Adventures in Toddler Communication.

I’ve been feeling like I should be doing a better job at helping Wolfie increase his communication skills, so I’ve been trying to actively teach him new words lately, with sometimes hilarious results.

Exhibit A:  So, for a while he’s known the word “phone”, but pronounces it “done”.  Also for awhile, we’ve been trying to get him to say “phone” by emphasizing the “fffff” sound.  Which now leads to him saying, “fffff-done”.  We’re really working on getting him to say his name.  He’s been doing a decent job at saying “Wah” for the first part.  So, once again, we’re making the “ffff” sound to try and get him to say the whole thing.  But we’ve been so good at associating “ffff” with “phone”, than now when he tries to say his name, it comes out “Wah-ffff-done”.  Doh.

Exhibit B: A similar case of “I only know this one sound as associated with one specific word”.  Yesterday, we were working on the word “happy”.  The only other word he uses that has a “p” sound is “purse”.  He says “happy” now, but to him it’s “hap-purse”.  That works, I guess.

Exhibit C: He loves to give the dog treats.  So we thought we might try to get him to tell the dog to sit.  When giving the dog treats yesterday, we were saying “tell her to sit”, “say sit, Truffle”, etc.  Then he very cooperatively sat his own butt on the floor.  I nearly fell over laughing.


My kid peed in the potty.

I have told way too many people that this happened.

He’s been showing signs for a little bit, so I brought home a potty on Monday to be prepared. With full intention of having no pressure and letting it sit in the bathroom unused.

He sat on it a bit on Monday night.  Sat on it again on Tuesday morning and totally peed.  What?

Lots of high fives and hugs were given.  He proudly picked the potty up and carried it into the living room to show his papa.  😄

He loves flushing the toilet, so it seems that at least for now getting to dump the potty and flush the toilet is a pretty good reward.

No more pee since then, but he’s been interested in sitting on it for a bit several times.

So, I guess potty training has commenced.  Here we go.

The importance of sleep.

In dealing with what was pretty much never-ending teething from 12-20ish months, sleep eluded me for a very long time.  I was run down, to say the least.  Exhaustion to the point of experiencing occasional dizziness, heart palpitations, etc.  Sometimes I literally felt like I was dying.

Then I got a brief reprieve.  Teething pain seemed to have given us a break for once, and Wolfie slept really well for probably about 3-4 weeks.

I got really spoiled to feeling like a human again.  I didn’t even realize how much better I was able to function, until now.

What I assume is teeth-related discomfort again, we are now back into restless nights.  It’s only been 3 or 4 days for far, but I’m on my way to feeling back to death again.

Still, that brief reprieve from sleepless nights did help me refresh.  And gave me hope for the future.  Someday my kid will have all his teeth, and I feel more confident that once this occurs he will actually sleep well on a more regular basis.

Until then, coffee.

20 months

I keep meaning to write about this and not finding the time.  My time at the moment is short, but goddamnit I’m going to try.

My little Wolf is just over 20 months old now, and I am loving this age.  15-18 months were a real challenge, but it seems that we are communicating with each other better now.

I am feeling a good amount of mommy pride at the fact that we manage to avoid most full-on meltdowns these days.

We kind of are just starting to get each other, I guess.

Most of the time all it takes is a little patience.  If I want my little guy to do something specific, I can try to force him to do it, which will never go well.  Or I can be patient with him, let him finish whatever he is doing now, and let him decide when he’s ready to cooperate.

Granted, there are times you need to make your kid do something.  But those are really fewer than most people think.  That’s my sense anyway.

After a long day at work, all I want in the world is to take my kiddo home and hang out with him there.  But he loves to dawdle when we are leaving daycare, and is never excited to get in the car.  But if I just work with him, I can often get him to agree without any tears.  “I know it’s so much fun to jump off the curb.  Let’s jump off together 3 more times, and then we’ll go in the car and have a cracker.”  Dude, it totally works.  And what’s 5 more minutes of my time to let him play and be happy.

Giving warnings and setting expectations is key.  “Okay, we’re going to watch 2 more sesame street videos, then you can pick your very favorite to watch last, and then the phone is going bye-bye.”  He hardly ever gives me a problem with this.

Granted, sometimes this means I repeat myself 1 million times.  “Wolfie, are you ready for your bath?  How about now?  You want a bath?  Bath?”  This is often because he’ll get excited for bath time, but then get totally distracted by something and forget all about it.

Watching him grow into this little person is so cool.  It’s so weird when I find out he learned something at school that I didn’t even know he knew.  We put up the hoods on our jackets the other day when it was raining, and he proudly exclaimed “Hat! Hat!”.  Gee buddy, I didn’t even know you knew that word.  I also realized he knows the sign for please, tho I never taught it to him.  Yay, school works!

Two Struggles, Part 2.

This is a more major, still very dramatic struggle that affects more than just me.

Otherwise knows as the state of my state.

I’ve lived in Iowa for 17 years, and in the Des Moines area for 11.  When I moved to Des Moines to take the only job I could find after graduating college, I didn’t come with intentions to stay all that long. But it really grew on me, and for the past 7 or 8 years I have really loved living here.  It became the place I wanted to plant roots, invest in, and stay forever.

But I’ve started to question all of that since the election.  In addition to the total shit-show that is happening at the national level, my state is completely falling apart as well.  Not that I’m really, seriously considering moving away.  But goddamnit it I have thought about it, a lot, in the last couple months.  I am so envious of anyone living in a progressive state, so at least it’s only the federal government trying to screw you and you’re not getting it from all sides.

