Thursday, November 30, 2006

New disciplinary tactic

So here's what I'm going to try. I'm going to put neon colored stickers on the things that are no-no's in the kitchen as a visual reminder to Kitten. There will be no more warnings on marked items, only an immediate time out when those items are touched.

Kitten has gotten used to getting away with the first touch and tends to try to get those in now when we aren't looking, although she gives herself away by either banging the cabinet door, staying too long at whatever she is doing, or showing up in the livingroom with pasta. I am hoping this new tactic will stop her from doing the things she knows are wrong at least most of the time.

Show me some love, Kenmore

I finally got Pants to commit to a new fridge and dishwasher today. As of Saturday, I will have two new appliances! No word on when the stove and microwave ("That's from the Carter Administration!") will go.

We're all getting fat

Except Kitten, she's dropped some weight since the walking took off. I also took the RealAge test and took the test for Kitten's future RealAge and saw immediately some room for improvement. And Kitten is getting much more interested in the TV now, so it's time to start controlling that monster.

So, ala Ms. Huis, I am setting some goals for the month of December:
  • TV goes off at 11:00 a.m. and stays off until at least 5:30 p.m., unless Kitten is napping. This will reduce my stress, I think, and generally keep the TV off even during naps due to my usual laziness.
  • Kitten will eat at least 3 fruits and vegetables daily, and so will I. I have recently found frozen, microwavable single servings of corn and broccoli with cheese, and these are actually kind of nice as a snack. Kitten still gets most of her vegetables from Gerber, as she won't eat formed vegetables, and certainly won't let anything green pass her lips. That does leave us with all of the orange vegetables, however, and that should be alright.
  • I will eat breakfast daily, and that does not consist of Caribou Coffee bars. I have cereal, for crying out loud. Kitten already eats breakfast daily, she would not have it any other way. Aren't kids amazing, eating when they're hungry and stopping when they're not?
  • I will pick up a case of water tomorrow and drink at least two bottles per day. Kitten will only drink water from the bottles now, so this will help her water intake too.
  • We will go to an actual mall twice in December where I can put her on the leash and let her roam and walk a little bit more than normal - she is usually strapped in a cart. We will also go to Underwater World at MOA this month, as I have been meaning to because she is so thrilled by fish and my time at home is running out.
A little too ambitious? Probably. We'll see how it goes.

Ze nursing, she is done

I don't know why that had to be in a fake French accent, but there it is.

Meimei has decided to remove herself from the boob. We secretly think Kitten took her aside to tell her what a chump she was, that if she just held out we would give her a bottle.

After my cystoscopy, they gave me three days of preventive antibiotics (since they had just shoved a camera into my bladder), and then you have to allow two days for them to leave your system. I had not been warned that this was coming, not that it would have mattered. But Meimei never got back to nursing as well after that last stint on the bottle.

Maybe it was because she was becoming more aware and figured out it was easier. Maybe I wasn't persistant enough. Maybe I should have pumped more during the 5 days I had to (although, to be fair, feeding and entertaining two small children doesn't leave much time left over for hooking myself up to the milking machine for 20-40 minutes every few hours). Maybe it was because Pants started feeding her with a larger nipple so it "wouldn't take so long." Whatever it was, she has decided to reject nursing and switch herself to a bottle.

So after 3 months, we are no longer breastfeeding. I am stopping completely today so that my milk dries up and I no longer have to wear nursing bras and breast pads for a kid I am forcing to nurse for 5 minutes a day. I would like to go to bed without a bra for the first time in nearly a year. I would like to do this all at once so as not to prolong the uncomfortable fullness that is currently only in one breast but will most surely be in both by the end of the evening.

So that's it. It's on to the bottle. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Must. Stop. Spending.

I have to quit spending money on the holidays. On the other hand, I ordered an awesome Johnny Cash t-shirt for Kitten last night from

Other recent purchases:
Christmas tree skirt (needed)
Giant stocking to hold Christmas cards (not needed)
Stocking stuffers (debatable)
Faucet cover for bath (needed, also from pacifier)
Majorette Daisy ornament from several years ago, part of a Mickey marching band series that we own the rest of, for Pants's Mickey tree (needed?)
Poinsettia Fairy ornament from series that began last year, which I am purchasing for the girls each year for their trees, and which Meimei did not get for Christmas last year due to her non-existence at the time (or at least my ignorance of her existence, as apparently she did indeed exist by Christmas), and which has almost doubled in value (?)
Wreath (needed, and half off)
Wired Ribbon for wreath (needed and cheaper than the premade wreath ribbons)
Other assorted Christmas tree ornaments and stuff, like boxes to separate stuff for trees (four trees in this house), wreath hanger for door, etc. etc. blah blah blah.

