Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Going Commando

I'm the only one left who still tears up at the sight of Liam's turd in the potty. It's become commonplace in just the past few weeks. So common in fact that any reward or praise is moot. He goes now because he wants to. See, I'm tearing up even writing those words.

I love you Jessica Cannon
He's been able to go for a long time now. He knows how to do it and when to do it, but I think the "why" was a tricky concept for him to grasp until we started going commando (a.k.a. free-ballin')

Is this a thing? Do people commonly do this to their potty-training preschoolers to get them over the last hump? I worry because I think doing anything creative or new with regard to potty-training could have lasting damage. There's no mention of this kind of thing in the "Potty Power" video we have set on repeat and I've come to take everything said by the beautiful, wise, talented, coquettish, sex-kitten hostess "Jessica" as gospel. 

Well whatever Freudian therapy he (or I?) may need down the road might be worth it, because Liam poops in the potty now. Diapers are an obvious crutch but it turned out that just switching to underpants and letting him suffer the consequences didn't really do the trick. Taking everything away, including pants, was like pulling the safety net out from under a trapeze artist and finding that, not surprisingly, his grip tightens.

Sure it's not a perfect system. There are certain social situations where Liam's little twig and berries aren't on the guest list, but it definitely feels like we're on the downhill slope.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Middle Ages

The night before I turned 36, I dreamt that as I was pulling my hair back into a ponytail, I glanced into a mirror and my hair was completely white. You can imagine my surprise, because before I'd pulled it back, it was just the normal brown with a dozen or so strands of white hair thrown in for classiness.

I was kind of shocked, but didn't mind very much. However, when I looked at my face (something I don't do too closely all that often, obviously), it was really wrinkly. Like, old lady after a lifetime of baby-oil tanning wrinkly. I wasn't too excited about that part. In my dream I wondered what my boyfriend would think about this. When I went to find him, though, he was pretty busy singing a Phil Collins song into a hairbrush microphone while gazing into a mirror of his own, so I didn't want to interrupt.

After a few more dreams I woke up and was relieved to find out that I wasn't a wrinkly white-haired hag. Paulie and I did some sleepy morningtime talking, including coverage of the last tendrils of an argument we'd been having over the past week (or according to him, TWO weeks, but, shhhhh). Finally he got up and straddled me over the covers, smooshing my bladder and holding my arms down. He said "okay, it's your birthday, I forgive you."

"What the..."

"Yes, I forgive you for everything you said."

"Oh you do, do you?"

"Yes, and everything you didn't say because I was just imagining it, and everything you haven't even been doing at all because I've just been projecting it on you. I forgive you for all of that. Happy Birrrrrthdaaaaay!"

Then he got up and made me tea. When I finally got out of bed I found that my right ankle wasn't working. I hobbled around saying "what the frack? I wake up on my birthday and my ankle is all wonky?! Not cool!" to which Paulie explained, "you woke up old."


Aside from all of that, it was a lovely morning. Well, except for my daughter calling out "bye daddy...Bye bye DADDDDYYY!" after Paul when he left. That's always kind of awkward.

I spent the rest of the morning wondering what Paulie had built me for my birthday. He said it was big and he'd need help carrying it inside. What could it possibly be? I told him if it was too big to carry on his own it was likely too big for my apartment, but he was undeterred. When I got home after work (where I played a lot of solitaire and then drank a bottle of J with and courtesy of my lovely friend Andrea), I walked into my room to put down all of my crap, and I discovered this:

This is not how my bed looked when I left that morning...
He'd built me a freaking headboard out of an old door, and attached a sweet little vintage lamp to the top so we can both read using the same light. Swooooon! Oh, and see that teensie white thing sticking out of it to the right of the pillows? See that? It's kind of hard to see, so look really closely. No? Okay, here's a closeup:

It's a built-in charger. Let me repeat:
BUILT IN. There's one on each side.
What the WHAT?!
I can't believe I'd almost broken up with this guy just a day or two earlier after my moody pre- during- and post-menstrual -slash- Midlife Crisis insanity. Phew! Now that I'm middle aged I need someone to snuggle with under one light while we simultaneously charge our phones. How did he know?! He's incredible. 

