November 25, 2015

My leg is finally better. Or more accurately, the open wound has closed. This means I can safely go back to the gym without risking another round of cellulitis, yay! So I’ve started that back up again, and it’s definitely making a difference in my anxiety levels.

The flooring has also arrived. All 2900 pounds of it. At first I thought they delivered the wrong thing, because the delivery truck left a few loose boards in our driveway. The boards they left look like a cheap material, and the wrong color, and glue-down instead of click-lock installation. F and I were both really upset because the delivery truck had left before we realized it. But as I kept looking at all these boxes, I kept noticing that they all said, “UNICLIC” on them. I know uniclic is a kind of click-lock system, so it kept irking me. Finally, I decided to check the boxes. At the very bottom of the pile was the one damaged box that we had assumed the boards we had sitting around had come from. So I moved a whole bunch of boxes out of the way (at 70lb each, whew!) to get to that damaged box, then piled them all back together and actually opened that box. The wood inside was not only completely undamaged, it was the right thing! Hooray! Crisis averted! Much celebration and relief! Also, it is every bit as gorgeous as the sample I had. I’m so thrilled. I can’t wait to see it in the house. I’m sure it will completely transform our space, and in a good way. The storage pod has also arrived, and we’re doing our best to get stuff into it. But moving out of your house without anywhere to move in to is definitely stressful! Especially since I don’t have any time to take a day off from work, so all our preparation has to be done after J goes to bed.

J continues to be amazing. We’re starting to really struggle with her food intake, and trying hard not to show her we’re struggling. All she wants to eat is Parmesan cheese and non-dairy creamer. Because that totally makes sense. We’re currently allowing her to eat Parmesan cheese, but she has to at least try each food we are having for dinner. In most cases, this means lick each food and then declare she doesn’t like it. It bothers F more than me. I figure she’s still eating fine at school, she’s still nursing to some extent, she’s obviously not starving. He’s worried about how it will look if people see how little she eats for dinners, and he and I disagree on how much to prompt her to eat. I’m sure that this, too, shall pass. In the mean time, we’re trying a variety of ways to handle it.

It’s basically time to start either listing the amazing/adorable things she has said every day, or to stop commenting on it all entirely. There’s so much! Every night she’s saying more and more and showing us just how absolutely brilliant kids are. I keep seeing all these studies that show kids as being intelligent and capable of complex reasoning and thought long before we previously assumed, and it baffles me. All I have to do is look at her and it’s obvious. And I don’t mean because I have the smartest kid in town. I just mean that kids seem so smart, I don’t understand why these study results are a surprise.

Okay now I feel all weird and braggy. Plus I promised I would get the baseboards painted before I went to bed.

October 22, 2015

My leg still sucks.

This week I finished lining up the flooring delivery, movers, and flooring installer so that they all arrived in the correct order and within a small amount of time. I’ll be out of town from December 2nd-6th, and so in that time we will have 2900 pounds of flooring and 13 rolls of underlayment delivered, have movers arrive to move all our furniture into the garage, have an installer come out and install aforementioned flooring, and then have the movers come back to put our furniture back into place. If all goes well, when I leave Wednesday morning we’ll have grody carpet and when I return, we’ll have beautiful wood floors. I’ll be taking J with me, so F will be on his own to wrangle cats and any issues that can’t be handled over the phone. It should be exciting. It will look like a new house! I’m so excited.

J continues to amaze me. She’s so thoughtful and empathetic. Whenever another child is crying, she always looks at me as if to say, “Look, she’s crying. What do I do?” When I show her that the child’s mommy or daddy is right there, helping, J still gets upset. For the last few nights, as I’ve been putting her to bed, she has been talking about crying on the turtle, crying for me, wanting mama on the turtle. Huh? Maybe they have a new turtle on the playground at school? It took me a long time to figure out that she’s talking about the foam turtles they sit on at the edge of the pool at swim lessons, while they wait their turn to swim! Once I figured that out, I was able to talk to her a little bit more about it. A couple weeks ago, Papa T. took J swimming without me. Apparently she had a tough go. It was the first time I hadn’t gone since she started almost 2 years ago! Anyway, once I figured out she was talking about swimming I was able to coax her through explaining that she missed me when she was swimming, and that she wishes I would get in the water with her and help her splash and swim like I used to. Now that she’s in a more advanced swimming class, I don’t get in the water with her. I guess she’s been missing that. I’ll need to find an indoor pool that I can take her to, because as soon as she talked about “spashing with YOU, mama! Kick kick! Big spashes!” I realized that I miss swimming with her, too.

