Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cult of the Froggy Potty

Day 114

Day 204

Some real quick recapping about our field trip this morning, and then we'll get into the potty portion of the post. That way anyone who'd rather not read about the (admittedly hilarious) misadventures of teaching little humans to dispose of their bodily waste in a civilized fashion can cut out early.

Morning! Shoved some food at the boy, packed up a bag with supplies and lunch, and headed for the train. I had tried to time it so we could ride with the rest of our group, who would be getting on the train one stop before us, but they apparently took the train right before the one I thought they were going to be on. So we met them at the museum.

It was a lovely day, especially compared with the recent barrage of muggy nastiness. Not too warm, hardly any humidity, really quite pleasant. We got to the museum not long after it opened, but there was already a line for the toddler play room. So we waited a little while and tried to keep the little miscreants from scampering off every thirty seconds while we held our place in line. Once admitted to the play area, the kids had a grand half hour (even Eleri crawled around on the floor in the reading corner where all the soft pillows are), before we were rushed out by the play room administrator so that the next group of people waiting in line could come in. We fed the kids lunch, and by the time that was all done, it was just about noon. We made our way over to the Information desk in order to buy tickets for the Lego exhibit...only to discover that the next available entry time was 2pm! We didn't think the kids would all hold out for another 2 hours and then be in decent enough moods to behave themselves in the exhibit, so we called it a day. It was a good outing, though, and I'm really glad we went.

My evening run was cut a bit short because I was overtired and not feeling so hot, but I did 2 miles in 20 minutes and then quit. I still think that's pretty good.

Okay. Potty time.

So, a couple of the other kids in the playgroup have these Froggy Potties. They look like this.

This means that, at just about every playdate for the past month or so, there has been at least one Froggy Potty present, quietly smiling away in the corner. Creepy little frog with that beatific smile. You can't fool me. I know what you're thinking.

Soren's used these potties a few times. Sometimes both kids' potties will be there, sitting side by side, and Soren has deemed it necessary to pee in both of them, almost every time he has to go. Because, you know, the potty is always greener...or something.

There have been a few blog posts recently about things people said (before they had kids) that they'd never do as a parent. (Seriously, when you're done here, click through and give those 4 posts a look. Really funny stuff.) One of my own "I Nevers" was this: I will never buy one of those little bucket potties. They are gross, and a crutch, and the little insert seats for the big toilet are far superior." Famous last words...

So here's the thing. Whenever we've done "potty time" with Soren thus far, he's usually been perfectly happy to use the big toilet, but we've always had to remind him. He's never asked to go pee, and though he's been getting better and better about holding it longer between trips to the bathroom, there seems to always come a point where we try to go too long, or he gets distracted and stops caring, and he ends up with wet underpants. It's been difficult to figure out how to get to that next level, to get him to take the initiative and let us know that it's time to go to the bathroom again.

This afternoon, we got home from the museum trip, and I put his underpants on him for potty time. Now, he's had some nature boy tendencies lately, and every once in a while it will be damn near impossible to keep clothes or a diaper on him. So I try not to make a fight about it, let him have his naked time, and then after a few minutes cajole him into putting underpants or a diaper back on. (The nudity itself isn't the issue, but I'm not interested in tracking down and cleaning up little piddle spots on the carpet.) He was doing the naked time thing this afternoon, and after running around for a few minutes and taking a ride on his pony, he trotted over to Eleri's Bumbo and sat down. By the time it occurred to me that this was probably not a good idea, it was too late.

Soren: "I peed!"
Me: "Yes, you did. You peed in the purple chair."
Soren: "That's for sure."


By the time I got that cleaned up and put him back in underpants, he had dragged a large tupperware bin off the coffee table, shimmied out of his underpants again, and was about to sit down in it. I whisked him back to the toilet before he could do any more peeing in inappropriate places, but I did have to begrudgingly admit to myself that he was taking initiative and doing exactly what I've been wanting him to (if not exactly where I'd wanted), and that...perhaps...a little bucket potty of his own would be just the thing he needed to get to the next level of potty training prowess. Every kid is different, every one's a beautiful and unique snowflake, yada yada yada, and maybe this would be what worked for him.

So I put a (cloth) diaper on him, and we went to the store to buy a potty. And of course, not only is the Froggy Potty about the least expensive one available, but Soren already associates it with potty practice at playgroup, and he was pretty jazzed when he saw it on the shelf at the store. So now the Froggy Potty has yet another family of converts, and ours will be able to join his little friends in a line at playgroup.


Did you see the copy on the potty's website?

Potty training is much more fun with a froggy friend! The adorable little green guy is easy for little ones to get on or off independently. There’s an integrated splash guard for boys and a removable bucket that makes for easy cleanup!
Ugh. So cheery I could vomit. Make a note of that last part, about the removable bucket. We'll be getting to that in a minute.

