August 22, 2017

Potty is a four letter word.

Yesterday I turned 29 years old. I feel like that can't be right, because I'm pretty sure the second I gave birth to Molly I entered my mid-thirties. That's how those things work, right? Either way, I was born allegedly 29 years ago.

I celebrated the lead up to my birthday with a weekend of strep throat and a couple trips to the clinic. Karl had plans to go away this weekend so when I woke up feeling like death warmed over on Friday morning I asked him to take the day off work so I could have an actual sick day. Because I wasn't feeling any worse when he left Friday night I told him to go and hopefully my antibiotics would work enough to bring me back to life. Praise the Lord they did, and I only missed out on one night of blissful time to myself. Because I love my husband but I also really love an evening all to myself.

I celebrated my actual birthday with a toddler that only napped for 20 minutes then woke up screaming and raging as I was halfway through a piece of cake. His mood did not improve.

I strongly suspect I will be gray by the time I'm actually 30.

This morning while I was getting ready to take the kids for a photo shoot for a friend's Etsy store I noticed that Parker was playing with the toilet brush. He had put my actual hairbrush in the toilet brush's holder. It's fine, I probably needed a new one anyway.

You know how they say to be careful what you wish for? I have long wished that my son would potty train himself when the time comes. We're going on holidays next week, starting with an 18 hour road trip, and guess who has decided that he's completely in love with the potty? I won't go into any details, aside from saying that I'm utterly traumatized by it all, and that mine and Karl's efforts to downplay any potty interest are not working. He's not even two and a half yet.

Because I've been strong armed by a 30 lb child into potty training this week I took the kids to Superstore to buy him underwear today. Did you know that Joe doesn't make underwear in Parker's age size? That's because normal two year old boys do not potty train this early. I had to buy him size 3T and hope to God that they won't fall down every time he stands up. They were, however, days of the week underwear (I am so deeply jealous) and 25% off. I'll be going back for more tonight because something tells me that seven pairs won't be enough.

I had a few other things on my grocery list that I completely forgot about after Parker started pulling shoes off the shelves and slapping all the displays. I checked out with the underwear at the self checkout, thinking I could make a quick, clean getaway with enough energy left over to stop at Booster Juice on the way back to the car for my free birthday smoothie.

I learned something new today. Life is all about learning. This weekend I learned that Americans and Canadians have different flour, and today I learned that self checkout scanners have buttons on them that only toddlers can see and push. I also learned that it takes three store employees, including one manager, to set that scanner right. I also learned that when you push the wrong buttons on the scanner it will shame beep at you loudly, repeatedly, and it will just add to the impending trauma of potty training a week before 18 hours straight in the car. But at least someone told me about a car seat insert to contain any system failures.

If you think of me tomorrow, send prayers and cleaning tips.

July 16, 2017

Too hot to handle.

Karl's parents came to visit last week. They were here for five days. Karl's parents and I don't really have a lot in common. That's a lie, actually. We all really enjoy time to ourselves and watching TV.

Their visit actually went better than expected. Karl's mom and I went out together a couple times to run some errands and do a little shopping. We've never done much together, so it was fun to go to Old Navy and contemplate buying matching shirts. (It's cool, we live two provinces away so our paths don't cross very often. We can get away with. Except that once she realized we were looking at the same shirt in the same colour she was no longer interested. I choose to believe it's because she didn't want to be hampered by the comparison of who wore it better. Just roll with me on this.) We went to Chapters, Michael's, Winners, and we sat outside the closed knitting store and wept bitter, fibrous tears that we couldn't go in. We had a really nice time.

My father-in-law got a minor bout of stomach flu that I refuse to call food poisoning and take responsibility for so he missed out on the morning we went to the farmer's market. It was a very authentic experience and culminated in buying deliciously overpriced apple bread and my MIL getting excited about Saskatoon berry jam and hemp hearts. I even bought myself a homemade marshmallow for $1. It was delicious, but I'm thinking the lemonade I washed it down with may have induced Type 1 Diabetes.

The only downside of the visit, aside from the possibility that I unintentionally poisoned Karl's dad, was that, as you may recall, our air conditioner decided to call it a day. Thankfully, it chose the middle of a heat wave to do so and timed it perfectly for their visit. We got it fixed the day after they left.

The thing about extreme heat is that I hate it. I do not do well in anything but moderate temperatures. I was not my best self. We were all melting. My coconut oil was so liquid I thought it might turn into a gas. I was worried about the physical well-being of the chocolate in our house. Did you know that if your chocolate starts to melt you have a solemn duty to eat all of it? That's not actually true, but I decided that I'd pretend it was anyway. Thankfully things never got that dire, but it was touch and go for a while.

I was really looking forward to showing my in-laws how good a house I kept, cleaning the kitchen every night, baking delicious desserts, and meal planning like a boss. Instead my energy level was akin to a sloth and we just barbecued everything. Even using the microwave felt like it warmed the house up and let's not even talk about the necessary evil of using the coffee maker.

Not only did I fail to impress with my domestic abilities, our fridge decided that it, like the air conditioner, had lived a good life and just couldn't handle it any more. It was a hard week for our milk. I'm also glad that Parker doesn't fully understand how horrible the milk I accidentally gave him yesterday was.

Karl's parents left Tuesday, my mom flew in 13 hours later, and we got our new AC unit installed the next day, a week earlier than anticipated. I'm not saying I screamed "God bless you" into the phone when they called to ask if they could come a week early, but I'm not saying I didn't. But I did make them cookies.

