Friday, December 17, 2010

Odds and Ends

Along with everyone else, we have also been ill the past week. Stomach ill. I'm hoping this means a sick-free holiday, but I'm not sure I can be that lucky.

We have discovered that we have mice. A few other things we've discovered:
  • Those stupid sound-emitter things that supposedly will drive rodents out of the house DO NOT WORK.
  • Traps built to hide the mouse body after it dies DO NOT WORK.
  • Mice never travel alone.
Three days ago, Pants purchased a pack of "old trusty" mousetraps and a pack of glue strips. He also gave me crap for how much I spent on the other two methods that had not caught even one mouse. It did not help that his "old trusty" caught one within an hour. AN HOUR. WHILE WE WERE ALL STILL UP. But it's not the snap-traps that bother me - it's the glue traps. They work like gangbusters but I hate listening to the mouse struggle in the cabinet for so long. Pants hates that they are still looking at him, pleading, when he takes them out to the trash. We both prefer the quick snap/immediate death approach.

I don't have a Christmas tree up yet, nor do we have stockings or anything else up. It would be much easier if we weren't sick every year from October 31 through the new year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Second opinion

We got our diagnosis on Kitten and she has ADHD. The doctor immediately prescribed medication.

I asked if this was the first line of treatment. She said yes, for the kinds of numbers on her assessment.

I asked if there was additional behavioral therapy we could get in addition to the medication. She said no, she only referred people to behavioral therapists if their children had disciplinary problems.

I said that she gets so frustrated that she routinely melts down at the slightest provocation and can't seem to pull herself out of it. She said that Kitten was probably just frustrated throughout the day and was releasing that at home, maybe it would get better if the medication could help her focus during the day and not get so frustrated.

I filled the prescription with a lump in my throat. I didn't give it to her over the weekend.

And then Monday she threw up. And Tuesday I couldn't find it.

By Tuesday, I had decided to try it. ADHD medication is fast-acting - you don't have to let it build up in your bloodstream over a couple of weeks, it works on the first day. It is active for 8-10 hours in the bloodstream and then wears off. Most are psycho-stimulants that excite the nueron receptors to work harder, better. While it sounds counterproductive to give a hyperactive kid a stimulant, there is science behind it. Because it works for a specific period of time and then moves out of her system, I'm willing to give it a trial. We can always go off it.

On Wednesday, over Pants' strenuous objections, I gave Kitten the medicine. The doctor prescribed one in a capsule that we could break open and dump into a small amount of applesauce for her to eat. The drug won't lose it's efficacy by taking it this way, as long as it is not chewed or dissolved in the mouth.

Kitten's teacher emailed me at the end of the school day and said that, while it didn't solve all of her issues (Kitten still stood in the classroom in a daze until she had to be told to put away her things), she was able to focus all day and finish all of her schoolwork. Success!

Whem Kitten came home on Wednesday night, she was absolutely bouncing off the walls. Flying around like she was on crack. Swimming lessons were terrible - she flailed around like she couldn't control herself or forgot what she was supposed to be doing. She stayed up a bit later than usual, but nothing horrible.

Thursday night was better, not quite so manic, but the coordinator at the after-school program had noticed her hyperactivity that afternoon. I had given her the meds a half hour earlier that morning. It appears she has a period of intense hyperactivity when she is coming down.

Friday night, tonight, her third day on the meds, and she has been a complete basket case. I can't say in the short time we've used the drug that the meltdowns are really worse, but I'm watching. Other than that, it appears that her appetite at home has been fine (some kids stop being hungry) and she is only staying up a little bit past bedtime, not anything serious. The bonus side affect seems to be regularity, something she's struggled with for years.

But I can attest that the drug is not a cure-all. Kitten still needs some help expressing herself, recognizing inattention and correcting it, and I need some advice on helping her with daily routines. After only a few days, I know I need some behavioral therapy.

I have asked another mom how her child was treated and if there was any therapy in addition to medication. We talked for a bit and when it was clear her doctor's theories matched mine, I called to make another appointment. I want another opinion, another approach.

I won't necessarily take her off the medication. It definitely seems to be helping at school and she is on the lowest dose possible. But I want some more tools for the inattention, the inability to break down a task into smaller actions, the difficulty with concepts of time and other abstract concepts. I want to get her some help with her emotional outbursts and her anxiety issues. The medication-only approach does not work for me - I want more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The end of lazy parenting

School conferences a couple of weeks ago. Nerve-wracking. It's hard not to take it as a judgment on your parenting skills. And you know it's not going to be all sunshine and rainbows when the papers have been coming home from school with "Late" and "had to stay in from recess to finish."

So yeah, some very measurable and disturbing behaviors going on in the classroom:
  • Kitten has trouble following instructions, especially if they involve multiple steps. She quite clearly gets through one or two steps and loses it.
  • The teacher consistently has to address her specifically when it's time to start an assignment. She is usually off in her own world.
  • Kitten is the first kid in the classroom in the morning, but almost always the last kid to get her coat and backpack off. She usually just stands there and watches the other kids.
  • Kitten often loses things, leaves the cap off her glue sticks, has papers and other things stuffed in her cubby, and just generally has difficulty keeping track of things. She has lost her coat/jacket/sweatshirt, left her water bottle at school, lost her glasses, and numerous other items.
So we had an assessment done this week with a doctor that specializes in ADHD. We haven't reached a diagnosis yet, but it's pretty clear that there is some kind of issue that needs to be addressed so she can focus on her school work.

