Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SH*T STORM, X-RAY YOGA & BEGGING A FAVOR

Where do I start? Lots of crazyee stuff over here.

1. We were all sick.

2.Potty training is going okay. Except the babeola refuses to poop. That has been a problem. I need to do a whole post about the horror that is potty training, but whenever I think about it, my brain spasms in dread. Not a fan of the potty over here. Or, for that matter, the entire age of 2. Two is killing me. I hate this phase. My daughter is a spitfire who headbutts. She hit my husband a few days ago and gave herself a shiner. She didn't even cry.

3. Today I slammed the van door, let go, and just before it rammed home, the babeola stuck her whole hand in the door. It actually latched shut with her hand inside. I can live without ever seeing that again.

Guess how many x-rays it took to make sure she had no fractures?

Hint: Hand x-rays SUCK. 

15 x-rays. 

Horrific. We had to tape her hands down and I had to lean, kneel, lunge and hold her in weird positions for almost an hour. I was sweating by the time we were done. I felt like I was doing that Hatha Power Yoga where they crank the temperature up to 100 F or something.


At one point, they wanted the babeola to flip them off for one xray and were demonstrating trying to get her to do it. Two x-ray techs, flipping my daughter the bird. Priceless. My only laugh of the day.

I was like ummm, she can't even do the V sign yet. I doubt she's going to flip you off on xray. 

Oh! And the worst part? I went to lift her into my lap and boinked her head on the xray machine. Not my day today.

Fortunately, she took it in stride and was very calm and as cooperative as she could be given her age and lack of fine motor skill. They kept trying to get her to do a karate chop and she just couldn't do it. She would try, which was hilariously cute, but no go. 


4.I have just had one problem after another on the internet.

My cease and desist was settled. I changed the website which was a huge pita.

I had a conflict with someone over something I sold via Amazon. That cost me money.
 
Dozens of sites have plagiarized dozens of my eHow articles and that is not even the worst part of it. eHow's plagiarism policy is so draconian and punitive that I am presumed guilty and punished accordingly. They won't notice that my articles predate all the other sites on their own, I have to email and tell them (I guess they can't read???). I've been sending cease and desist letters of my own. Meanwhile I've had articles put on hold so I am losing money while waiting for eHow to get their sh*t together.

 
Before that eHow deleted one of my articles. A perfectly good article. When I posted it on the forums no one could find anything wrong with it. Of course, eHow didn't email me to let me know about the deletion or bother to tell me why.  


I'm thinking of replacing eHow, but am reserving judgment until I see how this plagiarism mess is resolved. Of course another member is going through the same thing. She cleared one article only to have them flag another one. They went so far as to delete her entire account. 

Given that plagiarism is rampant on the internet, I'm trying to understand why eHow is so psycho about duplicate content. They shoot you first and ask questions later. I'm all for investigation and defending someone's copyright, but why not give writers 2 or 3 days to investigate and present a defense before arbitrarily shutting them down. Especially given that NO ONE is claiming plagiarism except eHow's faulty plagiarism software. I had no idea my content was plagiarized and it took me a few days to find the dozens upon dozens of sites that have stolen my content.


Anyway, it's been a rough couple of weeks so...if you shop on Amazon, would you happen to have it in your heart to use my affiliate link? It costs you nothing, but I get a tiny commission for people who use the link and it would be a big help right now. In honor of potty training, my affiliate link takes you to potty training dvds. You can browse as usual from there and whatever you purchase will result in a commission credited to my account.

Thanks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Woot! Crap! Duh! Damn Lawyers!

1. Woot! Made $18 today in passive income. A new record. So cool. I was at a toddler music class today and screeching back at the babeola (real mature I know) as we butted heads over using the potty. All while $18 rolled into my account. This is what I like about passive income. It's slow. It's not a ton of money, yet enough to make a difference. And it works when you can't, which is a huge bonus for moms of young kids.

2.Oy. The potty wars have started. Currently we are having the 'been there, done that, why do I have to do it again?' battle. And I am losing. Crap.

3.Am I the only one who feels like there's a National Geographic nature guy narrating my life? As in...

"Most mothers protect their young's head, but this mother seems to have difficulty. She repeatedly hits her child's head on the van door when trying to put baby in the car seat. Quite often, these genes will be bred out of the species via the efficient application of Darwin's Law."

Or is it just me? I try so hard not to bang the babeola's noggin and yet I smack her around like a pinata more often than not. Poor kid. Tall kids are hazardous to their health.

4. Somehow my little niche blog P-arent J---uice has the same name as another website. I have received an official cease and desist letter from actual lawyers. Damn lawyers. Now I have to rename the site and I have no clue. I've been toying with Craft Tantrums, Parent Power, Parent's Busybox. I dunno. What do you think? I've got a week before they sue me. (For the record, I wish them luck. I've made like 63 cents so far and I drive all the traffic, I don't get any of their traffic at all. Mostly because they are marketing to teens and I am marketing younger kids.) Anyway, that was a pisser.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Post Brought to You by SCREAMING

This will be a list of major highlights because...

1.I am so freakin' TIRED. It's my fault. I stay up too late and then can't sleep until sometime around 1am. I don't know WHY. I mean, I know why I stay up too late (fall tv premieres, work, helping the husband with his schoolwork because English is his second language, talking to my husband uninterrupted once the babeola is asleep is remarkably seductive etc...). What I don't know is why I can't seem to sleep. Have I screwed up my circadian rhythms that badly by going to bed at 11 or 11:30????

2.We took the babeola with us to get our flu shots so she could see us get stabbed. This did not help at all today when she got two shots at the peds. Sigh. Poor thing. Poor me. Poor world that has made it illegal to remove toddler vocal cords with butter knives because oh. my. Lord. the SCREAMING.

3. I am really concerned about swine flu. I've had pneumonia a few times--up to the point of being considered for hospitalization. Depending on my health insurance, I occasionally have asthma. Swine flu tends to give way to a really aggressive pneumonia so I am worried and, in my case, I feel, rightfully so.

Further, I tutor a student who has a sibling on more than one organ transplant list. Meaning germs are way bad for them. I really don't want to kill anyone with germ,s you know? Or interfere with someone getting a new liver or other vital organ. But there is no vaccine to be had. The student I tutor, mom is trying to see if the hospital wants to vaccinate me since I come into the home.

All I have to say is, I sure hope so since my other student has been alone in his classes, as in the ONLY student, for two weeks due to the sick. So I am picking up all sorts of bad ass germs and sharing them.

Oh, and for the record, the nurse at the ped's office who was in her 40s said this was the worst sick season she's seen in her entire career.

*blinks*

4.We are potty learning. The babeola is doing pretty well. She's figured out how to pee but can't hold it and will have accidents if we don't escort her to the potty on a regular basis. Of course now that the novelty has worn off, she's less interested in going potty. Even chocolate won't entice her. She's also holding her poo as a result. But we are using fewer diapers.

5.Cirque du Freak The Vampire's Assistant movie ROCKED. Awesome Halloween movie with an actual PLOT. Don't see that too often in a Halloween movie. Really good film. GO see it.

6. The babeola is borderline fat. Sigh. I am trying to ignore the ped. We eat a whole foods diet. No cereal. No bread. Little sugar. Lots of protein and fresh fruit and veggies (with some pasta). I let her see me exercise and invite her to do push ups and squats with me. We're going to start yoga together just as soon as I sit down and write down the routine from the video I found on Youtube. She runs around daily. Yet the babeola is built like an oak, mighty and tall. 39" 40 pounds. I need to ignore the hype. We have done everything right with her. The ped can suck it.

But it's hard to shut that voice up. Also, I am still fat. Still not rocking the weight loss over here. Too tired to low carb and, as it turns out, I have a hard time ignoring all the lucious fruit the babeola gets to eat. I do exercise though.

Okay that's all I have time for. The screaming has started. I must go stop it somehow.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TWICE THE TEARS

The babeola is 2 today. *sob*

She had a bad night last night (unusual these days) and I brought her into bed with me and held her for hours, stroking her little head, inhaling her scent. She never sleeps with us even though I would like her too, but last night she slept in my arms and I couldn't help but think she was saying goodbye to this part of her life.

You could not pay me to do our first year over again, but I'm still sad to see my girl leaving her baby years behind.

Happy Birthday  little bean.

*sob*

Friday, October 9, 2009

Toddler vs. Cookie: You Call the Winner

So tell me. Did the babeola win or did the cookie?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

40 Minute Vibrator Hunt

Toddler who loves cellphone + cellphone always on vibrate so it doesn't wake toddler = Lost Cellphone = Mommy on the floor, dialing her cell phone number repeatedly, straining to hear the vibration. 

Only took 40 minutes to find the thing.

Sheesh.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

THE MASTER SCHEDULE & EHOW EARNINGS

I need to keep track of all the balls in the air, so here's a peek into our schedule:

Monday:
Putter around the house.
Exercise in the am while the babeola watches Sesame St.
Write for pay during naptime.
Tutor in the evening.
Husband on grill duty for dinner.

Tuesday:
Music Class.
Write for pay during naptime.
Cook dinner and solo parent most of the day into the night as husband has school.
Exercise after the babeola goes to bed.

