Category Archives: Penny

None of the list items stated below constitutes a plan or binding contract of any nature.

I’m almost done! I’m almost done! I might make it, I’m almost done!

Tomorrow is technically the last day of NaBloPoMo for 2013, so I could still fail, but being realistic about things, tomorrow’s post is most likely just going to be something along the lines of, “I DID IT” and nothing more. The total number of posts for November will be more than three times the number of posts I made for the entirety of the rest of the year. It would be nice if this momentum was some kind of kick start that carried me through the rest of the holidays and in to the new year, but being a bit realistic, this site will probably look something like this post, “I DID IT!,” “PJs at TJ’s 2014 Recap.”

HOWEVER, in the spirit of not planning to fail, but also not planning to succeed, but rather not actually making any plans at all, here are some things I could still talk about, if I wanted to, with no pressure or anything, if I felt like it, and the time and the mood were right, and I wasn’t very tired or in a mood or having a bad attitude.

1. That thing that I was going to post that time, but then I had to wait for the heat to die down, and then it did die down, but then I talked myself out of posting it for various reasons involving not wanting to hurt feelings that really, if people thought it through, shouldn’t actually be hurt, but I can’t control how people feel about things, something that is probably just going to plague me to the end of my days. I think I might make that a password protected post, for no other reason than the fact that I can make the password “I AGREE,” and by the time you’re in and reading the post, it’s too late, you’ve already agreed to my terms in advance, and my terms ALWAYS include “no butthurt.” Again with the imperative sentence “you understood” thing, except it’s an imperative blog post. “No butthurt” understood.”

Unless “butthurt” is declared in advance. Like, “butthurt ahead” or “caution, falling butthurt,” or “ahoy, butthurt!”

2. I have been super successful lately in purchasing things that are available in limited amounts that then sell out within a matter of moments, which has been awesome for me. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that one of my favorite phenomenons to observe is what happens on a company’s social media page – usually Facebook – after a limited item (one that was KNOWN to be limited) has sold out. I’d enjoy watching these things anyway even if I wasn’t successful myself in obtaining the item, but going through the process of waiting for the correct time, entering my information correctly and quickly, and completing the checkout process without issue makes it slightly better. Because then I know there’s not really any flaw in the actual system, just the made up flaws in these people’s heads.

Anyway, over the last few weeks, up to today, I was able to grab a few fun things. One, the fall Allure Beauty Box. This was a last second decision, I wasn’t initially going to get it, but there’s SO MUCH LOTION in there, and suddenly both my husband and child have turned into Silurians.


Picture via Urban Decay

Two, the Naked3 palette. I thought I was going to wait until it was in stores to get the points at Ulta or Sephora, but I’m kind of glad I grabbed it now – I know I’m not going to the mall except to see Santa until after the new year, and that thing is going to be sold out until spring after the Christmas shipment comes into the stores in December, I bet. Honestly, event spotting Naked2 on shelves in store was hit or miss for a lot of this year, and I’m not usually a huge online makeup buyer. This sold out really fast, too. I ordered it as soon as I got the email, before I even got out of bed that morning. I’ve been excited about it since it was announced. I think it will work well with my eye color, and it has a lot of the shades I tend to gravitate toward and less of the ones I know I’ll ignore.


Picture via Urban Decay

Three, this morning I was able to get Urban Decay’s Black Friday doorbuster on six of their new lipsticks. This set sold out in less than ten minutes and people were soooo mad. I don’t think the whole set will look great on me, and honestly when I was looking through the shades of the whole line a few months ago, only a few of the ones I was initially interested in are in this set. Fortunately, though, my sister and I have similar coloring, but one of us has cool undertones and one of us has warm undertones, so I can pretty easily just drop the ones that don’t work on me into the box I mail out to Pennsylvania for Christmas. Since the lipsticks are normally $22 each and the set was $50, even if I end up only keeping 3, it’s still a great deal. Of course, she rarely wears lipstick and I paid for it, so I feel no obligation to split the set evenly, but still. Someone who looks the same as you with the opposite undertone is basically the perfect “this looks terrible, you have it” makeup dump. I mean, recipient.

So that’s like, FOUR things. A box, two makeups, and the poor behavior of other people. That shouldn’t be number two. That should be numbers two through five.

6. Today, we put up our Christmas tree, and after telling Penelope not to touch the tree for the eight hundredth time, I found myself saying to her, “I am going to call the North Pole and tell them that we need them to send down an elf to keep watch until Christmas.” I already planned on doing Elf on the Shelf, but I did not expect to hear myself tell my kid that I CALLED SANTA and ENFORCEMENTS WERE ON THE WAY. And I’m using past tense there because after her nap, the message was REITERATED. Call was made, ELF EN ROUTE. So. That’s going to be… something. That I did. Because I CALLED SANTA.


