Blue is for Boys. I am a Girl.

I really didn’t expect that phrase so soon. I mean … THREE.

I’m sure I helped perpetuate the norms of boy and girl separation. We are potty training, so when we were out at Olive Garden once, she attempted to go into the men’s restroom and I redirected her to the little icon with the dress and said, “Girls go in this potty.” Mostly , so that she would know that boys and girls don’t go to the bathroom together, but well, I think I just made it stick in her head that girls wear dresses and boys don’t.

Now I’m frustrated. Not because it’s that big of a deal and frankly, she can like what she wants, be what she wants.

She’s old enough now to make her own choices. I’m doing my very best to make sure she knows she has options. She doesn’t have to be stuck in the social norms of what is expected of her.

She loves pink. Absolutely loves it. And I’m okay with that. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday theme to be, she told me Minnie and Mickey. I asked if she wanted Minnie to wear a pink dress or a red one. She picked pink. No hesitation. So pink it was and that included her pink castle cake. (Yes, that’s a cake, thanks Grammy!)

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Her Minnie Mouse Tea party was a little more low key than we have been used to, but with my being out of work right now, we didn’t have the money we usually have to rent the clubhouse and hold all the people we wanted to invite. So we invited her friends and mostly immediate family like grandparents and aunts/uncles who could make it.

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She likes to climb shit. Loves it. She loves to climb, the higher the better. And I’m well, I’m not okay with it as it gives me anxiety, but I’m okay with it.

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The pyramid she’s climbing in that second picture is 30 feet high made of metal and ropes. The sign outside the pyramid says for 5+ years and it probably makes me an irresponsible mom, but she’s been eyeballing the damn thing for over a year. Kim came with us to the park this last time and convinced me to let her climb it.

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Kim helped me keep my cool while my heart was in my throat, threatening to pump right out of my body! Literally, I was having small panic attacks the whole time, small squeaks emitted from my mouth and I was bouncing around on the ground like a spotter in gym, waiting for her to come tumbling down from that thing.

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But no matter how terrifying it was for me, so much so that Kim had to remind me to take pictures, which never happens. I am ALWAYS taking pictures, I don’t want her to lose that adventurous spirit. I don’t want her to be stuck in a box that says Boys do this and Girls do this. That doesn’t mean I don’t want her to be “girly” or traditionally feminine if that’s what she wants to be. I’m not bucking society just to be “progressive”. I just want to make sure that she know she has choices, that she has options. She can be whoever and whatever she wants to be!

Since she has had her birthday, we have kicked up our bedtime routine a notch. We read a story or two before bed every night and I think she really enjoys it. She can actually sit through a story and she can interact with me. It’s amazing to me the things she remembers.

We even went to the library the other day and she got to pick out her own book. From the time I told her we were going until we got there, she told me she wanted a “spider book” (YUCK), so we got her a spider book and she loves it, so much so, I may have to purchase it. She also got a Princess book, the “mouse and cookie” book, and “Llama Llama mad at Mama”.

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Along with a bed time story, I always ask her what her favorite part of the day was and what she wants to do tomorrow. I also ask her what she wants to be when she grows up. She’s been pretty consistent for the last several months in saying “Doctor”. Guess I better save some money!

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Whatever she wants, I just want to nurture her spirit, her imagination and creatiivity. I want her to know she has so many options that she doesn’t have to stick to the norms of society, the gender stereotypes. I was just so disheartened today when I heard the phrase come out of her mouth.

“I don’t like blue. Blue is for boys.”

But blue isn’t just for boys. How do you relay that to a kid? She has to have heard that somewhere and it makes me sad. I have been working really hard to break those thoughts and really steer her down her own path, where ever that will be, I will follow her lead. And if she really just doesn’t like blue, that’s OK! I just don’t want it to be because she’s a girl and girls don’t like blue.

The more she grows, the more personality she gives and shows. I’m enjoying seeing her grow into this little person all of her own, but I want her to be the one making those choices, for herself. Because I love her with my whole heart and I want her to love herself with her whole heart.

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My Adventures in Potty Training

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Nap Time Has Morphed to “Rest Time”

When once she was a champion sleeper, bedtime and nap time has become an increasingly difficult thing for our kid lately. Along with potty training, she is very much telling us just what she thinks about us telling her what to do. I read a few articles on potty training that makes the point not to make it a chore. Kids will get bored and less likely to do it if it’s a chore.

But, how the hell do you not make a potty break a chore every hour on the dot? I haven’t figured it out yet.

