Thursday, March 7, 2013

Battle of the Wills

There's something exhilarating about a good, old-fashioned battle of the wills between myself and my daughter. Partly, I think, because we're very well-matched in this area. She is a worthy opponent. An expert at holding her ground.

But guess what, little one, so am I. Not all the time, mind you. Just when I feel like it. Eliza's the exact same way. Most of the time she does what I tell her. She's a very good girl. But when it comes to certain things, such as SLEEPING, this kid does not back down. She's incredible. I can't help but be impressed. We've let her cry it out longer than I was comfortable with and she was still going strong.

Early on I would get frustrated with her. There was door slamming and stuffed animal throwing. But then one day I realized it's just a competition. A competition in something I'm excellent at: Getting my way. This gave me renewed confidence.

However, I've never had such a challenging opponent. I'm an only child and I got my way quite a bit growing up. Not because my mother spoiled me, but because there just weren't any other kids around to protest my desires. Then I married this wonderful man who loves me so much that he's happy to go along with whatever I want (sort of). But then this child entered my life, somehow born an expert in getting her way.

So I learned to pick my battles. If I fought with her on everything it would be too much. But every so often, when I'm feeling spunky, we go at it. I stand my ground, she stands hers. Hours go by. There's crying. There's screaming. There's giggling and "I know I'm so cute you're going to give in" smiles. Then more crying. And finally, a winner emerges.

And guess who today's winner is. The one who's not currently asleep in her crib, that's who.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Potty Time

I bought Eliza a potty this week. I figure we should get her interested in the potty and see what happens. She's always (in her 17 long months of life) been pretty good about making transitions and wanting to move to the next level, so I'm hoping she just kind of figures out this potty stuff on her own. I'm pretty sure she can. I'll just sit back and encourage her. I bet I'll hardly have to do anything! (Yes, I recognize I'm just setting myself up for failure once more.)

So I put the potty in the bathroom. Eliza says "potty!" with great enthusiasm. We've established the difference between Mommy's potty and Eliza's potty. She's figured out how to take it all apart and sort of how to put it back together. She's determined what toys fit nicely into the bowl. She's learned she can use it as a step stool to launch herself into the bathtub. As you can see, our potty training is off to an excellent start.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wimpy

I'm out of Cherry Coke. In fact, I'm out of any kind of pop besides my husband's Mountain Dew super blue beverage that I refuse to drink. Normally, being out of Cherry Coke wouldn't be a huge deal. Target is just a quick trip down the road. The thing about being out of Cherry Coke today is that it's 14 degrees outside.

I've been a stay (and work)-at-home mom now for almost a year and a half. Up to that point I had your average 9 to 5 type job which meant getting up early every day and leaving the house no matter how freezing cold or rainy or snowy it was outside. It never bothered me too much, but after all this time of working in the house, something in me has changed.

If it's below 30 degrees out, I do what I can to not have to leave the house that day. If it's rainy, I might as well just stay home. Snowing? That's kinda dangerous, I better just wait it out inside.

What is happening to me? I'm disgusted with myself. After all, I'm a Chicagoan. I've lived through some ridiculous weather. I've braved below zero temps. I've cruised down the expressway in a blizzard. I've slid around on black ice. These things didn't use to phase me. Now, I just can't deal with them. It's like I'm from Florida or something.

I like to pretend it's for Eliza's sake. I don't want her to get sick in the cold. I don't want to drive in dangerous conditions with her in the backseat. But really, it's me. Why go out in bad weather if I don't have to?

But then there's the issue of the Cherry Coke. What am I going to drink now? Water?! Is my lack of planning going to force me to leave the house in 14 degree weather? Does Peapod make emergency deliveries?

Thank heavens for my mother who just happens to keep a stash of Coke in her car, and can't resist an invitation to lunch with her granddaughter.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Failure Is An Option

If there's one thing I've learned from having a kid, it's how to fail. Not in some dramatic way. I'm certainly not perfect, but I don't think I'm a total failure as a mother or anything. I've just learned how to fail at the little things. Every day.

We have a pretty regular failure routine. I think of something that Eliza could do that would be convenient for me. I try to get her to do it. She refuses. I try again. She refuses again. This happens at least one hundred times.

What keeps me going, you ask? Two things: My sheer determination--as an only child--to get my way, and the rare occasions where Eliza, after hundreds of tries, has finally done the thing I want her to do.

For example: Eliza's pretty picky about her sleeping habits. I believe she may have inherited this from her mother, who cannot sleep or nap without perfect sleeping conditions. Despite this, I continue to try to get her to take a nap in the stroller while we're out. It worked once. Therefore, I cannot stop trying.