8. I have a Cosmo, so I guess that also could be a thing, considering that the PJs 2013 ladies got me a subscription to Cosmo and I followed that up with exactly zero Cosmo Cliff’s Notes.

Did I miss anything? Please don’t hold out hope of hearing about it during NaBloPoMo. That ship has sailed. It’s highly possible the 2013 ship has sailed entirely.

Progress, negative progress, other progress, so one progress.

This is a small addendum to yesterday’s post about what Penelope will be getting for Christmas.

I did go out today and get off my lazy rump and just start throwing things into the cart at Target. I got some boring pants and boring shirts, just like she boring needs. I also hit the dollar section for a couple sticker books for her stocking. THIS ISN’T ABOUT THAT.

I finally realized why it was so hard to try to grasp on to a type of toy that would really latch on to her current interests when we whipped her through the toy section really quickly to see if there was anything in particular that she lunged for, and do you know what the reason is?

It’s because we’re in the age of the licensed character. Every other mother everywhere is reaching out to pat my shoulder right now, knowing the hole I just went down, and my current search for hole-cliffs from which to throw myself.

OH, I finally realized as I was walking through the relevant aisle at Target She likes BUZZ WITEYEAR! And here’s all these Buzz… toys… what do these even… what does this even… this doesn’t do anything. Forget that. I don’t need any more pointless action figures in my house, that’s what Happy Meals toys are for. What else, what else… okay, these are… little… whats? What are these even… okay, if I don’t know, she won’t know. Forget those. Oh! Down here! Here’s a thing that looks… HOW MANY DOLLARS? NO.

Okay. Okay. Minor setback. I’m home now. I am at my computer. In my chair. This is where I do all my best stuff. This is where I do all my stuff. I will just crack open Amazon and get to work.

So… yes! Tonight she requested to watch Handy Manny and she sang along with the songs and seemed really into it. So. Quick Amazon search for Handy Manny… ooh! Toolbox! All the tools dance around and it plays the music and says things, I don’t know, probably relevant to the show or whatever.


Picture via Amazon

Except, WHAT? I don’t know for a fact but also, I KNOW FOR A FACT that Fisher Price did not sell this toolbox for $90 plus shipping, Amazon third party seller who is also pretty much selling this toolbox as cheaply as I am probably going to be able to find it FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTMAS STEVE. And sure, there are some other Handy Manny toys, but they’re all STUPID and I want THIS ONE.

She likes Monsters, Inc., but all the Monsters, Inc. merchandise in the stores has been replaced with Monsters University stuff, which is fine, but she hasn’t seen that one yet. And again, I run into the weird problem of buying yet another plush toy/static action figure, or a weird… thing… that does… I don’t know what. I am completely out of tune with children’s toys, obviously.

NEXT SHOW. Team Umizoomi has remained hugely popular for over a year now, I think. We didn’t get her anything related to that for last Christmas or her birthday, even though we considered it, so maybe this Christmas is it. Let’s see.


Picture via Amazon.

There’s this remote control Fisher-Price Team Umizoomi: Come and Get Us Counting UmiCar that is kind of a ridiculous price on Amazon, sold out on, and available for a decent price on Toys R, which makes me feel like I need to order it from Toys R Us RIGHT THIS SECOND, even though I’m not totally sold on it, because one, a remote control car, even though it looks really simple, might be really frustrating, and two, it doesn’t have Bot in it at all. Which, come on. IT’S GOT TEAM UMIZOOMI RIGHT IN THE TITLE. I NEED THE WHOLE TEAM. There’s another car with just Bot, but then we’re back into action figure land.

It’s very possible that by the time you read this post, I will have just bought the stupid car in a trumped-up panic.

I’m not even going to really get in to the Disney princess stuff. Actually, I kind of will because I think I need help with it. She likes them, in general, the ones she’s seen. Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Rapunzel, Sophia. I got her some princess stickers and socks. I could get her a couple more things along the Disney princess lines, but I don’t know what to get. She has the Little People princess castle, so I could get her maybe a vehicle to go with that? But if your kids are into the Disney princesses, what do you get them as gifts? I mean, they put those princesses on everything. Is anything especially successful with the toddler set? Um… beach towel? Wipes caddy? Time out chair?

SERIOUSLY, THOUGH. I can’t believe that Penelope is two and I am already sitting up in the night fretting over finding these things. I also can’t believe how the jacked up prices on that stupid Handy Manny toolbox made every single curse word I know come out of my mouth right in a row.

Lastly, an update: For absolutely no reason at all, after my post about her behavior? Penelope just all of a sudden started saying “Excuse me” when she wanted a turn to speak. It’s not perfect – in fact, it sounds like this: “SCUSE ME SCUSE ME SCUSE ME LET ME TALK LET ME TALK SCUSE ME LET ME TALK.” So far, though, we’re doing our best to acknowledge her immediately and thank her for saying excuse me so politely. Unfortunately, most of the time, it ends up like this: “SCUSE ME SCUSE ME LET ME TALK I DID A BIG BURP. … … SCUSE ME.”

