So Long Luvs: The Last Diaper

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Tonight, I put our last diaper on my son.

He’s been using the potty successfully for weeks now; since the end of May, more or less, though I’ve been hesitant to write about it because, hey, I don’t tempt fate – the second I get too cocky about it is the second he turns around and decides he actually kind of misses not having to get up to use the potty and missing the end of Peppa Pig, and boom, he’s made a liar out of me and we’re back to square one.

But it’s been long enough now that I feel confident saying it – our son is potty trained.  He can tell us he needs to use the potty, he can hold it a reasonable amount of time (should we be out and about, away from an immediately viable toilet), and he can wash and dry his hands more-or-less independently afterwards.

In fact, he recently started peeing “like a MAN!” (his words), which has been great, in that lifting him up and having to basically hold him on the toilet when were are anywhere other than home (and away from his Elmo potty adapter seat) has gotten increasingly difficult as he’s gotten increasingly bigger.  It’s also a disaster that has resulted in a lot of internal screaming as I watch him touch public toilet seats to steady himself mid-stream, and one bathroom at home that just, like, has a sheen of pee on it.  Just, a fine misting of pee, airbrushed on the walls.  You know, for a gloss effect.

While he’s actually been night-dry for longer than he’s been day-dry, last week saw a run of three or four night where he had nightmares, two of which resulted in a wet bed, so we decided, more to give our washer a rest than anything else, we’d put him in diapers at night.  I mean, we still had some left – not enough to be a viable gift or donation, but far too many to throw away – so we might as well use them.

And tonight I used the last one.

There was a long stretch of time where I was terrified I was never going to get Bear potty-trained- I was honestly afraid he’d be walking into first grade still in pull-ups.  And I felt like it was going to be my fault.

I have trouble regulating my own needs – I forget to eat, forget to shower, stay up way later than I should because I get sucked into these rabbit holes of Special Interests and General Bullcrap and totally lose track of time – and here I was reading articles about how to potty train your kids by literally taking sitting them on the potty every fifteen minutes essentially around the clock (with a scheduled night-time potty trip where I’d have to wake my child up, are you friggin kidding me??)

But even barring my neuro issues, and even barring the super intense three-day potty training regime, I didn’t know how I would ever be able to implement a regular enough schedule to successfully train him.  I work, as does my husband.  My mom, who watches my son while my husband and I work, wanted to support our potty training efforts, but she’s physically impaired, and also cares for between two and four other kids during the day.  She’s capable of caring for my son and keeping him safe, but there was no way she’d be able to devote the time needed to keep up whatever potty-training regime we conjured up.

But you know what we could do, and did do?  We made the potty accessible – it was in the corner of the kitchen when we started, so he could get to it himself, without having to alert us or try to open the bathroom door by himself.  We checked in with him every  20 or 30 or 45 minutes or so – we didn’t time it, just when it seemed to make sense – and offered him the potty.  And in the morning, every morning, we sat him on it.

And what do you know?  At some point it clicked.  At some point, he started telling us, albeit it generally as pee trickled down his leg, that he needed the potty.  I mean, there was a learning curve, but hey, it was progress.  He was getting somewhere.

And after that, it was almost like a switch flipped.  Suddenly, he was sick of sitting in wet, dirty diapers – he wanted to use the potty.  That’s something that was so, so key – he wanted to make this change, and when he wanted it, all we had to do was make it accessible for him and encourage and praise him for it.  Our actual, direct involvement, was quite minimal, honestly.

And so tonight we put him in our last diaper.  Probably the last great milestone of the pre-school years – he can already walk and talk, he can dress himself (more or less),  he grabs and totally unpeels his own Babybel cheeses, and he opens and inserts the straw into his own juice boxes.  My husband and I will soon be rendered obsolete.

It’s a sweet moment.  I spend so, so much time marveling how this amazing little person could possibly be the same tiny potato I brought home from the hospital less than four years ago who relied on me for literally everything  – everything – just to survive.

But right now, I’m mostly marveling at not having to scrape poop off a screaming pre-schooler’s butt anymore.  That’s pretty sweet, too.

Friday, Fri-yay: August 24th, 2018

& (1)It’s my last Friday before they, like, actually start meaning something again.  Honestly.  I meet the end and the beginning of the school year with equally mixed feelings – on the one hand, I feel better with a schedule and a routine, and I kinda sorta have to have one foisted on to me, because I suck at self-regulating.  But at the same time, I miss late nights to myself, staying up late reading fanfic, or doodling, or Facebook messaging stupid memes to my sister.  I miss pool parties and beach days and not having to cart a 30lb. coat everywhere, and not taking an hour to get all Bear’s snow gear on in the morning.