She seems to be getting the hang of sharing, too. At mealtime, when one of us isn’t around, J will always set aside a couple bites of her favorite part to save for us. When I finish eating before she does, she tries to get me more food or offers me some of hers. When she’s eating a snack that she really likes, she’ll always say, “Mama want a bite?” and hold out a piece of it for me.

She’s also really beginning to express her opinions in ways that clearly shows she’s thinking about the world around her and what happens in it. Yesterday, F commented to her that she was growing into quite the young lady. Normally, she doesn’t really respond to this kind of comment. Sometimes she’ll nod, or look at you solemnly, but rarely does she say anything about it. Last night though, she thought for a moment and then said, very carefully and clearly, “I am.”

Also yesterday, F asked her what her name was. She used to respond, “Jojo!” and then moved up to, “Jo jeh peen!” but last night she took it even further and said, “Jo jeh peen TUH pee!” She’s also been saying our names are “Besh” and “Fannin” but when we asked her what our names are, she called us, “Tuhpee mama” and “Tuhpee Daddy.” So adorable!

She’s totally baby crazy. She adores going on walks with her baby and as we walk will talk about how her baby is crying because it misses mama or daddy, or how it’s laughing because it’s happy to be outside. When I picked her up the other day, she was rocking a wooden block with her picture on it and singing, “Wock a bye baby jo jeh peen, in nuh twee top! When nuh winn bows, uh uhh, cadle dopp!” and then she’d hug the block.

The biggest news from this week is that she drew a family portrait that is beginning to look like people! It was in her cubby with all the other art she makes like it was nothing. Last week, she colored inside lines and this week she’s drawing mommy and daddy?? OMG! I’m going to frame it!


October 16, 2015

So for a while there, I managed to lock myself out of the new server. It took a while to figure out what I’d done (note to self: always check /etc/hosts when DNS is weird).

On Labor Day (September 7th) I had a dizzy spell and fell on my shin, badly enough that I decided to go to the ER. The good news was, nothing broken. The bad news was, a terrible infection ensued. After 4 different antibiotics and a slew of visits to various doctors, we got the infection under control and I got a referral to “Wound Care.” Which is a thing I’m happy to say I never knew existed until now. And I sort of expected it to be more bandaids and gauze like I’d been using, but the technology is actually pretty advanced and well beyond the kind of stuff I could do at home. So I’ve got a big hole in my shin and I’ve been going to the hospital twice a week to have it pulse lavaged, debrided, and other things that sound just about exactly as fun as they are. Pro tip: if you don’t know what those things are, do not do an image search. And probably be careful on any webpage. It’s not pretty. In fact, try a text browser.  So that’s been exhausting and taking up a lot of my time and energy both. J has been very good about not touching my leg when I’m rewrapping it. She likes to look at my “owie” but knows better than to poke it. She has started asking to wear a “bannaid nike mama [bandaid like mama]” and so I’ve been taping a little piece of gauze to her leg to match. It’s pretty cute.

Speech therapy is exploding! She’s continuing to amaze everyone with her progress. She’s coming up with new and complex sentences every day, and getting more understandable to not-me. (I can usually understand her pretty well). When we’re looking for something she’ll often say things like, “It pobby in nuh den” or “Might be in Daddy car! I sheck! [check] Mama come sheck too?” The other day she was trying to figure something out and she said, “I dink it out. Hmm!” and put her hand on her cheek like she was thinking. She’ll say she doesn’t know the name of things, and she’s excited to learn that Papa T. and I have names too. As part of her language skills, she’s started telling me a lot more about the experiences she has. She had a sitter the other day and when I got home, J declared, “Ms. Ashee take my baby shoe away!” Indeed, Ashley had taken her doll’s shoe because she wouldn’t stop putting it in her mouth.

She’s also figured out that mom and dad sometimes give different answers, and if we’re in different rooms and one of us says no to something, she’ll run and ask the other one! Now that we’re on to her, we’ll work out a system, but she definitely got a few extra treats for a few days in there.

