Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mama Monday #24

Theme: Simple

Aaahhh. The simple pleasures of summer and youth. Warm nights, ripe fruits (hidden behind Hubby's knee), and crisp, sweet corn on the cob.

Seeing Sweetie sit down with her Daddy to "help" him shuck the corn (more like keep-Daddy-company-while-guarding-over-one-ear-and-gobbling-her-first-of-many-blueberry-helpings) reminded me of my own childhood corn shucking experience. As you'll read, though, Sweetie had a much more enjoyable time of it than I did when I was her age.

We were visiting my grandparents during summer vacation back in the late 70's. Corn on the cob was on the dinner menu and I wanted to help my dad with the shucking. But, for whatever reason, he told me no.

I was devastated. I remember crying profusely because I wasn't allowed to help out. I'm sure I felt I could easily learn the task. But no - he shucked the corn by himself, quickly and efficiently.

Such a simple request. Yet, obviously, a very emotional one for me. Who knows why I was heart-wrenched enough to keep this memory with me all these years. All because I wasn't allowed to shuck corn! Poor, pitiful me. How sad.

We even have a picture of this sad exchange. I tried to find it at my parents house this weekend, but it was nowhere to be found. Oh well. Maybe my mom can help me find it and I'll add it in here later. But, for now, you'll have to settle for this other picture from my 3-year old days.

Sorry about the quality. It's a picture of a picture. But, nonetheless, it's me enjoying another warm weather simple pleasure of childhood. (Oh, and that red wheeled rider in the background? My parents still have it and Sweetie rides it around whenever she gets the chance!)

So anyway....back to the corn! I absolutely love corn on the cob. Every summer I endlessly pester my husband to pick some up for us to enjoy. But he never allows it. Not as early as I'd like, anyhow. He always says that we can't have corn on the cob until August - that's when it's ready to pick. Any sooner and it won't taste as good. Period.

Well, this year I got a little bit of any early treat. This past Saturday, Hubby agreed to endulge my culinary desires.

We went to the local farmstand and picked up something for everyone - a half dozen ears of corn, one tomato (for Hubby's favorite summertime treat - tomato salad) and a container full of fresh blueberries - Sweetie could devour the entire quantity in one sitting if we allowed it.

Everything was delicious! So light, seasonal and simple. Hubby had his salad as an appetizer all to himself. I relished in the buttery sweet goodness of the corn (as did Hubby and Sweetie) accompanied by some popcorn shrimp on the side, and Sweetie's dinner ended up consisting of nothing but 2 or 3 helpings of blueberries and 2 ears of corn. Yum!

You gotta love fresh, local produce, prepared simply to enhance the natural flavors.

Here's to simple pleasures of summer and youth!

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Post

I may still have just one more "Too Many Things" post to tackle later today. But I may save it instead. So stay tuned and keep coming back! Until then, let's proceed with regular posting business....

During our last vacation, Hubby, Sweetie and I went to The Children's Museum of Portsmouth. This vacation, we went to The Children's Metamorphosis (The Met) in Londonderry, NH.

Hubby says he preferred the Portsmouth Museum, while I really thought The Met was much better.

Hubby liked the first museum because he felt it offered a ton of different activities and perhaps focused a bit more on cultural differences.

But there were many reasons I liked The Met better. For one thing, it was all on one floor, making it easier for me to get around (Sweetie spent much of her time at the other museum finding and climbing the 3 floors worth of staircases, as if this was a museum sanctioned activity all its own).

The activities themselves at The Met were easily accessible to everyone. If I had to, I could have chased after her on some of the climbling structures or crawled after her into a "cave" (as opposed to Hubby having to keep up with Sweetie in the other museum's 3 story submarine structure, which we couldn't pull her away from).

I also liked the diversity of the activities at The Met. Every activity was educational in nature and offered opportunities to learn about new things (rock climbing), potentially scary things (the dentist or emergency room) and even common, everyday things (the grocery store and music, for example).

But what I found most interesting, and pretty progressive, at The Met was the fact that the Emergency Room section featured shelves full of different kinds of leg braces for the kids to look at and try on. Wow! I had never seen such a thing before. How great!

One Daddy was helping his little girl try on a brace when I first discovered this room. I was so excited to see this that I said, Wow! Braces! That's just like mine, see? and I lifted my capris to show off my own. (Looking back, this may have been a bit too "friendly" of me to butt in and share a part of myself. But, it's pretty rare, I'd think, that a little one learning about something new at a museum display would actually get to meet a real person using the device in question. I was just trying to add to her learning experience, that's all.)

I quickly rallied Sweetie to come look at what I found. Braces, just like Mommy's! Cool! Did she care, though? No, not really. Not at that point, anyway. A bit later in our visit she investigated this room more closely and decided to try on a brace. But she didn't even let me finish fastening it on her, claiming it to be too yucky. (the braces were all in pretty sad repair - kind of dirty and very worn out looking. So I really don't blame her at all). Oh well. at least she saw them.

All in all, I'm sure she didn't care much about the braces display because, to her, braces are normal. She sees mine everyday. They weren't scary or weird or unusual - as they may appear to most other children. They just were.

Thanks to The Children's Metamorphosis, perhaps now many more children will also start to believe that braces just "are". They help people out, just like crutches or wheelchairs. And they're nothing to be scared about at all.

Way to go, Met! Keep up the progressive, good work!

Way Too Many Things: Part II

Role Reversal

AKA: She Mows, He Sews

I'm not sure what got into me yesterday. I guess I'll blame the heat. And maybe my desire to go to the beach later in the day (which didn't ultimately happen) weighed against the dispicable state of the lawn that I couldn't stand to let go another minute.

Yeah, so, it was the heat...

Anyway, I got it in my head that it would be a great idea, and so helpful to my hardworking Hubby, if I mowed the lawn. Yeah, I know. Mow the lawn. Me. No - the two don't mix. At all. And now I know for sure.

Hubby was away for a few hours, visiting a friend and buying new windows to install in our bedroom. Sweetie and I were outside waiting for him to come home.

That's when I noticed just how high our grass had grown. It really needed tending to, I thought. But I also knew Hubby was going to be tired when he got home. And he does so much for our little family - surely I could give him a hand with this.

I knew we had a reel mower, as well as the "real" mower. And I knew I wasn't even going to attempt to use the "real" mower. But the reel mower - now that, I could probably handle.

I opened our shed and told Sweetie if the mower was easy to get at, I'd mow. Well, I saw it. And it was somewhat accessible. So I thought, Why not. I'm this far into this thing. Might as well go whole hog! (did I really say "whole hog" to myself? Well, no. Probably not. But it sounds good, doesn't it?)

Man, was that thing heavy! I got it out, though, and started mowing. And cutie Sweetie was nearby (but not too near), cheering me on, chanting Go Mommy! Go, Mommy! I couldn't stand to disappoint her at this point. So I went on.

But - oops! - soon I was stuck. I couldn't push the mower any further. And then Hubby came home. The gig was up.

He didn't stop me, though. He helped get me unstuck and moved over to a good place to mow (I was still in our crappy/weedy backyard when he found me. The side yard would be much flatter/easier for me to manage - or so I thought).

So, Hubby humored me and let me take five or six passes with the mower. And they weren't straight passes, let me tell you. I would have continued. I just got stuck again. And, by that point, Hubby took pity on me enough to get the "real" mower out and swiftly finish up my humble beginnings.

So, that was my big doings for the day.

Then, later in the afternoon, we had a medical emergency.

It happened like this: One minute I was corralling Sweetie to take herself downstairs, and the next minute - she's twisting her poor Teddy's arm clean off!

