Monday, July 27, 2009

Terrible Two's Ain't Got Nothin' on the Three's

I'm convinced that the person who coined the term terrible two's simply auctioned their child off on eBay before their 3rd birthday. Why? Because the three's are HORRIBLE! 10 times worse than the two's.

The Bi-polar, Suicidal, Screaming, Maniacal (if that's a word), Melt-Down, Shoot-me-NOW, Three's

This afternoon, Carson's second dentist appointment was a disaster. (Reminder, first one was amazingly perfect and easy).

Picture me, 8+ months pregnant, sweating dripping down my body, squished into the dental chair with Carson. Because he refused to open his mouth without me.

Sweet, patient, Debbie got 3 teeth (out of 20) cleaned and the jaw clenched shut. It would not open with threats, bribes, or sheer force. The dentist came over to do his check and Carson was a perfect gentleman.

Then Debbie tried to finish up. It turned into "strip dental work" as she bargained with Carson and took off her mask and gown to try to be a "normal" looking person instead of an uber-scary dental hygenist. I was scared for all of us if that game continued. So then we started negotiating with toys.

It ended badly with Mommy and Debbie telling screaming, crying Carson that he lost his "toy box" priviledge because he wouldn't let her finish. That just caused the screaming to increase and intensify.

I made the rookie mistake of bargaining not only the dentist office toy reward but also the pre-planned trip to Toys R Us to exchange one of his birthday presents. So then I was stumped. I'd just told him he couldn't go to the toy store but when was I going to get the opportunity again?

For better or worse, I made him a deal (once he stopped sobbing long enough for me to get a word in edge-wise). We would still go to Toys R Us for the exchange but he couldn't open his new toys until after swim class.

See prior post for disasterous results of last week's swim class. I was terrified of a repeat. I was willing to do whatever it took to keep his bi-polar swing in the positive direction.

Due to 102 degree heat and my car's dead A/C (getting re-charged for this preggo at 8 am tomorrow morning), we spent the next hour killing time at Toys R Us.

All was well until he wouldn't get out of the Bob the Builder ride to give someone else a turn. He stuck his tounge at me ..... oh yes, Nana, I totally blame that on you :-) The bi-polar swing violently hurtled back into the screaming, crying melt-down direction.

With swim class looming, my fears building, and the inside of the car now 112 degrees, we left Toys R Us with me dragging a limp noodle child out by one arm, size 8 Crocs leaving skid marks on the concrete.

I texted Daddy a "steel yourself, it's REAL bad" message, thought briefly about the going value of a blond haired, blue eyed, dimpled 3 year old on eBay, and then tried to put on a smile.

Burger King drive-thru (again, please read prior post for the tragedy of the last trip through BK) for a Happy Meal. There must be a DO NOT PISS OFF THIS PREGGO sign on my front license plate now because the $3.39 kid's meal was still $3.39 even though I got milk!!! Go freaking figure!!

I'll stop rambling to tell you that swim class was just gut-wrenching AGAIN. I stayed behind the air conditioned glass partion, Daddy got tenser and redder with each NOOOO from Carson. Goggles would not stay on. He actually covered his eyes this time so the teacher couldn't put them on. Nice.

I mouthed the words "Let It Go" through the glass because clearly our strategy of threats was not working. Nor was bribery. I wanted to just leave it up to the teacher.

Finally the excruitating lesson was over. I tried vainly to read the teacher's lips as she spoke with Daddy after class. The gist of it was that he is a normal 3 year old boy and we should stop worrying and let her take care of him.

Funny thing, just 5 days ago, our pediatrician delivered the devastating news that 3 is waaay worse than 2.

So hopefully we make it through the next 3, 6, 9 months? Carson's terrible two's lasted about 5-6 months.

Speaking of his 3 year check-up, Carson is 35.5 pounds and 39.5 inches tall which puts him in the 85th and 89th percentiles. Everything else was good. He is a lifetime member of the Mirilax club. Thank God they sell it at Costco.

The dentist is concerned about his bite. I can hear the cha-ching of braces and head-gear now.

And as for me, 102 degrees does NOT agree with me. There are a few items on my "I never will" list. Mini-van is #1 and a mu-mu is somewhere in the top five.

I am on my way to Old Navy and Target tomorrow to find the cutest mu-mu I can. In this weather, I do NOT want to wear a bra. However, I do not want to not wear wear a bra because my boobs are now resting on my shelf of a belly. The sweat created by this connection is just plain awful.