I think we both secretly knew there would be an issue. She's bright, she's personable, but she can't stay on task to save her life. I can't send her to her room to clean it - she doesn't know what to do or where to start. We can't get out of the house without a crying, screaming melt-down most days.

We're not sure where we are going with this. We don't think we're ready to medicate our kindergartner, but I don't know where else to find help making the appropriate behavioral and environmental changes so she can learn. I've read that medicating children doesn't teach them how to develop the skills they'll need, but these grades are also the foundations of reading, writing, and mathematical skills and I feel like I can't allow her to get behind, either.

I have no fricking clue what we're going to do from here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To unfriend or not to unfriend

Occasionally, I take to my blog to write about my in-laws because they don't know I'm here.

Pants' brother and his wife got a divorce very recently. Pants insists the papers are signed and its done, but it's so soon I'm not sure that's true. There is no child support, no alimony, no muss, no fuss. She moved him into a nearby townhouse that she pays part of the rent on and they can't sell their house because they got the First Time Home Buyer's credit and have to stay there another 18 months or pay back the $8000. But whatever yanks your chain.

My problem is the overshare. I'm FB friends with her, with their kids, and now with him because he just joined up for unknown reasons (so very unlike him). It's nice to keep tabs on the kids and it's always been easy to share pictures, say hi occasionally, etc.

But she's been posting song lyrics for a few months and, knowing what I know, I can't help but read into them. It only became uncomfortable, though, when she changed her FB relationship status to single the day he moved out. I read all of the comments running the gamut from congratulations to WTF. I don't think you should announce your divorce on FB, but I'm not sure how else one navigates this type of thing.

But it was so much worse when she switched her status on Monday to "in a relationship." It's not my place to judge but I am SO JUDGING HER so I've just chosen to keep my trap shut and not comment and just monitor the situation from a comfortable distance.

Then she sent me and Pants' sister a (joint) direct message, dragging me into the fray. It's all about how she loves us and she totally gets that we might unfriend her on FB because of the divorce and she's lost some people on there since then and whatever we decide is totally fine with her and she'll understand. It does not feel genuine, it feels like I am being asked to choose, like she is tallying her belongings after the tornado and am I staying or going, I would like to put you on the list in the right column please.

Aside from this message directed at me that seems specifically designed to create drama where there wasn't any, the only thing that actually makes me want to unfriend her is not that she's "in a relationship," but that she felt the need to announce it to the world. A world that includes her 12 and 13 year old daughters who had no inkling any of this was coming just two months ago.

Maybe it's the wanton selfishness, destruction, and ignorance of that destruction that I'm having a tough time swallowing. She may think she's been "divorced in her mind" for a long time, but the girls were in an intact family two months ago. Maybe she could cut them a little slack before trotting in a new man? Because it's not just about her wants and needs this time through the dating pool?

Do I tell her that she might be hurting her kids, since they are part of my family and as an adult, I should try to protect their interests? Or do I continue to keep my opinions to myself, since that's all they are?

Monday, August 09, 2010

I vaccinate

I may be opening a can of worms here, but I vaccinate my kids. For everything.

I just watched the PBS documentary Frontline: The Vaccination Wars (you can stream it on Netflix) and it's a subject that is close to me. I didn't really realize why until I watched it.

They made the distinction that the vast majority of parents of young children today don't have personal experience with the devastation of polio, small pox, mumps, measles, or pertussis. Previous generations didn't have to be sold on vaccines - they saw the proof growing up. Our generation grew up without most of these diseases and it's easier to be concerned about what the vaccines are doing than what they are preventing. When you don't see it, it's more like the boogey-man - it just doesn't seem real.

These diseases are real. My grandmother had polio as a child. Her life was severely shortened, and she had a huge hump on one shoulder, affecting her gait, her height, everything. Her body was destroyed by the disease. I saw first-hand what polio can do to a person. Polio has lived endemically for centuries, but began to become epidemic in the late 1800s in Europe and was the most feared childhood illness of the 20th Century in America, as it is highly contagious through basic contact. Factors affecting the severity of the disease include tonsillectomy and pregnancy. 90% of those infected show no symptoms at all, but the remaining 10% of cases can have the virus attacking motor neurons which causes paralysis and the deformities we see in pictures. Polio is one of two diseases marked for global eradication through vaccination, but there continues to be around 1000 infections per year worldwide. Polio survivors are one of the largest disabled groups in the world.

A friend of mine recently told me that she would not be vaccinating her child because the diseases we vaccinate for don't occur in the US. But people in the US travel abroad all the time and anyone can bring something home. The Hammer's daycare center recently had to report that a child in the center, who chose to remain anonymous, had a case of Pertussis, or whooping cough. In fact, there was an outbreak in MN. Frontline had a video of a 6 week old baby with Pertussis and it was horrifying - she literally could not get a breath in because of the fluid in her lungs and you can see the panic in her face. It's human instinct to fight for air when you can't breathe, even when you're 6 weeks old.

