My Kid Stole My Cool

Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier 5

I had a list of things I was going to accomplish with Elisabeth once we moved back to California and before the baby came:

1)   Potty Train

2)   Transition to Toddler Bed

3)   Wean from Pacifier

Then we actually got to California and I realized I was too pregnant and tired to deal with any of those things.  Sure, we put Elisabeth in the Big Girl Bed, but it has been two months and she still gets out of it unattended, and I still occasionally put her back in the crib on nights she is particularly uncooperative, or nights I am particularly exhausted and can’t handle lying with her for an hour.  I know.  My inconsistency if probably not helping the situation.

And sure, Elisabeth uses the potty sometimes.  We were on a roll when I introduced itty-bitty cookies as an incentive, but then Elisabeth got over the “potty cookies” and opted to go back to the diaper.  The girl is smart – I upped my game and started using M&Ms. The “emma-emmas” were a big hit at first.  She was back on the potty.  But then one M&M per pee wasn’t enough.  “Two emma-emmas?” she would try to negotiate.  That’s when I threw in the towel.  Stay in diapers till you’re 12, for all I care!*

As for getting rid of the pacifier – yeah, right.  My half-assed attempts at potty training and establishing a bedtime routine were far too draining to even think about pacifier weaning.

Then I hit 34 weeks.  And I panicked.  Six weeks!  Only six weeks till baby arrived and I had accomplished nothing with Elisabeth! I had squandered a precious seven weeks and the time to buckle down was NOW.

I made a plan of attack: Get rid of the pacifier first.  I was already staying with Elisabeth until she fell asleep every night, so I could provide her with whatever comfort she needed in the wake of her loss.  And it would be a great, great loss.  Once she had adjusted to sleeping without her pacifier, I would work on getting her to sleep – by herself – in the big girl bed.  There might be a few rough nights at first, but surely Elisabeth would adapt to these changes fairly smoothly.

I should know better by now.

I decided last Thursday night would be the night.  My dad was out of town and my mom was going to be out late – I didn’t want any grandparent interference.  They see the pacifier as a harmless soothing device; I see the pacifier as stacks of future orthodontia bills.

Elisabeth and I had talked about how the “pacis” are for babies and she’s a big girl now.  She even once – unprompted – threw her precious paci in the trash after she said the babies needed it.  (Unusual logic, but I went with it.) When bedtime arrived hours later, I found her digging through the trash.  I decided with Elisabeth, we needed to go cold turkey.

Thursday night came, and as we climbed into bed, she asked for her paci.

“The pacis are all gone.  Remember? We had to give them to the babies.” I said in my most sympathetic voice.

Elisabeth made some form of agreement before moments later asking, “Paci? My paci?”

We went through this dialogue a few times before Elisabeth realized there really were no more pacis.  She whimpered and cried.  For like, a minute.

Then she started talking.  And talking.  And talking.  And singing.  And talking.   For two endless hours.

 

It dawned on me that she didn’t need the pacifier for comfort as much as I needed the pacifier for her to SHUT UP AND GO TO SLEEP.

 

At first her stream of consciousness was cute.  “Sweet dreams, sweet dreams, sweet dreams.  And then it rained and rained for 40 days and nights.  Sweet dreams. Sweet dreams.”  Thanks for that Biblical interjection, Elisabeth!   Or when she put her face up to mine and said, “I love you mommy.”  Isn’t she sweet?

But then the talking just didn’t stop.  It turned into: “I need water.”  “I need my baby doll.”  “Where’s my water?” “I need lotion.” “No lotion!”  “I need more lotion.” “I need to go potty.” (Now she needs to go potty? Highly suspicious…)  “I need covers.”  “No covers!”  “Rub my back.”  “Noooo, not that way!”  “Rub my tummy.”  And on, and on, and on.   At first I tried to appease her, but she was clearly un-appeasable.  So instead I lay next to her and contemplated smothering myself with a pillow.

Now, she had been itching her skin and head like mad (hence all the lotion).  At 9:00, after about an hour and a half of her shenanigans, I decided that she must certainly be suffering an allergic reaction and was in need of medicinal intervention.

Enter: Benadryl.  Judge me if you must, but I was desperate.  And I mean, she was really itchy.  And she really needed to go to sleep.

