Tag Archives: miss poopypants

the final count

Here are my final 2011 New Year’s Resolution Purge numbers*: Technically, I succeeded. I got 33 more things out of my house than I had committed to do. Yay me. For some reason I’m not enthused at this accomplishment, but disappointed that I couldn’t do more.

My observations from this process:

  • I should have just stuck to purging. Most of those big fat zeros in the middle of the month were from the previously mentioned office rework-a-palooza. Which is great except that I spun my wheels on this project while I did that project, and I didn’t finish that project so I could get back to this project and not miss my self-imposed goal. So office rework is still in limbo, and though the furniture is more or less where it’s supposed to go, books are most certainly not.
  • Don’t hype it. I had this GREAT IDEA that a friend did last year and she said it was AWESOME and it’s a FANTASTIC WAY to detox from the holiday season and you WON’T GET SAD if you have this to focus on and YOU WILL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Um, no, not quite. While perhaps not being QUITE THAT CRAZY ABOUT IT I still had grand plans in my head that got waylaid because, let’s see, I work full time, Big D’s in grad school,  we have two kids, and it’s cold and flu season. Duh.
  • Baby steps. I had intended to get through every room in my house in a month (except the kids’ rooms, they’re relatively manageable). My bathroom and bedroom were not fully sorted. I didn’t even get to the basement. So I’m disappointed by my inability to finish what I start because I mentally changed the rules to make it harder for me. Why do I always do that?

But, it’s done. I have now officially declared February the Month of Cleaning Up What You Completely Ignored in January. I’m hoping by March I’ll be able to see if getting almost 200 things out of my house actually made a difference.

* – I have to confess, the last three numbers on the calendar were actually accomplished in February. I crapped the bed the last weekend in January and sat on my butt.

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morning routine

(A friend asked me recently to explain my morning routine – I went a little overboard as usual. Big D takes care of mornings 3 days a week now so I can get to work by 6:15 but the chaos is still the same. Please excuse the overwhelming use of semi-colons; my comma key is dead.)

The alarm is set for 6:30 but unless it’s dreary and raining the kids are up long before that. The end of daylight savings time has brought 4:30 and 6 am wakeup calls this week. When miss poopypants was still sleeping in our room the most frequent way to wake up was being pelted with stuffed animals from the crib; now it’s a sing-song-y “Moooooooooooooo-oooooomy!” coming from upstairs; the dining room; or somewhere in between. The wisdom of giving her freedom to wander the house when she wakes up is questioned on a daily basis. I poke the slumbering beast next to me who usually hits the sack much later than I do (thanks grad school; but more likely facebook and grepolis) and resign myself to hoisting my body out of bed first.

Now that I’ve hit my Jesus year I’m hearing some dusty pops in my spine; a tweak on my right kneecap; and a growing realization that I really need to lighten the weight load on my joints. I have no idea how to fit that into my schedule but somehow it needs to be done. I locate the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed toddler; the zombie boy who knows how to use Netflix a little too well; make a pit stop; and throw on enough clothes to take the wiggly-butt dogs outside.

Back inside the house; two scoops of dog food are followed by a quick scouring of the kitchen to determine what the breakfast options for the little ones are. On a good day it’s yogurt with fresh fruit and honey; but more often than not it’s toast with jam or a breakfast bar with a witty name. At least I know where the jam came from; I made it over the summer and hopefully picky kid #1 and wanna-be picky kid #2 won’t turn their noses up at it. If I’m working from home I detour to the computer to fire up my work email and give it a quick check; if I’m headed to the office I start searching through the laundry piles to find something somewhat presentable to wear.

Poke Big D again to find out when I can reasonably expect him to waken. Head back to the kitchen to see where the lunchboxes are – little d’s great about putting his lunchbox in the cupboard after several years of dogs ripping into previous ones. miss poopypants is lucky if we remembered to grab hers out of the car. Lunches are always the same unless we ran out of something – drink; half a pb&j; pepperoni and gouda (what a snob!); grapes or apples; fruit leather; and something snacky like pretzels or dessert (usually Quadratini squares; but Halloween has worn down my resolve on crappy sugar products) for little d; half a pb&j; more fruit; more fruit leathers; and pretzels or cheddar bunnies for miss poopypants (she gets enough sugary snacks at daycare). little d’s lunchbox has reusable containers while miss poopypants gets wax paper bags.

