Tag Archives: babies

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.

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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.

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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?

crapkingdom

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.

These are some things: forcing this on that, ear potatoes, PJs/weeJs.

Here is a thing that I am really sick of: companies or things or industries or whatever, I don’t know, figure out what I mean here, trying to take their in store or physical or otherwise offline methods and adapt or force them into or onto the online or non-physical or otherwise e or i experience.

I don’t want that. I don’t want that at all. And you don’t want that. I assume you don’t want that. You must not want that. Because there’s a choice. There’s online and there’s offline. There’s in store and… on… store. And books and ebooks, and, you know, the like. And one existed first and the other came along, and since I was having Amazon deliver things to my college dorm room and now I’m a thousand, I assume we’re all relatively comfortable with our choice between the two, taking shopping for example, and we all have our preferences for when we choose one over the other, setting aside the times we’re forced to choose one over another.

There are REASONS a person chooses one over another, right? Sometimes I want to go to a store because I want to SEE something. I want to touch it or see how big it is or see what color it is, or, you know what? Sometimes I like to go to Target and I like to carry things around the store for a while and then put them back because it turns out all I really needed to do was carry them around, not actually own them. Carrying them around was enough of an experience, don’t need to actually buy. It’s a great savings, really. If I picked things up and went straight to the counter with them, we would be very broke.

Other times, I want to sit at home and add 85 items to my online cart. I want $55,000 worth of merchandise in my cart. I want to read reviews. I want to compare minute details. I want to zoom in VERY, VERY CLOSELY. And then I want to come back to the site and do it again tomorrow. And I want to do it all in my underpants and a Cookie Monster t-shirt.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING LATELY? So, I’m doing one of my favorite things, reading reviews of something I already bought while eating a giant bowl of rice – actually, that’s two of my favorite things – when up pops this little box with a FACE IN IT, with text asking, “HEY CAN I HELP YOU JUST LET ME KNOW OK I’M RIGHT HERE IF I CAN HELP YOU JUST TEXT SOME WORDS I’M RIGHT HERE WITH MY FACE LOOKING AT YOU AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING HOVERING AROUND AND WAITING FOR YOU TO NEED ME TO ASSIST YOU WITH THE VERY BASIC TASK OF LOOKING AT ITEMS AND CHOOSING ONE YOU MIGHT LIKE!”

In the words of that little cleaning robot guy in Wall-E, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA.”

Look, I’m not even going to finish making my point because you can make my point, right? Why is the hovering sales associate of the IN store shopping experience hovering all over my rice-and-underpants shopping experience? Just because it works IN store doesn’t mean – wait, DOES it work in store? Are there people who like that? Anyway, just because it MAY work in store doesn’t mean it needs to be applied online, where you in THEORY have a contact link or a help link somewhere on every page. I don’t need some dude’s FACE popping up hovery sales girl style. It puts me off my rice.

And what’s weird is that now that we’re all – I assume everyone is basically me – of an age of some sort where we have jobs and we are the people at companies, making choices – you, not me, I’m at home in underpants with rice – it’s hard to imagine that these calls are being made by old men in rooms order things by catalog or have personal shoppers or I don’t know, have never seen an Internet. I assume the people who make these choices are the same people who are either annoyed by hovery sales people when they shop in store, or who choose to UNDERPANTS-RICE at home to avoid such a thing. Yet the in store experience is being all crammed into my underpants and rice moments. Why? WHY?

Or, or WORSE, when an old model is trying to be crammed on to new technology, and it’s somehow my problem to either deal, or come up with something new. Like the whole ebook thing, that’s been hard to figure out. I’m not going to look up research or links or whatever, because I’m lazy and I’m not a responsible blogger and this isn’t news media and I don’t in any way feel obligated to do so, but I read this stuff at one point, so the information is out there. So libraries start lending ebooks, right, and there was this one publisher – and may be still, I’m not fact checking because I can only use the text editor in WordPress right now and it’s really giving me the red ass – who wanted the ebook licenses to expire after a certain number of lendings, because that’s when a regular book would “wear out,” requiring the library to buy a new copy, so it was only fair that they should have to buy a new ebook after the same amount of uses. Which is just… it’s mindblowing, really.

Because a digital book is not a paper book. It’s not. It’s not the same thing. It doesn’t work the same way. You need to work with it in a new way because it’s a new thing. It’s not okay to just apply the old process onto the new thing, because it’s a new thing. New. You come up with a new way, even if the new way means less money. Unless you come up with a new way that means the same amount of money in a sensical way. Or something.

Anyway, I was discussing this with someone, and they said to me, “Well, then, what do you suggest?,” kind of confrontationally, a little, but still conversationally, but who cares how, because I don’t fucking KNOW. It’s not my JOB to know. And I don’t have to just quietly not mention that your “expiring ebook” method is shitty and nonsensical because I don’t have a better idea. I am not a Professional Ebookist. It is not in any way my responsibility to come up with a solution for the whole ebook/paper book shenaniganfoolery. Not liking something or the way something is done doesn’t make coming up with a better way MY burden.

WHICH REMINDS ME OF ANOTHER THING!

So a couple of years ago, some website I’ve never read before published this big long super heartfelt post about how they had to have ads in order to pay the writers, but they especially had to have really annoying ads. See, don’t you understand – video ads and popups actually pay the most money. The more annoying the ad, the more money the site publisher makes. So when you complain about ads, or when you view through a feed reader, or when you stop visiting the site because of annoying ads, what you don’t understand is that THOSE VERY ADS!!! are the ones making the site owner the most money to pay the writers. And —

And nothing. That was the whole thing. Just this long, supposedly meant to be super revealing “behind the ads” piece on why you kind of actually owe it to the site owner to keep visiting despite these fucking annoying as hell ads, because that’s how they make MONEY.

Uh, no shit? Really? Ads on your site are how you make money?

Anyway, I came across this post because someone, I don’t remember who (I’m lying, I remember exactly who), linked on Twitter with some kind of (and I need Lara’s handjob gif here) bullshit like “slow clap” or something like that, how everyone needed to read it to UNDERSTAND or something. The whole point of the post – and I actually would find this one for you if I even could begin to remember how to, it was such a joke – was to make people UNDERSTAND. To understand that big, annoying, flashy ads are where the most money comes from for site owners, and complaining about it is kind of a douchey thing to do, and you really should visit the site and not use ad block and not read through a feed reader and not stop coming to the site just because you don’t like BIG FLASHY VIDEO ADS and POP UPS. Because site owners NEED TO DO THAT to MAKE MONEY.

And just… no. No. I get that a lot of people make their money online. A LOT of people do. But once your living in ANY WAY becomes MY obligation, you’ve absolutely crossed the line into insanity and entitlement. If you don’t like the ads on a site, you really, really don’t need to go there. Really. If that’s how the site owner makes money, and it stops working because the readers aren’t having it, that site owner needs to find a new way to make some money, not start bitching about how the READERS just DON’T UNDERSTAND how MAKING MONEY WORKS and how they just aren’t keeping up THEIR END OF THE DEAL.

That was years ago, and I’m still mad.

You can’t just… FORCE THINGS onto OTHER THINGS because you think the thing you have on one thing should just go onto the other thing.