As for sleeping, Miss Punky was doing some pretty violent reactions to bedtime for a while – she turned into the Tasmanian devil and would kick and bang on her bedroom door and cry and sob and scream. To the point where, I am told, she has been up and down and she still makes up stories to get out of sleep.

All of which are normal for a kid her age, I know, but it’s frustrating for Kim and Grammy – I’m sure! So, I’ve been following “Life with Roozle” about another two mom family who let’s their kid color herself to sleep. I am not sure how they started it, but I just love the idea.

So, the other day, when I was laying Punky down for her nap before work, I said, “You just have to rest. You don’t have to go to sleep if you don’t want to, but you need to make sure you stay in your bed for a few hours and rest.” Of course, she says, “OK, Mommy.” I handed her a book and so far, from what I can tell, she’s pretty receptive to the idea. So, for now, we are working on “resting time”

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This passed week I was moved to a new position at work. I work in a call center for prescription benefits and mail order insurance. So, I have been working as a “Senior Representative” which means I take calls from our customer service agents and answer their questions or help them as well as taking over the escalated callers. It’s just as stressful and overwhelming as it sounds.

Recently, I was put into the position of training new senior representatives and helping them transition from the call center floor to our team and integrate into their new role. I have loved every minute of it. It’s great to get to be in a position to teach and develop our employees in a personal one on one basis.

This week, I have been moved, temporarily I believe, to a position of Executive Recovery. It’s basically the Senior representatives’ help line. So I take the escalated escalations from our senior representatives and help them help our customer service representatives.

For those who have been reading a while, especially my personal family and friends, know that I have interviewed for a supervisor position twice now. It’s been about a year since my last, very disappointing, interview. So disappointing that I ended up breaking emotionally and it really helped brim over my now diagnosed PTSD(rooted in childhood trauma) and Anxiety disorder with agoraphobic tendencies.

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I have been working with my therapist for almost  year and I feel like things are going well enough to take on this new position. Stressful that it may be, I am the type of person who needs to be in charge, needs to be in control and I like to have projects and recognition, this is the best way for me to do this.

So, I’m in a new position at work. My attendance is getting better, where I was calling in due to anxiety every week at least once a week, up to three days a week, I am back to making regular checks, with standard pay – thank goodness.  My anxiety and PTSD is one of the many reasons we are not living in our own place anymore. I couldn’t make myself go to work and the result of the disappointing emotional break that was that interview is part of the problem.

Here I am, a year later, stronger, and I’d say healthier. So, I am ready to make that leap to a new step towards the ultimate goal of supervisor within my company.  So, happy day, this new role will be another stepping stone to do just that.

Monday was my day off, as is today – but Monday we had a nice day out with the moms. It’s a rare occasion when we all three get out and about, with our agoraphobic tendencies and the combined anxiety between both of us moms about strangers, large crowds, and new places. Not to mention, my severe anxiety in the car, especially driving somewhere I have never been. So, needless to say, around here – most of the fun things are to be driven to and it makes for a stressful outing on everyone.

But, we try and make it work. Monday was one of those days. For her half birthday, I redeemed some of my reward points from work and got a $50 gift card to a place called T-Rex Cafe here in the city. We finally made our way there and celebrated with our little. Who was ever so excited!

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I thought at first, she would be scared by all the dinosaurs and instead, she was like a child with ADHD, she was pointing at everything, looking at everything, exclaiming at everything. Oh. And RAWRing at everything. LOL.

Of course, her Mama was also, like a kid in a dinosaur heaven as well.

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I think Kim had fun showing her all the different things that were moving and getting into the spirit of just being a kid, with our kid. It was a great time for all of us. Luckily, we had the gift card, because that character cup alone was 8 bucks and don’t get me started on the food

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It was good, but we went for lunch… needless to say, I was glad for the free money, I didn’t spend more than 15 bucks on lunch and we got to splurge a little in their gift shop.

SO, we won’t be going regularly, but it was a nice time for the three of us to get out of the house and celebrate this nice Fall weather that is rolling in.

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Grammy and Papa were at the hospital with Papa’s sudden sickness they were dealing with, so it took everyone’s mind off the potentially bad news we didn’t receive (thank goodness) and got us out and about. We did call Grammy on the phone, while at the restaurant and told her all about the dinosaurs.

It’s just another great moment in parenting, when you know your kiddo is close to grandparents and family and they are loved just as much in return.

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Everything Smells Like Pee…..