We had a plumbing leak in August. For a while, because of my leg, we were stalled out on dealing with it. We had the leak fixed and insurance sent some people out to tear out some carpet and dry our our walls, but we stopped there and had a 3’x3′ square cut out of the carpet in the den. Well, once I got the ball rolling on it again, our insurance company said they’d pay to replace all contiguous carpet with same-quality flooring. That’s the den, the hall, and the front room, and leaves only the bedrooms with their original flooring. Well, we hate the carpet, and Papa T. in particular hates ALL carpet. So, for a little bit extra, we’re having all the carpet in the house replaced. Adding 3 bedrooms didn’t add much to the cost, and I found a great deal on some really nice laminate hardwood that we’re going to use. It’s been pretty stressful to add that to all the other things we’re doing, but it will be worth it in the end.

We’ve decided that it’s okay for J to have an iPad in the car. She plays games and watches Peep and the Big Wide World or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. It keeps her from screaming the whole way, and it’s still well below the recommended 2 hours of screen time per day. And it’s not like we are replacing much interaction, since when driving we can’t do much with her in the back seat. It’s a win for everyone except that part of me that wants to feel guilty for not being perfect. So the other day she was watching an episode of Peep that involves Peep being chased by a cat. And she kept saying, “Nonono! Bad! No cat!” as the cat chased Peep around. So cute!

And speaking of cats, she’s recently started helping us feed the cats, who have all lost a lot (too much) of weight. We’ve switched them all to wet food in hopes that it will help them gain some weight back. She loves to put the bowl down on the ground and watch them lick it up. The other day she accidentally dropped the bowl and it shattered, and she was very upset. She was really sad that she broke the bowl, poor kid. I told her it was okay, we all have accidents, and Daddy and I would never be mad at her for an accident. She seemed to take it to heart and happily helped clean up the mess and then put down a new (plastic!) bowl of food for the cats.

She’s back on the Miralax :(. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, and she kept sitting on the potty and straining, and nothing would come out. At school, she had a very very painful poop, and complained of pain and not wanting to go potty after it. So we’ve put her back on miralax in hopes that it will help. It’s already helped a little, I think. The other day she went and started to cry, but stopped while she was going. It seemed to me like she was expecting it to hurt more than it actually did. She wouldn’t let me wipe her because it hurts, but she was going into the bath so I was okay with a pretty cursory swipe. The good news is, she’s old enough to drink (and enjoy) a couple ounces of apple juice! So we’re just mixing it into that daily, and explaining to her that it’s medicine to help make going potty not hurt. She seems on board with the whole thing.

I am starting to get a little frustrated with her teacher. She will frequently say when I pick her up that she’s hungry and that they ran out of whatever lunch was when she asked for more. She’s obviously not starving, but I worry. About all the things. Because motherhood. The teacher will also always says she’s had a good day, even when there are days I am pretty sure she had a rough go of things.  Yesterday when I picked her up, she was so upset about a doll she wanted (that wasn’t hers) that I basically swooped her out to the car and sat with her for a while and snuggled with her to help her calm down. It was weird, because there was no build up at all. I’m guessing that all the build up happened earlier in the day, and she hadn’t actually resolved her feelings about not being able to have the doll, only set them aside until I picked her up. I remember being young and crying so hard that I couldn’t even breathe. It was so awful to watch her go through it! But, she felt better after looking at a couple pictures of similar dolls on the internet. She looked at them on my phone as I drove home, and by the time we got home she was ready to give me my phone and move on.

Yesterday was also the first time Dad and I went out on a weeknight date. Ani DiFranco was in town, and for his birthday I got him tickets. We had a sitter from 6-12, although we didn’t leave until 7 and got home at about 11:15. Apparently, J was determined to wait up for us. She wasn’t rambunctious or difficult, she just insisted on waiting for mama and daddy. When we got home, she’d only JUST fallen asleep. Sweet girl!

Okay, I think that about covers the last 6 weeks. Whew!


September 4, 2015

Welcome to the new website! The change should be basically invisible to you. I had to migrate my WordPress installation from one cloud server to another. Having a WordPress site, even one that is religiously kept up to date, was just pounding the bejesus out of the old server, which made it unusable for the rest of my family. Well, I’ve been looking for an excuse to explore EC2/AWS, so here we are! Hello!

