Friday, March 29, 2013

Because I know you were waiting with bated breath

I think we discovered the culprit of Ella's poop issues! Her pediatrician is pretty sure it is a citric acid sensitivity. Turns out I was on the right trail after all. 

The good news is it's a relatively easy fix. We have to watch what she eats and be vigilant about reading labels, because you would not believe the amount of foods that have added citric acid. But that gives me an added incentive to cut out even more processed foods from our diet. Right now I'm keeping a running tally on the fridge of all the foods I've discovered she can't have. 

On the down side, that means she now can't have clementines, which are her absolute favorite food. Or the snack crackers in the church nursery. She's been having a slight conniption over it. There's absolutely no way to explain to her why she can't eat things she's had before, or why she has to eat the boring snack Mommy provided instead of the super cool snack all the other kids have. 

Luckily it's something that a lot of kids end up outgrowing within a couple of years. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that's the case for us too.  

In other good news, she has finally hit the 20 lb mark! Officially she is 20 lbs 6 oz, meaning she got to make the jump all the way up to the 35th percentile. And despite everyone telling me how tiny she is, Ella is a whopping 31 1/4 inches tall, placing her between the 80th and 90th percentiles for height. So much for being a peanut! 

All the stuff my brain conveniently forgot about being pregnant- first trimester edition

As I dealt with a monster of a headache earlier this week, the type that Tylenol doesn't even come close to touching, I started thinking about all the fun parts of pregnancy that my brain must have blocked out. I mean, I remembered the biggies- no alcohol, nausea, and did I mention no alcohol? Obviously this mental block is how mother nature tricks us into having more than one child. That and the nice trick of making you think you have this whole toddler sleeping thing figured out before sending you the absolute hell that are molars. Without further ado, here is my list of things I had forgotten sucked about the first trimester of pregnancy.

-The whole, "I'm hungry but nothing sounds good" thing. And its partner, the "I finally figured out what I want to eat but now that I've made it there is no way I can eat without puking." Seriously. Jim went out to the store a few weeks ago because the only things I could think of that didn't make me want to gag were pizza and brownies (possibly consumed together). Not two minutes after he had left did I come to the realization of how gross those foods were.

-How one sip of water before bed translates into having to get up to pee a gazillion times.

-The crazy, crazy hormones. Everything makes me cry. I'm not even going to bother to give examples. You name it, and it has probably made me cry.

-Not being far enough along to have a cute baby bump yet. Instead, you get to walk around looking like you inhaled ten Chipotle burritos and have been hiding in your pantry too much eating chocolate. And because you aren't far along enough to have announced to the world that you are pregnant (unless you are one of those people who announces before the pee is dry on your stick), people start side-eyeing you and dropping not so subtle hints about fabulous diets that worked for them and gym memberships.

-The extreme exhaustion. And then how being so tired I fall asleep on the couch while watching TV makes me cry. Or being too tired to clean makes me cry. Have I mentioned how everything makes me cry?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ella's first hockey game

One of the things we've been waiting to do her entire life has been to take Ella to a hockey game. But between job interviews and moving, it's one of those things that we kept putting on the back burner. Or we'd think about it and there wouldn't be a home game that weekend, or the games would be past her bedtime.

This Sunday was the very last game of the Tulsa Oilers' season, and fortuitously, it was an afternoon game. We decided even though it meant getting her up from her nap early and mama having to forego much of her afternoon nap, we'd go.

I'm so glad we did, because she had a blast. We got to sit close to the ice and where the players come out (one of the perks of it being extremely minor league hockey), and had a row to ourselves so she could play around a bit. She got to see the mascot guy without the creepy costume head on, which is a good thing because she is terrified of people in costumes. And she got a free cookie from the guy at the concession stand- not exactly part of her mommy-approved diet but it was hard to say no when it was already in hand.

Going to the hockey game confirmed my belief that toddlers are inherently violent little creatures. Her favorite part (besides the chocolate chip cookie) was seeing the hockey players bash each other into the glass and get into a fight. Jim thinks she liked it because the crowd got so worked up. I think she liked it because they were doing one of her current favorite activities- hitting.

Of course now this complicates the whole "no hitting" rule. Because if hockey players get to hit, why shouldn't toddlers?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What my life revolves around now

The past week of my life has been consumed by thinking about poop, both toddler and canine. The canine stuff is easier to explain, so I'll tackle that one first.

When we moved into our house, we were lazy and let the dogs do their business wherever they wanted to in the backyard. Now that we are putting in a garden and (if the weather ever cooperates) some landscaping, we don't want them going just anywhere. Plus I want Ella to be able to run around the backyard without worrying she is going to fall over into a doggy minefield.

