Thursday, January 27, 2011

Eat Less Chikin

Accidental Test #1: Passed!

Jelly and I went and got haircuts last night, our twice-yearly venture. Some people go every six weeks; I find it more thrifty to go every six months. I don't care enough about my hair to go more often (ok, that's a lie, let me rephrase - I'm too cheap to pay to cut my hair more often), and I like to cut hair so in between I trim us and do a passable job at bangs maintenance. But every once in a while I pass a mirror and shudder, and grab the phone and get us into a chair ASAP. My latest stylist is a full-bottle-of-hair-spray-each-time, gum-smacking, as-seen-in-'Steel Magnolias' wonder. She has a boyfriend who is only slightly older than Jellybean and is unexpectedly pregnant, and likes to talk shit about various people while saying 'bless their heart!'. I adore her. I really don't care that she doesn't do as great a job as my last stylist, I love that it's half the price and that she takes half the time and that I sit with my mouth half-open in shock listening to what she's dishing out. I've lived in this small part of Raleigh for three years as of March, and I've learned more since in the two visits to her than in all that time.

So anywho, after that (during which Jellybean was GOOD AS GOLD, and everyone in the salon was absolutely beside themselves with how quiet and still and sweet she was, and how polite and adorable, and how lovely her raincoat, and how beautiful her mother, and everything except for that last part DAMNIT!) I decided we both deserved some fast food Inside, because if you are a mother of a toddler you know how exciting that is. To, you know, Go Inside. Where there is a play area. So instead of Old McDonald's, where we go every single frickin' time, I decided to live it up a little and we went to Chick-fil-A. Since for once I was driving past and it wasn't a Sunday. To make a really boring story short, we had a lovely time at the God-lovin', gay-hating, chicken-cookin' establishment, went home, had a bath, read stories, sang some songs, JR went to bed, and I almost pooped my pants. Sorry, should I have warned you that was coming?

The exciting thing about having a severe MSG allergy is that I get not one but two very strong reactions. The first is a migraine. I talk about that one all the time here, ad nauseam. The second I try to shelter you from, because, let's face it, Everyone Poops, but Everyone Doesn't Want to Hear About Your Poops. Since it's still early in the day today, and depending on when you read this, quite possibly around a mealtime or a time when you might still want to enjoy life, I will spare you all the details. Suffice it to say, I was quite suddenly and violently made aware that I had eaten MSG in the very recent past. My initial anger at stupid Chick-Fil-a, and my own anger at myself for turning a blind eye to their abhorrent politics to partake in delicious waffle fries and lemonade, suddenly turned to a realization that I had NOT had a migraine, or even a headache of any kind! Hallelujah!

So - that's totally freaking awesome. Mr. T, I salute you. Despite the fact I had some minor tingling in my fingertips this morning.

And chick-Fil-a, I'm very, very disappointed. I loved you long time, but it looks like we finally have to break up. I was suspicious of you before, but after some internet research into your shady ingredient doings my suspicions have been confirmed. If your recent anti-same-sex marriage proclamations hadn't made you my enemy, your bowel-scouring would have.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Work in Progress

I've got another post partially started, partially finished (what's well-begun is half done, as Mary Poppins would say), so I figured I'd drop in to say hey and make sure you didn't wander off and find someone much more interesting to follow instead, who blogged much more frequently and didn't have a penchant for run on sentences or words you weren't quite sure how to pronounce.

Look how cute that Bean is. I hit my once-favorite consignment sale last weekend, and that was her favorite thing. I knew it would be, because it's a real hard hat from a company construction site. It cost me one whole shiny dollar. In her hands she's studying a battery-powered drill that is part of a @#$% playdough set that I also got her. It's a dentist thing, that comes with molds where you make playdough teeth, you get the idea. I hate playing playdough like death. Yet I keep buying her stuff because she loves it, forgetting that she then wants me to play with her. Ugh.

Here's another picture for you.
This is what your iPhone photo album fills up with when you let your toddler play with it. This, and pictures of Elmo from the 'Monster Maker' app. What is this? I have no effing clue. But I have lots more like 'em. If the darn thing didn't make her so freaking happy I wouldn't let her touch it. She may love it more than me. Well, maybe just slightly less so since I discovered Cover Orange.