And the joys of potty training. Round one, week one has been a touch and go success around here. With Punky asking for two days straight if she could “go potty training Mommy?” we got out the panties and tried again. This time, we are in a much more stable environment, a routine we are used to and she is pretty well adjusted to the move. With three floors, we have three potty chairs. Thank goodness for Grammy’s Craigslist habit. LOL.

So there’s a potty chair on the upstairs bathroom by her bedroom, one in the livingroom, and one in the basement of our room. No matter what floor she’s on, we got her potty needs covered.

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So, one week ago today – Miss Punky was cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs (who lost) while exercising her potty skills.

Look, I started by reading into that Potty Train Your Kid in Three Days thing, but that didn’t really seem to work out. We didn’t really have a plan. We just started. Luckily, we have a lot of support in the house. The first day went not so great, all accidents – no real success. The second day she got into the groove, she got the hang of things. We got her on a schedule and she would sit on the potty no questions asked.

By the third day, we struggled with desire to sit on the potty. Lots of asserting of willpower and headstrong NO resounded through our house. It was frustrating and not just a little annoying. We have been using pull-ups at night, and we still get periodical resistance from her to sit on the potty. We have resorted to bribery with candy and toys and new Batman shirts. Yes, we are not above bribery.

So, we have had a few rough patches, it’s been a real roller coaster and by far the most unfortunate part of parenting. I feel like someone needs to invent a way to engineer already potty trained toddlers, so parents don’t have to chase their kids around. So, for now, we are doing alright, hanging in there – really, it’ pretty damn tough.

And … everything smells like pee!

Today was the first day without an accident, minimal resistance, though she still protested. We even went out to our friend “Button’s” house and had a little play date. We took her potty chair with us and set it up in my friend’s bathroom and it worked like a charm. A potty break every hour and smore’s cupcakes wasn’t a bad bribery tactic.

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Punky and Button are about a year apart in age, and it is so cute to see them get together recently and play together. Button is at the stage where he is playing side by side – so it really confuses Punky. She keeps asking him to play with her and asking me why he won’t play with her. It’s actually pretty darn cute really, her confusion. His mom and I talk about how they are going to get married someday and be able to talk about how they grew up with each other and were best friends. You know the stories. Those love stories of the people who get married to their childhood friends, the ones they have known forever.

Or at least – they will date at some point. Haha!

So, it’s been quiet around here. I’m working til midnight now, so I have a busy day and a tired night – uber sleepy mornings with the little one. I have been reading all the joys, heartache, and stories. I have just been too tired to write our own stories. Miss Punky has been doing lots of fun things and we have had a great many moments around here, besides the potty dances and songs.

My little one has been increasingly full of more attitude, spontaneous whining and outbursts. And then she turns around and asks to hold my hand.

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We also had our first Sunday Movie Night tonight. So it was a great time the three of us just hanging out and watching Rise of the Guardians. It was a cute movie, and we took some potty breaks in between the hours, but overall, as long as I could wrangle her attentions to cuddling with me, it was a great night!

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And it’s moments like this that will help her make it to three!

Speaking of three, we had a half birthday last week as well. We celebrate those things around here. Miss Punky is half way to three, can you believe it?! I know I can’t! Half birthdays are always full of a sweet treat and maybe a little toy or something, nothing fancy, blow out a candle and remind Mommy it’s almost time to start planning YET ANOTHER birthday party.

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The same night, we spent some time with two of her cousins, the older and the younger. Mommy went through all her clothes and gave them away to her younger cousin.

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The joys of growing bigger and growing out of your clothes. In shirts and dresses, this kid is wearing anywhere from a 3T to a 4/5 in girls. Size 8 in shoes! And yet her pants are still 24 months-2T, but mostly for the length, but anything bigger is too big in the waist. It’s just nuts how much she has grown and every time we sit around and have a conversation – a real conversation, I just find myself staring at this little person, this tiny human in awe.

Like I still can’t believe she’s mine. I can’t believe I’m her Mommy and damnit, I can’t believe how incredibly lucky we are!

The end of this catch-up is the wedding of Kim’s brother. It was a beautiful and long awaited affair. It made me cry tears of joy and made me so happy for them. It also gave me an excuse to get Miss Punky all dressed up and have a place to go!

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And we got a new family picture, which is always the highlight of my week.

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Now … if I could stop smelling pee….

The Bumps In Our Road

The first of these lyrics hit home on me right now.

“Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over”

And in the end, that’s all I need to keep remembering. Kim was so sick we really thought she had a disease that wouldn’t be curable, our car was repossessed for a few days last week, we were near eviction from our apartment, and we are now in the basement of my in-laws; but the hard part is over. It really is. No matter what I wish the circumstances were right now, the path to our destination may have twisted a little and taken a different path, but we will get where we want to be – regardless of the bumps in our road.

Kim is feeling much better and on the road to a speedy recovery back to her old self. With much help from great people, the car is out of repossession. We have a great bit of family that was able to get us moved out of our apartment and into the basement before Monday – when the eviction would be going to the lawyers – saving us thousands of dollars and issues with our credit.

This is likely the lowest we’ve been and yet, as I sit on my bed, in our new home surroundings, I have never been more hopeful for a brand new start and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – the worst is over, the hardest part is over.

We got a  storage unit, which is filled to the brim, even though we tried our hardest to throw out a lot of the things I’ve been holding onto for a very long time. Luckily most of my ‘sentimental items’ are digital and now backed up on my 1TB hard drive I got for my birthday. We had so much more stuff than the storage unit will hold, so we will probably have to upgrade the storage unit, blah! For now, it’s in the garage, taking up more space, because it won’t fit in the basement with us.

Here’s our new home, of course, there are some things we still have to unpack and whatnot, but so far its getting to be a little homey and comfortable for the time we will be here. **The beautiful model on the couch is my love, Kim!**

Living Area:

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Dining Area (behind the living area):

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Bedroom Area (Next to the Dining Area:

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And yes, we do have two beds, because Kim and I are old so-to-be married lesbians and frankly, we don’t share bed space or bedding well!

While down here hanging out the first night, Miss Punky was jumping on our beds, like normal and her shoes tripped her up and she fell head first into the concrete floor. She bit right through her bottom lip and it was pretty darn scary and I know it was painful – it bled forever! She tried to eat pizza last night for dinner and it kept burning her lips, she was so upset, that really is her most favorite dinner time meal. By morning, it had at least scabbed over a bit, but it sure looks like a nasty war wound, poor kid!

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With the move has come with transitions for Miss Punky of course. She doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. She actually sleeps two flights up from us, in the nursery for the grandkids. They have a bed up there already and it was less cramped down here in the basement if she slept up there. Its a change for both Mommy and Punky, as I’m used to her room being right NEXT to mine and I could hear her if she cried or woke up.

And while we use the cry it out method for the most part, its hard not to get up and make sure she’s alright in the middle of the night, when you have three flights of stairs to get to her. Not to mention, that she really doesn’t know where her moms are in the middle of the night or how to get to them, which in my mind, my anxious Mommy mind, its scary and traumatic for my baby girl.

Our apartment was her only home. Its the only home she has ever known. She’s two and she confused. She keeps telling us she wants to go home. She doesn’t fully grasp the idea that we are already home. We brought her down to the basement with us for a bit tonight and she knew that Mommy and Mama’s beds were down there, the familiar things from home are down here – but she still doesn’t fully understand that Grammy’s house is now her house too.

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I know she will get used to it and its not going to be damaging or traumatic for her, but as a Mommy, a stressed out Mommy, it makes me sad that she has to go through such a confusing time – moving out of the only home she’s known and sleeping in a bed she’s not used to, surrounded by a room that’s not familiar with all her toys in storage, except for her most favorite Baby Ellen and a few comforts from “home”.

Of course, the Nook with her most favorite game “Toddler Shopping 2” is also here, and she sure loves that game. If you have a toddler and they like playing with apps, this is an app to try. Its so simple and I don’t have any idea what the appeal is, but she could play with it all day!

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Its an adjustment for us all – but I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I really appreciate all my blogger friends and my family and friends in our personal life that have given such beautiful and much needed words of encouragement while we all three come to terms with the path of our lives right now – and helping me see the silver lining where it is! I really am feeling much lighter as a result of your kind words. That’s why I love this community of bloggers!!

Besides … with a smile like this in your view, who could be sad for long!

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21/52: Tired, Stressed Out and Broke – These Are The Days Of Our Lives

With each passing day, I’m starting to feel like we are drowning just a little further into the abyss of stress. The full weight is felt on my shoulders, crushing me to the brink of insanity.

Miss Punky has become increasingly more contrary. She’s less than polite lately – almost as if she’s completely forgotten the words “Please” and “Thank You”. She’s up at all hours of the night again, she woke me up at 3AM, 5AM, and then at 7AM. She hadn’t had a BM for three days and was running a 103 temperature yesterday, so silly me, I got up each time.