Most parents today had chicken pox as children - I did. It was seen as a rite of passage, something your parents exposed you to so you could get it out of the way. I was very sick when I had mine, lethargic, feverish, barely ate. Apparently, most children who die from chicken pox, however, die from an infection that enters where lesions have been scratched, usually staph or strep. Chicken pox infections are severe for adult males and pregnant women, and the virus can reactivate at any time, causing shingles. Shingles causes an extremely painful rash resulting from the toxin becoming active again in the nerve tissues it continues to inhabit for the rest of your life if you have had chickenpox.

Many of us don't know what happens when some of these diseases take hold. We know that the mumps will make your throat huge and sore, but it can also make a child deaf or cause nerve damage. If adolescent or adult males are infected with the mumps virus, about 30% will see their testicles infected, which is extremely painful and can cause atrophy or infertility. Pregnant women in the first trimester who contract mumps will miscarry around 27% of the time. There was an outbreak of over 6000 cases of mumps in 2006 attributed largely to young university students.

Measles is actually a respiratory infection that also causes a rash and it's highly infectious - 90% of people with no immunity will contract it if they are in regular contact with someone who has it. One of the reasons it is so contagious is that it can be transmitted days before the rash appears. Although usually not fatal, complications are common and can be severe. Indiana experienced an outbreak in 2005.

Rubella, or German Measles, is relatively benign, unless contracted by pregnant women. Rubella in pregnant women can kill the fetus, or, if it survives, will cause many severe and irreversible defects. There was a pandemic of Rubella in 1964-65 that affected 1% of all births in New York alone. The vaccine was created in the 1970s and the CDC declared this disease eradicated from the US in 2004, but continue to vaccinate for it due to foreign travel.

Diphtheria can make you seriously ill and cause death. Cardiomyopathy occurs in 20% of cases and peripheral neuropathy in 10%. It can also cause paralysis. Swelling in the lymph nodes during the acute illness can necessitate intubation. It has been nearly eradicated in the US but continues to infect hundreds of thousands every year overseas. The Guinness Book of World Records has named Diphtheria the "Most Resurgent Disease."

Tetanus can cause extremely painful muscle spasms and 11% of cases are fatal in the US. Complete recovery can take months. There are no blood tests to diagnose a tetanus infection - diagnosis is based on the symptoms alone. Tetanus is widely known to come from contact with metal puncturing or slicing the skin, but any cut, wound, or injury that opens the skin can become infected with Tetanus. There are approximately 100 cases of Tetanus in the US annually. Tetanus infects around a million people worldwide each year and kills approximately 30-50% of those who contract it.

Meningitis comes in many forms, it's a name given to inflammation of the meninges, the protective tissues covering the brain and spinal cord, usually due to infection. Four vaccines are given to prevent various causes. Diagnosis of the condition is done by lumbar puncture (they stick a needle into the fluid around your spinal cord and extract some for testing). The doctor's usually won't know exactly what infection caused it, though, so they'll just throw everything they have at you - antibacterials, antivirals, and maybe a corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation. The infection may cause sepsis in the body. The swelling may damage brain or spinal tissue. Mortality is high for infants, low for older children, and oddly, highest of all for adults. In survivors, deafness and cognitive impairment occur in more than 10% of victims.

And finally, the Hepatitis vaccines. Hepatitis is basically an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. About a third of the world's population has been infected with the HepB virus, including the approximately 350 million chronic carriers that can spread the disease at any time through bodily fluids. Infection can either be chronic or self-limiting, meaning it goes away on it's own. Only 30% of young children will be able to clear the infection and the rate drops to 5% of newborns infected by their mothers at birth. Those with chronic infections have a 40% chance of death due to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.

Hepatitis A is spread fecal-to-oral. It also causes inflammation of the liver and although it is rarely fatal in the US, the illness is severe (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, fatigue) and can last 1-3 weeks in children and much longer in adults. Up to 10% of people can experience relapses up to 40 weeks after the initial illness. The most widespread US outbreak occurred in 2003, when over 600 people were infected from tainted green onions served in a restaurant in Pennsylvania.

Growing up watching my grandmother struggle with the after-effects of polio formed my opinions on vaccines. Not everyone has the personal experience I had with her and it's easy to think these diseases don't exist here or aren't dangerous. They do. They are. Consider your choice to vaccinate carefully.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ah, daytime TV, how I have missed the crazy

For reasons I won't go into right now, I am sitting on the couch watching Steve Wilkos with a father and mother accusing their son's girlfriend of killing him (as opposed to him committing suicide). Oh, and they don't think the child involved is their son's biological child.

Let's watch what happens:
Girlfriend: "I had nothing to do with his death! I'm sorry, but your son had mental problems."
Dad: "Just because he was on one 72-hour hold doesn't mean he had mental problems!"

Dad: "Five glasses of vodka ain't nothing! People drink that all the time."
Steve: "Um, that's actually a lot to drink."
Dad: "Maybe for some people, but some people could take that."

Steve: "For that portion of the lie detector test, your answers were truthful."
Dad: "I don't know how you did it, but you beat the test."

Oh, and the kid was the son's child and the parent's would now like to help raise the boy. The mother is insisting the girlfriend go back to school and get on with her life, which is the first sensible thing I've heard from these parents.