Medical Update: Yesterday I ramped up to 50mg/day of Mr. T. Today I learned that my dentist is likewise on the generic, so had a nice chat with her about some of her side effects and experiences. I'm still having the 2p dull headache and lots of sleeplessness, thirst and some mild nausea. And the severe stupids. I got a raging headache at a toddler birthday party on Sunday but hey, toddler birthday party. I'm not going to count that one.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Kids Are All Right

I still can't believe a dude commented on my blog. Do you think he reads it all the time, or just surfs around doing searches for people who beat on their kids? I should probably talk about my period less, just in case. At least I don't talk about my dirty dreams all the time like MommieV (this is hysterically funny to me not only because I would likewise be mortified, but also because I have been having the exact same dreams/egg white/come-hither feelings, but since it's been SEVEN YEARS since I've had action I can repress it all a little easier. Also, I can't deal with the fact that my mum would probably read it, I don't care that I am 40 years old).

So let's move on, shall we? I am so damn tired I could throw up. It must be a combination of the Am-I-going-crazy? and the nightmarish sleep disruption that Mr. T delivers. Also, I get a weird, dull headache every afternoon around 2-3pm. I am trying to be better about drinking water to see if that helps. I mixed up an important date that screwed up plans for not just me, but The Ta and my sitter. I'm seeing some weird little flashes of light occasionally, like my eyes playing tricks on me. This is on the lowest introductory dose? Man, this stuff is going to kick my butt. My new favorite website,, had all kinds of horrible things to share with me. But that, oddly enough, made me feel better. And you know, this stuff so far is fine, if it’s going to keep the migraines away and keep me from waking up with headaches. You know what it’s like? It’s exactly like being in my first trimester all over again; thoughts keep slipping away from me, the only thing I could stomach for dinner last night was oatmeal, and I’m exhausted and just want to nap ALL THE TIME. Except thankfully, no newborn after this experience.

A few more friends had babies recently, and I feel like a bad person because I haven’t met the new arrivals yet. Hopefully they know me well enough to assume it’s because of my standard single-working-mama schedule, and not assume that I’m a jerk who hates their baby. Quite the opposite. If I were to hold a baby right now with the drug playing havoc on my system, I’m afraid I’d cry and never stop. You people out there with 2+ can laugh all you want, I know how it is, I laugh at new parents also. But as much as you tell yourself you’ve let go of a dream, it still surprises you when you find bits of it tucked into nooks and crannies that float up unexpectedly. I know there are plenty of single mamas out there with plus one, and I admire them immensely. I could never do it, not physically or financially, at least not on purpose. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wish that things weren’t different, that I had a husband and could have a whole mess o’ kids and a house in shambles and no money for beach trips or Skechers or spa days. Seeing new babies makes me go insane with jealousy and regret (but, happily, not vengeance). Don’t worry, those of you still trying, I’m not attempting to take away your right to fist-gnawing hysteria upon encountering soft white sweet skin and sleepy tiny toes – you definitely have first dibs. No way in hell will I ever forget what it’s like to want something like that so bad, much like I will never forget the reality of back labor. I’m just saying, as much as I would hate, HATE to face the journey of parenting a soon-to-be-3 (ohh, it’s going to be fun, I can tell already) with an even smaller needy person in-arms, I still also hate the idea that there really is never to be an Alistair. But look, I can't even take care of myself right now, let alone Jellybean. Can you imagine?!

Additional Note: Yep, Pepsi tastes funny also. Like, the shelf date has expired. And that it’s New Coke or something equally awful. Clear Coke, maybe. My good friend S. told me that yes, starting to experience side effects on day 2 was par for the course for her as well, so to keep track of the score and see where I end up. It’s so nice to have friends who have been-there-done-that. Also, they have a trampoline.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can't Touch This

Much like the generation before mine, and the one before that, and so on and so on back to the beginning of time, I shake my head when I look at the next crop of kids. I am pretty sure that there was a morning many, many years ago when a cave woman looked at a kid playing in the dirt and said, ‘Ug, we no have rock to play with when me kid’. That’s just the way it is. Technology advances, and money keeps getting made, people live longer and are healthier and then all of a sudden there are holographs and instant food machines and I finally have a teleporter. We struggle a little less with each baby boom, and while this is a good thing, it’s also a bad thing. It’s part of what is keeping kids inside, contributing to not only an epidemic of obesity but an alarming lack of vitamin D (as if rickets are back!). It’s part of what is giving your average kid that obnoxious entitled attitude, a complacency and laziness born of no farm chores at 5 am, hot Totino’s Pizza Bites for snack, and a cozy car ride with a personal DVD-player.

The other part of the problem is this issue with parents thinking they’re hurting their kids’ feelings by disciplining them, by enforcing boundaries and encouraging respect. Good manners and common courtesy are a rarity nowadays. All these things are hard, and take work. They upset the child, which upsets you. It makes life a lot less fun. But they also guarantee a happier, healthier child, just like small amounts of sunlight and exercise and a strictly enforced bedtime routine.

