Thursday, December 27, 2007
She just seems to have weird ideas in her head. If you are wearing a dress or skirt, you are a princess. If you have something on your head, it's your birthday. If you are an adult male, you are Daddy. Convincing A otherwise is proving to be quite a challenge. Now, she knows that all these strangers are not her parents. She calls us Mama and Dada. But the strangers don't know that. The other day at Toys R Us we were exchanging a DVD. She handed the new DVD to the store manager who was handling our exchange. "Here you go, Daddy!" she said cheerfully. This type of exchange (which is becoming painfully common in our daily lives) is typically followed by some nervous smiles/laughter/confusion. Sometimes I try to explain and other times I just pretend I didn't hear her.
Explaining familial relationships is another challenge. When we visited my parents last month, I tried to explain to A that her Granddaddy is my Dad. She got mad and insisted that no, he's HER father. Obviously she is far too young to understand how creepy and disturbing that particular scenario would be.
For now I guess she will continue to call strangers by awkwardly intimate titles and her actual parents will just pray that this phase is mercifully short. Of course, there are days when her toddler behavior is such that for just a moment, I am tempted to hand her over to the next person she dubs Daddy and offer to send child support.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We had four days of family togetherness (including one snowstorm that prevented us from leaving the house altogether). At some point A started singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" which is great except that she always misses a line. After "and they shouted out with glee" she goes back to "then one foggy Christmas Eve . . ." This essentially means that she was caught in an infinite loop. The song went on for several days.
The kid also participated in her first stage production on Sunday - a Christmas play at church. She played an elf (an elf who wanders around aimlessly, apparently). I don't think she full understood that she was IN the play, as she kept wandering off the stage and shouting "Hi, Mama!" periodically. Nonetheless, I have to say that she was an excessively cute elf.
We are still struggling to find room in A's bedroom for all of her new stuff. Santa, who doesn't have a lot of foresight sometimes, bought her a Go, Diego, Go rescue center. (P set aside some of his tips from his bartending job and went shopping all by himself like a big boy!) Anything with a lot of pieces and/or Play-Doh went straight to the top of her closet. (Yes, I will let her play with them, but only under close supervision.)
I have another four-day weekend coming up for New Year's, which means more togetherness (and more attempts at housebreaking our child). I need to de-Christmasify the house, too. I just have no tolerance for Christmas stuff once the day itself has passed. I also need to move out all the sweets and stuff. I need to weigh in at Weight Watchers on Saturday and I have a feeling that it ain't gonna be pretty.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I can't say that Day 1 was exactly a rousing success. I did manage to drag myself to a Weight Watchers meeting yesterday morning, so that's one noteworthy accomplishment for the day. There were only about 10 people there. I predict that after New Year's the joint will be standing room only.
After Weight Watchers I took A to a local book store for story time. She lasted through about two or three stories and then wandered off to poop her pants (this always happens - I don't know if it's that her body is well regulated or if there is something about the bookstore that gets her bowels moving). I decided to buy her a potty book. I chose one that shows human kids (as opposed to ducks and other animals that were sitting on the potty in some of the books) in case that might somehow inspire her.
On the way home she was "reading" the book in the backseat. I stopped at a light and out of the corner of my eye I saw the book hit the floor. I had the distinct impression that she had pitched it. I said, "Pie, did you just throw that book or did you accidentally drop it?" She looked at me very solemnly and replied, "I accidentally threw it." I didn't really have a response for that one.
After dinner we took off her diaper and followed her around the house with her toilet. We asked her about 4,789 times if she needed to go potty. She held her output until 8 p.m., at which time we needed to go ahead and get her in her pajamas and put her to bed. The only thing we really accomplished is that this little exercise taught us that the kid is technically capable of controlling her bodily functions.
We'll keep plugging away at it, but I think we have a rough road ahead of us. At the end of the day I'm usually left with this vague feeling that I've lost the battle AND the war.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Near the food court some kids from a local school were collecting for the Salvation Army. The school specializes in educating kids who have developmental disabilities (I apologize if that is not the correct terminology). I gave A a couple dollars to give them and one of the girls gave her a sucker and wished her a Merry Christmas. You know what I think is so cool about little kids? They don't yet notice that other people are different. I don't know when that sort of thing expires, but it definitely does. I wish it didn't.
We then stopped at Gymboree and picked up a Christmas dress off the clearance rack (she already has a Christmas dress at home, but then I realized that she has more holiday events coming up than one dress can possibly accommodate). Finally we made a quick stop at Yankee Candle, where the flamboyant male manager praised me on my choice of the "red apple wreath" scent and then tried to sell me everything from a car freshener to kindling. The thing is, if I wanted any of those things, I would have brought them to the counter. That's kinda how it works.
When we got to the car, I asked the kid, "Guess where we're going?" She said, "The store." So I said, "No . . . CHUCK E. CHEESE!" Well, she screamed as joyfully as if I'd just said we were boarding a flight to Disney World right that second.