There were tears. There was much sadness. It was awful. But Mommy and Daddy were to the rescue! I gathered the proper stitching materials and Hubby sat down to "get me started" on the proper relocation of Teddy's arm.

But he didn't stop. Hubby stitched up the whole thing! With much care and lots of thimble-less, painful pushing and pulling of the needle, Daddy got Teddy feeling better in no time.

What a guy! What a surgeon! What a Daddy!

What can I say - he's great. He can make grown women mow the lawn and little girls awestruck.

He's our courageous, heroic, kind and loving Hubby/Daddy.

(Now, if only he'd take us to the beach again. Time is running out!)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's Called - Way Too Many Things To Blog About

Part I: BlogHer

Okay, so I've been pretty miffed that I'm not attending BlogHer this year. Especially when the conference theme is: How is your blog changing the world?

Well, I think I'm kinda, sorta, a little bit changing the world. I mean, I don't know one other Mom Blogger out there who's disabled (many apologies if you happen to be one. I just haven't found you yet. And if you're reading this and you are one, then by all means give me your URL! Let's get connected, join forces, and conquer the world!!!).

So, like, that's pretty noteworthy, isn't it? Yeah, I think so.

But, alas, it was not to be. Finances are not plentiful enough for me to get away. Maybe next year??? I really hope so. Because I've been bipping around to many of my favorite blogs and so, so many of them are reporting from the trenches of beautiful San Jose, CA. And the trenches are FUN! Cocktail-flowing, music-jammin', smiley, huggy, awesome FUN!

There's Alice, Amy, and Kathryn. There's Dawn, Amanda and Karianna. And let's not forget about Lena or Kelly! Plus so, so many more. OMG, to meet any of these admirable women in person would be amazing! They're famous, for Goodness sake!

I could have entered an essay contest, sponsored by MommyBloggers, to win tickets to this event. I did consider it. I even thought I could probably win it. But I just didn't do it. I don't know why. I really don't. I'm kicking myself that I didn't. But Kathryn did, and she won, which is awesome. I love reading her - she's funny, intelligent and has a great heart. Oh, and by the way, she's even got a brand new blog over at - so go check her out! Go, Go!! (But come back, please, pretty please).

So all these awesome, fun, smart, literary, sassy women are livin' it up and having a blast in sunny CA and, by golly, I'm going to be joining them next year! So help me, I will be there!

(Okay, now that that's off my chest.... Stay tuned for more of "Too Many Things..." coming soon to a computer near you).

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #18 - "Put A Cork In It" Edition

Behold, The Plug - our Saving Grace and Sweetie's Trusty Toilet Totem.

I realized within a few hours of staying home with Sweetie on Tuesday that her toilet fears went even further than I had first believed. Not only was she afraid to use any public toilet, but she wasn't even using our toilet at home or the one at Nana's house. Instead, she'd go in her potty chair. Yeah, I guess she had been favoring the potty this last week or more. I just hadn't paid attention to how much.

So, by Wednesday morning her potty chair had mysteriously vanished. Oh, I might have let her use it first thing in the morning, but after that, it was bye bye potty, hello toilet!

It took a lot of encouragement and a lot of bribery. But little by little, she got on the toilet.

First she would stand with her pants down, but not sit on it. Then she sat on it for a mili-second and did nothing. Then she finally peed in the potty the tiniest bit and got off practically before she was even finished (this earned her a brownie-making stint in the kitchen with Mommy). Finally, when Daddy came home, she was - very nervously - able to prove to him that she could use the potty like a big girl (thus earning herself a trip to the ice cream store for dinner and dessert).

The next day, Thursday, included a visit to Nana's house. I emailed my mom ahead of time, telling her to hide her potty chair.

After a short time there, Sweetie took herself down to the bathroom, but came back crying and asking where her potty was. I reminded her that she's a big girl now and she needs to use the regular toilet. And, if she can use Nana's potty, then we could go to the Children's Museum or the pond the next day - Sweetie's choice.

She finally did it, but she was nervous.

Later during the visit she was crying that she pooped in her pants. But when we got to the bathroom, she was clean. No accident! It was so cute to see Sweetie so happy with herself that she didn't have an accident. What a proud girl! So then she was easily able to sit on the potty and do the deed. Yay!

Sweetie earned her Friday trip and she wanted to go to the museum. Yes, ma'am! You betcha!

Still, Sweetie continued to be pretty leery of our toilet for the rest of the day and into Friday morning.

Then I found that cork. I presented it to her, telling Sweetie that it was a plug she could take with her into the bathroom and it would stop the toilet from flushing on its own.

Well, whattayaknow! It worked! She bought it! We were able to go to the museum and she went to the bathroom 3 times (okay, so she wasn't thrilled about going into the bathroom, but this seemed mostly because it was taking her away from the acitivities. And the last time we took her in was because she had a small peeing accident - which was amazing because she had just peed, a lot, just a short time before this. But I digress....).

All throughout the rest of our day, she did great! Hubby and I even went out to dinner last night, leaving Sweetie at Grammy and Grampy's house, and she used their potty just fine because she had her plug. (Well, again. I think Grammy pretty much made her go because it had been awhile since she last peed. But there was no mention to us about any fights or fear).

Now, I just suggest to Sweetie that she go potty, and I tell her her plug is already in the bathroom. She nonchalantly strolls into the bathroom, wordlessly takes the plug off the counter, and does her thing. Easy beans.

Looking back at Sweetie's progress, I don't think this miracle plug would have worked a few days ago. I really think she needed these last few days to work up her courage to use the toilet at all. Plus, we've been telling her over and over about sensory flushes. How the park toilet had that type of flush, but we're not going back to that park again. And no other place we go has them. They all have handle flushes that Sweetie can do herself. Sweetie is in control.

I also don't think this "totem" would have worked for Sweetie if it was something she'd seen before. As it stands, to her, this plug really is a very special thing that helps bring about the results she's after.

So - yay! I guess I really don't mind that she needs this little crutch to help her feel more comfortable right now. And we're really not making a huge deal out of it. Like I said, I just let her know the plug is there. Because of this, she's able to use, and has used the toilet whenever she needs without fuss.

At least, that's been the experience so far. But I'm confident this trend will continue. Maybe by next week she'll be able to go without. We'll see.


Because of all this sensory flush talk (calling the museum to ask if they have regular or sensory flush toilets, talking on the phone and in person to friends and family about Sweetie's difficulties, and telling Sweetie all about sensory flushes and how we don't have one at home, etc., etc., etc......) Sweetie's playtime discussions have taken an interesting turn.

At Nana's on Thursday, Sweetie was marching around in a circle, rhythmically calling out as she went,

Sensory flush! Sensory flush!

Oh my. Can you imagine how peculiar that would sound to someone who had no background on this week's trauma?


You know how last week I said that Sweetie was saying, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go in my pants. when she had an accident? Well, she's still at it, but now she's applying this cure-all phrase to everything.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to spill my drink.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pinch you, Mommy.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cry.

This would be all fine and good, except for that lingering smile/smirk. That look in her eyes that says, I-know-this-is-the-right-thing-to-say-and-now-everything's-all-better.

But I guess she's got to start somewhere. The sincerity will come in time.


And now for something completely off topic...

We stopped at Target Thursday afternoon to pick up a few things, and I bought Sweetie a couple new shirts. I hardly thought she was even paying attention, but apparently, she was.

That evening when I wanted to put her in her pajammas, Sweetie was insistent that she wear one of her new shirts.

No, Sweetie. I bought you play shirts, not jammie shirts.

But I want to wear a new shirt!

No, you have to wear this pajamma shirt. You can wear a new shirt tomorrow.