Alright. Now I'm fully prepared to embark on this, the Middle of My Ages. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Sometimes life in the Bairdsmith household isn't exactly blog-worthy, hence my recent hiatus. Sorry about that. In lieu of my usual adventures in parental ineptitude and wayward pooping I thought I'd share a conversation from work that I found entertaining and informative.

I was greeted first thing this morning with one of those E-mail Invites from an office colleague:

It's A Small World Potluck - D*****'s Birthday

D***** is going to be stopping by for a visit on her birthday - let's greet her with a wonderful POTLUCK!

It's A Small World Theme

Think Italian, French, German, African, Moroccan, Indian, Canadian, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, or Thai! The possibilities are endless!

I saw that the creator of the invite was online so I thought I'd try to learn more about this exciting social opportunity:

me: The possibilities ARE endless! I'm not really sure what "Canadian food" is though. Bacon and beer?

D*****: or putang - or whatever it is called and however the correct spelling actually is

me: Are you trying to say poontang?

I don't know that Canadians are "necessarily" known for that

D*****: that is NOT what I was trying to say!

me: Oh, my bad

me: My mistake. Thank you for enlightening me. My humblest apologies. When you talk to HR please convey I meant only to correct you to save you embarrassment in future conversations regarding Canadian cuisine

 D******:  ha ha ha....

When working for a company with a robust HR department, one must remember to always cover one's ass.

Fun sidenote: When I right-clicked "poontang", spell check suggested "pantaloon". You're cute spell check.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Parenting is Beautiful, Except When It's Snot

A conversation at work yesterday morning:

childless co-worker: "What's that?!?!"

me: "What?"

childless co-worker: "That! On your shoulder."

me: "Ah....yeah. Sorry. That's snot."

childless co-worker: "You're kidding, right? That can't all be...that."

me: "It is. I'll get a towel."

I probably should be more conscientious. I'm not exactly wearing it like a badge of honor (though I am an "everything you create is art" kind of dad), I just honestly don't notice things like that anymore. Food stains on my crotch, poop smears on my thumb, and the ubiquitous snot patches all fall under the radar nowadays.  

I'm not sure if Friday morning's offering was from Finn or Liam. I think it may have been both. I'd had an early morning "Beyond the Sea" performance to try and get Baby Finn back to sleep (my Bobby Darin always does the trick, though I'm not sure if Finn just fakes being asleep to get me to stop, but whatever). I also wore the same hoodie on Monday to preschool with Liam (I felt bad for bringing him to school sick until I got there and realized I'd carried coal to Newcastle).  I'm guessing my snot brooch was a collaboration.  

So I'm sick too, of course. I don't even fight it anymore. Erin still fights it. She dodges kisses, washes her hands, makes that scrunched up face when Liam coughs at her. He gave me one good hack into an open eyeball and I thought, "well, the sooner I get this, the sooner it'll be over". This time it's just a really bad cough that's left my voice sounding a little like a pubescent Barry White, which isn't so bad. The last time he was sick Erin shouted for help from the other room and I came in to find Liam exploding from the mouth. That one left me with that odd mix of conflicting feelings: compassion vs. self-preservation. Like you want to wrap your sweet child up in plastic, spray them with bleach, then hold them tight and tell them everything will be okay.

You never think you're going to be "that parent" until you are. This isn't really a cautionary tale to get you aspiring parents to let go of your romantic ideals about the "parent you're going to be". It's more of a cautionary tale for you childless out there to remember not to make that face at my snot shoulder first thing in the morning. I'm contagious and I know where your coffee cup is asshole. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Seventh Circle of Hell

I got an email recently from the mother of one of Jonah's best buddies. She wanted to know if Jonah would be available for a birthday party in a few weeks, to which I of course said Heck Yeah! I asked if I could drop him off since I'd have his little sister with me, but the mom assured me that I was more than welcome to  bring Evie along. What should have been a welcome, problem-solving statement was, for me, like opening my closet and finding a cackling, knife-wielding clown inside.

