Monthly Archives: August 2012

Potty Trained: 5 Things No One Mentioned

I’m not sure what I imagined about life after Princess was potty-trained. I thought about being able to drop her off at the Ikea child care area and being able to swim at the town pool. I had vague images of bowel movements occurring without my help and not even noticing when she went to pee.

Now I’m proud to say we’re done- in undies, even at naptime and at night.  (It involved a complex charts and prizes and some Resolve but we did it.  You can find some of the tools I used on this Pinterest board– might as well follow me while you’re there.) Sadly, I now know there is a dark underbelly to this post-diapers world that no one tells you about. I thought I’d share so you can be prepared.

1. Your child learns to use and abuse 5 powerful words.

“I have to go potty,” she says. Every time, I respond quickly and happily, like a well-trained labrador retriever. Full shopping carts are left in the middle of the aisle. The hot meal I was just served and brought a forkful to my mouth of is forgotten. Feeding baby brothers are dropped like hot potatoes. Bedtimes are pushed back. Once the nearest potty is reached, most times I am rewarded with the sound of the tinkle hitting the water. Sometimes, though, I just get a sheepish grin and, “I guess I don’t have to go potty.”

2. That diaper may have been holding his or her pants up.

Diapers are bulky. When absent, pants loss may occur. My in-laws were in a Wal-Mart parking lot when my father-in-law felt a tug on his hand. “Uh, Poppie? I think we have a problem,” she told him. He turned around to see her shorts around her ankles.

3. Every toilet is a new adventure.

They come in all shapes and sizes and levels of cleanliness. Porta-potties, kid potties, camper potties, tall potties- each new one is approached with trepidation. Like only some are willing to accept her offerings. Sometimes I have to promise not to flush while she’s in the stall. If there is one of those jet-propelled why-just-take-the-water-lets-take-the-skin-off-too dryers nearby, she’s probably not going to go at all.

4. Strangers are going to be lured into conversations about feces.

I waited until we got to my hairdresser to give Princess one of her potty presents, a pink Barbie laptop (purchased at a consignment shop.)  I knew this would keep her quiet while she waited for my cut and color to be over. While she was playing, another lady arrived and sat next to her.  At first, Princess made the usual small talk- “I know all about snakes. My aunt Courtney is coming over tonight. We’re going to see Mimi today.” (She doesn’t, she wasn’t and we weren’t- but that’s ok.) Then she says, “This is my poopie computer.”  I prayed the woman wouldn’t ask. But she did. “I got it for making a poopie.  It was huge. Daddy said it was a real man-log and he was a little jealous,” she replied.  Okay, she did say the huge part but the daddy/man log/jealous was avoided only when I quickly changed the subject back to snakes.

5.  Bathrooms are not stroller-friendly.

Not for Princess- for her little brother.  When she was a baby, I would typically hold it until I got to a bathroom where it was okay to drag the stroller or, more likely, until we were home.  Since I cannot ask this of the newly trained Princess, her little baby brother often has to come with us on the trips to these toilets everywhere.  Anyone know if this will result in some trauma for him?

There it is.  The down side to having a potty trained child.  Still pretty happy every time I hear a “plop” in the potty, even if she can’t wipe her own butt.

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Drive that car lady- 3 Good Reasons Why

Have you read this Time Moneyland article on how less consumers are test-driving? Would you actually buy a car without a test-drive? Shoes, okay. A dress, sure. An expensive TV, maybe. But a car, never. Please don’t do it.

The article didn’t specify, but in my experience, women are especially likely to skip the drive. For a lot of good reasons, really. They don’t like being talked down to. They’re really great at researching a purchase online and comparison shopping in general, so they feel the dealer is unnecessary. Worse, they’re afraid that the car will be so beautiful and that new car smell so intoxicating that they’ll make an irrational decision (like that $400 dress with the tags on it hanging in the closet from 4 years ago.) So, they avoid as much time at the dealer as possible.

So, I’m directing this at you – you smart, budget-minded, plugged-in, independent lady.

I know that you’re tech savvy. I know you know all about Edmunds.com and Truecar.com and have read all the reviews and using a special algorithm can determine the best car for you in your budget.

Here are 3 reasons you may not have thought of why you should test-drive anyway:

1. The car’s specs on paper may not tell the whole story. No review is going to tell you that the radio buttons are just out of reach for someone with your arm length or that the lumbar won’t touch the right spot on your back or someone exactly your height will have several blind spots.

2. You can’t return it. Really. The three-day right of recission only applies if someone comes to your house and sells you something, like a vacuum cleaner. (Trust me, I googled this.)  You found the dealer, they didn’t come find you. Even if the dealer wanted to take the car back (and most smart ones would prefer that to a mouthy, unsatisfied customer), they can’t because the transaction costs are  huge; remember, the state’s going to want their cut in taxes and fees for a transfer of title and registration. You won’t get what you paid for it, even if you only put a couple miles on it because the vehicle history report will now say the car changed hands 3 times already. That would be a red flag you wouldn’t pay full price for, right?

