Potty Training Nightmares.

***This post discusses poop, pee and other natural, albeit, gross functions. If that disturbs you, you probably aren’t a parent***

I was stolen from my slumber at an obnoxiously early hour by a very not sleepy 3 year in my bed, an almost 2 year old shrieking from her crib, and the sound of tornado sirens blaring through the neighborhood.

Hello, Tuesday.

We’ve had constant downpours since Monday morning and this cold, wet weather paired with a set of runny noses has us under house arrest. And in perfect display of my “life on a whim” mentality, I decided today was the perfect day to start officially teaching B to use the potty.

This is monumental because there is nothing I dread more than potty training another child. While B has been showing signs of being ready to potty train since she hit 18 months, I haven’t been ready. Getting E out of diapers was the single hardest, most emotionally draining and challenging experience in parenting thus far. I still have nightmares about it. I’m not kidding. Potty training that strong willed child of mine was a nightmare.

E was out of diapers when she was a hair over 2 years old – 26 months, I believe. In hind sight, it was a little early. It didn’t take long for her to figure things out but those first few weeks were unimaginably messy and frustrating. I read the books and blogs and studied various methods. But there was no convincing E to sit on the toilet every 15 minutes or loading her up with liquids until her bladder nearly exploded. Like everything else, that girl wasn’t doing it until she was good and ready.

Even then, when I thought we had successfully mastered the art of civilized urination, E still had a few potty training disasters waiting to knock us down a few rungs on the parenting ladder.

A month or so after we started potty training E, friends of ours invited us to join them and a few thousand of his coworkers for a day of family fun, games, food, and face painting. Never ones to pass up a (free) party, we gladly accepted. We were all recovering from a little stomach bug but were well enough to join the festivities. As long as we stayed ahead of the game and were proactive with bathroom trips, E wasn’t having a single accident. Since she was cloth diapered, we skipped the Pull-Up stage and she was proudly rocking her impossibly tiny My Little Pony underwear.

Like any toddler, E loved the bounce houses. Heck, who doesn’t love a good bounce? The bounce house entrance was manned by an unsuspecting 15-year old boy scout who was probably just trying to earn a badge. Or sash. Or whatever boy scouts earn. Anyway. The line to get into the bounce house was long and tense. There were lots of kids cutting in line (and parents not saying a word, ugh) and poor E really wanted to bounce. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes – which is eternity to a barely 2 year old – it was our turn to go. And by go, I mean gooooo. E was so excited to finally get a turn in the bounce house, she wasn’t letting out a peep about needing to poo. So when she started bouncing… well… yeah. Recovering stomach bug + barely potty trained 2 year old + lots of bouncing = disaster. Messy, smelly, poop everywhere. All over her. All over the bounce house.

I was horrified. Mortified. Embarrassed beyond imagination.

I handed off wee baby B to J and with an under-the-armpit scoop, E and I shuffled/ran to the closest Porta-John. Where I discovered I had but two wipes in my bag. And the bathroom was out of paper towels. We were both crying, covered in poop.

Pre-pooping. My stubborn little mullet-headed girl.

Pre-pooping. My stubborn little mullet-headed girl.

That poor boy scout.

Am I a terrible person for not feeling very bad for the kids who cut in line ahead of us and were consequently in the bounce house with my pooping kid?

Excuse me if I’m not thrilled about starting the potty training process again.

I’m not ready to travel that road of pee puddles, smeared poop and wet beds again so soon. There isn’t much recovery time when you have kids so close in age.

So I caught myself off guard with my sudden enthusiasm towards B’s potty training. B is my compliant child. After our ordeals with E, getting B out of diapers will be a breeze! And she’s very interested for quite some time.

At 7:45 this morning, I started potty training B. We spent 30 minutes playing with a towel beneath us, 10 minutes chugging almond milk and juice, and 45 minutes sitting on one of three different toilets. In the 30 seconds it took her to walk from the living room to E’s bedroom, she peed on the floor not once, but twice. By 9:15 a.m., she was back in her diapers.

