Friday, August 28, 2009

What if the Free Things Go Away?

We take an awful lot for granted. There are so many free services that we use every day that would seriously drop a little wrench in our lives if they suddenly went away. I’m not talking about big things, like things our lives or livelihoods rely on, but the things that allow us to stay in touch and feel connected. It was just a thought I had the other day when I caught a snippet on the radio that intimated that Yahoo wasn’t doing so well. I’ve had my Yahoo e-mail account for at least a decade, I think. I keep all of my personal incoming and outgoing messages to use as a record of my life in Yahoo’s online storage. I figure one day I’ll write a book and need all of that stuff to remind me of events or conversations since my brain seems to retain so little anymore. What if Yahoo suddenly went bust and closed all of its accounts? Would there be any time to back it all up? Is it even possible to back it all up? What about Facebook? How would I stay in touch with my friends, when a large portion of my messages back and forth with them are stored in my FB message box? I don’t even have e-mail addresses for many of them, so having their messages backed up alone would be irrelevant. And Blogger—my online diary. I kept written diaries for the first two decades of my life. I actually enjoy reading them from time to time, as they’re good for a laugh or even a painful reminder of teen angst. Although I don’t get too personal on my blog, it’s still a beautiful record of my beautiful daughter and her beautiful life as she grows up. I don’t keep any hard copy of my posts since I just compose them directly in Blogger. I’m cautious enough to back up my photographs with a double process, though—I load them onto my computer whenever I feel like it, then don’t delete them from my camera card until I’ve backed up what was on my computer onto cd. Just in case. Perhaps I should take such precautions with these other services, but is this little bit of paranoia enough to inspire me to take even more time out of my busy day to figure out how and to back up several years of data? Maybe it should, but I’m hopeful that if these entities were in imminent danger we’d either have time to prepare, or have the opportunity to pay for the services. Seriously, I would totally pay for these (not much, mind you, but if everyone had to pay maybe they’d be able to stick around). I know I have asked it before, but really, do any of you remember what we did before the internet? I guess we just didn’t know what we were missing and used landline phones and passed notes in the hall at school to stay in touch with each other. And wrote letters! Remember stationary? I still have a large box of old blank note cards going back to my childhood. Yes, ignorance is bliss—we never worried about telephones going away, or pencils or pens or paper! I’d love to know what you packrats do to protect your online lives!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Making Progress

We’ve had some tremendous progress with potty training in the last few weeks. Samantha’s been holding her water for longer and longer periods of time, and while she doesn’t always tell us she has to go, we have been asking periodically and she’ll either say yes or no. If we don’t ask she will, occasionally, tell us, although sometimes a bit too late. Of course sleeping is a different story. She will have wet diapers while she sleeps, but that, too, seems to be lessening. When she’s gone in her diaper, she’ll say “wet.” She’s becoming increasingly uncomfortable with being wet, which I think is evidenced by the fact that she pulls her clothes off after her naps and in the mornings when she wakes up if we don’t go into her room quickly enough to run interference and get her on the potty. And pulling her clothes off often includes a big wet patch on the floor. Ordinarily, we’d have let her hang out in her room for a while to play after she wakes up since she can be kind of grouchy and likes to doze a bit more, but that seems to have to come to an end. Samantha still isn’t able to open doorknobs and we keep her room shut at night to prevent wandering (even though she sleeps pretty soundly and stays in bed), but someone suggested that we gate her room instead of closing her door so she can call to us if she has to use the potty. We use the baby monitor, but she doesn’t know that, and I think having an open door may make a difference. I guess I’ll have to say goodbye to my half-hour of coffee and leisure while she plays in the mornings now!

Now I know I’ve said repeatedly that I wouldn’t talk about poo, but I have to talk about it, because I know that in this supportive blogging community, there are many of you out there who are going through the same thing. I find it really helps to read others’ posts about the same subject, and hope I can help some of you, too. So here it is. We’ve also had progress with #2. Several times in the last few weeks, at our prompting, she’s done it on the toilet instead of while she was sleeping. Once she pulled her clothes off after a nap and used the floor. Lovely (more reason to go into her room asap). She felt really bad about this. When I sternly told her off, I then checked for understanding: “Where should you go poo?” “Potty.” “And where else should you go poo?” “Nappy.” Good. A few times she’s woken up whimpering in the middle of the night, and when I’ve gone in to check on her she tells me she has to use the potty, and she does #2. Very, very exciting!

A couple of questions for those of you out there…is the fact that she’s taking her clothes off really a sign that she wants to use the potty or doesn’t want to be wearing her nappy? Do you have any advice for using public toilets? I find this so awkward, and have left her in a diaper when we’ve gone out for an afternoon. Sadly, she will usually tell me she has to use the potty at the most inopportune time, and all I can do is tell her I’m sorry. What a way to destroy progress! I’m completely grossed out by porta-johns and public restrooms in general. When we drove back from Michigan, we stopped at many, and it was pretty traumatic for both of us. Even with the potty seat that I was dragging around with me (it didn’t seem to fit properly on many of the public toilet seats, and I had to do some serious juggling to keep her legs/clothes from touching any part of the toilet, or to keep the potty seat and her from falling in!). What works for you?

