absolutely ABHOR the "captcha" verification thingys (mostly because I usually can't read them) and I really don't believe I am popular enough to care who leaves me comments.  But lately I have been getting an unusual number of comments from people with "escort" in their signature lines so I had to change my settings to include a word verification. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stuff I'm thinking

The fun part of having a blog is that you can run random thoughts by complete strangers who may or may not read what you are putting out there. 

I have always been pretty passionate about politics.  Not in a real, overly involved sort of way.  But more in a "I cannot stand the world I live in" sort of way.  Everyone has their way of contributing to their cause and I feel like my way of contributing is to bitch about it to complete strangers. 

Before I had Lila, I had a little website I called "Selenaland" (which I am sure you can still find) where I just posted random bits of news and commentary on them.  And it was a release for me because I didn't have to scare my co-workers with my talk of revolution and slapping George W. Bush in the face if I ever met him.  But since I have become "Lila's Mom" (the loss of identity is another post) I don't have that outlet any more.

I have seen blogs by moms who are also into politics, but truthfully, I don't associate most of my political beliefs with the fact that I am a mom.  Can I possibly explain my vehement hatred of Jim Boehner (which I always pronounce as BONER) or my adamant support of Obama away just with the fact that Lila is on this earth?  Not really.  But being someone who is a working class mother and not an academic or a professional commentator certainly gives me a different view than, say, Glenn Beck (the fact that I try not to eat the pretty mushrooms also contribute to that enormous difference of opinion).

In the next few weeks, I am going to launch my blog and would love to have some other regular contributors.  Perhaps someone who would also join me on the occasional podcast.  If you find you feel like you have some opinions you'd like to anonymously put out there, let me know.  I'd love to collaborate.

Again, I am just thinking "out loud" here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I watch WAY too much TV.

I know that I complain a lot about commercials, but there is a Toyota commercial out there with a pain in the ass kid who looks right into the camera and tells me, "Just because you're a parent doesn't mean you have to be lame."  And I beg to differ...

Because, you see smart-ass kid, the thing I am learning is that although you do not HAVE to be LAME, very often you END UP being LAME because your asshole kids suck the very life force out of you that would allow you to be un-LAME. 

Now take off those headphones before I smack them off your head!

Before I had Lila, I cared about things like fashion and hairstyling and sexy bras.  I used to drink sexy drinks and make out with strangers in clubs (this also being before Lila's dad).  I used to want a cool little sports car or maybe I'd be a hot chick in a big pick-up truck.  Maybe I'd get a motorcycle or a Vespa and ride with my hair blowing out from under my helmet.  I used to shave my legs more than once a month and sometimes even got waxed.  I used to subscribe (YES. I COMMITTED) to fashion magazines and go out to the movies on opening nights.

Now I worry about vaccinations, head lice and processed foods.  I mostly drink coffee because it keeps me from sleeping at my desk at work and the only strangers I talk to now are those annoying tech support people in India, who I can't understand.  I have a used Toyota Camry that is so full of filthy sippee cups and fast food wrappers that I am ashamed when I get pulled over.  I haven't shaved my legs since Labor Day and haven't even bothered to have my hair trimmed because it's just easier to put it in a pony tail.  The only magazines I read are Cooking Light and Parents.  I haven't seen a new movie IN A REGULAR FULL-PRICE THEATER since Lila was born.

And WHY are these things so?  Is it because I HAVE to be this lame?  Did I wake up today and think, "Shit, I'd really LOVE to fly off to the South of France, but that would be totally anti-lame so I cannot do it,"?  No.  No I did not.  Instead, it is simply because being Lila's mother takes a tremendous amount of time, mental energy and mostly, MONEY. 

I cannot buy un-lame new clothes when I have to buy Lila school clothes.  And then a month later when I think I will have some extra cash to get myself a new sweater or something because it's freezing at work, it turns out Lila has grown out of all 6 pairs of her brand-new pants (which were a size big when I bought them) in the span of 4 weeks, so now I have to go get her some that don't look like capris because the snow is about to fly.  This is why SNL made that skit about MOM Jeans where they say "I'm not a woman anymore.  I'm a MOM."  Because it's fucking true!

