Saturday, March 23, 2013

OCD - Obsessive Creative Disorder

Since Allie was born, I've recognized this weird creativity issue that I have.  I've always been interested in crafty things like cross stitch, photo projects, knitting, etc.  However I was never really aware of how freaky I get about them. 

Allie's First birthday cake was all natural.  She hadn't had processed sugar at all up until then and she ate only organic food (that's an issue for a whole other post).  So, I did research and found this gluten free, pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting that every reviewer claimed their kid "just absolutely loved!" Not mine.  She hated it.  I have photos of the one bite she took and they all scream "what is this crap you're feeding me???"

So, birthday number two rolls around and I'm determined to NOT make that mistake again.  By this point, she's had cake and a little bit of sugar so I figure I'll go for the gusto and make her a REAL cake.  Two weeks before her birthday, I did research again and found cake pans, cake recipes, frosting recipes, food coloring products (because anyone who had a cake with red frosting as a kid KNOWS that red frosting SUCKS!), methods of cake decorating, etc.  The internet and AC Moore Craft Store were my best friends.

Supplies at hand, a week before her bday, I decide a cake test run.  Lets just say that those boxed cake mixes are popular for a reason.  Is really freakin hard to make a fabulous tasting yellow cake.  Do I use butter or oil?   What kind of oil is best?  It goes on and on.  I learned that i can bake an edible cake, that I'm not really good at it, and it takes a lot of time in "the world of having a two year old".  Fail.  Boxed cake it is.

Now I'm in a panic.  The homemade cake part was supposed to be easy!  I start making frosting (which was yummy, thank God) and then the scientific chemistry process of creating the right Elmo red, orange and black began.  I had my Wilton color gels (they make red with no taste now!), five bowls of frosting, and the mixing began.  The color changes when it sits so I had to mix, wait and adjust the color accordingly.  It was maddening!

I spend the next few days watching tutorials on cake decorating since I have never done it and the bags, eight metal decorating tips, special spreaders, etc were freaking me out.  They were playing mind games with me and winning.

The morning of Allie's birthday I took a xanax, baked the cake, made frosting, prayed, created the colors, practiced different design techniques, prayed some more and decorated the damn thing.  When i was done, I sat back and admired my work.  'Holy crap..I f$@&#?g did it.'  I was exhausted, but proud of myself.  I tried to ignore the errors I made and felt good about my accomplishment.  When I felt nervous about whether it was going to taste good or not, I took another xanax.  Enough!

Allie loved it!  It was worth every second of the two weeks of self induced anxiety and stress.  She was excited when she saw it, she ate some and enjoyed it, and everyone except for one person ate it all and commented on what a great job I did.  Yippee!

And then I agreed to do it again four days later for a larger party. (IKnow...I Know) I'm a glutton for punishment, clearly.  I bought a base cake pan and winged that part of it.  Elmo was a bit of a breeze the second time around. 

I learned two things.  First, that there's a reason why cakes cost so much at bakeries and trust me when I say it looks WAY easier than it is.  I humbly bow down to bakers everywhere.  Second, I need to start working on her Third birthday cake much earlier.  (I told you I was a glutton.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's My Potty and I'll Try When I Want To

Potty Training is probably the only time in our lives when people cheer because we "made a peepee in the potty!"  You might see it again later in life after some strange medical procedure, but toddlerhood is pretty much it.  You go, there's a fuss, everyone is excited, and maybe a reward is involved.  It's the best!

I bought Allie a potty in August 2012.  We took it out of the box, she dropped trou, picked up reading material and sat down on the potty right in the middle of the living room.  It was hilarious.  She was already like a 40 year old man with her bathroom habits.  "How did this happen", I asked Justin?  

Well, it was soon made clear.  When you're home alone with a toddler, you tend to bring them with you when you go to the bathroom if its not going to be a lightening quick visit.  Justin was always bringing Allie with him because she is definitely not to be trusted in any room by herself for more than 30 seconds.  So, the little demo in the livingroom came courtesy of observing her father in the "little wrangler's room" for months.  He was going to be who she modeled so he had to be verrrrrry careful with this particular part of parenting.

We decided we weren't going to push potty training.  If she wanted to use it, the potty was there.  She loved the book 'My Big Girl Potty' by Joanna Cole, so that was encouraging.  The main character, Ashley, was her favorite ever in any book and we used that to our advantage a LOT; i.e. "Ashley always finishes her dinner", "I bet Ashley goes to bed before 10pm", etc.

About a week after the potty was delivered, the following photo was sent to me in a text from my husband:

There was a message that said, "I don't think she gets it."  What can I say......the child is a nutcase like her mother and will do anything for a laugh like her father.  No one in my family was surprised when I forwarded this to them.

Flash forward seven months.....

Allie pooped on the potty a week ago.  We were so shocked that I just stared at it for about a minute.  'There's a huge pile of poop in there!  She said she had to go and THIS time she meant it.  Holy shit.'  I texted everyone.  I was so proud.  She didnt start with the easy work.  She went right for the pooper.  On St. Patrick's Day last week, she peed for the first time in the potty.  There should've been a gun shot because at that moment, I realized ITS ON!  Let the games begin!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Creature Comforts

Now why is it that she can find THIS setup comfortable, but her comfy mumfy mattress with super soft blankets and a vast array of stuffed somethings is not nearly as alluring?