But – fall is pumpkin spice and apple-picking and cinnamon scented candles and taking Bear trick-or-treating and having weekend crafternoons where I serve finger foods and hot apple cider, you know?  And on top of that, I get a routine.  So, yeah.  Sad to see summer go, but I am pretty ready for fall.

And so much is happening!  I literally already have myself booked through September, and we still have a week of August left.  No clue how that happened.

Anyway, this week:

I guess the first big “yay” is just having such a busy schedule the next few weeks – getting back into the routine and the daily grind is always easier when I know I have non-work fun stuff to look forward too.  This includes a festival and a party tomorrow, a local feast/street festival next Friday, a trip to Connecticut next Sat., a pool party next Sunday, and a birthday party on Labor Day proper.  Throw a few more events in there throughout the month, and then cap the month off with both Welcome to Night Vale Live and Hamilton.  September will be busy.

Second, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back on August 28th.  Yeah, roll your eyes ;it’s over-hyped, it’s so cliche, yada yada yada.  I’m too old to either feign ironic interest in things I genuinely enjoy or pretend to be somehow “above” stuff that I like.  I love lattes, and I love pumpkin spice.  Call me basic.  I’ll be over here sipping my delicious damn drink (also, for further exploration into how you’re not better than me – and almost certainly have your own PSL – see Jim Gaffigan’s McDonalds bit).

Third, Barefoot wine has a sweet red blend that has been the jewel of my evenings this past week.  It’s been a while since I branched out from reisling or moscato, and it was worth it.

Anyway, it’s later on Friday than I’d wanted to get this out, but I got it out – ha ha ha!  Take that, crappy executive functioning!  What’s been good in your week?

Bear’s Weekly Book Haul: August 24th, 2018

Bear's book haulWell, here we are, end of summer.  I start back up at work on Monday (more on that later, I’m sure), and after Labor Day, out library resumes it’s regular hours.  We’ll probably retain our Wednesday schedule when it comes to taking out books, but with the library resuming it’s weekend hours, that opens up the possibility of being able to take Bear to other programming – our library has some nice story time, read-aloud, and craft programming for younger kids, so that’ll be nice.

Ugh. there’s a lot of things I’m looking forward to about fall.  But that’s literally another blog post.

Anyway, last week’s clear winner was undeniably Poor Louie, by Tony Fucile.

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Tony Fucile has spent a great deal of his professional career in animation, including work on The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, which I think is really obvious in the style of this book (more Iron Giant than Incredibles, honestly).  The drawings were adorable, and it was a sweet take on a story trope that’s been done before (big sibling – fur sibling, in this case – feels displaced and lonely with the impending birth of the younger sibling).  Bear is very, very firmly an only child, but I bet this would be a nice book to read to older-siblings-to-be.  Bear really enjoyed how evocative and emotive Louie was, and loved giggling at his faces while he walked in the rain as was “tortured” by babies.  And, of course, he loved yelling “POOR LOUIE!” every couple of pages.

This week’s batch was chosen by Bear’s dad.

Morris Mole, by Dan Yaccarino:  “Meet Morris Mole—he has always been a little bit different. When the moles are running low on food, it’s up to clever Morris to save the day. With a little help from an unexpected friend and a lot of digging, Morris learns that even the smallest creatures can do big things.”

Come to the Fairies Ball, by Jane Yolen:  “All the fairies are excited to be invited to the King’s ball, except for one young fairy whose only party dress is in tatters, but some wise words from the resident ants help her be all she can be.”

Any Questions?, by Marie-Louise Gay:  “Many children want to know where stories come from and how a book is made. Marie-Louise Gay’s new picture book provides them with some delightfully inspiring answers through a fictional encounter between an author and some very curious children — together they collaborate on writing and illustrating a story.”

The Only Child, by Guojing:  “A little girl—lost and alone—follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But… home and family are very far away. How will she get back there?”

Drawn Together, by Mihn Le:  “When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.”

That’s all for this week.  As always, if you have an recomendations for books for us to read together – or emerging reader books that Bear can start looking at on his own – leave it down in the comments!

Manic Energy

I’m having one of those days where I want to take on everything, but wind up doing nothing.  That stagnation that results from having too many things to do rather than nothing at all.

Today hasn’t been a total bust; I’ve wrapped up a few small projects and got brainstorming on a few others.  But I’m ping-ponging around from one to the other like crazy – I get no sustained momentum on any of them, just fits and spurts and sudden bursts of activity for each one in succession.