As it turns out, 2:00 p.m. on a weekday is probably the best time to hit the joint. There was no one there. In fact, when we got there the manager was playing a game and it took several minutes to get his attention (we couldn't just wander in - we had to get our hands stamped in case someone would try to abduct me and separate me from my daughter while we were there).
So, $10.00 and 127 hard-earned tickets later I had a happy kid who in turn had: a sugar buzz, a monstrous pink plastic ring, four Tootsie Rolls, and a "fun dip" candy.
All in all, it was a good afternoon. Our "mother-daughter-togetherness" glow started to dissipate shortly after our return home, however. Her refusal to take a nap + too many sweets + too much stimulation = complete and utter breakdown. I told her I needed to change her diaper, so she ran from me and fell, slamming her head into the metal aquarium stand. The rest of the evening proceeded in the same vein, until she demanded her 457th viewing of Shrek 2. I would rather gnaw off my own arm than watch Shrek 2 again, what are you gonna do?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Yesterday I took the kid to a local museum to see a Christmas exhibit currently on display. Apparently a local department store (which closed long before we moved here) was known for having amazing window displays during the holiday season. The museum has custody of all the old stuff and trots it out every year. There are all sorts of animatronic dolls and animals. I figured the kid would dig it, so we stopped by.
When we got there the no-nonsense lady at the front desk told me that it would be $4.00 for me and that the short one is a "free child." I said, "Oh yeah, she's a free child alright," and the lady just looked at me like I was a jackass.
So anyway, we climbed the stairs to the second floor where the Christmas displays live. I hadn't told A that Santa Claus would be there. I thought he was supposed to be there from 12-3 but I hadn't talked it up just in case I'd gotten the time wrong or something. A saw the window displays right away and was pointing at stuff and demanding that I follow her.
And then she saw him. It was one of those priceless moments of childhood that you wish you had on video. She stopped in her tracks, wide-eyed, and jumped up and down, practically vibrating with excitement. "SAAAAANTAAAAAA!" As luck would have it, this was a pretty good Santa (real beard and all). She sat in his lap for a few moments and then he gave her a candy cane pencil (which I eventually confiscated - I don't really want her putting her eye out this close to Christmas).
Santa asked her what she wanted and she couldn't come up with anything. Does this mean my kid is spoiled? What kind of kid can't come up with a single toy she wants? Preferably one that comes with 150 pieces and decals, is made in China, has a moderate amount of lead, and takes a month of Sundays for her parents to put together?
Oh, I almost forgot Bruce the Spruce. This was another featured exhibit at the museum. Bruce the Spruce is a large artificial tree that talks. Don't tell anyone, but I figured out the secret. There is a person inside the tree. I immediately noticed that the person voicing Bruce yesterday has, in all likelihood, a vagina. It was kinda creepy to hear a chick's voice coming out of a Spruce named Bruce. So we didn't linger too long there. The kid didn't really get the whole concept anyway.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I'd like to describe last evening for you. P was working, so it was just me and the kid (plus the dogs and everyone else who lives here). I have a food day at work today, so we made brownies together. At some point A decided that she'd like to have a go at the potty. She stripped down and sat on the potty for a little while, shredding toilet paper and just generally making a mockery of the whole process. Because I am a lunatic, I decided to put some Dora "big girl" panties on her in lieu of a diaper. I repeatedly reminded her that her bodily waste goes in her potty and not on Dora.
Then she decided that she'd like to play with some Play-Doh. This particular activity keeps her occupied longer than just about anything else, so I decided that it wasn't the worst idea I'd ever heard. I'd do some cleaning, and she'd grind Play-doh into the carpeting in her room. A win-win!
I recently learned, however, that my Boxer, Gideon, eats Play-Doh. Not wanting to separate A from her potty, I put it in her room and put a baby gate across the door to keep Giddy out. For a short while, it appeared that my plan was working like a charm. She has a CD player in her room so I even popped in a Christmas CD for her.
After a few minutes I checked on her. She was sculpting pizza with her Play-Doh. Then I noticed that she had drawn her legs up under her body and was sitting on her feet, which I found a bit odd. Something was wrong, oh so . . . wrong.
"Did you pee in your Dora underwear?"
And then I smelled it. Oh, no. Oh, yes. I lifted her up and saw half a dozen little turdlets on her blue plastic chair. The rest were still in her panties.
I mean, technically, she was correct. She had indeed NOT peed. But somehow this seemed so much worse.
I put her in a diaper and proceeded to clean up the mess. I scrubbed out her underwear as Harry Connick crooned "When My Heart Finds Christmas." I mean, holiday moments don't get any more special than that.
Right at that moment, Karl started carrying on at the back door. Karl is my big, black, fluffy dog. He loves wintertime and often stays outside for a little while. I opened the sliding glass door to find that he was tangled in some garden fencing and had dragged the entire fence to the door with him.
So yeah, that was my evening. I hope you can contain your envy.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Technically, she was correct. I had not yet picked up the aroma. But what's with the Jedi mind trick? Apparently I was supposed to reply (in a robotic monotone, of course), "I do not smell poop," and go on my merry way. Nope, nobody here has crapped their pants. No sireeeee!
