Night Potty Training and An Update

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Diapers don’t flatter my style.

I post so much less frequently these days than I used to. I wish that weren’t the case — I wish I posted more regularly — but the truth is that I’ve grown a little tired of the concept that originally defined this site. Analyzing parenting-related science is so much dang WORK, and frankly, I feel like I’m either preaching to the choir or pointlessly arguing with folks who don’t want to be convinced, depending upon the audience a particular article attracts. I enjoy the “blog” side of this site much more, but I feel guilty if the blog-to-science ratio gets too high, as though I’m eating dessert without finishing my dinner. Lately, everything I’ve felt like saying has been “bloggy” instead of “sciency,” and I haven’t been sharing it as a result. Screw it. It’s my site, right? I’ll leave all the old science posts up for reference, but those of you who have followed this blog from the start will probably notice a change: I expect that the pure science posts will be much fewer and farther-between (if they continue to show up at all). As a caveat, of course, I am me — a “squint” to the core — and I suspect science oozes out of my pores even when I don’t mean it to. Still, if I don’t feel obligated to analyze articles, I’ll probably write more, which is a good thing all around. More

Little Girls’ Swimsuits

I read this article by Pigtail Pals (which eventually made a stir at Blog Her, etc, etc), and it got me thinking. I don’t like the idea of a little girl in a “sexy” swimsuit, and I’d never buy W a string bikini, but what really got my gears turning was the argument for such swimsuits that I saw in the comments sections of the articles. Among them, the idea that a pedophile is a pedophile, and dressing one’s daughter in a specific way doesn’t increase or decrease the likelihood that a pedophile will think bad thoughts and/or do bad things. Regarding this, I heartily disagree.

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W at 9 months old, enjoying the pool with Grandma.

I want to share a story about a friend of mine. He’s a really good, stand-up guy with a moral compass that points due north, is in his late 20s, and is in a committed relationship with a great woman. I saw him at a social event a few years back, and as we were talking, we both noticed a very pretty young woman of about 18 or 19 walk by. She wasn’t dressed inappropriately for the event or for her age. Her clothing was attractive and stylish but not particularly revealing; her hair and makeup were impeccable. Still, despite all the appropriateness, she was one of those people who just sort of radiate a sexy vibe. My friend noticed her. Took another look. Really noticed her. Shortly thereafter, as he and I were still talking, we saw her walk up to a couple around my age and address the man as “dad.” Turns out, she was the couple’s (very tall) 12-year-old daughter, who — when all dolled up — managed to look completely legal. More

The (Dis) Honest Company vs. Honest Toddler

W is done with diapers now, except for Honest Companynighttime (story on this forthcoming), but while she was still in diapers, we moved away from cloth (I got sick of touching poop) and started using diapers from The Honest Company. I really liked their ethos (sustainability, environmentally friendly practices, non-toxic cleaning products, etc). They also have really cute diapers in lots of fun patterns, ship for free (if you subscribe), and send free wipes with every order. What’s not to love?

Turns out, there’s quite a bit that’s unlovable about The “Honest” Company (and yes, I put that in quotes for a reason). I learned today that the company contacted one of my very favorite bloggers/facebook pages/twitterers (is that a word?) — Honest Toddler — and made some thinly veiled threats. You can read the whole story, with updates, here, but long story short, The Honest Company wanted the (longer-standing) Honest Toddler to delete all his (her? its?) accounts, on the grounds that the similar names could “cause confusion,” and if the accounts weren’t deleted, things could “get expensive” for Honest Toddler. More

Weaning My Toddler

It’s 4 am. I can’t sleep because my brain (and my right breast) are full. It’s been 54 hours since my daughter — the one I wryly imagined someday calling me from grade school to come nurse her — had “ne” (our word for nurse) for the last time. Weaning didn’t happen quite the way I’d anticipated it would. It was neither traumatic nor was it completely “child-led” (sorry, LLL). Still, it was, without a doubt, gentle and, in the end, mutual. This is our story.

I’ve been nudging W toward weaning for Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 5.47.56 AMa long time now, because (truth be told) I’m getting a little tired of it. I have little enough milk that the sensation of nursing is, if not unpleasant, at least annoying. I’d rather interact with W in other ways. Still, I’ve had no desire to make the experience completely one-sided or traumatic for her, so my intention in nudging her was largely to assess her feelings about it. I thought I was getting nowhere with all that nudging, but as I look back, I was building a foundation, laying the extensive groundwork. At this early and dark hour, the analogy that comes to mind is that of the Hawaiian islands; eons of volcanic eruption produce underwater mountains that go unnoticed until they eventually break the surface, and when they do, they do so suddenly. W loves stories — both from books and those imagined by my husband and me — and we’ve invented a fictional character “Erin,” who is just a bit older than W. We use Erin stories to help W work through coming changes, prepare for vacations, and so forth. For instance, we’re in Oregon this week staying with family, and W will be learning to ski. She’s excited, and she knows all about skiing, because she’s been listening to stories about Erin skiing for 3 months now. She knows that skiing will feel like sliding on her toboggan, only she’ll be standing up. She knows Mommy will be by her side the whole time. She knows she’ll fall down sometimes, but it won’t hurt the way it does if she falls on the wood floor. She knows (and it’s entirely possible that this is the greater part of why she’s so excited) that we’ll have a thermos of hot chocolate when the lesson is done. Toddlers aren’t great with theoreticals, so telling W “what Erin did” works better for her, in terms of allowing her to form a concrete image in her mind, than telling her what she will soon be doing. More