Wednesday:
Putter around the house.
Exercise in the am while the babeola watches Sesame St.
Write for pay during naptime.
Cook dinner and tutor in the evening.

Thursday: 
Nature Preschool.
Write for pay during naptime.
Tutor at night.
Husband on grill duty for dinner.

Friday: 
Putter around the house.
Exercise in the am while the babeola watches Sesame St.
Write for pay during naptime.
Grocery shopping in the afternoon.

Saturday:
Writing, writing writing while the husband takes the babeola to grandparent funded Gymboree classes.
Cooking, cooking, cooking for the day and week ahead.
Cleaning if I can muster the interest/energy.
Take babeola so husband can work on home projects.

Sunday:
Take babeola so husband can work on home projects.
More cooking.

It looks kind of idyllic on paper, but the reality is I have ZERO downtime. I am running out the door once the husband gets home and praying I'll be on time for my students. Puttering doesn't mean I get to clean the house, it means I do whatever the babeola will let me. If I want to do dishes, I have to skip breakfast and load the dishwasher while the babeola is eating instead of eating myself. Exercise is often interrupted to deal with demands for hugs that devolve into tantrums if I don't behave like a good little hostage.

I did take on some freelance writing just because money is tight. The money is nice, but I take a big hit on time. I'm hoping I can confine the work to just nap time, but I may be working some nights after I'm done tutoring. I have no idea when I'll work on my own web content projects and may have to let them lapse a bit because I DO NOT want to be working all night every night. That leads to pain from typing all the time and exhaustion from never having downtime.

I thought staying home would yield a better work life balance. In reality, I am working harder than I was before and making less money. Huh.

I also want to touch on the home project stuff. The husband is building the babeola an adorable play kitchen. I'm SO excited for her. She is going to LOVE it.

Plus we've decided to completely rearrange our house (with ALL that free time we have *snort*) and how we live in it. This will involve multiple minor construction projects. I expect it will take a year or more to get it all done, but once completed we will have a dining room--finally a place to eat together as a family!-- a small TV room, and a tiny playroom. Sure, we'll be sleeping in the hallway upstairs, yielding the rest of the dormer to the babeola, but we'll have adequate living space for once! My books have been packed up for 2.5 years now which is UNACCEPTABLE.

Lastly, I am doing well on ehow. I strongly encourage anyone struggling to make ends meet to check into writing for them. I have made over a $100 a month now with 5 months of hard work behind me. Today I made $8 and haven't written anything for ehow in weeks, which is what makes residual income sites like ehow so nice, you keep making money long after the work is done.

It is not difficult to make money on ehow, but it is hard work. This is the best ehow tutorial I've ever seen and it's free. In this economy, I know so many people are struggling and barely making it, ehow can ease the financial burden.

Monday, September 28, 2009

CAN YOU USE A NANNY CAM ON YOUR KIDS?

The one item I really wanted when I was pregnant and sorting through all the 'must haves' of parenthood, was a video baby monitor. My husband vetoed it however saying it was too expensive. To this day, I regret not asking for or just outright buying a video baby monitor.

Being able to watch your kids without them knowing is priceless. The babeola is having some awful tantrums today and naptime is not going well. If I check on her to see if she has finally given herself a concussion this time from the rage induced headbanging, she'll see me which will then hit the reset button on the tantrum.

Avoiding the tantrum reset button is one of the major goals of my life people. Imagine if I could just sit back and watch her on CCTV? She would never know I was there. There would be no telltale creak of the floor boards, and I would be assured that she continued to breathe and had not inadvertently decapitated herself in a fit of toddler rage.

Parenting is all about peace of mind and I have yet to experience it. All for want of a video baby monitor.

We are also entering a new parenting phase, which is to say, the babeola has outpaced us and requires a  whole new set of parenting tricks as of three days ago. Unfortunately, we missed the memo and have been caught with our pants down.

It used to be that so long as we sang the 'bye bye' song that we were fine. No muss, no fuss. Transitions were easy peasy. Well, now the babeola has decided to assert her independence by screaming no and refusing to move along.

So we took a long car trip this past weekend (which the babeola does not travel well to begin with) and she flipped out because she was overtired and stuck in an uncomfortable car seat. There was a lot of pacifier and lovey throwing. Plus screaming.

I patiently retrieved the lovey and pacifier over and over and over again. Contorting myself into weird positions on such a repeated basis, I was sore the next day.

Finally I snapped and we had the following exchange.

ME: Momma is being kind to you and picking up your lovey and paci over and over. I don't like it when you throw it. It's not helpful. It's obnoxious. Can you say obnoxious?

BABEOLA: Nooooo.

ME:I'm not picking it up again. You'll just have to wait.

Time passes and of course I eventually pick everything up again because I am a sucker like that (and I know she really can't help herself).

ME: Are you done being rude?

BABEOLA: Noooo.

ME: Well then we'll wait until you're ready to behave. I need your cooperation. Can you be helpful?

BABEOLA: *Screams*

ME: Are you ready to keep your paci in your mouth?

BABEOLA: Noooo. *Screams*

Clearly neither of us were operating at full capacity. WTF am I doing asking a kid to say the word obnoxious? All I can say is that we do that a lot when she hears a new word and I think it was a bit of an autopilot moment. And while the verbage I was using may seem too old for her and destined to be ineffective, believe it or not, the babeola sometimes responds to the finger wagging mommy lecture (more on that later in this post).

Um, yeah, there was also finger wagging.

Thankfully, she eventually fell asleep--about 30 minutes from our exit, sigh-- but only after I sang 'Row row row your boat' 300 times and not without a lot more screaming. My husband had NO problem staying awake for the drive home due to the decibel level in the van ( as well as laughing at our conversation).

This is what happens when you have a child who doesn't sleep in the car. I can't believe we're brave enough to keep taking these road trips.

We've also had issues with not wanting to transition to the next activity.  The babeola has preferences and knows what she wants now. She also knows what she wants to wear.

Now, one of my earlier memories is having a pitched battle at the age of 2 with my mother over a ribbon that was supposed to go around the neck of a blouse. It was a battle that I won, which should tell you something about the stubborn genes the babeola has inherited.

The other day, she saw an outfit on her dresser that she decided was a "cute dress" and when I showed up at the changing table with something else, she about lost her shit. I had to very emphatically reassure her that what I had chosen was super cute and pretty too. Luckily she acquiesced to wearing it.

But yeah, I need to revamp the parenting methods at the Weak household.

No more questions because the answer will always be no.

Keep her out of her closet and don't let her see any other clothes except the ones she's going to wear.

Full implementation of 'bright shiny object' parenting, which is the idea of being ready with an offer of something even more interesting or cool to see/do/eat.

Bait and switch supposedly works too. We will no longer 'change our diaper' instead we will be 'looking for Elmo' (who happens to be the character on the diapers).

Continue with the finger wagging mommy lectures because they do work about 60% of the time for some odd reason. I feel compelled to add for anyone still reading, that I am very interested in parenting according to Family Virtues which is what brings in big words like 'cooperation'  'helpful' etc... into the lectures. I'm trying to lay some groundwork.

Stop telling her she's cute so much and emphasize other traits like intelligence. I'm a bit unnerved to how the babeola has latched onto the concept of cute.

Also, I will be indulging the recent tooth brushing obsession by letting her go at it for as long as she wants this afternoon. On days we need to get out of the house by a certain time, we'll skip it or brush teeth later when we have two hours or more of free time to do it right. Of course, I haven't quite figured out how I will skip brushing her teeth while still brushing mine.

Feel free to add anything I've missed.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FAT BASHING DOCTORS, AN UPDATE ON THE SPANKING SITUATION AND CRAFT TANTRUMS

I left the comment below in response to this post featuring several doctors subscribing to the 'if the fatties would just stop eating, they would lose weight, but since they are obviously too stupid to do so let's discriminate against them and charge them more money' theory of obesity:

"I suggest everyone read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes and then maybe we can have an intelligent conversation.

How is it we sell more low calorie, low fat food, buy more gym memberships every year and yet we just keep getting fatter? It ain't that hard to diet and exercise.

Given all the 'healthy' changes we've made, you would expect to see at least a stabilization in the numbers if not a small decrease at the very least. But we just keeping packing on the pounds.

The Cleveland Clinic can discriminate against the obese all they like...just as soon as they figure out how to to prevent/cure it*.

Until then it's discriminatory and ignorant bullshit.

M"

*Also I don't consider bariatric surgery to be a cure.

You know, the medical profession overindulges in obesity stereotypes. Well, folks I am the anti-stereotype. 10 years of exercise and strict dieting did JACK SHIT. When I found out I was infertile and got a diagnosis, things made sense finally. But even today doctors will tell me that I am wrong about how much I was eating. Even though I successfully had lost weight and maintained the loss up until prednisone tanked my adrenals.

Fat people lie. And they can't count calories either. That's what medical schools and 'studies' tell our doctors. You're condemned before you even step on the scale.

These medical school hot shots literally cannot accept that I was a previously successful dieter who could no longer lose weight no matter what I did FOR A DECADE. It says a lot about the medical profession that I can count on one hand the number of physicians who GET IT and actually know what the hell they are talking about. The last thing I would do, given the current prejudicial sentiment in medical circles and the dearth of accurate information or effective treatments is take any advice on weight loss or obesity policy from a medical professional.