We got home, and I changed the boy back into underpants. I was shocked to discover that his diaper was still dry. Between afternoon traffic and browsing for a couple of other items, we'd been out at the store for over an hour! He must have actually been waiting to pee on his new "froggy friend." (What a welcome introduction to our home.) And pee he did. A lot. And then...remember that removable bucket? Yeah, while we were busy congratulating him on using his new potty like such a big boy, quick as a flash, he lifted that bucket out and poured its contents...right on the carpet. What a great helper. Sigh. (Did I mention my reluctance to buy one of these stupid things? Indeed, my claim that I would never make such a purchase?) Yes, it could have been worse. And yes, maybe...maybe...a little bit of pee on the carpet now is worth not having to keep changing his diapers for another year. If this is what it takes, then I'm in. Even Tom, though, who didn't understand my anti-bucket-potty stance, was visibly aggrieved when the lad dumped the bucket again, a second time, later, after being told that this was not the proper way to clean out the potty.

Anyway. We'll see how it goes from here. I'm hoping for the best! Thanks for sticking around through that whole post. I know I owe you a video from last week, and another for this week. I'll do my darndest to get those up tomorrow. Don't worry, potty videos are not on the agenda.

For now.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

A better day

Day 113 / Day 203

I managed to shake off yesterday's funk and had myself a better day, today. Thanks for the advice; putting worries down on paper (or word processor) is definitely helpful with regards to working through and letting go.

Preschool day this morning. Soren wasn't really all that into it, and there were a few more families there than usually attend, so it was kind of chaotic, but what else were we going to do with our morning? I had the convenient excuse of a sleepy Eleri to stay largely out of the fray, and I was able to seek out a couple of (mostly) quiet places to sit while she snoozed on me.

On our way home, we stopped at Trader Joe's for some mid-week provisions. Soren went a little crazy with the stickers he was given in the check-out line.

(After he'd put the first 4 on his face, the cashier was so amused that he handed the boy another three feet off the sticker roll. Soren's observation: "Many, many stickers!")

Eleri's been doing this hilarious stick-my-tongue-out-the-side-of-my-mouth thing lately. She spent much of the afternoon crawling all over the place and trying to pull herself up on various pieces of furniture. She's getting faster and stronger every day.

Soren's started using longer and more complex sentences. I've upped the ante on his politeness practice; "How do you ask nicely?" no longer means he can get away with saying "[requested item] please." Now the correct response is "May I have [requested item] please?" This led, yesterday, to what may have been his longest sentence yet: "May I have mac cheese for lunch, please?" He's not even 2 1/2 yet. This evening he helped me drag a heavy basket of laundry into the bedroom, after which he said, "Thanks so much for carrying that!" Hehehe. He may be a little savage most of the time, but at least he's starting to sound more civilized.

Tomorrow we're headed back to the Building Museum for a preschool "field trip." Should be fun!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Day 112

Day 202

We went a-walking at the mall this morning. I wore Eleri on my back in the pouch for the first time, and it worked out just fine. I'd been worried about her being able to fall asleep without her head lolling back, but she just nestled in against my back and seemed to be quite comfortable. Good deal!

I did a few more segments of my run this evening at higher speeds and increased my distance by almost a tenth of a mile (from 2.81 to 2.89), still running for 28 minutes. My legs are rather a bit more sore afterward, though, so I'll probably drop back to an easier pace again on Friday.

That's really about it for the day. I was kind of tired and out of sorts all day; had a bad dream in the middle of the night that woke me up and then made it hard to fall asleep again, and I never quite managed to shake the specter of it all day. (Don't you hate when that happens?) If anyone knows of some magical way to just stop thinking about something that's bothering you, feel free to share.

At one point this afternoon, I told Soren I needed a time out and went over to the couch to lie down. Instead of leaving me alone like I wanted, he came over to climb on me and give me hugs. At first I was annoyed, but he just smiled at me and snuggled me and I decided I was grateful instead. He can be awfully sweet.

Anyway, I'm hoping tonight will just hit the metaphorical reset button on my brain and things will be better tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Arlington has way better parks than Alexandria

Day 111

Day 201

This morning we went to Lyon Village Park, and wow. It was way cool. It was under construction (they're putting in a basketball court and two tennis courts), which meant that in addition to the super fun play structures and water features, there was heavy construction equipment (a skid steer, a bulldozer and a backhoe, all safely secured behind a chain link fence) to look at. Soren was a happy camper.

This is the ENORMOUS slide Soren went down, all by himself, three times. More terrifying was the time he thought it might be fun to try coming DOWN that curvy ladder thing off the left side. That platform was up over my head, and there's no way I could have kept him from tumbling off if he hadn't obediently backed away and gone back down the slide again instead.

Soren and A played and played, once we finally managed to find street parking. Much of the parking in residential Arlington is permit-only, so it took some searching and a little bit of a hike to finally get settled and over to the park. But it was worth it. Eleri had delayed her morning nap again today, so she was asleep most of the time we were there. We'll definitely be going back though. I'm sure she'll enjoy it quite a lot as well, when she's a little older. There were a couple of little'uns maybe a few months older than she is, playing in the water there today.

In the evening, while Tom was doing his running, I took the kiddos back out for a run to BJ's. Soren had heard me say where we were going, and after he saw the sign at the entrance of the store, he kept repeating, "B. J. S. Spells BJ's!" Cuteling. Almost as cute as "T. O. S. T. I. T. O. S. Spells...chips!" or "U. H. A. U. L. Spells...truck!", though more accurate. ;)

Book Review: Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley

So, a cynical blogger, a rather hapless senator and a Southern evangelist preacher walk into a bar...

Not really.