All I Want For Christmas

So, W has a cute little book called “All I Want For Christmas,” in which a variety of animals request clever gifts. The giraffe wants a very, very, very long necktie, the cheetah wants two new pairs of running shoes, the amoeba wants a one-celled cell phone…you get the idea. It’s one of those books that’s as much fun for grown-ups to read (the first time, at least) as it is for kids. Anyway, the book got me thinking about whatI want for Christmas. Santa, if you’re listening, this is my list:

  1. I want to poop (even just once! I’ll take once!) without having someone sitting on my lap, asking me about the mechanics of what I’m doing, trying to flush the toilet while I’m still going, trying to peek under my butt to see what’s going on down there, or making poop noises and grinning at me.
  2. I’d like my vocabulary back. Should it come to pass that I am talking to an adult, I’d like to excuse myself to “use the restroom” rather than announcing that I need to poop or pee. I’d prefer to refer to “kangaroos” as opposed to “hop-hops,” and “cats” as opposed to “meow-meows.” And I’m pretty sure my husband has a name other than “Baba.”
  3. Hey Santa, if you can swing it, could you arrange for Doof (the lovey) to be a normal, mass-produced toy as opposed to an irreplaceable oddball? As it is, I live in fear of losing the little dude…which we did (temporarily) during errands last week. When W realized he was gone, she was surprisingly calm. She had complete faith I’d find him. I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck as we retraced our steps. We finally found him on a shelf at the bookstore, and Mommy could breathe again.
  4. Oh, one more thing. I know this is asking a lot, but I’d like to drink an entire cup of coffee while it’s hot. Just a thought.

 

What’s on your Christmas wish list?

 

Ok-To-Wake, My New Car, and A Parenting Fail

So, despite this post that I wrote about a DIY “ok-to-wake” timer, we actually purchased a funky little bug-shaped light that tells W when it’s ok to wake up. This is partly because said bug light is cute, and partly because the fatal flaw in my DIY timer plan was that it was a garden-variety night light, meaning that basically every illuminated night light in our house (or anyone else’s house, for that matter) caused W to ask whether it was time to wake up and “Nee!” (nurse). Anyway, long story short, we have an official “ok-to-wake” light that turns green at wake up time. Consequently, we’ve been spending a lot of time lately talking about the bug light, and that if W (and Doof-the-lovey, of course) wake up before the bug light is green, they need to be very quiet. Once the bug light is green, they can wake Mama up (“Nee!”).

In other news, I recently got a new car. Well, car-ish, anyway. We’re a one-car household in a city with minimal public transportation, and in order to combine exercise with the daily commute, I bike to work. Because hauling W and her accoutrement to and from daycare/gymnastics/etc requires more cargo space than I have available on a normal bike, I decided to purchase an Xtracycle, which is basically a commuter bike with cargo pockets. And an optional child seat. And room to haul a cooler of beer, a hibachi, and a side of beef (not that I’ve tried. No.)

One major advantage of W’s and my new bike is that instead of carting her around in a trailer, which puts her significantly behind and below me (and both precludes conversation and leaves me constantly in fear that her silence is an indication that she’s actively choking on a raisin), she’s close enough that we can chat. Consequently, we talk about what we see around us (Birds! Trees!), we count different colored cars, or we sing the dumb little song I made up to accompany Sandra Boynton’s adorable book “Snuggle Puppy” so many times that I start to go a little crazy.

Today, she asked why I was pushing the button on the post near the street. I told her that it made the light change color so we could ride across the intersection. I showed her the streetlight across from us — currently red — and explained that it meant we had to wait our turn. Pushing the button, I patiently explained to her, caused the light to turn green, which meant we could go. She considered my answer carefully. At the next light, when I pushed the button, she repeated her question. I reminded her that the red light meant we had to wait, and that the button would turn the light green. Then, never one to miss a teaching moment, I asked her, And what happens when the light turns green? She grinned at me.

“Nee!”

Sigh. Parenting fail.

A Great Read: “All Your Worth”

I’ve always had a pretty laissez faire attitude toward my finances. I’m thrifty by nature (I was one of those kids who would save my little weekly allowance for months on end to buy “big ticket” items like a push-scooter or a Gameboy) and married a thrifty man. We don’t use credit cards, so we’ve always just sort of let things work themselves out. The other day, though, it occurred to me that we’re still in grad student mode: we always pay our bills, but we aren’t really saving for the future (retirement, college for W, etc). Sure, we have our 401Ks through work, but we haven’t really evaluated whether those are well-invested or whether they’re enough to actually provide for us in the future. Consequently, I decided we needed a financial check-up, and possibly a financial makeover.

Unfortunately, while I have a good head for science, I’m not a financial wizard. I’m not even particularly financially literate. My mom, however, is (not just literate, but a wizard). She recommended a book by Elizabeth Warren and her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, called “All Your Worth.” I checked it out and loved it so much I had to share.

The premise of the book is relatively simple: for financial security, money needs to be in balance. Balance means that 50% of income goes toward “must haves,” 30% goes toward “wants,” and 20% goes toward lifelong savings. I was a little skeptical at first, both because of the percentages (they seemed off to me, and furthermore, I was suspicious of the notion that the same percentages would work for everyone) and because I didn’t really know whether a plan this simple really required a whole book (I hate reading books that take 200 pages to justify a paragraph’s-worth of information). Upon further reading, however, I realized that the book doesn’t just justify the idea, it actually gives practical, how-to advice on achieving money balance. Furthermore, it has simple investing tips, provides information on getting out of debt (for those who need it), has tips on avoiding common scams, and is packed with common sense advice.

What did I like best about the book? Unlike most financial books out there, which tell people who already have lots of money how to make MORE money (“don’t work for your money! make your money work for you!”), this one tells the average person who doesn’t have a pile of investments how to build a solid nest egg for later in life. Definitely worth a read.

How about you? Have you read any great finance books?

 

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