So my commitment not to spend much for Christmas this year is already in the toilet, right next to my commitment not to eat the whole box of turtles I ordered from the kid next door in one sitting. And I haven't even bought anything for my SIL (my name from the gift draw, although I know what I'm getting her), any of my parents, or my step-siblings except one gift card for the newly-married couple, which I may just use for myself and get them the same thing that the other married couple is getting, which is a breakfast gift pack with pancake mix, syrup, coffee, and one or two other things. Cheaper than a gift card, which always looks cheap if you only put $15 or $20 bucks on it for a couple, and it follows the Simplify Your Christmas rule of getting consumables for people you don't know what to buy for.

Dear God, this season is expensive when you are cooped up at home and itching to get out and spend.

Two more expenses: Meimei's rescheduled three-month pictures today and our "free" Antiquities picture sitting next week. Plus finishing Meimei's announcements and getting stamps on all of those and all of the Christmas cards. And no, they won't fit in the same envelope, that was already suggested to me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Major suckage

Meimei was fine on the couch, but I was stupid and stayed up until 12:30 and she woke up not long after. Which was fine, I just pulled her in with me. It was the hour we were up at 5:45 this morning that's really going to bite later. We're having nursing issues, but that's another story.

Now I feel like crap

Due only to many pushy comments by MIL and Pants regarding the fact that Meimei still sleeps with me, I picked up Dr. Sears's book on baby sleeping, thinking I could get some good advice on getting Meimei to sleep in her own crib, or maybe an idea on when that would best be accomplished.

Little did I know, he is a strong advocate of baby sleeping with you until they are, like, 5. And that you shouldn't let kids cry in their crib, alone. Man, do I feel guilty now for allowing Kitten to do just that. Although she cried when we held her at the time, too, so it didn't seem to matter where she was.

So Dr. Sears said that I should sleep with Meimei for YEARS until she is ready to go into her own bed, and then we could put a bed on the floor next to our bed, and then slowly move her into another room. Are you kidding me?

So here is what I have decided. Meimei appears to be fine on her own, so she will start going into the crib after she is asleep for naps all this coming week, even if she only sleeps for 15 minutes at a time. It will suck and I will get nothing done and she will be cranky and tired, but I think it has to be done. She is asleep on the couch now, so I will leave her be and sleep on the other couch until she wakes up to eat. I will try this for at least her first night sleep session each night this week and will see what happens.

The single, overriding reason I don't want to put her in her crib at this point is convenience (and also my secret guilt about the one screw missing in the crib that I have not replaced yet because it involves calling the company instead of just ordering it over the internet). During naps, when she sleeps on the couch she is very accessible and I can put a nuk in her at the first sign of stirring so she stays asleep. And also, she seems to sleep longer on the couch. But, okay, we only put her in the crib twice, so I don't have much of a base of data to go on. At night, I think she sleeps longer next to me, which gives me more sleep, and I can catch her before she is fully awake so she can just feed and fall asleep again. Convenience and more sleep for everyone involved.

But I will attempt this anyway, as I am back to work in just over a month and Meimei will have to take naps in a crib. Yikes. I hope we don't get kicked out of daycare.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My child has a leash

I have purchased a harness and leash for my daughter. This is something I absolutely swore I would never do before I had kids (like feeding them hot dogs and Kraft Mac & Cheese) but that I buckled under and did as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I misunderstood the entire purpose of the leash, as I have done with so many other baby items.

I thought the leash was meant to keep them safe from strangers who wanted to grab them. Turns out, it's meant to keep them safe from their own worst instincts, i.e. - Kitten's instinct to run off at the first opportunity and play with whatever is at her level.

My MIL is horrified by the leash and thinks it would make her look like a dog. Which doesn't really matter, because in her presence, there are usually plenty of people available to watch both children like hawks and provide whatever attention they need the second they need it. When I'm alone, there's only one of me and two of them.

My mother is wise enough not to weigh in, or at least far enough away not to be embarrassed.

So what's your thought? And let me preface this by saying I really don't care whay you think, but I'm curious where people stand on it. I will continue to stake my daughter out in the yard on her leash when she annoys me, no matter what you say. Oh wait, was that out loud?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Pants left an open bag of Fruity Cheerios on the table and Kitten grabbed the end of it this morning (her reach is getting longer and longer) and pulled it off the table, dumping the whole thing on the floor.

Does this count as feeding her breakfast?