But Boomsday sometimes does feel like it's setting up for a punch line. Cassandra Devine, through an unfortunate series of events, finds herself, in her late twenties, working in D.C. for a PR firm. By night she pens the political blog Cassandra: Concerned Americans for Social Security Ammendment Now, Debt Reduction and Accountability. (This aspect of the book is somewhat unrealistic - that a fairly big-time political blogger would hold down a time intensive day job while relegating blog activity to the wee hours of the morning...please.) Cass rails against the fact that her generation will be paying to support lavish retirements of aging Baby Boomers by funding the Social Security system, the same system that will almost certainly be bankrupt by the time her generation will be ready to retire. She is looking to make a big, controversial statement in order to get people talking about the issue. With the help of Senator Randy Jepperson, she gets the Voluntary Transitioning bill put before Congress.

Voluntary Transitioning - her PR skills hard at work here to repackage elective suicide - calls for seniors to commit to removing themselves, at age 70, from the pool of those collecting retirement benefits. In exchange, they would be exempt from all estate taxes. Additional incentives for those agreeing to "transition" at age 65 include a 2-week, all expenses paid "farewell honeymoon." She doesn't think the bill has a snowball's chance in hell of passing - she repeatedly says, "It's a meta-issue." - but the idea is that it's drastic enough to get people to pay attention. Gee, this is what it would take to keep Social Security solvent? Maybe we'd better look into this...

Gideon Payne, big-wig evangelist preacher and founder of the Society for the Protection of Every Ribonucleic Molecule (SPERM), emerges as the figurehead of the Transitioning bill's opposition. Even as he sits atop his moral high horse, there is an ongoing mystery as to whether he offed his own mother when he was a young man. He's supposed to be a Billy Graham sort of fellow, I suppose.

Anyway, it's a pretty amusing read. Kind of Hiaasen-esque, but set in D.C. instead of South Florida. My only real complaint has to do with the pacing near the end of the book. It was kind of building, building, building, building, wrappedupinthreepagesthereyougokthxbye. Still fairly entertaining, overall.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's official; she's a crawler.

Day 110

Day 200

Looking back, I feel like Soren didn't have a lot of really definite, clear-cut "firsts." I clearly remember the first time he laughed, the day before he turned 4 months old. But sitting/crawling/walking/talking all kind of seemed to happen gradually. Somewhere along the way he went from sorta managing to do whatever skill to pulling it off competently, leaving me wondering when the heck that happened. So I've been trying to make a point of watching Eleri more closely, doing my best to catch that first time that "sorta" becomes "definitely."

(I know that sounds backwards. Isn't it more common to fixate on every tiny milestone with the first kid and then just kind of adopt a "been there, seen that" attitude with the next one? I blame the haze of sleep deprivation, the first time around.)

Anyway, this evening was one of those sorta-to-definitely moments. For a week or so now, Eleri's been starting to try to crawl. She would get one hand or knee ahead of the other and then fall over or stretch back out on her belly to rest. It was cute, but not genuine forward locomotion. This weekend, she managed, a couple of times, to put two crawl "steps" together in a row before collapsing. Close. Proto-crawling, if you will, but still not quite the real deal. Tonight, however, she was on our bed at one end, and the laptop (which she desperately wanted) was at the other end. And very slowly and calmly, but with determination, she crawled from one side of the bed to the other to claim her prize. (Which I promptly took away before she could chew on it. I know, my cruelty knows no bounds.) It was just one of those, "yep, she has clearly got this figured out now" moments.

Since we started out with this evening's big news, we can just proceed through the day in reverse. Why not?

A tiny bit of backstory before this next tidbit. For a while now, Tom's been occasionally saying to Soren things like, "Listen to your mother. Ask your mother. Go with your mother. Give that to your mother." You get the picture. It's not all the time, but it's enough that Soren's started to address me, every once in a while, as "my mother." Which, for whatever reason, weirds me out. Tom says it's just a word, just another parental title, but to me, it makes a difference whether I'm "Mommy" or "Mother" as far as the kids are concerned. Anyway. I've since mentioned this to Tom, and though he thinks I'm weird for caring, he is now aware of how I feel about it.

Fast forward to today, when I returned home from running at the gym. I walked in the door, and both Soren and Eleri looked up at me with big smiles, and then Soren began chanting "Mother! Mother! Mother! Mother! Mother!" (At which point Tom turned to me and said, "I swear I didn't put him up to that.") Sigh.

Backing up a bit further, to my run. This week it's 28 minutes at a stretch, and today I stayed above a 6mph average pace, if only slightly, to complete a distance of 2.81 miles. It was tiring, but definitely doable. I think by next week I'll have no trouble going the full 30 minutes/3.1 miles.

Earlier in the afternoon, Soren and I had a very low intensity battle of wills, which I ultimately won. (A rare victory!) He was begging for a quesadilla, but I wanted him to pick up some of the mess he'd made, first. When I laid out the terms of a quid pro quesadilla arrangement to him, he promptly made an even bigger mess. So I waited him out. And when he asked again for a quesadilla, I made it clear, without raising my voice, that I would happily make him one if he picked up the blankets and pillows he'd strewn throughout the living room. And then I went back to reading. It took a little while, but eventually I looked up to see him putting the things away, all on his own. It was a glorious moment for me.

