My Adventures in Potty Training

10923540_10203510072893205_7128857653647731869_n

The types of messages my best friend (Punky’s godmother) gets to read from me.

Potty training has been the single WORST part of parenting I have ever experienced. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the idea of my kid not having to wear pull ups anymore and the financial awesomeness that comes with that.

But.

This Kid.

She’s been sitting on the potty for over a year, she knows what it is, and she’s been familiar with the potty for a long time now. We started actively trying to potty train around July. I don’t really remember, we weren’t super consistent with it.

We had tried all sorts of rewards. Stickers, candy, dances, tattoos. Blah, Blah. Nothing worked.

This kid was stubborn or not ready. I’m not sure which. But really, she was completely aware of what we were doing. She knew what it meant to be potty trained. We got lots and lots of panties for her in all her favorite characters.

We finally got around to actually being consistent. Right after the new year and the holidays. We eliminated pull ups during the day and it was sort of working. We removed her panties all together and let her run around with a bare bottom. That worked the best.

She recently asked us for panties again.

We decided to take her lead and use the panties as an incentive.

So she was able to have one pair a day. She had to take care of those or she didn’t get anymore for the day. And this strategy worked for a minute.

Then, we noticed that she was starting to stay dry at night, so when she woke up she would have a dry pull up. So, we thought maybe we would start training even more.

Grammy came up with the strategy that has seemed to work the best. That has has the most longevity.

Money. My kid is motivated by money.

IMG_1755

Introducing our Potty Pig. We all put our change in the potty fund and she gets a “penny” when she pees and a “nickel” when she “number 2” and if she has no accidents all day she gets a “quarter”. I put quotes around the money value, because she has no idea what I’m handing her, but if I’m out of pennies, I may give her a nickel or if I’m out of nickels, she may get a dime. At the end of a period of time (this weekend) we will count up her potty money and she gets to go shopping with her own money and pick out her own stuff.

The pig stays up on the fire mantle, because I have noticed that the idea of having the potty pig in her hand is the incentive mostly. She loves to hold and play with delicate things. She likes to nurture them and kiss them and play with them. (We learned that with the Nativity around Christmas). So I don’t really think it’s the money, but it will be when we finally cash out the money for a special toy. I guess we will see.

So there’s a whole ritual thing we do, because we are all a bit of creatures of habit.

She then gets to dance around with the pig for a minute. Mommy dances and sings and we make a big spectacle about it. So far it’s worked out.

She’s had minimal accidents for about a week. And I have taken her to places for an hour at a time, or visit family member houses with hour potty breaks – with little to no issue. So, I thought, why not take her to the park. She’s started to recognize when she has the urge to go and she is pretty good about stopping and holding it before she has an accident.

Soooooo, I thought, let’s enjoy the nice weather we are having here in the midwest of the US. We have been having great weather. And while I am dealing with my own agoraphobia, it really stems from going anywhere without my kid, so the park was fine. I could take her to the park without an issue.

IMG_1974

We were there for a little over an hour. I would ask her frequently if she had to go potty. She would tell me no. We hit the hour and 15 minute mark and then … disaster struck.

ParkTime

So that happened. And she had diarrhea for the rest of the day and it was what I thought would be the end of our successful streak. We waited it out a few days and then when her upset belly cleared up, I told her yesterday that if she had a day without an accidents we could go to bed without a pull up and wear panties instead.

She’s been asking for this for a few days and I had been reluctant to do it, because of her issues with diarrhea. But, yesterday, she did really well. She even took a little nap on the couch and had no accidents. I had to wake her up, sit her sleepy bottom on the potty and then she went back to sleep.

IMG_2061 IMG_2063

So. we put some plastic down on her bed and bit the bullet. She ran around the house in this ridiculous outfit for quite some time when she realized that she wouldn’t have to wear a pull up to bed.

IMG_2066

She’d been waking up dry for about a week, so I wasn’t super worried about it, but you know – our streak was hindered for a minute, so I got concerned.

This morning, Kim posted this.