Hopefully the dad will get off his boat of denial and figure out that if he wants to be angry, he needs to be angry at his son, not make up stories about other people so he can divert his anger elsewhere. Sometimes people think crazy things after someone they love dies because they can't stand the truth or need to run away from their grief and anger. It's easier to blame someone else and jump into a crusade than to feel all the sadness and pain. But that's all getting a little more serious than a discussion of daytime crazycakes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Random Thoughts

I got my first perfume oil from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, one of the Sins and Salvation set, Envy. I picked it blind by the description that sounded cool, so I immediately put some on to try it and I kinda dug it - what luck! Now, at the end of the day, I realize what it smells like on me - Ralph Lauren Safari. I have managed to blind-select a perfume oil that will make me smell exactly like my mother.

My car has been leaking water from under the dash for almost 2 weeks. At first, I couldn't figure out why my pant leg was getting a little damp in the front - did I spill something? Lean against the car? Then it dribbled out when I was wearing sandals. It was clearly water. After a few days, it started pouring out every time I turned right. When I finally got it in three days ago, they said the drain hole for the AC was clogged and they drained half a gallon of backed up water when they cleaned it out. But now my car is musty and stinky.

Jean diapers? Really?

Seeing a commercial with Tom Bosley makes me realize how young he and Marion Ross must have been when Happy Days was filming.

The new Twilight: Eclipse album is out and it rocks. Seriously, The Black Keys are my new find off it - dirty and funky, a bit of late 60s beatnik feel to it. Hot. Also try Florence + the Machine, UNKLE, or Bat For Lashes (they do an awesome duet with Beck for the movie). Yes, the movies may suck, but the music kills.

I read somewhere that using an antiperspirant in your pits will make you sweat more elsewhere. As I have again encountered my annual summer athlete's foot infection, which I usually can't seem to get rid of, I trying deodorant in hopes that my feet don't sweat as much. First I picked up the JASON Tea Tree deodorant, which was ok, but I found the crystal deodorant, which rocks (excuse the pun). You no longer have to buy a giant rock, you can buy a giant rock in the shape of a roll-on deodorant bottle. And I don't stink! Nor am I really sweating that much more, so no antiperspirant needed. And it's unscented, so no pitty rash for me! Super bonus.

I'm going to be trying some alternate methods for eradicating my athlete's foot this time too, as my kind (moccasin-style that covers the whole foot bottom) is the hardest to get rid of. So here it is - hydrogen peroxide rinse at night, thorough drying and Lamisil AT. I will also be washing all my socks and shoes with Borax to kill the infection there.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Thoughts

Flushing the toilet does not mean you have cleaned the bathroom.

I hate tuna helper. So, apparently, do the children.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest are highly recommended.

AT&T and Apple have conspired to screw me out of an iPhone until November of this year, even though I now have familial permission and funds to buy one.

Pants and I have figured out why they will be allowing iPhone users to upgrade immediately if their upgrade is scheduled anytime this year - they want them to sacrifice their unlimited data plan for one of the slightly cheaper data plans that cap out at 2GB per month.

I am highly attracted to the metallic turquoise nail polish I bought and put on my toes.

The Hammer slept in her underwear for the first time last night. And woke up dry. She has also decided that pooping in the toilet is not a sign of the apocalypse, and it's actually a fabulous way to get M&Ms (or, num-a-nums).

We have not canceled the satellite TV yet, as the cable thieves want to charge us for "activation" per outlet to turn on cable channels in the house. Isn't it just, like, turning on the whole house? We're already wired for cable TV. So we've been sitting on it and haven't pulled the trigger yet.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Trashy Diva, where have you been?

Oh right. I could never fit in your clothes before...

So, I have a couple of "dress casual" type events this summer to attend and I have no clothes to wear. I've been searching for attractive dresses for my anniversary for weeks and nothing.
And lo, I suddenly catch a link from Jezebel comments that leads me to Trashy Diva. And I am in HEAVEN. So now I'm just trying to decide between a couple of options and figure out what size I'll be then.

Option 1: More of a 70's classic styling and probably more versatile in my wardrobe, but made in silk and definitely more expensive:
Option 2: Classic Audrey Hepburn styling with a V back -

Option 3 - 40s style that falls below the knee -Option 4: My absolute fave, hints at retro with a modern feel, but only available up to a size 12 and I'm not sure I can get there from here in time -

Option 5: Classic summer 50s style -

So - which print and which style (some styles are available in multiple prints, like options 3 and 5)? And if I'm a 16 today and it took 6 weeks to get here from 18, and I'm losing 1-2 lbs per week, can I get to a 12 by July? I'm thinking no, 14 is probably what I'm looking at, but maybe you know something I don't.

Ooh - late entry - this is from their clearance section and is still available in L/14. Still somewhat pricey because it's silk crepe de chine, but the clearance price puts it in range of the non-silks above.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Pants: So what are we having for dinner? Did you order a pizza?
Syl: No, I told the girls to ask you what you wanted to do for dinner.
P: You know what they said when they came downstairs? "Lunch is on it's way!"
S: This is the worst game of telephone ever!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Well, it will probably never really be done. But I have had my last required appointment with Dr. Pittman (who was even hotter than I remembered him in khakis and a navy blazer).