I might have to hit up McD's cone and a Starbucks Frappachino tomorrow!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Burger King Breakdown & Swim Class Fiasco

I am the person that says what everyone else is thinking. If you know me, you are already thinking of that time when . . . oh yes that was me. I don't like to beat around the bush and would rather have it be known than bitch and vent about it in private.

People and situations can't change without feedback. I like to provide that feedback. I try to be constructive when possible but there are occasions when the filter between my brain and my mouth breaks down and things just slip out.

Example One: Filter broke and splintered into 1000 pieces.

I was at the Burger King drive-thru a few weeks ago. In a hurry. Ordered Carson a $3.99 Happy Meal. I picked the items off the the pictures provided.

Choice #1: chicken nuggets (oh wait- he prefers the chicken fingers). I asked if I could substitute. No problem, says the girl in the speaker.

Choice #2: Apple fries look good. Let's try those instead of french fries. Great, says speaker girl.

Choice #3: A drink. Milk please. We limit juice, don't do pop or chocolate milk (I hear the "fun" moms boo-ing already).

Then speaker girls tells me to pull to the next window and pay $7.49 for a Happy Meal.


In the next three minutes, I changed my order 4 times trying to figure out how she came up with $7.49.

Change #1: Chicken fries are over two dollars more. Why couldn't speaker girl tell me that up front instead of saying, substitutions are no problem. FINE, chicken nuggets then.

$5.49 at the next window please. WHAT?!?

So speaker girl tells me that apple fries are $0.50 extra. So healthy costs extra? And yes, in a large black font, there it was, $0.50 extra. FINE, I'll fatten up my child with your darn french fries.

$4.99 is your new total. WHAT?!? What in hell happened to the $3.99 Happy Meal???

I'm pregnant. I'm hot. I'm hungry. And I'm late to my next appointment. My brain filter is coming apart at the seams.

Then speaker girls tells me milk is an extra $1.

My filter is hanging on by a single, loosely dangling thread.


She has the audacity to tell me that it says right next to the milk that it costs extra.

NO IT DOES NOT!! I even have my new glasses on for seeing far away and I'M NOT SEEING IT.

Yes mam, it's there, perhaps you should look closer.

My filter blows into a thousand tiny pieces. One of those tiny pieces lands on the sign next to an even tinier asterisk next to the picture of milk. And beneath the 4 drink choices, in itty-bitty type, it says "subject to extra charges".


And I peeled out of the drive-thru with tires squealing. I think there was smoke coming out my ears.

Looking back, it was probably a good thing that I was able to fly out of the drive-thru and immediately exit the parking lot. I wasn't stuck going through a creeping line at that point and didn't have to face speaker girl staring at me in shock from her comfortable cashier perch. I might have reached through the window and strangled her at that point.

My karma was shot for the rest of the evening.

Example #2: Filter Intact, Constructive Feedback Provided.

We pay a lot of money for Carson's swim lessons. $16 per class. But it is totally worth it! He is learning to swim, not just playing in the water.

Carson's new "independent" class has 4 kids. They equally share 30 minutes of the instructor's time. The way I see it, now we're paying $16 for 7.5 minutes of instruction.

So when one little boy cries the entire class, won't keep his goggles on, and monopolizes the entire 30 minutes because he won't do what the teacher asks (just struggles and screams NO), I get a little frustrated.

We let it go through the 2nd or 3rd class and then I decided I couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer.

I spoke with the pool manager and expressed my concerns that perhaps this little boy was not quite ready for the independent class. I was given two options.

1. Try this class again next week with the knowledge that the teacher is now aware that she has a set of less than satisfied parents on her hands and needs to figure out how to give Carson 1/4 of the 30 minutes. Being a former teacher, I was confident that once the teacher was aware of it (and I suspected she already knew before my feedback), it would no longer be a problem


2. Switch to the earlier class. Unfortunately it takes every minute from 5 pm to grab to-go dinners, meet up with Daddy, and fight 30 minutes of traffic to get to the pool by 6:30 so we really were hoping to avoid that option.

So I agreed to give it another week with crying, annoying boy.

The next week goes great! Teacher makes crying boy's parents sit on either side of the pool and help him stay focused and happy. If he starts to take up too much time, she shuttles him back to the side and gets the next kid.

Problem solved. Yay for constructive feedback!

And while you think the story would end here, sadly, it doesn't.

Just two weeks later, it's Monday night, evaluation night, when the parents are told which class their child should be registered for the next term. Kind of a proud time when you hope that the teacher sees how successful and brilliant your child is, because of course you always think they are. And you hope they get to fly up on golden wings to the next level swim class.

And then your hopes are dashed.

Carson was AWFUL. He was THAT kid.

