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December 2007
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February 2008

Mixed Messages

Last post I alluded to feeling cranky and anxious and there IS a specific cause. It’s the unemployment agency. For the second time in my life I filed a claim. It used to be in this valley that you could get a job faster than filing for unemployment so I had never bothered, but that was a long time ago. Now it can take a while to pick up work, and since I’ve paid into the system I’d kind of like that assistance to float me. As it is, I’m going on almost two months without work already. This is not conducive to the bills I have to pay.

Anyway, I called the hotline to ask some questions about filling out the forms (because it had been a few years since I had done this) and got this guy with total attitude! He was very patronizing AND he kept interrupting me!  Like every time I opened my mouth he talked right over me. (And rudeness in general really pisses me off.) Then after he interrupted me he’d go off on some assumption that was not what I had said. Example, I had asked if you could reschedule appointments and I mentioned my son was in preschool and he turned that into “Well, it sounds like you have childcare issues so you may not qualify…”

What the fuck?

The whole attitude was that I was trying to screw over the EDD, and I felt just flat-out insulted. I’ve worked since I was a teen. I’ve put in more money into that organization than will ever be used (at least by me). I’ve even given up unemployment benefits to work freelance because it was work. Because that’s what I do. Even when I’m not working, I’m working. You know?

So I had an in-person interview yesterday morning and I was totally prepared to SHOW I was looking for work, and to present my resume, and discuss childcare and my work qualifications, and yadda yadda yadda. Because this guy had pretty much psyched me out to think it was going to be a witch hunt of unemployment disqualification (which pretty much shot my week). I went in there trying to be relaxed but wondering if it was going to be a big fight. 

And they were perfectly nice.  This was the place where they gave you all the resources to look for work. I was told on my interview that I was doing “everything right”. One of the ladies swooped in and said how professional I looked and then gave me a whole list of leads. I ended up chatting with her and another young man working there for about half an hour after my interview. (Side story: the lady who helped me looked like a sweet grandma-type… turns out she used to do insurance fraud investigations and check-up reports on parolees. How kick ass is that? (She was encouraging me to check out those fields myself, but I have to decline.))

I feel better now. Just getting that leg over and done with. However, I’m still scheduled for two more phone interviews! Keen figures it’s one of those deals where you get a whole lot of hassle in the beginning and then they forget about you. 

I hate bureaucracy.         – the weirdgirl


Eating too much pirate booty...

...because I've been cranky, that's why.  For reasons I will go into later.  I've been working SO HARD on reducing my stress, living healthier, blah blah blah, and then something comes along making me feel all anxious and tired.  Again, I'll go into it later.  And no, I'm not pregnant.  (damnit)  However, I thought the following were a lot of fun.

I saw this one over at Chag's and had to do it.  The rock band meme.  Here are the rules...

  1. The first title on this page is the name of your band.
  2. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.  Click the "New Random Quotations" button for more.
  3. The third picture on this page will be your album cover. You then take the photo and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your picture.  Please don't forget to give credit.  (Which I totally forgot to grab.  Sorry unknown photographer.  I suck.)

My rock band album.

And_it_doesnt_work_copy

(Apodemia Mormo is latin for the Mormon Metalmark, a species of butterfly.  No, I'm not kidding, that's really what I got.  I figure with that one you could either go new age-y (blech!) or total deconstruction.  I vote deconstruction.  Maybe market PDM! for short?)

OK, and as for the second cheerer-uper... subculture nerd alert: I've been enamored with girl roller derby since leagues started popping up again.  SO cool!  (I think most people's reaction, upon meeting me for the first time, would be a little confused, but trust me... all the guys I grew up with would be like, "Roller derby?  That's SO you!")  A new league is trying to start up in my area and I would totally be interested in trying out/learning more/just being a groupie if it wasn't for time, money, and having a million other things on my plate.  I did just start drum lessons, after all.  Oh yeah, and trying to get pregnant.  Methinks roller derby and preggos don't mix.  But it is fun to dream and roller chicks have the coolest names ever

So check out a roller derby name for yourself.  Here's mine.  (OK, it's way more fun, and creative, to come up with your own, but I'm into the mindless variety of entertainment tonight.)

