Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Potty training...

...is not going well. At all. I need your help. Noah seems to be regressing as in we were so sure he was ready for underpants, he had really gotten excited about using the potty, and he was letting us know when he had to go. Now, however, he's begun to wet his Pull-Ups all day at school, tells his teachers he's wet and he doesn't care, and yesterday afternoon he had THREE #2 accidents within an hour. One of them was in just shorts so I bet you can tell how that one ended up. Thank god for anti-bacterial spray and hardwood floors.

We have tried m&ms as rewards for each successful potty trip. We have tried bigger rewards for staying dry and using the potty over longer periods of time i.e. days. We have tried offering special outings as incentive to stay dry/use the potty and HE DOESN'T CARE. We have tried taking away bedtime books for days when he's wet or refuses to use the potty at school. We have tried taking away toys, outings, anything that seems "special" to him. He doesn't care. And when I say he doesn't care, I mean he tells me he doesn't care and is completely unfazed. It seems like rewards for GOOD behavior don't work and neither does punishment for BAD behavior.

We have tried explaining that "when you're a big boy who goes on the potty and not in your pants, you get to do special big boy things like go to the bounce house place/go to the fire station and sit in the fire truck/go to the pool/etc." and he nods in agreement and says that he'll be a big boy and go on the potty. And then...nothing. Wet all day. Most of his friends at school are potty trained and even the peer influence doesn't seem to be working.

I thought maybe it's that he's at school all day and they can't be on him like I can when we're home. But we've tried the "stay in for the weekend, run around without pants on, potty victory" party and it doesn't stick once he's back at school. Very rarely will he tell us he needs to go potty and will just go...in his shorts, in his underpants, in his Pull-Ups, in his diaper. It doesn't seem to matter if he has something absorbent on or not.

I'm sorry this is rambling and slightly incoherent...I just don't know what else to do. What worked for you? Charts? More incentives? Taking away toys/books/trips? Do you think he's just not really ready and we need to back off for a couple weeks? Should we just back off and wait until after baby is here and things have settled down? Maybe try again when I'm home on maternity leave and we can focus on it some more?

Sigh. We've been at this for nearing five months and I am reaching my capacity to deal with it. This kid is smart, I'm pretty sure he gets the drill, he just won't DO IT. Any advice?

(P.S. Tim told someone the other day that I was a "mommyblogger" and my feathers got all ruffled and I was like "I write about more than our kid!" and then I realized that no....I don't. I have to accept the fact that I am a mommyblogger who writes about potty training. It's a thrilling ride over here, is it not?)

Monday, August 29, 2011

32 days, ice cream cones, and snip snip

I had a bit of a nervous breakdown this morning when I realized we are 32 days/4 weeks/ONE MONTH from having this baby. Oh dear. In Sara time, that's like TOMORROW. I apologize if every post for the next month is composed of "!!!!!!!" and "?????" and "Where is the ice cream?"

Speaking of ice cream, I am very much in love with the Nestle Drumsticks with the Caramel Center. Why don't they ALL have caramel centers? Whereas Noah was made up of gooey cinnamon rolls and apple pancakes, this baby will be composed of vanilla/caramel/chocolate ice cream cones dipped in peanuts and Chipotle chicken tacos (extra sour cream).

We spent the weekend steam rolling ahead on our "Pre-Baby To Do List". The nursery is allllllmoooosssst done which delights me to no end. I can't wait to share pictures with you all...it's my happy place right now and I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in the rocking chair looking around. I also patted myself on the back when Tim located the bin with the "baby accessories" i.e. the infant head support, bundle me blanket, swaddlers, nursing cover, etc. The back pat wasn't because he found it but because I was actually smart enough to box it all up TOGETHER. I believe that was in my pre-work out of the house days when my brain was slightly more functional and I had my act together. I totally deserved the back pat and self-congratulations.

And in the vein of oversharing (because it is what I do), it looks like Baby Girl Smith is going to be the last coming out of this factory. Mr. Smith has decided to shut down operations permanently following her birth. This is obviously a personal decision we made together (he slightly more FIRM on the matter than I, his beloved bride ten years his junior) but a small part of me is sad that the possibility of one more is off the table. I know he's right though: two kids is his limit. Two kids feels right for us. And last time I checked having another baby when one spouse wants one and the other does not is not exactly good for the marriage. All I know is that he better wait until I have fully recovered from birthing this baby because I WILL NOT listen to him complain about the "pain" or being "uncomfortable". I might toss a bag of frozen peas his way and tell him to buck up.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

35 Weeks

There are no words for the state of this belly. Seriously. No words.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things I miss...

