this is where I have to thank Supernanny

I mentioned earlier that we’ve been having some behavior issues with Catie. I don’t really know how to explain it, other than to call it the Terrible Threes. She’s argumentative about everything. Anything I suggest, she wants nothing to do with it. Time to take a bath? No, no bath! So I force her into the tub, then it’s another fight to get her OUT of the bathtub. Mealtime, bedtime, all of the parts of our day that are things we have to do, she puts up a huge stinking fight about it.

Catie at Mother's Day brunch, trying on Tracy's sunglasses
Who, me?

On Sunday, I had tickets to take Catie and her cousin Elizabeth to see Nick Jr. Storytime Live. Just me and two three year-olds. Don’t be jealous. When we had talked about it earlier, Catie was SO excited, and couldn’t wait for the show. Then Sunday morning rolled around, and she was in another bad mood. I told her that we needed to get dressed, so we could go to the concert, and it was going to be so! much! FUN! Her response? “NO! I can’t want to have fun!” I finally dragged her upstairs and forced her to get dressed, and as soon as I pulled her shirt over her head, she cut me off before I could say anything and said, “I’m NOT pretty!” Like, don’t even try to compliment me, lady. Don’t waste your breath.

Once we got out the door & headed to my cousin’s house to pick up Elizabeth, everything was fine. Catie and Elizabeth take a lot of cues from each other, and they were both amazingly well-behaved. They held hands as we walked the two blocks from the parking lot to the theater, they stayed in their seats, they were fantastically easy. Of course, I bought them some popcorn and they each got a giant cookie, so that probably helped.

After the show, we took Elizabeth home. The girls played in the backyard for a while, and Cat and I talked about how difficult this age can be sometimes. It’s so nice to be able to commiserate with someone who’s going through the exact same thing. But it also got me thinking that there has to be a way to change this behavior. My parents (well, mostly my dad) insist that we need to spank Catie when she acts out, and I don’t necessarily have any knee-jerk reaction against spanking, it’s just something I prefer not to do. I was spanked as a kid and I don’t harbor any major emotional trauma because of it. But I generally think that if there’s a way to get the desired behavior without spanking, that’s the better route to choose.

On our way home from my cousin’s house, I remembered an episode of Supernanny that I saw ages ago, and I got inspired. After I got Catie settled down for her nap, I left her with Dave and set off for Wal-Mart. (Note: I generally prefer Target over Wal-Mart, but we just got a brand new Super Wal-Mart and it’s surprisingly nice. And cheap.)

I came home with a small dry-erase board. I hung it up on the wall in the living room where Catie sits for her time-outs, and I wrote on it: CATIE’S REWARD CHART. I drew in 10 squares underneath it. Here’s the rules: when she does something that she needs to do (i.e., taking a bath, getting dressed in the morning, etc.) without complaining or throwing a tantrum, I fill in one of the squares. (She can choose if she wants a smiley face, a star, or a heart – she knows that Mommy’s artistic ability is pretty limited!) When all 10 squares are filled in, she gets a prize. Nothing major, probably just something from the $1 bin at Target, but still, it’s the idea. Here’s the catch: when she’s naughty and has to sit in time-out, one of her squares gets erased, and she has to earn it back. So the premise is established: rewards for good behavior, consequences for bad behavior.

We set this up on Sunday evening, and I cannot begin to tell you the turnaround I’ve seen in this kid within 48 hours. She’s back to being sweet and agreeable most of the time – sure, she still throws the occasional tantrum, but they’ve decreased so much, so quickly, that it almost makes me think this must be a fluke. We’ll have to give it a test run for a while longer to see if it really works, but so far I’m cautiously optimistic.

me & Catie
I’ve missed this sweet version of my kid. I hope she sticks around a while.

in which the Internet will judge me for listening to the pop radio station with my toddler

This morning started off like most of our weekdays. Out of bed, get Catie a sippy cup of milk, start to get dressed, pause for a toddler tantrum over some tiny injustice (in this case, it was because she wanted a piece of the candy that my mom sent home from New Orleans with her, and I told her she couldn’t have it until after breakfast, because I am a cruel & horrible tyrant), try to finish getting dressed, get Catie’s daycare bag together, out the door and off to daycare in a reasonable time frame. It’s like a daily marathon.

Today, before we left, we talked about how tomorrow, her daycare will be closed (for Good Friday), but Mommy and Daddy still need to work, so would she like to go to drop-in daycare instead? Her response: “Yeah, that’d be awesome!” Note to self: need to watch the valley girl slang in front of the toddler. I don’t know if her daycare teachers are amused or annoyed when she calls them “Dude.”

We finally set off for daycare, and listened to the radio in the car and talked; she was confused by the lyrics to “Telephone” by Lady Gaga.
Catie: “Why she can’t* want to talk anymore?”
Me: “Because she just wants to dance, sweetie, she doesn’t want to talk on the phone.”
Catie: “Yeah, I can’t want to talk on the phone while I dancing.”
Me: “Nope, me neither.”

* Random: Catie’s been doing this for a while now, but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it. She never says, “I don’t want X,” it’s always “can’t.” Like, “I can’t want to take a bath,” “I can’t like eggs,” etc. I don’t know where that comes from, but it always cracks me up.

So, you know, pretty much a typical morning for us. Then we turned onto the street where her daycare is located.