Things I applied that to above: in store shopping and online shopping, ebook and paper books, site owners’ responsibility for their own income and readers. IT ALL CAME TOGETHER IN THE END.

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A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to get Penelope to let me look at her ears, because she never lets me get close to them in the tub, and they looked grungy. I finally got a hold of her, and I said, “Penelope, your ears are so dirty, you could grow potatoes in here.” I thought something caught her attention on television, she stood still, and she let me clean her ears.

The next day, she was taking a nap, and about halfway through her normal nap length, she stood up in the middle of her bed and started yelling for Phil.

“DADDY! DADDY! HELP! HELP! TATO IN EAR! TATO! TATO EAR!”

So he had to go in there and check and reassure her that there were no potatoes growing in her ears. So… that was a slight miscalculation on my part.

On the upside, her ears are now pretty consistently clean, though I do have to submit to regular examinations for rogue potatoes myself.

*****

If you look into the sidebar, you can see that the date for next year’s PJs at TJ’s has been set! That’s all the planning that has been done/information that has been released so far, but it’s something!

Here’s what I can tell you!

– Still in Phoenix.
– Ish.
– Still in February.
– Despite what appears to be increased interest, the attendee cap will not be raised. (See this post for info!)
– Registration will be opened probably around the same time as last year, late September/early October, if that changes I will let you know.
– There is a Facebook group that you can join for information as it’s available, by searching PJs at TJ’s 2014.

I said this in a comment last year, re: throwing a small event that is both very small but also open.

It is tough. But I have decided, I will just not go about anything sneakily, and it will be clear and obvious that there is nothing to gain in the sense that maybe some other types of Internet gatherings may have something to offer in the way of… gains. And that I will be very clear that I plan to turn THE VERY INCREDIBLY HUGELY VAST MAJORITY OF THE WORLD away, but I have no plans to turn anyone specific at all away.

And that in the end, I am not owing anything to anyone, and I am not turning myself inside out with the kind of generosity people will talk about for years, about how selfless I was, year after year, becoming ever more gracious and giving to the thankless and faceless crowds that grow greater and greater each year – no, that’s not it at all. In the end, it can only be what it is, what I will allow it to be, and that is my party, and every year for as long as I want to, I will hold my party, and when it becomes unfair, or when it fails to meet someone’s expectations, or when it becomes a subject of some kind of scrutiny, I will just have to shrug my shoulders and say, well, it’s just my party.

And that’s how I look at it, and that’s how I hope people will look at it, with that kind of understanding, both in terms of what I can accommodate and what they can expect from this kind of gathering. Because the answer to both is the same – not much.

And eventually I will probably just take my ball and go home, and that will be okay, because everyone is going to clue in eventually that just like I am struggling to figure out the rules in a landscape where there aren’t rules, this is a whole wide open THING and it’s not just for SPECIAL PEOPLE, because I am the most average of the average, and last year we had the most average of the average times, and it was SO GREAT, and all I did was decide to do it.

This really should have been a whole other thing because I don’t think I’m even remotely related to your comment.

BUT ISN’T IT INTERESTING? How it seems like there are things like… BlogHer and EVO and Bloggy Boot Camp and all kinds of things, and it’s like you have to wait for them to come along at a time that you have A) the time and B) the money and C) the nerve and D) the desire to go to one of them that even remotely begins to match up with something you even WANT to attend, and then suddenly it hits you that these are not MAGIC PEOPLE that came up with these gatherings, they are just PEOPLE.

And you (or me) are ALSO PEOPLE. And so you can pick a time and a place that is affordable and convenient and talk to the people that bolster your nerve and say, HEY, come over, let’s do this specific thing or things or NO THINGS that line up with our specific interests or NON-INTERESTS, in my particular case, and everyone jumps on it, because everyone kind of WANTS to go, but A, B, C, D, never quite line up and it never occurs to us that we just don’t have to WAIT for a magic person to set it up and for ABCD to land on us, we can BE the magic person and we can jigger things around so that ABCD are WORKABLE AND REASONABLE for everyone.

I’M NOT EVEN MAGIC! I DID IT! I’M DOING IT! I FEEL SO GOOD! AGAIN!

*****

Oh, yeah, we also had to go to the emergency room because I pulled a thumbtack out of Penelope’s mouth and she told me she ate one (liar) and then she did eat some Icy Hot, but we only had to call Poison Control for that, and you’d think I’d dedicate a lot more words to those incidents, but, alas.

Victory shoes and Makeup Monday 2: The Balm Apricot Skin Renewal Lotion. And Stuff.

Note: Please save part of this post for tomorrow. Which part you save is up to you. I’m not controlling or anything.

Toward the end of last week, I started to feel crappy, details don’t matter, but I had a rough couple of days, and Phil really stepped up in taking care of things around here and letting me get some extra rest in order to make sure that sort of crappy didn’t take a turn for extra crappy, so on Friday, I was kind of rushing around in the afternoon to pick the place up before he got home, plus do the couple of things around the house that he usually feels like he has to do the second he comes in the door. He’s one of those types, you know, can’t relax until his things are done. So I figured I’d do all the things, and he could just kick back after really stretching for most of the week.

Except things kept happening. You know, after last Monday’s entry, I guess typical Penelope stuff. Stuff I’ve come to expect from a Penelope. I forgot to lock the dishwasher (we have to lock the dishwasher to keep her from getting in it, but that doesn’t stop her from randomly starting it up whenever she wants) and she got out some serving forks. I could hear her with them, so I approached slowly. You have to approach slowly when the Penelope has contraband, because if she knows you’re coming to take it, she’ll run. With FORKS. Or whatever she might have. And if she’s running, and you’re closing in, she’ll throw whatever she’s got, like some teenager with pot running through the woods behind the house party that just got busted, flinging the baggie off into the brush in desperate hope of not being caught but also maybe being able to find it again later. Except it’s not pot, it’s my cell phone and it’s not the brush, it’s probably the kitchen floor. Anyway, this time she didn’t run, but she did throw the forks at my face.

She threw ham at the wall.

When discussing Penelope’s behavior on Twitter the other day – which I don’t do too often, because of reasons, but I wasn’t feeling very well so was just generally totally beaten – someone suggested that I possibly might need to reevaluate what behavior I consider acceptable, because it is hard to believe that a two year old could be that bad all the time. That is, could it be that my standards of behavior for Penelope are much too high, making it seem as though she is constantly misbehaving, when in reality, it is just me, expecting too much from a toddler? Is this just a case of me not knowing that I need to pick my battles? Am I exhausting myself – and probably Penelope – with my impossibly high standards?

No. No, that’s not the case. I let the ham go, y’all. I do choose my battles. I do. If she’s not throwing something at my face, I mostly let it go, with a reminder that in this house, we pass things to each other. We don’t throw.

(Oh yeah, we’re those schmucks now. Come into our house, and you’ll get pulled aside for the little speech, like those, “Oh, we try not to say ‘No,’ we feel like it crushes her spirit,” except it’s more like, “Oh, please don’t throw anything in front of her, not even your car keys to your spouse to move the car, we feel like that’s why she keeps throwing shoes at my face, so if you could just pass things to each other and then make a huge fucking deal about what a great pass that was, that would be GREAT, thanks.” We know we sound like a couple of pass holes. We know.)

