Monday, August 27, 2012

Dad's Party

Today my dad turns 60, an event worth celebration on its own.  Even more noteworthy, at least to him, is that this day marks his official retirement from a career in the United States Army. 
We spent yesterday in our backyard celebrating with family and food.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Potty Training

Whoever started that "girls are easier to potty train than boys" business is a dang liar, I tell ya.  I give you exhibit A:

This is my attempt at positive reinforcement, little posters where Michael and Sophie stick stickers everytime they use the potty.  The picture was taken half-way through day four, and you'll notice that Sophie has four stickers, and Michael has ten.  (Keep in mind, though, that the first three for both kids were earned by little trickles making it into the potty after I scooped them up mid-accident to finish in the bathroom.) 

I'm not claiming that girls are harder, or that it has anything to do with gender, really.  I believe it's just a matter of individual readiness.  Teachers are supposed to believe that, though, aren't we?  Michael has just been more ready for this challenge, which I've known for a while.

We've been taking the Potty Training in Three Days or Less approach for the most part, and I've spent the last four days in the house with the kids naked from the waist down.  (Them, not me.  I've been fully clothed.)  They wear diapers for naps and bedtime, but the rest of the time they are in t-shirts and t-shirts only.

The first day I just took them to the potty every so often to get them used to the routine.  There were a lot of accidents, as is to be expected (and is sort of necessary), and a lot of protest.  We read books, sang the ABC's, counted to ten and back on our fingers, anything to keep them seated for a few minutes every time.  I was considering throwing in the pee-soaked towel near the end of the day, but then Michael yelled "Potty!" and he and I ran-ran-ran to the bathroom where he successfully did his business with no mess at all.  That gave me the push to go on. 

The next day and the day after I set an online timer (the same one I use for timed writings at school)for whatever amount of time I thought was appropriate--every 20 minutes in the beginning, every hour or so the next day.  The kids responded really well to that.  Michael even heard my phone ding with a text message and said, "Potty time!"  I went with it.  :)

My little boy has blown me away with his quick progress.  He has peed in the potty on the schedule, has self-initiated, and he shocked the crap out of me (so to speak) by doing #2 today as well.  He even earned his Thomas the Tank Engine undies with his tenth sticker.  We might do training pants when out of the house and at the child care center, but I'm trying to play it by ear.  I'm not kidding myself that we're beyond the initial phase, but based on the results with Michael, I'd say this three day potty training thing is legit. 

Sophie hasn't had any accidents today (day four) and had only a couple yesterday.  However, she has only really gone on the potty twice. What this means is she has become an expert at holding it, so much so that it worries me.  She holds out until nap or bedtime when she is in the comfort of a diaper.  At least she's mastered that part of it.  She was pretty bummed to be denied her Minnie Mouse undies when Michael donned Thomas, but I'm hoping to cash in on a little positive peer pressure!
Despite that advantage, I've found myself thinking something I haven't thought very much at all since the very early days with Michael and Sophie.  Potty training has brought it to mind once again: Parenting twins can be exponentially tougher than parenting one. 

True, I haven't parented one before, but picture this scene:

Sophie has been holding it since 7:30 this morning and it is now almost 1 PM.  We're in the bathroom for one last try before naps.  We sit down, me on the toilet and the kids on potty chairs that take up 40% of the bathroom floor space. I start to read "Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!" a Dr. Seuss book not meant for potty training but with amusingly perfect content like "I don't care how, just go, go, GO!" Maybe that's just funny to people who've been locked up with potty monsters for three or four days?

We get a couple of pages in and Michael starts to go.  We go through the whole celebration--dumping the pee, rinsing the bowl, flushing the toilet, washing hands--and I promise Michael that he can pick out a sticker after Sophie goes pee, all the while keeping an eye on Sophie knowing her dam is going to burst any second. 

We sit back down and resume our book. Not a page is turned before I notice Michael trying very hard...and he does it!  Amid the poop celebrations Sophie stands and protests, insisting that we dispose of of the poop immediately.  Really she was just pointing at it and screaming, but I understood. It was a bit smelly.

