Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Crazy Zombie Hand

If you are very easily grossed out, stop reading now.

If you are fascinated by medical stuff (raises hand), forge ahead, gentle reader.

Last week I had surgery to remove a ganglion cyst. Ganglion cysts are very common. In my case, it was a cyst that had grown into the joint in my left wrist. It was, to varying degrees, painful. After a failed attempt to drain it, surgery was the only option left to get rid of it.

But, I explained to the doctor, I have two two-year-olds. He cut me off for the 27th time or so and told me that with a brace on I'd be able to pick them up in a week. Then the nurse told me I wouldn't even be put to sleep. This was sounding like no big deal, so I agreed to it.

I won't say that they lied, but it turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected. I was "sedated" with Propofol... so more or less asleep. Anyway, I was expecting it to be about as serious as having a big mole removed. And it wasn't serious-serious, but it was a little more involved than I had anticipated.

Now the zombie hand pictures:



Very swollen. I slept almost the entire day.

Swollen knuckles

Swelling is getting better, starting to bruise

Incision covered in glue. Just out of the frame, the "Yes" mark on my arm. As in, "Yes, this one. Not the other one."

Current hand with rainbow bruising

And that, friends, is enough one-handed typing.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Ode to the Potty Watch

In my last post, I mentioned my love of the Potty Watch. Here are three reasons you need this watch.

1. The obvious reason is that it's handy to have a timer to help you keep track of how long it's been since the last potty visit. We moms are a busy people. Time zooms by, we forget to set the kitchen timer, things happen. Potty Watch automatically resets itself in your choosing of 30, 60, or 90 minute increments. Swoon.

2. It's adorable. Look at little Veda sporting hers.

She is so proud of her bling. It's really sweet.

3. The very best thing about Potty Watch is that it's saving us from a great many fights. A tot who's just starting to get win some control doesn't want mom or dad dictating when it's time to go. Potty Watch is the objective party who steps in with a cheery song. Seriously, if I tell Veda it's time to use the potty, she'll throw a fit. When Potty Watch goes off, she's happily jogging to the bathroom.

Verily I say unto you my fellow parents, you NEED this watch.

*No, I'm not being paid for this.
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This Is How We Potty Train

The other day another mom was joking with me that she used to think giving birth was the hard part of parenting. Ha! True, the c-section and the terrible, horrible night after the c-section were no picnic, but in a way it was less painful than some of things on our immediate horizon: potty training, weaning, and saying goodbye to the paci. *Shudder* Both for the sake of ease and the sake of avoiding too much shedding of tears (and I'm including myself here), we're tackling things one at a time. First up is potty training. Now, I'm not saying that this is the only way or the best way to do potty training. It's just our way.

Step 1: Building Curiosity
  • We purchased two freestanding potties and set them in the bathroom. The kids were allowed to sit on them and inspect the parts of the potties. We went with the simplest of potties. Our potties don't play music or cheer, which seems distracting and maybe even startling. Imagine - you're new to the potty, and the instant your pee hits the pot, the potty starts blaring a song. Yikes!
  • We checked out books from the library about going potty.
  • We purchased and watched Potty Time, a video from the makers of Signing Time that teaches about the process of going potty as well as some potty signs. I'll be darned if those songs aren't incredibly catchy. I'll sing the "Uh-oh, It's An Accident" song for days at time.
Step 2: Learning How the Potty Works
  • I let the kids come in the bathroom with me. I know some people aren't comfortable with that, but the easiest way to teach the process is to model it.
  • Soon after bringing the potties home and setting them up in the bathroom, we made using the potty part of our bath routine. When everyone was stripped down, I set them on the potties with a book or a toy. Sometimes they were into it, sometimes not (and I didn't force them to stay on the potty). Sometimes somebody peed, but usually not. Then they got in the tub. No biggie. It was good practice.
Then I watched for readiness...