This is what’s not okay: hitting, harassing the dogs, eating out of the trash/throwing things in the trash, taking things from the fridge, throwing things at people, failing to obey reasonable requests when it’s very clear you understood and are deliberately disobeying for funsies.

Okay, I admit it, I didn’t totally let the ham thing go.

I... I can't explain this.

In my defense, I just asked her to get it.

So I don’t think I’m unreasonable in my expectations, and as you can see above, she might just be a BIT UNREASONABLE IN HER INTERPRETATIONS OF MY REQUESTS. I’m not saying she’s in any way an abnormal child, I’m just saying that normal is a range and to compose a range, you need to have children at each end. What you’re looking at here is an end child.

After the potato incident I mentioned last week, and the peanut butter incident – did I tell you about the peanut butter incident here? Brinkley ate half a jar of peanut butter, and then Penelope got the jar of peanut butter from the trash, and she had some. That happened. So after the peanut butter incident and the potato incident, we had some deliveries last week. We got some more child locks, and some more Door Monkeys, and a ridiculously priced Simple Human trash can with a pedal and a lock. Of course, after her nap, I turned my back for what I swear was the space of a super human speed bathroom visit and came back to this:

This is just a normal day, though, so no big. I mean, she gets into things, I pick them up. It’s just particularly ridiculous because that day was one thing after another, and, well, okay, she’s sitting in a pile of child locks. The point is, though, that I keep Phil updated on her doings throughout the day, and while he doesn’t ever come out and say it, I do kind of get a “… really?” vibe from him pretty frequently. It can kind of seem like, if he were home, this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening. Aren’t I even watching? How can stuff like this happen so frequently? He’s here every night and all weekend, and he doesn’t see this much stuff happen…

It doesn’t help that, a short time later – and, okay, I admit it, this is all on me – I had put her in her room for sneaking into the locked side of the linen closet (DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HER HIDING IN THERE AND NOT MAKING A SOUND WHILE I RAN THROUGH THE HOUSE YELLING HER NAME OH MY GOD) and retrieving soda cans in order to fling them onto the kitchen floor, and I forgot that when I had to chase her out of her room earlier, I had left a tub of body butter on the floor. Okay. That was no good. That was no good at all. Especially because the body butter I have been using on her lately is one of mine (it works), so it is especially stinky and greasy. And it was so quiet in her room, and I went in there, and she was rubbing greasy, stinky body butter all over herself. And her hair. And the carpet. And everything ever.

BUT LET ME GET TO MY POINT, HERE IT IS, PENELOPE SCRIBBLED ALL OVER MY NEW SHOES!!

I slept in a little bit on Saturday, and when I woke up, Phil and Penny weren’t in the living room, or the kitchen, and I wandered into the playroom and didn’t find them. But I smelled some really strong cleaning smell, and I found them both in the guest bathroom. Phil was standing at the sink, with the water running, and my new sneakers that I had just gotten, just the day before, scrubbing at the toes with a magic eraser. Penny had colored all over the toes with a ball point pen.

“I JUST LOOKED AWAY FOR A SECOND,” he said.

ENTIRE LIFE? MADE.

Okay, I will keep you, WITH YOUR PERFECTLY-TIMED SHOE RUINING!

*****

It is Monday again, which means it is time for Makeup Monday, which is the second part of my post, because maybe you are not into makeup, which means you can abandon ship here, but I may not always be so solicitous as to write a whole other thousand words not about makeup, so don’t go getting used to it or anything. Thought I guess you’re totally SOL if you don’t like makeup OR my kid. Are you just hanging around waiting for me to start writing about World of Warcraft again? I mean, it could happen. My account is open. If you are, I mean… I probably should. Just to reward you. Because that is some dedication.

In the spirit of the No Buy, No No Blog, I have actually gone and USED SOMETHING UP from the pile in the picture in the original post detailing all of my restrictions and rules and plans for the whole project. Here is that picture.

So, while this isn’t my entire makeup collection, for my No Buy, No No Blog, this is what I’m working with. I’ll deal with everything in the picture in one of the ways described in the original post before the no buy ends. Well, everything in the picture, plus some things that hadn’t arrived yet at the time the picture was taken.

Today, I’m talking about the product indicated with the arrow – Apricot Skin Renewal Cream by The Balm – as well as some eye makeup remover wipes that came in the Allure Summer Beauty box, and the two facial moisturizers I currently use, and why they can go right to hell.

I am currently using the two facial moisturizers pictured. I’ve got pretty normal skin, I think. It’s not particularly prone to oiliness or greasiness, and I have what I think are pretty standard hormonal breakouts – probably one or two actual pimples once a month, maybe a threatened pimple here and there the rest of the month. Pretty lucky, I think, but I suffered for it mightily when I was younger. I’ve got really irritating patches of dryness, though, on my forehead between my eyes, next to my nose, and sometimes on my chin and next to my mouth depending on how hot my shower was, so I have to moisturize every day and heavily before makeup or my makeup will look flaky and horrible.

The two moisturizers pictured – Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 and Up & Up Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15, oil free – can go right the hell to hell, each for separate reasons. I use them in a pretty standard fashion – after the shower and/or before makeup, I put on a pretty thick layer and let it soak in. I put it on my face. My face, where the FACIAL MOISTURIZER is intended to go. My FACE, where I keep both my EYES and my MOUTH, most days.

If I use the Cetaphil, I get a taste in my mouth that I am pretty sure is poison. And it just hovers in the back of my throat for most of the day, ruining things and making life miserable. And look, smartbutticus, I know I’m not supposed to eat it. I don’t eat it. It’s on my face, all smeared around on there, and some of its fuminess kind of gets into the general mouthy area. I’m not rubbing it directly into my tongue. I guess it performs its general moistness duties okay, but the fact remains that when I use it, the back of my throat feels like a little man is standing back there with a fireplace bellows, releasing puffs of TERRIBLE all day long. It’s no good. It’s just no good.

And then there’s the Up & Up. I’m a pretty big fan of Target’s store brand of products, I haven’t had too many stinkers. Well, unless you count shmazors. And for a moisturizer, this does okay. Just okay. It’s not really anything super special as far as under makeup goes, considering my especially flaky spots, but for every day (I don’t wear makeup every single day) and before bed, I don’t mind it. Except for one thing. One teeeeeny, tiny thing. It’s trying to blind me. It gets into my eyes somehow – AND NO, I AM NOT APPLYING IT DIRECTLY TO MY EYES – even hours after application, even if I don’t feel like I am sweating any especial amount. It runs into my eyes when I’m just sitting on the couch, and holy shit, does it burn. It burns to the point that shortly thereafter, I’m barely able to keep my eyes open, what with the tearing up and the flames of hell and the rubbing and the splashing of water. BUT DON’T SPLASH THE WATER. Because that just seems to reactivate all the REST of the moisturizer on the face, which then rushes to my eyes. I’ve actually texted Phil at work near the end of his day to ask how close he was to coming home, because hey, I’m blind, and I can’t afford to show any weakness to Penelope, she kind of has the upper hand as it is. But it doesn’t happen every TIME. Only sometimes. At random. Maybe when Pen-o is about to stage some kind of coup. Maybe there’s a connection. I don’t know. I’m not a Makeup Scientist.