We went to a memorial/family picnic yesterday in honour of my great uncle. It was a big day that involved little in the way of naps for either kid, so they were both in bed and asleep an hour earlier. It was magical. Naturally Karl and I celebrated by leaving Mom with the sleeping babies and my Netflix password and went to Lowes, where we bought the cheapest fridge they had. We date night so hard.

The new fridge is currently sitting in its packaging next to our table waiting for its moment to shine. Apparently it needs to sit upright for 24 hours after being on its side or it might spontaneously combust, so it's just taking up space like a fancy new conversation piece that's very big in Europe.

We were lucky enough that our tax returns this year worked out to be almost exactly what we needed to cover the costs of the new AC and fridge. There was just enough left over to include the $100 in steaks we splurged on ordering from my mom's cousin. God provided for our needs before we were even aware of them and He said, "Let them eat steak."

July 05, 2017

Vacations with kids are like vacations from sanity.

We went on a mini vacation for Canada Day. June was a painfully busy month for us, with something happening every weekend that meant we didn't get to spend any Saturdays together as a family and Sundays are always busy. We were tired, forgetting what it meant to spend proper time together without other commitments, and I was looking forward to napping on our 7 1/2 hour car ride to Edmonton to visit Larissa's family. Somehow I always forget that children don't like to nap in the car as much as I do.

Last week Parker skipped a nap and I almost kicked him out of the house. I contemplated going back to work then and there. Sorry, Molly, maternity leave is getting cut short. He napped the next day, though, so I forgave him and gave him a terrible haircut instead. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened and, really, I'm punishing myself more than anything. I'm the one that has to look at him all the time.

When we left Friday morning we got the kids up an hour early so we could make it to the doughnut shop in Edmonton before they closed. Naturally that led to two overtired children that screamed for a solid hour before our first stop. One would start to calm down just in time for the other to start up and they'd feed off each other's cries. Nothing gets your heart rate going in the morning quite like two kids having a scream-off.

We had a great time with our friends, having one last Alberta hoorah before they move next week. We ate doughnuts, went to the zoo, visited IKEA, and played games. It was wonderful, with one small exception that's about two and a half feet tall and suffers from some serious bedtime FOMO.

At home Parker doesn't always want to go to bed at designated sleep times. I get it, I'm a lot of fun to hang out with and he just wants to keep the party going. Unfortunately for him, I take sleep very seriously. Very, very seriously. This sometimes leads to him resisting sleep times and me walking away with my figurative fingers in the air to have my own party without him. Basically what I'm saying is, Parker screams and for the most part I just let him.

While we were away, Parker decided he didn't want to nap. Forget that he hadn't gotten much sleep on our way there, he just really didn't want to miss the fun party. On Saturday, the day he walked around the entire Edmonton Zoo, we eventually we got tired of his screaming and let him skip his nap.

That night, he raged a bit at bedtime but went down relatively easy. I tiptoed downstairs to check on him and Molly and stepped on a noisy toy. There is nothing more heart-stopping than trying to spy on your freshly sleeping child and having animal noises come from the vicinity of your feet. When I picked up the toy I set it off again. I hustled as quietly as possible out of the room to get rid of the offending so I could try one last time to look at the kids. I put the toy down on the chest freezer only to have it slide off and start making noise again the moment I opened the door to sneak back in. At that point I gave up. Either the kids were asleep or dead because they didn't react and it was out of my hands anyway.

The next day we tricked him and did some driving around right at nap time. He slept for 45 minutes in the car. Not great, but better than nothing. We figured he'd sleep like a boss that night. We were so very wrong.

On our last night there Parker decided he was done with the playpen. So done, in fact, that he taught himself to climb out of it and stand, screaming, at the door to the room he was sleeping in (the living space of our friends' vacant suite). He's a resourceful child so he managed to lock himself in a couple times, but thankfully there was a spare key. It funny and sad all at once when your tired but raging child keeps locking himself in a room he's trying desperately to escape from.

I was not ready for the stress of a rabid toddler. Hell hath no fury like the uncaged two year old that knows you're hanging out without him. I won't go into all the details, lest you think I'm a really terrible parent, but I'll just say that nothing we did could soothe him or coax him to sleep. After three hours of his raging (I cringe just remembering it) he didn't pass out in front of the door, so we gave in. I, like the United States of America, have a policy not to give into terrorists but I would like to see any president, past or present, stand up to my son longer than I did. 

We brought him upstairs to happily terrorize our card game. Eventually I ran out of steam and we all went to bed. And when I say "we all" I'm obviously not including Parker in that because it was only 11:30. Karl let me sleep (or try to) while Parker played in the main room and he lay on the couch. Finally, at 1 a.m. Parker literally fell over and passed out. Only, of course, to climb out of his playpen at 7 a,m, and scream at me through our closed door.

I decided we were never taking him anywhere again, at least not until he was out of his crib in 3 - 4 years. Then I remembered that we've got plans for a month and a half from now. As tempted as I was to cancel all future holidays with children, someone reminded me that sleep sacks are great containment devices. 

I was desperately hoping that Mr Playpen Houdini wouldn't use his newfound skills to ruin my life at home but, sure enough, Monday night he got out of his crib shortly after I put him to bed. 

I didn't cry, I just shoved him in a sleep sack, sent Karl to the store to buy more, and have since invested in stocks in them. I'm happy to say that Parker is now lovingly contained in a pink floral Aden & Anaias number because that's all they had at the store. It certainly brings out his eyes, though.

Parker also picked a great time to need to sleep in a blanket bag because our air conditioner died on Monday and our house is hotter than the face of the sun. But he's still in his crib and that's all that really matters.