Just like everything else with parenting, there are lots of differing opinions on what ‘appropriate’ disciplining is. For some, this means time out or lots and lots of counting. For many of my friends, it was wooden spoons on their backsides when they were kids. Personally, I think there is a happy medium. I know that the threat of counting works for some people, but it drives me crazy. I’ve seen it overused and used ineffectively way too often. Smacking a kid with a spoon is abusive, to me, especially when you get pissed because you break your spoon and so you make your kid go get ANOTHER spoon and you smack ‘em even harder (no, seriously, true story! People are crazy).

In case you hadn’t caught on yet, since I was dancing around this topic quite a bit (bought it a drink, told it that I liked its dress, talked about the weather), this post is about spanking. I’m a bit of a spanker. If you are horrified and need to leave right now, I understand. I know there are people who are totally, utterly opposed to physical punishment of a child in any form, and just like many other parenting decisions that I may not follow, I support that. I am aware that many places have begun arresting people who spank children, especially in public. And let me say upfront, I do not agree that ‘what goes on in someone’s home should stay behind closed doors’.

Before you freak out more, please allow me to share my self-imposed spanking rules. Bottom only, over the pants, one smack, never in anger. Why? Because it’s not about hurting the child, so I’m not waling away on a bare tush. I’m not kicking or knocking her in the head. I am in control, so there is no chance of things getting out of hand. A spanking is a last resort, an everything-else-has-failed. Threats, bribes, time out, counting, you name it. A spanking says THIS IS SERIOUS. It says I am The Boss. I worry that a lot of parents today don’t like to say that, for whatever reason. You can say it without spanking, you just have to find a way to do it that works for you and your child. If your child is laughing and running away from you, they are not getting the message. Jelly has been spanked probably 5 times at most in her life, so don’t think I’m waking up and spanking her every morning to start the day.


Last weekend we were playing, and she got a strange look on her face, and said, ‘Now, Mama, I am going to give you spankins’!’. She proceeded to hit me several times, with an angry scowl. I was quite startled. ‘Was I naughty? Why do I get spankings?’ I asked her. ‘You need ‘em!’ she replied, continuing to smack me. The violence was surprising. Even though this wasn’t what I was doing, this was how it was perceived. So somewhere, some analyst or specialist was right. I have never seen any sort of demonstration of violent play before, so I’m not sure if it’s an age/emotional maturity thing that’s starting to happen now or what. It did definitely make me stop and think about it though. I really try to reserve spanking for major issues, for example, touching the stove or running out into the street. Something that requires, as my father loves to say, a Significant Emotional Experience.

Discipline is similar to successful potty training in that it requires hurting a child’s feelings to really get the message across. They have to feel a little bit of shame and embarrassment in order to correct and adjust their behavior. Some kids do this better than others. Some kids never learn to do it at all. As a parent, the last think you want to do is intentionally make the light of your life unhappy. Media venues taunt us with ‘proof’ of emotional scarring every day; it’s just another one of the zillion things you can accidentally do right or wrong that shapes your child for better or worse. Will I give Jellybean an extra chance next time before I raise my hand? Absolutely. But will I give her a swat if I think it will help her to learn respect, self-control, and ultimately, self-discipline? Absolutely.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Worth a Shot

If you were told something could cause memory loss, depression, and nausea, would you still take it? What if I told you it could also cause HAIR LOSS?! I know, as if, right?! Well, my friend Mr. Topamax and I have recently started hanging out. I researched and debated and considered long and hard, but getting one more migraine made up my mind for me. I'm only on day 2 and already I've got heartburn, can't sleep, and have a weird metallic taste in my mouth. Fingers crossed I encounter the weight-loss side effect, although I could do without this agonizing thirst. Even water tastes good, which for me is weird. I'll keep y'all posted, although the real test is going to be in approximately two weeks, when I'm due to get my next hormonal migraine. A totally headache-free day is worth a heck of a lot to me right now, so I'm hopeful.

I have a more Jelly-centric post written in my head, but that will have to wait til I'm bored on conference calls tomorrow. I just wanted to stop in so that I could tag a post as 'Mr. T'.

Monday, January 17, 2011

One Month Til Mini Break!