Success

I was reluctant to announce it to the world. Potty training really has been the single worst job of my parenting so far. And you know how it goes, you brag about your kid doing something awesome and then the kid proves you wrong and there’s some crazy setback. It’s like the, for real, law of toddler successes. Don’t post it or brag about it, because it is just a fleeting moment! Haha.

Anyway, I’m thrilled with our success, thus far. I am hoping this isn’t a fluke and we can soon announce that she is POTTY TRAINED. We are so close I can feel it, but then, here I am posting about it and bragging about it, so we will see what tomorrow holds in store!

In other happy news, my sister had her fourth baby this week. A beautiful baby girl named Aurora. I will be calling her “Rory”. She’s beautiful and healthy and hopefully her last one, cause my goodness she has her hands full with the four of her kids in her beautiful and very active family!

11622_1750485188510522_3903613689261689629_n

The Adventures of Christmas with a Two Year Old

Before I get to the Christmas Day activities, I forgot to post our Countdown activity on the 21st. We went and visited the Live Nativity. It was kinda cute. Miss Punky was having trouble saying Nativity. (Remember the wisemen she popped the heads off of) She kept saying “Bativity.” Finally Kim broke it down “Nu Tivity.” Punky says, “Nutivity? Oh! I like nuts!”

Of course, her atheist moms thought it was hilarious that she continued to call it a nutivity the entire time. I insisted we go to visit the nativity because its something we did as kids with my grandmother. It doesn’t hold the same significance now that I no longer believe in the story of Jesus, but I do want to keep some of my traditions from my childhood alive.

Believe me, there are a lot of childhood memories I work very hard to shield her from, but there are some, the fun memories that don’t involve my upbringing or my parents or alcohol or anything that may contribute to my PTSD, such as this live nativity activity that I cherish in the mixture of crazy in my kidhood. I want to keep that spirit alive in Punky’s Christmas experience.

We managed to make our way over to the people in the nativity, Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus – just to see them. She did not pop anyone’s head off this time. But she did much prefer climbing on the gates to get at the animals than the plastic doll and the story she didn’t understand.

10310966_10153454251919148_88596410900093830_n 10492044_10153454251244148_4449915420871185699_n

So, on to Christmas Day.

Surprise, surprise, our kid is spoiled rotten. We have gotten through Christmas with minimal damage – involving only one tantrum/time-in combo, and an otherwise pretty very happy toddler.

Last night, we ended our Christmas Countdown with a gift on Christmas Eve which consisted of brand new PJs. We made a trail in the driveway with reindeer food so Santa’s reindeer knew how to get to our house. We spent the afternoon on NORAD Santa Tracker, following his progress. By the time the cookies were set out and we had a sip of Santa’s milk, we were in bed and Santa was headed out of Georgia!

Since the kid woke up at 3AM Christmas Eve, a day early, expecting Santa and too excited to sleep – she crashed long before bedtime yesterday – in fact before we made it to our first family function. She fell asleep on me while everyone was getting ready to leave and then again in the car on the way to the party.

253389_10153461580239148_8404981060078766557_n  10351740_10153462795149148_8975803048869855856_n

We did get some new, current pictures of us as a couple and a family. I really like how they turned out.

IMG_1630 IMG_1612

We got home super passed her bedtime,so imagine, no matter how excited she was, with no real nap, other than sleeping in the car for a minute, she fell asleep the minute I shut her bedroom door, and then it was time to get to work on Santa Duty.

I had to pick up the Minnie Mouse bike from her godparents’ house. We had the toughest time finding a bike we could afford and get it in the Minnie Mouse style she wanted. So, we swapped out the neighbor’s kids’ bike and took Punky’s cousins bike from the garage, gave it to her godfather (fucking awesome guy who is wrapped around ALL her tiny fingers) and he painted it up all nice for her.