Catie: “I can’t want to go to daycare class.”
Me: (stomach sinking and thinking I confused her by mentioning drop-in daycare earlier and oh lord, she’s going to have a meltdown and this is going to suuuuck) “What do you mean, babe?”
Catie: “I can’t want to go to daycare class anymore. I go to preschool class with da big kids.”
Me: “Oh. Um. Well, let’s ask and see, ok?”

We walked in, and I spotted the director of the center. I asked her if it was ok for Catie to go into the preschool class today. She said, “Oh yeah, she spent most of the day in there yesterday, I think she’s ready to transition over to that class now.”

We headed into the new classroom, and all the kids were like, “Hey, Catie is here!” It was like the 3 year-old equivalent of Cheers. (“NORM!!!”) She gave me a kiss good-bye, and bounced off to play with her new “big kid” friends.

Catie on the stairs

And so it goes. Another milestone, another tiny piece of my heart. I am so, so proud of my girl.

learning curve

Our previous baby-sitter, Nicole, emailed me over the weekend to ask if Catie could come play in the morning one day this week. Catie was good friends with Nicole’s daughter Kiersten, and I know they’ve missed each other these past couple of months, so I thought sure, why not. We decided that Catie could go play on Wednesday morning, since that worked for both Nicole’s and my schedules.

On Tuesday, when I picked Catie up from daycare, the director stopped me and asked if I had five minutes to talk. I said ok, and my stomach immediately knotted up. Why is that? It was like some residual “getting called into the principal’s office” fear that came out of nowhere. The woman is only a few years older than me. Why am I intimidated? Bizarre.

She wanted to know what I thought about moving Catie up to the preschool class. The class Catie’s in now is called the “Upper Twos,” which means it’s kids that range from 2 1/2 years old to kids that just recently turned 3. The preschool class is all 3 year-olds. I thought that being fully potty-trained was a prerequisite for the preschool class, but the director said no, there are a few kids in that room who are still in Pull-Ups. (For the record, Catie has probably a 90-95% success rate with peeing in the potty. It’s just the poop. I cannot get her to poop in the potty to save my freaking life.) The main difference between the rooms is the curriculum. She had noticed that Catie knows all of her letters and the sounds they make (which I take absolutely no credit for, it was totally because of this) and she can count to 20, so she’s probably getting bored by the Upper Twos class, since they’re still working on that stuff there.

So we were talking about my Special Little Snowflake and how brilliant she is (naturally), and I was thinking about Catie’s upcoming playdate at Nicole’s house and how much it threw me when Nicole suspected that Catie had SPD, and the thing I wrote yesterday about her going down the slide… And I just blurted out and asked her if she had noticed if Catie ever displayed any signs of Sensory Processing Disorder. She looked a bit surprised, but she said that she’d spent quite a bit of time in that classroom (filling in when one of the other teachers was out sick), and that she’d never noticed anything remotely abnormal about her.

I said, “Well, you know, she is scared of swings and she only recently decided that the slide was ok, but she still hates her tricycle…”

She said, “Yeah. But, she’s THREE. It’s not the same as it would be if she was scared of those things at 5 or 6 years old.”

I admit it, I sort of breathed a sigh of relief. (And no, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with kids who have SPD, or that it’s bad, or whatever. Some random person showed up the last time I wrote about it and completely took what I was saying out of context & was offended, so I’d like to just state that up front. I am not blasting your kid. I’m just talking about my own.)

Of course, when I talked about changing classes with Catie herself, she was dead set against it. They’re going to ease her in and let her spend a couple of hours in the preschool class here and there, and let her gradually make the shift. I think it’ll be really good for her.

And for the record, the playdate at Nicole’s house this morning was fine. She and Kiersten hugged both when we first got there, and again when it was time to leave. I love that it seems easy for her to make friends. I already knew she adored her cousin. It’s nice to see those friendships develop with non-family members too.

I picked her up from Nicole’s house around 11, and she got upset when I said that I was going to take her to daycare. My gut instinct knew that she wanted to spend time with me, not just get shuttled from one place to the other. So I decided that work could wait for a little while, and I took my favorite girl out for lunch.

Lunch break with Mommy

Mommy Time FTW! The chicken nuggets and french fries didn’t hurt either.

Big News, and also: Delurking Day!

First of all, it’s apparently National Delurking Day.

Delurker Day!

So if you read this site but never comment, today is the day that you’re supposed to say something. Even if it’s just a simple “hi.” It’s kinda nice to know who’s out there in the big bad Internet, you know?

Ok, moving on to the BIG NEWS of the day…


If you read this post last week, it’s the one I referred to as “Job A.” It’s full-time, working-from-home. I don’t want to get into too many details about what I’ll be doing because I’m not sure how prudent that is. It’s still in the IT industry, although it’s in an area that I have absolutely ZERO experience with, but it still sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Now, I just have to figure out how to accommodate Catie in all of this. She already has daycare two days a week, and that’s great. I think I have a temporary solution for the other three days of the week for now. The main thing is going to be finding a preschool for her in the fall. And of course, most of the preschools around here are enrolling kids, like, right now as I type. I’m not worried, we’ll figure it out, it’s just going to take some research to find something that’s a good fit for all of us.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go wake up my baby girl from a nap and take her to the movies to see “The Princess and the Frog.” Because days like these needs a little celebration.