About staying home:
-the moment when you put your child down for a nap and close the door.
-the way I would sit on the deck during those naps, laptop in place, taking a little "me" time in the middle of the day.
-the way the sunshine streams through my bedroom window at 2 pm.
-the way the house was always so neat and clean and my closets were in some semblance of order.
-Target on Tuesdays at 10 am...aka the time of day when it's all moms, all the time, and the shelves are actually stocked.

About not being pregnant:
-my waist.
-the ability to buy new clothes that don't make me look like a beached whale.
-cute shoes with a heel higher than 1/2 inch.
-visiting the bathroom a few times a day and not a few times an hour.
-not having my internal organs used as punching bags.

About being 25:
-wrinkle-free skin around my eyes and no spots (what is with all the spots???).
-planning my wedding...that was so much fun and I secretly look at our wedding album on a regular basis.
-feeling earnest at work and thinking I had the world at my feet.
-Happy Hour.

It's ok to miss things as life changes. Anything you miss in yours?

P.S. Stop on by Style Lush today and check out how I got my craft on over the weekend...and a sneak peek into our baby girl's nursery!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A love letter to my first born, as he turns 3

Dear Noah, my sweet son:

For three years it has been just us, the three of us, growing, learning, and laughing our way through life. Ever since your beautiful birth I have been enamored with you. I have memorized the curve of your cheek, the deep blue of your eyes, the dimple in your chin, the way you fit snuggled into the crook of my arm no matter how big you grow. We're two pieces of a puzzle that always fit together, a mama and her little boy.

I drink you up on a daily basis and wish for more after you are tucked safely into bed each evening. I delight in all the new things you learn, the songs we sing, the silly games we create together that instantly turn a bad day into one that sparkles. I love hearing your voice call for me in the morning and the delight in your eyes when we meet at the end of a day apart. I love how you love me: deeply and without reservation, a mirror of the love I put out there to you.

You are so very special. You are not perfect and you never will be. You should never try to be. You should always be you...the you that you are becoming. You are funny and have perfect comedic timing. You are stubborn and emotional. You are so very smart and easily bored. You live for each moment and yet appreciate predictability. You are sweet with your kisses and fierce with your hugs. Each and every trait that makes you YOU makes me love you even more. I am so proud to be your mother.

I am humbled that I have been given the gift of raising you with all of the accompanying errors and accomplishments. There are days that I fret I am making too many mistakes, irrevocable mistakes, but then I see you sweetly share your sand toys with a little girl at the playground or apologize without prompting when you hurt a friend's feelings. It's those moments when I know I am doing something right.

As we get closer to your sister's birth, I want you to know that you will always be my baby boy. But just as our family will be transforming so will you. You will become a big brother and learn a whole new level of love and responsibility. I hope you come to love and adore your baby sister and I will do my very best to help you both foster a special relationship. You will always have each other and please don't forget that.

I will always be on your team, loudly screaming it from the rooftops or silently murmuring it from the sidelines. I will always protect you. I will always be the first to show up for you and the last to leave. I will always provide for you until you can provide for yourself and even then I will give you everything I can offer. I will never stop loving you. Ever.

Thank you for coming into my life and making me a mother. Thank you for making us a family. Thank you for being you.

I love you to the moon and beyond. 


(Yes, yes, this is a month late. Better late than never though, amiright?)

Monday, August 15, 2011

It all started with a bad salad

Want to know what can bring on sudden contractions at 33 weeks?

a) Food poisoning and subsequent dehydration;

followed by,

b) Getting into an accident with your car and a (most likely) drunk bicyclist in a downpour with your three year old in the backseat and yappy dog riding shotgun.

We've all recovered and baby is staying put but, let me tell you, there is NOTHING like major stress in two days when your husband is out of town to make the ol' uterus start acting up. The police officer looked rather concerned that I was going to have this baby in the middle of the street after the accident. To be honest, I thought there was a slight possibility that I would. Luckily, when the nerves calmed down, so did the baby and all was well.

Tim is never, EVER, going out of town again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tricky is right

Noah walks into his classroom last Friday morning, takes one look at his little buddy M, and declares to his teacher:

"Miss E, that M...he's one tricky fellow."

And then walks off to play.

I mean, where does he come up with this stuff? Last night he told me he was going to play in the sand on Mars. I asked him what color the sand was and he promptly replied "The sand on Mars is red!" and I fell out of my chair in disbelief. My genius son! How smart! It was only later that I found out from Tim that he learned that courtesy of a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode about space travel. Thank you, Disney.


The ladies in my family threw me a baby girl shower over the weekend and it was just lovely. There was fabulous company and food, I got to spend time with cousins who don't live nearly close enough, and of course there were the gifts. Oodles of pink and girly-type items have made their way into my home and I am tickled about it.