SO AS YOU CAN SEE. My current moisturizer selections are NOT EXACTLY EXCELLENT, so the samples I received in my recent order from The Balm were pretty well timed. I got two, and decided to start with the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream for no particular reason. I actually had a reason at the time, but I don’t remember it.

The Balm website says that this lotion smooths the skin and also slows down the aging process, but a small foil packet is hardly enough product to really evaluate those claims, so what I was really looking for was how it dealt with my problem areas, did it try to poison me, and did it try to kill me and/or enter into cahoots with my daughter?

Texture: I probably should have taken a picture, but I DIDN’T. This is a pretty thick lotion. It’s less liquidy than it is creamy, and has a greasier feeling than the two lotions I’m used to using. It’s not a slap on the face kind of lotion, but more of a rub it in type. It has a higher quality feeling to it than the two I normally use, which makes sense, considering it costs several times more than they do.

It actually made my face feel kind of greasy when it was on, too. I don’t know if greasy is the word. I think makeup people prefer the word dewy. Yeah. I was dewy as shit when I put this on. I used it at night only for the first two applications, which was about all that was in the packet. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually wear it under makeup, because it felt… tacky. Not tacky like the way I usually dress, but tacky to the touch. I kept thinking about that one scene with Jordan and Ted from Scrubs, before she was in that other show that makes up for the fact that she’s not a great actress by just writing for the fact that that’s her face. You know what I mean? I WANT TO TOUCH IT BUT I DON’T.

I didn’t really time it, or do anything really professional in nature like any kind of actual reviewer of products, but normally I put on my moisturizer and let it dry down for a bit, then put some more on my trouble spots before applying my primer and foundation, or BB cream, or whatever the hell I’m going to wear that day. I didn’t really notice this stuff drying down completely for a while. I don’t know how long a while is. You’re going to have to ask someone with a clock. I probably could have gone ahead and applied primer over this, but… I don’t know. Not my style, really.

Poison-ness: I don’t know what something called Apricot Skin Renewal Cream is supposed to smell like, but I’m guessing apricots. It doesn’t. But, good news! It doesn’t smell like poison, either! You know what it smells like? The Dollar Store at Christmas. Or that one store in your hometown that you go in and quickly realize it is really not for you because it’s all dolls or sun catchers or wall plaques with country ducks on them, but you’re the only person in the store in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and the lady who is clearly the owner came out from behind the counter when you came in, so you feel obligated to give a kind of courtesy wander of the store, but the longer you stay, the more it seems like she thinks you might actually be the type of person who is really into country ducks or whatever, so she starts kind of following you and maybe pointing out different things in the store that she thinks you might like, or that are on sale, and, really, if you were into that kind of thing, you’d have to admit, you’d be a FOOL to pass up the deal, but you’re NOT into that kind of thing, and now it’s awkward, and you have to walk out the door without buying anything. So that’s kind of a weird smell for a lotion, and it’s even weirder if you think that it was maybe intended to smell like apricots, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t think country duck when I think apricot. I like apricots.

Kill/Cahoots: No attempts were made on my life during the use of this lotion. This probably could have gone under texture, but it didn’t run at all, and I don’t feel like if it did run, it would have caused any pain to my eyeballs.

Effectiveness: Like I said, the foil packet really isn’t enough to judge if the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream can, you know, renew skin. I got two full applications out of it, and in the interest of the No Buy, No No Blog project and using things up, I squeezed out the last bits and applied them to my most troubley areas, and you know, I was pretty pleased. I ended up just applying makeup in the middle of the night to send ridiculous pictures to Diane and Jonna, but hell of my skin didn’t look kind of fantastic under the clown face. I could actually see using this at night, something a little lighter out of the shower, and then this again on my flakiest areas.

Rebuy: So, would I buy this again? Well, it smells funny, but that kind of wears off eventually. It’s expensive, to me, at $29 for 2.36oz, compared to, say, $7 for 4oz of my usual murder lotion. But can you really talk about price when you’re talking about murder lotion? I have three more lotions to consider in my No Buy, No No Blog project: a Nutrogena from the Allure Summer Beauty Box, a sample from VMV Hypoallergenics that’s been kicking around my tippy piles for a while, and another foil packet from TheBalm – Grapefruit Antioxidant Day Face Cream (spoiler: it smells like the locker room at the YMCA.) I know that the poison/murder lotions are out the door for sure, but I don’t know for certain what will replace them.

****

SPEAKING OF APPLYING THINGS DIRECTLY TO EYES: Simple brand Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes! Yes! Ish! I have definitely applied these directly to my eyeballs in my attempts to learn how to tightline my eyes (which I can now successfully do THANK YOU), and I was not killed, nor was my daughter allowed to launch any of the multiple plots that are surely in any of several different stages of hatchery at any given time. Excellent. EXCELLENT.

EXCEPT.

Any makeup remover pad, when confronted with waterproof makeup, or lots of makeup, or lots of waterproof makeup many times over, like when someone with ham hands is learning a new skill very close to the eyeball, is going to be rubbed over the delicate eye area lots of times. Waterproof eye makeup is tough stuff, and eye makeup remover, especially that designed for sensitive eyes, cannot just go at it with fire and chemicals and burn that shit all to the ground. So it takes some swiping. And swiping. And swiping. So any makeup pad, no matter how intended to be gentle, is going to start to feel like you’re taunting your eyelids with a fiberglass mitten. These are no real exception.

So. If you’re sensitive to actual makeup remover, as in, the formulation of the stuff hurts your actual eyeballs and skin, Simple Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes are an excellent choice. If you’re sensitive to having the eye area rubbed repeatedly with cotton-like pad thingers, well, maybe just rub it once or twice and call it good enough. You know what they say. Tonight’s mascara & eyeliner are tomorrow’s smoky eye.

Rage balls, Makeup Monday: Starting a Collection, and being in.

Maria has started doing Makeup Monday for the month of May, and you can look to this post on her blog for more explanation, but since I have makeup to talk about and a No Buy, No No Blog going on, it aligns nicely with my goals, so I decided to hop on board with one of the questions that came up a couple of times in the last post and sometimes on Twitter, or anywhere, really, when talk of a makeup collection gets going, and that question – we’re still in the same sentence, I think – that question is this: How does a person get started making (getting? building? having? gathering?) such a collection?

But first I have to say, I did not even think I would even get to do a post today at all, and I guess for most people I am not even really doing a post today at all, because I think the Internet is closed for most of the country at this point, or the people who have the good channels or DVR are watching all of that stuff, because it’s 7pm in Arizona, which is pretty much No One’s Here o’clock, Internet Standard Time. I’ve been laying in bed for the longest time because I’ve had terrible stomach cramps all day, and there’s maybe a two percent chance they’re related to the stomach cramps Phil had yesterday, considering we eat mostly the same food and go the same places, live in the same house and are exposed to all of the same things, but I’m 98% certain it’s a rage ball in my stomach, and if it is a rage ball, then I’m 100% certain it’s Penelope-related.