If Big D isn’t up by then; there’s one last attempt to rouse him happens before I start getting shitty. little d is self-sufficient regarding getting dressed though you have to insist on underwear changes and confirm they actually happened. miss poopypants likes to run around naked which doesn’t work well for someone who’s not fully potty trained. Usually by this point I remember I haven’t changed her pull-up; find some clothes for her (much easier now that her clothes have a home in a dresser and not just laundry mountain limbo); and try to remember where we took her shoes off last night. Forget showers; they don’t happen for me in the mornings unless I have a nervous breakdown. I’m lucky if I can wash my face; pull my clothes on; brush my teeth and hair; and slam some mascara on. Occasionally if everyone cooperates I can find some jewelry. Half the time I leave for work without underwear – not on purpose.

We negotiate who’s taking who where (usually me both places on my work from home days). Occasionally if we split things up I can walk little d to the bus stop; more often than not we pile everyone into the car and drop him at the corner either on the way to daycare or on the way back from daycare.

Does everybody have socks? shoes? lunches? Where’s your coat? Put your shirt back on! Where’s the car key? Where’s my phone? Where’s your phone? I don’t know! Do you need keys to lock the house? Who’s taking which car? Who’s coming home first? Did the dogs poop when you took them outside? Did we leave anything on the counters? In the trash? Did we close the doors to the basement/living room/upstairs? Do we need to leave a light on? Is there any gas in the car? Why not? What bank card do you need today? Do you need to take the bus home? I’m picking up the kids today right? Help me get her in her carseat so she doesn’t run down the driveway. Where did all this trash in the car come from? Don’t forget to lock the front door! Is everybody buckled? What did we forget? Where’s your backpack? I forgot to close your door! Everybody ready? Everybody go!

Dropoff at the bus stop is easy; most of the time little d doesn’t want us to stay anyway. Dropoff at daycare is more complicated – someone who used to walk in and say ‘Hi EvereeeBuddieeee!’ now clings and cries. Once extracted from the monkey girl I can take a deep breath and start thinking about the office. On work from home days I stop for caffeine on my way back home; office days involve catching a bus; hoping for a seat; and vegging out for a few minutes before flashing a badge and hitting the x-ray machine. I’m already exhausted and the morning hasn’t even begun.

I’m just a little bit stubborn

about New Year’s resolutions. They’ve never worked in the past – instead, they’re just good ideas that I’ve either forgotten about a week later or felt guilt over for screwing up. Life is messy, as we all know, and mine seems to be a messier one than most. 2009 was mostly reactive, putting out fires that I didn’t start, playing catch-up, and adjusting to yet another new paradigm. A month without an oven between Thanksgiving and Christmas certainly didn’t help.

But, 2009 was also a year where I learned more than I thought I would. And I think these little lessons, tapping me on the shoulder or clunking me on the head, are doing more to inform my goals (NOT resolutions, on purpose) for 2010. So maybe you (especially the lurkers, Leah – I know you’re there!) can help to hold me accountable in 2010. I apparently learn about everything the hard way.

Here goes:

  • Be more mindful of where the money goes. I saved $2,509.67 over the course of 2009 by setting aside the cost of a salted caramel signature hot chocolate – plus tax! – each day. I still struggled with another $4 drink that shall remain nameless, but I’m getting there. The goal was to set that money aside and not touch it, which of course didn’t actually happen. But the little emergency fund that could saved my financial ass more than once this year, got me back into the habit of saving, made me realize I didn’t really miss that small amount of cash that I otherwise frittered away, and reminded me that I need to pay more attention to my family’s financial situation. I, who was once incredibly anal about balancing my checkbook, haven’t wanted to look at it since May of 2008. That act of sticking my head in the sand has kept me from realizing that being detail-oriented is actually a good thing. This overwhelming part of my personality is an asset, both when we have a bit of a cushion, and especially when we don’t. Big D and I have started having real, substantive discussions about our family budget, and are making changes that should help keep us in line and not so willing to spend cash at the drop of a hat.
  • You can’t forget yourself in the process of getting through the day. Because of Big D’s school schedule, it makes the most sense to have me manage miss poopypants at daycare. So that means running to get her there, running to work, running through the day, running to collect her, running to get home and feed her before she turns into Jack-Jack from The Incredibles, running to put her to bed, running to organize the house, etc. Weekends are catchup and prep time for the week, not much of a break. With this as my standard schedule, and the running back and forth to deal with my mother’s house for the first half of the year, no wonder I survived on caffeine and sugar. My yearly grope and feel was a wake up call that my frayed emotions weren’t able to ignore: 22 pounds and 14 points on my blood pressure in one year meant I was going to kill myself at this pace. As much as my brain told me to keep going to get everything done, I’ve had to retrain myself to recognize that it’s not possible, my kids aren’t going to be young forever, and if I don’t relax I *will* pop a gasket.
  • The internet is a blessing and a curse. Both Big D and I are guilty of burying our heads in our data plans, surfing facebook and ignoring each other and the kids. I’ve had some so-called friendships blow up in my face because of social networking. But we’ve also gotten to know wonderful people, renewed old friendships, and learned more about our world, our environment, and our interests. Moderation needs to be the key – both in what we say or don’t say, and in how much time we spend. Our interpersonal relationships are enhanced by the internet, but honest to goodness, flesh and blood people are at the core.
  • I am more than what I do for a living or whom I parent. As much as I love and need my job, and dote on my kids, I can’t forget who I am. Most of the time, that person is dormant – caring for young kids pretty much demands it – but glimpses of what I enjoy need to surface on occasion so I don’t lose my me-ness. If anyone has any ideas on how to actually make this happen, I am taking suggestions!