Little does she know, I am planning to work on potty-training her over Christmas and New Year's (I have two four-day weekends in a row so I'm hoping to have some spare time for once). I bought a potty-training book, which I am reading at a feverish pace. I bought her a book about poop (Everyone Poops), which she studies nightly. We have the potty itself. We have reward stickers. We have everything we need except for a truthful kid. ("Did you poop?" "No.") Wish me luck.
By the way, the Santa visit went off without a hitch! A wore her pretty Christmas dress. She hopped in Santa's lap, gave him a high-five, chatted with him, and accepted two large candy canes from the guy in red. We paid $40 for a couple of photos, the kid guarded the candy canes with her life, and we were on our way within minutes. This event was in stark contrast to last year's Santa visit, where our screaming toddler (then only 1 1/2) screamed as though St. Nick had tried to saw off her legs with a rusty blade. Falalalalalala!
Sunday, December 9, 2007
On an unrelated note . . . last night I dreamt that I got trapped in a men's restroom. I was in a building somewhere and needed to use the facilities. Somehow I turned into the men's room instead of the ladies' room. It turned out that the men's room was this huge labyrinth of unending passageways. I kept asking for help and random men would point the way out, but it would only lead me to another row of stalls. At one point I turned a corner and found a group of men huddled together performing some sort of ritual. I guess my unconscious mind doesn't know what goes on in men's rooms, so it made stuff up. (Well, there was that one time I peed in a men's room in a gay bar in DC, but that's a story for another day.) In the dream I never did make it out of the men's room. What does it all mean????
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Boy, sometimes the material just writes itself. My middle sister works in social services for the county in which she lives. Her exact job title is Human Service Worker II, which does leave itself open to interpretation. She either gives bee-jays or she helps people in need obtain government benefits - I always forget which. Anyway, for a staff meeting this week she was asked to report on a new product called Pocket Shots. She asked me if I had heard of them, and alas, I had not. I asked my fellow cubicle dwellers at work, and they were not familiar with them either. Our cluelessness could have something to do with the fact that we are all 30+, married, have young children, are boring, etc. Apparently the teenagers in my state know allllll about the Pocket Shots, however, hence the need for a report from the trenches. My sister and her fellow human service workers need to know what they're dealing with here.
If you check out the website for "Flask on the Fly" you'll notice some impressive marketing tactics there. My favorite quote is this one from the developer of this fine product: “We’re not just selling alcohol, we’re providing a fun and functional way to break out of the bottle that fits with an active and on-the-go lifestyle,” states Bachmann.
So, let's recap, shall we? What do busy people and sports enthusiasts need in their day? Hard liquor. Booze. Hooch. And they don't have time to stop for it either. They need convenient packaging and they need it now! Another page on the site gives you a list of activities during which you might need a Pocket Shot. My favorite entry is: swimming. I see that all the time at my local Y: people stop between laps, down a shot of rum, and keep on backstroking. The name of the product (Pocket Shots) seems to indicate that you keep said product in your, um, pocket. I started to think about where a swimmer might store a shot and my head nearly exploded.
I like to keep my liquor on the up-and-up, thankyouverymuch. None of this surreptitious crap for me. Hiding liquor makes you . . . an alcoholic, doesn't it? It's not even a step up from drinking cheap booze out of a paper bag. C'mon, have a little pride.
Monday, December 3, 2007
1. One Sunday I was driving to church and noticed that the driver in front of me was trying to pass the car in front of him. This was a two-lane road and you're definitely not supposed to pass on it. I watched this guy fly through a stop sign and finally careen around the car in front of him (on a double-yellow line, no less). I kept thinking, "Wow, what a dick." And then I thought, "Oh geez, I'll bet he is headed to my church." Sure enough, he pulled into the parking lot just ahead of me (because terrorizing that other driver had earned him about five seconds extra). I didn't know this man but I did note that he was older and it occurred to me that he had probably been reading the Bible for many decades . . . and had learned a whole lot of nothing from it, apparently.
3. Finally, there was yet another Sunday when I found myself disturbed by the goings-on. Some of the kids from the congregation did a little skit about "sharing the good news of salvation." Towards the end, one of the girls dragged a non-believer off to Hell. The non-believer was yelling, "Why didn't you tell me? I could've been saved!" My beef with the skit was that if everyone who doesn't accept Jesus as their savior is going to Hell, what about the Buddhists, the Hindus, etc? I don't want my kid to think that those people are going to burn for all eternity. I'm not even sure I believe there is a Heaven and a Hell. I'm not even sure why I am capitalizing them!
Shortly after leaving that church, A and I started attending our local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Immediately I felt like I was in the right place. P does not go to church with us. I told him that he is welcome to attend a church of his choosing and that we can take turns bringing the kid. He doesn't seem interested. I don't bug him about coming to church with us - I want him to go because he wants to and not because I say, "Get up, we're going to church."