It’s like a bad breakup, because Iowa wasn’t always this way.  We’ve been relatively progressive on a lot of things the last several years.  But in the last couple, we’ve started to turn back the other way.  And this year, we finally lost majority in the state senate, so now we’ve got republican control of the full legislature and a republican governor.

And they’ve all gone completely ape-shit.  They’ve been in session for 8 weeks, and have introduced a whole slew of scary bills, including:

  • Defunding planned parenthood
  • Ending a state trust that supports arts programs
  • 20-week abortion ban
  • Reinstating the death penalty
  • Severely under-funding schools
  • Taking away collective-bargaining rights for public employees
  • Gun safety changes, including stand your ground and open carry without a permit
  • Voter ID
  • Dismantling the Des Moines water department, in an effort to stop a lawsuit that was filed because factory farms are poisoning our water
  • Education savings accounts (funneling money away from public schools into homeschooling and private/charter schools)

But the one that has cause me the most personal worry is this… the Personhood bill.  This gives equal rights and protection to fetuses starting from the time of conception.  This would affect abortion, certain birth control like IUDs, and… IVF.

The bill language tries to spell out some attempted (but still very vague) protections surrounding abortion and birth control.  But doesn’t even talk about protecting IVF.

A speaker at the senate subcommittee hearing earlier this week basically spelled it out like this… IVF procedures would not be outlawed or have to change in any way, BUT destruction of embryos would not be allowed.  So, if you have embryos still frozen after your family is complete, and you can’t or don’t want to donate them for embryo adoption, then you basically have to keep paying to store them forever, because you won’t be able to destroy them (and it was already illegal to donate them for scientific research.)

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

In case anyone is new here, or has forgotten, I currently have two embryos that are frozen.  Still not sure if we want to add any more littles to our family.  If we did, it would almost definitely only be one.  So, the odds of me having an embryo or two left when we decide our family is complete are high.

Now, I feel cautiously confident that this will never pass.  It’s funnel week this week, and bills that don’t make it out of committee die.  And I haven’t seen anything announced that this bill is being considered in committee before the end of the week.  If it was and did make it to the floor, I’m not so sure it would pass, as it’s so extreme that not even all republicans support it.  If somehow it did pass, it likely would be ruled unconstitutional by our supreme court.

But still, there are plenty of people in the legislature that do support it, and that in and of itself is scary.

I went to the subcommittee hearing on Monday, and the giant crowd of pro-lifers singing hymns in the lobby was even scarier.

It’s like I’m living in some kind of bizarro-world.

Also, the cuts and changes to education are pissing me off, now that I have a son who will be starting school in few years.  The Scott Walker-style collective bargaining legislation has already passed and been signed.  Our teachers are totally screwed and a lot will likely stop teaching or leave the state.  Our public schools aren’t getting enough money and are also totally screwed.

Most of me wants to stick it out, work hard, and try to help.  Volunteer more to get better candidates into office.  Maybe run for school board in a few years. Don’t give up on the place that I’ve loved living for so long and that I know can be better.

The idea of both of us trying to find jobs in a new city, selling a house, and moving isn’t actually appealing.  But I’ve lost count of the number of times the idea pops into my head that, “Gee, Denver seems like a nice place to live.”  (Caveat: I’ve never actually been to Denver. Lol.)

I think I can probably stick out the madness for two years to see if people come to their senses and vote some of these assholes out.  But if they don’t, and nothing changes, these might become more than just fleeting thoughts.

Two Struggles, Part 1.

My minor, yet very dramatic-feeling personal struggle… my period.

I’m currently on my 2nd-ish period PP (the first one I got was very light and short, and there was a longer-than-usual lapse before the next one, so I don’t really count it).  Goddamnit, it was nice not having one.  Periods suck.

Periods after fertility treatment, pregnancy, and birth suck soooooo much more than they used to.

I get so many more menstrual symptoms than I used to.  Headaches.  Feeling unbelievably tired (like, moreso than the normal restless-teething-toddler tired).  And this weird dizziness/light-headedness I never used to have.

I was so concerned about the dizziness that I mentioned it to my doctor when I had my annual exam last month.  We went to the point of doing an EKG, which was normal, and she told me to give it a week or two and let her know if it didn’t get better.  It did.  Then suddenly yesterday it came back.  I was really freaked out at first.  It took me until halfway through the day to put two and two together and realize I had also started my period the same day.  And that these two things pretty much coincided with each other last time as well.  Dr. Google says dizziness is not an uncommon symptom.  I am not a fan.

I even have ovulation pain now.  So I am crampy and uncomfortable pretty much for two separate weeks out of each month.  WTF.

Oh, and I am feeling real frustrated in actually trying to manage my flow.  I had made plans to switch to the Diva cup when my period returned.  Everyone who uses it just loves it, and I was going to make an effort to save some money and be more environmentally conscious.  I tried it.  I fucking hated it.  It hurt me to wear it.  So that was 30 bucks right in the trash can.  Still trying to think of the environment, I wanted to stick with tampons that at least had cardboard applicators.  Only brand I could find that does that is tampax, and I forgot how much tampax suck.  So I’ve resigned myself to switch back to my previous brand, hoping they’ll be as comfortable as I remember, landfills be damned.