This fight could have gone on and on, but Hubby stepped in to rescue us both.

When Sweetie wasn't looking, he took the pajamma shirt I wanted her to wear, went into the kitchen where the Target bags were, and produced the desired "new" shirt, much to Sweetie's delight.

Oh! My new shirt! I love my new shirt! Thank you, Daddy!

I still don't understand why she didn't recognize it as a pajamma top she's worn many times before. But I wasn't asking any question. She and I both got what we wanted out of the deal. So all was well.

Another battle won. Another happy ending to another happy day.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

BlogHer Envy

Tomorrow, July 28th, marks Day 1 of BlogHer, 2006. And I'm not there. Even though I'm on vacation anyway. Even though I've been doing this blogging thing for over a year now and would love to meet other bloggers who could teach me a thing or two. Even though I could use a short break away from Miss Terribly Three Who's Terribly Toilet Traumatized.

But, no, I'm still here.

Maybe next year. I'll start saving my pennies today.

Monday, July 24, 2006

An Update

First off, I want to thank those of you who left your kind words of support and advice on the potty problem Sweetie is currently going through. It's so nice to get fresh perspectives from people who have been through this before and/or have unique ideas to make her feel more comfortable.

So, let's start out with the good points of the day, shall we?

Sweetie was pretty well behaved all day - happy, able to share, able to move from activity to activity without drama, and polite. This is impressive, especially considering we had such a long day with many stops - the gas station, the deli, my aunt's house, the pond/beach, the grocery store, and back home. Phew! We're all tired!

Now - the bad.

Sweetie peed in her potty at home at about 8:00 in the morning. Then - she refused every potty we encountered along the way and instead chose to pee in her pants 3 or 4 times while at the grocery store. (To my knowledge - that is, unless she peed in the pond, but Hubby doesn't think so - she managed to hold off on peeing until we got to the store after 3pm!).

I took her to the store's bathroom (a one-person potty very similar to any typical bathroom in a house) to change her out of her swimsuit and hopefully get her to go. But she refused again. I tried not to make a huge deal out of it, but when she peed in her underwear before we even left the bathroom, it really made me mad. But I didn't change her again. She chose to wet her pants, so she was going to have to live with it (which, by the way, she really didn't seem bothered by in the least).

10 or 15 minutes later, as she was singing and talking to herself in the back of our shopping cart, I decided to check the state of her pants again. This time, she was absolutely drenched! I mean, her entire shorts were sopping wet!

Well, I couldn't stand keeping her like that, so I took her back to the bathroom to put her back in her still-damp swim bottoms. But still, no potty action.

By the time we made it a few aisles further, her swim bottoms were wetter than just leftover dampness from the pond. And by the time she was standing with us in the check out line, I was noticing a nice puddle under her feet. Was that there before from something that spilled? Or was it her? Yeah - I think we all know the answer to that.

So, that was it. We headed for home. She sang for awhile and then slept for maybe a 1/2 hour. She woke up when we drove in our driveway and was upset - because she was still tired? Or because she REALLY had to pee? I'm not sure. But I took her inside, sat her right down on her little potty, and she peed. Ahhhhh. Relief!

The evening went on as normal. She didn't pee anymore at all, but that's pretty normal for her. Then Hubby took her to bed and read her her latest favorite Dr. Seuss Story - What Was I Scared Of?

Hmmmm, what a nice little opportunity to teach a lesson. My quick thinking Hubby was on the case!

In the story, the main character is afraid of some green pants without a body that he often finds out and about on his nightly walks. But in the end, he learns that the pants aren't scary at all and he and the pants become great friends. With this in mind, Hubby sums up the point of the story to Sweetie, telling her that the character thinks the pants are scary but then learns they're not scary at all.

Just like the potty, he went on. You think it's scary, but it's really not. When it flushes, it's not being scary, it's being friendly, saying, "Hi, have a nice day!" That's all.

Well, she seemed to like that. I was up in the room with them at this point, and so Hubby and I went on to give more examples:

Lions say "Hi, have a nice day!" when they roar. Kitties say it when they meow, Puppies say it when they bark!

And kids say "La, La, La, La, La" (a la The Wiggles) when they say in English "Have a nice day!", Sweetie excitedly added.


So - maybe we've hit upon something here. This, along with the fact that she was being more silly-afraid today instead of genuinely scared (dancing around while singing, I'm scared. I'm scared. I'm scared, I'm scared, I'm scared!) gives us a little hope that she can get past this.

And as far as her not caring about being so wet, we hope that's because she spent much of the afternoon in a wet swimsuit. So wet underwear wasn't much of a difference to her.

We will see. Here's hoping she turns the corner soon.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mama Monday #23

Theme: Tumble

Meet "Teddy". Sweetie's playmate and sleepmate since infancy. He's very well loved, wouldn't you say?

Sweetie and Teddy have many adventures together. Holding tea parties, riding on the "bus", tumbling around on the floor doing acrobatic twists and turns. Whatever Sweetie wants to do, Teddy is right there as an accomplice and friend.

Just the other night, for the first time ever, Sweetie had to go to bed without Teddy. He was missing. I mean - he was totally gone.

Many times, Hubby will take Sweetie up to bed and call down to me within a minute's time, asking me to find Teddy for her. But this time, when I went to look, he was nowhere to be found. We even let Sweetie get out of bed to help us search. Still, nothing. We ultimately had to have her find a new friend to sleep with. Bunny was going to have to cut it because, apparently, Teddy decided to take a vacation. Hopefully, we told her, he'd come back before she woke up in the morning and he'd tell her all about his trip.

Well, I did ultimately find him, hours later, on a bottom shelf in my closet, as if he had tumbled off my hope chest and landed in a heap. Oh yeah, Sweetie was in here with me early this morning. Obviously, Teddy felt like hanging out amongst my clothes all day long.

We placed Teddy next to the sleeping Sweetie and she was happy to find him with her in the morning. Yay! Teddy came back!

Now, don't tell Sweetie, but there are actually three different Teddy's in her life. One at our house, one at Nana and Papa Dave's and one at Grammy and Grampy's. Ours and Nana's look very similar - very loved, very rough and tumble. Grammy's, though, still looks pretty new. Unfortunately, we don't get over to their house as much as to my parents'. So, whenever we do visit them, we end up telling Sweetie something about how nice it is that Teddy gets to take a bath in the washer and tumble in the dryer whenever he visits Grammy and Grampy. He always looks so clean and fresh!

I wonder when Sweetie will finally realize these are all separate Teddy's and not just her one flying from place to place to meet us wherever we go. How long can we keep up this fantasy?

I don't know. But I have a feeling that at least one of her Teddy's will be with her for a lifetime - comforting her when she's sad, laughing with her when she's happy, and picking her up when she tumbles down a step or two.

Help! I Need Some Potty (advice)

Okay, emergency post here. Please, I beg of you. I really need your help!

Last Saturday we went to a picnic in the park. We went to the restrooms when we got there, and Sweetie sat down to go. But this toilet had a sensor flush. Well, she must have moved out of the sensor's way, so it flushed - very loudly - when she was still sitting on it.

Long story short - she freaked and refused to use the potty the whole time we were there, very grudgingly went at a store on our way home, and has since refused to go potty in any public restroom (even though each one we've been to since has been a regular toilet with a regular handle to flush yourself).

Tonight we went out to eat with her and wanted to go to Barnes & Noble afterwards. At the restaurant, she asked to go potty, but when Hubby took her - again, she freaked. She shakes, cries, grabs hold of us, tries to crawl out of the stall, etc., etc., etc.

