Mommy FAIL, number oh-who-knows

This morning marks one of my – admittedly many – parenting lows.

Catie was dragging her feet about getting ready for daycare, and I was rushing because I was late (as I always am). I was so aggravated with all of her various stalling techniques, and I was just tired and grouchy on top of that.

So, when she said she needed to pee and that I had to come to the bathroom with her, I was irritated. She knows how to do everything by herself, she does not need assistance. And most of the time, she’ll go on her own with no issues. But every now and then, she’ll hem and haw about how she’s scared or that she needs help, and she won’t go until she eventually has an accident. I didn’t have time to wait out her stubborn streak this morning, so I stomped into the bathroom with her.

Relevant side note: my mom got Catie a subscription to Highlights magazine, because she thought Catie would like the puzzles and it would encourage her to learn to read. Catie loves her magazine, but she wants to flip through it while she’s on the potty, “since that’s what Mommy does.” (Don’t judge me. We have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly. Where else would I read it?)

So, after she finished peeing, she was still looking at her magazine, and I was annoyed because I’m all, “Ok, now let’s wipe, flush, wash hands, and get moving!”

But she was still stalling, so in aggravation, I… yanked the magazine out of her hands.

And I, um, didn’t realize how tightly she was holding the magazine…

So, I essentially gave my kid a papercut on her finger.

She started to cry, but then when she was her finger was bleeding, she freaking lost it. She was wailing, huge tears pouring down her face, and screaming, “You cut me, Mommy! Youuuuu cuuuuut meeee!!!!”

Of course, you know this is the exact moment when the phone rings, right? It was someone from our bank, and I have no idea what it was about because I couldn’t hear a thing. The poor person on the other end of the phone just heard my screaming kid and me saying, “Sorry this isn’t a good time, call back in 10 minutes!”

I felt awful. I apologized to Catie about 10,000 times, and gave her a ton of hugs and kisses to make up for it. We rummaged around until I found some Toy Story Band-Aids – and can I say, thank God I bought those, because I’m not sure anything else would’ve calmed her down as quickly. But suddenly having Woody and Jessie on her finger made everything all better.

We set off for daycare (the person from the bank never called back… oh well, they have my cell number if it’s important!), and I told Catie’s daycare teacher what happened and how awful I felt. She’s a mom, so she gets it. Before I left, I saw Catie sitting in the corner of the room with one of her little friends, showing her the Band-Aid on her finger and telling her the story of How Mommy Gave Her A Boo-Boo.

Sigh.

I tell you, some days, this whole parenting gig is really rough.

35

I turned 35 yesterday. I suppose I should be happy, since I now finally qualify for that “advanced maternal age” flag that’s already on my chart at my OB’s office. (Side rant: who on earth came up with that phrase? It makes me feel like one of those 60 year-old women who has her own grandbabies through IVF. It’s CREEPY.)

Anyway, you know, it’s fine. Everybody gets older, yadda yadda. I’m not exactly having a mid-life crisis about it over here.

And I have to say, one of the coolest things about social media? All the “happy birthday” wishes you get on Twitter and Facebook. That’s pretty awesome.

It was really nice that my birthday fell on a Sunday this year. We went out for breakfast, where Catie kept Dave and me entertained by making all kinds of funny faces.

Catie at breakfast

Catie making funny faces

Catie making funny faces

Funny Catie

(Lest you think my child is always this adorable and charming, I have to add that this was a TOTAL 180 from the night before, in which she and I stopped at a local pizzeria to pick up some dinner, and she was rude and insufferable the entire time we were there. Three year-olds are unpredictable, man.)

After breakfast, we walked around downtown Apex for a while. We’ve lived here for two and a half years, and we’d never done that before. Dave and I have talked a few times about how we don’t really feel as connected to this area as we did in Seattle, and I think a lot of it is our own fault, for not making the effort. And it turns out? The old-timey downtown part of our town is really cute, even though most of the shops were closed because it was Sunday. It didn’t matter, it was a gorgeous day outside, and the walk was nice. And we’ll be sure to do it again sometime when the stores are open, because there are a ton of neat places that we’d like to check out.