He's happy with my progress, didn't think it could really have gone better, and laid out my options and left them in my court.

I can have the hardware taken out if I want. BUT. It would put me back on the couch for a while, require another surgery, and it might be hard to get to the plate in the back. Plus, I already have some numb places on my lower leg, which I assume is a result of nerves being cut during surgery - do I really want more scars, more weird dead spots, more time on the couch and time away from my family?

There are less drastic options. I could have just the outer plate taken out. I can leave all of it in. Or I can come back to have just the top screw taken out, which has backed its way out about an eighth of an inch already. At this point, I'm not considering any surgeries - I'm leaving it all be. If that top screw comes out any more or becomes an issue, I'll talk to him about it.

As far as my activity levels, I have no restrictions except what I place on myself. I bent it and straightened it for him and we talked about my activities and if there was anything I couldn't do. We talked about running, which I can do but which still looks pretty disabled. I told him I tend not to kneel on that knee, it just feels weird. He said that I should keep trying whatever I wanted to do and that I was too young to rule anything out for the rest of my life.

So nothing is out. Not rock climbing (although Pants will have kittens if I try it again, I think), not skiing, not even running a marathon. I am medically allowed to do whatever I am comfortable doing and I should continue to try things, even if they haven't worked out well so far.

Friday, April 30, 2010


I did alright for the remainder of the week. My eating was much better, although not perfect. I exercised, although not as much as I had planned. I had to buy a new belt today so my pants wouldn't keep falling off while I walked.

Kitten is completely potty-trained and her constipation problem has cleared itself up. She now poops pretty much daily, as I'm sure you were dying to know. I wish I could tell you how we did it. It seems to have gotten better when we had that stomach virus in February...

The Hammer is, well, not so potty trained. I think we'd be doing really well if peeing was the only bodily function going on. It's not, and we'll leave it at that.

I have my six month follow up on Monday with Dr. Pittman for my knee. It's mostly ok now, with some occasional limping if my shoes suck or I haven't been active enough.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Needing a boost

This is my third week on Weight Watchers and I'm down almost 10 pounds. The first two weeks were good, easy, no problems, I felt committed and motivated.

This week I'm only 3 days in and I'm falling apart. Of my 35 "flex points" for the week, I have 10 left. The last 2 days have not gone well.

So here is my plan for the next few days to get back on track:
Tonight - I will do a short arm workout.
Tomorrow - We will take the kids for a walk after dinner. I will stay within daily points by bringing my lunch and I will drink all 6 glasses of water. I will do a short ab workout.
Thursday - I will bring lunch and stay within daily points. I will do another short arm workout. I will drink all 6 glasses of water.

So here in front of all of you, I am saying I will get back on track and make this work. I am doing well and I can continue to do this. I want my cholesterol to come down. I want to be a healthy weight for my kids. A healthier weight is better for my knee, my asthma, my life.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Night of WTF?

Scene: bedtime.

Syl walks by the bathroom where Kitten is claiming loudly that she is going to go to the bathroom. Syl stops about 3 feet past the door and turns around, nearly running back. Kitten is standing in front of the toilet, lid up, pants down, facing the stool. It looks like she is about to pee. STANDING UP.

Syl: What are you doing?
Kitten: Peeing.
S: You need to sit down.
K: No.
S: Put the seat down right now and sit down. That is how girls pee.
K: No, I want to stand up.
S: Honey, boys pee standing up, but girls have to sit down. Girls don't have penises, they don't have anything to aim. You need to sit down. Pants, would you like to explain to your daughter why she can't pee standing up?

A 10 minute fit ensues wherein Syl tries to explains the physics of urination equipment and gender.


Scene: 90 minutes post-bedtime. The Hammer is still whining in her room.

Syl: What is the matter?
The Hammer: I want my tent down. I don't want it up anymore.
S: Ok, we can take it down.
TH: I don't want it to get broken.
S: It's fine honey, it's not broken. [Proceeds to take down bed tent.]
TH: You're breaking it!
S: No honey, these are tent poles and they are made to come apart. See? [Demonstrates the technology of shock-cord poles and takes the whole tent down.]
TH [as S folds tent]: Mom, I want my tent back up.
S: Ok. [Sighs. Puts bed tent back up.]
TH: Mom, I want to sleep on the floor.
S [turns back and walks out]: Goodnight.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A good parenting week

We are having a good week here in el Casa del Pants. Normally, I assume that I am probably an average parent at best, at worst, well, I'll try to help pay for therapy.

Kitten has been dry at night for 5 nights. It's been a very organic move that was set forward by Kitten herself, when she was ready. Kitten has also been identifying letters, connecting them to sounds, and connecting letters and sounds to words. She has made huge leaps forward in the 2 months she has been in the new daycare. It's absolutely amazing to hear her what she comes up with some days and know how far she has come.

We attended kindergarten roundup today and I absolutely love her school and the district. Kitten confidently walked off with the other kids to the classrooms and the bus ride and I got a little misty as she walked away from me. I'm not usually that mom, the one getting all weird about their babies growing up. I'm usually the one wanting them to grow up faster. So I'm going with the urge for tears being a result of my overwhelming pride.