  •  Evidence One: Every morning, she snuggles up close to me, on the love seat, so that she’s practically up IN my love seat cushion, even though it’s clearly a two person sofa, and — actually, you know what?
  • Evidence Two: Once she’s snuggled up, she puts her left foot on me. And I subtly push her foot off of me. And she will be drinking her milk, or looking at the dogs, or watching television, or just otherwise occupied, and she just puts her foot right back where it was. Like it was comfortable there, and she’s just putting it back, no big. So I move it again. And she puts it back. So I move it. And she puts it back. Only by then, I can SEE HER SMILING. And she might hook her foot over my arm, or put her bare foot flat against my forearm, or whatever, anything. So I shove her, gently-ish, to her own cushion, as it should be, on a two cushion couch. And she will snake her left foot down the couch and TOUCH ME WITH HER FOOT. Until I am yelling, at a two year old, “GET YOUR FREAKING FOOT OFF OF ME. STOP IT. STOP TOUCHING ME WITH YOUR FOOT. STOOOPPPP IIIIIIIITTTTTTT!”
  • Evidence Three: Speaking of snakes (I did, up there, you can go back and check), she refused to eat her lunch today because it was snake, even though she knew FULL WELL it was steak. SHE KNEW. I knew she knew. SHE KNEW I KNEW SHE KNEW. She’s always snake-punking me. (There is a video here. You might not see it in whatever crappy substitute for Google Reader you’ve been forced into.)

  • Evidence Four: The numerous time outs today specifically for throwing things while yelling, “No THROWING!” as she heaved the item across the room.
  • Evidence Five and Six: These two potatoes she removed from the fridge, bit, and then left places.

    There’s a buttmunch loose in this house. I’ve got the evidence RIGHT HERE.

You: That’s how two year olds are!
I know I just told you.

You: Have you tried —
We are trying parenting and waiting for her to age. Those are the methods we are going with.

I just – I KNOW. I know other kids are like this. This isn’t the other kid blog, it’s my blog and my rage ball, and I’m telling you, just because other kids behave this way doesn’t make it any less of a justified rage ball. She touches me with her foot WITH MALICE AFORETHOUGHT. “All two year olds are crazy” does not make me feel any less like laying face down in the carpet come 2:30pm. She learned how to open the fridge and used her new found knowledge to bite my potatoes. Potatoes are my favorite. What did she think was going to be different about the second one? She didn’t think anything. She’s two. There isn’t any thinking. There’s a desire to bite a potato, and then there’s biting the potato. And then the potato adventure is through. No thought involved. No thought for Mama who has to have a pre-bitten potato for lunch.

I KNOW IT’S BARELY BITTEN. IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING. WE’RE A CIVILIZED PEOPLE, HERE.

I know all the sciencey stuff. Exploring her world! Checking shit out! Learning that this potato tastes just like that potato! Not learning that a decent human being RETURNS THE POTATOES WHEN DONE BITING THEM. I watched Mr. Rogers with her today, the one where he narrates while the film shows the crayon factory? That was always my favorite, I’m not unique in that, and holy shit, her mind was BLOWN. I know it’s a miraculous time and all of that, but so was pregnancy, and that was still a fucking shit show. I’m feeling all defensive because you get so many explanations. Oh, she’s two. Oh, terrible twos! Just learning about her world! This is an important time for them! No, no, I get it. I do. But if you are using those words like a sponge to wipe away at my frowny rage face I will just tell you now, there is a frownier, ragier face underneath, because one, gross, sponge. Two, foot. Three and four, my potatoes.

So anyway, my stomach hurts really bad. Two percent chance it’s what Phil had, 98% chance Penelope has put something in my food to destroy me from within. I just felt really blergh all day, so I didn’t think I’d get a chance to do my Makeup Monday post at all, but I didn’t want to miss out on helping Maria get this off the ground (seeing as how having it steaming along benefits my No Buy, No No Blog goals as well, after all), so since she expressed interest in seeing everyone’s collections and she went with lip stuff for her post, I gathered up all my lip stuff and posted this on Twitter with the Makeup Monday hashtag.

Penelope very much wanted her Lipsmacker included. She likes it applied directly to tongue.

That is, I believe, my entire current collection of lip products. Some are part of the No Buy, No No Blog project and some are just in my regular rotation. There are probably a couple of things that can be pruned out, but since I enjoy the researching/shopping/picking aspect of makeup as much as the having/using aspect of makeup like a lot of other kinds of hobbies, I don’t really end up with a whole lot that doesn’t work out for me. All of it is current, or at least most of it is, and should be still available for purchase or relatively easy to find, so names and swatches of anything you might be interested in seeing more of can be handled tomorrow. Which is today, probably, since the Internet is closed for most of you.

The question, though. Of how to start a makeup collection. Obviously I have one, but when people would ask that question, I would immediately think, “I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask someone else. I can’t help you, I have no idea.” Because, honestly, what do I know? I just buy things. But then, to anyone on the outside, who isn’t familiar with makeup at all, that probably sounds really daunting. That’s like me asking a knitter how to get started, and getting the answer, “Oh, I just knit.”

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m fairly… enthusiastic… about the things I like. Doctor Who, makeup, Korean television dramas. If I like something, I want everyone to like it. I don’t see the value in liking something before everyone else does, or in being the first one there, or in being “in the know” while everyone else is still on the outside, because I don’t see the value in loving something alone. When I love something like those things I listed, I love it. I don’t want to love it alone, I want to share it. There’s no prize in exclusivity for me – the more, the more better. The more people who share my interests, the more people I can discuss them with. The wider my circles expand. The more ways I can relate to people who were already my friends. When I am excited about something, I don’t want to turn my back and hunch over it to hoard it. I want to turn around and yell for everyone to COME OVER HERE AND LOOK AT THIS. And I do. A lot. Which, again, if you follow me on Twitter, you are well aware of.

When there is something that looks cool and you want to get in on it, there are several ways to do it. You could check a book out of the library. You could search online. You could jump in and just start doing it. Or you could find a friend who is into whatever it is you want to be into and ask for help. Those are all valid ways to explore a new interest or hobby, right? And people who were interested in makeup but had no idea where to start – that’s what some people were doing. Asking me. Some people want to know how to start a makeup collection, they see that I have a makeup collection, so they asked me. And what have I done up til now? Throw up my hands, say, “Oh, I can’t help you, I just do it.” Like a knitter saying, “I just knit.” Or if you wanted to learn how to ski, and you asked someone who skis how to get started, and they said to you, “I don’t know, you just ski.” It doesn’t make any sense. There are ways to get started. So I thought of some.

Some Ways to Start a Makeup Collection When You Don’t Know How to Start a Makeup Collection at All so You Have to Start From Somewhere: a List by Temerity Jane

∞ If you have any skincare concerns at all (very dry skin, aging skin (I’M NOT BEING INSULTING, YOU JUDGE FOR YOURSELF), very oily skin), a goo idea might be to go to a department store counter like Clinique known for good skin care systems, especially at a time when they are running a gift with purchase special. The counter lady will help you select some skin care stuff, they will maybe help you pick some makeup if you like, and you’ll get usually a little makeup bag with some free with purchase makeup products in it – which ones will depend on the promotion.