Because of that, we're trying to teach the dogs to go to the bathroom in one corner of the yard. The one dog is sort of getting it, although if he's off the leash he'll still go where he pleases. The other dog is entirely resistant to the idea. At least half the time when we bring her out there she sits down and refuses to do anything.

Thus my worry about dog poop. If Jim doesn't have time to walk them before work, and if she refuses to go outside, that leaves one place left for her to poop: the house. Thankfully so far she has not had any accidents. I feel like I have to be super-vigilant, though, about keeping an eye on her whereabouts in the house. I hope the dogs figure out the new bathroom stuff soon. I can't constantly be sniff-testing the air in my house for any trace of poop smell.

The canine poop is a small problem compared to the toddler poop issues. For the past week or so we have been dealing with constant poop- like we're talking 4-5 times a day. I know some toddlers go this often and some parents have told me not to worry about it. But while that may be normal for their kid, it's not for mine.

In my desperation, I spent over two hours last night researching toddler poop issues. Gluten? Lactose? Molars? Seasonal allergies? I turned off my computer last night more frustrated than anything, because nothing seemed to fit what was going on with her. My frustration increased when she woke up this morning with a horrendous diaper rash.

I still have no idea what is causing it. I put her on a bland diet today (which she is not a fan of) and that has seemed to help a lot. But she can't go on eating toast and crackers for the rest of her life. The only semi-possibility we've been able to come up with is a citric acid sensitivity. It doesn't quite fit, though, so I'm still on the hunt for the answer.

If anyone has thoughts as to what could be causing her issues, I would be more than happy to hear them. I'm willing to pretty much try anything at this point to get her digestive woes sorted out.

If someone told me a few years ago how much time I would devote to thinking about poop, I would have laughed.


Before Ella goes off to bed each night, I read her a story and Jim sings her a song. The other night, he asked me for a song suggestion. I jokingly told him, "I don't know. Maybe a song about farts since she has been so gassy all day?"

Next thing I know, he is singing a melodic, lullaby version of "Beans, beans, the magical fruit" while Ella cuddled up against him. I had to leave the room because I was laughing so hard.

Perhaps in the future I'll leave the song selection up to him.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sometimes, mommy has a crappy day too

99% of the time I love being a stay at home mom.

The other 1% of the time, I hate my job. Please don't interpret this as I hate my child. Even when I dislike my job, I love her completely.

Here's what I hate about it. In a regular job, when you are sick, you get a sick day. Didn't sleep well? You can call and come in a bit late. Simply need a break? Well, that's what vacation days are for.

This isn't meant to be a whole, "SAHMs are the hardest workers ever" or some war between SAHMs and working moms thing. I firmly believe the majority of moms work hard, whether it's a home or in a job. There are pluses and minuses to both.

This is basically about how I'm tired and having a shitty day for no big reason, and would love to turn on the fireplace, curl up on the couch with a book, and fall asleep. Then when I wake up, I'd like to not have to worry about dinner, or the pile of dishes in my sink, or think about poop in any way, shape, or form (both canine and human). I'd like to turn on a movie, or find something crappy to watch on the television, and eat ice cream or chocolate, in the open, without having to share.

Instead, I have to put on my big girl panties and get on with my day.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mommy fears

Every so often (read: at least once a week) I get into a panic over something related to Ella. Usually it's not the big type of stuff that all parents fear. I'm pretty good at talking myself down off the ledge for the big stuff. Rather, it's all the little developmental milestones that can send me from sane mommy zone into "Why the heck am I not at the pediatrician demanding testing RIGHT NOW" zone.

See, here is the simultaneous blessing and curse of having friends with children the same age as Ella. We can be chatting about stuff the kids are doing, and a seemingly-innocent question like, "How many words does Ella say?" can make me question everything from my child's abilities to my own parenting practices.

This bothered me so much that when Jim and I went on a rare date, we spent a significant portion of time cataloging every word she has ever uttered (and yes, for the record, her speech development seems to be fine. She is extremely selective about when she wants to talk, but there is no doubt she can. If she feels like it).

Then once I've calmed down from that incident, another mommy friend will show me a picture of her daughter cuddling with a baby doll, and tell me about how her daughter likes to rock her dolly. My first thought should be, "Oh, isn't that cute!" Instead, I smile and mutter something while thinking, "Ella only pokes her doll in the eye. Or throws it. Why doesn't she pretend to feed it or something? What is wrong with my child?!"

The answer is, chances are there is not a single thing wrong with her. In fact, in my only-slightly biased opinion, I think she is very bright. I need to be better about focusing on all the things she does do, instead of worrying about everything she does not. I need to be better about doing things that are in line with her current interests instead of trying to make her do what I think she should be doing.