It’s been crazy. Now that I’m actually sitting in front of a blank posting screen again, I can’t remember what happened in the last month. J started saying, “I love you” with delightful sincerity and regularity.

She also got re-tested for both her “proprioceptive disorder” and her speech delay, and both have improved significantly. She needs more occupational therapy for balance, coordination, and body/space awareness. I’ll be surprised if she gets much better though… some things are just innate, and she comes by her clumsiness completely honestly. I hope I’m wrong about this one, because it’s not fun to be clumsy, but I am not really holding my breath. Her speech also still needs some work, although she has become much more intelligible and also much more self confident about her ability to talk. She still needs more work there despite testing well within normal for both her ability to communicate and her ability to pronounce sounds. The problem seems to be that she can’t string together sounds quite right yet, which makes her speech hard to understand. However, she’s absolutely brilliant about compensating. She uses a lot of ASL if she knows the sign, and some pretty impressive pantomime if she doesn’t. I’ve also noticed she’ll use synonyms when she can, or add in adjectives when she’s having trouble. In short, she’s smart enough to be effectively working around her speech delays. Speaking of smart (okay, I’m sorry, I know I’m straight up mommybragging here, but I’m gonna anyway) she also tested at the level of a 6 year old for receptive language skills (how much she comprehends when spoken to). Basically, the receptive test is a whole bunch of stuff that just keeps getting more complex and with a larger vocabulary, and the idea is that the tester continues to ask the child questions until the child gets so many wrong. The therapist wrote me a note saying that she Just. Kept. Going. with J. Yay!

What else? Potty training is here and there. Mostly she does great, although we do need to remind her of the Daniel Tiger song that goes, “If you have to potty, stop and go right away!” Generally we only need to remind her once about that one.

She’s completely adjusted to the new classroom, and is absolutely nuts for her teacher, Mr. Julian. Ms. CeCe left, which was hard for everyone, but the new teacher (also named Cece, by pure coincidence) is wonderfully sweet and a great fit. All this week, when I’ve picked J up from school, she hasn’t wanted to leave. Mr. Julian is the teacher that closes most days, and when I come, J wants to involve me whatever game he’s currently playing with the kids, then throws herself into his lap for cuddles and tickles. I did spent about 30-45 minutes at school playing one day, and sadly now J wants me to do it every day. It was wonderful to see how much she loves school and how well taken care of she is, but it has made for some very rough pickups, since she wants that to be the norm. We’ll get through this one, just like everything else.

Two more molars have arrived! Halfway, anyway. Both bottom molars are poking out, making her mouth hurt all the time and making brushing her teeth difficult, because trying to get those two brushed is tough before they’ve fully emerged. No sign of molars on top yet.

That’s all I can think of for now. A whole month of missed posts, and who knows what wonders are lost to the ages now ;).

July 30th, 2015

I take a picture of my daughter every single day. Actually, that’s a lie. I take many many pictures of her every single day. And yet somehow, I don’t manage to capture the amazing truth of her. Sleepy eyes when she first opens them for the day, the sound of her giggle at bedtime, the look on her face when she wants to play in the pool. The way she bounces in her seat when she get excited for whatever snack. The way she sings. The way she relaxes into my arms when I pick her up from daycare. The way she scoots away because I’ve told her only one more song (she watches songs on my iPad before bed, while I do her hair) and she knows the song is almost over. The way she wiggles her hand in mine until she finds exactly the right spot. The myriad things that make up our every day together, and yet are so fleeting. When she was newborn, it was about the smell of the top of her head, the way she rested her head on my shoulder and preferred one side over the other. The way my arms ached when she wasn’t in them. So many things, fleeting and gone. Some of them are wisps of memory and some are lost to the ages (or the next baby, I wonder?). This afternoon I found myself wondering what I thought about before she came along. Work, ferrets, cooking, of course my husband. Going out, doing theatre, meeting up with friends. Gaming. It seems almost like it belongs to someone else, but as she’s gotten older and more independent, it is coming back, but it all seems a little bit less shiny. Besotted. That’s what I am.