I finally got her to go try again with me, telling her if she didn't go potty at the restaurant, we weren't going to the "train store" (B&N - because of the train in the kid's room). She went in with me, but again got really upset and didn't end up using the potty.

However, I was SOOOO looking forward to B&N that we thought we'd give her another shot anyway. We reminded her how she likes going potty at the Popcorn Store (the movie theater). We thought she could be very brave and pretend she was there instead. She said she thought she could do it, so we gave it a go. But Hubby took her immediately to the restroom, was with her in the bathroom for at least 5 minutes, and they came out unsuccessful. More shaking, crying and clinging to him.

We went right home. Me crying from frustration, stress and not getting to do something I was looking forward to. Sweetie just happy to be out of the "dreaded" potty room.

What's more, I don't think this whole weekend she's made it once to the potty at home without going a little in her underwear first. She knows better than this, tells us she'll try harder, but still, it continues.

We are so frustrated! We're on vacation this week and have lots of fun things planned. But we told her we can't go anywhere if she refuses to go potty in public places. No beach, no museum, no more restaurants or anything. Still, she always says she doesn't care - she won't go potty. So this route would most likely only end up punishing us, not her.

So I don't know what to do. The only solution I can think of is to take her little potty chair with us everywhere we go. But that's not really ideal. Or, I guess we could buy her some "magic" ear muffs to protect her from the loud noises.

I don't want to ruin our whole vacation over this, but she has got to get over her fear. Maybe severe consequences will do it???? I just don't know what to say to her to help her out or what to threaten her with that will matter enough to her to lose out on.

What are some of your suggestions, oh dear and mighty internet pals? Come on, help me out here! Am I going to the beach tomorrow or not? How can we fix this fear?

Thanks in advance. You're the best!

The Turning of the Tides

Funny. Just about one year ago I was blogging, in general, about the rough time Sweetie was giving me. She was typically contrary, whiney and very, VERY Daddy-centered. All she wanted was to be UP! with Daddy. She saw me and just wailed. I couldn't pick her up, so she had no use for me. Mommy - bad. Daddy - awesome!

Now, here we are a year later and Sweetie is again being a contrary, whiney, fitful twit.

(Oops. Sorry. I just used the dictionary widget on our desktop to see if "twit" is really the word I want to use. Apparently not, because its definition is: "A silly or foolish person." Nope. That's not Sweetie these days. In fact, she's pretty much a loather of "twits".)

Basically, Sweetie wants nothing at all to do with her Daddy's silliness and is instead responding much better to my attempts at calming and reasoning out the given situation.

There have been SO MANY instances of her flipping out because Hubby sang a song using different, silly words; or he teased Sweetie by saying her name a different way or claiming she's wearing one color when really it's another. Or he asks her what she wants to eat - one item being a real option, the other being, oh, say, a sneaker. The silliness examples go on and on - there have been just too many to recall something specific.

NONE of this has gone over well with Sweetie.

So what I've been trying to do is calmly talk to her and reason with her, pointing out that Daddy or ANYBODY is allowed to feel and do silly things, or happy things, or sleepy things, or whatever things and it doesn't have to change the way Sweetie is feeling. I'm trying to make her be responsible for her own feelings and not let those of others get her upset.

The other morning when we dropped Sweetie off with my mom after a particularly cranky ride over, I mentioned loud enough for Sweetie to hopefully hear over her tantrum, how, Sweetie needs to work today on not letting how other people are acting effect how she's feeling.

My mom just scoffed, saying, Amy! She's 3-years old! All kids act this way!

Yes, but I still had to speak up.

Yes, I know. But that doesn't mean we're going to let her flip out over every little thing or nothing at all. I'm not going to sit back and say, "Oh well. She's 3. What can I do?"

This morning I tried to give Sweetie an example. I had Hubby say something angry. (I think he angrily said something about not liking soggy pancakes).

I proceeded to acknowledge that Daddy is angry about soggy pancakes, but I was feeling happy and still felt very happy.

(Hubby was quick to add in that Mommy did feel badly for Daddy that he was upset - but she could still be a happy person while Daddy was angry).

I think Sweetie paid attention, but not really. Oh well. We tried. And will keep trying.

Then there was the incident earlier this week when she was screaming again because Daddy was doing one thing or another. So, while I was giving her her bath, I talked to her and made a sort of deal. Daddy was allowed to say 20 silly things a day, even if Sweetie didn't feel like hearing it. Surprisingly, she went for it and excitedly ran out to Daddy when she was done.

Daddy, I have a great deal! You can say 20 silly things a day and I won't cry.

Of course, Daddy had to ask why he couldn't say 40 silly things if he felt like it, which I thought would get her upset again. But it didn't. She was accepting of it. And then she started to get silly herself.

(Oh, so it's okay if Sweetie starts us on a silly slide, but close to an apocalyptic event if someone else starts it? Yep, unfortunately that's pretty much life as we know it.)

Anyway, ever since, if Sweetie starts to scream from Daddy's shenanigans, we stop her and remind her that Daddy is allowed to say at least 20 silly things. And she almost always stops and lets him, grudgingly, go on.

Perhaps we're making progress here? Not sure, but I hope so. As it stands, Sweetie was having a rough time dealing with Daddy's behavior this morning. But he's gone off for the day and she and I are having a very pleasant, calm, happy time together.

Now who's the awesome parent, huh?

(Actually - we both are. At least, we hope so. We sure are trying!)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #17

Netflix movie of the day: My Fair Lady.

When we arrived at Nana's the other day to pick Sweetie up after work, we saw a huge, colorful chalk drawing of Sweetie on the driveway, the chalk bucket sitting close by. Hubby excitedly took a fat, blue piece of chalk and proceeded to draw a huge fish on the driveway, right behind our car.

When we came back outside with Sweetie to head for home, she instantly saw Daddy's creation.

Ummm, or not???

Wow! A big blue fish chalk! Our car made a chalk out of fish! Silly fish!


Like her bedtime routine's ups and downs, so goes her bathroom routine - she trained quickly, slid into accidents, back to goodness, and now - again, not so much. A couple nights ago she stood in the corner to do her business before Hubby and I figured out what was going on.

As I was cleaning her up in the bathroom, after again going over the rules of going in the potty, not in her pants, Sweetie says to me smirkingly,

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go in my pants.

Yes, cute, and, yes, a good apology. But, as it was accompanied by that slight smirk on her face, I had a feeling she was just telling me what I wanted to hear. I asked her who told her to say that, or did she decide on her own.


Yup, sounds about right.


In an attempt to stop Sweetie's near-constant whines and cries, I intercepted her plight the other day by asking what her favorite body part is.

My body roohangle (roo hangle?).

Your roohangle? Where's that?

My roohangle is here (pointing to the top of one of her feet).

Oh. So what does a roohangle do?

It makes you move and groove much better.

Okay, then. If you say so, Sweetie.

Yep, I do say so.


Whenever I'm at my home computer, you can be sure to find me checking out my own blog and those of people on my blogroll.

One day, Sweetie wanted to play computer games. She came up to me, sat on my lap, and, as usual, noticed her own baby picture staring back at her. This prompted her to say,

No, no, no. Not!

How funny that Sweetie is more annoyed with having her own ".com" rather than honored to have such a unique web presence!

Just another sign of the times, I guess.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Who's Taking Care of Whom?

I had my follow up appointment with my neurologist on Monday. I dropped Sweetie off with my mom and, since my 1pm appointment was five minutes down the road, I told her I'd be back by 1:30/1:45 - easy. Which was good because she had an errand to run after Sweetie and I went home.

1:45 - I'm calliing my mom from the exam room, telling her to just take Sweetie with her on the errand cuz I was still waiting for the doctor.