∞ OR? You can just pick a department store counter and ask for a full makeover. You’ll have to commit to buying some products at the end, but you can ask them to show you how to do what they’re doing, you can tell them what kind of “look” you want, and you’ll have all the colors chosen for you so you won’t have to worry about picking something terrible on your own.

∞ A brand like e.l.f. (carried at Target or available online, their site is always running a sale) is great for figuring out what types of products you like. Like do you prefer powder eye shadows, or cream? Or do you like pencil eyeliner, or liquid? With almost every single product under $5, most under $3, you can cheaply figure out your preferences and then step up to better brands.

∞ Ok, you know where you should start if you don’t have anything at all? Mascara. If you want to just start with something to break the makeup ice, you should buy some mascara. If you want a one item makeup collection, it should be mascara. If you want to buy two things, it should maybe be mascara and blush. Or mascara and a tinted lip balm. Mascara, blush, and a nice tinted lip balm. That’s a good way to start a collection, with those three things.

Continuation of the above point: I will be more specific now, but you and I both know that everyone is different and someone may recommend three different options in the comments, and then you will have to go your own way (YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAAAAAY (go your own waaay)): Cover Girl’s Clump Crusher, a blush of your choosing (Physican’s Formula has some foolproof ones and CVS regularly does excellent sales), and Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain.

Lastly, you can follow me on Twitter, because I am on a No Buy, No No Blog, and all day long, I point out things I would like to buy, and things I think other people should buy, usually on sale, or on sites like HauteLook. If you buy all of the things I would like to be buying, you will certainly have a collection. Quite quickly. I don’t think this is the best option. I think you’d like it, though.

Anyway. That’s it. Those are some ways that I think you could build a makeup collection if you don’t have one, and don’t know where to start. I hope it was helpful. I’m sorry if I’ve seemed closed off to the question before. That was… closed off of me. It was probably my rage ball talking. In the future, I will remember that I appear to be just as enthusiastic about makeup as I am about Doctor Who, cloth diapers, and Korean dramas, and I shouldn’t be such a knob when people want to be in on it.

Seriously. When people want to be in on what you’re in on, let them in. It’s fun when we’re all in. Unless it’s a secret. If someone tells you a secret, don’t tell. Unless it’s your spouse. You’re allowed to tell them. Don’t tell me secrets and say, “But don’t tell Phil.” Because in my head I’m already telling Phil. Unless it’s about a surprise for Phil. You can tell me those things, that’s okay, I won’t tell Phil. This is so exciting, Phil won’t even know what hit him!


Any resemblance to any person living, dead, or ridiculous when the word “you” is used is a figment of your imagination and not the intent of Temerity Jane.

That deer is a sweater eater. He is on WOOL. -M.H.

Let’s do something completely nuts, and I’ll just tell you what’s been going on.

1. Penny. I’ve covered the whole 20 months old is hard and frustrating thing, right? Okay, forget all that. She’s also hilarious and delightful. She learns at least a new word a day, most days it’s two or three. And she learns them. I hand her a carrot, and I say, “This is a carrot.” And she’s like, okay, carrot. And she’ll hold it up several times and show it to me, and be like, “Yo, here’s a carrot,” to show off to me that she now knows that the hard orange thing that she has FUCK ALL intentions of actually eating is a carrot. And she smiles proudly. And now she knows – that’s a carrot. She knows it forever.

Words learned in the past two or so days: bird, pretty, thank you (on top of the previous “thanks!), carrot, apple (to actually refer to clementines, which we just bought for the first time EVER – how about THOSE THINGS, AM I RIGHT? PEELING RIGHT OPEN!), taco, pop (for ice pop), and, I don’t know, world peace.

She’s also started calling her collection of blankets “naps.” It’s wrong, but it’s adorable.

I want to tell you all of the words she says, but I’m not going to, mostly because I didn’t write them down, but also because there’s got to be over a hundred at this point. She said her first sentence I don’t know how many months ago, and has been asking questions and holding simple conversations for a while now, too. Sometimes I forget that I’m the only one who hears her so perfectly clearly, but a good percentage of her words are easy for just about anyone to decipher.

HAIR.
 

Oh, and she also made up this song, which is no big thing, kids do that, but the same little tune and nonsense words were repeated so often over the next few days that we actually all sing it now.

(there’s a video here)

Try not to be intimidated by my perfectly staged, perfectly lovely, perfectly perfect mommyblogger home and life.

Zap-oh-dee, zap-oh-dee, hey, Penny, do you want to sing zap-oh-dee? Zap-oh-dee in the shower, zap-oh-dee while I’m cooking dinner, zap-oh-dee while we were doing annoyingly cliche adorable family walking through the little local wildlife zoo together over the weekend.

Phil & Penelope
 

The membership to the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium was Penny’s “big” Christmas gift from Phil and I. Since she is young enough to still fall under “free,” the membership technically only covers me. It came with a one time free adult admission, which we used for the family visit pictured above to get Phil in, so we only need to go once more before it’s nearly paid for itself. It’s close to the base – only 5 miles – and parking is free, so it’s hardly a huge loss if we head over and she loses her baby mind and I have to haul her back home. Or, to go over and just visit her current favorite things. The zoo has a petting zoo and playground, carousel, kangaroo walkabout, four aquarium buildings which she liked quite a bit (and which I imagine we’ll visit quite a bit in the Arizona armpit months), a baby animal nursery, a train, and, I don’t know, animals.

When we were in the petting zoo, I was taking pictures of Penny while Phil let her feed some of the pushy goats and deer some pellets, and an older couple was talking to each other, saying, “Look at that deer, eating that lady’s sweater! Look! That deer is just eating the lady’s sweater!”

Eventually, I heard them and was able to rescue the pocket of my FAVORITE FRUMPY OLD MAN CARDIGAN from the mouth of the world’s pushiest deer EVER, but geeze, people, THE LADY was standing right there and clearly distracted by her adorable child’s first face to face encounter with stinky tame wildlife. A little “Excuse me, ma’am, I don’t mean to be rude, but I wasn’t sure if you were aware that there’s an animal eating your clothing” wouldn’t have been amiss.

Honestly, I’m not as mad about the deer backwash all over the pocket of my sweater as I am about the opening left for my husband to say later, “They didn’t have to fawn over you, but a little head’s up would have been bucking nice.”

Don’t worry, I killed him, and it was painful.

Petting zoo

2. My head. I saw my neurologist yesterday. I like the guy. I saw him for about two seconds yesterday, seriously. He’s very quick, he’s very brusque, but I’ve never felt rushed or like he wasn’t giving me full attention, or like I wasn’t getting quality care. I saw him for the first time when I was hospitalized with my first vestibular migraine, and this past time when I saw him, yesterday, we decided I don’t have to go back for six months.

Things are good. It’s not perfect. I told him, my words exactly, “I am not completely miserable,” and he knew exactly what I meant, and he is familiar with me, and familiar with my situation – both mine and the general condition – enough to know that we’re at a good spot. I’m very pleased, compared to where I was last April, or last summer, or even last fall. If I thought everything could be perfect, I probably wouldn’t have accepted an appointment 6 months out to just check in, but then, I don’t get the feeling he would have offered that, either.