And one hard and fast goal – miss poopypants WILL be in her own room by the end of the month, come hell or high water. We’re both getting sick of being beaned with binks at 6:30 am.

sick as a dog…

… is my latest excuse. So is dealing with small children and a partner in graduate school. And a full time job, and a messy house, and two large loud dogs, and and and….

I will get better. Spilling my guts is cathartic, and Lord knows I could use some catharsis every once in a while.

In the meantime, here’s our family pileup for our holiday cards. How’d miss poopypants get up there?

two and a half weeks of chaos

I love back to school season – the air cool enough at night to close the windows and actually use the blankets, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new shoes and looseleaf paper. It’s even better when your kids are the ones going back to school, so it’s not you that has to get on the bus and look around with trepidation at who’s going to be nice enough to you to let you sit next to them. Your stomach still does the flip-flop, but this time, it’s only in sympathy.

This year, though, I am the only person in my house not going back to school. However, Big D didn’t get The News until the first week of August – as one does when one has applied for graduate school at the absolute last minute. The first day of smiles and relief and celebration was quickly replaced by the realization that 1) we have nowhere to put Miss Poopypants, 2) we have to fund a lot of out-of-pocket expenses for Big D’s grad school startup costs, 3) and the scheduling is horrific. I’m surprised my hair hasn’t fallen out yet, what with all the pulling and rending and gnashing currently happening.

Miraculously, 1) is now under control, and Miss P started on campus daycare last week. Other than the fact that she took a 14 hour nap on Sunday to catch up on her Very Busy and Important first week of daycare, she’s happy as a pig in mud. 2) is more or less worked out with the help of half.com, and 3) is becoming more livable. Big D’s Big Day is today, and the freshly sharpened pencil smell has gone to his head. The world’s largest backpack has successfully put the world’s largest smile on his face. The juggling continues until the end of next week, when Little D gets back into his rhythm of trepidation, but hopefully being a first grader will give him some street cred at the back of the bus.

Now I just have to figure out how to surreptitiously take a picture of Big D’s first day of school…

All capitals = unnecessary preaching

Have you noticed that the yuppie-friendly corporations are preaching a lot these days? Most frequently in all caps, block print, presumably to get your attention. For example:

IMG_2850A little bit preachy, mostly informative, and making the consumer feel good about themselves for recycling. Or, on the same bag:

IMG_2849_2A slightly more pointed reminder of plastic bags floating in the middle of the ocean and trapping innocent fish and birds across the board. Upping the guilt quotient quite a bit.

These days, I have one particular all caps word staring at me more than I would like to admit:

IMG_2852Um, no, I’m really not. I am a pioneer in using way too many recycled cups. And YOU are making me feel darn guilty about it, Mr. Recycled Cup. I don’t particularly appreciate that.

My ongoing problem reared its ugly head when I brought a bag that used to be a plastic bottle home from work full of pioneering recycled cups to re-recycle. And then I noticed how many of them there were. Let me rephrase: I work three days a week in my office. And in the course of about a month and a half, I bought beverages in this many cups:

IMG_2847_2Twenty-one. That’s not counting the ones I drank in the car, or got on the weekend, or sucked down while on vacation because I got 6 hours of sleep the night before, or treated myself after dropping off little d at school on my work from home days. That’s *only* the ones I drank at work and brought home to recycle.