Elisabeth gulped the medicine eagerly.  “I need more medicine,” she declared.  I was desperate, but I was not that desperate.  “You don’t need more,” I replied.  “I feel better,” she decided.  Fan-freaking-tastic.  Does that mean you’ll go to sleep now?

I settled back down next to her and stared at her, waiting for her eyelids to droop.  Come on, Benadryl! Work your magic!

Turns out Elisabeth’s will power is stronger than Benadryl’s medicinal power.  It was another thirty minutes before Elisabeth finally succumbed to sleep.

I had prepared myself for tears.  I was ready to cuddle and comfort my sweet girl as she mourned the loss of her pacifier.  If she needed to cry herself to sleep, she could do so in my loving arms.  But I had not prepared myself for this verbal assault.  Oh no, she caught me off guard with her incessant chatter.  Well played, Elisabeth.  She talked so tirelessly I almost retrieved a pacifier I had hidden (just in case).  But she would not break me.  Not this time.

 

The next night my parents took her out to dinner while I stayed home to rest.  Nana and Baba got a little too friendly with the sommelier and ended up staying out till well after 9:00.

“She needs to go bed!  It’s so late” I shrieked at them when they finally got home with my daughter.  They hadn’t been around the night before – they didn’t know what I was in for.

“It’s late.  She’ll fall asleep right away,” my dad reasoned.

“Or she’ll stay away for another two hours and none of us will get to bed at a reasonable hour,” I replied.

I was right.   And this night was worse than the last.  Sleep deprivation from the night prior coupled with the late hour made her entirely unpleasant.  At first, she wasn’t too terrible, making me laugh as she belted out, “The Rainbow Connection” at the top of her lungs.  Then she began using her foot as a musical instrument, sticking it in and out of her mouth to make a popping sound. She thought she was soooo hilarious.  But soon her singing turned into whining.  “I cwanky.  I cwaaaaanky!” she wailed at one point, tossing and turning on top of her pillows.  Then close your eyes and be quiet!  I screamed.  In my head.  I screamed it in my head, I swear.

The grandparents and I all took turns with her before she finally fell asleep with her Nana at 10:30.

10:30.  No two-year old should be awake until 10:30.  It’s not fair to the parents.  Especially to the pregnant moms who can’t go break into a bottle of wine afterwards.

 

We gave Elisabeth a "No More Paci Pizza & Ice Cream Party." It didn't help.

We gave Elisabeth a “No More Paci Pizza & Ice Cream Party.” It didn’t help.

 

It has been a week now.  She has stopped asking for the pacifier, but she is still taking 1-2 hours to go to sleep every naptime and bedtime.  That is, when she naps at all.**  Do the math – that’s 2-4 hours per day I spend trying to coax the dear girl to sleep.  TWO – FOUR HOURS! I need those hours!  Those are my sleeping hours, my eating ice cream in secret hours, my catching up on Scandal hours!

What’s a mom to do?

No, really.  That’s not rhetorical. What’s a mom to do?

 

*I’ve heard good things about a 3-day potty training “boot camp.”  But I looked into it and it seems that you basically let your kid run around naked for three days peeing and pooping on everything until they get the point to go in the toilet.  Ew.  Like I’m said – I’m too pregnant to deal with that.

**If my daughter phases out her nap right before the new baby arrives, I will cry. A lot.

 

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Can’t Hack It

Posted on Apr 12, 2014 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Can’t Hack It 1