Maybe she’s not ready. Maybe she is. I thought I was ready. I’m not.

We’ll try again when I’m a bit more prepared.

She’ll probably be wearing diapers to high school.

Potty training horror stories?

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Quiet time quandaries.

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you that E was in no way, no how, no shape ready to drop her afternoon nap?

I SWEAR THE UNIVERSE IS LISTENING AND I NEED TO SHUT MY FAT MOUTH.

This is probably the twelfth thing in twelve months that I’ve sworn to and had to later recant.

Last Wednesday, E decided that she was over nap time. She agreed to “quiet time” in her room which lasted exactly 8 minutes before she saddled up to my side for the remainder of the day. I remained optimistic and attributed her surge in energy of the mountains of sugar and processed snacks consumed during her preschool Valentine’s Day party.

No such luck. Nap time is officially over for my 3 1/2 year old. I’m okay with the not sleeping. Her behavior has been fine considering the change in routine and bedtime arrives about an hour earlier in the evening. But I have an almost-2-year-old who desperately needs to sleep so the decibel level needs to be low for a couple of hours.

And I need the time away from my kids. I need to pee in silence. I need to eat my lunch without someone begging for “just one bite.” I need to fold laundry and phone a friend and catch up on my Hulu queue.

Okay, maybe “need” is a strong word. Call it selfish but without a chance to regroup, this momma is certifiably nuts. Regardless, I think quiet time is necessary for kids, even if it’s nothing more than 30 minutes of sitting and coloring or flipping through books in her room. Ya dig?

Also, nap time is when I usually sit down with my second third cup of caffeine to chat with you. I love blogging but I’m not great at making it fit in this new routine. Especially when E is standing next to me, begging I take my eyes “away from that ‘puter there” and put them on her. Oh, truth spoken from the mouth of babes.

I’ve talked to friends who’ve traversed this road before me and picked up bits of wisdom to help ensure quiet time is a “go” every afternoon. We’re not at 100% success yet, but I’m feeling hopeful.

First up, meet E’s new friend.

It’s an OK to Wake! children’s alarm clock that glows red during sleeping hours and turns green when the child is allowed to get up. Brilliance, right?! Amazon Prime 2-day shipping saves the day, yet again, and this gem is en route to our home as we speak.

Up until this point, I’ve kept all of E’s toys out of her room because her bedroom was a place for sleeping and not playing. Now, I’ve rearranged some of her storage space and moved some puzzles, kid-friendly markers and paper, and dolls into a new “quiet time play bin.” I’m also putting an old CD player on her shelf to hopefully add some ambient noise. Silence is boring, so hopefully some Beatles or Jack Johnson will help buy me 30 minutes.

Worst case scenario, the girl gets her iPod Touch for a bit. Heaven knows she needs no more screen time. But she loves it and some apps are educational, right?

Wish me luck! I love my children dearly but this Momma needs a break.

At what age did your kids stop napping? How do you create a good atmosphere for quiet time?

Why you’re a better mother than me.

I’ve hit a rough patch in motherhood. A really, really rough patch. Thank you, God, that my own mother was able to visit for a few days and coddle my sorry self. I’ve returned to the land of hands-on parenting for the time being and figured someone should be encouraged by my less than stellar parenting moments of recent.

I told E that she could get her ears pierced if she stopped biting her fingernails. She shocked me when she went cold turkey on her finger nibbling and I realized I’d have to follow through. So I played semantics and told her she could get them pierced eventually. She’s accident prone and needs no help putting additional holes in her body. And she hasn’t brought it up since.

Speaking of nails… I walked around for 5 weeks with the toe nails on just one foot clipped. And I didn’t realize it for 3 weeks. And yet it took me another 2 weeks to actually clip them. At almost 2 years postpartum, I don’t think I can claim baby brain.

I re-gifted Christmas candy in the Valentine’s Day gift bags for E’s preschool class. December wasn’t that long ago and I really didn’t want to drag the girls to Target for the third time this week.

