Sunday, October 14, 2012

Children are disgusting

Don't say I didn't warn you. If you don't like child-related TMI, stop here or hold the complaints. Actually, it's not that TMI. There are no gory details or graphic descriptions of bodily functions. But this may simply not interest you. However, if you are planning to have children EVER, or if you are still in the sweet early days, I urge you to listen to me now.

We, I mean, I am potty training 2.0 (nothing against Jeremy; he works all day, so it's not like he can magically be here to help me while still earning us a living).

2.0, I have decided, is evil. She started off the first day like a rockstar. If a rockstar can be defined by one's ability to eliminate in an appropriate receptacle. Which it can't. But shut up.

Then she woke up from her nap with a whole new agenda, and only this afternoon did she start reforming. And I'm pretty sure it's only because I upped the reward from one raisin to three Skittles.

Potty training is about as close to hell as comfortable suburban living can get. It's not the messes. Those are gross, certainly, but if you've been a parent long enough, it's not like you're not used to such things. No, it's the frustration.

See, children are basically evil, and they will use any foothold you give them to climb up over your dead body and jump up and down in jubilation on your corpse. I know I'm not supposed to say that, but I'm saying it anyway because it's true. You can deny this fact and deepen this frustration, or you can accept it and learn to love your kids anyway with slightly less frustration (and perhaps a small sense of admiration at their devious methods; seriously, it's kind of awesome when your kid starts to play jokes on you intentionally). Your choice. But don't judge me on mine.

Anyway. 2.0. She started out amazingly well. So much better than The Child did. So, SO much better. And then she woke up from her nap on Thursday determined to make me completely crazy. She got me so excited over the prospect of no more diapers and no more expense and no more lugging her gigantic body of obviously Germanic origin up onto a changing table. And then she yanked it all away in one afternoon. I spent all of Friday sitting on the living room floor halfheartedly directing her to the potty every ten minutes, wishing for this all to be over, for some miracle to happen in her kumquat-sized brain, or for lightning to strike and kill me.

(It didn't happen)

Then today I went out with the older one, the (now-favored) one while Jeremy took over for the morning, and life started to seem worth living again. The older one had interesting conversation. Hilarious quips and perceptive insights and adorable smiles, and I was starting to think about selling 2.0 to buy the original a bicycle or a hundred Barbies. But then we got home, and 2.0 woke up from her nap and resumed her rockstar performance, and I'm not completely dreading the next day anymore.

But friends, let me tell you something. Anyone who has ever told you, "When they're ready, they will just be so easy to train," either had one of those rare children who you probably have to make a deal with the Devil to get, or they spent so much time drinking around that time in their life that they've forgotten the mind-numbing frustration and stifled anger of those days. Because even if your child is ready for this, no, RARING TO GO, it will drive you to drink. Or close to it. If there is a next time, we will be hiring someone to do this job for us, even if I have to sell a liver.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What happened in September

I have always enjoyed fall. Everything gets so crisp and clean-feeling, the bugs start to die, and it's cool enough to be outside walking around in the middle of the day instead of melting on the sidewalk. Hey, I love hot weather, but not if I have to actually do anything. I hate the prospect of winter, but this year I'm trying my hardest not to borrow trouble. If winter makes me grouchy this year (I say "if" like it might not happen), okay, but I'm not going to make it worse by dreading it.

And fall in Utah is a hundred times better than fall in Wisconsin. It's still warm enough not to have to dress like a Yeti just to take a walk. It doesn't take half an hour for the car to warm up in the morning. And the sun! Sun! All the time! Just looking out the window makes me happy.

Today we went out to the playground to meet a friend for lunch. There was another lady there with her kids, and she seemed nice. Almost two years here, and I still get giddy thinking about how awesome it is to walk out my back door to have lunch with a friend at a playground within walking distance. At how easy it is for my awkward self to strike up conversations with complete strangers. In fact, I think sometimes I scare them with friendliness. Such a difference from the person I was two years ago.

We have had quite the month. Several weeks ago, I wiped out on the treadmill at the gym in front of everybody in the world. It hurt, but not too bad, so I kept going. The adrenaline kick got me up to 3.5 miles for the first time ever. Then I got off the treadmill, and the pain started. I'd burned off the skin in three spots on my knee. It's still healing. I will have a sweet scar.