10402733_10153459786314148_3113899830967353615_n  10448223_10153462595549148_5152909092707221541_n

I set up her burlap bag from Santa and her stocking in front of the tree and then hid the bike under a blanket in the back where she wouldn’t be looking or paying attention. Helped Grammy and Papa stuff the rest of the stockings and finished wrapping up some gifts for the rest of the family’s kids, then I went to bed. Of course, I was too excited to sleep. Not to mention that we live in the basement and she is at least two flights above me, so I was anxious all night, worried she would wake up and open all the presents, discover the bike and be riding it around the livingroom when I woke up!

As luck would have it, and as expected, she kept her pinky “I Promise” and stayed in bed until the sun woke up so that Santa could deliver is presents and the magic of Christmas would work – if she woke up, he would not be able to deliver the presents she was asking for.

So, when she got up, she was excited to pull open the first present she saw. We had to wrangle her a bit, but she was pretty awesome about opening this year. This is the first year she’s been as interactive and really knew what Christmas and Santa and presents meant to her.

The bike was a hit.

2014-12-25 08.44.37

We took it outside for a bit, with her baby Ellen (who Santa brought a new outfit) and tried to get the hang of the bike. She enjoyed it and then she got frustrated, because she would push the pedals back and put the breaks on and then not understand how to get the bike to go again. So, it will take some getting used to and some practice, but she got what she wanted and it comes with a helmet, knee/elbow pads, and bike gloves. All in MINNIE MOUSE. LOL.

2014-12-25 09.26.37  2014-12-25 09.29.37

2014-12-25 09.32.21  2014-12-25 09.32.40

She wore her helmet and new bathrobe for most of the rest of the morning while she tore through box after box after bag after toy and movies and yet, she still came back to the bike. She did get a very special gift from Grammy this year. Which in her own words is “Very special to me.” Its a music box with a dancing ballerina, the old school kind. Our kid is kind of a tiny dancer and really wants to be a Doctor Ballerina when she grows up, so this was a pretty sweet present for her. Grammy got her into the ballet stuff and encourages her to dance and sing all the time, so this gift between the two of this, was just super heart warming.

10891425_10153464431349148_1224042070337876891_n

On that note, even though we live with her grandparents, I’m just so glad they were there for her to open her presents. When I was growing up, and I’ve been getting a little sentimental lately, my grandparents came over every Christmas morning and watched us open our presents from Santa and eat breakfast with us. It was one of my more favorite memories of Christmas. A lot of family stuff has happened in the last week and a half that have really put my childhood and my memories in the forefront of my mind. Not all good – but in this case, not all bad.

By the end of the day, she had gotten away with all sorts of stuff. New clothes from her bestie her Aunt Ashley. A new tablet from her Uncle and his wife, and lots and lots of toys from everyone else. The big thing was the accessories for her new dollhouse.

We had been batting around the idea of getting her a dollhouse from Santa, but she asked for a bike and that’s what she was getting. So, the dollhouse was going to be put on hold. HOWEVER, while we were all driving around the town checking out the light displays on houses, Grammy spotted a dollhouse on the side of the road. We stopped the car, I hopped out, grabbed it, and tucked it in the trunk.

When we got it home, we realized it needed lots of TLC, but it was going to be great for Punky, since she doesn’t know its someone else’s ‘trash’ and she didn’t know it was broken. She was supposed to get it for Christmas, but she found it in a closet and didn’t stop til Grammy cleaned it up and we found some toys to play in the house with it.

Now, as of Christmas Day opening, she has an additional dollhouse (the dogs’ house) and people, furniture, accessories, and puppies to go with it. She also has a mechanical hamster that has a rolling stage van parked behind her massive dollhouse.

10462420_10153465515819148_2786617177197688469_n

We have more Christmas to go to, but I just can’t thank people in our lives for the support and love our little girl has in her life. I am filled with some melancholy this season, due to the family stuff back home (my family lives 3 hours away) and someday, maybe I will blog about it. It really just involves addiction, neglect, and beating the violent cycle that is my childhood and relationship role models. So, I didn’t get to celebrate with my side of the family and that does make me sad.