The party, I was informed, would be in the Devil's Lair - otherwise known as Chuck E. Cheese.

Have you ever been to a Chuck E. Cheese? I have. Once, pre-kids. And I swore I'd never go again. In case you haven't had the pleasure, I'll sum it up for you: all of your senses being violated by siren-pitched noises and garishly flashing lights as you try to keep track of your kids, who can't hear you over the explosions of sound and strobing hyper-stimulation surrounding them. Add to that the stuffing of said kids with pizza, soda and cake, then setting them loose for more whirling dervish spinning while you try to keep tabs on the ooziest children in the room so you can steer your own clear of them. But of course they always end up playing together in the ball pit together, don't they?! Suddenly your kid is best friends with the green snot stranger, and they're practicing their sharing skills! "Here, have some of my soda! Nah, just use my straw, it's cool!"

I. Am. So. Scared.

Because my daughter was also invited, I was informed by a friend that it would probably be kind of rude to leave both kids at the party and come back at the last possible second to pick them up while holding my breath and brandishing wet wipes in each hand. I tried to think of a way to ask the mother if she'd really mind all that much if I did so, but I like her and didn't want to come across as 'that parent'. You know, the complete slacker kind. Because in fact, I'm not. I can power through a tedious little kid birthday party just as well as the next gal. I just have this thing about...crowds. And...loud noises. And crowds and loud noises and flashing lights and clanging bells and shrieking kids and cloying colors and deafening music and tear-streaked faces during sugar-crazed meltdowns, all at the same time.

I'm sure I'll survive. Won't I? I mean, this is one of those situations that separates the warrior mothers from the lightweights, right? I can do this! For the sake of the children! Also, I did some research and learned that they sell beer at Chuck E. Cheese.

Alright, I'm in.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Never a Dull Moment

Last Saturday night I crashed through my front door around 9:30 p.m. soaked in sweat, gasping for air, crying hysterically, and wearing a beauty pageant sash with a tuxedo t-shirt.

Okay that's an exaggeration, it was more like 9:45

Around 3 to 25 minutes earlier I was sitting at Healdsburg's Raven Theater enjoying their annual fundraiser, The Mr. Healdsburg Pageant. If you've read the blog before you'll know I'm a shameless fame whore former Mr. Healdsburg. I was crowned in 2010 and have had trouble letting go. So naturally I've attend every year to work on my "psh!"  Just as the lovely hostess was inviting on to the stage the previous years' winners in attendance that evening, I received the following text:

Later I realized there wasn't much I could do, the ER visit was just a precaution, and it was likely Finn didn't swallow any of the nasty stuff, but my instinct after getting this text was "RUN!!". So I ran. I couldn't drive because I was a few cocktails into the night, so I sprinted straight home which was just under two miles. The alcohol in my blood mixed with the panic really got my heart rate going. Finn wasn't there when I got home but my mother-in-law was and the sight of me completely losing my cool nearly sent her to the ER. She managed to convey to me that Finn and Erin were on their way home. The doctors had taken Finn's vitals and released him with instructions to "come back if he has any problems waking up". The wonders of modern medicine.

He was just fine. He woke up (in our bed of course) at the usual hour with the usual level of energy. I'd never been happier to have him sit on my head and bounce.

There's a Murphy's Law to raising a toddler: If there's something he shouldn't do, he will do it. Guaranteed. It's just a matter of time. It's always good to reassess the "child-proofness" of your home every couple of months, even if you're not on your first kid. It's not hard to do either. Just set them loose for an hour unencumbered and see what happens. Here's what Finn did just yesterday after just twelve minutes of closely monitored freedom:

It's hard to tell in the picture but he has a fork in each hand and is headed for the only unprotected electrical outlet in the house.