Ugh. Sorry to rant. I just get so annoyed. 100 years from now (much too late to help me) experts will look back on this era and shake their heads at the ignorance that abounds on this issue. I suspect history will not look too kindly on hospital CEOs suggesting fat people shouldn't be hired.

And why is it that los medicos that feel this way are always Repbulican? Is fat a partisan issue?

As for the spanking caretaker... it was must better this week. The poor kid is still a mess as the caretaker really doesn't understand toddlers, but at least I didn't feel like I needed to talk to the instructor about moving us to a different class/making spanking something that requires leaving the room to be done in private/calling the poor kid's parents to be sure they knew their child was being disciplined this way. So...phew dodged a bullet.

Playdate with music mom went well. Her little one is such a cutie pie. The babeola, however, was not so cute. I think she's teething. So lots of ragin' toddler over here. Between the head butting and the biting this week, I feel like I've been jumped into a gang. The mommies whose babies beat them gang.

I've also done some crafts with her and every single time she has a meltdown. Instead of enjoying herself, she lose her shit and falls apart. Probably because I am seriously craft impaired. Whenever I visit some of the other crafty mommy blogs, everyone is happy, all the crafts are beautiful and then there's me and my crafts, which end up looking like Edward Scissorhands let loose after doing some meth.

It's like I'm missing a craft gene or something. Despite my handicap, I soldier on believing that exposure to the arts, even if everyone is miserable, is important. Or at least it will give the babeola's therapist something to work with. Hmmmm. Your mother forced you to apply stickers of Elmo to pink paper? Along with free access to crayons?Truly, my dear, you were horribly abused as a child.


I will be posting some craft tantrum pics on the other blog and have some shots that are funny (in retrospect) of the babeloa doing crafts while big, fat tears stream down her face.

I have always lamented at the lack of Things To Do with young toddlers. Perhaps this is the reason? Nuclear meltdowns over not being allowed to eat the gluestick?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

THOUGHTS AND CONFRONTATIONS ON OTHER PEOPLE'S PARENTING

Hi. Sorry to be so quiet, I've felt kind of dull and uninteresting lately and didn't want to inflict myself on anyone. Plus, we are starting a new schedule which is always exhausting. And I had awful food poisoning (did I mention that?) which managed to burst all the capillaries in my neck and face. I had little pinpricks of blood all over, it was weird. And ugly. I hid in the house until it healed.

The babeola is back in music therapy classes and there are a ton of kids in her class now--I guess word got around about how cheap and great the classes were. So it's utter chaos; the room is hot, none of the new mommies understand the rules and they talk all class long (which is a no-no for music therapy). However, I did ask one of the music class mommas out on a date. We had a good vibe the first session (her daughter is a ham and poked the babeola in the belly button). I was always sorry I didn't try to get to know her, so when I saw her at this session, I held her at gun point until she wrote down my email address.

Okay, there was no gun, but if there had been, I would have used it.

Anyway, hopefully that will blossom into a nice mom and toddler friendship. We shall see.

Also, can I just say that sometimes rough and tumble kids who push and hit their way through play encounters, are not 'just born that way I guess'. Especially if the parents never ever take the time to teach their children it's not okay to hit. What kills me is the surprise the parents have at how badly their little ones bully. In the same breath they'll express shock and then tell me they don't intervene in physical altercations between kids at home. 

It makes me want to shout 'Duh' at the top of my lungs. Hello, cause, meet effect. These kids a) don't know they're not supposed to hit and b) don't know how to say sorry because it has never been required and c) Probably aren't so hot on the empathy front since it is never modeled for them and d) They don't share because, in their house, might makes right.

And the poor babeola? Is not used to getting the crap beaten out of her. It doesn't even occur to her to hit back (although she has mastered the passive aggressive shove. You know, the one that goes 'if I just keep gently bumping against you,edging you microinch by microinch to the left, soon you'll have to let go of that toy and it will be all MINE! Mwahahaha'). We do not hit at home or anyplace else. So these smack happy kids are a real shock.

Some days I want to lean over and whisper in those kids ears,  "Newsflash. She's taller and heavier than you, once she figures that out, I wouldn't want to be you."

Note: I am not talking about you and your kid. Only the kids and parents I have met in the last week. Trust me when I say it is egregious and outside the norm. There's no hyperbole in describing these encounters.

The other class we attend is a nature based preschool type class at the local wild animal rescue. The class is fantastic, but one of the kids has an older relative taking care of her. This older relative's only parenting/discipline method is spanking. Oh, and threats of spanking. That's it. The entire discipline repertoire.

So in a little over an hour, this kid was spanked about 6-8 times. I lost count of the threats. The kid is a handful, no question. One of those extreme, sensory seeking personality types. The acting out is partly caused by the spanking because her needs are unrecognized and unmet.

At one point she was crying and having a meltdown because she finished her snack. To my perspective, the child had really enjoyed the snack and was having a hard time with the transition to it being gone. The way I parent in these situations is to empathize and verbalize a child's feelings and help them move on. The relative however, whipped out the old spanking threat. Um, yeah, I always find hitting an effective way to manage transitions and emotions. Spanking teaches real life coping skills. Whenever I am sad, I ask my husband to just wallop me good. Not!

So at one end of the spectrum, we have the inappropriate use of spanking as one issue. At the other end, we have the issue of this relative being so old that she a) can't outrun the child when she escapes from the classroom (repeatedly) and b) is oblivious to things like the child eating craft supplies that are choking hazards.

Now, look, I am not a fan of spanking, but I can deal with it since so many families use it as a discipline technique.Spanking is not the hill I'm willing to die on. But there is spanking that is used effectively and spanking that is neglect. This was neglect. I say neglect as opposed to abuse because this poor kid's emotional needs were completely ignored. This is far more detrimental, both short term and long term, than the pain and physical effects of a spanking. Long term, this is how you make people who can only feel loved when they are being treated like dirt.

So it turned out--lucky me!--that these people were parked next to me. Of course, the child didn't want to go in her carseat. The less her needs are met, the worse her behavior, it was just so obvious to me. Of course the way the relative handled this was to spank the child repeatedly. And of course, the child was not in the car seat.

I really have to wonder at what point it occurs to the caretaker that the spanking is not working. Because we have passed the hour mark in this story and the spanking is continuing, as is the poor behavior from the child. Hey look, another 'hello cause, meet effect' moment.

So I ended up intervening. I have never done that before. It was scary. The last thing I want to do is get in the middle of this stuff, but I could not bear to drive off knowing that child was going to be hit repeatedly. I asked if the relative needed any help and offered some cookies to use as a bribe.

The spanking stopped. The child sat in her car seat. Cookies were administered liberally.

And now I wonder how I am going to stand witnessing this awful situation for the next 3 months. Further, I really don't want the babeola to see an adult hitting a child repeatedly. If it continues (and I am sooooo praying this was a one-off experience, that we caught them on a really bad day) I will feel the need to speak up not just for the sake of that child, but for that of the babeola too.

Which, ugh. What would you do?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rock, Meet Hard Place. Mother in the Middle.

Dear Babeola:

You are a giantess who is rapidly outgrowing the largest size diaper known to man (and perhaps some other alien species out there who also use diapers.com). The only thing more worrisome is the complete and utter lack of interest in potty training.

You are a girl. You are almost 2 and look like you're going on 4. My child, you're supposed to do this potty stuff earlier that everyone else. As in before you need Depends.

I realize you haven't read the books that explain all this so tonight I will leave them in your crib. Please read them when you wake up and act on the information contained within.

Thanks
Momma

Sunday, August 30, 2009

THIS MOMMA WRITES

I should be in bed, but ever the procrastinator, here I am.

I spent the weekend at a writing conference and met the publisher of an anthology that featured one of my stories. The anthology came out right around the babeola's due date so I never got to do any promo such as a signing or being on a panel at a writing con. Nor did I connect with the publisher during local promo stops, a classic case of childbirthis interruptus. So I made a point to stop by this weekend and introduce myself two years after the fact.

I am so glad I did.

I found out my story is a reader favorite. The publisher is a lovely woman who greeted me with a joyful hug, which rocked. I subsequently googled the anthology a bit and found a reviewer who said my story was their absolute favorite.

Which led to my own personal squeeeeeee moment.

Other than that, I missed the babeola fiercely and we indulged in some joyful hugs of our own this afternoon. It is good to be home.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Read This

As a promotional experiment, I put up a short story of mine for free over on Scribd. It's about a bitchy witch who falls in love.

The short story was well received with lots of compliments from editors, but ultimately never found a home. So I'm pretty sure it doesn't suck.

Although your mileage may vary. Here's the link: If the Shoe Fits.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BEACH WITHDRAWAL

The vacation was wonderful. I highly highly recommend the Leelanau County area of Michigan. The beaches are pristine, the water is crystal clear and you can hit a different beach every day to keep things interesting. It's pricey though so, if you go, bring as many groceries as you can with you or you'll pay double at the local grocery store.

We stayed in Glen Arbor which has the Cherry Republic store. Cherry Republic makes cherry everything; wine, fudge, salsa, bbq sauce, cookies, candy etc... I love cherries so it was a bit like visiting heaven. Every day. For a week.