We hit the grocery store and headed home, where I got Catie settled on the couch with a Scooby-Doo movie, and I got my favorite part of my entire day: A NAP. I almost never take naps, and it seems to be something that pregnant ladies desperately need, so that was fabulous.

When I woke up, Catie and I put on our matching aprons and made my birthday cake together; she’s turning into quite a little sous-chef, that kid. It was strawberry with white frosting and pink decorations – guess who picked THAT out? Then she told me what the cake should say:

My birthday cake
“Happy birthday Mommy. Love, Catie.”

Um, sorry, Dave? There wasn’t room to fit his name on there anyway.

I have to add, this is NOT the first example of how horrible my handwriting is when it comes to writing things in frosting. Witness the cake I made the first year that Dave and I were dating (that’s 2004, for those of y’all keeping track):

Yeah. And he married me anyway. (After he asked me why I drew intestines on his cake – it was supposed to be a heart!!)

And now you know why we’ll be ordering Catie’s cake for her birthday party in two weeks.

Later, I got my present from Dave. He always gives really awesome gifts, and this year was no exception: I got a treadmill! Well, technically I got a photo of a treadmill because the real one is stuck in a snowstorm somewhere in the midwest, but it’s on its way here! But I’ve been asking for a treadmill for ages, so that was perfect.

The thing is, I loved doing the Couch-to-5K last year, and I want to start it up again after Baby 2.0 is born. But I am also a big whiny baby about running if the weather is anything less than perfect. If it’s too hot or too cold, I’m probably not going to do it. And I learned last year that I actually do like running on a treadmill, but I tend to get lazy about it if I have to get dressed, find my membership card, drive 10 minutes to the gym, etc. So the idea is that having the treadmill in the house will force me to stop making excuses. (That actually does work with me too, it’s why I’m much more likely to stick with a workout DVD than a gym class.) Plus, I figure that with two kids in the house, it might just be easier for me to squeeze in a quick workout if I can do it without leaving the premises.

So, treadmill! Yay!

We finished off the night with burgers, fries, birthday cake (of course) and “The Social Network,” which was a really good movie.

All in all? 35 is pretty good so far. No complaints here.

Merry Christmas 2010

Hope you all are having as nice a Christmas as we are.

Pre-Christmas: "Mommy, take my pitcha wif da Christmas tree"
This was taken a few days ago, before my parents arrived and my mom gave Catie a much-overdue haircut.

This is how she looked AFTER the haircut. Minus the grumpy face. Most of the time. Although, honestly? She looks like I feel most days. Complete annoyance with everything.
New haircut! Also, she looks like I feel most of the time.
Well, except I usually don’t drink out of a sippy cup. Or wear hot pink boots and mismatched leopard prints. But I figure she can get away with that at 3. On a 34 year-old pregnant lady, it would look… odd.

We cooked a ton of food. We went to Christmas Eve church service. We put food for Santa’s reindeer on the front lawn.

Putting out food for Santa's reindeer
(The reindeer also had to have a plate of baby carrots and a big bowl of water inside the house. In case they were still hungry. Of course.)

And today we opened presents.

Catie checking out her stocking on Christmas morning

Opening presents

Catie got the main present that she’s been asking Santa Claus for, ever since she saw it in a store a couple of months ago. “A white horsey in a purse.” She could not be happier.

"It's a white horsey in a purse!!!!"

As for the rest of us? Christmas is the day that we all stay in our jammies all day, and everybody gets at least one nap. That pretty much makes it the greatest holiday ever in my book.

The Santa Train We Nearly Missed

Last month, my cousin Cat told me about the Santa Train at the NC Museum of Life and Science. She thought it’d be a fun activity for us to take our kids to, and since we love the museum [fun fact: because I mentioned them, they linked to that 2nd post on their home page for like WEEKS. Which would be fine, except, uh, notice the title of the post if you happen to click the link. Mortifying!], we thought that sounded great.

