Topics of Crunching

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One Nation Under God

Just a thought, in the form of a photo. It makes me happy to see someone, especially a fast food joint, be so unabashedly patriotic. As Lincoln said, stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

"One Nation, Under God, Indivisible."
You can use this photo anywhere you want, but please link back to this post, and give credit to Erin Binkley.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Positive Princesses

Every since I found out I was going to be a mom, I've been shocked at how many thinking women hate the Disney Princesses. It's a part of this pseudo-knowledge based neo-feminism that simply regurgitates selective facts based on their own agenda. Translation? There are a lot of haters. Haters gonna hate. Meantime, I'm going to try to beat them at their own game.

I think that the Disney Princesses are awesome. They have faults, they learn things, and somewhere along the magical path, life happens. Who says I don't want my daughters watching that? Yes, there are moments that will require some guidance and discussion on my part - but anything less than that would be lazy parenting. I just think that they have some valuable things to teach little girls. What do you think?

Click to enlarge. All rights retained by Walt Disney.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Potty Break

It is time for a potty break. And not what you think. It's high time I get a break from potty training.

Backstory? My oldest will be 3 in May, and we've been potty training her since she was around 20 months old. Over a year of plastic potties, pull ups, training pants, stickers, name it. We were nearly there, and then her younger sister was born. Square 1. Well, square 1.5. She didn't forget HOW to do it, but she stopped doing it almost all together. 

This week, potty training left something to be desired.
This week, I was determined. I don't know what I was smokin', because it was a rotten week to do ANYTHING other than just make it through. We just adopted a puppy that our friend found on the side of the road, and though I love him, he's my first dog and I have no idea how to house train this tiny thing. He's like another kid sometimes - lots of work. In addition to that, I had a baby shower at my house yesterday for two of my friends, so I had extra cleaning to do, decorations and food to make, and additional shopping. Clearly, this is the time to take on a task so hard that it brings moms and dads to utter frustration. Yes, dear reader, this is the week I was determined to kick the diaper habit. Just in case you weren't sure that I was an idiot, now you have proof. 

Now what do you think was the result? Not a potty trained toddler, I'll tell you that much. Monday was great: Sit on the potty ever 20 minutes to get results, back again after 45 if we had success. Sticker on the potty chart, candy in the freshly washed hands. From 8:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night, we had no accidents (including a short outing!). I was on Mommy Cloud 9. On Monday, we had 6 stickers.

Tuesday we had a couple set backs. But we were out of the house doing shopping for the baby shower and picking up a steam cleaner for puppy's little mementos on the carpet. A couple extra accidents is to be expected with all that travelling. 4 stickers.

Wednesday. When it was time for a trip to the ol' John, there was resistance. "Mom, there's no peepee here." Try again. Nothing. Try again, nothing. Try again, not 10 minutes later - wet. There were 3 stickers on Wednesday.

By Thursday, I was getting tired. I spent the day making decorations (pinterest junkie - if you're one, you get it). The dog was in rare form too, and the baby was super grumpy. This time the resistance to use the potty was me - I was out of steam. 3 stickers again.

On Friday, I was at wit's end. I often think of my stress level on a scale from 1 to 10, and I went to bed Thursday night at a 4, and woke up at a 5. Just the thought of the dwindling stickers in each Sesame Street adorned rectangle was enough to cause me to twitch. I had to go to the other side of town first thing in the morning, and just getting the dog put away and the kids dressed felt like it took hours (oh wait, it did). Steam clean the carpet, mop the kitchen...not here doggie! outside!...make the veggie tray, make the honey don't write on the wall...clean the toilet, throw in the diaper's okay baby girl, i'll nurse you in 5 minutes...

Needless to say, my poor husband did not have a well-rested spouse awaiting his cross over the threshold. I really did a number on him. You see, my stress level, starting at a 5 when I woke up, was now around an 8. At an 8, I'm irrational. When he got home, I decided it was time to treat the yard with fungus killer. Um, what was that? Yes, fungus killer. Given, we have a grass-killing epidemic in our backyard, and something must be done to stop the plantocide horror, but honestly. What was I thinking doing it THEN? I don't know. Temporary, potty-training driven, full-on insanity. Friday ended in crazed accusations (from me, to him) of laziness and judgment, and a big fight. When I realized that I was about 110% at fault, the fight ended, I cried, and he gave me the affectionate forgiveness that I absolutely did not deserve. Did I mention I love that man?

Saturday, I woke up back at a 2 on the stress scale. The fight, tears, and 2 big glasses of wine I had after the kids went down were an cure for what ailed me. I spent the morning truly enjoying the last minute prep for the shower, and when my friends started to arrive, and St. Husband exited the house with both girls in arms, I had such a great time in the company of some awesome women. 

Oh, but the story is not over yet! Today is Sunday. I felt that I had a new lease on life, and that we could start the potty training journey fresh. WRONG! Oh good heavens I was so wrong. The first failure and I was back at an 8 almost immediately. Apparently the wound was still too fresh. Dramatic? Yes. But you try potty training for a year and see if you don't have a few hopes and dreams tied up in it too. Breakdown time! This time, it was a family-wide breakdown that resulted in the 4 of us, dressed and ready for church, concluding that in our foul mood, Jesus didn't want to see us. 