This morning was another Zoom Around the Room class. Soren had a fabulous time, as always. Toward the end of the "free play" portion of the class, the instructor set up a little obstacle course and led all the kids through it a few times. Soren followed directions really well! Obviously it helped that there were 7 or 8 other little kids all doing the same thing, following on in a line, but I was still impressed with him.

And that was our Monday! Join us tomorrow, when we'll have spray park adventures to share.

Sunday, July 25, 2010



Day 108

Day 198

Since it was approximately 700 degrees outside on Saturday, and I'd learned the day before that my usual riding instructor was out of town for the weekend, I opted not to go riding this weekend. It was just as well, after the rather brutal Friday night, and it saved me some guilt over ditching Tom with the terrible teething twosome for 4 hours. (Really it's mostly that Eleri was wanting to nurse a lot more than usual, and she's still pretty vehemently anti-bottle, so it would have been rather unkind to all involved if I'd been away that long.) I did, however, flee long enough to do my running, since I'd been too wiped out by Friday's super fun times to go the day before. I did approximately the same thing as Wednesday, with the intervals, but I increased my top speed to 7 miles an hour, extending my total distance to 2.57 miles in 25 minutes. My shins felt fine afterward, so I'm pretty pleased about that!

Soren's cough had subsided by Friday evening and was pretty much gone on Saturday. Eleri'd had a bit of a fever Friday night, but it too was gone by morning, and she was in slightly better spirits than she'd been in the day before. With the adult-to-kid ratio back at 1:1, Saturday was overall a much better day than Friday had been.

Soren has been starting to grasp the concept of letter sounds. He's been walking around, the past couple of days, saying things like, "B says buh. P says puh. Z says zzzzz." Saturday afternoon, he was sitting between us and suddenly exclaimed, "Jesus says juh!" We laughed but were rather puzzled as to where that came from. A few minutes later, he repeated, "G says juh," and it became clear what he'd been going for, initially. It was still funny, though.

In the evening (I'd like to say "once the weather had cooled a bit" but I would be lying), we all got in the car to escape the apartment for a little while and do some grocering. We had plans to have A and his parents over for lunch on Sunday, and we needed some supplies. Before the grocery store, though, we had to make a quick stop at the pet store for more cat food and litter. Soren's full of amusing observations at the pet store. Last time he and Tom went by themselves, he pointed at the display of lizards and said, "Dinosaurs!" This time, we were paused by the parakeets, which he declared to be "owls!" Hehe. Not quite, little man.

Eleri, who was completely quiet and content the whole time we were in the store, was hiding a secret diaper explosion, which I discovered upon removing her from the front pouch once we got back to the car. And of course I had just removed the diaper bag for restocking on Thursday and had forgotten to put it back in the car. Fortunately, my penchant for having extraneous (figurative) crap in the car paid off for once, as we were able to scrounge some wipes, a diaper, and some clean clothes.

Erranding completed, we returned home. Soren was late getting to bed, but he slept a lot better than he did on Friday night. Eleri slept straight through for 8 hours, woke up to eat, and then went back to sleep for another hour and a half. That's more like it!


Day 109

Day 199

Tom put together a fantastic lunch spread of baby-back ribs, corn on the cob, and his warm beet-pepper-bacon-potato salad. We also got fixings for a pitcher of white wine sangria (one bottle chardonnay, one bottle sparkling white wine, one orange, one lemon, two limes, a pint of raspberries, about a pint of strawberries, and about 1/8 cup sugar). It was a fine feast. Soren and A ran around and tired each other out, Eleri didn't do too much grumping, and Tom & I had a nice time visiting with A's parents. After they left, we just kind of took it easy for the rest of the day. Well, Tom went running, but aside from that, we took it easy. There was a brief but intense, and very welcome, rainstorm late in the afternoon.

And with that, another weekend draws to a close. Hopefully these teeth will finish tormenting the kiddos sooner than later!

Well. Thank goodness that's over with.

Day 107

Day 197

Friday was not fun. I could be diplomatic and say it was a trying day. I could be blunt and say it straight-up sucked. However you want to dress it up, it was not a peach of a day.

Both of the little weasels are teething. Ergo, both are uncomfortable and cranky. Obviously, this is no fault of theirs, but it's still unpleasant. Both are excreting rivers of snot from their noses. And on Friday morning, Soren woke up with a hacking cough. Blame for the cough could very likely be placed on the aforementioned nasal effluence, but I thought it wise to stay home from preschool on the off chance that he might actually have picked up a cold. (The little savages typically run around sharing cups and eating from communal snack bowls, so the risks of transmission are a little higher on a preschool day than on a regular playgroup day.)

Tubercular sounding cough aside, Soren seemed fine. Chipper. Energetic. And staying home all day made him a little stir-crazy. Eleri, for the vast bulk of the day, was grumpy and near-inconsolable. Manic Soren and the Meltdown Queen. It was a really awesome combination.

It wasn't until very late in the afternoon that Eleri settled enough to play happily on the floor for a little while. But then she was quite content and entertained herself for about an hour before settling down for another nap. So that was good.

Another snippet of good (not from Friday, incidentally, but something I forgot to mention on Thursday): I'd just finished feeding Eleri, mid-afternoon, and she'd fallen asleep on the couch with me. Soren, who had been playing in his room, brought out a pillow and a blanket. He handed me the pillow to put behind my head and gently covered us with the blanket, giving Eleri a kiss on the arm. Sweetest. Boy. Ever.