If you decide to do either of these, drop me a line in comments.  I'd love to see your rock band/roller derby coolness!            - the weirdgirl    

Your Score: Elenore Brusavelt

      

59% fight, 50% speed

             

      You are Elinore Brusevelt.. slow and steady..        

Link: The Whats Your Roller Derby Name Test written by mirmir123 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(mirmir123)

Are You a Yeller?

The first time that Chance stuffed so much toilet paper into the toilet that it overflowed I explained to him that you don’t play with the toilet, pointed out the big, very visible mess and told him he wasn’t to do it again. The second time he overflowed the toilet I had a “serious discussion” with him about why the toilet is not a toy and how we use toilet paper properly. The third time I walked into the bathroom as he’s feeding the end of the toilet paper roll into the water and getting ready to flush (you know how they do that? spin the roll quickly as you flush so it continuously feeds?)… which, coincidently, was only TWO HOURS after the second overflow incident… I lost it. I started yelling. Not abusive yelling or name-calling, but pretty much along the lines of everything I had said before… in a much louder voice.

“CHANCE! What did I tell you?! The toilet is NOT a toy!”

And that final time he stopped, looked at my face, and listened.

I have really mixed emotions about yelling. I grew up in a very loud family so I don’t think being loud is necessarily a problem. There’s a difference between verbal abuse and, um, expressing oneself in a loud tone (and I’ve had experience with both so I’m keenly aware of that difference).  However, as a “modern mother” my first knee-jerk reaction after I’ve yelled, regardless, is to feel guilty and doubt myself. Am I just being mean? Why can’t I be more patient? Does he really understand? 

But I’m also honest enough to admit that while I’m yelling, while I’m mad, I feel pretty darned justified. 

(And I feel guilty just typing that.)

I’ve watched the teachers at my son’s preschool quite a bit. They’re really good at always talking in a calm, quiet voice, reinforcing good behavior as needed, correcting bad behavior gently. I seriously do not understand how they do it! All day long. In those same calm voices! 

I think for 75-80% of the time I’m patient and creative enough to work around the toddler misbehaviors. We have a lot of hugs and affection, we have a lot of fun, even on bad days. But there are times when I lose it.  When my voice level ratchets up and I’m yelling. There are moments when I know my son is purposely pushing my buttons. And then there are other days where I’m just not at my best and I don’t feel like being victimized by my child’s bad behavior. 

(And I feel guilty typing that, too.)

Because good moms should always be patient, right? Not to mention proactive and effective enough as parents that any incidences that might result in yelling would be headed off. Really good, modern moms, who are up on the latest research and child-rearing techniques, know how to minimize their child’s bad behavior altogether… while whipping up cookies and multi-tasking the fuck out of the housework.

(Yeah, sometimes the research makes me feel a little marginalized.)

Because research says that yelling really isn’t all that effective.

Except… except…

…sometimes it is.  Sometimes raising your voice gets your child’s attention when they are so busy tuning you out. Sometimes yelling makes them realize you’re not playing while they’ve been gleefully shrieking in disobedience.  

Ugh. Not that I feel any better knowing that yelling sometimes works. 

So what I’d like to know is how many other parents out there yell?  Does anyone have a yelling, or anti-yelling, philosophy? 


On a completely different note, I was very saddened to hear of Heath Ledger's death.  As those of you who read me know I'm not one to follow the lives of celebrities, but I have always been incredibly impressed by Heath Ledger's talent and role choices.  That he left behind a young daughter, to miss seeing her grow up, I just find terribly sad.