I feel like this is probably vague, like a weird update on a chapter I haven’t actually written, but whatever. Aren’t you kind of glad I haven’t made my head thing into my thing? You know what I mean. It’s been a thing in my life, and in Phil’s life, but ugh, aren’t we all glad I haven’t made it my thing.

Anyway, so this chapter I haven’t actually bothered to write is mostly closed, except that to get to this point that is good but not perfect, I take some medication at a higher level than I used to, and I liked the old level because it didn’t work too well, but didn’t have any side effects and I thought that was a good balance. But now I take the higher level that works quite well, but does have some side effects that I don’t really care for, one of the main ones being that while I have a lot to say, there’s a lot more wild hand gesturing and frustrated face pinching-upping to get my point across, and things like calling the oven “the onion” and saying what I almost mean, which works pretty fine when you’re talking to someone near you, or to your husband who isn’t particularly big on nuance anyway, but not particularly great for blogging.

So, like I said. It’s good, but not perfect. There’s not really a way around that.

And to be clear, I’m not offering that as an excuse for not blogging as much. I’m not saying, “Oh, I haven’t been blogging as much because I take a medication that makes it harder for me to blog.” I do take a medication that does make it harder, but I’m not making excuses because I don’t feel I owe anyone any. It’s a small distinction, but it is one, because I hate when people apologize for not blogging, because, come on. Do it or don’t, it’s okay. It is. You can stop for as long as you want to or need to, and then you can start again, and it’s always okay, okay? You don’t need to apologize to anyone, ever for letting one or two or twelve or a hundred days go by without writing a blog post. You can have reasons, you can say where you were, but you never have to apologize.  I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT PART IS CLEAR.

3. PJs! Oh, gosh, you guys, PJs is coming. I’m equal parts excited and exhausted already. I’ve got plans in place already this year to make it easier on me and less stressful than it was last year, and I’ve already got my eyes toward next year with tiny tweaks to prevent things that are tiny wrinkles in my plans this year. Last year, I thought I was doing a one time thing until right afterward. This year, I’m already thinking about next year before anyone even gets here.

The thing about PJs that makes it fun for me is that it’s my party. Whenever I find myself getting stressed out and a little freaked out about what if people hate this or what if people don’t like that or how will I possibly please everyone, I just remind myself that it’s my party. I’m not putting on a blog conference or facilitating a bloggy get together, I’m throwing PJs at TJ’s, which is my party, and I can be a good hostess and make sure my guests are comfortable and fed and reasonably accommodated, but when it comes down to it, I’m having friends over to come to my party. When it’s reframed like that, it suddenly shifts back to being fun to plan and I get all refreshed and enthusiastic again. I recommend everyone throw their own parties.

4. We’re MOVING. We’ve outgrown our house. I guess I don’t really have anything more to say than that. We’re not leaving Arizona, we can’t do that, we’re going to be at Luke until the end of time, probably. I don’t mind. This isn’t a bad place to live at all, and when Phil is out of the military and we eventually head back to the east coast, it will be with no small amount of bitter on my part.

We hope to be out of here as soon as March. I want to throw away everything we own and move with nothing. Not really, but I want to shed a lot of crap. Things we don’t use, things we have just because we think we’re supposed to have it, things we mean to use “someday,” things with misplaced sentimental value, BABY THINGS. I want it all to go. Anywhere. Not here. Not with us.

5. ONE LAST PENNY THING. She’s learning to dress herself. She goes into her bedroom and chooses a shirt and puts it on, but she doesn’t know how to put it on, not really. So she comes back out of her room “wearing” the shirt she’s chosen on top of whatever else she’s already wearing. She pulls the shirt over her head until her face comes through the neckhole, like a hood, or a scarf around her face, like CORNHOLIO, you know? And the sleeves just dangling down uselessly. And then she just GOES ABOUT HER BUSINESS with her toys and stuff. Completely seriously. I have no pictures, because if I get the camera, it tips her off that something isn’t right. You have to imagine it. IMAGINE IT.

 

Please don't act as though you don't have pellets, lady.

Please don’t sic your flight attendants on me and parenty rectangles.

The trip to Pennsylvania was hard. I mean, it was really hard. All aspects of it. Getting there was miserable. I thought the flight attendant was going to put us out on the wing. When your kid is being a total shit on an airplane, there is no stored up credit you can draw upon for all the times you’ve picked up and left stores without your shopping or sat alone at a table, waiting for your food to be delivered straight from the kitchen in to go containers while your husband circles the parking lot with a shrieking infant. No one cares about that, about how you have ALWAYS done the right thing before. And no one but the nice gentleman next to you can see that you’re desperately hunched over your child, trying everything – EVERYTHING – that you’re allowed to bring onto the plane in your one teeny tiny bag.

Nope. No one cares. The best I can figure, they just want to see you be told. I don’t know what else to think. I don’t know why else other passengers would send the flight attendant to me repeatedly to say, “Okay, what’s the problem here?” or “Okay, what can we do?” or “Well, there are other people on this flight,” and things like that until I was crying, too. All I can think is that it made them feel better to see that something was being done. I hope it made them feel better, to see me be told. I was told. I cried. I’m crying again just thinking about it. I hope my fellow US Airways passengers from that flight are feeling a little extra psychic satisfaction today.

I sound bitter, I guess. I don’t mean to. We all know how miserable it is to be trapped on a plane with a screaming child. I know. I felt for everyone else on that plane. I’ve been the person on the plane gritting my teeth with every shriek. You can’t help that it annoys you. It’s grating. You ARE NOT A BAD PERSON if the sound of a shrieking child goes right through your head. You ARE NOT. You are not a child hater. Well, you might be, but not because of that.

Before I had a kid, I would think about how I didn’t want to be stuck on a flight with a screaming kid, and I guess I thought parents thought the same way. That they didn’t want to be trapped on a flight with a screaming kid, either. But when that flight attendant came up to me and said, “Well, there are other people on this flight,” I swear, I wanted to slap her face off her head. No shit, woman. You think if it was just ME here I wouldn’t tune this tantrum the fuck out?

I CAN LISTEN TO THIS ALL DAY. I AM THE PRO OF THIS SHIT. I CAN GO TO THE OLYMPICS OF PENELOPE TANTRUMS AND TAKE HOME ALL OF THE GOLDS AND THE BRONZES AND LEAVE THE SILVERS FOR MY HUSBAND TO BE NICE.

Look, I guess I am kind of bitter. I just feel like there were people on the plane that weren’t going to feel satisfied until they saw that THAT MOTHER, that terrible one up there who clearly wasn’t doing anything correctly, was appropriately scolded for her obvious failings. You’re not bad and you’re not wrong if a shrieking child is making you LOSE YOUR MIND on a flight. But don’t fucking send the flight attendant up there. What do you think is going to happen? That she will hand us parachutes and send us on our way? That she’ll work some flight attendant magic on the baby I’ve known her whole life, something I don’t know?