Friday night was all kinds of awful. Eleri finally spiked a low-grade teething fever, and between that discomfort and the continued snottasticness, she was awake about every 2-3 hours overnight, which she barely even did as a newborn. Soren, too, woke up very sad several times. None of us got a lot of sleep.

But then it was Saturday, and things got a little better.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Warm day water play

Day 106

Day 196

It's due to continue getting hotter here until Sunday. It's going to be hard to avoid a daily "jeez but it's hot and muggy" comment, but I know that's likely to become tiresome. So I'll just apologize in advance.

This morning there was, conveniently, a "play outside in the wading pool" playdate scheduled. I put both kids in suits, slathered the smaller one with sunblock (Soren's swim trunks are so long that they provide pretty adequate protection, plus he was wearing his water socks and a rash guard, plus the backyard where we were was shaded), and off we went. Soren spent some time pouring buckets of water over his head while declaring, "I'm rinsing!" Later, he moved on to playing in the mud. It took no time at all for him to become completely filthy. Happy as could be, but filthy.

After all the "big" kids were done playing in the wading pool, I took Eleri over to let her sit in the water with another little (10 month old) girl. She was not amused. I think the water was just too cold for her, even though there were only maybe 2 inches of it left in the pool by that point. I picked her back up, held her for a few minutes, then tried putting just her feet back in the water, but she was not having any of it. Poor girl. MommyFail. She did have a good time interacting with the 2 other little siblings there, though. She looked HUGE in comparison to the 3 month old boy, and she was about the same size as the 10 month old girl. (I got some video and will pull stills sometime in the next few days.)

Oh yeah, speaking of Eleri, something I forgot to mention yesterday was that, in addition to the fish noise, she also started doing some actual repetitive babbling, saying "babababa." She did more of that today, mostly when she was starting to get cranky and ready for her naps. It's pretty cute.

After the morning's cavorting, both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home. I just let them nap while we sat in the parking lot of our apartment complex. I had to run the car (to run the air conditioning) a few times, but Soren slept right through that. Eleri woke up before he did, but she was all chipper and happy, babbling away in her car seat, punctuating her commentary with the occasional kick-kick-kick of her feet. They're so different with regard to sleeping and waking up, these two. Soren still wakes up crying from naps, more often than not - and always has - while Eleri almost always wakes up happy and quiet. Interesting.

We did more potty training in the afternoon. There was one disastrous accident after dinner, but otherwise he did pretty well. Yesterday evening, I printed up a Potty Train sticker chart for the lad, since he's all into stickers these days. I know there are all kinds of competing opinions on whether or not you should use bribes or incentives or whatever, but I think this might work for him. Anyway, last night and today he's been getting to add a sticker to the chart every time he successfully pees in the toilet. Tonight, as I was getting him ready for bed, I set him up with his toothbrush and ducked into the bathroom to use it, myself. He grabbed his sticker sheet off the counter and held it out to me, asking, "Which one you want, Mommy?" Which was hilarious. (I let him pick a sticker and put it on my hand, which he was very pleased to do.)

I made pizzas for dinner, as has become our Thursday custom. One of them was your standard marinara-sausage-pepperoni-etc. pizza, but on the other one I put a mushroom alfredo sauce, bacon, basil and chicken. It was pretty good, though I could really only taste the bacon. Tom said he could mostly taste mushrooms. Soren ate a big piece of each kind. I've slacked on making another batch of Eleri food the last few nights. Tomorrow!

One last thing (this has turned into a longer post than I anticipated). Soren's been drooling rather more than usual and chewing on his fingers for the past few weeks. I've been thinking he had to be getting his 2 year molars for, oh I don't know, almost 4 months now. Finally (FINALLY!) tonight I was able to see the 2 bottom ones poking through the gums. Miraculously, he hasn't (yet) had the fever or severe appetite reduction that has accompanied his previous teething misadventures. Here's hoping we can avoid those this time around!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chugging along on the potty train

Day 105

Day 195

We had some more small successes with potty training today. He wore a diaper when we went to playgroup, but he was in unders at home, and only had one instance of "oops, I got too caught up in playing and forgot to go to the toilet." Kind of sad that this is considered a highlight of the day, these days, but such is the life of the parent of a potty training toddler!

Playgroup this morning was at the home of a girl named Gracie. Soren can't quite say her name correctly. He calls her Crazy. Hehe. "Going to Crazy's house, Mommy? Where's Crazy?" Crazy's mom found this quite amusing (which is good, since I suppose she could have been offended instead).

Run report for the evening (since I know at least ML is interested). I managed to average 6 mph over my 25 minutes and keep myself entertained by switching between 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5 mph in a repeating, ramp-up/ramp-down sort of pattern. It was tiring but not seriously overtaxing. I'll probably do the same thing on Friday.

This evening, Eleri was making a super silly "fish noise." This morning was the first time I returned from a brief trip out of the room to find her sitting in her crib, up from her tummy all by herself. (For those keeping score, that's 4 days earlier than Soren managed the same feat.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Schwetty All

Day 104

Day 194

This morning was the monthly playgroup meetup at River Farm. We hadn't been in a while - I think the last 2 outings were canceled due to rain - and it was really quite amazing to see how much the foliage had grown over the past couple of months. On the one hand, there were lots of neat flowers and things to see. On the other hand, more dense greenery meant a much more obstructed view of our wandering offspring.