Enough of the cheesy stuff for a paragraph or two! Last weekend in swimming class, she was evaluated. And she’s already being moved up from “super waterbabies” to “extreme waterbabies.” I had to ask what the difference was, because for me the biggest change has already happened; I don’t get in the water with her anymore. (I sit on the sidelines, and I have to say, that room is HOT and STICKY and GROSS when you aren’t in the water!) Well, the difference is that she will get to spend more of her time in the water, and more time using full breath control. Which is good. I’d started thinking about signing her up for 2 lessons per week just to give her a chance to get more time in the water. She’s never ready to leave by the time class is over.

She has started potty training! She wears panties to school every day, and usually comes home with only one pair in which she had an accident. Unfortunately, she remembers each one, so every time I try to offer her a choice of panties in the morning, she will choose a pair because “that one peepee!” Even when I explain to her that I’ve washed it, and there’s no peepee in them anymore, she will refuse to wear any pair of panties in which she’s had an accident. I think I might try showing her the washer full of her clothes and explain how it gets all the dirt and spills and peepee out of clothing. And I’d better do it soon because we’ve only got one or two more patterns left!

She’s also sprouting up so fast. I need to go through all her clothes and pull out everything 3T and smaller. It shouldn’t be hard, since that’s about 99% of her wardrobe. Guess she gets some new clothing!

Okay,  that’s all I have time for tonight.

July 17, 2015

This girl.

I am in awe of her every day. I don’t try to tamp it down at all because it really, really helps when she’s seriously pissing me off. She’s two. She’s frustrated and mad and figuring out exactly how little power she has, mostly by trying to see how much she has and being disappointed when she runs out. but anyway. It’s been a rollercoaster of a week. With our friend Cassandra in town, her evening routine has been completely disrupted. We’ve been getting her to bed late, but still have to get out at the same time in the morning. It’s been rough.

Last weekend was the first time since starting the super water babies (no parents in the pool with her) swimming class where she did NOT want to get out. Yay! I am counting this as a win because it means she is comfortable with her new instructor. And also because it means that Papa T. can take her swimming. Without me. And I can stay home, and luxuriate in being totally alone in my house. I’ll sleep. Or cook? Or watch tv? Maybe take a shower! Oh, the possibilities!

Potty training is progressing well. At school they are taking her to the potty every time the “big” kids go, to get in the habit. She’s been asking for panties and I’ve picked up a few pairs. I think we’ll run the current box of diapers out and then give the switch a try!

I was changing her diaper and she said, “wahn… doooo… feeee” and I waited to see if she said four. She did! Yay! I thought she might be able to count to four! But then she kept going to five. Then ten. Then 14!! Then I was so flabbergasted that I distracted her and she stopped. I was so excited! She started counting again for me… “Wahn… dooo…. feee…. footeen!” I wasn’t as excited about those counts :). But later in bed she counted to 16. She counted to 16! I’m not even kidding. I have no idea if this is normal or way above the curve or way below it, and frankly I don’t care because to me it is AWESOME.

She has also started telling me more about her body. The other day she said, “My tummy hurts” and I was able to comfort her (although I didn’t know what to do for her). She had eaten a lot of sweets and I wasn’t surprised that it hurt. I told her it was probably all the sweets, and I was sorry it hurt, and I could rub it for her if she wanted or we could just snuggle for a while. We snuggled. It seemed to help. Snuggles fix everything. I’ll be sad when that stops.

I am letting her play games on her pad, and from time to time watch some Peep and the Big Wide World. I have let her watch a couple episodes of Shaun the Sheep, too, one of which has a storyline about a baby sheep whose teddy bear gets taken inside and the other sheep go to retrieve it for him. In the beginning of the episode, right when the teddy bear goes missing, the baby sheep cries. I tell you all this to set the background, because when the baby sheep started crying J got a very concerned look on her face, and told me that, “Baby sad.” I told her that yes, the baby was sad because he was missing his teddy bear, and she responded, “When baby sad, mama come[s]! Baby happy.” I about melted right there on the spot. It makes me so deeply, totally, completely… content with my parenting choices so far. I haven’t really doubted myself (more than any mom, anyway) but I know that I fall pretty far into the gentle/attachment/hippie/whatever end of the spectrum. And if she cries, I do come. Every time I can. It makes me feel so good to think that she’s internalizing that. I asked her if her mama came when she was sad, and she said, “yeah!” and went back to the show, completely oblivious to what she had done to me.

In short. This girl.