Monday, November 20, 2006

The MILF of 1985

One night, probably a Sunday, in 4th grade, I remembered our science projects were due the next day for the science fair. It was about 7 p.m. and I panicked and cried. But my mom built me a solar system out of old shirt boxes that we saved for Christmas, a long strip of wood to steady the thin cardboard, and several styrofoam balls she ran out and purchased from who-knows-where. We colored the whole thing with a black marker and painted orbits on with white-out.

Another time, I told mom in the morning that it was my week to bring a snack for Girl Scouts, which was immediately after school. There was, again, crying involved. I don't know how she did it, but she showed up with cookies for the meeting.

And for Halloween one year, I insisted on being an Ewok. Yes, Jedi had just come out, my brother and I had seen it 3 times in the theater, and they were the cutest little beings ever invented (to me, all you cynical Star Wars snobs). I still have the surprisingly good stuffed Ewok I got for Christmas that year. But the stores did not have Ewok costumes, unlike today when they would capitalize on the popularity shamelessly until every kid hated them. So my mom bought yards of fake fur and MADE me a costume. I believe she even took the day off on Halloween to finish it so I would have my wish (there might have been some procrastination involved on her part, but this is her post, so we won't beat that horse, just know that I come by it honestly). And I had the coolest costume ever. And the warmest.

And yeah, my mom was the hot mom.

(Something reminded me of the science fair project and all these other things came back. You rock mom!)

Why the last name?

You may have noticed I have added a last name to my blog. It was just to correct a template error. Now you know how worthless I am with HTML.

Great hell, thy name is Teletubby

P.S. - my kid is in love with Teletubbies. I accidently left channel 22 on for a few minutes after Sesame Street was over while we got ready to leave, but when the Teletubbies came on, she was actually squealing in delight over it. Of all the inane, brain melting crap, she has to love this.

At least it's not Barney. I draw the line at watching Barney. And yes. We now watch Teletubbies because it provides me with another half hour in which I will not lose my fricken mind.

Anyone know a good plumber?

Well, the furnace debacle is pretty much over, my having convinced Pants that the banging was a non-issue. I don't know what was up with the power cutting off, but oh well. It hasn't happened since.

However, Pants figured out yesterday when I ran Meimei a bath that it's the faucet that's leaking upstairs. We thought it only happened when we took showers, but apparently it's whenever we run the bathtub faucet, so we have to get it fixed ASAP. It's the only tub in the house and while Meimei can get a bath in the sink, Kitten's a bit big for that. And more than a bit mischievous.

Appliances are on sale again on Saturday and I think I'm going for it. If we have to call a plumber, we might as well have a new dishwasher hooked up at the same time. And the ice maker. We tried hooking up the ice maker ourselves in the old house and flooded the kitchen several times. We never got it working.

In the meantime, I'm working on getting through the laundry and getting stuff on the walls. I hope to get the cabinet and wall hangings done in the bathroom downstairs today. Dining room is done and I'm still working on the wall space above the TV in the living room, but I screwed up my measurements and I'm trying to decide what to do, so I'm stalled out until I figure it out. I should know better not to try to hang four item symmetrically - nothing ever works that well.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Random Thoughts

I can handle the constant energy until she just drops like a puppy. I can handle the crankiness and even the whining when I know it's teething or hungry or tired. But when every vocalization to cross her lips is at volume 25, and by the end of the day I have to scrape her screams off my eyeballs, that is a long, hard day.

We actually have useable space downstairs. We had a fire today while Kitten was sleeping and we worked on it a little more. We think the main root of the heating problem down there now is the open access to the uninsulated well area, although I am still researching fireplace doors. Yeah, duh, that giant open area right under the stairs that's really cold? That one? That might be sucking all the heat out of the house. I also can't find a vent in the main room. Is that something I can add? With a suspended ceiling?

We are slowly getting the house together, putting things on the walls. And adding to the list of things that need to get done. Now we have to insulate the well and/or put in an insulated door, we've started removing the wall paper downstairs, we want to build in the bookshelves that are currently just the 70's bracket shelves, change out the carpet... It never ends.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The joy of denial

Let me just say that denial, when used correctly, is quite a useful tool. There are times and places for denial.

Let me provide an example: When I was in the hospital awaiting my gall bladder surgery, which we weren't sure when it would take place because it was the weekend and my case was no longer an emergency, someone asked me if I was scared. I wasn't because I was in total denial. I had done what I needed to do: gotten myself to the emergency room while still leaving my kids cared for, worked out the whole nursing-while-in-hospital thing, made the decision to have the surgery immediately instead of coming back in a week or two, etc. Then I blissfully put it out of my mind. Why dwell? All emergent issues were taken care of, the decisions were made. Time to read my O! magazine and watch HGTV. This, my friends, is the time for denial.