(Here's the Mom Jeans video)

I cannot take half an hour in the morning to properly apply eye make-up because Lila will decide that there is ONE perfect moment to try to fly off the top of the couch with her fairy wings, and that moment is when I have my eyelashes squeezed in an eyelash curler. 

I could go on and on about all the things that make me lame and all the reasons why BEING A PARENT is the thing that made me this way, but I won't. 

And as far as the Toyota Van or Highlander making me "un-LAME" and having my kid be embarrassed by the car I drive as suggested in those fucking ads, I have this to say:

That's what my parents told me when they pulled up to school in their rusted out AMC Eagle and I asked them to PLEASE park down the street.  And I will tell Lila the exact same thing.

Theirs was not this nice.  And once the
muffler fell off it was also extremely LOUD.
Someday, my kid will be a teenager.  I am sure that no matter what I do she will be appalled.  She will constantly tell me that I ruined her life and that I am totally embarrassing her.  And I look forward to doing all the lamest things in the world to make her life hell when the time comes.  But I don't need to preview that with someone else's asshole pre-pubescent kid telling me how shitty and lame I am now.  Toyota needs to work a little harder on their image as a maker of shitty unsafe cars and work a little less on trying to show how UN LAME they are.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Shitter.

"According to Freud, success at this stage is dependent upon the way in which parents approach toilet training. Parents who utilize praise and rewards for using the toilet at the appropriate time encourage positive outcomes and help children feel capable and productive. Freud believed that positive experiences during this stage served as the basis for people to become competent, productive and creative adults. "

-My kid is obviously fucked.

What my kid sees when she has to poop.
Lila is potty trained.  Mostly.  Several months ago with the help of a personal potty chart and some stickers, Lila threw aside the confines of baby diapers and a little 9-inch high potty chair for the big time.  She peed on the regular toilet.  From that day forward, she was very proud of her self restraint when she felt that "pee thing" coming and with hardly a single accident (except once when we were out at a restaurant and she didn't like the auto-flush mechanism) she joined the ranks of those of us who MUST sit to pee.

Now, let me reiterate that I swore up and down before the kid came that I would NEVER, EVER, be one of those people who talked about their kid's excretions.  But I swear, when you have them you just cannot help yourself.

Lila refuses to poop on the potty.  When I started the mission of getting her to stop sitting around with shit and piss in her pants, I expected some setbacks.  But there was nothing immediately.  I stopped putting her in pull-ups and let her wear her princess (or Dora or Tinkerbell or whatever) panties except for overnights, and she was fine with that.  Until the 3rd day, when she finally HAD to poop.

She asked for a pull up.  My instant reaction was to drag her to the bathroom and set her on the toilet and give her some books and tell her to work it out (no pun intended) on her own.  After about 15 minutes she started crying because she couldn't make it happen and begged for a pull up.  So I put one on her.  I consulted the Internet (because honestly, where else does anyone get guidance anymore?) and read that you should absolutely NOT get into a power struggle about it, and that in a few weeks, she'll be ready and will just do it herself.

For nine months now, Lila has refused to crap sitting on the toilet.  Every now and then (usually when I am on my last pull up and don't want to spend the cash to buy more) when she asks to put a pull-up on so that she can poop, I will suggest that she sit on the potty for a little while and see what happens.  But she has made it clear that even though she will sit there, she WILL NOT poop without a pull-up on.  We have tried emptying her poop into the toilet and although she thinks its fun, she will not deposit it directly from her ass to the toilet under any circumstances.  And although I have told her that she must at least poop in the bathroom, and she will sit on the toilet with a pull up on, she will not poop until I let her get up. 

If the cat can do it, my kid can too!