July 9, 2015

I’ve had an introspective day. Thinking about how strange it felt to be pregnant. I was so sick at first, and so excited. The life within me was so strange and new and scary. And then when she was a newborn, everything was just fear and pain. I remember thinking after the first few days, “what am I going to do with her until the next time we’re supposed to check in with a doctor?” Then getting my PPD under control and relaxing into motherhood a little bit, then getting into the new daycare… now she’s walking and talking and expressing all kinds of opinions about things, and I’m really starting to trust myself, believe that I can generally just do this.

It started because yesterday, she pooped on the potty! A huge milestone! And she couldn’t seem to care much less. I asked her if she pooped at school (knowing full well she did, trying to work on quizzing her when I know the answer). She said she didn’t, and I said I heard she pooped in the potty! And she was just kind of like, “oh yeah. I did.” I was expecting more excitement! I said I heard it was a big poopoo! and she said, “No, little poopoo” and didn’t want to talk about it. Okay, that’s… weird but not a problem. So we moved on. I’m still excited! And anyway, while I was putting her to bed I was thinking about that interaction, and realizing that I am not going about potty training the way I’ve read you are “supposed” to. I’m not doing a sticker chart or giving her mms or ripping off the bandaid and just switching to underwear one day over a long weekend. I’m just kinda letting things progress the way they seem to be progressing. Two years ago, a year ago, maybe even 6 months ago, I couldn’t do this. I spend so much time researching every aspect of everything, that it’s weird to be just doing whatever works for us, whatever we’re doing. It feels good! But also weird. I just never really got around to figuring out exactly what options there are for potty training and researching them all and choosing one. I have to say, I feel like what we’re doing is going pretty well. At school she’s starting to tell the teachers she needs to go while she’s got a diaper on. At home, we’re skipping diapers a lot of the time (but not all the time and not in any particular way… sometimes I’ll just take off her wet diaper and not put another diaper on her). We’re not putting underwear on but are letting her run around either bottomless or with her shorts/pants/skirt on. She is doing a pretty darned good job of announcing needing to go! Sometimes she has a bit of a dribble before she says, “Potty! potty! potty!” but most of the time she catches it and we all rush to the potty. The other night she was excited to be hanging out with Daddy and did have an accident, which she was upset about (way more upset than either of us!). I told her it was okay and that accidents happen, and we took off her shorts and since we were heading to the bath anyway, just went to the bath.

She’s started declaring that she’s too heavy for me to carry. Which is strange to me. I’ve never told her she’s too heavy to carry (she’s not, at least not for me) and I’ve never heard Dad say it either. I can’t figure out if they tell her that at school, or where she’s getting it. I would be fine if she said she didn’t want me to carry her, but for some reason it bothers me when I ask if she wants to walk or be carried and she says that she wants to be carried and then changes her mind because she’s too heavy. Maybe because I don’t want her to be denying herself something she wants? I mean, no she can’t have as much pudding as she wants, but I’m always happy to carry her until my arms get too tired. Or maybe she’s coming to the realization that she’s bigger than most kids her age, which is going to be something she struggles with for a long time and I want to let her live free of that struggle for as long as possible? I don’t know. The most likely explanation is that I enjoy carrying her and I’m overthinking this.

I finished the swingset and we’ve been out there so much! I love it. I love having a back yard that we can spend so much time in! We are going through bug spray like crazy though. So far this summer, I’ve been able to wear DEET as long as I wash after we come in, and baby wipes seem to be enough of a “wash.”

Parenthood is so amazing and fantastic 🙂

July 3, 2015

J has now started her Super Waterbabies class. This means that we no longer get in the water with her. I miss it! Her new teacher is male, and we’ve been struggling with it a bit. The first day, I got in the water but mostly handed her off to him a lot. When she wasn’t with him, she was mostly burying her face in my shoulder, but her love of swimming soon started to win. By the end of the class, she was smiling a little, and willing to give Mr. Thomas a high-five. The second class, I didn’t get in the water but I sat next to her along the edge of the pool. She was still hesitant, but it wasn’t too bad. So far, we haven’t had to deal with her just jumping in and assuming someone will get her, although she did accidentally fall in once last weekend. I was there before her teacher, but only by maybe half a second.

I also think the last of her molars have started moving around. Lots of cheek grabbing, complaining about pain in her mouth, and chewing on things. I’d worry it was a cavity except it’s clearly both sides and in the back, past her teeth.

