Saturday, November 19, 2011

Keeping my head above water

BigFinance had layoffs this week. Again. They layoffs were primarily in my division and I personally know several good associates who were let go. This is a particularly hard time of year given the holidays.

While I am thankful to be still gainfully employed the reduction in resources has required me to take on additional tasks on top of what I picked up back in September which is also on top of my regular responsibilities. Needless to say, it's been stressful. I worked until 9 or 10 each night this week and should be working now.

I deliberately pursued BigFinance while I was in grad school because I wanted a good work/life balance. I can only hope that this situation is temporary and once my two big deadlines pass (12/6 and 1/13) my work/life balance can return to normal. In the meantime I am attempting to keep a few things top of mind and find a more zen-like state.

  • Finding time for me. I got a run in yesterday and it was the first time in over a week. Considering I should be training for my 8K on Thursday (eek!! Thursday!!) that's not good. So I'm committing to myself that the computer can be shut down for an hour or two every couple of days so I can get a run in. And I refuse to feel guilty if it cuts into time with Cameron. Well, not too guilty anyway.

  • Keeping the evening hours with Cameron sacred. Aside from when a run interferes I also plan on being present with the family in the evenings. Cameron goes to bed around 7:30 so there is plenty of time to get back to work after she goes down.

  • Eating decently. It can be hard to keep to healthy eating habits when work becomes consuming. I plan to continue bringing a healthy breakfast and lunch to work each day with an occasional indulgence of eating out. I have, however, given myself permission to increase wine consumption.

  • Embracing the holidays. Sure, I don't really have time to get any holiday shopping done but dammit, I love Christmas! So I will find time to put up the decorations, bake the cookies and wrap the presents. And also introduce Cameron to Santa and all the awesome family traditions.

  • Finding the bright spots. Cameron has been so great with potty training. It's hard to believe it was just a week ago we started our quasi "boot camp" with her. She's been in underwear all week at school with only one accident there and two at home. Sure, she hasn't pooped in three days but I'm going to pass that off as a normal part of the learning process. She'll have to go at some point, right?

So that's my plan. I'll check back in and let you know if I'm succeeding. I'll also warn you that my blogging (which has already been irregular) will be even more intermittent.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Potty training bootcamp

Edited to say: Cameron stayed dry all day and came home in her original clothes. Go, Cameron!!

It is fitting that we put Cameron through a potty training boot camp during Veteran's Day weekend, don't you think?

DH and I met with Cameron's teacher on Thursday for a parent/teacher conference. So cute! We learned, not to our surprise, that Cameron can be a little aggressive with other kids. She is certainly bossy with me and DH and that has resulted in some time outs at home. Her teacher is also using time outs (not that they are allowed to call them that) so we will just continue to reinforce that Cameron needs to be nice to her friends and that they don't have to play with her if they don't want to. Considering that Cameron comes through her bossiness naturally (I'm referring to Grammy, of course) we'll just have to keep an eye on it.

During the discussion we broached potty training. For the past few weeks Cameron has consistently been using the potty at school and at home. However, she has this habit of only going a little bit so she either needs to pee again in 15 minutes or she has an accident. But trying to explain to a 2.5 year old how to fully empty her bladder is an exercise in frustration. Plus Cameron wouldn't poop in the potty. She's gotten to the point when she's wearing underwear of asking me to put her in a diaper so she can poop in it. If she's asking that then clearly she is ready to use the potty instead.

DH and I concurred in the car on the drive home that the order of the weekend is underwear and nothing but underwear. For 3 days (she didn't have school on Friday) we hung out at home and watched a lot of TV. We limited liquids and made sure she was on the potty every 45 minutes or so. And we had success! She even pooped on the potty a few times. We still kept her in diapers for nap and bedtime but that was it.

We ran a few minor errands (groceries, Target, library) and she did great. It helps that she likes to try out bathrooms in public places. There was one major accident last night right before bed but I blame myself for not being as insistent as I should that she at least TRY to use the potty. Lesson learned.