But we called all those who we could call (those not in jail and such) and I sent a Christmas text to our ever so special donor to wish him a Merry Christmas. We don’t exchange messages often, but I like him to know we think of him on days like this – special times that we can share these days and spoil the crap out of the kid he helped us create and then took a backseat where most lesbian couples don’t get so lucky.

Anyway, my kid is set for a while. She’s for sure loved and filled with an overwhelming, overflowing support and family – more than any little girl could ask for and more than either of her moms could have expected for her to receive.

IMG_1597

I saw some of my TTC blogger friends got a nice Christmas BIG FAT POSITIVE, congratulations! As for those still trying, you know I’m rooting for you in 2015!

To all the readers out there, whoever you are, Happy Holiday you celebrate, however you celebrate it! May you be happy and loved in every sense of the word!

And these are the Days of Our Lives…..

I feel like we are constantly in some wackadoodle damn soap opera. The roller coaster of our life just never had a moment to slow down and stop. There are never any breaks along the way, it’s just UP and DOWN. UP and DOWN.

Jeez, life, throw me a damn bone.

I’m super frustrated right now because Kim and I got Punky all dressed up and paraded her around the court house in Kansas to get our application for a marriage license. Literally, just last week, this was a done deal and we found out about it on Wednesday. We were excited, we were so relieved. It wasn’t Missouri, but just the few days prior, Missouri did rule that they would recognize gay marriages performed legally in states that do allow that sort of thing.

So, why not, we said?

We only live 30 minutes away from the court house doing it and we could go up there before I went to work the very next day. So, Thursday, we got ready, we all three got up super early. This was a momentous occasion and one we called all our parents about and pumped up our Facebook friends and family with this adorable video from Punky!

It was pouring down rain when we got in the car, by the time we got on the highway, I couldn’t even really see the cars in front of us. The rain was sheets of water, buckets being dumped on our car. Kim looked at me and said, “You must really want to do this.” And if anyone knows me, I don’t drive in the best conditions, let alone these types of conditions, unless I want to get somewhere. I held it together and kept my cool.

Punky got to press the walk button on the crosswalk and go through the metal detector, all while charming the pants off anybody we passed with her ridiculously adorable pea coat and umbrella.

IMG_9615

We finally found our way to the marriage license window and got the application; after swearing to god that our statements were all true. We got the application and they hadn’t even had time to change the pronouns on the application yet, it’s that new. So we had to cross out groom and we had to change he to she. Normally, this kind of thing might bug me, but not at that moment. I didn’t care. I just wanted to do it right.

11 years we have waited. 11 years we have been patiently watching and silently hoping that we will be married in our own state, or at least close. (Kansas is literally right around the corner from us!)  Who cares if the forms are updated. That time will come. I just wanted it to be right.

We signed some stuff, took our application and went home to wait the three day waiting period for Kansas marriage licenses.

IMG_9614

We were going to make a trip back there on Tuesday. We were going to get married and get our marriage license on Tuesday. The long wait for marriage (and tax benefits and rights and equality) was finally over.

Until tonight.

When we read that the Kansas State Attorney General petitioned a block on all gay marriage licenses. There will be a hearing. Sometime in November. And yes, I know – we will get married eventually. With the way the momentum of gay marriage is sweeping the country – it’s going to happen.

But.

It won’t be Tuesday.

And we are all pretty bummed about it.

SAD

And in other news, we are going to visit my family tomorrow – so that will likely brighten my spirits a bit.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

The Right Side of History and God’s Thoughts?

The Supreme Court ruled on our family’s civil rights today. It didn’t really affect my family in the way I would hope it would – but it is a step in the right direction. The Supreme Court ruled to strike down DOMA (Defense Against Marriage Act) which federally defined marriage between a man and a woman. This means that any state that has legally married same-sex couples are now protected under federal law as a married couple and entitled to the same benefits and rights as those taxpayers in a heterosexual marriage.

This is big news!

Now, we live in Missouri. Missouri and our neighboring state Kansas currently have bans in the state constitution on same-sex marriage. Which means that our states do not recognize a marriage between same-sex couples, regardless of whether they get married in a state that grants same-sex marriage or not. I’ve yet to figure out, because I am currently writing this draft at work on my lunch break, what this means for my family in general.