I turned her car seat around. We have a Diono Pacifica in my car and the thing is just too damn big and wobbly to get secured rear-facing in my car. I wish I could keep her rear facing longer. When I stop suddenly with her in the car (which I’ve had to do a couple times, thanks Austin traffic patterns), she complains that it hurts her neck. It worries me to have her forward facing, but it worried me more to have her rear facing in that seat, which would often tip over. Anyway. She’s forward facing now, and enjoys seeing so much more. She has learned that green lights mean go and red lights mean stop. She will exclaim, “I see reh! Wahn, doo reh! TOP mama! Top!” and then when the light turns green she shouts, “DOH DOH DOH!” This morning, as I was driving her to school, I took a different route than normal and was stopped at a red light in a left turn lane. I got a green turn arrow but the rest of the lights were still red and J was very very mad at me. “NO!!!! MAMA!! REH TOP! TOP TOP!!!!!” I explained about the green arrow, but since we’d already passed under it, she couldn’t see it. When I glanced back in the mirror at her face I can only describe her expression as skeptical.

She has definitely chosen a favorite color, even though I have tried hard not to ask her about what her favorite colors/foods/etc are. It’s purple. She wants a purple house, and to drive a purple car, and sometimes a purple bus. She gets excited when she sees a purple semi (“BIHHH tuck!”) and whenever I give her the option of what color of something to get, she chooses purple. Her Nana surely approves!


June 18, 2015

My parents’ visit was fantastic.

My dad and I (mostly) built an amazing playset. We weren’t able to quite finish it, but I’m completely confident that what remains is something I can do solo. Building things, fixing things, troubleshooting household issues.. These are the ways I bond with my father. Instead of the whole situation becoming laden with stress and irritability, we keep each other amused and sane even during the biggest projects (and this swingset is, without a doubt, the biggest thing he and I have ever done together).

We bought some plans online and set to work. Were there problems? Of course. Home Depot didn’t have the right wood. The directions were extremely long and complicated. We sometimes didn’t have the right tools. More than once we cut some wood wrong, or drilled a hole in the wrong place or of the wrong size. We often disagreed. But. We were able to have Home Depot cut wood to the size we needed. We checked and rechecked the directions, each other, and the sanity of the situation as a whole, making sure we both understood the next step before we moved forward. We were able to correct our mistakes without much trouble, with spare wood and lots of room to rearrange holes. The disagreements were probably the best part. My father treats me like an equal in many ways. There are still some fatherly tendencies, as is appropriate, and I will by default defer to his opinion on something if I think it makes sense. But when it doesn’t make sense to me, he will listen to me. He will listen to why I disagree, and think about it, and then either agree, or present his own reasons for thinking what he does and why I haven’t changed his mind. I have no idea who “won” any of these disagreements, because every single time, we found equilibrium without any stress or hurt feelings. We worked as two people fully engaged as a team, and many times I bet our conversations would have been incomprehensible to anyone outside the situation…

Dad: “I think we should put this here.”

Me: “No, it needs to go.. see the… here holding out the directions. That thingie needs to–”

Dad, “Yes, but see right here there’s this thing that–”

Me: “Oh! Right.”

W commence putting “this” “here.”

I would murder to have coworkers that work with me as well as he does! We worked ourselves to exhaustion and I won’t lie, he put in more hours than I did, since I had to work for 3 of the days my parents were here. But we had a blast doing it. Drilling, measuring, marking, cutting. More measuring, more drilling. Lots and lots of ratcheting, with the occasional race. And so much talking about what we were doing and how to do it best. Even with such precise instructions, there were ambiguities to be worked out. Pieces to be identified. Tools to figure out (speed squares are simply amazing!) And even plenty of swearing. But never ever at each other. Not even at Home Depot, who took 3 hours to rent us a truck for 15 minutes, and failed to give us essential pieces to some of the tools we rented. And we ended up with something that will last a long, long time. Something I am truly proud to have done, and grateful to have done with my dad. Is it a weird way to bond? I dunno. But I love it. And it’s pretty awesome to have this big beautiful tangible reminder of the week I spent sweating and swearing with the most important man in my life (sorry, Papa T!).