My husband was also infected with cherry love and smuggled home 5 jars of the cherry salsa, which he stubbornly and annoyingly refuses to share.

The babeola loved the beach. Loved swimming. She had absolutely no fear at all and screamed with joy every time Daddy threw her up in the air in 5 foot deep water. She didn't even care when he missed her a few times and she went completely under. She'd pop up to the surface courtesy of her life jacket and screech 'More? Pwease?'

The pre-vacation wedding was also fun because the babeola looked adorable. One of the bridesmaids even came up to us and told us how adorable the babeola was. Like we didn't know! We kept her up until 10 and let her dance her heart out--she spins like a dervish. We called it a night when the babeola kept trying to do the electric slide and, in the process, threatened to trip everyone on the dance floor. For some reason, moving her three feet to the left, out of the way, was cause for a huge nuclear meltdown. So we ran before the shrieks sprialed up to the octave where they start to echo (I'm not exaggerating either).

The big surprise of the last week was the fact that my daughter can read letters and numbers. I'm astonished. I've always suspected she might be smart, but this seems to prove it. I still can't quite wrap my mind around it. I've been assured that I don't need to do anything special for her, just carry on as usual. However, given that I was a bit precocious academically as a child and am not happy, in retrospect, with how it was handled, I'm going to be a little more hands on as the babeola progresses.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DESTINATION: PROCRASTINATION--PLUS STILETTO ADVICE NEEDED

I don't think it's a coincidence that the word nation figures prominently in procrastination. There's probably an undiscovered continent out there full of procrastinators. I should really be working, but here I am...procrastination's finest citizen.

The laptop is still here, feebly carrying on. I will pack it up, I swear, sometime before Thursday.

The babeola is cute as always. She's talking so much now. So many words and sentences. One of which is 'Oh shit' which is hilarious because a) none of us say 'oh shit' so I have no idea where it came from. My potty mouth is much too dirty to settle for a mere 'oh shit' and b) she lisps when she says it so it sounds like 'oh thit'. My husband has given me orders to cover. As in, when he taught her 'Sucker' he morphed it into soccer ball and she now happily natters on about the soccer ball. So I guess I must now try to get the babeola to go along with 'sit'.

I am also amazed that the babeola listens to me. Why should she listen to me? No one listens to me. I am the person who has the great idea that no one listens to until someone else champions it (and then steals the credit). But the babeola actually does listen to me and my discipline approach seems to be working. I'm stunned. She has been such a prickly pear and nothing has ever been easy on this parenting gig so I can't believe I carry any weight.

Yet she's responding to my warnings of 'if you persist in shrieking like a pterodactyl/throwing your toys, I think you need to take a break in your crib.' I purposely avoid the phrase time out because that's not what I'm doing. Taking a break isn't punitive, it's a reset button. She gets a cuddle, an explanation of what is and is not appropriate, her lovey, a paci, some books and some quiet time. When she comes back, she's in a better mood and things go much more smoothly. Sometimes she even moderates her behavior and avoids the break altogether.

I'm flabbergasted. My daughter. She listens. I might even be a competent parent. Who saw that coming? Not me.

Now, internets, please advise how one goes about walking in stilettos after 2+ years of no heels. Because there's a wedding this week and I'm trying to avoid buying new shoes, leaving me with 3" stilettos. I've been trying to wear them off and on during the day, but I totter like a drunk log roller. Thoughts?

P.S. Check out this article on how to decorate baby rooms for some awesome inspiration. If you checked out the boy's room I linked to a while back and loved it as much as I did, this article is for you. Great tips on how to design modern baby nurseries.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

LOST IN TRANSLATION OR ONE BIG DUH FOR MOMMA

We went to the mall this weekend and did some corporate clothes shopping for the husband. The babeola was charming. First, cracking us all up with her over-the-top indignant response to mommy saying she was 'an angry toddler'. She even made herself laugh with her hyperbole. Then she noticed when all the ladies at the mall cooed over how cute she was, seeming to understand, for the first time, when the word cute was used in relation to her. The babeola preens like a peacock, by the way. She had a blast on the kiddie train with daddy  and ran wild on the indoor playground finally having mastered the ability to climb up the big slide.

And she brought her favorite book with her, clutched in one chubby hand like a shield. I offered several times to carry it in my purse, but was turned down with a curt shake of the head. Finally, though, her attention span failed her and the book was abandoned for other amusements.

So I plopped it into my purse and we continued on our jaunt. Buying daddy a suit and bunch of shirts with ties. Some tops for momma and we, of course, stepped into Gymboree where the babeola knocked on the display window and waved to all the shocked and amused passerbys, screeching gleefully 'Hiiiiiii!'

As I perused the racks of expensive-even-when-marked-down baby clothes, the babeola tugged at my knee, jibbering something. I absentmindedly nodded and smiled and when she became more insistent offered to let her hold a shirt.

Which she impatiently tossed to the floor while shouting "Booooooook!"

"Oh, honey. I'm sorry. I'm not used to understanding what you say." Ba-dum-bum. I heard some snickering from the moms around me on that one.

She also said 'Bless you mommy' after I sneezed and is making sentences. And I took her to a little kiddie carnival where she shrieked 'weeee' on every ride and was upset when I wouldn't let her go on the rollercoaster.

Overall a very nice weekend.

As for the laptop, it will be going in sometime before the 14th to coincide with our vacation, which I hadn't planned on having the laptop for. So that works well.

Here are some recent-ish pics. Look at those curls!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

LINKS TO ADDICTION

I think the first sign of an internet problem might be when your laptop REALLY NEEDS TO BE REPAIRED and yet...you don't send it in because HOW CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT IT? How? Someone tell meeeeeee.

That and I've spent the morning daydreaming that I am an interior designer while obsessively reading the Cookie Magazine website.  Oh the beauty! The vintage chicness. The cuteness kills ! Good Lord, how cool is European design? Oh how empty my wallet is.

Because I am not exactly cranking out the writing this week. I'm too tired. I had a weird ear thing flare up that kept me up all night. I thought it was an ear infection at first, but when I wasn't sick the next day, I decided it must be the partially erupted wisdom tooth I am too chickensh*t to have removed. Ye Gads was that painful. I couldn't even touch my ear and it radiated into my jaw and forehead.

Yet I'm still too chickensh*t to go in for the surgery. Yes, I'm aware I've stabbed myself in the stomach with long needles and let a doctor use a 12 inch+  long needle to get eggs from my ovaries, but I'm living under the law of 'the more medical stuff you do, the more likely something terrible will happen.'  Like calling 911 for an allergic reaction. By the way, I have the same law for flying and get very nervous when I fly a lot.  I once flew 17 times in 3 months and was totally white-knuckling it from the 10th flight on.

I probably need therapy. Or Xanax.




Anyway, more link fun. Because once I send in my laptop they will probably erase all my bookmarks. *SOB* (I mean that both ways, sob as in crying and sob as in son of a ...).  So I must post them all here so I don't lose anything cool.

Here is a link to a great science themed/messy party. This mom is SO COOL! I would totally do this as  a way to have fun on a booooooring summer day.

This baby boy nursery is to die for with the cuteness. I looooove it. Love wall decals. You have got to check it out, it's really well done.

Here is a jeweler who will take your child's art and cast it in metal. It's a little pricey (starts at $59) but what a great way to make a custom key chain for a fantastically sentimental Father's Day gift. (Okay, yes, I'm a little over the top with the hyper hyperbole today. It's a mood, roll with it.)

I totally want to make this foamboard dollhouse and I can see having tons of inexpensive, creative fun with the babeola doing this when she's older. This could easily be adapted for boys to make a Star Wars or other character/story inspired set.

I think these dots would be a fun way to decorate the babeola's room.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

UPDATE

My laptop is going to repair hell next week. We'll see how often I get on the internet with it gone.

I have a bazillion upfront pay writing assignments to do and zero interest, energy and motivation. Blech.

Forbes magazine has a lot of articles up on Peak Oil. They make for interesting reading. From what I understand, a year or so ago, they poo-pooed peak oil, claiming it didn't exist. And now look at 'em, they're got a multi-article spread on the topic--there's even one on how high gas prices will cure obesity. The times, they are changing.

We said goodbye to my nephew and dropped him off at the airport last week. My mom will be coming shortly to stay with us for a while since she just sold her house and is planning to relocate overseas after an upcoming family wedding. Then my mother-in-law will be coming to stay for a few months because the rest of the family (with whom she lives) can't stand her anymore. Fun times ahead. Should I start drinking now or wait?

The babeola is going through a cute phase. I got her an easel with chalkboard and she loves to draw with 'cock' as she calls it. The deck we started building in May is almost done. Just needs to be sanded and stained and it will serve as nice, self-contained, outdoor play area. (Because of the dogs, we don't let the babeola roam freely in the backyard. Too much poop and doggie pot holes for that to be safe.)


I know I'm forgetting something here. Drat. I can't remember. Oh well, that's all I've got for now.

Cheerio!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

THE THINGS WE THINK BEFORE WE BECOME PARENTS: TODDLER MANIFESTO

Editor's Note: Still have the laptop and still waiting for the shipping information for the repair. GRRRRR.