"How did I get here?" I asked. "How did I let a stupid pink princess potty and an Elmo sticker chart cause my downfall?" Time to regroup. We put our heads together and decided to do the thing that experienced parents have been telling us to do for months: Let her do it in her own time. I posted this status on Facebook:
Today is Sunday, the Sabbath. Today, we are vacationing. No potty training, no house training. No budgeting, no scraping. No scheduling, no dieting. Today we are taking a break from our own lives, and all the pressure that comes along with them. All we need in this family today is good tunes, good eats, and love - His and each others.
So for now, I'm lightening up. I plan to spend this week without the potty-guilt for her or me. If she does it, awesome. If she doesn't, oh well. Meantime, I want to spend time more hugging and giggling and less time bargaining for clean pull-ups. I have learned a few things this week. Out of everything that parents teach their toddlers, potty training has the greatest benefit to dear mom and dad. It saves tons of money on diapers, can drive down the cost of day care, means no more diaper changes, and impresses all their friends (seriously, it does). No wonder we put so much pressure on them. And our little rebels push right back, don't they?

I also learned that I am results driven, and if I put in enough work without any results, I'm gonna lash out. And I learned that my husband really really loves me. But most of all, and this is the moral of the story, I learned that if potty training is causing you to be upset, let 'em stay in diapers. Just like my post on co-sleeping, it's not like they are going to stay in pampers forever. Chances are, one day, they will do what so many children seem to do: they will decide for themselves that diapers are gross, and the toilet is a cool thing. Until then, I'm gonna let her pee her pants and have another cup of coffee. How's that for an ending?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get the Heck Out of My Bed!

Hello again. I would like a break from politics. You too? Sweet. Let's start with something hilarious.

Oh, how I identify with this totally wacked-out woman. Especially with the breast pumping. Video courtesy of - one of my new favorites. The blog is a great hub for all things crunchy and is the home of this and many very funny videos. But we all know that I'm only semi-crunchy. I vaccinate my kids, buy genetically modified seedless grapes, let them watch educational television, and yes - I even have been known to feed them the occasional happy meal.

And here's another one. Brace yourself.

I. Hate. Co-sleeping.

I'm not talking about newborns. No need to open up that worm-filled can. Rest assured, we have a side-car bassinet that we used for the first 6 weeks of life for both our kids, and after that they were moved to cribs. In this case, maybe co-sleeping is a bad term. I'm talking about kids that are much older. At least a year, or in this case 2.5 years.

It's honestly a closeness thing. I've spent most of my adult life a little averted to being near others. After only a few years together, the cuddle phase was all but eradicated from my marriage with the introduction of a two mattresses in one bed frame (God bless the Germans - they have this one right). There are long-running jokes among my friends about how much I hate to hug. Elevators, crowded church pews, and public transportation have been known to bring on full-fledged panic attacks. And not out of something logical like fear of infectious disease or pick pockets. I just can't stand the NEARNESS of it all.

You think this is precious.
I think it's a violation of human rights.
And then I became a mother. So much of that has changed - I love to hold my babies. Everything about being close to others has become easier, even enjoyable at times. My girls crawl, kick, and drop 'bows on me daily, and half the time it makes me smile. But sleep is different. Sleep is still sacred. I have fantasies about sleeping alone, on a tempur-pedic in the middle of a field of lavender - miles from the nearest child. Unfortunately, the only thing that's really distant is the hope of a night without a kid in my bed. Since my youngest (now 6 months) was born, her older sister has returned to our bed every night. Sometimes it's at 4 am, sometimes it's before we even get there. She's always been a terrible sleeper (night terrors, hallucinogenic dreaming, you name it) so I don't turn her away. And there are times when I'll wake up at night and look over at her peaceful face and think, this isn't so bad.

But most of the time, I feel very differently. Look, kiddo. From the moment you took up residency in my uterus, I've been loosing ground. First I lost my figure, then my boobs became someone else's snack pak. You take my food AS I'm trying to eat it, you force me to watch Nick Jr all day, and now you want to kick me out of my bed? C'mon man. You're adorable, but I didn't buy you those Dora sheets to look good on an empty toddler bed.

Of course I exaggerate. But I think you get the picture. Just in case you don't, this says it all.

Despite many long sleepless hours mulling it over, I have no idea what to do about this problem. The Great Bed Invasion of 2010 is stretching into 2012, and seems to have no end. My husband says "it's not like she's going to be sleeping with us when she's 12," but honestly, I'm not convinced. I am terrified that I will wake up a decade from now, and find that I am on the floor and my bed is full of a knot of covers and progeny. Like 8 of them. I'm nauseated just thinking about it. 

But the truth is, one day, my sweet daughter will roll her eyes when I so much as brush her hair out of her face, and I'll long for these days. I will miss the hugs, the cuddles, the groggy wake up to what is quickly becoming one of the best and worst sentences: "Mommy, is it get up time?" She's a precious one, that little bed hog of mine. And she's in my bed because she loves me, feels safe with me, and is calmed by my presence. She's there because I'm her mom. Oh - I guess it's not so bad after all.

Just don't ask me at 3 am.

Photo credits: Ed Wolstenholme and unknown.