2:00 - He finally walks in, looking pretty frazzled. Right away he gets into how my MRI looked good, shows my Chiari Malformation but that's status quo. He asks me about going off my Carbatrol - am I off it yet?

Um, yeah. For, like, almost a year now. Oh, and all that MRI stuff - yeah, you kinda told me that 2 or 3 appointments ago. Old news, guy. (No, of course I didn't say all that to him. But if he could have read my mind, that's pretty much what he would have heard).

So I go on to tell him how a few weeks ago I felt kind of yucky - some pain in my side near where my shunt tube empties and pain near where my shunt tube is in my neck. But nothing Oh my God, I have to get to the doctor - ish. I said how, looking back on it, I think it was just a viral thing I was going through. And for the last 2 or more weeks I've felt fine.

He said nothing.

And that was it. He gave me some choices - either he could discharge me because I'm doing so well and haven't relapsed in the seizure department. Or I could follow up with another appointment, either in 6 months or in a year from now.

Discharged? Um, I have spina bifida, dude. I really don't think I'm allowed to ever get discharged. (again - more internal dialogue. Also something that my mom confirmed when I spoke to her afterwards.)

I chose the follow-up route.

Oh, but there's a problem. My doctor is leaving to work in Boston. So I can either switch to seeing the new female neurologist who'll be taking his place, or I can see the resident PA who happens to be a headache specialist (she's the one I was supposed to see a month ago, but I cancelled cuz I was feeling better).

I think I should see the neurologist (thank you very much).

Okay, 6 months or 1 year?

It would probably be a good idea to do the 6 month check. Even though I'm feeling fine now, I'd just feel better about a sooner check.

Fine. Done. Out you go. Nice to know you. Good luck. To you too. Kiss kiss. (ooooh, gross! No kissy - NO!)

And that was that. Fifteen minutes from the time he walked in the exam room to the time I was back in my car.

Good thing I got my own back, huh?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Mama Monday #22

Theme: Relax

Hubby, Sweetie and I had a very busy weekend. But one of the things we did was attend a picnic. So we did find some time to relax and have some fun amidst all our running around.

The picnic was held on a beautiful day at an idyllic park in Cambridge, MA. The MA Spina Bifida Association was hosting it and, since I am a relatively new member of the Association and have just begun to do some editing work for them, I thought this would be a wonderful event to attend and make some new friends.

I have to admit, however, that I was a bit concerned how Sweetie would react. I knew we'd be meeting lots of new people, which is daunting for her anyway. Add in the fact that the majority of them would either be in wheelchairs, using crutches or walkers, and/or wearing some degree of leg/body bracing, perhaps walking with exaggerated limps, and I just didn't know what she'd think.

Well, we got there and she really couldn't have cared any less. For one thing, she was much too interested in the awesome playground to be concerned about anyone else there. So that, I'm sure, was a big help. But then when she stopped, ate some lunch, and headed off to the water-fountain play area for some cooling off - all while interacting with the other picnic-goers both able bodied and not - she was just so relaxed about it all! Like, Who cares?! No big deal!

At one point I introduced Sweetie to a little girl I met who was wearing some pretty funky hot pink/multi-colored leg braces. I tried to ask Sweetie if she liked those braces, and I think she did admire how they were pink while Mommy's were white. But she basically didn't care or comment.

Similarly, while at the water spouts, a leery Sweetie was working up the courage to go into the water when another little girl, using a walker, headed straight for the raining fountains. Sweetie commented to Hubby and I that,

I need a pool walker too.

But that was it. She didn't question why the girl was using it, or why any other person there was using the equipment they personally needed. To Sweetie, they were just people, just potential playmates, just a nice group of friends to play and relax with.

In retrospect, I really shouldn't have worried at all. Sweetie has never questioned me about my braces or how I walk. Oh, I've told her about them and she's commented that, We should go to the store and get me some braces too. But she's never wondered why I wear them or questioned why nobody else she knows does.

Perhaps it's her age. She's still young enough to be learning so much about the world around her. To her, everything is new and everything just "is". Despite the typical why's and what's toddlers inundate us with, I supposed the majority of them just take most things at face value and don't wonder why things are like they are.

(But, then again, while dropping Sweetie off at school a few weeks ago, one of her little classmates did stop and ask me what those "things" on my legs were and why I wore them. To her, I was different. And she needed my help to figure me out).

But mostly I think it's just that I am Sweetie's reality. She's around me every single day and I'm her Mommy - no matter what I wear or how I walk. I know I've said it here before, but it continues to amaze me - she just doesn't care about all my extra "stuff".

I'm glad we went to the picnic and had such a fun time. I realized quickly that I could sit back and relax, knowing that Sweetie was relaxed enough with the environment to have a great time as well.

Reflections On A Happy Childhood

I'm happy to know I have a fair amount of regular readers here. Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping in!

Some of you have even emailed me, telling me a little about yourselves and your families. Some are disabled moms, some of you are moms to disabled kids, and some of you are abled bodied moms with healthy, able bodied kids. No matter what your life holds for you - I love you all and really enjoy hearing from you.

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked in these emails, it seems, is, What was it like for you as a disabled child? Did I have trouble making friends, did I feel "different", did I get teased a lot? People want to know.

So, I thought I'd take today to talk a little about my childhood.

Basically, I had a fine, happy childhood. I don't remember feeling sorry for myself about my disability. It's not like I had something and it was taken away from me. I never had certain abilities in the first place - it was just my life and that's it. No big deal.

I was (and still am) pretty shy, though. I had a best friend and some other peripheral friends in elementary school. I always had fun with them and we played and laughed just like normal kids. I'm sure they were confused or maybe even somewhat scared of my differences when they first met me, but as soon as they got to know me, my disability almost disappeared and I became "just Amy". In fact, I've heard my friends say just that to me - once they got to know me, they hardly noticed my limp or braces at all. My disability became unimportant. Or, more accurately, a non-issue.

I did have to have several operations as a child. Mostly my parents tried to schedule these during the summer so I wouldn't miss too much school. But I clearly remember all the times I did have to go to school in a wheelchair after one surgery or another (as opposed to my normal "thing" of walking around in my braces). Instead of being weirded out by my new mobility ways, I had classmates clamouring around me to be my special helper for the day - to push me around, take me in the elevators, and get me things I needed. I loved this too, because it gave me free range to pick the boy I was currently crushing on to be my helper. Cool!

If ever I was teased by other kids, I really don't remember it having anything to do with my disability. The clothes I wore or the way I wore my hair or whatnot, yes. But never my disability. I suppose it was just innately understood that that's just not a subject to touch upon. Either that or, since I grew up with most of these kids since kindergarten, they all had blinders on after awhile to my physical differences.

My family moved the summer before I went into 5th grade. School did become a bit more worrisome for me, what with my shyness and my physical differences. But, again, I ended up doing just fine. I made friends with a small group of classmates. And those who chose to tease me teased about random, everyday pre-teen type stuff - dress, interests, personality and so on - not my disability.

For high school I went to a small, all-girls private school. A couple of my older brothers had gone to the public high school and advised that it was just too big for me. I'd never make it to classes on time without getting special permission to leave the previous class early (and this was something I definitely didn't want. No special treatment for me, thank you very much!).

But, because of the all-girl environment combined with my shyness, I didn't date much. I had neither the access to socializing with boys nor the personality to seek out my own social events. In fact, I didn't have my first boyfriend until the tail end of my senior year.

