Friday, March 25, 2016

The Great Potty Training Saga: Part 4 - Countdown

Potty training begins tomorrow. My week off technically starts today, but since I finished work at 7am, fuckkit.

I had a couple of things I wanted to post before I venture into town for supplies, but I got waylaid by an email I had to write my mom (may post about that later), and now I'm kind of in a hurry.

Nonetheless, supplies! I'm really getting excited about this.

I've been cleaning up our main bathroom (Windex doesn't really count as a potty training supply, I guess), and I'm going to deck it out to make it as fun of a room for him as I can. Mr. Wolfman isn't keen on those removable wall decals (possibly because he saw what happened to our friends' wall when their toddlers removed them) so I'm going to look for stuff I can suctioncup to the side of the tub, and maybe some window clings for the mirror (the monster has butterflies, but those are going on the balcony door, as soon as we get the lock installed).

The next step is bathroom-only books.  I'm thinking just a bunch of those laminated brochures with different plants/animals/animal tracks. Our grocery store sells them, which is good , because I've just realized it's Good Friday and everywhere else is probably closed.

I've already got Pull-ups for him to wear over his underwear if we need to go out. On my way home from work, I stopped at a convenience store and got a (n extremely overpriced) folding toilet insert that will fit in the diaper bag. I was delighted to see that it has his favourite Sesame Street character on it (we don't have TV, but he has a couple of the toys), which should make him happy.

And, of course, there's underwear. After my (likely short, given the date) shopping trip, it'll be time to sew some PUL fabric on the outside of each pair, then we're all systems go.

I'm a bit nervous.  The "don't train before age 3" crowd has got me wondering if I'm starting too early,  but my monster seems pretty advanced overall, and even we regular folk were potty training before 2, 20-30 years ago. I guess only time will tell.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Conversations with my Monster, Part 7

Me: Do you want applesauce for breakfast?

LM: Cereal!

Me: Ok, cereal. *prepares cereal* Time to hop in your chair.

LM: Chair! *goes to chair*

Me: *does up lap belt*

LM: Click!

Me: Time for the tray. *goes to attach tray to chair*

LM: Noooooooooo! *pushes tray away with hands and feet.*

Me: Yes.

LM: Noooooooo!

Me: Monster, how are you going to eat your cereal if you don't have a tray?

LM *smiling at his tray like it's a long-lost friend, and lifting his arms out of the way*: TRAY!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

More about "Boy" stuff.

I mentioned in my last post that we got the monster underwear with little tools all over them. I wanted to get him ones with monsters, but those are only available in 4T and he's not quite there. I also mentioned that the ones with "boy stuff" on them, were cheaper than the ones that were just solid colours. Because apparently we have to be financially motivated to enforce gender stereotypes (I'm poor, so this worked on me). I like building stuff, I want the monster to like building stuff; tools are cool - but since the girl equivalent underwear were a) more expensive again, b) covered in flowers, and c) had little, less comfortable lacy bands around the legs and waste instead of thick flat, comfy bands, this grated.

 Anywho, after a walk to the fabric aisle for PUL fabric for the outside of said underwear (girls'  available in pink, white and leopard print; boys' in monkey, owls and orange), we went to the toy section so that Mr. Wolfman could pick out a car for the monster (I think this is his favourite part of going shopping - Mr. Wolfman's, I mean). He took a while to choose the best possible car for the monster*, so I wandered the aisles and found, in 2016, this:

The "girl" aisle, which was a veritable sea of pink and purple, contained, big-eyed, alien looking animals, baby dolls and accessories (all the baby dolls were white, all of their accessories were pink), Barbie dolls, toy housewares and "girl" Lego. Just the Lego Friends and Disney Princess sets.

A couple aisles over, the "boy" aisle contained Ninja Turtles, superheros, various modes of transportation, Star Wars, video game characters, dinosaurs, astronauts, Playmobile and ALL THE FUCKING OTHER LEGO. Including the sets of just plain blocks. The First Builder Mega Bloks  that come in "boy" (primary) and "girl" (pink, purple and neon green) colours were both there, as well, just to drive home the message that if you want to be creative and build something from your imagination, rather than Elsa's ice castle, you need the girl version of a toy that's actually for boys.

Oh, just to double up on that message, the one thing in the girl aisle that wasn't pink or purple was a blue and green toy vacuum. It was next to the pink and purple one, so if you're a boy and you want to play house, you need the boy version of a toy that's actually for girls.

The one seeming place of refuge, the baby aisle, is ostensibly just for babies. No genders in there. Until you look closer and realize that one small section of the aisle has princesses and ponies and pink and rest has everything else. The educational toys, the animals, the cars for littler hands, everything. This teaches kids that for boys is the default, and for girls is the exception. Also, it teaches them that for boys and for girls are things that exist. And they're not, other than in our brainwashed, apathetic minds.