I spent last weekend in San Francisco visiting friends.  Non-mom friends.  For the first time, the distinction between “mom” friends and “non-mom” friends became important; for the first time, I realized that though I like to think I can hang out with my non-mom friends just like I used to, I’m severely disillusioned.  Nope.  As a 33 weeks pregnant mom of a two-year-old, I just can’t hack it anymore. *** The week after moving back to southern California, a few non-mom friends happened to be in town.  After exchanging emails to make dinner plans, one friend suggested a place and time. 8:30. I balked. 8:30!? As in, PM!?  But that’s jammy time!  I hastily wrote my friends back, and after claiming jet-lag, asked if we could push dinner up to 8:00.  I really meant 5:30, but figured that might be pushing it for my friends whose lives don’t currently revolve around potty-training and early morning prenatal yoga.  So 8:00 it was.  The evening of our dinner arrived, and after chugging boatloads of coffee I made my way to the restaurant, praying I wouldn’t fall asleep face-first into my mocktail.* I managed to rally, but I got lucky that time.  So let’s examine last weekend, when a silly pregnant woman attempted to recapture her pre-children days. Friday night my girlfriends and I got together at a charming little Italian restaurant.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner and then lingered over wine.  (Well, everyone else lingered over wine.  I lingered over water.)  I love these girls.  I love catching up with them.  I love lingering over wine when I am actually allowed to drink wine.  But how does a sleep-deprived, third-trimester pregnant woman stay awake past 9:00 in a dim restaurant after eating copious amounts of carbs and cured meat?  It’s damn near impossible, I tell you. Everyone seemed a little spent after a long week, and decided to disperse after dinner rather than heading out somewhere else.  Thank the good Lord – I could go to bed!  Except I couldn’t.  My friend’s neighbor fell asleep with her television blasting.  My über-sensitivity...

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We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers

Posted on Mar 16, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers 1

We do not negotiate with toddlers. I wish this were true.  But we do negotiate with toddlers.  At least I do.  All day…  Every day…  Go ahead and file this under, “Things I thought I’d never do as a parent.” -Sigh- Wouldn’t it be great to take a hard-line with these obstinate little ones? “Eat your vegetables because I said so.” “Put on your pants because it’s cold outside.” “Go to sleep because you need sleep to live.” Done and done.  If only it were that easy.  If only the toddlers would respond to logic and reason. But no.  Toddlers don’t respond to logic and reason because they’re not logical or reasonable.  They’re two; they respond to cookies and toys.  Either that or they’re manipulative little geniuses who know how to get exactly what they want  Maybe it’s both.  So instead we parents (or just me?) endlessly cajole, bargain, and outright bribe.  I didn’t notice my shameful behavior at first.  Then one day I realized almost every conversation with my 2-year-old involved some sort of “If…Then” statement. “Eat your vegetables,” became, “If you eat your vegetables, you can have more pasta.” “Put on your pants,” became, “If you don’t put on your pants, then we can’t go outside,” which became, “If you put on your pants, we can watch Elmo when we come back inside.”  When even Elmo didn’t work, it became, “Here’s my iPhone.  Look at pictures while I put on your pants.”  (For some reason, Elisabeth was vehemently anti-pants for a while.) When did every interaction with my child become a negotiation?  When will it stop!? I thought I’d be tougher.  I thought I would weather any tantrum and firmly hold my ground.  Eventually my toddler would listen to me and respect me, simply because I know what’s best. But holy cow – have you ever spent 30 FREAKING MINUTES trying to clothe a screaming, flailing child?  Or 30 minutes doing ANYTHING that should take 2 minutes, but for the innate need of these little people to assert total domination over you?  (I suppose it’s more PC...

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The Big Reveal

Posted on Jan 26, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Hello!  It’s been almost a month, but I’m back! What a month it’s been.  After wrapping up the holidays, Damon, Elisabeth, and I said Sayonara, Japan! and hopped over to New Zealand for an almost 2-week vacation in what can only be described as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever traveled.  But more on that in an upcoming post. After pausing real life for those two weeks, Damon and I had major catch up to do when we returned home.  One thing that included – our baby’s anatomy scan!  (Read: Gender Reveal.) It’s funny – when I was pregnant with Elisabeth, the weeks leading up to the gender reveal crept by.  During that first pregnancy, every decision felt monumental.  I felt like I couldn’t really begin planning for the baby until I knew its sex.  Pink bedding or blue bedding?  Hair bows or bow ties?  Diana Jr. or Damon Jr.? Second time around, I experienced none of that anxiety.  Perhaps because my circumstances are vastly different this time around.  I’ll be having the baby in California while living with my parents during Damon’s deployment.  (More on that in an upcoming post also.)  Boy or girl, it’s not like I have a nursery to decorate.  And boy or girl, the baby is going to get stuck with Elisabeth’s hand-me-down gear no matter what.  This time around, I don’t have to spend 10,000 hours researching car seats and cribs.  And this time around, finding out the gender just didn’t carry the same weight as it did last pregnancy. But of course, I couldn’t help but think about it.  The weeks leading up to the reveal brought the inevitable, “What are you hoping for?” question from friends, and my inevitable, “I don’t care, as long as it’s healthy,” answer.  Which was true.  Because really, boys and girls each have their pros and cons.  Let’s review. (Be aware, these are mass generalizations.  Just go with it.) Girls:  I am the oldest and only daughter.  I have two younger brothers, Will and Jamie.  So I speak from experience when I say little...