Every once in a while I have to get up and pace, because I’ve lost focus, but not drive.  It’s maddening.

Sometimes I think these moments would be less frustrating if I had an infinite (well, infinite-within-our-finiteness) well of time from which to draw.  If I had no other obligations – no job to get to, no chores to do – then I could just ricochet endlessly from project to project and maybe, eventually, see some of them through to fruition.

I guess I’ll never know.

 

Reclaiming Creativity: Bucket Lists and Mail Art

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I know that I mentioned in my last bookhaul post that post-vacation, the nascent habits – which, honestly, had very, very little time to really take root – had essentially shriveled and died.  That wasn’t totally unexpected – it was too early in their development for them to survive such a massive upheaval as what wound up being an incredibly whirlwind week 1,300 miles away from home.

That being said, though, all the scaffolding is still here and still in place – I have my checklists, and a household that is still in decent (not perfect, but decent) shape, and there remains no excuse not to just jump back on the bandwagon.  Tonight I go back to my Good Night routine, and tomorrow I’ll wake up to my Good Morning checklist.  I also have a Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack planner (that I haven’t yet posted, but will once I pretty it up  bit) that I plan to start using to get me back on track eating right, and I spent a good chunk of the weekend at the gym.

So – Food and Exercise, back on track.  Habits, on their way back on track.  Cleaning, well, we’re close; we’re getting there.

So now it’s time to try to tackle some Creative stuff.

Ages and ages ago, on a now defunct site known as SuperViva, I was introduced to the idea of Bucket Lists – the things you want to do before you, well, kick the bucket.  Since then, across various services, on various websites, and in various pen-and-paper planner, I’ve been jotting lists of “someday” goals.

And then just, not doing them.  Like, at all.

You know the one time I kept a bucket list and actually made significant progress on several of my goals?  When I kept it on LiveJournal, and had actual people actually reading the entries, seeing the progress (or lack thereof), and holding me accountable.

So I decided to make and post one, here and now.  The link to the bucket list is here (it will also be linked in the nav menu!)  It’s not full of crazy or extraordinary items – just real things, big and small, that I’d like to accomplish or make progress on.

One of the things on that (sure to be ever-growing) list is to send and receive mail from all 50 states – it’s a goal that combines my love for hoarding small trinkets, and for making handmade cards and care packages.  It’s something that’s creatively fulfilling, because I get to mix, match, and make little pieces of art, and emotionally fulfilling because I know the person receiving that mail is going to love receiving a piece of real mail amidst the bills and advertisements.

So I went and resurrected my old profile on my favorite snail mail trading site, and found the first profile that seemed appealing – a woman in Texas who loves stickers, uplifting quotes, elephants, and bullet journalling.

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Relevant recipient info:  favorite animals are elephants and penguins; they love their happy planner and bullet journal, and they like receiving inspirational quotes.  Pictured: personalized card (with penguin/elephant doodle), bujo/planner stickers, color-it-yourself inspirational postcard, double-side typographic art, two sew-on strawberry patches.

It is perhaps not the most artistic or creative piece of mail I’ve ever sent out, but after several years on hiatus, hey, I’m pleased with it.  It got me pawing through my craft stuff (which is the first step towards getting actual ~⋆crafty⋆~ ideas), and I know it will put a smile on the recipient’s face – and honestly, that’s the whole point.

I’ve set up a gallery to collect/document the mail I send and receive – it’s linked through the main navigation menu, and you can also find it here.

Feels good to be doing something creative again.  Hopefully this, like everything else, can be developed into an actual part of my lifestyle, and not just something I keep swearing I’ll do “someday.”

Friday, Friyay: August 17th, 2018

& (1)Yooo, guys, this has been a pretty laid-back, do-nothing week (not that there is anything wrong with that), but I got some pretty big “yay’s” out of it, nonetheless.

First of all, I’ve gotten three snail mail letters/packages from my mail trade site of choice, in the last few weeks.  I’d hit a long dry spell, because I hadn’t updated for a long time, and because I stopped doing tag backs, and- honestly – I more or less forgot about the site for a while.  But recently I went and updated my info with the intent of getting back into it, and – I don’t know how, maybe honestly by sheer luck? – my profile seems to be gaining traction again.  I’m psyched.