A's mom commented how the first time we all came to River Farm (back in March), the steps leading up to the gazebo seemed so treacherous. Four scant months later, our boys were scampering up and down them with ease, and it was no longer necessary to help them or keep our fingers crossed that they wouldn't go tumbling to their doom. Pretty amazing!

(Also, that scary, steep embankment I was so worried about the first time we visited? They've never even considered venturing near it, since.)

It was another hot and muggy summer day, so we were sure to bring lots of water. I don't think there was a single kid there whose hair wasn't damp with sweat by the time we left (Eleri included, and she wasn't even running around). I brought our new stainless steel water bottles, which Soren was pretty excited about. Unfortunately, after we got home, he was also really excited about dumping half the remaining water into his baseball cap, which he then carried, dripping, through the apartment before dumping on the floor. If we had a backyard, I would definitely get him set up with some water toys and a bucket or a wading pool or something and let him pour water to his heart's content. Alas, water play on our balcony, which would probably result in the occasional drenching of passers-by, would likely be frowned upon.

Eleri pushed herself up from tummy to sitting, not once, but twice today! This after almost managing it for the first time just yesterday. She's also getting really good at rotating and squirming to where she wants to go. It's been a few weeks now since I've felt comfortable plopping her in the center of our bed while I run to get a glass of water or go to the bathroom or something. The flip side, though, is that with her highly competent sitting skills, I can now plop her down pretty much anywhere on the floor with reasonable confidence that she'll not keel over backwards. It still happens, but it's quite rare.

This evening I gave Soren a haircut. He seemed more wiggly than usual, and I ended up buzzing a really short patch on the side of his head. I had to end up going pretty short on the top in order to blend it well enough to not look totally ridiculous, though I suppose it's probably just as well, given how freaking hot it's been. I just don't want him to get a sunburned scalp as a result. He's gotten a lot better about wearing his hat, but he's still not usually willing to wear it the whole time we're out and about. Who can blame him, really, since with the longer hair he's been getting all sweaty under the hat? Hopefully the haircut will help with that.

Shiny happy zooming

Day 103

Day 193

Monday morning brought with it some heat, some humidity, and another Zoom class at the rec center. We made it over there early enough for Soren to run around with A on the playground for a bit beforehand, which made him happy. He had a grand old time in his class; Eleri had been asleep since we arrived, but she woke up not long after we got downstairs for class. I took her out of the pouch and let her sit on the floor in the soft play room for a while. I had to wipe up a big drool puddle, but she was very happy. One of the other little girls in the class kept bringing over balls from the ball pit for Eleri to play with. It was very cute.

After the class, I stopped at the front desk to inquire about the preschool they operate at the rec center. The director of the program just happened to be there that day, so she gave us a little tour of the various classrooms and provided a bit of information about the program. It seems pretty great, though it may be really hard to get into (limited space, younger siblings of current students get priority, etc.). Soren wouldn't be old enough for the 2 1/2 yr old class this September (which is already full anyway), so we'd have to wait for the 3 yr old class next year. Tom joked, "by that time, he may be at a 4th grade level!" to which I countered, "Perhaps, but will he be potty trained?" Hehe.

Laundry took up the remainder of our afternoon, since I slacked big time over the weekend. When Tom got home, I went and did my running. I'd missed Friday's workout last week, since we were having dinner in the city with our friends, but this whole week the assignment is the same as Friday's. Run 25 minutes, no walk breaks. I'd kind of overdone it a little last Wednesday, so my shins were a bit buggy when I started, but I took it really easy (2.38 miles in 25 minutes). Changing my speed every five minutes (alternating between 5.5 and 6.0 mph) helped a little with the monotony, but man...running on the treadmill for a long time is boring. I enjoyed the earlier workouts, when I had little goals to complete along the way (2 more minutes, and then I get a walk break), and eventually I'll be able to keep things interesting by throwing in a minute or two of sprint here and there, but for now it's pretty monotonous, even with music. The muggy weather, combined with my intense dislike of running outside, will keep me treadmill-bound, at least for now, but I'll need to come up with something else to keep myself from getting too bored.

Eleri almost managed to push herself up to a sitting position from lying on her tummy Monday evening. She was really close. She also pulled off one "step" of crawl before toppling over. The girl is bound & determined to be a mover, sooner than later.

Another week's worth of cuteness

Monday, July 19, 2010


Whoops. Kind of got way behind, there. Let's get caught up!


Day 98

Day 188

Highlights for Wednesday include a bit of rain, both kids napping, and Eleri sitting up on her own for so long that I stopped counting after 10 minutes. Pretty good! I slogged my way through a bit of calculus while the weasels napped, but I didn't make as much progress as I would have liked. Oh well.


Day 99

Day 189

Thursday we attended our first session of "preschool." Some moms in the playgroup set up a co-op homeschool group, which we're going to check out for the summer. The setup seems to be pretty similar to a regular playgroup meetup, with the addition of a sit-down snack and lunch, plus some stories and skills oriented play. Thursday, for example, the kids played with colored bean bags and corresponding colored construction paper. They matched up the colors for a few minutes, then decided it would be more fun to toss the bean bags around, which was fine. Before that, however, they discovered two big bins that had filled up with rainwater from Wednesday night's storm. Soren was soaked, head to toe, before we'd even been there half an hour. Thank goodness for foresight and spare clothes.