You know what happened? She came up there, and she made me CRY. I was doing everything I could, I was already doing EVERY FUCKING THING I COULD, and she made me CRY. I know some people out there really hate children, and I know some people out there will read this as me saying that you need to DEAL WITH MY SCREAMING CHILD, and anyone who has read this blog for a long time knows that I am not normally of that mind. We are staunchly in the Leaver category. I wish I had a bag of credits I could dip into. I wish I could understand what the people who sent the flight attendant to me thought they might accomplish. “Oh, this is BOTHERING people? I’m sorry! Let me just actually try something instead of sitting here with my thumb up my ass! I deeply apologize!”

Anyway, anyway. I’m sorry. The whole thing was just so frustrating. I was so well prepared. Or, at least, I thought I was. You know, you have EVERYTHING, but it turns out to be just tons of the wrong stuff? Eventually I was just shoving snack after snack after snack into Peno’s face, you know? And the flight attendant walked by at one exact second when she happened to be chewing, just this one silent second, and the flight attendant says to me – you guys – she says, “See? She was just hungry.”

Are you imagining my eyeballs right now? Are you imagining them?

*****

I didn’t plan to dedicate so much of this post to my flying adventures (oh, when I was preparing to get off the plane? Another flight attendant helpfully said to me, “It’s just that the screaming really bothers some people’s ears.” OH, IS THAT IT?). There was this other thing that really made the trip to Pennsylvania kind of hard that I wanted to tell you about.

So, you know, I went to Pennsylvania for a month, just me and Peno, without Phil. And it was really tough. There was a lot of floundering with just me and Pen. We did get a lot of support in some form or another from family, but the first couple of weeks especially were very difficult, mostly due to expectations not being met, on both sides, both what was promised and what I think are natural expectations of a stay at home parent and kid or even of just a mother and kid. Expectations that, while probably natural, I think do a disservice to my husband, and maybe a lot of other husbands.

So, if you think of parenting as… a shape of some sort. Say a rectangle. A rectangle that is completely filled in with some percentage contribution from both parents, giving you a 100% parenting experience. In a two parent household like our own, I suppose you might find it fair to think of it 50% blue and 50% pink, using standard gendered colors because, whatever, I like them and it’s easy.

Then, when I went to Pennsylvania with Peno, you’d be dealing with a 50% pink rectangle, and a 50% big white blank that you’d be expecting me to stretch over on my own, with cobbled together help from relatives and people in Pennsylvania, right? 50% is a lot. A person would get a lot of credit for covering her 50% and then doubling herself somehow and covering the same over again. Maybe. If it was just a person,  for one thing, and not a mother, and for a second thing, if we were even talking about a 50/50 divide.

But if we’re being realistic, I’m both the mother and the stay at home parent. So, consciously or not, if we were to ask people to take a stab at shading our rectangle – mine and Phil’s – it would likely be more pink than blue. Fair? Doesn’t matter. We’re talking about assumptions here. Not even necessarily deliberate ones. Just assumptions. Maybe when I got to Pennsylvania, people were expecting me to be covering more like  a 40% white gap. Or even a 25% white gap. And that’s not that much. That’s not twice what I’m used to like the 50% example above. That’s just a small stretch. And just for four weeks. And I’m the mother. Mothers can stretch.

The thing is, just because I’m home and Phil works, or just because I’m the mom and he’s the dad, does not mean that our parenty rectangle is more heavily pink than blue, or even that it’s an even split. I’ll tell you the truth – it’s not. I felt a lot of confusion at times in Pennsylvania – why are you handling this so poorly?  Because the bulk of the rectangle IS NOT HERE. I can only cover so much of this white space by myself, and without Phil, it is MOSTLY WHITE SPACE.

And the sad thing is, I don’t think that ever would have occurred to anyone. Sure, lone wolf parenting for an extended period of time is hard, but the mother can do it, albeit in an exhausted, clunking along fashion.

At different phases of Peno’s life, we’ve both taken turns making up the bigger shaded portion of the rectangle. This particular time is not mine. I don’t really feel like I need to explain the inner workings of our parenting any farther than that, other than that it will shift back, and back again, and back again, who knows how many times between now and forever.

Everyone who I visited with in Pennsylvania was sincere in expressing their appreciation to Phil in giving up an entire month of Penny’s life, to let them spend that time with her, but not necessarily as sensitive to me about what I was missing for that month. My husband, for one (okay, it’s hard for parents to see their kid as grown with a husband). My house (or a home of her own that she might miss, why would she? She’s in her home! That she grew up in!).  Or an absolutely enormous chunk of what keeps the whole Penny machine rolling.

Honestly, I don’t know where I’m going with this. Maybe your husbands get enough credit. Maybe husbands in general do. I’m just saying, just because it looks like a stay at home mom and dresses like a stay at home mom doesn’t mean its parenty rectangle is… mostly… pink… someone should have stopped me six hundred words ago.

Desert baby bested by grass, mother unmoved, unhip, big hipped.

Let’s all just agree now that we won’t expect much from each other on the weekends.

Mine involved a lot of spitting (Penelope), a lot of “I don’t want to touch you,” (me, to various family members – some covered with wet food, some covered in stinky fur), and a lot of sighs of various tones (Phil – there were two trips to Target and an unfruitful hunt for a red cardigan that I think he knew that I knew was going to be unfruitful from the start. I did know. Sighs accepted.)

Oh, and we also went to dinner with The West Coast Aunts!

I would say that you could look forward to meeting the West Coast Aunts at PJs at TJ’s, but if you’ll look to your right, you’ll notice that registration is closed. I don’t really have anything more to say about that. I went into this paragraph thinking I was going to offer some consoling words, or say something about a wait list or whatever, but eh, if you were going to register, you would have done it by now.

Tomorrow, I have big plans – BIG PLANS. I’ve got to mail out some diapers I sold – did I tell you I’ve been selling my diapers? It took a while. When the first one sold, I had to lay down on the floor for a minute. Then I laughed and counted the $48 it sold for. I auctioned one yesterday, one that wasn’t even brand new and unworn like that first one, for $45.

It’s been getting easier.

After that, Pen and I will stop at JoAnn Fabrics for supplies for my much hipper hobby of counted cross stitch. My sister and I have begun collaborating on our own somewhat inappropriate patterns that will be available for purchase around probably never, or Christmas, depending on how action packed my month long trip to Pennsylvania is.

In other news, I’ve been participating in the Biggest Blogging Loser competition, and between that and a little work I’ve done on my own before it, I’ve lost 20 lbs, bringing me down to weighing… well, 20 lbs less than my prepregnancy weight and wearing one size larger than my prepregnancy size, and looking exactly zero percent different than I did three weeks after I had the baby, because I have giant boobs and a c-section pooch.

But hey, it’s about the health, right? I mean, twenty pounds! That’s something! I can be proud of that! So what if none of my old clothes fit! So what if I actually have to buy all new, BIGGER things to fit my twenty pounds lighter self! It’s not about APPEARANCE. It’s about — oh, go fuck yourself, me.

(There’s a video in this post. You don’t see it if you’re reading this in Google Reader. I’m not saying you have to click through, or even that it’s worth a click through. I’m just saying that I want credit for more content than you’re actually seeing. I want you to mentally tally up more content points for me than you would give me if I hadn’t made this note. Thanks.)