Another wonderful time for denial is while you are waiting to have your kid. No sense dwelling, it's going to be what it is. Just go with the flow.

Blood in your urine? Call the doctor, set up the appointment, go on your merry way. Don't look it up on the internet and decide you have cancer. Don't put these thoughts in your head, just let the doctors work it out.

So folks, do what needs to be done and then let the chips fall after that. There are things you can control and things you can't. Control the ones you can and let the rest go.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I just slept through half of Sesame Street and woke up for Elmo's World. I don't even know what the number of the day is.

I had my Cystoscopy done and I am fine. No detectable problems with the plumbing. The test wasn't as bad as I thought it would be during the test, but it hurt to pee for three days after.

We are now actively trying to keep Kitten saying Buttcrack. She repeats it occasionally, but she really likes to say Cracker.

The Zantac does not work for Meimei, as it didn't for Kitten, and I am currently giving Meimei Kitten's leftover Prevacid until I can call the doctor again.

I think the furnace banging is harmless old-house stuff. I don't think it's the furnace, I think it's the ducts. Anyway, the furnace debacle is ongoing. It may be an electrical problem, although the power hasn't cut again since that one morning.

I am going to pick up the kids' pictures today and schedule a new 3 month sitting for Meimei. She has a new (gorgeous!) outfit and it will just be her. I am hoping for some cute pics, she is even more smiley now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Well, crap

The power is surging when the furnace kicks on. Bad. I finally talked Pants into appliances and now it's been scrapped for furnace replacement. Damn.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Who I am

For the month, while I cannot really write daily, as stuff usually comes up, I am working to blog as much as I can and I am focusing on myself and introspection. I know, I know, "Woo hoo, Syl's philosophical crap all month!" So come or go, it's my site.

So this is who I am. I am someone who, if she schedules with you, schedules the rest of the day or at least several hours longer than anything actually takes. I do not, stack appointments, or if I do, I freak out all day that things will run over time and I will have to inconvenience someone. I don't like to tell people no, so I don't overschedule if I can help it.

This has a double benefit in that, with any extra time, I can usually spend some time with myself. As an introvert, this is priceless.

Pants is the kind of person who schedules as much in a day as possible, which can cause conflict. Case in point: my dad has invited us for a barbecue on Saturday, starting at 3. We are going, but Pants also wants to catch a movie afterward with a friend (The Departed). This works at this point because we usually have to be home early anyway to put Kitten to bed, but in the past it's been the point of contention - Pants made plans on a day when we were going to my dad's house. Because my dad is like me - plans for the whole day.

And maybe that is why I do it, too. My dad plans for the whole day. My mom plans for the whole day, or at least used to expect me to follow along with whatever plans she had made for the day. So when I make plans, I often just schedule out the day and put someone else in the driver's seat. I'll do whatever you want to do, for as long as you want to do it. (Zip it, Jaysan)

So going forward, I will work on asserting my will, or at least attempting to have one. Maybe that's really the issue: I don't think my plans are worth someone else's (see how valuable this writing stuff is? better than therapy!). I don't think my time is worth someone else's.

It all comes back to me not asking for what I want or need because, deep down, I don't feel like it's as important as other's needs. It's funny how this one thing seeps it's way into everything. Go figure.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ok, so this is the only recent picture of me where I don't look incredibly weird or that isn't 5 minutes after I gave birth. So here's my new picture, since I'm upgrading everything and all. But yes, I am knocked up in the picture. Does it look like I'm getting the creepy "V" ring around my neck? Does that make Meimei an alien lizard baby?

The coolest people ever

Ok, I have the best friends ever.

By next, I guess I was wondering why I don't have one big overriding dream. Maybe I was coveting someone else's life again. Maybe it's just a fun tagline, like the stock answer we all have for the question "Tell me something interesting about yourself." (I once lived with a murderer. Not really that interesting, but it makes a great lead-in.)

You know what's really sad about a "lifelong dream?" It sounds like something you will never accomplish. Maybe that's why I don't have one. I can't think of much I would want to do that I don't believe I could do. And in a lot of ways, my friends are responsible for that. I have kayaked Lake Superior, rock-climbed somewhere other than a pre-fab wall, given birth with only a marginally effective epidural (ok, none of you helped with that one), and looked deep into my own dark corners and came out still standing.

So maybe I don't have a lifelong dream because when I want to do something, I do it. And that's a pretty satisfying feeling.

Once again, you ladies are the best friends a girl could have.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In need of a dream

The wife of a friend of ours recently passed away at the age of 30, which always gets you thinking. Apparently, her lifelong dream was to swim with the dolphins, which she never got to do. Pants was horrified. We figured it would probably have cost $1000 to $2000 to go down to Florida and do it. And for a lifelong dream, isn't it worth it to just spend the money and do it, especially considering you could die at any time?