Cat set it up, we had tickets for this past Friday the 17th at 6:20. Awesome. Sure, the tickets were a little pricey, but hey, we’re making IMPORTANT HOLIDAY MEMORIES for our kids, so it’s totally worth it, right?

Things that went wrong:
* Both Cat and her baby Austin came down with some sort of fever/virus on Friday. That left just Tony and Elizabeth for the museum outing. Ok then! It’s a bummer that they’ll miss it, but we can deal!
* Since Dave was working from home on Friday, I asked him to pick up Catie from daycare and meet me at the office (since our office is in Durham, so it’s closer to the museum). Easy, right?
* The security keypad at the daycare center broke, and all the kids and teachers were in the back of the center, so Dave and a bunch of other parents were banging on the door for a good 15 minutes before anyone heard them and let them in. Small delay, no biggie!
* Dave misinterpreted what I said, and thought that we were supposed to meet up with my cousin at 6:20, not that our train is leaving at 6:20. Umm…
* Turns out the Life and Science Museum is on the other side of Durham from my office, so it took us close to 30 minutes to drive there. Crap.

I started telling Catie in the car that it looked like we might miss our train, but we’d figure out something else fun to do! Right? No big deal! Catie seemed ok, but since she’d been talking about the Santa Train for days, I had a feeling this was not going to end well.

We got there and explained at the gate that we missed our train (by like, 10 minutes – we were LATE). The lady gave us our tickets and said that even though the Santa Train was sold out, it was possible that they might be able to squeeze us onto a later train, so we should go try.

We got to the train station just as Tony and Elizabeth were de-boarding the 6:20 train. We told Catie we’d try to get on the next train at 6:40. Tony and Elizabeth went off in search of hot cocoa and the arts & crafts table.

The 6:40 train was full. So was the 7:00 train. And for the record, the look on a child’s face when they’re holding a train ticket in their tiny mittened hand and they’re told that sorry, the train is full and they can’t go? Might be the most heart-breaking thing I’ve ever seen.

Catie started to cry. I said to Dave, “God, we suck. You know we’re gonna have to buy a T-O-Y to get out of this one.” He agreed.

To calm Catie down, I told her that we were going to leave the museum and go to Target (I needed groceries anyway, so two birds…), and that we’d get her a toy. And hey, that’s way more fun than a silly ol’ train, right? She calmed down when I said the magic word “toy,” and she seemed ok with it.

We had checked out the other stuff at the Santa Train – they had face painting (which Catie refused to try), an arts & crafts table (Catie refused that one too), and a station where you could make “reindeer food” out of oatmeal and sprinkles (that was a big hit with her) – then we decided to head out.

I noticed it was almost 7:20, so I suggested that we try one last train before we left. SUCCESS! They managed to squeeze us onto the train at the very last minute. Hooray!

And oh, it was so cool. We’ve taken this train around the museum plenty of times in the past, but always in the daytime, and never at Christmas. The conductor told the kids we were taking the train to the North Pole, and then we stopped in the middle of the woods, right in front of a little cottage where Santa happened to be waiting to greet all the kids. He came by to ask each kid what they wanted. Catie was scared of Santa and buried her face, but later she panicked when she figured out that the kids were supposed to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. I told her not to worry, because I had already texted Santa, so he knew what she wanted.

Then a guy in an elf costume came by to pass out candy canes. Catie was a little scared of him too, but he told each kid that Rudolph had disappeared into the woods somewhere, so could they please look for him and tell him to go home if they saw him. The Rudolph story got Catie to look up from my shoulder, and she nodded very solemnly when he asked her if she could help look for Rudolph.

The train set off again, and the conductor told the kids to look out in the woods for Rudolph’s red nose. A couple of minutes later, sure enough, there was a red light floating around in the woods. All the kids screamed for Rudolph to go home, and the light started floating back in the direction of Santa Claus’s cottage. Honestly, I have no idea how they rigged that. I guess the light is on a wire or something, but every single kid on that train was convinced that it really was Rudolph out in those dark woods.