This baby girl is going to be decked out in all manner of feminine finery. Thank you, ladies!


Speaking of Baby Girl, she has a name! I think. What I mean is Tim and I have come to a compromise on her name and we've tentatively shared it with some people to get a reaction. So far, so good. I still don't know exactly why this baby naming thing has been so tough for me (us). Although the name we've chosen wasn't at the top of my list, and to be completely honest, not on my list at all until Tim and my mother brought it up, it's one that we both like well enough and don't have any previous associations with (totally my issues). It's relatively well-known and recognizable, in the Top 15 (ugh, but whatever, so is Noah...we're not going to win any awards for originality), classic and timeless enough to satisfy me, and works with our last name. On paper, this name meets all my criteria which is how it got moved to the tippy top of the list.

I still plan to come to the hospital with a back-up just in case she comes out and I'm like "OH NO, SHE IS SO NOT A _______________." At that point I will have just given birth so I get all veto power. Obviously.


I have had heart attack after heart attack talking to daycares lately about tuition rates and availability for an infant spot come January.

Problem A: Putting Baby Girl in daycare and keeping Noah at his current preschool full-time will cost us multiple THOUSANDS of dollars a month--as in more money than I bring home. I firmly believe that you get what you pay for when it comes to childcare so I understand WHY it costs so much (and we live in an urban city vs. the suburbs and that affects costs) but it still makes me wring my hands daily. I enjoy working and I really like earning a paycheck but it's hard when you know that paycheck (after taxes and insurance premiums) doesn't cover the costs of two kids in daycare. At that point I'm working because I like my job and not because it's making a financial difference for our family. In fact, we're LOSING money. (I know I have addressed this before but it's playing on a loop in my head and this blog is my therapy as has already been determined.)

Problem B: The waitlists are outrageous. Some are YEARS long. So when I mention January 2012 for a start date I just hear silence followed by a cheerful "We'll add you to the waitlist!" Underlying message: don't hold your breath, lady.

Problem C: Babies are super cuddly and snuggly and maybe I should just stay home forever and ever and kiss her cheeks all day. Wait, this is not a problem...perhaps a solution. No?

If you know any fabulous grandmotherly types in the Chicagoland area who would like to come to our house and watch one tricky fellow and his tiny sister come January, please send them my way.


How is it only Wednesday? How? Do we all agree it should be Saturday by now?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


A tragedy occurred yesterday much too close for comfort. My friend and co-worker came home after work to find that a two year old girl drowned in the pool at the in-home daycare next door. I'm not going to get into all the details because it's not my story to tell but I do know this: the woman was watching far too many children to keep tabs on all of them (TEN!), she wasn't licensed by the state to run a daycare, she has personal/home issues, and she's already been/being investigated by DCFS for another issue. The article in the paper said that the latch on the gate to the pool was broken and the little girl got inside and into the pool. The woman didn't notice she was gone until it was too late. I...I don't even know what to say.
I feel terribly for the family who lost their daughter in this tragedy. She was TWO. Noah was two just two weeks ago. I can't imagine losing him. I can't imagine losing him EVER, but at TWO? Forget it. It makes me shake even thinking about it. This tragedy (and I refuse to call it an accident because this woman put these children in harm's way by taking in too many kids and keeping them in an unsafe environment) brings up another issue as well: how do you know the caregiver/daycare/childcare facility you choose for your child while you work is safe? Each day I give to our preschool my child, my HEART, to protect and I pray to all the gods that he is returned every afternoon as safe as can be. There are no guarantees, this I understand. However, I hope that my gut and my maternal instinct prevail, guiding me to the right place and best decision for my son, for my family. I trust his caregivers to keep him safe and happy even though there will always be a small (read: very large, huge, giant) part of me that worries all day long.

It's stories like this that reinforce the idea behind state licensing and making sure DCFS and its ilk are doing their jobs. I don't think all in-home daycares are bad places and many, MANY, are run by skilled caregivers with the proper licensing and clean records. However, it's places like this one that make me want to scoop up my kid, run home, and never let him out of my sight. Not rational, I understand, but true.

To the family that lost their baby yesterday: I am so, so sorry. May you find peace someday and keep the memories of your little girl in your hearts always.

To the woman who runs the daycare: it's people like you who put fear in the hearts of parents. May you realize the irrevocable damage you have caused to one family and may you pay for this tragedy the rest of your life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Noah-isms or how my kid guilts me daily

Example 1:

Every morning when I go in his room to get him up:
"Mommy, is it a whole together day?" (Translation: Do we get to spend the whole day together? i.e. Saturday or Sunday)
"No, bud, it's a school day and you're going to have so much fun in the Yellow Room!"
"No, I'm not. I would have more fun staying home with you."