I wanted to go to my prom, remembered a boy friend I had in 5th and 6th grade (but hadn't seen since because we went off to different schools), and tracked him down. We ended up going to each other's proms together and dating for, I think, a little more than a year. So, as you can see, I did have to come out of my shell a little bit to get the results I hoped for there - I was definitely the pursuer.

When I met my husband, it was so refreshing to me that the roles were actually reversed. He definitely pursued me - and, boy, am I glad he did! I guess it just goes to show that, to teenaged boys (and girls) image definitely matters. You could be the nicest, coolest person ever, but teenagers won't give each other a chance unless you "look" the part. It's not until adulthood that relationships can form more definitely out of similiar interests, complimentary personalities and belief systems. (uuuhhhh, could I have said "definitely" any more times? "Definitely" not!)

So, that's my story. My childhood, to me, was normal. My brothers took care of me, teased me, and helped me out just as much or as little as any siblings anywhere do for each other. My parents always gave me the opportunity to try anything I was interested in - from rollerskating to skiing to swimming and more. If I wanted to give it a shot, then I got the chance. I may not have always succeeded (case in point - the rollerskating. Yeah, not so much....). But at least I got the chance. And for that, I am forever grateful.

I'm also thankful that I was raised to not think of myself as different from others. This allowed me to not make a big deal out of my disability, to answer any questions about my spina bifida with open, honest, straight-forward answers, and to just go on living and being happy. Because I didn't make a big deal out of it, the people around me also were able to quickly move past the physical differences between us and treat me like a normal person.

Because, you know, I am. I'm just me. This is my life.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #16

Sweetie has not made a whole lot of sense this week.

For one thing, last weekend she proclaimed, after yet another small pee accident, (followed by my continued frustrations with the on-going problem),

Accidents make me hungry.

Huh? Okay. Whatever. At first Hubby and I just ignored this bit of information - mostly just amused that she would make such a random connection. But on the second day, when she stopped, announced, Oops, I peed a little., and immediately headed off for her booster seat at the kitchen table instead of the potty to finish the job, I became annoyed.

Again, she insisted,

Accidents make me hungry!

Oh no they don't, little girl!

Finally, Hubby and I had something to say about this.

No, they don't! That doesn't make any sense. Accidents do not make you hungry, but they make us angry. Do not pee in your pants and expect to get food for it. You can have a treat when you use the potty correctly - NOT for accidents. Do you hear?!

I think that was the last time she's said anything more on the subject.


Another non-sensical episode came later in the week when Hubby was being silly, singing the Na na na na, Na na na na, Hey hey hey, Goodbye. song. Sweetie immediately picked up on this and went into her new-found teasing mode (Ah, yes. Yet another endearing "lesson" she's picked up from her "school" mates).

In the perfect sing-song teasing voice, she says to her Daddy,

Na na na na na, you have hair.


Now my husband is, for all intents and purposes, bald. He does let it grow out a bit (naturally growing more around the sides and back than on top), and then he shaves it all off again. When she said this, he did have that days-old growth thing going on, but still. We just didn't get this one. Obviously, Sweetie hasn't yet mastered what teasing is all about.


And now for a couple cute scenes:

Hubby and I walked into my parents' house the other evening after a long day of work. Sweetie, I guess, had been hiding, waiting for us to come find her. But apparently she was too excited and couldn't wait - so she just ran out to give us our hugs. My mom told us how, right before we got there, Sweetie was plotting her hiding plan. She told Nana that she'd hide on the sunporch and, when Daddy came in,

...Daddy will say "Where is MY Sweetie?!"

And you know? He totally would have said just that - with the inflection she (presumably) used and everything. That is, if she had remained hidden. Oh well.


Thursday night marked the end of an era. Sweetie wore her very last pull-up to bed. From now on, she's all underwear, all the time.

We took her to Nana's Friday morning still wearing her jammies and pull-up. Later in the morning I called to check in on Sweetie's day. All was going well, mom said, and she mentioned that they had a surprise for us when we got home.

You didn't shave her head, did you? I asked.

No, it wasn't that.

So, when we arrived to pick her up this evening, mom and Sweetie came running around the side of the house to greet us in the driveway. Sweetie, wearing a home-made sticker Nana had made for her saying, Ella's Last Diaper (yes, yes. That's her name. I've said it before here - albeit very rarely - and I've use it in some of my other writings), excitedly hugged us, wishing us a Happy Last Diaper Day.

Cool! So that's the surprise. How cute!

But wait, there's more...

We were told to come into the house for the rest of the surprise. Ummmm, okaaaay.

We got to the kitchen and saw a small, elongated oblong shaped chocolate frosted cake with 6 candles in it. Next to it was this picture:

Nana had made Sweetie her very own Last Diaper Day cake. (Now don't get all excited here, people. She had to make a cake for something she's going to on Saturday anyway. So she just kept a little batter out to make this treat for Sweetie). And she made a collage out of pieces of the (clean and dry) notable Last Diaper. Sweetie's picture on the collage of her coloring said collage, along with the amount of time it took to get to this day, just added the final, thoughtful touch.

Nana lit the candles and she, Papa Dave, Hubby and I all sang the "Happy Last Diaper Day" song to our Sweetie (sung to the Happy Birthday tune, of course). Sweetie beamed and blew out her candles in short order. Then we all enjoyed a pre-dinner taste of the yummy, moist chocolate cake. Delicious!

Congratulations, Sweetie. You're a big kid now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pro Choice

So, I was in the middle of all my Mother-of-a-Terrible-Three-Year-Old dread last week when I decided to Google the situation and see if I could get some help, guidance and/or comfort. Lo and behold, I found a chat room (sorry, can't remember which one) where this woman was telling her story of woeful 3-year old behavior.

She asked her son what he wanted for breakfast, made it, then he refused to eat it. He screamed, cried, carried on, and stubbornly wouldin't listen to his mom's demand that he stop playing with his Play-doh and tell her what he'd like to have for breakfast. The bad behavior went on and on. In short, it was a very bad scene.

Lots of people commented on her post, but the advice differed from person to person. Several people said, Don't give a 3-year old a choice - make him something for breakfast and that's what he has to eat - end of story. In fact, they were saying not to let a 3-year old make any decisions - regarding dress, food, activity - nothing. At that age, they said, a child is incapable of making appropriate decisions.

But then there was a good number of people in the "choice" group. Yes, they said, offer choices. Do you want this or this for breakfast? Okay, you want this - this is what you will eat. And so on. Offering choices makes a child feel involved and in control of the situation, was the reasoning behind this camp's opinion.

And I have to whole-heartedly agree with them. When I give Sweetie options and offer her choices, she is much more likely to fall in line and behave reasonably.

For example, I've always had trouble getting her out of the tub. More often than not, I have to have Hubby come forcably lift her out for me because she absolutely refuses to cooperate. But last night I took a different tack.

I asked Sweetie if she would get out of the tubby after I counted to 5 or 10. She answered that she'd get out after I counted to 36. Okay, fine. That's no problem. I counted to 36 and she listened excitedly. Then, when I was done, she said,

Whoa, that was a lot of numbers!

And she got out of the tub.

Then this morning, after I finished readying myself for work, I sat down with Sweetie and asked her another question.

Will you help me get you dressed or can I cut your fingernails? You have to pick one or the other.

After a small amount of defiance (Nothing! No choice!) she agreed to the nail cutting. Great! She really needed it done and calmly sat on my lap as I did my thing. I'd just leave the getting her dressed thing to Nana.

Finally, a couple nights ago she was having yet another drama-filled evening. Well, not really the whole evening, but the closer it got to bedtime, the whinier she got. So I gave her a choice - either stop crying, let me cut your fingernails (I've had to cut them for awhile now, you see) and get to stay up a little longer, or just go to bed right now. She chose bed.