3. You need to make sure the car is there. It’s old school and slimy, but some dealers may sell you a car they don’t have. Especially if you’re some distance away from them and aren’t likely to service your car there or spend any more money with them and are only paying a minimal-profit Internet price, they might take a deposit just so another dealer won’t make a sale. From time to time my Internet customers would call me and say,”so, I gave Dealer X a $1000 deposit on that car you told me didn’t exist and couldn’t be located and would have to be factory-ordered and that I’d have to wait 3 months for. They said they had one coming in a week or so, and that was 2 months ago and I really need a car.”

So I know you hate the dealer and don’t want to deal with the test-drive, but it’s worth it. No salesperson can make you buy anything and I promise, even you can resist that new car smell.

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Spider Eats Annoying Fly

Spider Eats Annoying Fly

There were lots of annoying flies this camping trip, so I was delighted to see this one being eaten by a very large spider who had build his web on our awning.  Okay, actually it’s just so rare that I take an interesting picture, I had to include this one on here.  I did alter it a little with Instagram.

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Roughin’ It

Roughin' It

Reflections on the 2012 Family Vacation

With the birth of our second child in May and without the money I used to earn, my husband and I decided that this year’s summer vacation wouldn’t involve an airplane or tropical island.  We’d take the RV to a campground about an hour from our home, Strawberry Park, and hang out for a week.  This was our fourth camping trip of the year, but the other trips were typical weekend trips- nothing extended like this.  In the weeks leading up to the trip, a lot of friends I saw made comments about me “being a real trooper,” “toughing it out,” and “roughing it,” while camping with the new baby.

While we were on vacation, I got to thinking about those comments while I was sitting in the hot tub.  “These are the sacrifices I make, being a stay-at-home mom,” I thought to myself.  I considered a trip to the sauna, deciding instead to refresh myself with a dip in one of the campground’s four pools before returning to the hot tub to pity myself some more.

“No fancy restaurants this trip,” I mused.  Gosh those are fun with a toddler and an infant.  Instead, I ate things like filet mignon my husband cooked to perfection and worked around the infant’s feeding schedule.  My picky toddler ate all her usual favorites, right when she was hungry, even if husband and I weren’t ready to eat yet.  We didn’t get to experience that hunger/exhaustion-induced toddler tantrum that waiting for a table brings.  And how boring for us- we knew she would like her food.

I watched the bubbles float lazily around the perfect-temperature water in the hot tub and asked myself, “Where’s the intrigue?”  All of the vacation mysteries were missing this trip, not just whether or not the Princess would eat her food.  Questions like “Will there be a place to change the baby?,” “Where will I wash out the baby’s bottles?,” “Will the beds be comfortable?,” “Who last slept in this bed and what did they do here?,” are already answered: “Yes, in the camper” “Yes, in my own sink,” “Yes, because you slept on it last week,” “It was me, and not much.”  Blah.

Oh, and thinking of the sleeping situation, it occurred to me that I didn’t even get to share a hotel room with the kids.  There would be no trying to quietly watch TV without the kids waking up.  No finding out what mediocre snacks the hotel vending machine might have. Instead, my husband and I sat outside by a lovely fire and had wine and made s’mores or munched on a platter of cheese, smoked meat and crackers.  Sure, the kids were just a few feet away and we could watch and listen to them on our monitor, but it’s not the same thing as being in the room.  Even when we went to bed we’d be in our own room in the back of the RV.  “Guess tonight’s going to be another evening of guilt-free, grown-up conversation,” I surmised as I got up to take another dip in the adults-only pool.

Refreshed but still forlorn, I slid back into the hot tub and thought about the day’s activities so far.  Minute by minute, there had been activities for my 2.5 year old.  Arts and Crafts, Story Time, a jumping pillow, pony rides and then in the down time there were 3 kids pools including a wading pool.  Princess was exhausted.  I would be disappointed again tonight, “She’s going to ask me to put her to bed early again tonight.  I just know it,” I thought.  No family movie.  Princess and Buster both were getting worn out by all this fresh air.  What parent wants their kid to go to bed early?

Now wallowing in self-despair, I came to a conclusion, “as long as I’m not working, this is what my vacations will be like.”  Ughhh.  What’s a girl to do?  I’m trying to do the right thing for my kids, so this is the way things will have to be.

Growing tired of the hot tub, I headed back to the campsite.  There, the children were still napping but my husband was waiting for me with a fresh Manhattan.

If you’d like to be as miserable as us on your next vacation or next weekend, be sure to check out Strawberry Park  for a great campground with lots to do in lots of clean facilities.  Oh, and if you just don’t want to cook, they do have their own grill with burgers, fries, etc.  Even better, they do deliver to your site!  If you’re new to camping, you can try renting a camper.  Plus, they’re not the only campground around that defies “roughin’ it.”  Check out the Connecticut Campground Owners Association website for listings.  
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