It was one of those amazing moments where you realize how magical Christmas is for little kids. And it was awesome. I almost cried.

Christmas card outtake
(I didn’t take a single picture while we were at the Santa Train because apparently the cold froze my brain. So just pretend that this is an appropriate way to end this entry. Snow bunny, indeed.)

Monday morning ramblings

Since the Plague wasn’t going away quickly enough, my doctor gave me a prescription for prednisone to help with the coughing fits. And it’s working, I feel SO much better. But the other part? Prednisone makes me HYPER. Like, oh hey why don’t I go run five errands and then come home, knowing full well that everything is finished, but still feel like I need to go-go-GO doooo soooomething! Hey, there’s 20 minutes until dinner’s ready, maybe I should put the crib together? You know, just so I don’t have to think about it for the next 6 months until this baby is due?

So, yeah. Fun with medical science over at our house, clearly. I’ve gone insane.

Other stuff: My mother-in-law has been here for over a week and I’ve taken a shameful amount of photos. Meaning, um, zero. I’m blaming it on my bronchitis, I just seem to keep forgetting to take pictures when Catie is all snuggled up on her Grandma.

But, on Saturday, we went to see “Toy Story 3 on Ice,” and my mother-in-law remembered her camera for that, so we actually got a few cute pictures there.

Dave & Catie, wearing her alien hat

Family pic!

(Of course, none of the pictures have my mother-in-law actually in them. Which would’ve been nice. But oh well. She was there, I promise!)

Toy Story 3 on Ice

And I have to say, we have been to a lot of kid-oriented concerts and shows – Thomas the Tank Engine Live, Sesame Street Live, Nick Junior Live, and of course, the Wiggles – and I must say, the Disney on Ice franchise put the rest to shame. That show was amazing. Those ice skaters were absolutely phenomenal. I’d highly recommend it to anyone with age-appropriate kids.

Other random stuff:
* We now have two Christmas trees, which feels a little bit pretentious, but I have to say that I kind of love it. I put our (fake) tree up in the living room, which faces the street, because it’s our pretty formal room and it’s the most logical place to have a Christmas tree. But Dave pointed out that we never actually hang out in that room, so he wanted to get another tree (a real one, not another fake one) to put in the family room. It didn’t take much to convince me – he just had to say that he’d be responsible for handling it and I was sold. It’s a very pretty tree, I really like having both of them.

(Also? The tree in the family room can’t be seen from our stairs, which makes it the more logical place for Santa to drop off his loot, to avoid little early-risers who might try to sneak a peek.)

* I haven’t cooked dinner since my mother-in-law arrived. It’s been heaven.

* Catie has decided that the Elf on the Shelf book is pretty much her favorite bedtime story ever, but she’s largely indifferent to the elf himself. I’m just rolling with it – if she’s fine with it, I’m fine with it.

* I’m finally healthy enough to go back to work! And I’m so excited about it! God, I’m a dork.

* The title of this post is a lie because I’m actually typing it on Sunday night. Thank you, WordPress scheduling feature.

Elves on Shelves and other stuff

I don’t really want to write about how I’m siiiiick and I don’t feeeel good, but yeah, that’s basically what’s going on here. I went to the doctor on Wednesday and got some (pregnancy-safe) antibiotics, so I’m starting to feel a little better. Hooray for that.

I honestly would’ve gone to the office today, except I still have these frequent coughing fits (thank you, bronchitis!), and that just seems sort of rude when you sit in an open cubicle environment, no? I mean, the guy who trims his fingernails in his cubicle makes me want to claw my eyeballs out of my face, so I imagine that this whole lung-hacking noise that I make every few minutes would be, uh, somewhat distracting for my co-workers, to put it mildly. Anyway, I have a remote desktop connection to my office PC, so I’m still getting all of my work done, even though I’m not physically there. It’s fine.