So for the first time ever, Cameron is in underwear at school. Along with 3 changes of clothes. DH bet me a million dollars that she would not come home in the same pants she left with. Needless to say, I am no fool and did not take the bet. But I'm still secretly hoping Cameron kicks ass. Wish her luck!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Pacifier Plan

Over the past year plus we have made major modifications to when Cameron can have her pacifier. First it was not during the day except car rides or naps/bedtime. Then it was not in the car (except for long road trips that incorporated nap time). Then at age 2 she moved into the 2s room at school and she was not allowed to have her pacifier at school. But we did still let her have it for naps and bedtime at home.

Now that Cameron is over 2.5 years old it is time to start weaning her completely. If we let her keep having the pacifier then she is more apt to sooth herself back to sleep when she needs to get up and go to the bathroom, thus halting our potty training efforts (which are not going well, which is a whole other post). So the pacifier must go.

It's a rite of passage for many toddlers, I know, and it's something that has to happen sooner rather than later. But a part of me is sad. Not so much that it reflects on my baby becoming a big girl, but more about how we are removing a comfort from her and telling her that she can't have something precious to her because it's somehow "wrong." Intellectually I know as she gets older it is bad for her teeth (although given our family histories Cameron will not be able to avoid braces), and I'm sure there are other psychological impacts that I'm not willing to troll the Internet to look up and depress myself with.

So here's our game plan. For the next 6 weeks we will be prepping Cameron for the final removal of pacifiers. Friends of our recently had a second baby and we are leveraging him like crazy to bring Cameron into compliance. We are doing this gradually with a lot of talking and prepping because that's how Cameron rolls. She is not a "rip the Band Aid" kind of kid. She needs to know exactly what is happening and why or she goes ballistic.

We are telling Cameron that she is a big girl now (she agrees) and that Gabe is a baby (she agrees). Only babies need pacifiers (no real agreement yet). And Cameron has to give her pacifiers to Gabe because he is a baby and needs them (sometimes agreement, sometimes wailing "NOOOOOO"). We have 6 weeks to prepare her and the pacifiers will be officially given to Gabe after our trip to Florida in early December.

So, what do you all think? Do we have a chance of success or is dragging it out that long too painful for all of us? What did you do to remove the pacifier from your kid(s)?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Give me candy"

This year was Cameron's first to go trick or treating. So we did what any other neurotic, Type A parents do: we attempted to prepare her for the experience. Up first was buying the costume. I trolled the seasonal aisles of Target about 6 weeks ago while they were fully stocked up to find the perfect costume. There was no way I was making a costume for her; my precious free time is saved for catching up on my rapidly filling DVR and shopping.

I was amazed at the number of gender specific costumes available. Most of the girls costumes, even the toddler ones involved far too little fabric in my opinion. They were also very princess oriented. Now, I am a proponent of princesses and have been known to buy a princess oriented item or two (or a dozen) for Cameron but considering it would be cold outside I immediately dismissed those. So we ended up with a very cute and very warm dog costume. Cameron approved and then it immediately went into the closet so she wouldn't bug me to wear it every day. Mommy is no dummy.

We attempted to put black grease paint on her nose and were going to draw whiskers but Cameron's constant rubbing of her nose put the kibosh on that.
For the past two weeks we have been coaching Cameron on what to say when in the process of trick o' treating.

DH or me: Cameron, after we ring the doorbell, what do you say?
Cameron: Trick or treat. Give me candy.
DH or me: The "give me candy" part is kind of implied. Why don't you say, "Happy Halloween" or "thank you" instead?

Cameron's vocabulary, despite being large, did not include the verb "imply," but we managed to keep her to the "trick or treat" during the actual door to door process.

DH also carved his first pumpkin with Cameron. Since it's been (in his words) 2 decades since he carved a pumpkin last, I think he did pretty well, don't you?

DH tried to get Cameron to use her hands to scoop out the seeds and pulp but she insisted on using her play kitchen spoon.

Happy Halloween! Cameron shows off her loot.