I made this Toddler Manifesto a while back when the babeola was still an infant. I found it on my computer today and had a good laugh. Oh the magical fantasies we weave, when first we practice to conceive (to butcher Shakespeare) before we know our child's personality or have any clue about what it takes to parent. Not that I don't think the manifesto isn't a good idea, but implementation is easier said than done.

One thing prospective and new parents need to keep in mind is that all parenting is conducted under conditions similar to those experienced by prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, namely sleep deprivation. If you are the kind of person who is perky and happy and thrilled to be alive even if you haven't slept in 3 days, well, congratulations! Your speed or meth use will make you a great parent. If you are grumpy and antisocial on 5 hours of sleep, you are going to be a sucky parent or start injecting caffeine via IV drip (or copy those perky people and use speed and meth) in an effort to overcome what I call 'sleep mood disorder'.

Guess which parent I am.

Hint: I drink coke zero and tea like they are the fountain of youth. (I also cleverly stage books around the crib so when she wakes up at dawn, she has something to do besides scream for me to come and get her. I like to think this buys me at least an extra ten minutes in bed.)

Further, the babeola is much more fiery than I anticipated. In my pre-parent fantasy world, she would, of course, realize that mommy was right and reasonable. (Are you laughing at me yet? You should be!) Instead she is stubborner than a mule, not to mention her momma.

Also at 21 months, she's not really ready to listen to me explain. Maybe at 3 the Toddler Manifesto will be effective. At 21 months? It has no impact.

So without further ado, here is a parenting plan that I might be able to use in a year or so, about two years after I wrote it.

THE (very ambitious and slightly impractical) TODDLER MANIFESTO

Communication:

1.       Get down to their level and look them in the eye.

2.       Speak in toddler-ese, i.e. simple, direct statements that are repeated.

3.       Name the toddler’s emotion to help them identify their feelings and, if appropriate, offer a course of action to help them resolve their problems.

4.       Then explain your feelings and/or what needs to happen next.

5.       Always speak with respect, use please and thank you

6.       Ask toddler to repeat instructions back to you to ensure they are retaining what you’ve just said

7.       Use loving touch, i.e. hugs, cuddling, holding hands as you talk.

8.       Apologizing helps toddlers learn to apologize themselves.

9.       Ask questions and listen to the toddler’s answers.

10.   Involve toddlers in finding a solution to the problem.

11.   Offer guided and limited choices where you are happy with either one the toddler selects i.e. blueberries or banana, yellow or pink shirt

12.   Say YES as often as possible.

Eating:
1.Mealtimes are family time. Everyone will sit at the table.

2. Food will be offered, not forced.

3.New foods have a ‘one bite and spit out If you don’t like it’ policy.

4.Toddlers are not expected to eat on an adult schedule. If they are hungry, we will feed them, even if it’s after a meal.

5. While we won’t cook special meals just for our toddler, we will make reasonable accommodations for their food preferences.

Tantrums:

1.Use the communication skills outlined above.

2. Be sure to validate the toddler’s feelings.

3. Then defuse the situation by changing location or circumstance.

4.If a child is hit or bitten, shower attention on the wounded child and ignore the aggressor.

5.  If the cause of the tantrum is something that can be postponed (i.e. brushing teeth) drop it and try again later. Discuss the situation and the need to try again once the toddler is calm.

6. Take a break. Maybe everyone just needs a moment to themselves to read a book or do some other quiet activity. This is not a punishment and the toddler should agree to that it’s time to take a break and pick the place and activity they are going to do.

7. Don’t get angry, keep your cool so you can guide the toddler through the tantrum.

Friday, July 17, 2009

QUESTION FOR THE MOMMAS AND THE POPPAS

But first and FYI, my laptop is fried and needs repairs. I'm arguing with the extended warranty people and I. Will. Win. Because I am the bigger bitch.  Meaning, at some point, the laptop will go * poof * in the mail and I may disappear somewhat abruptly from the internet.

Never fear. I will be back.

On to today's dilemma...

I have a weird super mommy power. I know when the babeola is going to have a night terror/wake up screaming/be up all night practicing phonics. (I kid you not, she's going to be asking to read War and Peace sometime next week at this rate. Did I mention she types on the laptop and knows many of the letters? On her own? My mind boggles.)

So. Given that I can tell it's coming, should I wake her up and try to head it off? Or continue to respond after the fact, which usually means I'm up all night with her.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

THE INCREDIBLE HULK

Today, I calmly looked at the babeola, who was turning red with rage while shrieking like Satan after someone slipped some ice down his pants, and said "If you were older, I would suspect 'roid rage."

But clearly she is too young to be shooting up steroids at the gym. Nor has she turned green, so I guess I can rule out Hulk genes in the IVF petri dish.

I don't know if this is part of the vacation wind down or a new developmental phase, but Good Lord people, I see why some mommies drink too much and do meth.

This morning, she was screaming and thrashing and frustrated beyond all reason myself, I screamed back. We had an entire conversation in Primal Scream. You shoulda been there.

Yesterday, my friend and I (who have kids about 5 months apart) both told our children 'I have no sympathy for you,' thereby making us the meanest moms on the planet. 

In other news, my nephew is here visiting and the babeola just adores him. Probably because he doesn't scream at her. She knows his name and talks about him constantly. Except the only thing understandable is his name, I have no idea what else she is saying.

But I sometimes imagine it is something like "Can I go live with Nephew? I'm small enough to fit in his suitcase."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SUCK IT--I DON'T CARE

So one of the things I noticed this past week is how hyper everyone is about pacifiers and bottles. We had relatives yanking the paci out of the babeola's mouth while commenting on its evilness.

The babeola took it in stride, but I found it to be rude. Kind of like someone yanking a chocolate bar out of your mouth. Way to lord adult authority over a small, pre-verbal child, people. Bully much?

Contrary to what my judgmental extended family may believe, we do limit the paci time at home. We have a routine where she sets it on the bookcase next to her crib before we leave her room. We do the same thing with the lovey as I am terrified of losing the thing and try to keep it safe in the crib at home.

However, while traveling I relaxed the rules and let the babeola have the paci and her lovey as much as she wanted. I figured it was the least we could do after strapping her into a car seat for 12+ hours.

I did not anticipate how anti-pacifier people were though. I noted downright embarrassment and mortification from other moms in the family when their little ones were caught with a binky in their mouths. And the commentary over the babeola's binky habit, made my eyes roll into the back of my head.

It was weird, as if kids are in danger of growing so dependent they might go to their grave with a pacifier in their mouths. I am not the kind of parent who worries about that stuff. I sucked my thumb until I was 12, but I stopped and have a great smile without braces so nyah-nyah. My husband recalls getting daily bottles of hot chocolate through the age of 6, yet, at 37, doesn't require his beer bottles to come with a nipple on top.

Pacifiers and bottles, to me, are self-limiting attachments that will be outgrown when a child is ready to leave them behind. I don't need to do anything special other than honor my child's need for comfort and I am not embarrassed by it either.

People need to chill.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LEAVING THE NEST

I'm back. Did you miss me?  I'm kind of bamboozled and shellshocked.

The babeola does not travel well. She doesn't sleep in the car. She doesn't sleep in the pack'n'play. Or the hotel crib. When she doesn't sleep, we don't sleep.

Which is a fun way to gear up for a 15 hour drive.

Never again.

If it hadn't been for the memorial service for my grandparents, we would not have gone.

Even though she loved the cows, horses, and the open land to roam on the family farm. Plus, there were multiple baby pools full of water for her to dip her toes in, which is like, you know, toddler nirvana.

Thank God for DVD players. We went through two this trip. The first one up and died and I immediately gave my husband marching orders to travel the Kansas prairie until he found another one.

Keeping DVDs on a constant loop in the minivan saved our souls.

Other than that, the trip was bittersweet. The picnic pavilion on the farm had a bird's nest in the eaves. The babies went nuts every time momma or poppa flew by, mouths open wide shrieking 'feed me, feed me'. At the end of the reunion though, we watched them stretch their wings for their first flight into the big world. The nest was too small to hold them any longer.

I felt the same way. The farm is no longer my nest. I have outgrown my prairie roots, especially now that I don't have my grandmother to ground me.

I hope we go back at least once when the babeola is older so she knows where her family came from, but after that, I think I'm done. I'm too liberal, too world weary, and not nearly religious enough to fit in. It doesn't feel like family any more.

Time to leave the nest.

Monday, July 6, 2009

CUTENESS AS PROMISED

Not the picture I was thinking of, but I found this on my computer. A few weeks ago, the babeola went to bed and was vewy, vewy quiet (said like Elmer Fudd on a rabbit hunt). We didn't think anything of it until we went to check on her before we turned in for the night.

The little thief had managed to filch a book out of her bookcase and spent several hours (we heard her rolling around which is how we knew she was up) reading it until sleep claimed her.

SAYONARA

Hey internets. I'm outta here. Off to a funeral yadda, yadda etc...

Plus my laptop is going in for repairs so the next post will probably be a long time coming.

Although if I get my shizz together and download pics off the camera, I may be able to squeeze in some babeola cuteness before I leave town.

So, I'll be back. At some point.

Cheers.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HAPPY 4th

So, are we the only losers with no life sitting at home thinking Barry Manilow looks so very frail while singing Copacobana?