All she wanted was cuddles and few minutes of rocking before she was out again. But, she screamed like she was in pain. She was crying like she was scared. She broke my heart in a way she hadn’t when she was little and we did the crying it out to start – and believe me, standing outside the closed door while your baby is ‘crying it out’ is its own kind of heartbreak!

We are the type of parents who lay her down in her room, give kisses/hugs/I love yous and when the door is shut, for the most part, unless she’s sick, we don’t open the door. It’s the best way we were able to train her to sleep and it really helped all of us get more sleep when she was an infant. (And I credit crying it out to our little one being a champion sleeper) Suddenly, she’s less of a champion and I’m more of a coddler as she gets older!

With all the health stuff going on with Kim – we just really decided that perhaps potty training isn’t going to happen right now. We tried for a day and a half, but seriously, it wasn’t going as I would have liked. Punky is interested, she loves wearing panties and she loves getting stickers for her chart.

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But, we can’t be consistent right now. Its another stressor on Kim and I that we just can’t handle any more on our plates. So, for now, we wait. We continue with pull-ups and helping her be vocal on the need and want to go potty.

I’m starting to feel like we are “less than” parents though. She’s so interested and she really is taking it to it when prompted. We just … our routine is off, our days are off. I’m taking off work more than normal to take Kim to doctor’s appointments or to take care of Punky when Kim is feeling less than able to care for her. Kim and Punky spend more time than normal outside of our house, at my mother-in-law’s house which isn’t our house which can make potty training difficult right now.

Until we get all the tests run and figure out everything we need to figure out for Kim, health-wise, we just don’t need to take on something else. Even if I sometimes feel like we are delaying Punky’s development somehow.

My therapist says we need some time. We need more support. My therapist is telling me that I need more support. We aren’t really the type of people to ask someone to take our kid for a day or a weekend. Ugh.

This last few weeks have been tough. Someone suggested that I blog the good, the bad, the not too ugly – so well, I’m doing that. Its depressing, complaining and overly not cute at all! I just hope with the doctor’s appointments we have tomorrow and next week will help us sort out what we are looking at with Kim’s health.

Then maybe some of this stress will go away and we will dig ourselves out of this hole and float to the top of this ocean I’m drowning in right now!

Just wish us luck, send us some positive thoughts, calming vibes, whatever to help my nerves be less shot and my attitude be less than snarky!

Think Before You Speak – Questions That Erk Me

In honor of Mombian’s 9th annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families, I am writing up a post I have been meaning to write for some time now. As always, my goal of this blog is not only to document our lives and the growing up of our Punky Monster, but also to get the point across that we are just like everyone else.

Yes. We are atheists.

Yes. We are lesbians.

And Yes. Our daughter is still healthy, loved, and nurtured.

So, I wanted to pick apart the questions I get asked pretty regularly. I’m an open book. I have always been an open book.

**See Unconventional Conception if you don’t believe me! I tell that story – in person, without hesitation to anyone who might be curious enough to get into the gritty details of our conception story. (You’d be surprised how many people want to know the details and then regret it when they learn them!)**

Which means that I answer cordially pretty much any question about our family, our parenting styles, our religion, or our lives in general without much hesitation. That doesn’t mean I don’t get annoyed by the frequent questions that are bordering on over the line, I may not voice it, but perhaps, there might be some tact that people could exercise before asking these types of questions.

1. Who’s Mom?

Look, I try real hard not to make this awkward. It always ends up poorly. The very definition of ‘lesbian mom’ means the kid has TWO moms. I also attempt to really think about the fact that its probably really intended to be “Who carried your daughter?” which may be a valid question, it’s still presumptuous that the mom who carried Punky is her “real mother”, which is not the case.

No matter the law, no matter the tradition or the ideals of the world around us, we are always both her mothers.

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2. Does She Look Like Her Dad?

Well, again, I will define “lesbian mom”. Two moms. No dad. I mean, I know there are plenty of lesbian moms and families with two moms that do have contact with their donors. The donors are called all sorts of things, including Dad or Father in some family dynamics.

But, we really shouldn’t assume that. For my own family, we have contact with our daughter’s donor. He is and always will be a very special man in our life. We aren’t super close, in that we visit or hang out regularly, we don’t even talk on the phone or text message in regular intervals, but he will always have given us a gift we can’t ever thank him enough for.

He is still … not her dad. To most people it seems harmless, it seems like its no biggie, a slip up, not offensive. But … it is offensive. To my partner, to my daughter. It overshadows the very definition of my daughter’s family dynamic. The family she knows.