Yes, she gave us a bit of trouble that night, with some escapage, but we half expected that. She eventually settled down and slept through the night.

So - I'm definitely a Pro-Choice Mama. I'm now getting Sweetie involved in choosing her clothes (what color do you want to wear today?), what games we're going to play, and which of these 2 things would she like to eat for lunch?

I'm glad I've chosen to give Sweetie choices. It's allowing us to make it through these trying days with a little more reason and a little more comfort. For us, it's working well.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mama Monday #21

Theme: Whimsy

July, 2005 Fairy Tale Festival, Nashua, NH

The whimsy of fairy princesses on a beautiful summer day.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Can't Write, Cuz I Gotta Write

I'd love to write a long, insightful post today. In fact, I have something in mind to muse upon for awhile.

But this is my Writing Weekend. The blog-related musing will have to wait.

With two fast approaching deadlines to tackle, plus articles to look over for my new editing gig (for the MSBA , no less) and sample writing tutor related essays to sample tute (hey, look at me! I created a word!) for a potential new sideline gig, I've got way too much to do today.

In fact, I feel so bogged down that I'm sending Hubby out to retrieve Sweetie from her overnight Nana-fest instead of chomping at the bit at 8am to go get her myself (you see, no matter how much I long to have peaceful time away from her, I still can't wait to get her back home. And, yes, we had a fabulous time out with our friends last night).

So - that's it. I hope y'all can settle for a friendly, albeit frazzled "hello" for today.


Goodbye. :)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #15

A couple nights ago Sweetie was playing in the living room. A box top from a board game was upside down on the floor next to her. One of our cats went to it and tried to climb in, pawing at its up-turned inside cover. Sweetie yanked it out from under her, though, saying sternly,

No, Noki! It's not a poopy box!


My mom took Sweetie to the park yesterday. Sweetie loved it, but it was very crowded. She didn't like all the kids bumping into her.

There was a castle-like climbing structure on the playground. Sweetie told my mom that she wanted to climb to the tower and yell out to everybody (more or less. Second-hand story, remember),

I'm Princess ____ and this is my castle! Everyone, behave!


In the car last night, just as we were getting home, Sweetie was singing to herself in the backseat. I couldn't understand the first words of her song, but it ended with,'s a perfect pickle, indeed!

I asked her where she learned that, or did she make it up herself. She said she learned it at Nana's house.

I'll have to ask my mom about that one, I guess.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Stop This Age, I Want To Get Off!

I had trouble naming this post. Alternatives were:

Who Turned Off The Lights?

The Terrible, What Now?

Bipolar, Thy Name Is Sweetie



But no matter what you call it, it's evil. It's awful. Forget the Terrible Two's. It's THE TERRIBLE THREE'S!!!!!!!!!

Man alive! I have had it. I swear, somebody (come on, now. Who was it? I'll only kill you a little) seems to have informed Sweetie that she's 3 1/2 now and she'd best start acting her age.

Honestly. The infamous play date on June 19th (one day before her 1/2 birthday) I guess served as a little practice session for this new phase of her life. This new attitude. And, from the looks of it, she so enjoyed herself that day that she hasn't looked back once.

As my regular readers know, I thought it was my own yucky health/yucky mood projecting back on her. But, really, I'm feeling pretty darn okay now and, yet, it continues.

The whining. The screaming. The kicking and hitting. The stubborn attitude and fights. The fickle-minded/bipolar behavior. The inability to focus on anything for longer than 10 seconds. The unwillingness to tolerate any attempts whatsoever at communicating.

Don't reason with her. Don't tease her. Don't bargain with or bribe her. Just don't. Nothing. Nothing works. But especially the teasing (which, by the way, is dang near impossible for my husband. His middle name could be 'Tease", for Goodness sake!). If you tease her in any way (say, when you're trying to save your own sanity by making light of a situation by saying silly words and/or nonsense answers, hoping to make her - oh, maybe laugh!), she goes ballistic.

It's hopeless. Just hopeless.

So I'm just stuck here wondering, who turned off the lights? The light in her eyes. The light in her smile. The light of her perpetual curiousity and wonder? All I want is to see Sweetie's lightness again. Cuz Lord knows I can't take anymore of this darkness.

Furthermore. Sweetie seems to have slipped back a bit in her routines. She's backslid to the days of not staying in bed when first put there. And she's also, as of late, paid us middle of the night visits again.

The bedtime thing - yes - that comes and goes with her. She'll do great and stay put for a couple of weeks or more, and then have some random nights of escaping. But within the last week or so the escaping seems to be getting a bit more frequent. And as far as coming to us in the middle of the night - that's something she hasn't done in months! But now, she's probably done it 3 or more times in the last 10 days.

Plus - more backsliding - in the potty department. She's still doing pretty well with the peeing. But the other part - not so good at all! Three accidents in a row with that. Not making me happy, let me tell ya. Not at all!

I just don't get it, either. I mean, a little more than a week ago I went upstairs to check on how she was doing (she was playing in her tent). I found her in the bathroom, on the potty, doing her "thing". I was so impressed! She took herself away from her tent, away from the matching game she was playing, to take care of business. Great job!

Then she didn't poop for about 3 days. And when she did, it was her first of 3 accidents in about 4 days.

Great. Just great.

Oh! Oh! And this morning?! Yah, well, she peed in the potty just fine. No problem at all. Then, moments later, she was telling me how I forgot to give her a potty treat. A potty treat?! I haven't given her a potty treat in at least 2 or 3 weeks now. For pooping, yes. But not for pee. So, what's up with that?! I don't know.

So anyway, I've been composing this post in my mind for the last few days. And this morning just solidified it when she had me in tears from all of her tears, fighting, and defiance.

But then we got home this evening and - you know what? - she was actually pretty good. Some minor attitude, yes, but nothing that was long lasting or irreversible. She even cooperated with me enough to play a game and then cuddle with me on the couch.

Hubby and I even commented (quietly) to each other how good she was being tonight. I said something to the effect of, Gee, and I was going to write a scathing post about her terribleness tonight, too. But she's being so good now.

Well, that will teach us to ever speak such daring words again! I don't even remember what it was that set her off (probably some sort of teasing, I'm sure - which she had tolerated just fine all evening. But then again, we are talking about a 3-year old here. If ever you want to know what bipolar means - just look to a 3- year old for the definition). All I know is that something didn't set right with her and everything quickly bolted downhill.

So, off to bed it was. And, like it has been most nights recently, it was a fast, angry, get-this-child-out-of-my-face-now goodnight (well, okay. It wasn't that intensely awful tonight. But it wasn't great, either. And I certainly have felt that desperate to get her away from me a few of these recent nights).

But she did stay in bed tonight. At least we think so. She may very well have crept out to the papasan chair without our even hearing her. At least, if she escapes, she escapes to this chair to fall asleep and doesn't venture any further than that. And who knows what tonight will bring. Hopefully she'll stay put all night and earn herself another storytime with Daddy. This remains to be seen.

All I know is that Hubby and I are meeting friends for dinner this Saturday night and Sweetie is sleeping over at Nana and Papa Dave's. Yahoo! Adult conversation without interruption. Yay! Not having to argue with Sweetie about eating. Awesome! A guaranteed restful sleep without a midnight wakeup call. Priceless.

Peace at last (if only for a night). I can't wait!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mama Monday # 20

Theme: Treat

My Hubby and I, when we were dating, would treat ourselves all the time. To movies, to dinners, to daytrip adventures and even an exciting vacation to France (The English Channel Coast and April in Paris - I'll never forget it!).