Then again, the 4th has never been a big holiday for me. I like the barbecues and getting together with family, but am not such a fan of the boom boom. I think the last time I went to fireworks proper I was in my 20s.

That was a looooong time ago.

Anyway, I'm at loose ends. I have no work to do as I cleared my schedule to help my husband with a big research paper for his history class. I get to fix all his verb tenses and direct objects as they relate to Benito Mussolini. Whoopee.

Plus, in 3 days we are hitting the road, driving to Kansas to finally bury my poor grandparents (they were cremated and the family never got further than that until now) and attend my grandmother's extended family reunion. So I'm kind of on vacation-with-a-funeral. Pre-funeral/vacation if you will.

I like this vacation shizz. I read some of Gary Taube's Good Calories, Bad Calorie today, which is phenomenal. This book will change nutrition  and weight loss as we know it. You should read it if you are a science geek like me. Although I'm a bit surprised that some Dorito and Oreo executives haven't hired a sniper to take Taube out becuase he's going to kill their sales.

As an added bonus, the asthma cleared up finally. Sooooo happy about that. Haven't heard back from Kaiser re: my letter though.

On the downside, the weight loss is not happening. In fact, I think I gained. Meh. I suspect that everything is all screwed up from me trying to do low fat/high carb diets for over a decade. I'm probably going to have to resort to some extreme low carb measures to kick start weight loss.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

QUICKIE

I think the babeola is teething. She's had her hands crammed in her mouth all day so...ya think? I tried to give her some Motrin and she pitched a fit so I put in the plug (paci) and let the TV mesmerize her.

As for my relative, he is home finally. Thank goodness. That was scary! I'm still not sure what the hold up was as it doesn't take 2 days to fly in from Europe, but he's home. Twenty pounds lighter, but home.

For those who want to follow me on eHow. Here's my rainmaker article, the one where I'm actually making some moolah.  You can click on my name to sift through my other articles. While it's nice to try and isolate high value keywords, you really never know what will make you money or not. So if you want to do eHow, just write and don't worry too much about keywords (although don't completely ignore them either).

If you look at the ad costs for keywords related to my moneymaker, the ads are valued at $0.05 a click and I'm making much more than that. The again, eHow claims to use a  proprietary alogrithim to calculate earnings and swears up and down it has nothing to do with ad value, so who knows?

So my earnings so far:

1st 2 weeks: $3.69

1st full month: $13  @ 4 times previous earnings

2nd full month $25 roughly double the previous month and @ 8 times earnings my first 2 weeks so the growth has been exponential.

1 contest win: $100

Total eHow earnings for 2.5 months: @$140 or 1.5 months worth of diapers.

The goal is to reliably pull in $100 a month from eHow and I think I'm on track to meet that goal. I'd like to get to where I don't have to work quite so frantically to get content up.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I HAVE A HEADACHE, SO LET'S BLOG

In random order:

1. I have a close relative that is MIA in a foreign country. He got sick, went to the doc, and they said he couldn't fly so his coworkers left him behind. Sick. In a foreign country. That qualifies as a bad employer I think. Last we heard he was supposed to be on a plane yesterday, but no one has heard from him in almost 2 days. He should be home now, but he's not. He's not at his hotel. We have no idea where he is or how he's doing. I hope he's okay. Good thoughts would be appreciated. I like this relative. :(

2.The babeola is cranky again. But we've graduated from headbanging to screeching. I'm not sure which I dislike more.

3. I do have a headache. A sleep deprivation one. I should be working (always with the work, I know!) but I'm just too pooped.  I'm going to go to bed early.

4. I got a book light for my bday. Anymore the only time I take to slow down and read a book is when we take roadtrips. I power up the DVD player for the babeola and read. I love it, but needed a better booklight. Which I now have. Because my husband loves me : ).

5. I made $18 so far in June on eHow. That's an increase of $5 over last month. I'm not getting rich, but I am making money so I am going to continue. I have 44 articles and would like to get to 100. Then 200 etc...

6.I am working on more niche blogs. I'm learning the hard way, making all sorts of mistakes, but hopefully this will pan out.

7. The babeola has been trying to read. She doesn't know her letters, but she realizes they are readable. So she tries to read. I am amazed by this, although I was an early and precocious reader so I guess I should not be shocked.

8. I overheard her singing the ABC song to herself in her crib. Super cute!

9. I have managed to make dental floss forbidden fruit and irresistible. The babeola watches me floss all the time and wants to imitate me. Whenever the baby gate is open, she sprints to the bathroom, opens the drawer and pulls out a mile of floss. Then she runs to her mirror and gnaws on the floss while watching herself with delight. So at least I have done one thing right as a mother; made dental hygiene cool.

Okay, I am going to bed. Tomorrow is another day, yes?

IF I DIE, WE WOULD SUE

Meh. I should be working. But the babeola hasn't slept in about a week, meaning I haven't slept either. I am tired! I should also be calling Kasier and raising hell.

Because this shit where a doctor tells me I could have a heart problem or multiple pulmonary emboli and then turns me lose with a 'see you in a few months'? Is so not flying.

Do I think I have a heart problem or pulmonary embolus? No.

But it's irresponsible, if not negligent, for a physician to say that to a patient and then not coordinate any follow up care.

I was thinking I would just suck it up and keep trying to work with this nutjob, but it's unproductive and the doctor has lost all credibility with the latest round of shenanigans. And I think, at this point, Kaiser needs to know what has been going on. As well as our employer's benefits department and anyone else I can find.

Unforunately, the complaint letter I've written is 3 pages long and I keep trying to cut it down, but can't. I suspect because there really are that many problems with the care I've received from Kaiser Permanente.

In other news, yeah no sleep around here. I'm really dragging and today's my birthday. Forget cake or presents, I just want to go to bed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO REGULATE BLOGS

A quickie to give you breaking news on major changes in the way we blog...

This is going to be getting a lot of buzz in the blog-o-sphere. Especially for mommy bloggers who make a living off their blogs.

On the one hand, if all the FTC is going to require is disclosure, that's fine, but if they start policing things beyond that, it will be a problem.

For the record, I don't have any affiliate links on this blog and I receive no compensation for anything I post here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

RELIEF, WORMS, MONTESSORI

How does this mom spell RELIEF?

After calling the dog 'dipshit' in front of my mother's helper and then learning her parents swear all the time too.

No, I am not proud of my potty mouth and I do work hard to keep it clean, but well....our dog really is a dipshit.  His indian name is 'pees on self' if that gives you any idea of how dipshitty he is.

**********************************************************************

I took the babeola strawberry picking today. Didn't quite anticipate exaclty how muddy it would be. I've done the u-pick thing before and it was never this messy.

Further, the babeola was indiscriminate and grazed like a hungry goat eating unripe, rotten, mud covered, and half-eaten-by-other-animals berries. Apparently swapping spit with bubonic plague carrying mice and flu infected birds who eat worms is yummy.

By the time we were done, we were both covered in mud and the Babeola had eaten most of what I picked, plus everything else she could get her mouth on.

We have the same problem with the cherry trees in our front yard. She eats 'em, pit and all. Ripe and unripe. Worm filled and rotten. They all taste good.

I thought I was being a 'crunchy momma' taking the babeola out to enjoy nature. Showing her where food comes and all that, but what I've actually done is teach her that anything found outside is edible.

So you can understand why I get a little nervous when I see her with rocks in her hands.

******************************************************************************
I've been thinking about doing some Montessori type activities. This is probably a bad impulse because I am probably the kind of mom who needs less structure and not more. Montessori is very structured in case you didn't know and we're already on a pretty strict schedule.

But I've only got one kid, which means I'm bored and trying to kill time. Moms of many I don't think have this dilemma, but since I can't produce siblings without $5k and a team of doctors putting their hands up my nethers...might as well do something.

Also, I need to make more of an effort to involve the babeola in household activities. I treated the strawberry stains on her clothes all by myself today and later realized I should've included her. Or next thing you know, she'll expect everything to be done for her by way of mommy magic.

From there, my mind leapt to Montessori.  Although Montessori requires some effort to put together and I'm pretty lazy, plus swamped with work (I shouldn't even be here blogging) so we'll see what actually happens.

**************************************************************************

I have 5+ pounds so far doing low carb. Don't get excited. I've been here before. I will party at the 30 or 40 pound mark.

Low carb requires pristine adherence, one slip and *poof* all the weight comes back on. So I've got to keep up the good work.

Which must be why I'm making pasta salad and strawberry trifle for the pot luck tomorrow. (I hope you heard the sarcasm there.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

IRONY

I can't watch Sesame Street without snorting when they have stars from Sex and the City on the show. They manage to keep a straight face as if the obvious subtext hadn't occurred to them as...

Sarah Jessica Parker defines the word sigh. 

Kim Cattrall breathlessly coos about the word fabulous.

I keep waiting for them to tell the babeola how orgasms are just fabuolous, sigh.

As for the whole evil corporations conning us into eating poision thing, the Environmental Working Group is sponsoring a call campaign. And here's the original story as reported by the mainstream media.