He’s wasn’t there holding my legs as I was pushing her out of a small hole. He wasn’t up with her at 3AM singing a made up lullaby in those first few weeks, so I could get a little sleep. He’s not catching her as she jumps without warning towards his arms. That’s Kim. And much more.

Basically, while it may seem harmless, it confuses my kid and I anticipate it will confuse her more as she starts to understand that some kids have dads and she doesn’t. When she really notices that she her family is different from others. Do me a favor. Its already going to be a weird conversation for me to have with my kid, don’t confuse her more.

(And if you ask anyone, she really does look just like me. I got myself pregnant is the joke around our family and friends!)

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3. Aren’t You Worried About Her Not Having A Father Around?

You know, I had a dad around. I still have a dad around. I love him to pieces, but he hasn’t always been the stand up dad that traditional June Cleavers are married to. Frankly, my dad has helped mess me up and I’m still in therapy working through the issues I have because of actions, a result of emotional distress in my childhood from having a father.

Do I think having a father is a bad thing? No.

But, do I think Punky absolutely has to have a father? Absolutely not.

We have discussed it before – Punky has more role models than a little girl could possibly had! She has one hell of a godfather in her life, who loves her to bits, like his own kid I would surmise. He is already planning on taking her hunting (which I will probably fight when the time comes), fishing, and teaching her how to do things with cars.

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I have no doubt my brothers will teach her all about comic books, video games, badass underground, never discovered local bands, and how to take the perfect picture of her poop (yes, that’s a thing).

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Kim’s brother is sure to bring a culture of motorcycles, tattoos and fast cars.

I know her grandpas have a wealth of knowledge in work ethic, humor and silliness, and overall doting and caring for her.

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And all the men in her life are sure to teach her how a man is supposed to treat a lady and she will be able to raise any man she dates to the standards they set in her eyes for her future mate. And should she, (personally, I hope not) be a lesbian, she will learn how to treat a lady right as well.

4.  Isn’t Punky Confused About What To Call You?

Okay, so this is a valid question. However, there is a much tactful way to ask it. Perhaps something like, “What does she call you? What does she call her other mother?” I have been asked, “Who’s Mama, Who’s Mommy?” That’s also acceptable. Some lesbian families have all sorts of different ways we help our kids distinguish between two moms.

We decided to sort of guide her in the process of picking a name, but not choosing the name for either of us. She just settled into Mommy for me and Mama for Kim. Both of which we are thrilled with. She’s not confused, because she doesn’t know anything other than having two moms and calling us what she calls us.

Its normal to her, no confusion – thanks for asking!

5. Isn’t It A Concern That She Will Be Teased Growing Up?

This is a very good thing to be concerned about. I don’t know if all lesbian or gay parents are worried about this. I know I was. I still am. I have been concerned – sometimes that we actively thought to have a child, in a world where having gay parents, being gay in general isn’t completely accepted (check out the states still banning gay marriage, HELLO MISSOURI.)

And then I remember that there are several states striking down the bans on gay marriage and it means that acceptance and tolerance is coming around. I put into perspective that Punky is only 2, she’s in preschool, where kids don’t care if she has two moms, her teachers are incredibly supportive and all my mommy friends want to meet Kim and if she wasn’t agoraphobic, they would with no issues.

So in the end, by the time she is school, real school, my hope is that kids will be taught about love and acceptance. That their kids will taught by parents the different ways to make a family, the different kinds of parents and family dynamics out there.

I am getting less worried and more optimistic. This question is a well meaning question, but it can be seen as presumptuous. It could be interpreted by some that you think I’m selfish for ‘daring to bring a child into an intolerant world, just to get bullied.’ I’m sure that’s not the intent, but it sure can be misconstrued.

**

These are my five pet peeve questions. I will always answer them, and they aren’t altogether offensive. But when I answer them everyone is then made to feel awkward. I’m uncomfortable, the person asking is uncomfortable because they made some ill-conceived, usually well intentioned faux pas.

So in the end, I’m more annoyed by the uncomfortable air around the question and the answers and the awkwardness that ensues around the whole thing.

Think before you speak, think about how your words may be interpreted. I won’t ever say out loud that your questions are offensive, stupid, or hurtful – but rest assured, I’m probably thinking it.

12/52 – Exploring Family Bonds

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Miss Punky has been crawling into her Mama’s chair whenever it is vacant. She knows that she’s not supposed to be in her Mama’s chair for numerous reasons. Mostly because it’s right next to the computer and she’s sure to be a bull in a china shop and cause that computer to tumble over.