I used diaper ointment on my chapped lips. I’ve reached a new level of lazy. But it was a new jar of my favorite Grandma El’s and my Burt’s Bees was nowhere to be found. 

My tower of laundry. The closet door had to remain open to offer support to the clambering pile.

21313_1I may or may not have intentionally burnt a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The girls didn’t mind the crispy edges but it stopped me from shoveling the entire dozen in my pie hole. Good thing their standards were already low.

Congratulations on being a (relatively) awesome mother!

Gluten-Free Goodies.

When I found out last October that B’s diet needed to be gluten-free, I was devastated. I know that seems like a dramatic reaction but after being dairy-free for the year prior, removing another food group seemed overwhelming. We were eating a pretty solid vegetarian diet and wheat was kind of a big part of that. Eating out became a nightmare. Playdates were a guaranteed avenue to throw down tantrums.

You see, I love to cook and bake for my family. It’s my favorite way to demonstrate love. And I’m concerned about the fifty unpronounceable ingredients in pretty much every packaged goody. I can imagine no better way to spend my afternoons than mixing and blending and measuring away the minutes to create something delicious, filling and healthy for the girls. But our definition of “healthy” had to change to accommodate poor B’s gut and allergies. And in the process, I had to accommodate, too.

I learned to cook and bake without dairy. I found substitutes for milk, cream, butter and yogurt that often made recipes tastier and healthier. But learning to cook without gluten has been harder. Many of our staples are rely heavily on wheat and life was sad without the loaves and loaves of homemade, crunchy, crusty breads. I went through a sort of mourning period for gluten. Not just for the delicious foods I made but for the joy this baking brought to me. How will they see I love them if I can’t bake? Again, I know that sounds dramatic but all mothers can acknowledge that feelings often aren’t rational.

It has gotten easier. Seeing the incredible improvements to B’s skin and health is a boost. I didn’t notice any difference in how I felt until we were GF for about 8 weeks and I ate a brownie – big mistake. Hello belly aches, cramps and bloating. No fun. So, gluten-free isn’t so bad for all of us.

I’m trying to learn the lay of the land in this new adventure of gluten-free baking. I’ve had a lot of failed attempts over the past few weeks but also a few successes. I have a lot to learn but I hope to have some tasty lessons to share with you over the coming months. So here are a few of my “yay!” moments of success in gluten-free baking.

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

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It’s a rare occurrence that bananas last long enough in this house to get overly ripe. I bought two large bunches with the intent of making banana chips but time got away from me. I love a good banana bread – it’s healthy enough for a quick breakfast and sweet enough to satiate a craving.

I adapted it from a Taste of Home recipe by substituting the canola oil with coconut oil, omitted the walnuts and sprinkled with Enjoy Life chocolate chips (dairy-, nut-, soy-, gluten-free). This banana bread was awesome. I haven’t graduated past pre-mixed, all-purpose, gluten-free flour to making my own just yet but I hope to have a mixture down in time to make cupcakes for B’s second birthday at the end of March (eep!).

It makes two loaves and kept really well in the refrigerator. The texture was fantastic and really moist. It was a huge hit with the girls and E requests it in her preschool snack every day. Once I plan well enough ahead to stock up on bananas, I will definitely be making it again.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

do not mind my burnt edges. learning curve.

do not mind my burnt edges. learning curve.

My mom and sisters started following the Paleo diet a few months ago and when I was flipping through their cookbooks, this recipe caught my eye. This recipe is so good, I ordered my own copy of the cookbook to try her other concoctions. I’m a big fan of a lemon/blueberry combination and since it’s Paleo, it’s automatically dairy-, soy- and gluten-free. The coconut flour is very light and they despite the six eggs, they don’t taste eggy in the slightest bit.

J and I first made them on Christmas Eve and they were a huge success. I’ve made it probably four or five times since then and even tried a lime/blackberry combination (good but not as good as the original). This is my new go-to breakfast meal for the girls. Each batch makes 12 decently-sized muffins and the girls can eat these one-handed since they’re usually wielding pirate swords in the other. I recommend using foil muffin liners because they have a tendency to stick to paper.