The Hammer had kindergarten screening this morning and thank god, she passed. By the lowest number possible, but passed none the less, so no retesting or special sessions for this one. Still a little embarrassing when the colors are all wrong and she can't identify a button, but most of the errors were from nervousness - she knows these things, I think. The inability to stand on one leg though, she comes by that honestly.

The Hammer goes on the potty one or two times a day at school and always when she isn't wearing anything at home. We may have finally convinced her to try underwear this weekend, but we'll see when the moment actually arrives if she is willing to do it.

So, aside from the morning fits we've had this week (because SOMEONE has been staying up in her room until 10 or 11 at night, I am looking at you Hammer Pants), it's been pretty good.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


The Hammer gets out of the swimming pool and approaches Pants:
H: Dad, after we're done here, after we get done right here [points down at her feet in the water], I want to go get a puppy.

After a 10 minute tirade where Pants chews out the girls for covering the house in glitter, The Hammer looks up at him on the coach and giggles.
Pants: What are you laughing at?
Hammer: Your lip.
P [still exasperated]: What about my lip?
H [whispers]: It's sparklin'!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rachel Getting Married

Wow. This is the first movie from this whole experience that I might actually watch again. I didn't like the documentary-style filming, but it didn't matter halfway through the movie. I didn't even notice that Anne Hathaway was Anne Hathaway.

It's the story of an addict getting out of rehab for her sister's wedding. What an incredibly awful idea, that - attending any kind of major family function where there are social standards to be upheld when everything emotion you've suppressed is right at the surface. And what an awful place for the sister - knowing you have to invite a seriously fucked up family member to an event that should be about you and that you KNOW will become all about her, just like the rest of your life.

Parts of the movie were terribly awkward and I almost stopped watching. Parts were extremely painful. I don't know what the experience of the movie would be if you didn't grow up in a house with an addict, but I think the Oscar nod for Hathaway was deserved. But I think half the cast deserved one. Well done.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Random Thoughts

I don't like perfume. I wore it in high school and have experimented with it occasionally since then, but it's too cloying to me, too strong. I went to JC Penney today to check out Kat Von D's line in the Sephora section and I tried her Sinner fragrance. It's way too sweet and almost Avon-y. But then, I don't like perfume.

So I wanted to go back to using a bergamot body wash (which Pants hates), but The Body Shop doesn't sell that anymore. They have some mix thing, which I guess I'll have to check out before buying because it's quite expensive.

I had fully intended to sign up for a community yoga class, only to log on tonight and find out the class is full. Both classes, the Wednesday and the Monday class. I got on the wait list for Wednesday, but I guess we'll see.

Apparently there is an all-class reunion this summer in my home town which I will most likely attend. I have also been asked to be the matron of honor in a wedding in August and the dress is, how you say? Unflattering for the fatties. So it's time to get my ass moving.

The kids have been sick since Tuesday with a nasty virus and I will probably be home again with them tomorrow. I will probably have to go in to work tomorrow and get my laptop, and I probably should have gotten it last week so I could be working. I had that dream again this morning that I'm back in college and there is one whole class that I realize I haven't gone to and I'm going to fail. This is my recurring dream when I feel work is getting out of control.

I really need a makeover. I need a haircut. Some highlights.

Maybe I'm just having some end of winter blahs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Indie hell

It's hard to find a lot of flicks in the On Demand section of Netflix, but I did put a bunch of indie films in it. I guess those are more readily releasable on demand.

My first film this evening was How to Be, billed as a British indie comedy starring Robert Pattinson. I love nifty little British comedies, so I thought it would be funny in a dry, British way. Except it wasn't funny at all, the sound sucked (like it was filmed by college students and I think you know what I mean), and I shut it off after half an hour when I didn't really know what was going on and REALLY didn't care.

I moved on to The Cake Eaters, an American indie from 2009 with Kristin Stewart and many way better actors. I figured as long as I was going with a theme, you know. And also, I love me some Jesse L. Martin. So Kristen, even playing a disability, wasn't awful and I didn't completely hate her. Definitely watchable, my favorite kind of indie - quiet, introspective, subtle.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My month of Netflix?

For reasons too weird to mention here, we have a month of Netflix and, temporarily, a blu-ray player that will also stream netflix movies.

So herein begins my month of Netflix. And here is where you get to see my horrific, inexplicable taste in movies.

Fame - ok, we actually got this from the Red Box a week or so ago, but it was recent and, so, worth mentioning. Sorta. It was alright, but definitely lacked the grittiness of the original. At the end, I really felt like I had just watched Camp Rock (non-parents should NOT get this reference). Thanks Disney.

Push - I was interested in this movie from the trailer, and it starred Dakota Fanning and Chris whats-his-face from Star Trek. It was meh. A couple of interesting parts, but some serious plot holes and yeah, just meh.

Sunshine Cleaning - Enjoyable, but quite a bit deeper than I was expecting. I thought it would just be a nutty little dark comedy about cleaning up crime scenes, but then there were all these emotions and relationships. So yeah, good, but wasn't expecting it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day off

I had to take today off because it's the one day daycare is closed that my office is not. The sad part is that schools are closed today too, so it was hard to find an activity that didn't involve 75 other children.