On the flip side, Eliza is now down to one three hour nap every day. If she happens to fall asleep, say, in the car before we make it home to put her down in her crib, we know we can kiss nap time goodbye. Regardless of this, I can't help but try to sneak her into the house and get her into bed where she will ideally take her regular 3 hour nap. This has never ever worked. Not even once, no matter how tired she is.

My husband is a little more willing to give up, but like any good husband he continues to support my frivolous efforts. Someday I will prevail. Until then, I'll just keep failing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Baby Stuff on the Cheap

One thing about me is that I'm cheap. No, not cheap. Frugal. No, careful with my money. No, no, careful with God's money. Yeah, that's it.

I've been this way for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I would get hand-me-downs from my older cousin who bought brand name clothes. I always enjoyed getting her Gap and Banana Republic outfits because I figured I wouldn't be able to afford such fancy items. Then when I started shopping on my own, I realized you can get super cheap stuff just about anywhere with a clearance section. And a monster was born.

To this day nothing thrills me like an amazing deal. Having a child gave me a whole new industry in which to stretch my bargain-hunting skills. And there are some amazing deals to be had.

These are some of my favorite deal hunting spots but beware: If you're not ok with hand-me-down baby items, this list is not for you. And if you think that 30% off at Gymboree is a great deal, then we have different definitions of a great deal.

Clearance Sections - If you go shopping on a regular basis and have no trouble walking out of a store without purchasing anything, it's totally worth it to regularly check out the clearance sections in your favorite stores. Every so often you'll run across some crazy mark downs. Like an additional 50% off the already super marked down clearance items. But there will be lots of shopping trips with no good deals, so if you can't leave a store without buying something, it's not going to work.

Goodwill/Resale Stores - These are fun if you don't need anything specific and want to just look around. Goodwill is so hit or miss, but I enjoy going there and I can usually find a book or toy or something worthwhile. Here in the Chicagoland area we are blessed with children's resale stores, Once Upon A Child. They're dangerous.

Garage/Rummage Sales - Summertime around these parts offers tons of garage sales each weekend. It's nice and easy to peruse the ads on Craigslist and find ones that specifically list children's items. Rummage sales are even more fun since they're usually larger and stuff goes half price on the last day. I can't stress enough the joy of half price day.

Craigslist - I know the media says that everyone on Craigslist is a serial killer, but I've done quite well on it. I've found a number of great items at reasonable prices and even some free stuff that people just needed to get rid of! It's always worth a look if you need something specific.

Garbage Picking - This is the grandaddy of cheapness. And likely the line that many will not cross. But before you judge me, let me explain how classy my garbage picking is. In the Chicago 'burbs many of the towns have an amnesty garbage day each year--residents are welcome to put just about anything on the curb without having to pay extra. In some of the more wealthy suburbs, this has become a serious event. And yes, I participate with excitement each year. I've found car seats, bumbos, books, toys, and a barely used wooden kitchen set, complete with pots and pans. And since they're from impressively rich people, I figure they're probably not diseased or anything.

What are you favorite bargain-hunting spots?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Time to Be A Parent

My daughter is a little over 16 months old. Up until now, she's been pretty easy to take care of. She's listened to me when I said no and would get very concerned when I got upset with her. I haven't had to exercise many parenting skills beyond changing diapers and making sure she doesn't die. But the tide is turning, people.

In the last week or so, her reaction to me has been, in a word, horrifying. When I tell her no, she completely ignores me. When I get upset about something, she gives me a blank stare. And then maybe even laughs. What is this!? When she stands staring at me blankly while I lecture her about not touching they keyboard and mouse or attempting to launch herself off of the couch, all I see is her as a teenager giving me the exact same look.

"Oh, were you talking to me, mom?"
"Oh, are you saying you don't want me to do this?"
"I see that this blank look is enraging you. I will keep doing it."
"It seems I've forgotten every word in the english language, so I really have no idea what you're saying to me."

I have an insane toddler-teenager on my hands. Where did she learn this? She's figuring out things that should not be known to a toddler. It's scary. And a little bit funny. But mostly scary.

I see now that it's time to become a real parent. I'm sure it happens to everyone. Gone are my easy breezy baby days of only worrying about dirty diapers and what's for lunch. No longer can I get away with merely saying "no" and expecting complete obedience. I'm going to actually have to put some thought into this.

I can certainly outsmart a toddler, right? Right??


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finally, Snow!

Well, it's February 2nd and here in Chicagoland we just got our first snow that fully covered the grass. Time to play!



Yeah, the snow pants are a little big. I'm determined to use them next year too.


She decided it was her job to wipe off every light.