I stole this ideas idea.

I had a doctor’s appointment today that put me in a bad mood, but I did not Rachel Green my eyedrops.

I don’t really feel like talking about anything, but since I finished my Thanksgiving cooking today (ordered all the food, going to warm it all in the containers it comes in, probably use paper plates, spend all day in elastic pants), I’m ready to move on to talking about Christmas. I’ve seen a couple of people doing gift idea lists, so here is what Santa, Mama & Daddy, and Grandma & Boppa are bringing to Penelope – two and a half years old. I know seeing what other people are doing helps me get ideas for what I should or could be doing, more like, so if you’re stuck for ideas, here are… some.

Oh, completely out of order of the last paragraph, I’m hoping to round out all of my shopping by the end of November, and I know I’m cutting it close now. I feel like Pen’s really at the right age to be Christmas-aware for the first time, so I’d just like to have it all done before December so that we can spend the bulk of that month doing stuff. I’m not making ANY firm plans this year, because, hey, see my last post, but I’m gathering up some ideas. You know, basics. Make some cookies, decorate a little tree for her bedroom with some homemade ornaments of some sort, go see some lights, do Elf on the Shelf, visit Santa at the mall. You know. Festive crap. Due to a bunch of circumstances, we weren’t able to get it together to travel for Thanksgiving this year, but we decided a while ago that even though both our families are pretty far off, we’re not travelling for Christmas for the foreseeable future. We want Penelope to wake up in her own home on Christmas morning, Santa comes here. So I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the fact that we’re kind of settled in for the rest of the year here.

So! Right! I’m cutting it close now with getting all the shopping done, but at this point, it’s really just a matter of picking and buying, picking and buying. I’ve got no real specifics left on her list. I just want to add a couple more things to round it out and we have had her specific Christmas budget set aside for a long time now. I don’t need to go to any stores, all I need to do is sit here, pick some stuff, and push the appropriate buttons. It’s just DOING it. I have to DO it.

Here’s where we are so far.

Penny is getting one big gift from Mama and Daddy this year:


I’m jealous of my toddler.
Picture from Land of Nod.

That’s the Jenny Lind style twin bed in Azure from Land of Nod. We haven’t figured out yet how we’re going to do the reveal. I’m pretty big on no early gifts, and it can’t be assembled anywhere else in the house, like under the tree, and then placed in her room later in the day. It’s in pieces in our garage right now. I don’t know. We’ll figure it out later. Probably I’ll distract her with new stuff under the tree while Phil sweats and curses in her bedroom alone and she’ll see it at nap time or bedtime. New bedding will be coming courtesy of Grandma and Boppa.

We’re going to rearrange her room just a little bit when the new bed comes, too. I know my mom also got her this fun little carpet from Land of Nod, too, so that might go in her room, or possibly in the playroom. I think I want to pick up a lamp, maybe something like this? She has a pink one in her room now. I might get one or two accessories for her room somehow. I don’t want to redecorate her room totally, because I don’t decorate at all, but we’re just going to change it around a little bit, enough to signify, hey! Big girl room!

That’s pretty much it from us, I think. Everything else is a hot competition between the grandparents and Santa.

Penny is also getting one big gift from Santa:


I had one of these when I was Penny’s age, but this one looks significantly less deadly and less tetanusy. Whatever. I’m sure it’s almost as awesome. We probably won’t bother to wrap this. Maybe I’ll stick a bow on his head. This is her “big” gift from Santa. Everything else is kind of lame.

Other things Penelope is getting from Santa: light up sneakers in the next size up, some clothes and costumes for her dress up collection, a book of Bible stories because I told her Santa might bring her her own special book if she would please stop stealing and drawing in Mama’s, a really cute personalized mailbox we’ll mount outside her bedroom door because she loves getting post – okay, wait, you have to see that one.


It’s from Pottery Barn Kids, link here, and on sale!

Also, Santa is bringing some BluRays we don’t have (Nemo and the Monsters Inc movies) AND a box set of the “f You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books. That’s what he’s giving her so far, anyway. I have a couple more things I want to buy, and keep not buying.

I need to finish up her stocking, which I think is actually going to be a backpack, because… I bought her a Minnie Mouse backpack. Ulta was (and still is) having a 5/$5 sale on a lot of cute holiday-themed bath and body products, some of which are two year old appropriate, so I grabbed some of those for her – a lip balm, some cupcake-shaped bath fizzies, and some gingerbread-scented face wipes. She loves to wipe her face with Boogie Wipes, which are most certainly NOT a dollar a pack, so we’ll both be delighted for her to have those. I’m going to get her some underpants like I mentioned in my last post, and I’ll pick up some stuff in general grocery shopping trips – the traditional plastic candy cane of M&Ms, some fun band aids, maybe a glitter nail polish. What are you putting in toddler stockings?