The kid that wouldn't keep his goggles on (this from the kid who would have slept with his goggles on just two weeks ago).

The kid that cried on the side of the pool (because I intervened and told him that if he couldn't keep the goggles on, then I was taking them away, and I did).

The kid that told the teacher NO I won't jump in the pool. NO I won't kick my legs. NO I won't hold still for my back float.

The kid that was MONOPOLIZING the teacher's time and ruining class for everyone else.


Because, suddenly I was that Mom. The one who complained about someone else's kid. Only to now have that kid.

Jeremy and I were at a loss for what to do.

The teacher in me wanted him to stay in the pool because when I told he'd get a time-out during swim class if he didn't cooperate, he wanted a time-out so he could get out of the pool. So in essence, he was rewarded for his bad behavior by getting out of the pool.

But the parent in me was just so embarrassed that we pulled him out of the pool and made him watch the rest of the lesson. He cried the entire time.

$16/30 minutes. We just paid $8 for Carson to stand outside the pool watching his classmates.

And then to add insult to injury, would you believe the original crying, annoying boy had his BEST NIGHT EVER!?!

The cherry on top . . . we send Carson over after class to apologize to his teacher, our heads are hanging in shame, and she winces as she assigns his class for next term. I feel the heat creeping into my ears and our faces are lovely shade of purple.

Teacher: "Well, I WAS going to promote him to Water Safety One BUT given his behavior tonight (insert long pause) I'm just not sure.

I begged, I pleaded. I did what every parent used to do in my classes when I was a teacher. I started giving her every excuse possible for Carson's rotten behavior. I focused mainly on the fact that we'd been camping all weekend and he was severely sleep deprived. I assured her it wouldn't happen again if she would just please promote him. She relented.

Fast forward to next week, Monday morning I get to race to the phone along with every other parent and keep hitting speed-dial and re-dial to get into the 6:30 Water Safety One class.

We have about 5 sessions left in Advanced Parent Tot and I'm going armed next class with stickers, new goggles, a wrapped present, a melting milkshake . . . whatever form of bribery will work to keep my son in the pool, cooperating, and not being THAT kid again.

Keaton Count Down

Wow! Hard to believe I'm 33 weeks pregnant already. As most everyone knows, I am SO READY TO BE DONE!!! When asked when I'm due, I state in 4-7 weeks. I am PRAYING for an early baby to arrive at 37 weeks.

We had a moment of panic looking at the calendar Monday and realizing we were down to 3-4 weekends at home before my due date. And anticipating an early birth, that left us with very little time to tear down the office (nice word for junk, file pile, catch all room).

To help the panic subside, we canceled this weekend's camping trip and signed up Nana for babysitting to get the nursery ready. As I type, the 2nd coat of paint is drying, a lovely shade of brown.

We also canceled our August camping trip. Suddenly camping at 36 weeks pregnant just doesn't seem like a smart idea.

Murphy's Law right . . . if we do all this in preparation for an early arrival, the kid will be late. If we were to leave things to the last minute and camp 1.5 hours away from home, an early birth might just really happen.

As much as I'd like to be a risk taker, I'm a Type A Planner and need everything to be in order.

The 32 week pre-natal appointment went well. Different midwife (they like you to meet all of them before the birth since you don't know who will be on call when you deliver). Nice lady. She looked at my file and asked me if I wanted her to check my cervix.

I was very honest. NO because I really don't want to go on bed rest, work is just way too busy. She was very kind and said no problem. But if my contractions start happening more than 4 times in an hour and go on for more than 3 hours, I have to call in.

Fair enough. I like her.

But the problem is I can't really remember what contractions feel like. Sometimes I think I'm having them and other times I think Keaton is just twisting from side to side.

The crazy thing is that all the rest of my pre-natal appointments are now scheduled AND I'm pre-registered at the hospital!!

I'm "all baby" again. This time it looks hilarious. Probably did last time too but everyone comments on it. I've gained 15 pounds which is less than the 22 pounds I'd gained with Carson at 33 weeks. Pretty happy with that. My goal weight gain is 20 pounds so right on track for that.

My weakness on these extraordinary hot days (and, honestly, on the not so hot days too) is a McDonald's vanilla cone. 150 calories and 3 grams of fat. Not a bad snack at all! Thank God for drive-thrus.

32 weeks with Keaton
32 weeks with Carson

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camping Wedding Weekend

Camping at Trillium Lake, Mt. Hood for my friend Laurie's wedding.