There is a strong focus on manners, so the kids are asked to respond with "yes please" or "no thank you" when offered food at snack/lunch time. It's really effective, since there's repetition and reinforcement with everyone saying it. (As we were driving home afterward, Soren was chattering to himself in the back seat, saying, "Fries? No thank you! Nuggets? Yes please! Drink? Yes please!") So that's pretty cool.

I remembered to bring the Bumbo seat, so I could set Eleri down from time to time and be available to help with things. The first time I put her in it, one of the moms said something along the lines of, "Oh, has she graduated to be out of the front pack?" I replied that it was really just that I usually forgot to bring the seat along, and she said, "Oh, I just thought you were really into baby-wearing!" Hehe. I mean, I'm happy to wear the kids - certainly it beats the heck out of carrying around the car seat - but I'm not fanatical about it or anything.

A trip to Target was on the agenda for the afternoon. I've been meaning to pick up a couple of stainless steel water bottles for a while now, and I actually remembered about it when we got to the store on Thursday. I let Soren choose his own bottle; he picked a pink one with flowers on it. ;)


Day 100

Day 190

Friday was another preschool day. One of the kids was having a pretty bad day, plus it was brutally hot, so we stayed indoors and didn't end up doing all that much school-related stuff. It was all right, though. The kids got some play time in, and that's ultimately good enough for me.

Our friend ML from California arrived in town, so the kids and I went over to Max and Agnes's in the afternoon to visit. Tom met us there after work. ML and I strolled Soren & Eleri through the hot afternoon sun to Trader Joe's to pick up some foodstuffs, and back at the house there were tasty biscuits, lamb tips, choucroute with sausage, and tomato/cucumber/blueberry salad for dinner. It was nice to visit with friends, and Soren was full of energy and cuteness. And mischief. It was all we could do to keep him from washing his hands in Spork(the cat)'s drinking water fountain. Eleri did really well with all the socializing; she got a little grumpy after dinner, but it didn't take long for her to fall asleep on my shoulder.

When we got back home afterward, we ran into a guy at the elevator who was walking his Chihuahua and Pekingese. Soren declared, "It's a doggie and a chicken!" and we just about died of laughter.


Day 101

Day 191

Saturday morning I had such a good riding lesson. It was another really hot day, so after about the first half of the lesson in the arena, N gave us the option of heading out to the loop field to play. The loop field is a hilly pasture that's been turned into kind of a track, with an electric fence set up about 20 feet inside the outer wooden fence. We each got to take 3 turns around the loop, doing whatever we wanted to do. Chaka and I were totally on the same page in thinking that a nice gallop up the hill was in order. So we did, and it was incredibly fun. It put me in a smiley mood for the rest of the day.

Later in the afternoon, Max & ML came over to hang out. Tom made tasty guacamole, which Soren alternately calls "quahcamole" and "hawkamole." Later, Soren helped Tom make pizzas for dinner. Dinner was a little late, and Soren (after running many laps around the dining table earlier in the day) couldn't stay awake through it. But since it was already near bedtime, we went ahead and put him in his bed and just let him sleep. He ended up staying asleep for the rest of the night! Hehe. Not bad.


Day 102

Day 192

Sunday morning we got up and headed out early to go to Hollin Farms, where we met Chris & Sarah and picked some produce. The farm's about an hour away, and it was a pretty drive through some of the more rural parts of northern Virginia. (Well, most of the drive was on Route 66, but it got a bit rural toward the end.) It's peach season, and that's apparently a pretty big crop around here, so there were peaches aplenty to be picked. Unfortunately, that's just about all there was. I was disappointed to discover, when we got there, that the berry bushes were off limits (the woman said they were "all picked out" but it looked like there were plenty of raspberries still there and ripe). Most of the other crops were too young, with all the ripened fruits and vegetables already snatched up. Oh well. It was still a fun morning, and Soren seemed to enjoy frolicking through the grove of peach trees, helping to pick the fruits that were low enough for him to reach.

The rest of the day, we took it easy. We started to watch our way through the backlog of Deadliest Catch on our Tivo. I've been putting it off, since I knew we were only a few episodes away from the death of Captain Phil. We didn't quite get all the way through it, but we made a dent. Sad stuff.

Sunday afternoon and evening, all the way until bedtime, Soren had a very successful stretch of potty training time. He wore his big boy underpants for about 6 hours with no accidents! Not bad at all. I know better than to hope he's suddenly figured it all out, but we'll take progress where we can find it.

Whew! Now we're caught up. Monday's post and last week's video will, hopefully, both be up tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The good, the bad and the whiny

Day 97

Day 187

Interesting step forward on the potty training front this morning. Not long after a diaper change, Soren darted off toward our bedroom (I assumed, to harass the cats). A minute or so later, he returned to the living room, naked from the waist down, declaring, "I peed in the shower!" Um, okay. Indeed, there was a puddle in the shower, and when I checked his discarded diaper, I found it to be dry. So he had (correctly!) anticipated the need to relieve himself and managed to do so not in his pants. Of course, I'd have preferred the toilet to the shower as his chosen venue of urination, but hey! At the very least, it's progress.