So! Onto other stuff:
1.) Tomorrow we’re taking Catie to see “Toy Story 3 on Ice.” None of us have ever been to an ice show, so that should be exciting. I’m curious to see if the ice show makes me weep like the movie does. (And remembering how Catie tends to get anxious in crowded theaters, just like her dad, I bought nosebleed seats way in the back. Which is actually kind of lucky, since it’ll also ensure that I’ll be far enough away that I won’t distract any ice skaters with my hacking cough.)

2.) In the spirit of good-behavior motivation, my sister bought us The Elf on The Shelf. I know it’s really popular and a lot of parents say that their kids love it (and I appreciate the gift – THANK YOU, TRACY!), but… does anyone else find it creepy? The whole “there’s a dead-eyed elf doll watching everything you do & reporting it back to Santa while you’re asleep” thing? And then he’s in a different location every day? I admit that I have issues with dolls (that most recent episode of “Hoarders” where the woman had collected over 5,000 porcelain dolls? I’m going to have nightmares about that house for the rest of my life). And I tend to think elves are a little creepy too. So combine the two and make an elf doll? That’s basically a potential horror movie to me.

Catie likes the book a lot, but she seems a little bit scared of the elf himself. I’m going to see how it goes the next couple of days, but if she continues to be nervous about the elf, I think Santa Claus is going to be short-staffed and have to call some of the elves back to the North Pole to help make toys, and our elf is going to go away. Christmas is supposed to be all about fun and magic, not anxiety-provoking or scary.

And for the record, when I described it to my mom, she had the same “NO NO NO THAT IS CREEPY AS HELL” reaction that I did. So maybe there’s a genetic link there with the elf doll thing.

3.) It’s been really nice having my mother-in-law here this week, especially while I’ve been sick. Catie goes to climb in bed with Grandma first thing in the morning, rather than coming to see me or Dave, so it’s nice to have a little reprieve. Plus, my MIL has been making dinner every night, so that’s been fabulous, just to have one less thing to worry about.

4.) It’s freaking cold here this week, way colder than a typical North Carolina December (although, to be fair, it’s only our third winter in this state, and we spent most of last December in England). It kinda makes me wish I were in Las Vegas with some of my favorite people right now, but alas. Pregnant ladies with tight Christmas budgets don’t get weekends in Vegas. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Bad Track Record

My mother-in-law is flying in from England today. I know that the stereotype would be to have a difficult and strained relationship with a mother-in-law, but I honestly don’t. She’s funny, she’s an amazing cook, and I find her very easy to be around.

At the same time, though, I do feel a teeny-tiny sense of Impending Doom about her upcoming visit. But it’s not for any of the reasons you’d think. The reason is because every year since Catie was born, we’ve seen her at some point during the month of December, and every year, somebody gets really horribly sick.

To recap:
* 2007 – We all got the flu. And let me tell you, trying to take care of a sick baby when you’re sick yourself? Oh man. That was hideous.

* 2008 – Catie ended up in the hospital with a major asthma/flu episode. Because nothing says “Happy holidays!” like continuous albuterol treatments.

* 2009 – We went to England. Catie was spared, this time it was just me and Dave who got sick. Because of that trip, I have vowed to never go to England during the winter again. (It had more to do with the epic snowstorm than my bronchitis-that-was-almost-pneumonia, but still. Not fun on any counts.)

[Oh, there was also the visit – NOT during the month of December, oddly enough – where my mother-in-law herself wound up in the ER with a concussion after falling in the grocery store and hitting her head. That was fun too.]

And now she’s on her way here for 2010. *dun dun duuuuuunnnnnn*

It’s already starting. Dave got sick with some sort of nasty cold a couple of days ago, and today I woke up with a scratchy throat. Which is great, since you know, pregnancy keeps me from being able to take any of the good drugs. I’m basically limited to my Zyrtec and my neti pot. Fabulous.

Let’s just hope we can avoid any hospital visits this time, yes?