School will be starting back up in a couple of weeks, and they’re good about keeping to a potty schedule as well. I feel like Samantha has shown more interest in the last two weeks than she did when she was in school before the summer session started (summer school did not focus on potty training). She’s been sick for the last few days (some sort of stomach bug), so she hasn’t really been into the program, but I’m sure she’ll be right back on track as soon as she’s feeling better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The End of Our Vacation

The End of Our Vacation
Originally uploaded by sammi's mom
Wow, what a whirlwind couple of weeks. To start it all off, we decided we really wanted to take a vacation at some point this summer. We originally toyed with the idea of the Outer Banks (we still want to do this, possibly next summer—if any of you want to go in on a house share and have a true, fun beach vacation out of it, let me know!), then thought about the South Jersey Shore (my home stomping grounds), then decided, at the last minute, to drive to Michigan to see Steve’s sister and her husband. We’ve never been to Michigan, but hopes were high that heat and humidity would be low. The first day or two we truly believed that. Until the heat and humidity kicked in with a vengeance. No worries, though. We were having a really nice time. Until the ill-fated thunderstorm on our 4th night there. We were planning on staying for 5 nights, then driving back the next morning. That plan changed with the crack of a bolt of lightning that hit a tree behind their house, split it down the middle, and landed it on a power line that cut off electricity and water to the house. Ah, the joys of well water with an electric pump and no generator. Not an hour before the storm, we had just been talking and joking about how they had never lost power before. I have to hand it to them, though, they really did plan for it well, strategically placing small flashlights in each room. I knew where two of them were, and jumped for them. We then decided to drive back home the next morning.

A bit closer to home, Samantha and I went with our friends (Samantha’s little twin/betrothed and his family) to a local-ish farm to pick peaches and blackberries on Sunday. It was an incredibly fun time, as there was a ton of stuff for kids to do, but MAN, was it hot!!! Samantha was a real trooper, and managed to help me pick blackberries through her whining (she was hot, tired, and in desperate need of a nap, but still stuck it out!). I asked her to pick just the black ones and put them in my bucket, and after squishing a few between her fingers (and subsequently rubbing her hands over her face and across her sleep-deprived eyes, looking like a deranged, blood-covered, pint-sized homicidal maniac), she found several that were keepers. After a short nap in the car on the ride home, we then happily jumped in our neighborhood pool to cool off. Relief!
On the potty-training front, we’re being more vigilant with her, and she seems to be getting better at it. I had said in the past that I wouldn’t talk about poo in my blog posts anymore, so I won’t. But I will just say she’s been pretty consistent these last few days.

We’ve got our in-home EDCD waiver meeting tomorrow morning. After having to jump through hoops to even find the Medicaid application on the County website (okay, how should I know that it’s found under the “Food Assistance” category???), we’re hard-pressed to know exactly which parts of the application apply to us. It’s pretty nonsensical, as I’m sure many of you can attest to. Wish us luck tomorrow—I’m afraid we’re going to need it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Definitely No Pic This Time!

Okay, well I had to throw some pics in anyway from last weekend before I get into the topic that I definitely didn't have a picture of (thankfully)...

Huggies have perfected their Pull-Ups design to be both a blessing and a curse. I've always got to keep some sort of bottoms on Samantha because the velcro pull-away sides of the Pull-Ups are too much of a temptation for her to resist. Totally super-easy to get off. I think Pampers or Luvs or someone make pull-up nappies without the velcro, but still tearable (only with more effort than a small child can muster). The wisdom in having tear-away Pull-Ups is so that if she has a rather messy accident, you can still take the nappy off without smudging goo all the way down her legs.

So, I made the mistake yesterday morning of asking Samantha to help me get her undressed and out of her jammies. She always helps me to put her clothes on but rarely makes too much of an effort the other way 'round. I asked her to take off her pants, but to leave on her nappy. She pulled off her pants, but of course she didn't leave the rest, and took great pleasure in tearing the sides off, even with me telling her "no" repeatedly. Logic and drawn out explanations of why she shouldn't are totally lost on her. It's all about the velcro. She then got dressed (with assistance of course, although it is pretty fun to watch some of the creative ways in which she puts on her shirts), and I began to think about what a can of worms I may have just opened. Steve called me during the day to chat, and informed me that after her nap yesterday (we let her play for a while after she wakes up before we go in to get her) he went in and found her completely naked, sitting on the floor, playing with a puzzle. No major catastrophe, fortunately. When I went into her room this morning (again, after a play period after she woke up), she was once again naked from the waist down, pulling clothes out of her drawers. I had a little conversation with her about how she needs to leave her nappy on and to learn to tell us when she has to use the potty so we can skip nappies altogether. No response.

This afternoon I was extremely grateful to be at work when Steve called and informed me that after her nap she was again naked, and had a particularly messy accident that he had to spend a huge amount of time and effort trying to clean out of the carpet on her floor. We won't know the extent of the damage until it dries, but he sounded pretty confident. I know the non-velcro, more-effort tear-aways are better, although I doubt they'd stop her now. I know it's just a developmental milestone (or at least that's what I keep telling myself). I know that opening doorknobs is next and we'll have a whole new issue to deal with. I know that cleaning up the cat puke on the bed in the wee hours of the morning this morning was super-easy and almost enjoyable by comparison to what Steve had to deal with today. I know that any and all advice from my friends will be welcomed!!!