So, now – it’s a game. It’s a game to see if Kim can see her when she comes back into the room. It’s so freaking adorable to watch. While I’m sure I shouldn’t be laughing, it’s hilarious to see Punky climb into the chair and then look so satisfied with herself.

When Kim comes into the room, they have a little (playful) standoff, staring contest and it’s too damn cute not to laugh at. I can’t help it. Sometimes, Punky will hide her face in the chair, like Kim can’t see her.

The whole game ends in lots of spinning of the chair and giggling. Usually some tickling in the mix. It’s just so great to watch from across the room. Sometimes, I’m jealous of their connection, but then I remember, that Kim and I have an advantage.

Having been together for nearly 11 years, Kim and I are actually pretty different in most ways; hobbies, talents, social skills and parenting styles. We both have strengths and weaknesses and frankly, we mesh well. We have grown into each other and really have been able to go through so much together and it really has glued us together as one person.

It’s an advantage for Punky, because, she has two moms who fill in the gaps and become one complete and total mom. She was carried in my belly and she looks like me. She takes on so many expressions and mannerisms that are distinctly me,  and it’s beautiful to watch her blossom and take on so many characteristics of her Mama as well. She laughs at the same things Kim does, she seeks so much approval from her Mama just by imitating her. I see her smirk a bit or light the room in the same way Kim does.

In moments like that, I know – blood doesn’t make a family, love does.

From the moment that Kim started talking to Punky through my belly button while she was still inside, to now, two years later, it melts my heart seeing them bond and grow more and more in love with each new day!

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And this really is the sweetest thing to watch!

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So, while I’m still puny ill and my throat hurts and I’m a coughing mess – its moments like these that bring brightness to the day full of sickliness.

Punky’s Awesome Cars Second Birthday Party

Last year was Punky’s one year Dr. Suess Extravaganza, because she and I spent a great deal reading books before bed and spending time hanging out with each other with our noses in books.

I got this from Baby Center this afternoon. Way to put me in a shock for the day. It went from Baby, to Toddler, to Preschooler in a span of time that feels like overnight!

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This year, Miss Punky has gotten really into all things cars and trucks. Kim found some really neat things on Pinterest to make an awesome cars themed party. So, as usual, I ran with it. I’ve been planning more parties and setting up more parties lately and I do love every minute of it. It’s different when it’s your own kid!

Then it’s all the more special!

So, we started with the racecar theme. I incorporated the Cars Movie theme because its trendy right now and the decorations were easy to find and I didn’t have to make everything myself.

So, I made the invitation, and this is the one I’m selling in the shop, it’s not my original, because that has our identifying information it, but this is what it looks like. I’ve shown it before, but I’m so proud of this design, made from scratch, so I wanted to share it again!

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Then came all the ideas that were going through my head. Originally, I was going to have cupcakes and put toppers on them with racing flags and Cars characters. That idea was scrapped when Kim came up with the idea of making the cupcakes like stop lights. Red, green, yellow frosting! So we went with that instead. The food was going to be simple anyway, a small cake in the center for her to blow out her candle, and cupcakes for everyone else. Finger foods and no need for utensils means less clean up!

The night before, we all headed over to Punky’s Grammy’s house to make 100 cupcakes (we still have a ton in my kitchen right now) and help start the cake that she would blow out her candles with. Punky made an excellent taste tester when it came to cupcake batter and the ‘dirt’ for the trimming of her cake.

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It was a pretty awesome experience to make her stuff from scratch as a family. I really have to say, her Grammy did an excellent job with this, I originally asked if she could help us with the project and she took over like a pro. I just love all the things she did with it! The cupcakes and the cake were both a hit at the party and everyone kept asking me where I got them. They were astonished that I didn’t get them done professionally, because they looked so awesome.

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The rest of the food was pretty much finger foods. And a little bit of a wacky array of foods, I admit, but it all went with the theme!

We had Luigi’s Spare Tires (Miniature Chocolate Covered Donuts), Guido’s White Wall Tires (Miniature Powdered Sugar Donuts), Tow Mater’s Tow Cables (Chocolate and Strawberry Twizzlers), Nuts and Bolts (Chex Mix). We set it up like people were eating at Flo’s V8 Cafe to re-fuel and hang out.

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There were four stations through the party venue; Flo’s V8 Cafe, Ramone’s House of Body Art, Sarge’s Surplus Hut, and Tow Maters Photo Booth. I got the inspiration and a few of the signs downloaded at this site which I found through Pinterest and put my own spin on some things.

