I Thought the World Should Know

Oliver just pooped in the potty.  And insisted on taking a picture of it.

Don’t worry, I won’t share it with you

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American Idol – the short version

I drove all day on Friday to the Boston auditions for the next season of American Idol.  I will give a blow-by-blow later, but I’m still exhausted from the whirlwind trip, so suffice it to say for now that, at least right now, I am unlikely to be the next American Idol.  There’s a cool story, including really cool people, Ryan Seacrest, someone getting kicked out of the stadium…

But I’m still tired, so I’m getting ready for bed.

Parenting Tip!

I am no god of parenting, and I screw up all the time.  But occasionally I stumble on something that magically works.  Yesterday was one of those days, and it worked again today.  I thought I’d share for the other parents out there who might struggle with the same.

Oliver is three.  He wants everything he sees.  He wants everything he’s not holding.  He has had a blue doll stroller (they were all the rage last year among the toddler set in NYC) for a year, and he and Hazel wind up fighting over it.  So, and because Hazel so rarely gets anything new (besides clothes), I got her a doll stroller.  She loves it.

Of course, that means that Oliver wants it.  He only wants hers; his is unacceptable.  Hazel only wants to play with hers too, which means that I am having the same fight, but now I’m $13 poorer and frustrated because I have two freaking doll strollers.

So, because the pink one is Hazel’s, and we generally institute a ‘you have to share, but you don’t have to share what you’re playing with rightnow or what you love most’ policy, Hazel doesn’t have to share her pink stroller.  Which leads to mega-tantrums by Oliver.  And if you know anything about our housing situation, you’ll know that that could lead to us getting evicted from our apartment.

When Oliver was throwing his tantrum, I kept my cool (woohoo!), and we talked about it.  He said that he really wanted a pink stroller.  I explained to him that we couldn’t go out and get him a pink stroller right then, but that we could start a list of the things that he wants, so that if we’re ever out and want to get him a treat, he can pick something off of the list.

So we made a special “Oliver’s Wish List”, and when he gets upset about something he wants, we add it to the list, and it seems to calm him down and I guess it makes him feel heard and understood.  Right now, his list consists of three things–a scooter, a pink stroller, and a remote controlled Thomas train (I love advertising and its effects on children *cue eye-roll*).

The Potty

Oliver has begun potty training.  If he is naked, he’s a superstar and goes and sits on the potty ever time he feels the need to pass gas.

Wearing underwear, on the other hand–he doesn’t care.  He just lets loose.

It’s gross.  But I’m plowing through it.  But when he’s potty trained, I’m getting the carpet cleaned.  😀

A Study on Bad Timing

Because I am on a flexible work arrangement at work, when I worked mad, crazy hours during busy season, I was able to choose two weeks to take off later in the year without taking official vacation days.

Because Kullervo was graduating in May, I chose the first two weeks in June, thinking that we would have some time together as a family, that I would have nice time in the early summer with the kids to play outside all day, every day before the brutality of summertime hit.  This worked conveniently around the schedule of my current client at work, and it was going to be perfect.

Then Kullervo’s summer annual training with the National Guard changed its dates, so the entire second week that I am off from work, he is gone.

Then we realized the awfulness of bar exam studying, and how it makes law school look like half-day kindergarten.

Still, I have these two weeks to play outside with the kids, “chalking” (as Oliver calls it), taking nature walks, swimming in the pool, basking in the sun (with tons of sunscreen, of course).

It rained for the ENTIRE first week that I was off.  All of this past week has been rain.  Every day.  All day.  If it’s not raining, it’s pouring.  If it’s not pouring, it’s drizzling.  If it’s not drizzling, there’s lightning.  If there’s none of the above, it’s nighttime and nobody realizes it.  And the forecast calls for nothing but rain for the next 10 days.

On top of that, Oliver developed what may be his worst diaper rash ever.  It was so bad that changing his diaper either took two people, or took one person holding him down using acrobatic-style leg calisthenics while he screamed bloody murder, “Don’t hurt me!  Don’t hurt my bum!” and I was certain that someone was going to report us to child services.  The diaper rash turned out to possibly be a blessing in disguise, because it finally convinced Oliver to attempt to use his potty.  And if he’s naked, he’ll use it without accident.  If he’s wearing anything, he’ll just let loose.  (I figure it’s a step in the right direction, right?)

And, because there has to be an ‘and’ here, Hazel appears to be teething, and hasn’t slept for more than about 30 minutes at a stretch at night for at least three nights in a row, which, of course, means that Kullervo and I haven’t slept for more than about 30 minutes at a stretch, and because the first night Kullervo didn’t realize, my boobs are so sore from nursing her every 30 minutes all night long that I remembered why I am fine to wait awhile before having another new baby, because the first few weeks of nursing are a horrible time.

But being inside with two kids all day makes them whiny.  And yell-y.  And bored.  They’re so bored they don’t want to watch TV.  They’re so bored that at the suggestion of a movie, Oliver says, “Um, how about we do something else, okay?”

So, that was last week.  Today, because God realized that I was really, really, really, really, really, really going to need it, it did not rain.  We dropped Kullervo off at Army this morning and headed for the zoo.  We went to the zoo, threw some tantrums, saw four animals (a free zoo makes going with toddlers much more enjoyable, because who cares if you only see four animals and your kids are much more concerned with the HUGE ant they saw walking by the window when they were looking at the bear sloth?), had an argument, chased some birds, and then came home for lunch.  After naptime, we went and tried out a couple of playgrounds we hadn’t been to in awhile (verdict: the first one was ghetto and I worried that we would be eaten by zombie drug addicts or something, and the second one was great with a lot of kids and parents who didn’t appear to judge me as I tried to keep both of my children from dying while perched on high playground surfaces and who lended a hand when it appeared that both were trying to dive off of opposite ends at the same time), and then came home right at dinnertime.

But, because we had to say goodbye to Kullervo for two weeks today, I have been an emotional wrecking ball today and desperately worked to not show the kids so they didn’t get freaked out.  I’ve been tired–I napped right along with the kids today, and it was AMAZING!–and on the verge of tears all day.

So, now I have rambled on and on and on and should probably re-read this before I post it because probably huge sections of it aren’t even going to make sense, but whatever.

It’s Decided

I am about 95% certain that I will be driving to Boston next weekend to audition for American Idol.

Wish me luck!  I’m quite certain that nothing will come of it, but I’m hoping that it will be fun.  Barring that, I’ve never been to Boston.  Barring that, I can jam in the car all the way up!