 - the weirdgirl

  


All a Matter of Semantics

Here I’ve been having lots (and lots and lots) of conversations with Chance about poop. “Where does the poop go?” “Poop goes in the potty, doesn’t it?” “We don’t go poop in our pants, do we?” And on… and on

When… as I finally catch him with enough time to plop him on the toilet to finish off a dump… he says quite proudly, “I’m SQUEEZING in the potty!”

Crap. I think I’ve been speaking the wrong language this whole time!

 - wg


When In Doubt Make Up A List

I seem to have lost my funny again. I.e. I’ve been reading plenty of funny stuff, and I’d love to contribute to the world of humor but I can’t get any to come out of me.  I am in fear of this blog becoming dreary.  Seriously, it’s keeping me up at night.  So... time to make fun of tidbits of pop culture in a random and meaningless list. 

Things I hate:

1. The Doodlebops – This should go without saying, but on deeper reflection I also think they’re an insidious gateway show to buying Hannah Montana and other Disney pop ilk.  Even accidentally watching the Doodlebops makes me feel dirty and used.  (That Disney… such the evil pusher!)

2. Handling so much poop (damn potty training!) that I might start to buy into the idea that feces facials are beneficial – I am never going to pay a couple hundred dollars for someone to fling bird shit at my face!  NEVER!  (However, the skin on my hands does seem to be smoother.  *whimper*)

3. On a related note, bull semen conditioner – Not to be disgusting or anything, but if semen really worked my pubes should be smooth as silk.

4. The people in coffee shops – OK, let me clarify this… the baristas are always really nice and down to earth. The people in line?  Oh my god, some of them have serious entitlement issues!  If you’re ever feeling your life is lacking in a little attitude, just step into a Starbucks.  People… regardless of what you’ve seen on TV, it’s just a drink not a fucking life statement.  (“Don’t you know?!  This latte is validating my whole existence! How DARE you skimp on the foam!!  Stella!  STEL-LA!”)Hometown_hottie

5. The fact that Maxim NEVER has any redheads in their winning Hometown Hotties lineup – I am personally offended by this and think there might be some hairism in play.  Not to mention that the Hometown Hotties always… look… the same!  Blondes or brunettes, similar facial features.  Primarily white, with maybe a Latina thrown in for flavor.  That’s your idea of diversity, Maxim?  How about a fierce Asian or African-American gal?  How about a hot punk chick?  Keen and I have been loyal readers for years, but we’ve recently decided to end our subscription.  Too much same old, same old.  And no redheads.  This is just wrong.  (So guys, any suggestions? Keen needs a new men’s lifestyle magazine.)

6. Wearing clean socks and stepping into spilled milk, juice, or other child drippings – Pet peeve!  It just makes me contemplate the money we spend to be educated when in truth we will all be felled low by child drippings. 

So what things are you hating lately?             - wg


January Spawned a Monster

This morning’s “conversation”…

 
ME: Come on, kiddo. Let’s put on your shoes and go to school! Yay!

HIM: laughs, wiggles away

ME: Come on, we gotta go. Here are your shoes. …Come here!

HIM: Pee!

ME, highly skeptical: Do you have to go potty? You just went.

HIM: laughs, runs to toys

ME, exasperated: Do you want to go to school or not?

HIM: NOT!

ME: blink a couple times

ME: You don’t want to go to school, and play with all your friends, and do all those cool activities?

HIM: studiously ignores me, but with a smirk on his face

 
Even though I like being a smartass (it adds character!), I didn’t necessarily want those genes passed on. Can the sarcastic pre-teen possessing my toddler please leave now?