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The kids had a blast with the temporary tattoos. I just cut out each tattoo individually and then set up the station with a little ‘drip pan’ and sponges for parents to help apply the ‘paint job’ to the kids. It was pretty convenient that the area had a nice sink area to refill the water and make less mess.

The food made up most of the awesome factor as a visual, but I did spend a lot of time on the tables and the decorations. So, we turned a boring clubhouse room into a party room in about 5 hours.

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The tables were set up to look like roads, with black tablecloths and white address labels down the center of them. I got two Cars party theme kits at Walmart for about $7 a piece, they had the cardboard centerpieces and cones in the packages. I bought a miniature helium tank to blow up some balloons that had Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater on them to attach the cones in the center of the tables.

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Walmart had a ton of decorations and party favors fit for the theme, since it’s so trendy right now. I got a couple packages of activity books and a large box of crayons since we were dealing with a bunch of little ones in attendance. I made some custom chocolate bar wrappers with the cars characters on them and set the candies out on the tables too. In the end, there were three die-cast cars running up and down the roads on the table as well, just for an added effect to go with the theme.

Party City had a great scene setter that I put up on the wall, 6ft plastic puzzle I had to piece together on the wall. Punky’s godfather made an awesome little car cutout photo booth with a poster board and acrylic paints. It was way  more awesome than I expected it to even be!

The banner for the entrance was also another find at Walmart and I set out the Cars rug that Punky got for her half birthday and a crate of cars for the kids to play with. They really got a kick out of the cars and driving them around on the roads.

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I recently just learned about Spotify and I’m in love with it. I didn’t really listen to music that much before it, but in my down moments, it’s been a real lifesaver to helping me really get through this anxiety and depression I’ve been in lately. With that said, I was thrilled when I found this playlist for a Cars themed birthday party! So, I uploaded the songs and played it on repeat at the party.

playlistMy mom came up to celebrate Punky’s birthday and she doesn’t have internet, let alone Facebook, so I put together a video of all of Punky’s last two years. I put together a slideshow of her pictures, some of my favorites anyway. I turned it on and let it play on repeat as well, for people to watch and remember and to see how much she has grown and changed in the last two years.

We had a pretty good day yesterday, celebrating our little one’s second birthday. Kim had a small scare for all of us towards the middle of the party. She hadn’t eaten anything because she was feeling good and she sort of fainted on the porch of the clubhouse. The ambulance and firetruck was out there helping with her vitals. In the end, they recommended she go to the hospital, but she was feeling better, so we got her something to eat and she’s been feeling better, as much as she can, since she ate.

Otherwise, we were surrounded by so many family and friends and Miss Punky has so much love in her life and I am so grateful all the great people in her life that love her. As a parent in a ‘non-traditional’ family setting, it is always the one thing that scares me that Punky will be rejected because of her moms. That’s the last thing I want, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I’m so glad, so far, that we haven’t had to deal with that.

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We had the cake, and that was great. I expected her to cry and get upset about the singing and clapping, but she was eating it all up. It was such a 180 from last year!

When everyone was done singing, I had to whisper a reminder to blow out her candle. It was kind of cute to watch after the fact, as I had no idea we were being filled, thanks to Punky’s godmother who had my camera at the time 🙂

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Presents were hilarious with Miss Punky. She would open one present and then get preoccupied with opening it right away and she said “Thank You” over and over. It was kind of awesome. She’s really quite adorable!

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Our Punky is a great mix of all sorts of things. She likes babies and dolls and high heels and she likes tools and trucks and balls. She really is the perfect mix bag for a child. Especially for two moms with completely opposite interests – we suit her interests well, I think.

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Do you see that giant Radio Flyer, with the 6-foot ramp? Yea, that’s from my dear Mama. Can you also notice my face in reaction to this. Punky thinks its awesome, Mommy is trying to figure out 1. how we get it home, and 2. how we fit it in the apartment. LOL. It’s an awesome gift though and she will get so much use out of it this summer!

So, our daughter turned 2 this last week and it was pretty successful, minus the small ambulance snafu, which I am currently keeping an eye on now, taking the day from work to make sure my dear love is okay.

So, the party was a hit, the baby was spoiled rotten, and I am exhausted!

If you are interested in using the printables that I made or acquired for this party, please feel free! They will be at this link for the next few weeks 🙂

I’ll leave you with this day in history for Punky’s birthday on March 7th that I found on Baby Center Birthday Time Machine. Try it out, it’s kind of neat!

History