And that's all I have time for. I am off to the doctor as my 'not asthma' is wildly out of control. Lucky me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

MOMMIES UNITE

We had a lovely BBQ last night. Soooo much fun and the babeola ended up being adorable despite channeling demons all day with a stubborn refusal to nap. Fortunately, we managed to tease an hour of sleep out of her so her head stopped rotating a la Linda Blair just in time for our first guests to arrive.

Anyway, I'm going to bungle the exact numbers because I forgot to write them down, but, according to the Today Show, who interviewed some blogger expert, there are double digit millions of moms online. On Facebook. Blogging. Tweeting. Moms are social media mavens.

E-Moms are a force to be reckoned with.

Piss us off and we will ruin your ad campaign-- remember the whole Motrin debacle? However, we have yet to pull together and demand fair wages, improved maternity AND paternity leave or anything else that materially benefits our lives and the futures of our children. I watched the Motrin ad hoopla and, while a lot of the mommy bloggers were whooping 'we are woman, here us roar,' I remained unimpressed. Because we hadn't actually achieved anything.

Sure mommies got the ad pulled, but so what? Did that really help women or families economically or socially? No. And this ineffective use of power is what causes me the most angst. For the first time in history, women can instantly connect and coalesce into powerful groups and what do we do? We decant that power, wasting it on superficial ad campaigns and then declare it a victory.

When are women going to get their shit together? Next time, can we not care about that ad and instead organize a boycott until corporate policies favor families and extend maternity/paternity leave benefits?

Riddle me this...What do you think would happen if mommy bloggers declared war on companies that don't adequately support breastfeeding moms? Or companies that make women work for 5 years before their maternity leaves are paid (which was my employer)? What if all double digit millions of us mommies, en masse, bought generic Advil until they met our demands? They would be shaking in their boots and, instead of hosting swag filled events for mommy bloggers, they would be making substantive changes to their corporate policies to keep us happy.

So... here's a chance to do something. A business lobby tried to recruit a pregnant woman to eat their chemical laden products and then agree to speak about how great it is to glow in the dark and give my baby diabetes! Obviously, women are up in arms over it and are blogging about it. It's worth reading, if not writing a few letters.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BABY BABEOLA

I need to do a babeola update before I forget all the adorable stuff she's done.

We've added 'want this' to the vocabulary which is warbled continuously until all demands are met. She also oinked like a pig for the first time (and has not done it since, but it was to. die. for. cuteness). She says horsie and tried to neigh. What's this. Go outside. Dance (which is more of a command and woe to anyone who disobeys).

I sat with her and read a book the other day asking 'What's this?' and she would answer 'a chair'  'a potty' 'a ball' etc... Soooooo smart.

Gosh, I know I'm forgetting something. Hmm. Maybe it will come to me. Oh, yes, a new good memory. The husband and I piled onto our couch to lay down. We didn't quite fit, but were too lazy to care. The babeola hauled herself up to join us with her lovey and we all cuddled for the longest time. It was nice. And the babeola was so stinking cute with they way she held her lovey between her feet--don't know where she got that from!

We're trying to learn about matching and I bought a 'game' based on the Goodnight Moon book. She understands the concept but doesn't visually discriminate very well yet. Also, the game kind of sucks.

She'll play forever outside in one spot so long as we allow the faucet to drip. Yesterday, we harvested cherries from our cherry tree and I foolishly gave her a bite. Next thing I knew, she'd stuffed one in her mouth and eaten it, pit and all. Yikes. My anal retentive safety consciousness about gave me a heart attack.

This morning she managed to put on her shoes all by herself. They were on the wrong feet and not fastened, but I was still impressed. If I take off her dipey to let her air out, she runs and sits on the potty so maybe we are making minor progress on the future potty training front????

Basically, she's pretty damn cute if I do say so myself.

We still have temper issues and head smacking problems here and there, but--knock on wood--it hasn't been quite as intense.I've also caught her doing what I call 'performance pieces' which are tantrums for mommy's benefit. Little manipulator! Sleep has kind of gone downhill with the Babeola waking up before 7am and not napping very well. But my energy has been up so it hasn't hurt as much as it usually does.

So, my next post, _I think_ will be a rant about fat and doctors so prepare yourselves! Deep breathing isn't cutting it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WOW--SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES

ETA: I forgot! I'm on internet radio tonight. Yes, I was interviewed and no, it has nothing to do with my lame-o blog. I was a founding member of a writing group that has yielded two writers with multi-book deals and we were all interviewed to talk about writing and being geeks.  If you are a geek or ardent fantasy/sci fi reader, you might be interested in listening. I'll be on at 8pm EST on NNR radio. 

Have you heard about the mommy blogger who had her photos stolen and used for advertising in Europe? And the friend who just happened to be on vacation at the right time in the right place to see it, photograph it and let the mommy blogger know? Wow.

I'm going to have to rethink how I use photos online or definitely put a watermark on them. Yowza. Nothing is safe on the web. Nothing. And it doesn't really matter if the law is on your side since pursuing a lawsuit would cost more money than most people have, especially in this economy. I used to deal with international stuff and even a $250,000 loss wasn't enough for the corporate legal folks to consider a law suit.

Anyway, I stopped some of my meds and promptly felt awful enough that I decided it wasn't worth it. We're just going to have to switch insurance next year and pay through the nose so I can see my usual pulmonologist, who is not insane.

As I mentioned, if I have to, I'll order meds from overseas and just pay out of pocket to go back to my pulmonologist.

(Well, first I'll finish out this go round with Kaiser Permanente on the off chance that the allergist took their meds and has reconsidered what the voices tell them. Who knows? Maybe I'll get lucky and their delusions will keep me on the same meds, which is concession enough to limp me through the rest of the year.)

I'm also tracking down the methacholine challenge that was positive and I'll keep a copy or possibly tattoo it on my chest just to be efficient. Plus I did some medical digging and probably wasn't off my medication long enough for it to leave my system (I missed some instructions from Kaiser and their instructions were not standard anyway--everyone else does it differently but Kaiser cuts corners), which would explain a false negative.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN

I'm still pushing for environmental consciousness. Not getting anywhere fast though.

I emailed Blogher and Gymboree regarding their Sustainability Policies (as in, did they have one and if not, why?). Never heard back from them. In case you were wondering, Swiffer is one of Blogher's sponsors and isn't exactly saving the environment--reusable microfiber dust cloths are a better option.

I did 'win' a writing contest that put an article I wrote about not watering lawns on the front page of a multi-national website. I won $50 as well. So that was nice, but not exactly earth shattering.

The problem is I am BUSY and don't have a lot of time for activism--tantrum management is a 100 hour a week job. I am tired out, people. And there was the month of sick that would not end and now I am sick again (Hubby brought home a cold from a weekend getaway with his equally hockey obsessed buddies).

But I continue to persevere however I can.

And that is all the time I have to blog, as I smell a certain odor in the air signaling it is time for a diaper change. Possibly an outfit change as well. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 1, 2009

TANTRUM INSIGHT AND A NOTE ON MEAL PLANNING

I did have one epiphany the other day... The babeola gets angry when she gets hurt, which is what my husband does. He bumps his elbow and next thing I know he's on the war path. Me, I get sad and want comfort when I get hurt.

So this explains at least one aspect of the tantrum difficulties we're having-- the babeola is creating a positive feedback loop by hurting herself during tantrums, which makes it hard to calm her down. I also watched her attack a dresser with her head after I accidentally pinched her finger in the drawer--the tantrum just escalated from there and I spent literally hours trying to stave off a nuclear meltdown.

We've had several lovely days with only three head smacking incidents, all of which were minor and easily redirected.  The babeola has just been so freaking cute lately with lots of talking, I'm almost convinced I can handle another baby (which is pretty huge as, to date, I've been so overwhelmed with the babeola, having another kid sounded about as much fun as being a hostage to terrorists).

We also had our first real peer interaction with another little bean about a week younger than the babeola. This bean is at the low end of the growth charts whereas the babeola left those behind at around 5 months. So it was a bit like watching her play with her own personal mini-me. They were very adorable together and it was the first time I was able to really compare and contrast the babeola with kids of her age group.

Which was interesting. I don't really know what to think or say other than the babeola was running developmental circles around the other toddler. It made me feel as if maybe I am doing right by the babeola, except I suspect I have absolutely nothing to do with it, it's all her.

Anyway, I just wanted to make a note of the meal planning I did this week, because it worked out so marvelously well and kept me out of the kitchen about 90% of the time. And who wouldn't want to memorialize what they did to make homemade meals without all the drudgery of cooking in a hot kitchen?

I had the husband grill a bunch of kielbasa and some marinated chicken. From that we reheated the kielbasa for breakfast (we are E. European, kielbasa is a food group) and then had dinner one day pairing it with locally sourced asparagus. The chicken I used a day later to make a salad with goat cheese, dried cherries, pecans and balsamic dressing. The lettuce was also locally grown, picked minutes before I bought it and we're still eating it almost a week later--it's still amazingly fresh. We also had lunch meat on hand to make quick sandwiches, which I kept low glycemic by eating between lettuce leaves instead of bread.

Then I threw some frozen chicken breasts (with bone) in the crock pot, topped with water and spices. When it was done, I deboned the chicken and made; chicken divan, green bean casserole with shredded chicken, and chicken salad for sandwiches. This will carry us through until Thursday-ish I think. Although it's not exactly low sodium, but I didn't say it was healthy meal planning!