Of course, that was about the extent of the potty training success for the day (later periods of "big boy underpants time" proved less fruitful), but whatever. Baby steps, yo.

Playgroup this morning was meeting at the cool coffee shop that has the train table for kids to play with. We hadn't been there in a while - maybe once since Eleri was born, if that - primarily because Soren tended to get bored with the train table after about 10 minutes and focus his efforts instead on scampering off to places he shouldn't go (like the back store room, where they keep all the cleaning supplies and knives and stuff, or out the front door). I figured we could give it a shot today though, and if worst came to worst, we'd only be a short ways down the road from the rec center and could go to the playground instead. So we went, and he was actually pretty good. Only one mad dash toward the store room and a few attempts to break into the freezer that houses the ice cream bars. I think he was mostly happy that A was back from vacation and could play with him, but he also stayed reasonably well focused on playing with toys. We managed to hang out there a full two hours, which was much better than I had anticipated.

The afternoon was good for a little while. We returned from playgroup, had some lunch, hung out. Eleri had herself an extended freak-out upon crossing into "I need my afternoon nap NOW!" territory, but she eventually fell asleep and stayed that way for a few hours. Soren and I read some books. Before long, though, he started doing rather a lot of whining and misbehaving, which I've been having a harder time tolerating lately. Oh, the whining, how it grates on the nerves! Not my favorite, for sure. And if I'm already on edge from all the whines, my patience for misbehavior drops to about negative twenty. (What are the units of patience? I don't know. Just go with it.) I feel like not a very good mom for losing my shit when he intentionally dumps water on the floor - I mean, really, it's just water - but it's not hard to lose all tolerance for such misdeeds when he's already primed the pump of annoyance, as it were.

Fortunately, when I've just about hit the point where I can take it no more, Tom gets home from ten kid-free hours of work and commute time, so he can take the reins for a little bit. It works out well.

On a happier note, Eleri is becoming a pro at the unsupported sitting. She was a little late to the game (compared with Soren), but she's made astounding progress in the last week or so. It's really very impressive! She's also, I'm pretty sure, signed "milk" at me several more times, with intent. Pretty cool!

Lesson Learned

Day 96

Day 186

I may have overbooked us on Monday morning. At the very least, I didn't manage to shove enough food at Soren before we headed out the door. There was a small-ish playdate (just a few other kids) happening not far from the rec center, so I figured we could stop by for an hour or so before continuing on to his Zoom Around the Room class. This actually worked out pretty well, except for the fact that Soren more or less ran out of juice halfway through his class. Ran around all happily for 20 minutes, then came over to where I was sitting with a sleeping Eleri, whining, "I'm done, I'm doooone!" He fetched his shoes out of the cubby, managed to get one of them on, tossed my shoes at me and headed for the door. Hehe. I felt bad for him, but it was still pretty funny. Turned out he was just hungry. I snuck him a small piece of fruit leather (there's a pretty strict "No Food or Drink" policy in the soft play room), and he sat with me for a few minutes before deciding he could manage to play just a little bit longer. He was also out of sorts because A was still on vacation, so he didn't get to play with his buddy on the playground before or after class.

After lunch, however, he was in better spirits. We played some games and read some books and drew with chalk. Y'know, standard sort of afternoon. In the evening, the kids were playing in front of the mirrored closet doors, being all cute. Silly kids.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rain & Riding & Rest & Real Food


Day 94

Day 184

Saturday morning we awoke to a warm summer rain falling outside. Given the choice between 90% humidity and 100% humidity, I'll take actual precipitation over general swampiness any day. Off through the rain I drove, to what would end up being a pretty great riding lesson. I got to ride a really fun pony named Chaka. He's speedy and kind of a stinker, but if you ride him well he'll reward you with this excellent, uphill frame. Plus his canter is about the most fun thing I've experienced on horseback in years. N says she'll let me stick with him for a little while, since I do a good job riding him, so that's awesome! Yay!

The penultimate World Cup game was on after I got home, so we watched that. Well, Tom watched it; I watched some of it, but I also dozed off a few times and read my book a bit. Not much else of note for Saturday.


Day 95

Day 185

Eleri's started to get more grumpy about the whole teething business. No fever yet, thank goodness, but she's a little tougher to settle. We've been freezing one of the teether toys for her to chew on, and she seems to like that. Nevertheless, she was pretty fussy on Sunday morning, so when the start time of the World Cup final rolled around, I took her with me to the store so Tom could watch at least the first half of the game in (relative) peace. It actually works out pretty well; the infant-stage hollering gets to Tom sooner than it gets to me, whereas I lose patience with the toddler tantrums and whining well before Tom does. So we can split up the kids and both consider ourselves "getting a break."

Sunday was pretty much a rest day for all. Even Soren took a nap! A rare gift, indeed. At dinner time, Eleri had her first taste of "real" food. I pureed some butternut squash for her (thinned out with a bit of breastmilk), and though she wasn't quite sure what to make of it, she was intrigued and eager to try. I'm a little out of practice feeding mush to people who don't know how to eat, so we made a bit of a mess, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Silly little girl. I caught a bit of the squash-fest on video and will be uploading it sometime soon. :)