Tuesday, September 29, 2009


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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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


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?


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


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.


*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


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.