I don't have a problem with the toys themselves, for the most part. I like tools and cars and dinosaurs and the rest, and my monster does, too. So while they're not promoting violence or animal cruelty or something, I'm happy to get them for him. I also like baby dolls and barbies and ponies, and I'd be happy to by those for the monster as well.  But the colourcoding and weird segregation gets to me. I mean, wouldn't it make more sense to have a Lego aisle, organized by age appropriateness? or a playing house section with all the little irons and dishes and lawnmowers and barbecues in one spot?

I really think it is up to us as parents to combat this, actively. I've said before, I think it's especially incumbent on the parents of boys to teach our sons that there's nothing inherently feminine in playing with baby dolls or toy irons or whatever - and also that there's nothing wrong with being feminine. Because while Tomboy at least sometimes has some positive connotations, Tomina Girl probably never will. Our society, in 2016, still values boys and men above girls and women - no matter how much we collectively try to deny, ignore or avoid the fact. And it starts from the time they're born.

I'm beginning to think that all this isn't just a matter of corporations wanting profits and not caring about the possible negative effects they're having on kids; I'm honestly starting to think that they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, and they're intentionally planting these stereotypical ideas in the minds of very young children.

*I love my husband. He is such an awesome Dad.

The Great Potty Training Saga: Part 3 - Starting Over

We're not exactly starting over. We've kept up with keeping the monster used to the toilet - but we've been kind of lax with the frequency of putting him up there, since he seems to like it less and less. Not that I want to be strict. Just... firm.

But, I have a week off work coming up, so today we went and bought toddler underwear with little tools* on, a couple of way more expensive (and absorbent) training pants and some PUL fabric to add to the outside of both, to avoid puddles all over our house. On Monday, I'll be able to pick up his book about a potty-training superhero and his dog, so I can start reading it to him a few days before my time off starts. We'll have to put up his marshmallow chair for a bit, because that cover is not waterproof and the last thing I want is pee-soaked foam sitting in my living room.

I'm going to devote the entire week just to getting him toilet trained. I'm pretty excited, because a) I think he's ready and b) NO MORE DIAPERS.

So that's where we are. Hopefully I'll have a good update in a couple of weeks :) (*knock wood*)

*Cheaper than the plain colours, just to make sure there's a financial imperative to buy "boy stuff" for boys.  More on that later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Genius Baby, Part 8: Reading, WHAT?

So, my monster just brought me his alphabet book to look at, along with his now-common "Book. Read" demand. 

So I was going through the letters with him and he got bored and closed it. Then he pointed to the letters on the front and told me "letters". Not terribly uncommon, he loves letters.

There's A B & C on the front, so I told him the sounds each makes.  He stared for a minute, then pointed at the C and told me "Cookie".  This kid. He did this once before with a V when we were out walking; when I told him the sound, he said his made up word for record player (which starts with V).  I thought it was just a freak thing, but it looks like he actually understands the relationship between (some) letters and the sound they make.

What the what? He'll be 18 months in a week.


  • Day 2 of work was pretty ok. 
  • Mr. Wolfman got the monster to sleep without me (yay!); the monster woke up to nurse when I got home and went right back to bed.
  • I bought the monster a toy dinosaur today, assuming he'd love it. He hates it. That was the last of my cash from selling his bouncer chair.  Booo. I hope I haven't turned him off dinosaurs, because he's getting a dino colouring book for Easter.
  • I sold something online for a friend for $200 more than he paid for it, so that was cool.
  • I met the guy who will be training me for work next week. He's a dick.
  • There's a potty training plan and explanation in my head, but I'll save that post for another day.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


I'm heading back to work, after over a year and a half.

It's only part time, and once I'm done my training, it'll be overnight.  So I'll get to spend my days with the monster.  But still.  Tomorrow will be the longest I've ever spent away from him.

Tomorrow is also the start of 2 weeks of training, wherein I'll be working in the daytime 6 days one week, then 4 nights the following week (and, while my body gets used to this, that means sleeping most of the day, while Mr. Wolfman is home).

I know it needs to be done, and a little part of me is excited to get out of the house. A much bigger part of me is excited to have a little bit of money, to clear the debt that's been mounting the last couple of months, to save for school, to think about buying stuff that I want, rather than only stuff I need.

But, damn.  When the monster was maybe 4/5 months, I would have jumped at a full time job. Not that I didn't love spending time with him, just that I was likely suffering PPD and PPA and needed to get the Hell out of the house. Now? I just want to snuggle him and play with him and watch him grow and bask in the wonder that is witnessing him learn new words and concepts and develop his personality.

I'm scared I'm going to miss stuff. I'm scared Mr. Wolfman won't remember to message me every time the monster does something new or cute or silly. And, of course, even if he does, I'm not going to be playing on my phone or Facebook or whatever while I'm at work.