My pediatrician told me that her own daughter did this for a while.  Once the child started waking up in the morning with dry diapers consistently, she just stopped buying them.  She explained that the kid had a choice - she could poop on the toilet or she could go in her pants.  No one would yell at her but she would have to help clean it up.

So a few nights ago, when Lila declared that she was ready to sleep in her panties because she was big and wouldn't pee during the night, I let her  She did great.  And has done so for the last 5 nights.  She told me she was proud of herself and I told her I was proud of her too!  We called Grandma and she continues to tell every person we see.

The next time Lila told me she needed to poop, she asked for a pull-up again.  And I told her that the pull-ups are gone and she would have to go on the toilet like a big girl.  Lila cried.  But I gave her a pep talk and assured her that she would be fine.  We went into the bathroom and she tried.  Nothing happened.  She told me she knew it was right there but couldn't make it come out. I sat with her for 20 minutes.  I tried to get her to do visualizations.  I tried to distract her.  I made her take deep breaths.  I tried to make it a game.  Nothing worked. 

The pediatrician also told me that once you make the decision to take away the pull-ups, you SHOULD NOT go back on it. She said that if the kid holds it, then after a couple of days, give her a laxative and make magic happen.  So I told Lila that she can try again later and she begged for a pull-up.  But I was determined. 

Later that day we tried again.  Nothing.  The next morning she came to ME saying she was ready to try the potty again and so we did.  As she sat there it was obvious that she was proud of herself and I saw in her eyes the determination to make me proud too.a  But after about 15 minutes it was obvious nothing was going to happen.  She said she still had to go, that she could feel it, but she felt scared.  I gave her the usual, "there's nothing to be scared of" chat.  She asked for a pull-up and I said I didn't have any.  She started to cry.  Not a real cry, but a whiny "give me my way" kind of cry.  I held my ground.  I told my mother (who would be watching her for the day) to hold hers as well.  Lila begged for a pull up and the more she did that, the more mad I got.  This is something that kids her age do.  They beg and hassle and whine until you give in, and then they continue to manipulate you until you have no control over them anymore.  I would not be that parent.  We got her dressed and she told me her belly hurt and I told her she HAS to poop ON THE POTTY when she gets to Grandma's house.

A few hours later my mother called me.  Immediately she started in on me.  "Lila's belly hurt and she couldn't go on the toilet so I let her go to the bathroom in a pull-up and it hurt her so bad that she cried and she wouldn't let me hold her or go near her and I think there was a tiny bit of blood...I can't believe you made her hold it for 3 days!"  "First off," I said, "it wasn't 3 days.  It was 2 days and that isn't abnormal for her".  I tried to explain what the doctor told me.  My Mother explained that Lila was scared that I would find out that she went in her pull-up because she thought I was going to get mad at her.  My mother said Lila cried about that too.  And that was after the most traumatic shit anyone has ever taken by a person (I added that last flourish. My mother only IMPLIED that part).  My mother also told Lila that it only hurt because she held it for too long and that I should just let her have a pull-up when she asks for it.  Wow...Thanks for telling my kid how much I suck as a parent! And thanks for not allowing me to determine how I will proceed with these kinds of things.

But as the day wore on, the anger at my mother faded.  Now I was the worst mother in the world.  It wasn't that she was being a manipulative asshole, she was constipated and KNEW it was going to hurt.  The pressure from me trying to make her do what I wanted her too made it impossible and she suffered for it.  Plus, my poor kid thinks I am going to be mad at her for NOT being able to perform, and I am forcing an issue that every professional on earth (except obviously, for Lila's doctor) tells parents NOT to force.  And although everyone says "you never see adults who are afraid to poop on the potty walking around so she will obviously grow out of this," I cannot help but to imagine that Lila will always have some emotional scar because I tried to force her to shit on the toilet and instead she tore her ass out.  This will likely be the one thing that causes her to turn to teen sex, recreational drugs, and finally a career in porn.  I have ruined my kid forever.