 - wg


Product Review! (and I’m not apologizing for my free pull-ups, either)

So I was contacted a couple of months ago with the classic free product for review offer, and since I was actually interested in using this product, and even had started looking at what was out there prior to the email, I said yes. This is my review of Pampers Feel ‘N Learn Training Pants. Duh duh duh DA!Photo_15_2  

As you all know I have been potty training. (Oh, the highs! The lows!) I’d always planned on using some type of pull-up when we potty trained, mainly for sleeping and going out (for Chance’s benefit we call them the “special big boy underpants for sleepytime”, btw), because regardless of how “potty-trained” a kid is, in the beginning if he gets really excited there are going to be accidents. (Case in point, the birthday party we attended this week – Chance was not stopping for a potty break for nothing. His pull-ups were full.) Plus, I was interested to see if Chance would actually “feel” wet in the new style of pull-ups, and if that would help the learning process.

Well, we had some progress and then we had some regression. Chance did tell me that he was “wet” the first few times he wore the Pampers Feel N’ Learns. I could see he felt the difference. But as soon as he figured out that the pull-ups wouldn’t leak through to his pants… he stopped telling me. Doh!

Overall, though, the absorbency is good. One night the Pampers leaked, but that was also in the early stages of the training when I was forcing extra liquids down Chance at every opportunity. Given the ridiculous amount of fruit juice he was getting, I’m pretty sure his regular diapers would have leaked, too.

Along with the Pampers Feel N’ Learns I also got a pack of Kandoo Flushable Wipes. I was pretty excited about these, because they’re all about letting the kid wipe himself, and I just think it’s a cool way to get them more involved. The wipes are flushable (yes!) and really soft. But I did think they were a little hard to pull out of the package, especially for a kid (of course, I didn’t have the special case they come with, but still). And I really wish they were bigger squares. That is totally my selfish perspective, though, because I just wanted more to clean up with on the poop accidents.

Otherwise, I loved the way the Pampers pull-ups fit. We ran through the Feel N’ Learns pretty quickly (that first week Chance had a LOT of accidents), so I sent Keen out to buy some more. He came back with Huggies pull-ups. Right off the bat I noticed that the Huggies cut was slightly different and didn’t fit Chance as well, and they were a little more awkward to get on. I’m not sure he found them as comfortable either (but I could be projecting). Functionality seemed about the same, but I’m going to stick with the Pampers. (Sorry Huggies.)

Two other things about this whole experience stood out for me. First, Pampers has a really fun, interactive Potty Land site for kids learning to potty train, with Dora, Diego, and SpiderMan. Very cool.  The second? The ladies running this marketing program who were my initial and follow-up contacts, Andrea and Victoria, were both nice and informed about my site. Kudos ladies!

        - the weirdgirl


Feel the Slacker Butt Burn

This week has been crazy. The termites? Yep, they’re all dead. Bwa ha ha HA! And since I was trapped in the house while men squirted toxic chemicals (snort), and Chance was at preschool, I decided to paint his room. Which totally kicked my ass! Really, I had no idea my arms were such wimpy, jelly-like noodles.

Chance’s room, however, is looking mighty cute. At least it will when I finish the last wall this weekend (damn that last wall!). His “big boy bed” is on order and should be coming soon. I’ll post pictures. And then one of you can graciously nominate that day as “Most Boring Stereotypical Mommy Post Ever”. (But I’ll still be proud. My big boy and a pain-inducing paint job! sniff)

Oh yeah, and then our heat went out… RIGHT after the termite guys left. (Yeah, I’m blaming them and their little drills.) Soooooo… the next morning attend a birthday party and then race back to the house for another service visit.

(I don’t do well without heat. Yes, I live in California. Yes, I am a big fucking wimp.)

Then today I ran around town with my brother picking up, setting up, and then replacing missing parts for his drum set, which he graciously lent me. You rock, kiddo!

However, I am at that point where even my butt hurts. You know that point? Just a little too much activity in too short of a time. I count driving as “active”, by the way. I get both stiff and sore in the car. But I do drive a clutch. What?  There is such a thing as a stiff stick. (snicker)

(Man, I am such the junior high sophisticate tonight I amaze myself.)