I know striking down DOMA means that all states that currently have legalized gay marriage couples, will be afforded the same rights to the federal level. So, basically, those people married in those legal states are protected under federal law and now get their rights restored.

What does that do for those of us who do not currently live in a state that recognizes gay marriage? I am going to assume, it means nothing for us in the immediate future. We will simply go about our lives, unmarried and discriminated against until such a time as all states in the United States of America smarten up and decide to be on the right side of history. Perhaps sometime in the future, all the states and the people who populate it decide to treat all their taxpaying, law-abiding citizens and neighbors with the same rights and equality under the law.

Then I think of the post from one of my very favorite bloggers, Deborah for Kids Without Religion and the link she provided to the North Carolina Values Coalition. I found a lot of things interesting as to what is happening to the religious community in regards to their opinion of my family’s lack of civil rights and the outcome of this decision by the Supreme Court.

I hear all the time by the Conservative Right that in order to be a ‘true’ American you must trust in your government’s laws. You must abide by the law and you must be a patriot to our great country. This usually means following “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and believing in the almighty “God” In order to be a true American, you must have these fundamental things down and in your very core.

So, two days ago, before the decision of the Supreme Court came down, I went to the website’s Facebook page, because of course, I was interested and intrigued. Low and behold, I was also looking to be pissed off for the rest of the night.

I found this woman’s wonderful prayer to her Lord and Savior. I am sure it is similar to other people who are her like-minded peers in this debate.

I’m have blacked out her name and picture because I do have respect for her beliefs, however, if you were to go to the public Facebook page, you will see her prayer in this exact entirety. She is proud of her beliefs, I am sure, so I am sure she will be thrilled to have the exposure of said prayer for my blog readers to see!

image

If you can’t read this, here’s the transcript of the prayer.

Prayer for the Supreme Court and the Nation
Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your unchanging truth, holiness, righteousness, mercy and grace. You have given us a nation founded upon the principles of Your word. You have blessed us, but we have squandered Your grace and turned away from Your principles. So we come to You to plead for our nation.

Specifically, we pray for the pending Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage. We pray that next week the Court would not impose a false definition of marriage on our nation. Father, we confess that we in the Church have already sinned against You and have not been good stewards of the gift of marriage through our own issues with unfaithfulness, selfishness, pornography, homosexuality and divorce. Forgive us, Lord. Now our nation is following our imperfect example and seeks to redefine and corrupt the gift of marriage in order to satisfy its own lusts.

We acknowledge that through Jesus Christ we can repent and turn to You. So help the people of this nation to turn to You with repentant hearts, that we all may be covered in Your grace. Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, let Your purity and truth shine in this situation. Help us to proclaim to those enslaved by homosexuality, and any other sin, that liberty and identity is available in Jesus Christ. Help us to lovingly embrace the repentant.

Fill us with Your Spirit so that our thoughts, words and actions reflect Your love and not our judgment. Help us to trust in Your plan, and to act justly throughout it. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Savior. Amen.”

So, when the decision from the Supreme Court came down, I thought about this prayer in particular. I thought of this woman and those in her same like-minded beliefs giving the future of my family, the fate of my daughter’s reality up to her god’s will.

Ok, well, and we all know that god’s will is righteous and correct. God’s will doesn’t make mistakes. We all know that if we are true Christian believers and believe in the word of the Lord, we must follow and trust in God’s will.

And realistically, this is what this woman has done. She has prayed for God’s will to stir the hearts and minds of the Supreme Court and the decision they were making about the fate of my family.

Now that the decision has come down on the opposite way in which this woman and her peers have been praying so fervently for, what does that mean for them? If God exists and we must trust in God’s will, then … I think …

God has made a very clear and direct point to his followers.

He has not answered your prayers.

What does that say to you? To me, that says, that God’s will is clear, if he is real and listens to your prayers. He denied your prayers. Your prayers were not answered?

Can we speculate as to why?