Also, I need to buy clothes. She’s still at the age where family really likes to buy cute things, so I’m just going to order some basics in the next sizes. I already grabbed two pairs of fleece footie jammies at Costco. I’ll probably hit Kohls or Target or Crazy 8 if their current “themes” appeal to me and get a bunch of mix and match leggings and long sleeved shirts. Maybe those will be from Mama & Daddy, too.

Oh, I also want to get some more books. I keep thinking I bought them, and I didn’t. Mo Willems is still the big winner here, so Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie and Knufflebunny all the live long day. I have a couple others on my list, too. As soon as I make an Amazon order, I’m going to snag a bunch. I was going to send my mom a bunch of money to buy presents for my baby cousins on that side of the family, but they’re all around Pen’s age, so on second thought, Mo Willems for everyone.

ALSO ALSO, I feel like I maybe want to get Penny one more toy. I just threw out a ton of her stuff. I’ll think about it. Maybe a doctor’s kit. I’m just not sure. I’m trying to think along the lines of her interests, but they don’t make toys designed to harness a budding interest in Mama harassment.


Grandma and Boppa have come through with toys in a big way, sending the Melissa and Doug shopping cart, along with several sets of tiny food AND a cash register, because my mother remembers how seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY HUGELY Penelope enjoyed the “shopping” at the Phoenix Children’s Museum.


Seriously, she went nuts for that. And she still pretends to shop around the house, using a tiny doll stroller as her “cart.” So I imagine Grandma and Boppa might kick Santa’s butt this year. That has nothing to do at all, of course, with why Santa doesn’t plan on wrapping that shiny pony front and center Christmas morning or anything. Nothing at all.

Grandma also sent some Duplos and a couple of the building boards – these things – because blocks have been pretty big since last Christmas, but they’re taking off even more lately, as her style of play evolves from just building a tower as high as she can to instead, building actual things, or things she says are things, that actually sometimes even look like the things she says they are. So more blocks are always more better.

I really feel like I have enough for Penny, but not enough for Penny for me. I mean, she’s going to go flat out insane, and she would go the same amount of flat out insane for even a fraction of the stuff she’ll be getting on Christmas. But I don’t feel like I’ve found just the right last thing yet to feel done. I know I still want to get some clothes, some books, and some stocking stuff. But on top of that, I feel like there might be one little toy, one even really SMALL THING that is just perfect for HER, and I haven’t come across it yet. Have you run up against this this year or any other year? You have STUFF and it’s FINE – MORE than fine – but just feel like you’re missing something?

I know I’m way too early to be stressing about it, but gift guides are already popping up all over, so maybe you’ve seen a really good one, or maybe you wrote a really good one, or maybe you have felt the same way and have solved this issue before and it takes an entire month to solve, so THANK PETE I WROTE THIS POST JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME.

It was noticed and it deserves underpants.

There will come a day when Penelope’s issues are too Penelope-specific and sensitive to be talked about on the Internet, and probably by that day, I’ll just be beaming my thoughts directly into your heads to be downloaded in batches once a week or so or whatever. I hope so. That would be great. But right now is not that time, and her issues, which are actually my issues, because Penny Badger don’t give a shit, are so standardly two-and-a-half year old that I’m just going to throw a whole bunch of them out here right now in hopes that those of you that have made it through to two-and-three-quarters and beyond can point me in the right direction on some of this stuff because we are just FLAILING trying to settle on some kind of sensical methods.


1. I think I mentioned this the other day, but whenever Phil and I talk to each other, she yells, “STOP STOP!” until attention is focused back on her. This also happens during the day when it’s just me and her, and she’ll yell, “MAMA, TURN ROUND. LOOKA ME. TALKA ME.” This is especially unpleasant if I’m working, because she’ll try to force her hands under mine on the keyboard and has erased some stuff before.

What I’m trying: So far, I’ve been trying the same thing that I do when she tries to do something and within half a second, screams, “I CAN’T DO IT!” and runs away having a shrieking tantrum. I said to her over and over, every day, “Do you need help? I can help you. Do you think it would be easier to ask Mama or Daddy for help instead of getting upset and throwing a fit?” And after seriously weeks upon weeks of that, one day, OUT OF NOWHERE, the heavens opened up and Penelope walked over to me and said, “Mama, I need help, can you please open my room?” Just the day before, she would have walked to her room, seen that the door monkey was on, and come screaming down the hall, “MY WOOM IS WOCKED!” and thrown herself on the ground crying. It’s still hit or miss on if she’s going to choose the screaming or the asking for help (mostly depending on how tired she is), but when she picks asking over tantrums, we praise her and throw treats into the air and give out high fives like they’re coming back into to and then going right back out of style.