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Any gluten-free baking tips? What are your favorite gluten-free – and dairy-free! – baked goods?

Lift, Tone, Burrrrrrrrrn.

Sometimes, I have to ditch my kids. It’s for everyone’s good. Things between the girls and me have been a bit tense so it was necessary that we all head to our respective corners for a little time out. The girls get some time away and I get a solid chunk of time without tears (except my own).

So this morning, I dropped E off at preschool and B went to a mom’s morning out program. Three entire hours to myself. It may as well have been a Hawaiian vacation. I grabbed my water and sticky socks and hightailed it to the Pure Barre studio.

When it comes to doing cardio, I get bored really easily. I’m not one of those folks who can hop on a treadmill and pop out 5 miles. My mind doesn’t get quiet enough to enjoy the repetition. Instead, I’m clock-watching and silently cursing the guy next to me who changed the channel to ESPN. My disdain towards the treadmill has made running a challenge, recently. Although our weather is mild enough to hit the pavement, daylight savings time means it’s dark outside before I have time to even lace my runners. I’ve been keeping busy with an evening yoga class but itching for something more.

A Pure Barre studio opened late last year and I was so excited to try it. They ran a sweet deal on Groupon and J was kind enough to snag me a 4-pack of classes. With all the the holiday madness and the sickness that encompassed most of December, I didn’t have a chance to go until the calendar rolled into 2013. After the first class, I was hooked.

I’ve had a lot of friends curious about what exactly Pure Barre is. You can get a feel for the culture and philosophy at their site but here’s my take:

It’s 55 minutes of constant strengthening, stretching and cardio. There’s a lot of tucking, stretching and pulsing. And lifting, toning and burning. Oh, the burn. And shaking. Lots and lots of muscles shaking. While burning. I have zero ballet experience and was nervous about a class full of women in a mirror-lined room. But each workout requires so much concentration, you don’t have the time to feel self-conscious or check out the other ladies. Compared to the other participants, I’m sure I look like a fool. But it’s a practice.

When I dropped the girls off this morning, I was so tempted to cancel my reservation and go home to my still-warm pajamas and half-drank coffee. It’s a hard workout and I was physically and mentally exhausted. But the best part of this workout? There’s no time to think. Each set of exercises focus on a muscle group – arms, thighs, seat, abs – and by the time I’m ready to quit, it’s over.

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Loads of Pure Barre gear | The only equipment you need – sticky socks, tube, ball, 2 pound weights

Today, I sweat it out for 55 minutes and emerged a new woman. I had a few errands to run at Target before picking up E from preschool so I made a rare pitstop at Starbucks for an iced vanilla spiced latte. It seemed sort of counterintuitive to load up on liquid calories after such a workout but it was oh so worth it.

Have you ever tried Pure Barre or something similar? 

 

Hey, Hooky.

I don’t like rules. I don’t like being told what to do or how to do something. The more I’m told that I have to do something, the more I will push back. Ironically, I’m also a rule follower. I know, it doesn’t make sense. This generally results in my incessant complaining about said rules to anyone who’ll listen (usually you, sorry) followed by my begrudging acceptance. Then, I’m in. I’m an enforcer. If I have to follow the rules, then so does everyone else. No messing around.

So when my in-laws visited last week, I was beside myself when J suggested he take a vacation day and we let E play hooky from preschool. Family only visits so often and the weather was taunting us with clear blue skies.

I was horrified at the suggestion.

I know it’s just preschool. But we pay money for her to go to that little preschool. And what if that day’s lesson happened to be the cornerstone to the preschool foundation upon which the rest of her education will be built? J confirmed my insanity and bribed me with lunch at a new cafe I’ve been eyeing.

I acquiesced. We played preschool hooky.

We spent the morning at Oatland Island Wildlife Center howling at wolves, inspecting the indigo snake and trying to hatch some eggs.