As young marrieds, we still enjoyed some treats - weekly lunch dates and the occasional night out, spa trips for massages, long weekends to relaxing Bed & Breakfast establishments. What a life!

Now it seems just about the only thing we're "treated" to (especially this last week or two) is whiney, stubborn, demanding cries from our oh-so-adorable (can you hear the sarcasm dripping?) 3 1/2 year old daughter.

Whenever she sees something on T.V. or in a catalogue that she likes, she feels she should be treated to it,

We need to buy that thing, Mommy.

Oh we do, do we? I don't think so.

YES! We DO think so!

Oh, the fun we're having with our little one.

No, but really. She is a treat - most of the time.

We may not have the finances to go out to eat, get massages or take extravagant vacations (our cruise this fall will be our first real vacation in years - and we got a pretty good deal on it. Yay!). But having our Sweetie is worth it. For all the fussing, whining and bratty behavior she's so effortlessly able to dole out, she's equally good at snuggling, loving and behaving politely.

Last night my husband declared that he's going to actively make time each week to focus more on me and Sweetie. He's going to make a concerted effort to be a better husband and daddy.

When I told Sweetie about this, she said,

He's already the best Daddy ever.

And I happen to agree. But, isn't that so sweet?

Now, I wonder if I'll ever get treated to such glowing accolades anytime soon. Until then, I'll happily accept my own special nightly treats from her of a hug, a kiss and a nose.

Motherhood - what a treat!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Feeling Spina Bifida....And Other Odds & Ends

We went to the movies again yesterday, with much better results than the last time. We saw Over The Hedge. It was very funny and, at only 90 minutes long, a great length for Sweetie. Although she still couldn't be stopped from visiting the restrooms three separate times - twice with me and once with daddy.

But, while Sweetie behaved decently during and immediately following the movie, she ended up having an awful evening. Very whiney, very stubborn, very cranky. So much so, in fact, that, for the first time ever, I couldn't deal with giving her a bath. Hubby had to take over and get her washed up. She just wouldn't cooperate, listen to or help me out. So I brought in the reinforcements and removed myself from the situation to do some laundry. Clothes, I can wash. Unruly little girls, I cannot.

On other fronts, I got my latest assignment from ClubMom. Instead of writing two essays for them for July and August, they've given me (and all the other Go-To Moms) a list of 10 or more questions to answer. We each have to pick 5 of our questions to answer for July and 5 more for August. This is all fine and good, but some of these questions are crazy! These questions are causing me to ask questions.

Should I incorporate into each of my answers some aspect of my being a disabled mom (that's what they wanted me to do for my essays)? Or if I can answer some without broaching that topic, is that okay?

Some of the questions seem like they might take a bit of research on my part to answer. Is this what's expected from me, or should I just answer from my own, decidedly narrow field of experience?

And, most ironically, a few of the questions are ones that I'd love for someone to answer for me. Like, I have no right whatsoever answering such and such, cuz I'm dealing with said issue myself - and not very well, at that. Yet, they want me to tell the readers what to do? I think not.

Sorry I can't get too much more detailed about this quite yet. I'm still mulling over the questions, trying to figure out which ones I want to tackle. Wish me luck. As for all my concerns about this - I have an editor I can email. I'll ask her what's up and it will all be fine, I'm sure.

Then there's my continuing yuckiness. Actually, all in all I'm feeling better. But I still have this lingering (and possibly worsening????) abdominal pain. Mostly I think it's on my right side - just were I know my shunt tube empties into my abdomen. But sometimes I think I feel a twinge on the left side too. So I don't know. And my shoulder/neck soreness continues as well. But now I'm sometimes noticing some pains in my neck along the path of my shunt tube.

But I'm not having migraines. I'm not vomiting. And everything I do have is so just "there". Just mildly annoying. Just noticable enough, when I'm not concentrating on other issues, to make me wonder what's going on.

This morning, in the 1:00 A.M. hour, Sweetie woke up and came into our room a couple times. Then I had trouble fallling asleep again because I could feel my pains and sorenesses and I guess it worried me a bit. It got me all concerned that something really was wrong and that I'd have to see a doctor, have surgery, miss work, and leave Hubby to take care of Sweetie all by himself. But I don't have everything at work in order enough for someone to just take over my job on such short notice. Especially during the summer time when so many coworkers have vacations planned. And......

Stop. Had Sweetie not woken us up, I would have slept right on through and not even noticed my pains. Not worked myself up about all the doom and gloom. And, sure enough, when I work up in the morning I felt fine. No worries.

Wouldn't any shunt malfunctioning result in some absolutely unbearable, non-ignorable symptoms? Like,

Warning, Warning! This is not right, lady! See a doctor NOW, you fool!,

type of symptoms?

On one had, I'd certainly think so. But then again, 10 years ago when my shunt tubing had to be replaced, it was found because I happened to mention off hand to my doctors about some uncomfortable feelings in my abdomen.

And when I was diagnosed with being allergic to latex, it was because I happened to tell my doctors that the Koosh ball I liked to play with at the time made my eyes itchy and watering.

And when I had my tethered spinal cord release surgery, it was because I happened to notice I seemed clumsier than usual and I tired more easily when walking short distances. Oh, and I had some back pain, by the way.

So, I have my follow up with my neurologist in a week or two. I'll definitely talk to him about all this. Sooner, if my concerns continue to mount. I'll keep you all posted.

So, that's it for today. Lots of mish/mosh topics. Sorry about that. But that's life - lots of things being thrown at you all at once while you're just trying to make it through the day.

Hope you're all having a good one, wherever you are.

P.S. Oh, and by the way.... I'm still looking for people to sign my Meet and Greet post. Thanks to all of you who already have - I loved hearing from you! Also, if you're a New England area Mom Blogger, I'd especially love to hear from you. I'm hoping to set up a real life meet in greet in the near future. If you'd be interested, just let me know. Let's see what we can plan! :)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #14

Netflix movie of the day: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Sweetie's "thing" this week is asking if things should be done or had.

Um, Daddy, should I share your cookie?

Mommy, should you read this book to me?

I think she should work on her question phrasing abilities, wouldn't you say?


Sweetie has not been interested in going home lately. This was a nice change for Grammy and Grampy when we visited them last weekend, since we don't tend to see them as often as Nana and Papa Dave. They loved hearing Sweetie say that she didn't want to leave their house. But it hasn't only been this instance. Sweetie hasn't wanted to leave Nana's house most evenings this week either.

Last night she didn't want to leave Nana's so we asked her if she'd rather go to The O Store or home. She said the store. Fine, we needed to go anyway. But once we were done there, she cried much of the car ride saying she didn't want to go home but to another store.

I want to go to the food store for french fries and chicken and milk!

Assuring her that we already had all that waiting for us at home wasn't good enough for her.

So we've had to come up with some creative bribery. Sometimes we tell her that we just have to get in the car and see where it takes us. Maybe the car doesn't want to go home either. Or I've even had her close her eyes and imagine the place(s) she'd rather go instead of home. Both of these solutions have been mildly effective, but she's too smart to play along with us for very long. Oh well.


My mom read my "Who Wipes?!" entry on Thursday morning. Later that day just after Sweetie peed in the potty, Sweetie took the toilet paper my mom gave her and said, Mommy wants me to wipe this way (in front) but I want to wipe this way (in back).

Given what I had just been blogging about, my mom thought this was very funny.

Edited to add: Just today Sweetie's been saying something very interesting. Whenever we've asked her if she needs to go potty she's answered with,

No, I'm fine with my noises.

Huh? Ummmm, okaaaay. We've asked her for clarification, but she's offered none. Perhaps that's a good thing. I don't think I want to know what's talking about.