That night as I left work, I felt horrible.  I thought she would be somber and mad and a little stand-offish.  I got to my mother's house to pick her up and I cautiously opened the door.  Lila's face lit up, and she ran to the door screaming and happy to see me as usual.  Apparently, she didn't even think about it and wasn't even slightly concerned that I had ruined her entire life.  Because I hadn't.  I talked to her about it but she kind of shrugged it off and when I told her we could try again the next time she felt it coming, she didn't seem nervous or upset but gave a smile and said, "Okay, as long as I can bring a book."

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Kid Has "Friends".

At least I know where she gets it...

From some random child psychology study:

Approximately thirty percent of American children between the ages of three and six develop an imaginary companion.
In many cases this fantasy friend is thought of as real by the child, so real in fact that a child will often accommodate for the companion’s physical presence, sleeping on only one side of the bed, for example, so the friend can have room to lie down.
Many children even believe they can see and hear their imaginary playmate while they converse with them.

My kid does not have an imaginary friend.  My kid has an entire troop of them.  Lila has always been a social kid.  She loves to be the center of attention, loves the sound of her own voice (which I believe is why she never shuts up) and is always most pleasant when she is around other children.

Up until a couple of months ago, Lila hated to play alone.  She would beg and cry and throw things when we were trying to do other things and apparently she got the idea that we just had other things to do because suddenly she just stopped doing it.  One day, I was doing dishes and when I turned off the water I heard her talking.  I thought she was just sort of reciting her inner thoughts to no one but then I realized that she was carrying on a conversation, acting like someone was answering her and she was responding.  Not wanting to disturb this precious quiet time, I just stood still and listened.

"Now Max, you and Ruby need to go over here and sit down.  We're going to have tea as soon as Toot and Puddle get here...Yes, that is them at the door, will  you please let them in?...Oh thank you.  You look very beautiful too." 

My kid probably watches too much TV.  But she plays with Max and Ruby and Toot and Puddle (and Caillou and Leo and Clementine and Xavier...and all of Caillou's 16 or so friends) all the time now.  She picks them up and puts them in her purse to bring them to Grandma's.  She makes me set out little paper plates for them when I give her dinner.  She accuses me of sitting on them (which she finds completely traumatizing) and feels the need to open and close the front door 8 times in a row to let each of them in (This last thing was cute in the summer...not so much now that it's freezing outside). 

But cartoon characters are not the only "friends" she plays with.  Since she started school the number of pretend friends has grown into an assembly.  She has pretend versions of the kids at preschool and the two little girls she plays with at my mother's house.  She now plays with anyone she's ever seen on TV, including Tom and Jerry,  Hannah Montana, and Stephen Colbert (I think he's somebody's dad or something).

Occasionally I have seen her get angry at her pretend friends for not coloring on the paper when they are supposed to be coloring together.  She gets upset with them when they want to play a different game than she does.  She tells them to quiet down because Mom and Dad are talking.  She yells at them, fights with them, shares with them and begs me to let them spend the night.  Basically, in all respects, she acts like they are real, living people. 

This terrifies me.  Although I know that it's totally normal to have an imaginary friend, a posse of them is a little much.  Do you know how long it takes to wash everybody's hands in one bathroom sink?  Or get everyone strapped into the car?  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to NOT get pissed and say "NO.  THEY'RE NOT REALLY HERE AND YOU CANNOT GIVE EACH OF THEM A SEPARATE BATH/ PLATE/ COOKIE/ BOOK/ SHIRT!!!"  I have tried to say, "tell your friends they have to play by themselves so that you can come and have dinner," which is responded to with tears and pleas of "But Ruby's hungry too!"

Her preschool teacher assures me that she's seen before and that it's actually a good sign that she is learning to work out her difficulties, fears, and concerns in a safe way that doesn't hurt anyone's feelings.  And I agree.  I hear her practicing her pleases and thank-you's and excuse me's and yelling and pouting and telling them to "GO HOME THEN!"  And I don't interrupt.  Except to occasionally let her know it's time to eat.