Example 2:

When playing in his grandparents' suburban backyard:
"Mommy, can I have a big backyard with lots of grass and trees and a swimming pool and sprinkler to run in?" (Reminder: we live in the city, not the suburbs, and don't have a spot of grass in our tiny postage stamp yard.)
"Someday, buddy, someday."

Example 3:

When discussing names for his baby sister:
"Mommy, we don't need a new baby sister. We have each other!"

Example 4:

When I arrive at school to pick him up:
"Mommy! That is a BEAUTIFUL dress! You look so pretty today! Can I have ice cream when we get home?"

He's the master of guilt and manipulation otherwise known as your average three year old. Tell me, does it end or do they just get BETTER at it?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Far too much detail about a trip to HomeGoods and nursery progress

Friday night I was in a bit of a funk. You know the kind...super irritated by everything and everyone, nothing was making me happy, I couldn't stand to be in my house one minute longer. Seconds after Noah was in bed I grabbed my purse and told Tim I needed to get out and decompress for a little while. When he asked where I was headed (because it wasn't the local bar, obviously) I said, without missing a beat, "HomeGoods" like some junkie who needed her fix. Is that weird? Do you go to HomeGoods to walk the aisles and commune with inexpensive, sometimes random, home decor? No?

Let me tell you, HomeGoods on a Friday night at 8pm is the perfect place to decompress. It's basically empty, the shelves are fully stocked in anticipation of the Saturday/Sunday rush to buy decorative baskets and cheap lamps, and there is no rush to get in and get out. I love it and this trip proved to be so much more than time to refocus...I hit the jackpot for the baby's room.

You see, I haven't done a thing to get her nursery ready. Oh, I bought a new crib and scored a matching changing table on Clist, but other than that I haven't painted the walls, found curtains or sheets or a crib skirt, nor purchased anything that could remotely be used to decorate a baby's room. By this point in my pregnancy with Noah, I had his room completely done and ready for his arrival. Poor second baby...she's already getting the shaft. However, this trip to HomeGoods changed all of that.

Right inside the door was a display of new sheet sets that had recently come in and one set was the PERFECT pattern for curtains: x-long twin set with a white background and geometric pattern in a coral-pink which is the EXACT size/color I wanted for floor-length curtain panels. I snagged it so fast and by sheer luck found a second set buried under the rest. BINGO...into the cart they went. My mood was improving quickly.

In the lighting section I found the sweetest lamp painted in the exact same coral-pink and a beautiful fabric shade that looks like a field of watercolor flowers. I grabbed that sucker and threw it (placed it gently) in the cart. With my energy up and my adrenaline pumping, I headed to the art section...you know, the home of generic, yet perfectly pleasing, faux art. I scored a 24" x 24" canvas of a bird in it's nest. It's graphic and pretty and really colorful. I hesitated only because I thought it might be "too much" but then I remembered these words of wisdom from Her Royal Highness Candice Olson and every other designer on the planet: If you love it, it will work in your room. Into the cart it went.

My last score was an adorable owl pillow much like I have been seeing all over Etsy but at half the price (and also not handmade but beggars can't be choosers now can we?). When I got home and laid out my purchases I sensed an "aviary" theme happening and promptly logged into Etsy and ordered fat quarters of beautiful fabrics with a bird theme. I have yet to decide exactly what I am going to do with said fabrics but I have some ideas involving embroidery hoops. And I just now remembered I ordered two white ceramic birdhouses from West Elm to hang on the wall...I must have a thing for birds. Interesting.

If you've even read this far and thank you if you have, I'm sure you're wondering if I am going to turn said sheets into curtain panels BY MYSELF. That answer is no. Due to time constraints and lack of energy post-6pm, I pawned them off on my mother who is taking them to her local tailor where they will be transformed into beautiful lined drapery panels with a grosgrain ribbon trim. At least that's what I am hoping happens. Instead I plan to make the crib skirt using fabric from the remaining fitted sheets, some iron on hem tape, velcro and a crib skirt tutorial I unearthed online. If that doesn't work out there is this awesome place called Pottery Barn Kids that sells decent crib skirts for a shockingly high price. Or so I've heard.

I've begun painting the walls and the trim, I have big plans for a board and batten treatment on the lower half of the walls, and my house looks like a disaster zone from all the projects we started over the weekend. My mojo is back, people, and IT FEELS SO GOOD.

Pictures to come once things look a little more organized and less like an episode of "Hoarders".