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Night Stalker 2.0

Posted on Nov 27, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

I recently wrote about the war raging between my toddler and me.  Guess what?  It’s still going on, and I’m still losing.  Bedtime has become the worst battle. I should cut Elisabeth some slack.  We travel a lot.  One day her dad is home.  Another day he is gone, and doesn’t come back for a long time.  It’s a lot of change for a small person, and she handles it pretty well.  Except at night.  I don’t know if she thinks that if I leave her at bedtime, I won’t be there in the morning, or if she just likes to terrorize me (I think it’s the latter), but the child will not go to bed. She launched her bedtime campaign small, insisting I sit in the rocking chair while she fell asleep.  That’s not a big deal.  That’s why they made a Solitaire iPhone app, right?  But gradually she began taking longer and longer to fall asleep.  Every time I tried to sneak out of the room, the rocking chair would give me away with a telltale creak.  Every time Elisabeth would wake. “Mama?” she’d asked, making sure I was still present. Followed by, “Mama sit down!”  Every. Single. Time.   And also, when did she become so bossy? I started to employ a new strategy.  Every time she caught me leaving, I would say, “I’ll be right back.  Mama’s just going potty.”  Elisabeth respected that.  If a girl has got to pee, a girl has got to pee.  Did I feel bad lying to my child?  Eh.  I figure on the scale of parental lies, this one ranks pretty low.  Plus, I always do come back eventually to check on her. Anyway, the potty excuse worked for awhile.  I would slip out of her bedroom under feigning incontinence, and she would fall asleep.  But then she caught on.  “Mama!  Sit down!  Mama.  Mammmmma!” She would moan until I resumed my rightful place in the rocking chair, playing Solitaire until my hand cramped. And just so I wouldn’t forget my place, she became quite particular regarding the placement of...

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My Kid Stole My Cool

Posted on Nov 14, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

My Kid Stole My Cool 5

Welcome to my new blog!  It took a little longer than I expected, but it’s ready now, and I hope you like it. Thanks to everyone who sent in blog name suggestions.  I got a lot of good suggestions, and several that gave me a good laugh.  I appreciate it!  Turns out though, that I came up with the name on my own.  Who would have thought it possible? Now, about the new blog.  Before anyone that knows me calls me out, I was never “cool”.  Hardly.  But on the scale of Coolness, I definitely ranked higher pre-kid than I do post-kid.  Can any other moms relate? -The sleep deprivation that turns you into a character out of The Walking Dead?  Not cool.  (I’ve never actually seen the show, but I imagine new moms are even more terrifying than flesh-eating zombies.) -The yoga pants that become acceptable day-wear?  Not cool.  But hey, they’re the only thing that fits. -The jumbo diaper bag that’s replaced all your chic handbags?  Not cool.  Even if it’s designer, it’s still a diaper bag. -The spit-up in your hair?  Not cool.  Oh, and when was the last time you washed your hair?  You can’t remember?  Me either. -The wasted hours spent browsing Pinterest in the quest to become the perfect mom?  Non cool. -The peanut butter smeared all over your clothes? And everything else?  Not cool. -The minivan? *Shudder*  So very not cool. Much of this blog is about how my expectations of motherhood were stupendously off.  I thought I could retain – if not my coolness – my pre-mom attitudes and appearances.  That I would effortlessly transition from a fun, fashion and fitness-loving, jet-setting childless woman into a fun, fashion and fitness-loving, jet-setting mom.  And while I strive to maintain my former sense of self as a mom, it certainly manifests itself in different ways.   In my personal favorite post, The Christian Bale Scale, I wrote: “I always thought I’d be that mom that everyone hates because she always looks put-together: cute outfit, coiffed hair, bright-eyed.  But no.  Sadly I’m the hater,...

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