Okay, so, enough about me. J also very much enjoyed the visit. “Dah-puh” and Nana are very exciting and wonderful, and “kiss, hug, shake” is now a part of her life. On one of the first days my parents were here, Nana came with me to drop J off at school. Afterwards, when I came out crying, she and I had a fairly brief but really helpful talk about how I’m contributing to drop-offs being so awful. I’d been working on this with my therapist anyway on being more emotionally removed from J’s anxiety, mostly by telling myself that I was leaving her somewhere safe. But it wasn’t until my mom explained that she and I were in a feedback loop that I started to understand. The big breakthrough came when I was telling her that I want to get out quickly, but I don’t want to do that until I’ve made the decision to go. So I hang around with J until it’s time to say goodbye, then I make my goodbye as quick as possible, but she loses it every time. And as I was saying that aloud to my mom, I realized: By taking her to daycare, I’ve already made the decision to leave. And so the next day, I didn’t stay. Not at all. We walked into the room, and I gave her a hug and a kiss and a see-you-this-afternoon-love-you! and I was out. She didn’t even have time to start sobbing, and what do you know, she ended up never crying at all. Ever since, drop-offs have been a breeze. This morning, it was just like a drop off from old times! I put her down, she wandered off to do her own thing, I joked with her teacher for a couple minutes, then a hug and a kiss and off I went. It was fantastic! I hope we can keep this up! I’m glad I gave myself two weeks to deal with this before I started trying something else with her teachers. I’m glad my mom was there to witness and advise. I’m glad it worked! And I’m especially glad that Nana and Grampa’s visit was so great. J saw lots of Nana and a fair amount of Grampa, and I saw lots of my dad and a fair amount of my mom.

Overall, a good, happy, successful week.

Oh, and yesterday when I asked if J had shown  Ms. CeCe her nails, she said no. I asked her why not and she said, “CeCe no here [to]day” !!!! This is the first time she’s formed a sentence to tell me about something I don’t know that she does. I mean, not like she has a wet diaper or she’s all done dinner or whatever, but passing me some information about her world that I otherwise wouldn’t and couldn’t have known. I was so excited! I LOVE having her talk! I know everyone says once they start they never shut up and it gets old, but I lovelovelove hearing her.

June 5, 2015

Rough week. Rough, rough week. She moved up to Dino Buddies. It’s not going well.

On Friday (her first day) she cried. All. Day. Long. Her face was swollen when I picked her up. On the way home, she bit herself so hard that there were still marks all over her arms and hands four days later.

On Monday she cried. All. Day. Long. She also begged me not to bring her to “Dino Buh-yee” while I drove her in. When we got home, she was still so upset we couldn’t get her to take a bath. She had what I can only assume were nightmares. Crying in her sleep, saying, “no” repeatedly.

On Tuesday she cried. All morning, and then on and off all afternoon. At home, we still couldn’t get her to take a bath. She just wanted to be held and cuddled and snuggled. That night, she had more nightmares.

On Wednesday she cried. All morning. She was better in the afternoon. Still no bath, and no good naps though. By this point she’s looking pretty ragged around the edges, and I’m pretty much going insane. I feel like a caged animal. I know there’s nothing I can do, I know there’s no way to “save” her from this. She’s safe, we’ve made the transition as slowly as we could. She’s just lonely and confused and deep in the throes of being a toddler whose routine is FUBAR.

On Thursday she cried. Most of the morning. Fortunately not all of it. She had a pretty good day, and a good nap. Improvement, finally! Dad went out of town Thursday afternoon before we got home, so we had a good night just the two of us. A bath (boy I gotta say, happy toddlers definitely smell better). A good night’s sleep.

Today is Friday. She cried. She was begging not to go to “Dino Buh-yee” again. When we got there, she was so upset she actually tried to nurse in the classroom. Because I’ve never been totally comfortable nursing in public, she pretty much knows that we don’t. For her to have been having a meltdown so extreme that she wanted to nurse was.. well, let’s just say I’m out of the still-nursing-closet with CeCe, one of her new teachers. When I left, she screamed and screamed. I had to leave but oh, how it hurt. It was a splash day at school, where the kids get so wet that parents are supposed to bring a towel and a change of clothes, so her morning got off to a very happy start. She stopped crying after breakfast and didn’t cry the rest of the day. Hopefully Monday will be just as good? We’ll see.

Tonight Nana and “Gah-puh” get into town, so we should have a fun filled weekend!

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