Second, I finally replaced all the Dollar Tree picture frames on my living room wall with really cute/chic collage picture frames that I got at Wal-Mart, and filled them with all our Florida vacay pics.  They look great – I loved my DT picture frames, they looked good and all, but the sheer number of them – 16 – plus a pre-schooler who likes to climb meant they were always getting knocked off-center, getting crooked, etc, and it was driving me bonkers.  So, this wound up being a cute, appropriate solution.  It also means I can use some of those discarded frames for other things – i.e., my planner last year had some gorgeous typographical art/inspirational quotes as on the divider pages, and I’ve been hanging on to them forever looking for a purpose for them.  Viola!  I found places of four of them in my house, and the remainder are set aside for goodies to send through aforementioned mail trades.  So, I got great new frames for my photos and four new pieces of free art.  Score.

Third – AND THIS IS A BIG, BIG YAY – the first con I ever attended, the Harry Potter-centric LeakyCon is coming back to Boston to celebrate its 10th anniversary.  I am so, so psyched, because I think – I think  I can afford it, and I might even get to go with my siblings, who have expressed (albeit tentative) genuine interest.  This would be the first con my sister has ever attended, and the first one my brother would attend outside of Arisia (and only his second ever as a “layman,” i.e., not working the whole con, which he usually does at Arisia, anyway).  I’m so psyched about the possibility, and even if the cost of the hotel is prohibitive , I can always commute.  I’d really rather not, but I can, which is reassuring.

Fourth – I’m not going to register for it yet because this summer has been crazy – but registration is already open for GISH next year, and the dates are already set – July 27th through August 3rd – and I can actually plan for it almost a full year in advance (and I can recruit in real life, too).  I’m excited – I feel like, given I only had three real days when I could GISH this year, I got a decent amount of stuff done, and my team was aaaaa-maz-ing.  Next year, without the stress of vacay coming right in the middle of it, I bet we can rock it.

Anyway, this is coming to you super late on Friday – it’s edging in on 10:30,which actually isn’t super late even for my Exhausted Parent brain, but is later than I’m usually up and blogging.  Had a busy day with my niece and nephew today over at my mom’s house, and got very little done that was on my to-do list, but it was worth it.  My sister works weekends so I don’t see her or the kids as much as I’d like, so I’ll take a zero-productivity day for some time with the bubbies.

I’m down to the last 10 days of summer vacation, and looking forward to it (I really do love my job, and I like having structure), but also, aaaaargh, where the hell did my summer go???

What has kept you going this week?  Is your summer long over, or still going strong?

 

Bear’s Weekly Book Haul: August 16th, 2018

Bear's book haulUgh, I feel like it’s been forever.  Vacation messed up a lot of things – it completed destroyed my not-yet-routine routine, and I honestly feel like I’m starting from scratch all over again this week (chores seem to actually be more on track than they were before vacay, but the personal morning/evening routine, plus my eating/exercise has been shot straight back to hell).

Anyway, it had been almost a month since wed hit the library, and we finally went yesterday,  It was my turn to pick Bear’s books (Bear is invited to help, but is often already too engrossed in the libraries toys and puzzles), and I’m really happy/excited with this week’s haul.

The Miss Nelson Collection, by Harry Allard
From GoodreadsMore than forty years ago Viola Swamp slinked into Room 207 at Horace B. Smedley School and whipped Miss Nelson’s terrible, rude, worst-class-in-the-whole-school students into shape. In the intervening generations since the publication of Miss Nelson Is Missing!, millions of children have been fascinated by the legend of Miss Swamp. A diabolical creation from the minds of Harry G. Allard and James Marshall, Miss Nelson’s alter ego illuminates the folly of misbehavior through amazing feats of disguise. And she’s never been more hilarious than now!

Poor Louie, by Tonny Fucile
From Goodreads Louie’s life is great! A walk on the leash every morning, ice cream on Sundays, snuggling in bed at night with Mom and Dad. Even the playdates with Mom’s friends despite their little crawling creatures who pull Louie’s ears aren’t all that bad. But then things get weird: cold food on the floor, no room in the bed, and lots of new stuff coming into the house in pairs: two small beds, two little sweaters, two seats in the stroller. Does that bode double trouble ahead, or could there be a happier surprise in store for Louie?

A House That Once Was, by Julie Fogliano
From Goodreads:  “Deep in the woods / is a house / just a house / that once was
/ but now isn’t / a home.”  Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go?  Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires
From Goodreads:  Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!?

Sea Turtle, by Camilla De la Bédoyère
(I cannot find a Goodreads page!  Maybe I’m overlooking something).  This is a non-fiction book all about – you guessed it – sea turtles.  Post-Florida, Bear told us his favorite animals that he saw were the turtles.  So, I thought it might be nice for him to read a book about them.

That’s it for this week’s haul.  As always, if you have any book recs for ages 3 – 5, please drop a line in the comments!