The crib has been converted to a toddler bed, the safety railing is up, and the littlest human is spending up to 4 hours in it every night.  UP TO.   Those two words are key here.  Of course, this is after I crawl in bed with her and tell her the same version of Goldielocks that she's heard every night for about a month now.  I have to admit, I totally rock the story.  That and the pigs.  She's got a thing for threes because I get the same requests all of the time.  "Th-eee Bay-ahs" or "Th-eee Pigs".  Those are my greatest hits apparently.

I'm grateful for the four hours because I now know what my husband looks like on the other side of the bed with an unobstructed view.  I also have four assault-free hours.  No throat punches from tiny failing arms, no kicks in the stomach and I no head butts from her trying to share my pillow.  (We have seven on our bed and she needs to share mine?)  After 4 full months of her sleeping in our bed every night, those few hours are progress, people!

Worst case scenario, if she doesnt spend more time sleeping in her own bed,  I'm thinking about throwing the laundry basket in there next.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sleeping Beauty vs. Beauty Sleep

Every time I look at my daughter sleeping, Im amazed by her innocence, sweetness and perfection. I've felt this way since her first sleep and ,if anything, Im even MORE awestruck by it all than I was 29 months ago. She can sleep anywhere, whenever she's ready to do so. She seems to be more beautiful and precious than ever.

And Im freakin exhausted! I wake up with dark circles under my eyes, splotchy skin and a whole mess o' crankiness to amplify my not-so-fabulousness. I used to sleep like a rock and wake up feeling wonderful, but that is apparently over. I cant remember the last time i slept the entire night without Allie coming into bed at some point. I wake up at least twice during the night due to a foot in my ribs or getting throat punched by a little flailing arm or the ready cry for "Binky?!" that she tossed aside in her sleep.

This week we decided to take the front off of her crib in her room and try to entice her with the lure of "the big girl bed". Everything was going so well and we were playing all of the appropriate mind games in order to make sleeping in her own room sound good; i.e. reverse psychology "so, Allie, tonight you're going to have to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed, okay?" She was determined to sleep in her own bed and I could almost feel the benefits of a proper night's sleep at my doorstep.

Then my neurotic worrying was triggered. The bed rail that we bought to keep Miss Thrashalot in her bed while she is sleeping did NOT fit. Justin came downstairs and said, "Would you believe in that short period of time I took it out of the box, assembled it, unassembled it, and put it back in the box?". It was too big. I felt defeated. Another night of abuse at the hands, legs, head, feet, arms of a toddler. She would sleep with us.

Justin was surprised by my decision. "Why can't she sleep in there anyway?? It's just one night!" Someone else was anticipating getting our bed back to being just OUR bed again too. "She will fall out. She rolls all over the place. What if she hurts herself? Or if she falls out and gets scared and then doesn't want to go back in there again? This has to be a thoroughly positive experience. We cant risk it!" You would think we were planning some sort of military operation. Operation Sleep Alone.

My Babies R Us coupon is ready to go. The drive to Middletown is planned. We are not coming home without the bedrail. Right now, Allie is sleeping sprawled out in the center of our bed...sleeping soundly and becoming more lovely by the minute. Im off to find some eye cream. I foresee puffiness and dark circles in my very near future.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Drive-by Dreams and Holding Hands

Well, that was a short lived dream.  For a week I felt as though I was going to have to look for a new blog name.  I almost believed I was going to Side A.  Ahhhhh.....that was not going to come to fruition.  

As much disappointment as Justin felt about not landing the job, I felt twice as much about not having the chance to be a full time mom and bond more with my little girl.  I rarely let myself get my hopes up, but toward the end of the week, I started imagining what this new life was going to be like.  Not good.  

I was sad.  I spent a whopping 30 minutes crying over the loss of opportunity, angry at myself for allowing myself to imagine, pissed at him for presenting this potential change and then taking it away (that was more of my own bullshit, not his).  After the thirty minutes, I told myself that I didnt lose anything because I never had it to begin with and decided to focus on helping Justin through his sadness.  That's how I chose to cope.  Time to move on.

I have so many versions of this photo.  This is the most recent, but I have ones from her first month of life, holding onto my fingers with her beautiful, perfect little hand.  She's always sleeping on my lap and we are snuggled under a blanket. Im not sure why I feel the need to capture these particular moments, but I think that I feel connected to her mentally, physically and spiritually at the time.  She needs to touch me and I need to feel needed.  Oodles is accomplished here on both of our parts.  I wonder how many more years of these moments I get before they sort of fade out. 

I can't remember the last time I held my mom's hand.  Maybe at some point in the past year when I was at her house, crying about some situation that had me upset in a big way, she reached over and held my hand to comfort me.  Since Allie was born Ive had more of those moments in the past 2.5 years than in the decade before.  So perhaps there's a point in time when you go back to needing to hold your mother's hand?  I hope Im still around when Allie comes back for round two later in life so she can see both sides of this mother and daughter at the same time.