While simultaneously convincing her to sit down and try again and congratulating Michael on his achievement, I help my boy dump his poo, and rinse, and the whole shebang.  But Sophie still hasn't gone, despite her pained look, and Michael has done all he can in this little bathroom and is ready to escape.  Sophie requests a diaper and I urge her to try one more time while we finish the book. I manage to get Michael to sit in my lap, and just as Marvin K. is about to finally go, so does Sophie, and she's pissed!  She's pushing her t-shirt down trying to stop the flow, crying, and getting her hands and shirt all icky. 

I set Michael aside (he climbs the toilet and plays with the sink), crouch by Sophie, and smile and encourage her to keep going, that she's doing it, she's peeing in the potty!  But she doesn't want to go anymore, even though it's just a tiny splash in the bowl.  It isn't until she's washing her hands that she says, "I did it!" with a big proud smile. 

Imagine that scene with just Michael. 

Now just Sophie. 

I wouldn't wish for that life for the world, but man, that would be SO much easier!

I replaced the kids' art display with this little learning arrangement recently.  The numbers, letters, and shape flash cars all came from the dollar store!

Friday, August 17, 2012

My shorty-short hair!

I'm pleased.  I don't see myself keeping it this way for long, probably maintaining it for a couple of months or so and then growing it back out, maybe adjusting the color and/or fringey edges along the way. At that point my hair should be healthier than it was with all that ponytail madness, which was the main goal of this whole ordeal.

I was hoping for a little lighter and chose a swatch (Is that what you call those little loops of hair?) that looked significantly sandier, but I guess I'm destined for auburn. Lightening up a lot might have been too much for me to bear at once.

With headbands!

I did wake up at 3 a.m. with that oh-crap-I-did-something-nuts feeling, but when I saw myself in the mirror later on, no make-up, disheveled boyish hair and all, I felt ok with this. Kind of happy, really.  I had assumed that I would have to go with more dramatic make-up or be sure to always wear jewelry, but I think it looks fine, especially after my usual quick routine.

Mike is ok with this, has said nothing but nice things, but I know he prefers it longer. It will be again someday, I promise. ;)

Michael saw me last night; he was resting on Mike in the living room, not quite ready for sleep at bedtime.  I carried him to bed, which he went to without fuss at that point, and he stared at me with the silliest little grin.  I've never seen that expression before.  He was pretty amused. 

This morning when Sophie saw me, she looked a little unsure, raising her eyebrows and grabbing her own hair (nervous, perhaps?).  I asked her if mama's hair looked silly without a pony, and she nodded with a smile.  I asked her if it looked pretty, and she did the same.  Then Michael, ever the charmer, called out "Mama pretty!" from his crib.  He said it without coaching a few nights ago and a few more times this morning.  That kid is good for my ego.

I realized over the last day or so that I didn't share my original inspiration for this look.  Michelle Williams was part of it, but I never genuinely considered going super short until a couple of years ago when a little pixie entered my life and showed me how attractive and feminine the look could be...on a face similar to my own.

Photo by Alison Clair Photography

Serioiusly, I liked Sophie's newborn hairstyle!  At the time I was in the process of rapidly going from my heaviest to my lightest weight ever, neither seeming quite right for a short haircut.  Now that my face is back to normal (and sadly, my belly as well), and my hair was in need of some relief,  I figured I'd give it a go.  Thanks for the nudge, pretty girl!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have a hair appointment tomorrow.  It's with a new stylist, one I don't know and who was recommended by nobody.  She's just in the same salon as my old one who moved.  I'm really going to test this new stylist out by doing something drastic, perhaps going back to this look:

My hair is currently a little darker and shoulder length.

However, I'm also considering going completely nuts.  My hair has been through a lot over the last few months.  My previous stylist went a little crazy with some highlights (I wanted subtle.  It wasn't.  At all.), so I ended up dying it myself a few days later.  This happened twice.  Her moving is well-timed.  I've also given in to wearing ponytails A LOT.  The result of all of this abuse is a bathroom floor and pillow and hair ties and shower drain covered in my broken hair.  Gross.  And not cute up top.  It might be time to start fresh.

I love a drastic haircut, and when I itch for one I usually go for a look like the one above.  But I'm seriously considering going Michelle Williams this time.

Image from

Completely nuts, right?

But look how cute with a headband!

Image from

I'm thinking of going for that lighter color as well.