Anyway, Pants wanted to know if there was anything in my heart of hearts that I absolutely had to do before I died so we could start planning to do it. Isn't he the best? But, to my own horror, I could not think of one thing. I can certainly think of a list of things that I would like to do before I die, but none of them are so important as to be mentioned at my funeral 3 times during eulogies.

And it kind of started to scare me. Do I have no dreams for myself? If you stop dreaming, you die. I don't remember who said that, but this whole thing has me freaked out. Have I had so great a life that there is nothing else I am burning to do? I do get to do a lot of things others don't dare (adventure weekends, traveling abroad), but isn't there something else, something beautiful, poignant, or daring.

So what is your lifelong dream? And if you have heard me say anything about it, what is mine?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Random Thoughts

My dryer lint is pink. And sparkly.

I have had about an eighth of a glass of wine and I am buzzed. And sleepy.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's cold downstairs

Kitten has been waking up at night and Pants thinks it might be because it's too cold in the basement. So we bought a space heater for her room.

MIL's first response was to move her door immediately so it's off the main room instead of the office. But the whole basement is cold, so that won't work.

Second response was to move her up to Meimei's room. But then where does she go? Certainly not in together, Kitten will be up all night.

Third was to move her into our room and we take hers. Um, no.

The real issue for MIL is that she thinks as soon as we turn on the space heater and leave the room it will set our toddler ablaze in a great conflagration and kill us all. I bought a very safe space heater - automatic shutoff if it tips or overheats, thermostat to make sure the temperature stays even, housing that's cool to the touch. And, frankly, Kitten has no interest in climbing out of the crib and will most likely have to be forcibly evicted from it when she goes to college. So the space heater? Not getting knocked over or touched in any way at night.

And this isn't a permanent solution. The permanent solution is to figure out why the basement is so cold all the time and fix it. I fixed all the upstairs vents, but that hasn't fixed the problem.

The one piece of good advice we got from MIL? Glass doors on the fireplace. The fireplace has no doors and is probably letting a lot of heat out, even with the damper closed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ain't what it used to be

So MIL calls today and says she will come over if we want to go out and catch a movie or dinner. Holy crap, a movie? What's playing?

Running With Scissors looks good (The Departed is a bit violent for this girl and The Last King of Scotland is only playing at the Lagoon), so I look online for times. Pants wants to find something earlier than the 7:25 in Maple Grove that we have a gift certificate for, but the only other truly viable option is a 6:15 in Coon Rapids. It's already 6:04 and no MIL in sight, so we're not making that movie.

Instead of showering during naptime, I spent the entire time cleaning the kitchen so we don't look like neanderthals. Hours later, at about 5, this is done. I start getting dinner ready for Kitten and realize I have crap all over my shirt. So I have to change my shirt for the second time today. My pants are okay, I just purchased them today and left them on after trying them out at home.

No shower, not sure if we're going to see a movie, probably not even going to get any. Dating sure has changed.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Up before the dawn

Ok, it's not before dawn, but it is before the kids get up. Except now Meimei is crying.

Now they're both up. But they are both dressed and Sesame Street is on.

So I was thinking. What will I do when my life is not taken up with feeding and changing and burping and the like. What will I do when they both go to sleep at 7? So here's a short list:

Unpack the rest of my boxes.
Decorate for Christmas.
Paint my toenails.
Hang things on the walls.
Watch a movie.
Measure my kitchen and play with cabinet layouts.
Measure my bathroom and play with remodel layouts.

What would you do with a few extra minutes?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ladybug Infestation

Halloween at Syl's house was a bust - we didn't get one trick-or-treater. So now we have butt-loads of candy and no will power. I can resist the Bottle Caps, but the Snickers with almonds? Not so much.

So the girls were ladybugs again this year. It's a good thing Halloween isn't on November 4, Meimei may not have fit into this bunting.

Kitten is walking all over the place, constantly making laps around the kitchen all day. Unless I am feeding Meimei or would like to be otherwise engaged, in which case she will stop whatever she is doing and want to be held.

We did Christmas pictures today and we actually got one of them together that will work. Kitten's 18-month pictures turned out great, of course, as they always do, with almost all being exceedingly cute and only a couple looking a little gorky. Meimei was not so lucky, however, and I think I will have to take her back in and have hers done again for her 3-month shots.

And yes, Kitten is crying on my leg while I tell her to say cheese for the camera. She doesn't like stuff on her head. Winter should be fun.