So, with the interrupting, I tell walk her through the proper way to ask for attention several times a day. I tell her that when she has something to say, she should say, “Excuse me, please,” and wait until we have a moment to talk to her. I’ve told her that when people are talking to each other, she needs to wait for her turn. I’ve told her that when one conversation is finished, she can have our full attention for her conversation. I’ve told her it’s not good manners to interrupt, especially if you just want to show off that cool trick with your butt again.

I don’t know if it’s that she can’t put together that “excuse me” can be used for both rude noises and interruptions, or that it’s not sinking in at all, or that she just doesn’t want to do it properly, but this is not working. I know that she’s two, I know that this could be a phase, I know all of that, but as her parent, I still have a sort of responsibility to teach her not to be a total social knob. So, what’s the best way to handle this? Is there a way to keep a two year old from constantly demanding that all the focus be on her? Is there a way to phrase the concept that if you let us know that you have something to say, we will get to you as soon as we finish what we’re saying in a way that she’ll understand? Or should we just keep talking over her right now? Is that the most effective course of action at the moment? Because it is getting LOUD IN HERE.


2. TIME OUTS. We’ve been doing time outs pretty successfully for a long while now. She does something wrong, she gets a warning. She keeps doing it, she goes to time out. Up until recently, she only stayed in her room (since we have a floor bed, her room is zero fun – there are no toys, games, etc) for a couple of minutes, until she was ready to apologize. She understands apologizing pretty well – she even puts on a faux gentle voice and strokes my arm. It’s kind of creepy. Most times, the threat of time out was enough of a warning to get her to stop doing whatever she was doing. Time outs are used for only a couple of things in this house – safety issues and not listening. Which is to say, constantly. But it was working really well.

Recently, though, it’s not going so great. She’ll be doing something she knows she’s not supposed to do, or that she was just warned to stop doing, or that she was specifically instructed not to do, and she will keep doing it right through warnings, right through an adult marching over to her, right up until she is grabbed up and hauled away to time out. Then, once she is in the air and being carried off down the hall, she starts saying, “I WANT TO SAY SORRY! I WANT TO SAY SORRY!” As soon as she is in her bedroom, she presses her face up against the crack the door monkey leaves and yells, “I WEADY TO POWOGIZE!” So she’s figured out that she can do whatever she wants for as long as she wants or until she gets caught, because all she has to do is apologize as soon as she’s thrown into time out, and it’s back to burninating the countryside.

A couple of weeks ago, she BIT me. She hasn’t bitten me in I don’t know how long. She never had a real biting phase. But she BIT ME SO HARD, and I saw red because it hurt. I picked her up and I put her in her room and the whole while, she’s yelling apologies. This was at the end of a ridiculous day of behavior from her and Phil was already on his way home, so I just left her in there while I cleaned up the play room. She kept yelling at me about how she wanted to help clean, and I kept yelling back, “YOU BIT ME!” I may have been holding a slight grudge. After everything was picked up and I was looking at less physical evidence of her bent for destruction, I went to collect her from her room and I asked, “Are you ready to apologize?” She came over to me, stroked me arm, and said in her fake soft voice, “I sowwy I hit you, Mama,” then ran past me down the hall. SHE BIT ME. NOT HIT ME. I reminded her 87 times, yet still, mechanical apology, escape.

So now how do we work time outs? She’s got time outs set in her head that she sits there til someone comes to get her, then says what have becomes apparently meaningless words and runs off. Should we set timers instead? Do we still require an apology? Do we need to reexplain apologies? What do you do for discipline for 2/2.5 year olds? Is there something other than time out that’s more effective for different types of things? Like breaking known house rules, ones WE KNOW SHE KNOWS (being rough/mean with the dogs, coloring on not paper, going out the back door) vs stuff like not listening?


Threw all these THROW pillows outside on the patio, parents made me bring them back.
When it’s MY kingdom, I’ll tell you what.

3. LASTLY. What are the best toddler underpants? I got a couple of packs of Hanes or whatever they were at Target, but after going through the dryer, the elastic got a little snug at the waist so they’re hard for her to get up and down. Maybe ones with a wider band of elastic at the top rather than a thinner one? I’m totally going to put underpants in her stocking. I mean, Santa is. Because that kid bit me and stuff like that doesn’t going unnoticed.

In less words – I have a cold, more tomorrow, here’s old Penny.