I've shown Mike these photos, and while he's usually very supportive of my shorter looks, he seems a little nervous.  He did say it's pretty and that he'll still want to...well, let's just say he's not worried about it being completely unattractive.  The man has a way with words.  ; )  Anyway, I have his tentative blessing.

I've also mentioned this idea to my mom and the ladies in my MoM's club last night.  The reactions from both were also equal parts encouraging and skeptical.

So I'm not sure how brave I'll be tomorrow.  Would I be nuts to go so short?  I mean, my face is not Michelle Williams' face, and I know that.  But maybe I should just take breath, go for it, and know that at least I'll start this school year with an easy look.  I don't know... 

Please, please, please share your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Sleep

Since the big good-bye, Michael and Sophie haven't requested their pacies much at all.  It was just a gazillion times during that first rough naptime and a couple of times when they've been super upset about something throughout the day, which hasn't gotten them a paci since before they were one. It really only took a couple of sleeps for them to get over their precious pacies.

Around 1 PM on Tuesday, two days into paci-free life, I sent Mike a text along the lines of "Naptime has gone better than it has in weeks!" I relished in that victory...until bedtime when things went back to the same struggles we were facing long before the paci tree entered our lives.

For most of their post-newborn lives, Sophie and Michael have gone down for naps and bedtimes like champs.  Things have gotten tricky with colds and teething here and there, but we've gotten back on track, occasionally with the assitance of novelties like the Twilight Turtle and Fisher Price seahorses.  We've always had a good routine that typically ends with the kids going into their cribs drowsy but awake and silently going to sleep.  Mike and I close their door behind us feeling like champion parents with remarkable children (and have been known to high-five). That's the life.

However, since summer began, the kids' sleep has gone a bit wonky.   A number of things could have played a part.

  • On vacation during that first week, the kids struggled to go down for naps and bedtimes in their Pack and Plays and needed lots of snuggles and a little crying to get to sleep. 
  • They've been sleeping in (as have I...gloriously) until 7:00, 7:30, or even 8:00 a.m instead of waking at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. as Mike and I both get ready for work during the school year. 
  • While I've tried to stay respectful of naps and schedule our summer days around them, often the kids fall asleep mid-morning while running errands in the car.  Because of this and waking up later than normal, their regular naps have ended up later, shorter, or completely out the window.
  • Mike and I have tried to find a balance between flexibility and consistency with bedtimes this summer, all things above considered.  Sometimes we start the routine at 6:30 p.m. like during the school year, but pushing it to 7:00, 7:30, or even 8:00 p.m. has seemed appropriate at times. 
  • Even with those adjustments (or perhaps because of them) we've given in to a lot of rocking for Sophie and an extra sippy of milk in the living room for Michael when they just don't go the f*** to sleep.
You can see why, with things already pretty goofy, we figured we might as well throw some paci-withdrawal into the mix.
Pleasantly, a couple of nights ago after rocking her for a couple of minutes, Sophie willingly went into her crib when I offered her the small pillow that I made for the rocking chair. She slept beautifully. Last night was the same.

On those same nights, Michael came back out to the living room with me (Sophie hasn't seemed to mind), snuggled with me for half an hour,  declared "All done!" and happlily let me put him back in his crib. He slept great as well.

If this is how the next couple of weeks have to go, I'll take it!  I'm hopeful that once school starts back up again and the kids and I are up at a ridulously early more consistent time each day, things will fall back into place that much more.

One incredibly notable point is that not once in over a week have we had to go into the kids' room in the middle of the night to hunt for a dropped paci by the light of a Twilight Turtle.  After doing that for almost 2.5 years, Mike and I are up for a few new sleep challenges here and there.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grandma's Dress

This dress has been hanging on my closet door since April, back when Sophie wore it for her and Michael's birthday celebration.  It was my dress, one my grandma made for me out of a little extra material from a dress she had made for herself.  From what I understand she didn't even use a pattern.   All I remember is having a dress like Grandma's and thinking that was pretty dang cool.

Like I said, Sophie wore this for her birthday, but it was pretty cold that day.  She wore a sweater over it, and nobody was really in the mood for me to get all paparazi on them.

So since April, I've been crossing my fingers that Sophie wouldn't grow out of the dress before I had a chance to get some pictures.  Sigh of relief today.

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