* Gorgeous weather
* Picturesque Lake with Mt. Hood in the background with forest everywhere
* Beautiful wedding
* New truck hauled like a champ

* Carson: Two bloody noses, one massive road rashed elbow, several raging tempertantrums, early morning wake up calls
* Me: Getting bit on the first night by a mosquito the size of a hummingbird on my HUGE BELLY!
* Jeremy: Having to listen to a tantruming 3 year old and a whining, uncomfortably huge, pregnant 33 year old for 3 days.

Random story:

Me, 32 weeks pregnant in a formal bridesmaid gown. I'm not high maintenance and pride myself on being able to get ready in 10 minutes. However, I do require a blowdyer. Trillium Lake Campground, DRY camping (to you novices, that means no power, no water, no sewer hook-up).

While we are a bit spoiled and camp in a 22 ft trailer with massive batteries and enough water/sewer to last us for several days, we cannot use our microwave, A/C, TV/DVD player, or my blow dryer. Tough life, I know!

So I jumped into our MASSIVE new truck Saturday morning with blow dryer in hand searching for electricity. Laurie had given me directions the night before to find her parents rented cabin. Between her preggo brain/wedding craziness, and my preggo brain/late night exhaustedness, the directions were lost in translation.

I drove over a dam, several miles down a gravel road, and finally gave up when the pot holes were larger than my 20" wheels and the private property/no trespassing signs had bullet holes in them.

I circled back and racked my brain for a solution. Drove back to the campground and stalked the campground host with my growling Cummins diesel engine until he cowered like cornered prey. Pointing my blow dryer at him like a gun, I said, "Hand over the electricity or prepare to be . . ."

No seriously, I begged and pleaded like any high maintenance girlie for 5 minutes of power. He looked a bit confused but said yes, as long as I didn't tell anyone. Mission accomplished.

Big sign, little boy

Ain't no way you'll get me in that cold lake!
But apparently not cold enough to stop Carson from dunking his head in!

"Nature walk" as Carson kept insisting on every day
Family pic by crazy fisherwoman who woke up her 3 year old daughter at 4:30 am for the "best fishin'"- said daughter was fast asleep on the dock at 8:30 am when we came by.

Bloody nose #2
Even superheros get the blues

Preggo bridesmaid! Look how nice that hair turned out :-)
Preggo in purple-32 weeks, Preggo in white- 18 weeks, both expecting baby boys!Pre-wedding. Clean, fresh, cute
Post-wedding: shorts rolled up, soaking wet, & covered in mud!

Ummm, smores!
Fire safety lesson
While checking out my itchy mosquito bite, we discovered that my belly button had popped out! Didn't happen with Carson so we were fascinated and disgusted all at the same time.
This required a huge "BanBaid"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Part 2

A birthday isn't complete without family! All three sets of Carson's grandparents, his Aunt Liza & Uncle Ga, Great Aunt Kiki & her friend Peter all joined us to celebrate.
We planned to host everyone on our back patio but woke up to rain! In July! Fortunately my parents live three driveways down and graciously offered to let us move the party (actually I called them and told them we would be showing up at 10 with all the food and guests).
Many presents and yummy cupcakes later, Carson was officially partied out.

Remote control monster truck!

Superhero theme reigned supreme!

Yes, those are real scissors. Poppa is now banned from future babysitting jobs.
Hugs for Grandpa Rader

The big finale . . . a "big boy" bike with real pedals!
Hugs for Great Aunt Kiki (who drove all the way up from California)
Hugs for Grandpa Levy
Hugs for Grandma Levy

Happy 3rd Birthday Part 1

Once again I am WAY behind. And the guilt is made worse by the fact that Cousin Becky (author of Nine is Fine- a must read blog) is totally showing me up with practically daily blog posts . . . and she has NINE children. Excuses aside, here goes!


The eagerly anticipated 3rd birthday went off without a hitch! We have broken the curse of Carson getting sick for his parties (1st- croup, 2nd-Hand, Foot & Mouth disease)!

This year was fantastically easy with the party at Pump It Up Jr. No cleaning before, no crazy food prep, no decorating, no cleaning afterward. AWESOME!

10 hyper kids ran and played at full blast for an hour in a maze of blow up toys. Then we all headed to the party room for a half hour of snacks, cupcakes, and gift opening.

Daddy Jeremy was a hero and traced and cut superhero capes for all of the guests. I decorated matching masks for the full effect. It was so cute!


Boys causing trouble at the drinking fountain!The party room ready for guests, snacks, capes, and masks!
Lucas & Carson
Ellie & Carson
BFF- Ian
Max, Ian, & Kellen
A good-bye and thank you hug! I love you man!

How Old is Carson?

How Old is Keaton?