On the 15th, Grace got some kind of stomach horror and lay on the couch moaning for two days. She was truly miserable, but I'm not very nurturing, which makes me the worst mother to have while sick. Sorry, kids. I try.

On the 22nd, we had Grace's birthday party. She shared it with her friend who was born the day after her. I've never done a birthday party for one of my kids before. Just the idea of planning and executing something like that for a bunch of toddlers and preschools made me spontaneously break into hives. But we kept it really small, and it was at my friend's house, and she did all the planning, so basically I just had to show up with a cake and some balloons.

I failed on the balloons, though, because there is a worldwide helium shortage. Seriously. I'd heard that earlier this year, but thought that the person who told me had gotten her facts confused and muddled (I do this all the time, so I just assume other people do, too). But no. It's a real thing. Helium shortage. No more helium. I know.

But here's the cake:

It's really nice to have a friend as warped as I am who also has a kid the same age as mine.

Her son specifically asked for a blue T-rex cake for his birthday, and Grace is all about princesses. But she's also all about mayhem and destruction, so this seemed like a good idea. I think the cake lady thought we were crazy. A friend asked on Facebook if any of the little girls at the party were upset. Hahahah! Preschoolers are a bloodthirsty bunch. I don't care how cute they look. You can fight it or deny, but it's way more fun to just work with it.

The party was fun, but that night I went home and got really sick, too. So that was not awesome. Oddly enough, I only threw up once (violently, though), and then had this irresistible craving or spaghetti with the cheap, cheap tomato sauce you get in jars. This continued for two days. I am not pregnant. There is no explanation other than perhaps one of the many things that have gone wrong in my brain.

The week after that (Grace's actual birthday weekend), our church had a retreat up in Provo canyon, quite possibly one of the most lovely places on Earth. I, of course, forgot my Ambien. The rooms we stayed in had these horrible heaters. There was a thermostat, but I'm pretty sure it was just for show because our choices were (a) Arctic wasteland or (b) Surface of the sun. I spent all night the first night stuck to the ceiling by my fingernails chittering at anything that moved. Ambien withdrawal is super fun.

The next day was still really fun. I'd stumble around every once in a while and groan about braaaaiiins, but mostly it was good. And the next night was much better. Sunday, the girls cried half the way home because they'd had such a fantastic time, and then--drumroll please--THEY BOTH SLEPT IN THE CAR. You have no idea. This has not happened to either of them since they were six months old. It was magical.

Grace is now telling everyone every day that it is her birthday. Packages began trickling in the week after her birthday party, then my friend made a cake for the kids on the retreat, and then she got some more packages that week. We need some birthday detox up in here. She threw a fit at school because a little boy had a birthday and she didn't. OHMYGOSH.

Speaking of preschool--and this, more than anything else this month, is the reason I've hardly been here--, Grace is loving it.

The other night I had a nightmare that both kids were in school and had to be there by 8 in the morning, and it was, like 7:55. When I woke up, I thought, "Oh, thank goodness! There's no way I could do that!" and then realized that yes, someday I will have to get both kids dressed, fed, clean, and out the door by some unholy hour starting with a number smaller than 8.

Baby steps.

Before Grace's preschool started, I started making my gym appointments earlier and earlier in the morning, gradually moving from 10:30 all the way to 9:00.

I know you people are mocking me, but I have been pretty hard to wake in the morning for as long as I can remember, and the Ambien has only made it worse. I take half a pill around 10:30 (any earlier, and I can't go to sleep at all). It's supposed to wear off very quickly, but it makes me extremely groggy in the mornings. I have to climb out of a pool of Jello just to get myself to the point where I can handle human speech (it was only slightly better before I started taking heavy duty drugs).

If I don't take something for sleep, I'm a monster all of the time, so, you know, it's a good trade. Unisom was even worse. Half a Unisom would probably not help me sleep, but it would make me useless for the next 15 hours. It's ridiculous.

The change in routine is what has made everything explode in my brain, though. When we first moved here, it was really hard for me to keep up with housework and the care of children and having a real social life. Then I figured out routines, and it was all good. I now do an okay job of keeping the house pretty neat, and the kids are relatively happy and well-cared-for. Now preschool has happened, and I am learning all over again. You'd think it would be easier, with me getting going earlier in the morning, and having only the one child, but no. We're talking about me, which means I'll have a handle on it by December. Just in time for Christmas break. Hopefully you will hear from me again before then.

If not, please know that life is good, and we are happy and healthy. But my brain can only do so much.