I have such big plans for such good posts, but yesterday’s turned out so well that I’m kind of just going to limp off and leave that one there and do something really good tomorrow, I PROMISE, because remember that thing I said I was going to post about but then I couldn’t because I had to wait for the heat to die down? WELL, IT’S DOWN NOW, so I’m totally ready to do that. Except not right now, because at some point during this commitment to post every day for a month (every single day I wonder, “Is today the day? Is today the day that I just let it go? Do I have to… announce it? Or just not post? And if I announce it, do I do it on Twitter, or on my blog? And if I do it on my blog, isn’t that a post? Are there rules? Who is overseeing this whole thing? Is there a number I can call? You know what, no, today isn’t the day.”) I got into the habit of posting right before I went to sleep, and it’s just really dragging my whole day down, and I can’t say it’s been doing much for quality control, either. So it’s 10pm right now. And my bedtime is usually about 7pm, because I got in the habit of going to bed when Penelope went to bed two years ago and I haven’t stopped and I’m kind of fine with it.

AND ALSO? I HAVE A COLD. And if I have to have a cold, I feel like this should be a decent time to have a cold, because I’m on a medication that’s super dehydrating, so the general… goopy unpleasantness associated with a cold should be somewhat mitigated. And it is! Too much. Too mitigated. Over mitigated. Mitigated to the point of misery. I’m a rattly husk. A wheezy huff bag. My entire day is cycles of lip balm application and lip balm evaporation. I’m trying to learn how to do things one handed, in fact, so that I can just not ever stop the application part of the cycle. Every little drop of moisture that goes into me foofs out around me a little PigPen-style cloud of germs, pestilence, the dust of what was probably once my immune system, and terrifying farts. (“I need to run away.” — Penelope) No matter how much I drink, I am unable to absorb anything into any part of my body that might make product use out of it. It’s all just gone away, except for one teeny little bucket of hateful grossness hanging out somewhere in my left ear tubes. It’s been there for days. I feel like this isn’t going to end well.

IN SUMMATION. Yesterday’s post was awesome, through no actual effort of my own, though I intend to behave as though it was through my own hard work and slack off slightly today because I have a COLD, which has all been said in order to lead up to this:



Those 7 quick things people do or however many fit before the NyQuil activates.

1. The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special is coming up this weekend, and of course we’re looking forward to it. We won’t be seeing it in a theater because Penelope. And we also probably won’t watch it live with the rest of the world because also Penelope. We’d rather disconnect from all social media and give up the whole TOGETHER AS ONE aspect of the whole thing and watch during her nap than have to pause it 87 times and lose all the exciting momentum and build up of the episode to 8000 interruptions for juice and snacks and “WOOKIT MY COOL TWICK.” (The cool trick is putting her head on the ground and her butt in the air pointing at you. It is always pointing her butt at you. If Penelope offers to show you a cool twick and you don’t want a butt pointed right at you, say “Maybe some other time, okay?” Because she does not know any other twicks.

Phil decided that in the days leading up to the 50th anniversary, we’d take turns picking an episode to watch each evening. Tonight was my night to pick. When I first started watching the show, Phil was already all the way caught up, and I marathoned it all the way up through season six. Season seven (or series seven, if you want to be technical) was the first one I watched live and the first one we watched together. I haven’t really tended to watch any between seasons, because I’m all caught up, and because I watch Korean television ALL THE TIME (“yeah, Dad, we know.”), so there’s not any time to do so. But on nights like tonight when I watch one, or when I’m stirred, occasionally, to watch one of Nine’s episode (actually, I usually watch Nine’s first episode), and the theme starts to play, I remember how much I REALLY LOVE DOCTOR WHO and I REALLY MISS IT WHEN IT’S NOT ON.

Anyway, tonight was my choice, and I chose to watch The Lodger.

2. I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist at the end of this week and I’m stressed out about it because I have to get the eye drops. There’s no choice. I’ve gone to the optometrist several times and refused the drops and also refused the puff test. I’m allowed to do that.


I don’t think anything makes me feel more like an adult than deciding not to do things that I don’t want to do that I previously thought I was absolutely required to do. Like, whoa, that curtain just totally fell away, and now I’m mad with power. (Power, not powder like I originally typed, which could be a whole different thing.) Example: when I used to go to church when my mom went to church and then one day realized that I don’t actually have to go to church at all and there’s not really anything to do about it or any good point in forcing me to do so. Or when Penelope was in the hospital and one night, the nurses were trying to do a catheter on her and had failed two attempts and were about to try a third as she became increasingly hysterical, and I said no. Nope, we’re done for now, you can try again in the morning. And they acted like I was insane and the most terrible mother ever, and wrote in Pen’s chart that I refused to allow a catheter test, which was not the case at all, and come to find out later that no matter what the results were from that test, the treatment was going to stay the same ANYWAY, but no matter. I realized that I really could just call a halt to the whole thing. I don’t like this anymore, so you’re done doing it. I don’t know why, before now, I might have thought I wasn’t allowed to do that, but I am allowed, so LAY DOWN THAT TUBING AND STEP AWAY FROM THE BABY, LADIES.