I decided on the Ellingson Car Museum and Cabela's. We kicked it off with McDonald's in Rogers, which has a playland, but it was a mistake. There were a ton of other kids there and some were pretty rowdy. The whole setup was like a giant habitrail for kids, so there isn't really a way to go pull your kid out once they've entered the tube. The Hammer got trampled at least once, but they got to go down the slides a few times before I pulled them out.

They were less than wowed by the car museum, but I thought it was pretty cool. They have a DeLorean, a General Lee, a Hudson Hornet, a ton of fabulous cars. The kids were more impressed by the model train set in the gift shop.

Cabela's was a bit more of a hit, what with all the taxidermy. I told the girls the animals were fake. And then there's the two lions attacking the Cape Buffalo - I might have tried to pass it off that they were playing tag...

And then they started to lose it, so it was time to go. No shopping, although we did get a snack upstairs before everything went to crap. And then we got home, I turned on a movie, and they both fell asleep. BOTH. OF. THEM. And that was the end game, my entire goal for the day. Not the cars, or the play place, or the taxidermied bears. Wear them out until they fall over and sleep.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Billboard magazine recently named "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John the sexiest song ever. Creeptacular, I know.

So what is on the sexy playlist?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Syl's Wide World of Whoa

We all love the new daycare. The girls love their teachers. The Hammer is has been going potty on the toilet a few times a week. I had to bring a fruit or vegetable to Kitten's class on Friday and they made fruit salad and veggie pizza with everyone's stuff. And the kids ate it! Hammer's class was learning to match capital and lower case letters Thursday.

And I love it. Aside from the above, they surprised the parents Friday morning with muffins and apples for the ride to work. One of the directors is there every time I come and they know me and my kids. I often see them pitching in, holding the younger kids, helping round up a stray, leading a class down the hallway, etc. Everything I have observed has impressed me.

The ease with which the teachers deal with the children is amazing. Everyone in the school calls the children "friends." There is not a TV in any room, except the security monitors in the director's office. They have a security system that reads my fingerprint to unlock the door. They eat meals and snacks family style at a table and the children learn to dish up their own food and eat together.

So yeah, we're liking the new school. All of us.

Oh, and Kitten got into the kindergarten we wanted for Math, Science, and Children's Engineering. Not only did we get the program we wanted, it's free all day every day kindergarten, which will bring our weekly daycare bill back down to where it was before the move. Seven more months of the extra expense and we're back to where we were.

And when Hammer is in 1st grade, we'll be down to around $140 a week! That's downright cheap for us!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting better

It's been a better week for us, due to better planning and more adjustment time.

Monday: drop off went ok, Kitten started throwing a fit but we managed to pull it back and get everything moving on. Hammer didn't want to go to "school" but saw her teacher in the window and I convinced her to go in and say hi. She ran up to her in the hallway and gave her a huge hug. I was early to work and made it in time for an 8 am conference call (which was canceled). I picked her up early to go to the dentist, where she did not throw a fit, although Kitten saw us leaving from the fence and was a little concerned. Hammer even let the dentist take an x-ray of her front teeth, which were indeed pushed back. They aren't doing anything at this point, but we have to go back if they turn gray or abcess. Pick up was successful, but we were already halfway out.

Tuesday: getting dressed is a chore as i realize Kitten wants to be dressed like a toddler. I hope this regression doesn't last long. I can tell they're getting tired and the early hours are wearing on them. Drop off is good but I have to stop for gas, so I'm about 15 minutes late. Pick up is fabulous, as I am now bribing them to leave with Cheez-Its. Hammer peed twice in the potty at school, two more times than we have gotten her to go at home.

Wednesday: Near meltdown in the morning with getting dressed and Hammer throws a hissy in front of the door. I take Kitten outside and belt her in and determine that Hammer's fit stemmed from her wanting to open the door. I close it, she opens it, and we get in the car. Drop off goes well and Kitten has been drawn to a very cute black girl as her friend, which thrills me. One reason we moved was for a little more diversity. Pick up is excellent, even though Hammer is playing in the "Village" room when I get there and last time I had to drag her out kicking and screaming. I offer the Cheez-Its and she jumps into her coat.

This evening, however, I can tell the girls are getting fatigued. They are whining, arguing, picking at each other, and fighting any request we make. They don't want to go to bed. I would like to chloroform them.

I am also tired from getting up earlier each day to make them toast and yogurt before asking them to get dressed and getting moving earlier so I can get to work on time. It's making bedtime a bit tougher this week, but at least we're not throwing fits in public.

On a nicer note, the teachers told me today how adorable it is that the kids' classes overlap for outside time in the afternoon and they both squeal and run to each other like they haven't seen each other in weeks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week from hell

The girls started a new daycare this week.

Monday: Drop off goes better than we have a right to expect. We both take a little time off in the morning to complete paperwork, get our fingerprints in the door lock system, and get the kids adjusted, but all goes well. MIL meets us for pick up, so that also goes well, although the kids are having fun and don't want to stop.

Tuesday: Kitten has to be dragged into the car screaming. The Hammer throws a fit when I leave and I can see her screaming on the floor as I get into the car. I call on the way to work, however, and the director says she was just in there and didn't see any sign of a fit, or even tears. I am an hour late to work. Pick up goes alright, although it takes a while to get them in the car.