I can. I can speculate that this God of yours has made it very clear that your discrimination against your fellow human beings AND your hiding behind his name and word to justify it, is not acceptable. He has denied your prayers because God’s will is not the same as you have been persecuting your homosexual brothers and sisters in the Lord over.

Not only have you now used your God’s name to condemn an entire group of people, but you have also decided to discriminate and with hateful laws persecute those people. My family, in the name of God.

Well, it looks to me that God is telling you that you are wrong and you cannot have what you want. Looks to me that God is saying, everyone should be treated equally and instead of answering your prayers, he has chosen to go the opposite way and make his wishes very clear.

Of course, what do I know. I haven’t been to church in awhile. I personally believe the church does nothing but drive fear and brainwash children into believing things that may or may not be true, but we can’t prove any of is.

I guess, my question to this woman in light of her prayers not being answered is this:

Do you trust in God’s answer to your prayer? Do you trust in his will that you requested when you prayed to him? Or do you find some reason to believe this is not God’s answer and must be something else? Basically, will you be a hypocrite?

If so, I’m not surprised.

In the end, I don’t care what God thinks, because in the end I don’t think God played a part in this decision. I think common sense and good morals and good hearts had everything to do with this decision. End of story.

So, congratulations to all the ladies and gentlemen out there who are legally married in their states who will be now federally recognized! Congratulations to you all! I hope that when this very long journey is over, my family will be celebrating just as hard as you are currently!

30 Things I Hope To Teach My Daughter

  1. Be Yourself.
  2. Don’t try to please everyone.
  3. Make mistakes.
  4. Learn from those mistakes.
  5. Question everything.
  6. Always remember your manners.
  7. Remember, there is someone out there worse off than you.
  8. Smile at strangers.
  9. Love yourself. If you don’t, how can  you ask someone else to love you?
  10. You are worth more than sex.
  11. Strive for more than mediocre.
  12. Love is not a fairytale. Real love is hard work.
  13. Respect and appreciate your teachers.
  14. Read a good book.
  15. Find your passion.
  16. Do for friends what you can.
  17. Lend things without expecting it back – this means money.
  18. Keep secrets close to your heart.
  19. Don’t be afraid to ask your true friends for help.
  20. Learn the art of silence.
  21. Open doors for people.
  22. Offer to carry a heavy load.
  23. Call and check on a family member.
  24. Be kind to animals and the elderly.
  25. Let someone cut in line.
  26. Don’t be a bully and stand up to those who are bullies.
  27. Learn to write with pen and paper.
  28. If you want people to take you seriously, learn to spell, don’t rely on spell check.
  29. Vowels are important. Use them.
  30. Never give up, you are better than that.

The Lament of a Working Mommy

To Punky, in the wee hours of the morning, 

I find myself getting ready for work and I get to peek in on you for just a short moment. I brush my fingers through your hair and I tell you to give Mommy just a few minutes and I will get your bottle. 

While I fill the bottle in the kitchen, I can hear your soft cries, while you lay in your bed in the dark. I smile to myself, because one day you will know what it means when I say, “Give me a minute.” 

Every morning I return to your bedroom, the same way as yesterday, and you smile up at me though sleepy tears and we start the day with the same routine as days gone by. 

Clean butt and a warm belly full of milk and off to bed again you go. I kiss your cheeks and whisper “I love you” before I lay you back down and cover you up. I find myself looking down on you, just one last time before I have to close the door and leave for the day.

All day long, I think of you. I tell stories about you. You are the mascot of my team at work. They all look forward to new stories and pictures, OR, they simply indulge my new mommy ways of pushing you on people.

I count the minutes until I get to come home. 8-5 is way too long, before I finally get to drive home and eat dinner with you. Those 8 hours when I don’t know what you are doing. When I can’t see your little face. When you can’t drive me crazy and make me frustrated. 

At work I wonder what you are doing. I wonder if you are thinking of me. Do you worry that Mommy won’t come home? Do you look for me? I wonder what you think of during the day. What new things you are learning. What fun things you are doing.

I wonder what I miss.