The same thing goes for eye drops and the puff test. It’s what the doctor does and he is the doctor so you HAVE to. Except that I don’t have to! I don’t! I have to accept that if I don’t, he won’t be able to check for certain signs of certain problems, and I might have those certain problems, and then I won’t know. I DO have to do THAT. But I DON’T have to get eye drops or a puff test in order to have my vision tested to get a new prescription. I can totally say no to that when I go to the optometrist. That was a heady day when I figured that one out.

But I’m not going to the optometrist to get new glasses on Friday, I’m going to the ophthalmologist and I have to get drops and HE MIGHT EVEN DO A PUFF. I don’t know. I’ve never been to an ophthalmologist. But I know enough to know that if I’m going to refuse the drops, there’s no point in even bothering. I have no idea how to get drops. Are they used to people totally Rachel Greening all over the place? Because I feel like this is not going to go well for anyone involved.

“No, but seriously, here are the reasons you need to let the optometrist dilate your eyes and do a puff test, just so you know.”


3. We’re working on teaching Penelope how to interrupt politely when she has something to say, because right now, what she does is yell over us, “STOP STOP!,” and then say whatever she wants, which is usually exactly what she said two seconds before, which was the last time she halted all conversation by yelling, “STOP STOP!” She will not let Phil and I talk to each other, at all. Not even in the car, when he and I are in the front seat, and she’s facing backward, looking at a whole entire different world than we are. Even if we whisper, she knows we’re talking and yells, “STOP STOP!” and starts carrying on her own conversation. I can get her to say “Excuse me, please.” I can even get her to practice “excuse me, please.” She understands the concept just fine when it’s the two of us at home. But as soon as Phil and I engage in conversation with each other, it’s, “STOP STOP!” Which, admittedly, is now kind of hilarious that I see it typed out, but is not so adorable when it’s how you’re living your life. And she just gets louder and louder until she’s acknowledged. Hot crap, the only child vein runs deep through this kid.

4. “STOP STOP!” Haha, it really is funny when she’s asleep and it’s not currently me involved in the situation.

5. It turns out this was only five things.

6. It was actually just the three, to be strictly fair.

7. Sorry.

Nothing happened at all.

Nothing happened today, which is good. It’s good on regular days, but especially good today, because one of those things happened – okay, stuff happened, like we (Penelope and I and I suspect also the dogs) had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we watched about a million YouTube videos showing the opening of surprise eggs, and I spent a long time looking in to the purchase of various types of surprise eggs, and I know that one kind is illegal here, but now it’s kind of not, but that’s not the kind I want anyway, I want some of those plastic Peppa Pig ones. So things happened. I hope that when I say “nothing happened today,” it’s understood to mean that nothing out of the ordinary happened, and even if that wasn’t initially understood, I assume that going forward from this sentence, we’re all on the same page.

So nothing happened today, which is good, because at one point, there was an incident of the type that can lead to something happening. Actually, it’s kind of the very thing that is sometimes the start of a really unpleasant news story. Just a kind of average thing that happens to normal people. I am an average, normal person, and average, normal things happen to me. Today, one of those things happened, and nothing came of it, and it was a nonevent, and everything and everyone is fine. Totally fine. Not fine like, “There was crying, and I checked for cuts that might require stitches, but there were none, so I put a bandaid on it and everyone was fine.” Not fine like, “The television doesn’t work anymore – of course – but it’s just a television and Phil will get over it and everyone was fine.” I mean it was a total nonevent, nothing happened, everyone was as fine before as they were after. There was no spike in activity of any kind.

(If you’re waiting for me to tell you exactly what happened, I’m not going to. I’m just not. I’m sorry. If you need to stop reading this post because you feel like you need that kind of payoff in a post, that’s fine, and I totally understand – I’m making my face, which is serious by its very nature, because I truly mean what I’m saying – and there will be no hard feelings. I realize that some people may think that if I’m not going to reveal all the details, I shouldn’t talk about something at all. I’d like to remind those people that there’s no law. But also, at the same time, sympathize and invite them back tomorrow.)

It was just one of those things that I keep touching back on because it was so close. Well, no. It wasn’t. It wasn’t close at ALL, actually. I keep touching back on it because it feels like, whoa, that was CLOSE. Like the time Penelope RAN BY ME, little bopping head toddler style, WITH A STEAK KNIFE. That she probably got from some cache she has somewhere, I don’t know. Actually, probably a combination of stellar parental neglect and just not realizing she’d gotten counter tall. They do that, you know. One day, your house is totally baby proof and the next, everything that was safely out of reach, tossed haphazardly but still AWAY FROM NO-CONCEPT-OF-PERMANENT-INJURY hands, is suddenly a whole new world of playthings. Three weeks ago, Penelope was demanding, “Lift up me!” so that she could ring the doorbell even though we were all on the porch and the dogs have no thumbs and think they can bark the door down from the inside, and now she can suddenly just ring it herself. And also thinks she can yell the dogs down from the outside.