I know there is always going to be something new to worry about. I know before I can blink, I will be worried about SAT scores and colleges and then her first real job. And because of that, I need to learn how to be fearless. Or at least how to put on a good act.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The things I don't post about

My friend Kristen wrote me recently how she is amazed at all the stuff I do with Ella. That got me to thinking about what I post about here. The majority of what I post relates to the fun or humorous or "good Mommy" moments in our lives. Life with a toddler mostly isn't doing cute crafts or having her pay attention while you go over colors, letters, and numbers for the upteenth time.

It's about wondering if you are going to lose your mind if you have to listen to Raffi for one more minute.

It's about trying to cook dinner while your child is screaming and climbing up your legs, and you cannot figure out what in the world is wrong. Is she hungry? No. Thirsty? No. Wants to be picked up? No. Wants to be put down after you pick her up? No. Wants to help? No. Wants to play? No. You just pray you don't chop off your fingers.

It's about contemplating if your child was the inspiration for Gollum as she crawls away to get into something she knows she's not supposed to do, all while apparently having a babbling conversation with herself that includes the words, "No no no." But then "my precious," aka the dog water bowls, beckons, and the lure is too strong.

And it's about days like today, when your child is a complete asshole to you.

Our day included:

Pulling my hair

Attempting to stomp on the dogs

Pulling the dogs' tails

Perfecting her moves for her Exorcism audition

Running away from me whenever I asked her to do something

Defiantly staring me down if I asked her not to do something, then doing it anyway

Throwing herself on the floor screaming

Throwing her toys

Shrieking for no known reason

And because all of that obviously exhausted her, the moments in between were spent demanding to be held.

Days like today make me feel like a bad mom. One, because by the time Jim got home, I was at the end of my patience and had to go hide in the bathroom to get a few minutes away from her, and two, because nothing I did improved her behavior.

So I'm posting about our crap day, because I know the only thing that made me feel better was hearing about how my friends are also dealing with asshole toddlers right now. Sometimes, all you need is to hear about how your friend's son threw noodles in her face to make your day a little better.


Late as always with posting. I've been dealing with a toddler who is in full-on asshole mode AND getting at least two molars.

Last Thursday night, as I was awake at 3am listening to my child shriek and wondering what the chances were she would go back to sleep without parental intervention, I felt my first baby flutters of this pregnancy. I had totally forgotten how awesome that feeling is, and how much I missed feeling it after Ella was born.

I am kind of surprised to be feeling baby flutters already. Then again, I felt flutters with Ella at 14 weeks and by 17 weeks could feel outside movement, and from everything I had heard, you feel movement earlier with subsequent pregnancies.

One perk, I guess, of being up at 3am.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hmmm, I guess I need to explain a little better

I've been trying to explain to Ella about the new baby. I brought out the doppler this morning and said to her,  "You hear that? That's the baby!" She clapped her hands and blew kisses. It was incredibly sweet and I was amazed she grasped what I was saying.

Until I asked if she could give the new baby a hug. I thought she would hug my belly, as we've been trying to teach her that's where the baby is right now.

Instead, she grabbed the doppler and cuddled it to her chest.

I guess I am not doing as good of a job explaining as I thought.

On the plus side, I bet she thinks her new baby brother or sister is pretty neat.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Homemade finger paints

In the interest of full disclosure, I will start this post by stating that there is a big part of me that loathes finger paints. They are messy and only keep her occupied for maybe 20 minutes max, and then it's a huge pain to clean up. We've tried the much neater "finger paint in a ziploc bag" solution, but of course, where is the fun if you can't make a huge mess? I figure if I am stuck doing finger paints for the foreseeable future, we should  at least do them right.

While browsing the internets, I came across this post on Learning 4 Kids, detailing how to make puffy paint. Even though Ella is not at the age where she cares about the puffiness of her paint, I decided to try it with her since she is at the age where she eats the paint. And if she is going to eat the paint, I would rather know exactly what is in it, even though her store-bought paints claim to be non-toxic.

It also is an easy and quick learning activity. We counted while I measured out the ingredients and went over colors as she made her palette selection. She helped mix and we talked about the texture of the ingredients. Of course, finger paints are a fantastic sensory activity.

Best of all, the homemade paints were SO much easier to clean up than the store-bought ones (washable and water based? The stains I am still scrubbing out of her clothes would beg to differ). A quick rinse of her hands and face, a few dabs of her shirt with a sponge, a wipe down of the high chair tray, and we were done.

We just might end up doing finger paints more often.

The two seconds where she was content actually painting on the paper instead of on her face. 

And that's more like it. 

Puffy Paint Recipe (as found on Learning 4 Kids)
1 tbsp self-rising flour
1 tbsp salt
3 tsp water
Food coloring