Anyway, aren’t I supposed to be unemployed? Where the hell are my bon-bons?

- the weirdgirl


Today my favorite word is Fuck!

I just found out that we have termites swarming... In. Our. House!  It's been storming really heavy over the last few days, alternating with sunny patches, and the fucking bugs started swarming.  They're getting into our sunroom.  To, you know, swarm.  IN MY SUNROOM!

I'm so grossed out.  I'm pretty good about bugs overall; I'm not afraid of them or anything.  I can handle spiders and bees and worms.  I try not to kill them, because I just think killing living creatures in general is bad karma (wg, you fucking hippie).  Even after that time I took a swig of water in the middle of the night and a spider washed into my mouth, I still pick up most bugs and take them outside.  (I did have to consciously repress that memory, though.  It was just creepy. And I was pregnant at the time.) 

But there are certain bugs that REALLY skeeve me out.

Cockroaches
Fleas
Termites

They're just fucking disgusting.  And mosquitos are pretty gross, too.

I've got exterminators coming tomorrow morning.  Now I need to go huddle in the bathroom and feel vaguely nauseous.  FUCK!
           - wg


For Shits and Giggles

I’m sort of afraid to post this because I might jinx it… but I can’t keep it in any longer – I think we made a breakthrough on the potty front!!  After quite a few days of urine soaked pants, one after the other, spending WAY too much time in the bathroom hoping to catch an inadvertent drip or two to bolster confidence about this whole potty training business, and more than a few frayed nerves… something clicked. I think it was a combination of Chance figuring out when exactly he had to pee (step 1) and knowing how to hold his bladder (step 2). Hey, you try wearing a diaper for 2+ years… you won’t notice when you’re going either.

Anyway, Tuesday Chance managed to whiz a few times out of the many, many trips we’d taken to visit the potty. We’d been “potty training” (if you could call it that) since the previous Thursday. I know no one goes to college in pull-ups but you sort of start to freak out anyway.  I just wanted him to make it a couple of times in the pot, even by accidental pissing, so he would start to “get it”, you know?  (Don’t laugh but one time previous to Tuesday I’d actually even tried sticking his hand in warm water in hopes it would make him pee. (It didn’t work, but he found it quite amusing.))

Wednesday – almost all day successful tinkling in the pot when I took him in.  I think there was a turning point when, at one point, he started to go on the floor and he shut that valve off and walked to the potty instead! Yeah, baby!  However, I did/do have to remind him to go.  He wouldn’t tell me when he had to pee.

Thursday – first day back at preschool and no accidents! And then best of all, the last two potty trips of the day… he actually told me he had to pee. (Step three!)

*sniff* I’m so proud!

Prizes, man. That is key. And, of course, much discourse on how cool it is to be a “big boy”.  And screaming excitedly (that one is always a plus for our kid). But the prizes went over big. I know this sounds excessive but every time Chance made it in the potty he got five M&Ms, a sticker to place on an ultra-cool “Cars” poster (conveniently placed where he could stare at it while on the john), and a prize of his choice. The prizes were mini Play-doh tubs, stickers, stamps, left over Halloween toys, whatever. (Play-doh is huge. I’ve got to restock.) I think the coolest thing to him was the aspect of choice. I put all the prizes on a shelf and he could check them out and pick whatever he wanted each time. I knew it was working when I could see his little brain planning the order of toys he was going to pick out ahead of time. That’s planned pissing, my friends! You can’t do that without being potty trained!

Of course, he hasn’t eaten much over the last couple of days except for M&Ms and juice… but well worth the hyperactivity!  Bravo, little man! Bravo!

Pooping, on the other hand, is another matter. We still have some muddy pants around here. I figure that’s the step four hurdle.

I know it’s not over yet but I’m very relieved. And even though everyone is totally sick of diaper stories, I had to share... just a little.  (I promise I won’t give you a play-by-play of the poop progress.)

- wg