It wasn’t anything like the RUNNING WITH A KNIFE situation. That was actually close. When caught with contraband, I have to approach Penelope so slowly if I want any chance of getting it back safely. When cornered with something of mine that I love or just WANT BACK, she might do one of three things:

  1. run
  2. break it
  3. throw it

So I tiptoed up to her, talking as calmly as possible about I don’t know what, it’s all a haze, because SHE WAS TWO. WITH A KNIFE. And KNOWN TO THROW. So yeah, that one was close (in case it’s not clear, I got the knife back). Today wasn’t close to anything at all. No brush with any danger, no flying cutlery. So I keep being dragged back to it in my mind, which wants to tell me I had a close call. But what is that going to do for me? What is thinking about every possible way something terrible could have happened today going to do for me?

Obviously, the older we get, the more aware we are of close calls. Or things that almost happened or what could have happened if one little detail was different or circumstances were changed just a little. You see it a lot when a tragedy occurs – there was a crash in that intersection? I’d just driven through it TEN MINUTES BEFORE! A deadly earthquake in the city I visited last month! Or more personal things – if I’d been sleeping in that hotel room instead of the one I was in. If I’d taken this route instead of that route. If I’d moved just two inches to the left. You know, that kind of stuff.

I feel like it was stuff I shook off a lot easier when I was younger. You have to, or you’d never survive being a teenager. How can you grow up if you’re at all aware of how easily so many things you do could go so wrong? I realize that this is the kind of stuff that some people with anxiety disorders struggle with a lot, and I recognize the whole returning to the same thought and thinking through all the things that could have happened to be a somewhat similar but extremely watered down version of how I spent a lot of my time after Penelope was born.

I’m pretty sure that this is a post to nowhere. When I started it, I intended to just say that nothing happened today except something that could have gone any one of a million different ways, the vast, vast, VAST majority of them resulting in nothing at all, and that I just wanted to go to bed instead of talking about nothing. But what are you even supposed to do when nothing happens at all? You just shrug and go about your business because nothing happened, right? What are you supposed to do when something could have happened, but nothing happened?

You know what’s weird, though? I read back over my butt rust blog entries, and the whole thing is way worse than I remember on the surface of my mind. Especially when I read the updates from the doctors and the details I left out of the posts surface in my head. Now that was something almost happening. That was close. Several times. Unpleasantly close for me and later for Penelope. I don’t dwell on that. There are Garlic Bread things that I do dwell on, but I don’t dwell on the really delicate balance that my pregnancy was at all, and it’s because there’s a a shell around a lot of it in my head. I can think of my pregnancy easily, but my thoughts skim right over large parts of it and I don’t even notice that I’m missing them. When things really almost happen, I’m not capable of even acknowledging it without sitting down and really digging in to think about it. I know several people have experienced a kind of dissonance when talking to me about my pregnancy.

“That was terrible for you!”


“No… there’s no haha, just terrible.”


“I can’t even imagine. Bed rest for so long. It sounds awful.”


“It must have been so scary.”


“Are we in the same conversation?”

One time, really shortly after we brought Penelope home from the hospital, Phil was in a softball tournament, and he left while I was sleeping. Penny and I came over later to watch for a little while, and I had to shower before he left. Turned out, to not make a mess, he applied his waterproof spray on sunscreen while standing in the tub. I about messed myself when I started slipping all over, clawing uselessly at the curtain before I busted my butt on the floor of the tub – twice. I mean, it would have been totally fine if I messed myself, because I was in the tub. Easy enough to clean up. But I was alone in the house with Penny, brand new Penny, and what if I busted my head and fell face down in the water? That was close. Actual close. AND it was Phillip’s fault. So it was close for him, too. Because I was about ready to spray him to death by the time he picked us up.

Obviously, I’ve let it go.

I feel like there’s probably more stuff I’ve totally shelled up by now. Oh, one time I legitimately almost drowned in the ocean and promptly unlearned how to swim, even though I was 16 at the time and had known how to swim for pretty much ever, so close calls definitely have real consequences aside from just dwelling on what if and what if and what if. Other types of close calls can change your behavior, of course – a heart attack can get someone to start to diet and exercise, for example, or a brush with death can lead someone to take more risks. No one had a heart attack or brushed up against death today, by the way.

In writing 1500 more words than I intended, I’ve discovered that when it comes to close or not actually close calls, a person such as myself who is, in fact, myself, may do one or more of the following:

  • shell it over
  • dwell on it and what COULD have happened or actually did happen to people in similar circumstances but ultimately did not happen in these circumstances
  • actual real consequences such as unlearning how to swim
  • change in future behavior that would either avoid the same situations in the future or, if the same situation was to occur, widen the gap or the closeness of the call

I’m probably supposed to ask a question here in order to facilitate some discussion on what I’ve just written, but I don’t know. Free associate.