Step 3: Potty Learning
  • I purchased Gerber training pants. At the very, very least, I recommend buying 9 pairs. 12 would be better. Also purchased, the Potty Time watch. Love, love, love this watch. I'll try to post more on it later.
  • On the morning of Day 1, I asked Veda if she would like to wear big girl underwear and use the potty today instead of wearing diapers. She said yes. Adamantly.
  • We started with a short interval between potty visits - about 15 minutes on that first day. We're now up to thirty minutes. I have faith that one day we'll make it to an hour and will be able to leave the house again.
  • A successful potty visit gets some clapping, praise, and a high five. We're NOT doing extrinsic rewards (i.e., stickers, M&M's, etc.). I say a lot of things like, "Wow! You're getting to be such a big girl!", "You must be so proud of yourself!" and "I bet it feels really good to stay dry." The point is to help her stay focused on her own intrinsic motivation. I'll post more later on why I think this is important.
  • Since daytime potty training and sleep potty training are different things, we do diapers during nap time and at night.
  • No matter what, we do NOT wear diapers until it's time for sleep. It would be so confusing for a little guy to have to go back and forth.
We've been at it for a week now, and for certain there are still accidents, but we're making a little progress every day. I was surprised by just how many "accidents" there were on that first day. We literally went through EVERY pair of training pants we had, and I had almost convinced myself that Veda wasn't really ready and that I should give up and try again later. Luckily, my friend Heather talked me into giving it another day, and she was right. The next day was so much better.

Having a kid who uses the potty... it's almost the new normal.

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    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    The Trouble With Princesses

    These days, the princesses are everywhere - on lunchboxes, t-shirts, kiddie furniture, backpacks, potty seats... you and I both know this list could go on and on. I'm not saying the princesses will never make an appearance in our house (you know what they say about saying never), but I'm not going to be the one who brings them in. This is one of those battles that's a little harder to fight than it should be, in part because I think that other people think I'm just being difficult and silly about it. What you do with your family is your business, but I want to explain my problem with princesses.

    What is it about princesses that appeals to little girls?

    1. The wardrobe
    2. Marrying up/being rescued by a handsome guy
    3. Having whatever you want, whenever you want it

    #1 is the princess thing I have the least issue with.

    It almost seems a little silly to try to explain my problem with #2, but I guess that's why we're here. I don't want Veda waiting around for some man to deem her worthy of investing in her. I want her to invest in herself - prepare herself for the future she wants via education and work and actively pursue it. Maybe Veda will choose the stay-at-home mom path, and if she does, I can get behind that choice 100%. After all, I consider myself pretty successful, at least by my own definition of success. But whatever she chooses, I want her to always know that she's enough - exactly as she is. She's not waiting on someone else to complete her. She's not counting on someone else to hand her a bright future. I want her to know that her happiness is up to her - not a man.

    I suspect that this contemporary celebration of princesses is mostly about #3. When a little girl wears a message t-shirt that labels her as a princess, what's the message there? That she's spoiled? That she gets what she wants? That her parents sacrifice their own financial health to indulge her? No doubt, we live in a time when materialism is celebrated. We all know so many people who are clambering to maintain a facade of luxurious prosperity at the cost of shackling themselves to loads of debt. My children certainly have all of their needs met, and they have/will have many of their wants met, BUT I want it to always be clear that in the this world (at least for the class of people to whom we belong) money represents work, that the things they want cost money, and that they must work in order to earn the things they want. Tell my daughter she has the princess power to snap her fingers and have her father and I scrambling to meet her every desire? No, thank you.

    So there you have it - the summary of my problem with princesses. Where do you stand on the princesses? Why? Hoping for some good comments on this one... maybe even a good discussion.
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    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    2nd Birthday Party

    Last year for Linus and Veda's birthday we were staying with family on a visit back to Tennessee. This year we were back in our own humble abode, so it was a little easier to throw a party together. Our (subtle) theme was Thing 1 and Thing 2 from The Cat In the Hat, and while this year's party was a little bigger than last year's, we still kept it on the small and simple side.

    An idea stolen from Pinterest:

    Thing 1 and Thing 2 Cupcakes:

    The Birthday Boy and Girl

    Linus wasn't interested in what he believed to be a muffin until it was lit on fire.

    Precocious little Veda tried to blow her candles out, though here she's just being a cute cutie.