I know this is kind of a whiny post, which is silly, considering my last whiny post was about how badly I needed/wanted a job.  I am grateful that I found something, especially something that fits with Mr. Wolfman's schedule and doesn't require outside childcare. It's just that I miss him already.

Conversations with my Monster, Part 6: Jokes

LM *looking at pictures of planes*: Truck!

Me: That's not a truck, Baby, that's a plane.

LM: Haha, truck.

Me: It's a plane.

LM: Brrrm, brrm.

He's also taken to pointing at pictures of barnyard animals he knows the names of, exclaiming "Mama!" and then laughing evilly.

Friday, March 11, 2016

My Son, the Crossdresser


Yesterday, we bought the monster some long-sleeved T-shirts from the sale rack. One shriek-of-joy inducing Superman shirt and one plain white one. The actual mall was a bit colder than the store, so we decided to put the white one on over the shirt he was already wearing. Whereupon, I discovered that it's a girl's shirt.

Whatever. I don't really care. But when I offhandedly pointed it out to Mr. Wolfman, he asked a question which really made me think: How did I know?

He wasn't being glib. In the logical, less jaded mind of my husband, a plain white shirt for a toddler is without gender.  I mean, how could something so basic, for children who will be essentially the same shape until puberty, be for one gender or the other? And what made it suddenly obvious to me that this was a little girl's shirt, instead of a little boy's?

The answer, which I gave while all of these thoughts were still forming in my head, was this: It's skin-tight (even a 3T, a full size bigger than what we usually buy for the monster, hugged his torso to the point it was actually a bit difficult to get on) - on closer examination, it's actually made out of a different, stretchier fabric - and it has a swooped neck.

Apparently, even 2-3 year old girls need to wear skin-tight, low(er) cut tops.  Because... well, I can't think of a because. To show off their curves (aka baby fat)?

I actually find this kind of thing way more worrisome than fluffy skirts or cap sleeves or other 'girly' fare - because it's so insidious. Parents could easily buy a shirt like this for their daughter (or son), without even realizing what it is.  And in so doing, they could be propagating stereotypes, or getting their child accustomed, from a painfully early age, to the type of clothing that some people will expect her to wear for the rest of her life.

My monster will go on wearing this shirt until he outgrows it. Probably as an undershirt, because that stupid swooped neck means it's not very snug for this time of year (toddler girls should sacrifice warmth for style, apparently). Part of me kind of hopes that someone will see it, notice it's "for girls" and ask themselves why that is.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

When I Grow Up...

Firstly, I guess Whine in your blog and you shall receive is now a thing. The job I interviewed for where the manager was surprised to hear from me after not calling me back - I got it. My new boss said she knew she wanted me right away, but her bosses wanted her to interview more than one person, so she did that, then hired me :) It's not my dream job, but it's one I've done before and it's part time graveyards, so Mr. Wolfman doesn't have to bugger up his schedule except for my training, and I still get to be home with the Monster.

That kind of works as a segue into what I want to talk about, which is what I want to be when I grow up (aka, now).  When I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist and a writer. Maybe a jewelry maker or a carpenter, basically, I wanted to do something creative and work with my hands.

By the time I was 9, I wanted to have a highly technical engineering job, the title of which I didn't understand, even a little, and which no person I had ever heard of (real or imaginary) held. Translation: my mother convinced me that this mystery job would be the perfect thing for me, because, I assume, she thought it made her look good to have a kid who wanted to be a _______. When I told people that's what I wanted to be, they were always amazed or incredulous, and either one fed into my ego quite nicely. When they would ask what that job was, I would act like they were dumb, and tell them it was probably a little difficult to understand.

When, as a teenager, I stopped painting, because my hands shook too much when I tried to do detail, my parents just accepted it. They didn't, you know, try to find out why the fuck a teenage girl's hands shook uncontrollably (knowing what I do now, I'm guessing extreme anxiety, but unlike my parents, I'm not big on self-diagnosis). No, they just kind of collectively shrugged while I gave up something I had always loved and was kinda good at.

By the end of high school, one specific class with one fantastic teacher had me wanting to write again. But when I told my parents that I didn't think an English degree was going to help me in terms of becoming a published author, my mother convinced me to major in something totally different. Neither of us had any comprehension of what kind of jobs you could get with that major (spoiler: one other than teaching - and I didn't want to do it or teach), but she talked me into it, nonetheless.

Anyway, all this ranting and woe is me stuff aside, I started thinking a couple of days ago about joining the local artists' guild; about doing some paintings and possibly, when I've gotten good enough, selling them. I've been seriously wanting to make jewelry again since 2012. I've written and illustrated one children's book and I'm working on another... and today, walking home from the store, it hit me: I should just effing do it.

I grew up. Now it's time to be who and what I want. I want to write. I want to paint - and I'm going to.