It’s a good visual representation of my stress levels this month, and appalls me that I have such a crutch. But, I’m so dependent on it that I need to wean myself off now – caffeine-withdrawal headaches are once again part of my vocabulary.

Thankfully, I don’t have any major things planned for the rest of the summer, other than cleaning up the house, enjoying Big D, little d, and miss poopypants, and remembering what I like to do. What makes me tick. What makes me happy and rested and not overly bitchy. It certainly isn’t caffeine.

In the meantime, I’ll be putting $86.52 into the guilt fund to remind myself that I shouldn’t be able to make a pyramid out of my paper cups anymore. I don’t think I got enough pleasure out of that pyramid to make it worth $86.52 of my time and energy.

my latest excess: unreasonable expectations

Most people think I have my shit together. And on the surface, it certainly seems that way. I have a job that I enjoy that pays me a handsome wage, a happy and fulfilling relationship with Big D, two gorgeous and crazy little ones, a comfortable house, newish car, leather couch from IKEA that my dogs have not yet ripped apart, new Apple with a screen that goes on for miles. What else could a girl want?

Time to think, for one. I’m anal retentive and neurotic and a professional planner. That means I need to be organized and have a plan in place for everything – monthly bill-paying, home renovations, meal planning, you name it. And under the best of circumstances, I would take time out each week to update, manage, and assess the plans for efficiency. It’s a great system. Now if life would only let me use it.

Because even though I have my shit together, my spectral aura must be screaming out “Dump more stuff on her! She can take it! She’ll rise to the challenge!” So since I’ve become an adult, I’ve had to:

  • move out of my parents’ house without their knowledge to maintain my sanity at age 17
  • manage being the primary support for a suicidal relative
  • see my father wither from Parkinson’s disease for over a decade
  • marry someone I thought I knew, but didn’t – *really* didn’t
  • care for a dying relative for three months while in graduate school
  • put my then three-year-old son through a divorce (thankfully, an amicable one) and start out on my own all over again at age28
  • deal with becoming unexpectedly pregnant five months into a new relationship
  • manage my mother’s pitiful financial situation while my father lay dying
  • integrate Big D into my household, which was interesting given our respective baggage
  • pop out my second baby over nine pounds, without an epidural (or any wish to have one)
  • have my mother spite me one more time by dying unexpectedly less than one year after my dad, on the day I was moving into my new house
  • deal with three houses and three cars and two kids and two dogs for a solid six months
  • and and and…

I haven’t had time to assess whether I’ve kept my shit together or not. Frankly, I’ve jumped from one crisis to the next, always reacting and trying to put out the next fire. 2008 was a particularly stressful year, because miss poopypants came along, I started an intensive leadership program, moved, lost my mother, and gained massive amounts of paper to push at work. I’m quick to cry when easily frustrated (though less now than six months ago), haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in over a year, and am more or less caffeine-dependent after being off the stuff for a good six years. Hobbies? Don’t even remember what they were. Books? Good for the bathroom, and that’s about it. I can’t stop moving when I’m at home, for two reasons – 1) there’s always something to do, and 2) if I stop moving, I fall asleep. Thank goodness my biological clock is aching for more babies, otherwise I’d never have enough energy to get laid.

And yet I still expect more of myself. I expect that I can be a better partner, mother, employee, housekeeper, and do so while being thinner and eating healthier and cooking all meals at home and attempting to be frugal….. and I don’t know why. My expectations of myself and my abilities are still framed around my time in college, I think, when I took a tougher-than-average courseload, worked a part-time job and had an internship, and still had time to paint and go to flea markets on the weekends and plenty of time to navel-gaze. Why don’t I have any free time now? Why can’t I get the house cleaner? Why can’t I clean out the garage and finally park my car inside?

My expectations are probably the most excessive – and destructive – part of me. So maybe I shouldn’t obsess over every expensive drink I consume, for the money or for the caffeine level. Because when I cut back there, I compensate with sneaking old Halloween candy and coveting little d’s Easter bunny. Or if I cut back there, I can’t stop thinking about guacamole. My rewards for dealing with stress aren’t awful – a latte here or there is certainly better for me in the long term than drinking alone – but I’ve come to the conclusion that my high stress levels need to be the first thing to go. They are truly excessive and in the end, the most harmful thing for me. I’m working hard not to obsess about the sink full of dishes because the kids that dirtied them won’t be kids forever. The laundry on the bedroom floor is truly less important than enjoying the reason why it was tossed there. My family keeps me grounded, keeps me sane, and deserves my best – not half of my attention while my eye is on the dirty floor.