Plus, my mom is visiting and making a turkey meatball chicken soup with the stock from the slow cooker. So we are awash in food with a minimum of cooking. I am pleased!

Friday, May 29, 2009

HEAD BANGING

I'm not dead. I know it looks like I am because goodness knows I never blog, but this Real Life stuff keeps happening.


Busy, busy, busy. I still haven't found any work-life balance. But I did win $50 in a writing contest. Which is like 1 case of diapers so that's nothing to sneeze at.

The babeola is inching closer to talking while scaring the bejeesus out of me with horrific tantrums. Where are the auditions for Extreme Tantrum? Because my babeloa is a star in the making. She actually has a bruise on her forehead from purposely smacking her head on hard surfaces. We daily live in danger of having our noses broken by an errant head butt. The other day I thought she was leaning in to cuddle only to yelp in pain when she smashed her head into my knee.

If I say no to her or express displeasure with something she does, she immediately looks for a place to smack her head. This self-harming behavior is distressing to say the least. I've tried ignoring it, but then read that's not a good idea so now I run around trying to keep her from hurting herself and failing miserably.

The tantrums last a long time too. Hours on some days. You've heard of interval training in exercise? The babeola interval tantrums, maintaining a steady state mild tantrum that spikes to extremes. This is either proof of me being a bad parent--which really, what kind of crappy mom am I that I can't figure this tantrum stuff out?-- or a testament to the babeola's strength of will. Or both.

Regardless, I am tired of feeling like a crappy mom and the incessant checking to be sure the babeola's pupils are the same size to rule out head trauma.

Thoughts? Advice?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

FROM GARBAGE RISES THE PHOENIX

Around 7 years ago, we picked an old school desk out of the garbage with the intent we would use it for our kids someday. We didn't know yet that we were infertile or the heartache that awaited us as we strived for a family. We were innocent and blissfully ignorant.

The desk sat and sat and sat in our garage becoming a painful symbol of everything we thought we'd never have. Yet we never threw it out. Never even thought about it.

Last week my husband finished refinishing the desk and brought it home for the babeola. Somehow the circle finally feels complete.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

IS THAT WHY ELMO IS RED?

Is it just me or am I the only one who noticed that, on the Elmo potty training DVD, Elmo wears a shirt, Elmo's Dad wears a shirt, but Elmo's Mom is topless.

What is up with that?

And did you ever notice that none of the kids on Syd the Science Kid have eyelashes? They probably all have a heavy Visine habit.

As for food, this is disgusting, but essential information. Do you know what red food dye is made from? Do you??? It's all natural, which is NOT a plus in this case.

Red food dye is made from bugs. Scaly bugs that look a bit like potato bugs.  Think about that the next time you slurp a maraschino cherry off its stem.

Which brings us back to the title, are the bugs the reason why Elmo is red?

Could be since the bugs are also used to make textile dyes.

I am SO grossed out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

MONDAY

The babeola was crying revelry at 6 am this morning. Ugh. And she has just taken the shortest nap in a long time. Double Ugh.

I still managed to accomplish something today though...

--Ran the dishwasher
--Scrubbed crayon off the living room walls
--Ran a load of laundry
--Spit polished 5 articles and sent them off (cross your fingers for a happy client.)

And just when I was getting ready to kick back and indulge in some me time, guess who wakes up? Sigh.

I also checked my ad revenue share articles and found I'm up to $8. I think I was less than $5 last time I posted? I was happy with the $8 up until I learned about someone who is at $30 in less than a month.

I wonder what I'm doing wrong?

Oh, and I found out a lot of people are making $1000+ a month doing web content writing for the same site I work with. I'd like to know where they find the time? I am so busy with the babeola, it's all I can do to crank out $100 worth of web content a week (and I'm not even trying this week because I have too much going on). Plus, how do they write so fast anyway? Maybe I'm doing too much research? Then again, I also pick stuff I don't know anything about, but that I know I can research so maybe that's why I'm the turtle?

I don't know! I hope I figure out how this all works at some point!


By the way Parent Juice is getting really good traffic so far, more than 100 hits in three days. Thanks for checking it out, I hope you liked what you saw (Did you see the toilet paper thing with the Bangles Walk Like An Egyptian video? I was kind of proud of that--brings back memories.).

Friday, May 15, 2009

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

This is my first niche blogging site...if you want to contribute, here are the contributor guidelines.  Note that contributors are compensated.

WORKING MOM

I took the babeola to the zoo today where she was enamored by a) other kids and b) a rock-like chunk of concrete. Lions, flamingos, and condors are just so not cool.  Eh. I bought a year membership so maybe, with time, she'll notice something besides the masses and the concrete jungle.

In other news... freelance writing is an insane amount of work and it pays poorly. I'm feeling a little burned out and also looking at other, easier ways to make money online. Since I am not hot enough to do nudie type internt things, I'm hoping to start some monetized niche blogs. I also plan to continue with the ad revenue writing for a while until I am sure it is or is not profitable.

Ironically, one of the reasons why freelance writing pays so little is due to ad revenue sharing websites. That and people in India who provide online content for like a buck because, despite what the US Department of Education maintains, grammar and spelling are really not important. All that matters is whether or not someone clicks an ad.

I have 5 articles due on Monday and then I'm taking a break from up front pay work. One of the things that really bothers me about up front work is they want instant turnaround. I was looking at signing up with another content service, but they want 2500 words in 48 hours, which includes keyword research, topic research, product research, writing and editing. I sat down last night and roughly calculated how much free time I have each week and yo, I have like 20 hours of downtime a week, if I'm lucky. 20 hours in which I must tutor, do tutor paperwork, work out, run errands, blog, relax, and eat.  For me to write 2500 words in 2 days is impossible, I can't handle that kind of deadline.

Well...if let the babeola watch TV all day, everyday and I stay up until midnight, I can get more work done. Except that really starts to run me down because I don't get to sleep until 1am and then the babeola is screaming morning revelry at 7am. Not to mention the brain frying TV addiction. So freelance writing is not the easy mom friendly solution it is cracked up to be. However, there is money to be made. If I can find a happy balance between deadlines and my ability to do the work, things might be good. Lately, the whole thing has just been stressing me out big time though.

I'm really crossing my fingers that the ad revenue share work pays off. Tons of people are supposedly making $500 a month or more. From what I understand (and I've read 3 books on the topic now) there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do it too. Plus, there are no deadlines.

My moles were all normal by the way. So yay for no cancer or pre-cancer. I am laughing though because Kaiser is so damn cheap they didn't shave my nape, just cut the mole off and slapped a bandaid over my hair. So the bandaid didn't stick well enough to cover the wounds and migrated as my hair and neck moved. One of my moles, they couldn't figure out how to bandage due to hair, so I got nothing.

I'm of the thinking Kaiser is lucky I didn't pick up an infection. I really do wonder at their business model. In the aggregate they may save money, but I question at what risk to patients.

Oh! And the Mother's Day epilogue. I got some perfume. Not wrapped. No card, but I think that's the best the husband could do given his obvious holiday disability. Christmas is a nightmare of a similar nature. Thankfully, the husband is pretty spectacular on non-holiday days and I think I'm just going to try and be grateful that holidays aren't that prevalent.

Monday, May 11, 2009

WAITING FOR GODOT TO TAKE A NAP

The babeola is currently partying in her crib, babbling, tossing, turning and just in general having more fun than Paris Hilton in New York.

Me? I have a pounding headache and a cake hangover. Some people drink. I eat cake. And my body is not cake friendly so I have a carb overload at the moment.

Anyway, this will be existentially scattered, which I'm sure you've already realized. I had three moles removed for biopsy today.

In case you didn't know, I am holey moley girl. Moles a plenty and one came back pre-cancerous at the end of 2008--ahh the good old days when I had better health insurance--so it seemed like a good idea to test a few more today.

Happily, aside from meeting with an endocrinologist later this month, I am now pretty much established within the Kaiser Permanente network.  I am hoping this means I never have to go back again. Especially now that they've cut me and made me bleed.

Use your sunscreen my chickadees. One with both UVA and UVB protection. It makes a difference.

Hey, I actually started this post to bitch about Mother's Day. So how about we get to it? Here's how M day has been to date...

While I was pregnant:  "You don't count, you're not a mom yet."  This after 4 years of infertility treatments. Ouch. Husband got in heaps of trouble that year. Heaps. He'll never live it down in fact.

After the babeola was born: I had to help the husband find the card he'd bought because he lost it, then I had to remind him to sign it and give it to me. Lame.

This year: Nothing, which we were too busy running around and making the babeola cute for great-grandma for me to really notice. Plus, guess what? I'm allergic to shell fish. Or cats. Something to where I was taking Benadryl to relieve the buzzy itching in my lips.

Sooooooo the upshot of this recap is, where do we sign up for there the remedial 'How to not be a jerk on Mother's Day' class, also sometimes known as the 'Where to buy Mother's Day cards and pens with which to sign them'? Because I think someone needs to go.

Although I'm mostly laughing. Because the irony of working so damn hard for motherhood only to be not just ignored, but summarily dismissed on the big M Day is kind of funny.

Kind of.

If I squint.