    The three of us are going through several transitions right now - potty training, the end of breastfeeding, moving into toddler beds, and giving up the paci. It really does seem that they were babies one day and that one day they woke up as kids. That fast.

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    A Portrait of the Artists At Two Years


    You love jumping. All day long, you're hopping around the house chanting, "Jumping jumping jumping!". Your dad says that he loves your enthusiasm.

    The cold weather has made it a little tough to spend much time outside lately, but that's not inhibiting your desire to go for walks. You grab our fingers and pull us toward the door, imploring us all along to "Walk!". We try to fit in as many walks as we can, but I'm sad to say that it just doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy your little outdoors-loving spirit.

    Somewhere along the way, it seems that you've picked up some rhythm. During music time, I've seen you dancing or tapping your foot to the beat several times. And you love, love, love music time. When it comes up next in our morning routine, you can't get to our dancing/instrument-playing spot fast enough.

    As much as you're a tiny  tornado sometimes, you're also an incredibly sweet little boy. You regularly pause whatever you're doing to run over to me to give me hugs or kisses, and in the mornings you have a high cuddling threshold. Moms really enjoy that.


    You've taken a security blanket of late, which you call Cozy. No doubt you came up with the name on any of the many times I've snuggled you into your car seat with a blanket. It's pretty adorable. Today you really wanted to take Cozy into a store with us (and drag it on the ground). It seems that Cozy may be the new unicorn, though you do still like cuddling with "Corn".

    You and your brother both love Thomas the Tank Engine, but you're the bigger fanatic. You bring me book after book about Thomas to read during storytime. You cling to the little trains as we read, and you usually want to take trains and/or Thomas books into your crib at naptime.

    Granny bought an Olivia shirt for you that says "Mommy's Big Helper", and it's so perfect for you. You're up for helping (or "helping") me do just about anything. You've gotten really good at helping me unload the dishwasher. I take out all of the sharp knives, and then you take the silverware out of the utensil holder one at a time and lob them into the silverware drawer. Then you put away the pots and pans in their cabinet drawer. I'm pretty sure you'd put everything away by yourself if you could reach the higher cabinets. One of your favorite Christmas presents was a toy broom. You are such a tidy little person.

    You're also interested in the culinary arts. Every evening when I'm making dinner, you cry to be held where you can see everything that's going on. We got you and Linus a play kitchen this Christmas, and you love preparing pretend meals for me.

    You don't hand out hugs and kisses as readily as your brother, but you're decidedly a mama's girl. With all of the growing up that's been going on recently, I'm taking comfort in knowing how our relationship will grow and become deeper in the years to come.

    To both of you: We're having so much fun together, and with all of your developing abilities, our days together just get more and more fun. I love you so, so very much. Being with you is my happily ever after.
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    Monday, January 9, 2012

    2 Year Check-Up Stats


    Height - 31.5" (4th percentile)

    Weight - 19 lbs. (Yeah, not on the chart.)

    Head Circumference - 18.5" (34th percentile)


    Height - 34" (50th percentile)

    Weight - 24 lbs. (20th percentile)

    Head Circumference - 19.5" (90th percentile)

    My children certainly do have large heads, don't they?
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    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    The Half Birthday

    It's funny. When I was struggling with infertility, the Maybe Baby's potential birthday was the LAST thing on my mind. When I was hugely pregnant with full-term twins two years ago, I did not freaking care if it was Christmas, thankyouverymuch. By the time Linus and Veda's first birthday rolled around, though, it became clear why having a super-close-to-Christmas birthday flat out sucks. Between Christmas and New Year's festivities, people are all partied out. Sure, some people will come to the party, but they won't be enthusiastic. They've all been smushed in the middle of way too much togetherness, they're broke, and they're dieting.

    So expect this to be the last January when I throw a birthday party.

    Hang on. I'm not a cruel mommy, and I'm not throwing in the towel. Rather, I'm taking the suggestion of my aunt, who turned me on to the idea of half birthday parties. Next year we'll celebrate in a small way on their actual birthday - maybe a cupcake and a visit to the bounce house - and save the big party for the summertime. Backyard fun beats being packed like sardines in the living room on every count in my book.
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