In a month Jelly and I are going to be going on a Beat-the-Blahs Beach Trip to Myrtle. Yes, we did just return from Canada on Saturday, I know, but what can I say? The rates are ridiculously cheap in February, and - Lazy River! I get President's Day off, and hate to waste a perfectly good long weekend cleaning my house or doing laundry, so that will be our next adventure. To make things even more exciting, we are going to meet up with a fellow Blogger, MommieV. She's a fellow single mama with a little girl. No, we've never met IRL, that's what makes things more exciting - maybe she's a nice, normal single mama with a little girl, and maybe she's a middle-aged creepy dude who has been writing about cloth diapers for the past year in an attempt to lure me into a sense of complacency so that I would suggest a trip and she could molest my incredibly sexy mid-winter pale flabby hairy body.
Maybe we'll hit it off, or maybe we'll instantly despise each other, who knows? But we've each got our own room to go cry in if there's a worst-case scenario, and at best our girls will have a friend to occupy them and maybe won't be hanging off us the entire time. Another set of eyes, and someone to talk to, is the single mother's dream. That and, you know - sleep.

Since my parents have long given up on me doing anything sensible they are not that worried, but MommieV's mum understandably has some concerns. I thought it would be funny to make a little video for her so she could see how normal I am, but I come across as kind of weird and sing-songy. It's an incredibly unflattering angle, and I have both cold sores and period acne, so despite my good hair I look extremely unattractive. I'm also worried that my neighbors are watching, so I'm very self-conscious and spazzy. Jellybean of course looks terrific. If you choose to watch the terrible video please keep in mind that the camera adds 150 lbs and an extra chin. And I don't really talk like that. At least, I hope not. Is my nose really that sharp? Ugh. This is why you only ever see the kid.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

S'no Problems

Greetings from the Great White North! G’day, eh!

If you are a little taken aback in an am-I-reading-the-right-blog? kind of way, don’t be worried. Yes, I am chipper for once. And relaxed. Still sleep-deprived, of course, because I have a TWO YEAR OLD WHO WAKES UP AT 5 AM. Ass. But yes, I am at my parents’ house, so that means I am well-fed (did not cook the meal), have coffee (did not pay for it), and someone else is playing with the cute but irritating little person. I also have someone kiss ME good-night and tell me to have a good sleep, which sounds goofy but is really, really nice.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll be happy to be back at my cold dirty house this weekend. I miss watching ‘Hoarders’ while eating chips (gross, I know), and I miss my car and I miss, uh, that’s about it. The Ta is on that list, definitely, especially for Jelly, and maybe plentiful underpants, but there really isn’t a whole lot I’m missing out on. Not watching hours of garbage TV means I’ve read two books (‘The Hunger Games’ YA series, check it out, it’s awesome) and gone to bed earlier. And not snacked because I’ve had a filling, hot, balanced dinner. Sleeping in the icy dark basement means I lay in one position, dreamless and weighted down under piles of sleeping bags and comforters, safe and sound and snug. Did I mention my mum is doing our laundry right now?

There’s nothing quite like having a demanding oblivious needy person to make you appreciate everything your parents do. The first time I came downstairs after giving Jelly a bath, and realized the dinner dishes had been done, I felt like I’d won some sort of contest. Relief, a little guilt, and thankfulness is largely what I’m feeling here this week. It makes me want to try harder to be a better hostess when they visit me, for this gift of a nice, quiet, peaceful week. There are precious few times I really truly feel off-duty, largely a result of help from either The Ta or Miss D. Despite the fact that this week is still a work week, the evenings are slower-paced. I don’t have to rush and pick up Jellybean, hurry to make dinner, fight with her because we’re both tired and want attention, feel a need to have a few hours to unwind before doing it all again. JR has different toys to play with (my mum kept all the classic Fisher Price sets; she is going to have some serious Sesame Street Little People withdrawal when we leave) and a different routine (lunch with mama! Playdough with Nana!), and it’s interesting when she and I are together in a room, and she startles because there are sounds upstairs. Two people alone together in a house don’t get that much, I realized.

The trip here was gross, but such is air travel in January. With a toddler. A toddler who was woken up at 3:30 am to get to the airport. Fingers crossed the trip home will be easier, mostly because I can check the @#$% car seat all the way through. Don’t worry, it’s the spare, I don’t care if they break it into a hundred zillion pieces. Stupid 876 lb. Britax. Now if only I had some sort of electronic handheld device loaded with movies and games to keep us both entertained... no, wait, I left that in the @#$% American Airlines seat pocket. A Sony Playstation Portable, gone. 10 years I've been flying for work and have never once left something on a plane, undone by a tantrum-y toddler who made me hiss, 'I am going to call Santa RIGHT NOW if you don't stop that this instant!' Ugh.

As much as family can sometimes stress me out, I knew I’d made the right choice yesterday when I watched Jenny holler, ‘Nana!’ and dive onto her lap for snuggles. My parents are knocking themselves out to be awesome, and it’s working. The Move-to-Canada propaganda doesn’t affect me because I’m totally sold. It’s just a matter of when. And how to convince The Ta to move with us.