Wednesday: Kitten has to be dragged into the car again, but remainder of drop off is successful. The Hammer's teacher cleverly averts another fit and I am only 45 minutes late to work. I have to pick up early to take them to the doctor for check ups. The Hammer is unhappy about the wakeup call from nap and is starting to get into a fit when she is tipped off by staff that she is going to the doctor. An all out screaming panic attack ensues and lasts for over an hour, into the doctor's office and the exam room. I am kicked, punched, and scratched as I attempt to contain her. She finally calms down when it becomes clear that she doesn't have to get shots, although her sister does. The afternoon goes better for a couple of hours until, inexplicably, when we get home, neither child will get out of the car and sit there and cry until I pick them both up and take them each out of the car.

Thursday: Both children get dressed and drop off goes well, again Miss Lisa stops another Hammer fit with her mad skills at daycare. I am 40 minutes late, but I'm counting it as a win. Pick up goes much worse and Hammer throws another huge fit and has to be dragged out and shoved in the car. I have become much better at carrying her with all limbs facing out so I am not in the line of fire. By the time we get home, both are crying in the car and refuse to get out. I trudge into the house and tell Pants to go get them if he wants them - I am done.

Friday: Drop off goes really well, no one has to be dragged screaming into the car, no one throws a fit at the daycare. When I leave, Kitten is writing her name on her paper with her teacher and Hammer is getting some breakfast with her class. I am only 20 minutes late. My knee is seriously flaring up, however, and I can barely walk throughout the day from the week's activities. I ask Pants to pick them up and, of course, they give him no trouble. Friday is also the day that all applications are due for Kindergarten schools and Kindergarten Extra, the all-day-every-day option that I have to pay for if Kitten does not get into one of the magnet schools. I have three envelopes to mail that must be postmarked today.

Saturday: Children are extremely tired. Kitten is running a low-grade fever and might have a mild virus. It is a crying, whiny day as the children are still exhausted from the week. We're just trying to make it until bedtime when Hammer, in some inexplicable dinner table accident that I didn't actually witness, cracks her face on the table. She has a swollen upper lip and her two front teeth are actually pushed backward. Pants and I struggle with what to do (ER? Nothing? Emergency dentistry?) when MIL comes over and gives her some ice cream. She begins feeling better and I finally find some sorta official advice on the internet that says the teeth will most likely go back into position on their own without intervention. Although they could still die and turn black.

And now it's Sunday and we're just trying to get through. MIL has offered to take them for a few hours this afternoon and I'm eternally grateful. She has also offered to take a bundle of laundry with her and return it with the children. That woman is sometimes a saint. I'm trying to decide between mad cleaning, a nap, and drinking myself into a stupor while they're gone.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New year, but the old me keeps hanging around...

Yeah, can't seem to get rid of her. Anyway...

I guess I'll start with updates since it's been crickets around here for awhile.

My grandmother passed Oct. 29 and I went out to MD for her service in December for three days (alone). My grandfather, Dr. Charles Schnetzler, was hit by a car and brought home the day after Thanksgiving to spend his final days among family and friends. He was still hanging on while I was out there and I even got an eyebrow lift when I talked with him. He passed just two days after I left and the whole family flew out to MD last week for his service.

My grandfather graduated MIT, taught for a year in Oxford, and spent his career with NASA at the Goddard Space Center in Maryland. He rewrote the book on tektites, discovered the probable crater markings for the meteor strike that killed the dinosaurs, was instrumental in building the team that mapped the topography of Mars (recently named one of the scientific advancements of the decade), and as a geologist studied the moon rocks after the 1969 moon landing, finding some element or another that was a replacement for calcium on the moon and apparently was quite important. So yeah, pretty cool.

We actually got to spend Christmas Day at home this year, which is all we ever ask out of Christmas. And we didn't even get accused of ruining Christmas.

The kids started a new daycare Monday and with my absolutely brilliant sense of timing, it was mere hours after our return from MD. The kids love it, though, and it might potty-train the young one in a few scant weeks. They seem to be engaged and learning, and they're definitely exhasted at the end of the day, so yay.

Pants and I are actively attempting to select a kindergarten for Kitten. There are 4 magnet schools in our district that allow applications and specialize in (in order of our preference) 1. Math, Science, and Children's Engineering, 2. School for the Arts, 3. World Studies, and 4. Math and Environmental Sciences. As a kicker, the first three offer all-day-every-day kindergarten for free, while every other school in the district offers only half-time with an option to pay for full time. Cost cutting, you know.

One of our fish, my big blue gourami, died. Lame. We were also unsuccessful in sustaining a healthy-looking Chia christmas tree. And we also ruined all of the extra seeds. Better luck next year, I guess.

My $50 laptop is just about dead, so I'm switching back to the Dell since Pants has moved to the desktop downstairs (better for WoW, you know). So not much Twittering going on until I get my stuff set up on this computer the way I want it.

So there it is. We're hoping for a better 2010, but I'm not sure I will be making any resolutions. I want to lose some weight because I'm in a wedding in August and I've seen the dresses. Ugh. The exercising is tough, though, since I can't run or jump or ski or, you know, stuff. I would like to keep the house cleaner, but here I am on my butt working on the computer.

Happy 2010 everyone.