SONY DSCEvery exhibit was overshadowed by E’s anticipation of the bison. I don’t really understand her affinity for those shag-carpeted, is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-cow creatures. But for whatever reason, the girl digs them. We saved the bison for last and used that exhibit as motivation to keep moving through the less than exciting animals. After taking the very, very long way around and seeing everything from wolves to farm animals, we finally reached the bison exhibit.

An exhibit in which all the bison were hiding. Or sleeping. Or dead. Or something. Whatever they were doing, they were not to be seen by my disappointed 3-year-old who I just dragged on a 2 mile trail walk with the promise of seeing a freaking bison.

Undeterred, we scaled the viewing platform in hopes of spotting the obscure beast. All this time, B has been hanging like a champ. Although the animals were neat, she thought the best adventure was in the trek. And this overlook was the highlight of the morning. It was nothing more than a basic wooden platform with a railings about 5 inches apart. This spacing gave enough room for kids to see the exhibit below and….

Just enough room for my toddler’s head to fit between the rails.

But not enough room to pull it back out.

It was a giant, wooden Chinese finger trap.

I flailed my hands and spun in circles and became frantic wondering where we were going to find butter to get her head unstuck.

Come on, I can’t be the only one who grew up watching TGIF?

Thank God for J. A twist this way and a wiggle that way and little B’s head was free. No butter involved. I knew I married him for a reason. The ordeal lasted no longer than 6 seconds but the horror is burnt in my memory.

That is why I follow the rules.

Karma? Probably not. Just an overly curious child with unobservant parents.

Do you let your kids play hooky? Do you?

 

To market, to market.

Last February, we started buying the majority of our weekly produce and meat at our local farmer’s market. With the addition of our fall CSA share, the only grocery store produce I needed were things like bananas and apples. When the market closed for the season in December, I didn’t realize how much I hate, hate, hate shopping at the grocery store.

I can’t help but wonder how long that lettuce has been sitting in a plastic bag and what on Earth they sprayed it with to keep it from browning. If the produce isn’t sealed, it usually has an impenetrable wax coating that comes off only after a FIT bath. And the prices. Oh, goodness. Eight dollars for a pint of organic Mexican strawberries. It wrong on so many fronts.

Adding to my shopping discomfort, I can usually count on hearing that song from the early 2000s about a big yellow taxi and not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone. Yes, I’d rather have spots on my apples. Please do leave me the birds and the bees. And no, I did not know what I had until it closed for the season.

Anyway. I missed our farmer’s market and Saturday morning routine.

Thankfully – so, so thankfully – the farmer’s market resumed on Saturday and I was there with bells on. Not really, but I did shower for the occasion.

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If you’ve ever in Savannah, you’ve got to get some Perc in your coffee mug. They brew it at a lot of local joints and I’m never disappointed. I bought a pound of the Nicaragua Selva Negra and it’s heavenly.

I also picked up a head of cabbage grown by a local high school’s version of FFA, a bunch of dinosaur kale, beef from Savannah River Farms, and a beautiful dozen of eggs.

My itty-bitty refrigerator overfloweth.

And now, I wait eagerly for our CSA to resume (hopefully) next month.

Hi, I’m Liz and I’m a local/organic/sustainable/delicious food nerd.

Unrelated, my Facebook news feed has been taken over by people rambling on about some sort of football game and posting pictures of delicious looking finger foods. Oh, it’s the Superbowl? This cluelessness only happens when you’re married to a man who isn’t a sports fanatic. How did I get so lucky?

One hundred.

One hundred reflections.

One hundred afternoons.

One hundred emotions.

One hundred blog posts.

Some gave me joy while others made me want to cry.

I have this weird and sometimes annoying habit of quantifying the already quantified with unrelated and unnecessary quantifiers.

So-

One hundred pairs of underwear.

One hundred episodes of Arthur for my child who just knows when Momma is writing.

One hundred (million) hours of editing photographs and writing, rewriting and deleting.

One hundred cups of coffee, glasses of wine or pots of tea.

One hundred chances to talk to all of you.

100

My favorite posts:

Humiliation.
Runaway Mommy.
The time E turned 3 and I bawled.
Ten ways motherhood is like running.

Happy Friday!