Wednesday, June 30, 2010

As Seen On TV. Maybe.

So stuff's been happening around here. Most of it uneventful, but it's amazing how busy a girl can be when she's trying to avoid the box of vanilla cream filled cookies in the pantry.

I've spent the past week overhauling the apartment. I'm overwhelmed with desire to have LESS. Scratch that. I'm overwhelmed with the desire for SPACE. Maybe it's all the Matchbox cars or the stickers or the cat hair but I just want to stand in the middle of my teensy living room and spin like Wonder Woman until I tornado away the years of accumulated crap. I've sorted through all our old boxes, organized the closets, tackled my teetering pile of "research" (unread magazines), and sent 10 overstuffed bags of baby clothes to Salvation Army. (That last part was hard. I've been holding onto every little tee just in case we have another. But I've had to accept the fact that there will always be BabyGap sale rack.) I've even gone through my old taxes and shredded them for the compost pile! Of course what I haven't done is write anything.

I've had the wind taken out of my sails a bit recently. I was recently assigned my first big feature - which was pulled when the subject's PR team decided they wanted to be paid for the interview. (5 months of work, and many expensive overseas calls, wasted.) Another piece was a yes until the Editor-In-Chief got canned. It may come as a shock, what with all the magazines that have folded recently, but finding a job as a writer isn't so easy. Budgets for freelancers are getting pulled, so stuff that used to be doled out to the little people is drying up or going to writers who used to work for the NY Times. I'm getting ready to go back to school so that I can try to pick up some editing skills. Hopefully in the next few years I can move to something a little smaller, like a regional magazine. Something where I can be the buyer instead of the seller, as it were.

And in other news: I booked a commercial! I don't want to divulge too much, but I will say that:

A) Superhuman levels of enthusiasm were required. (And unfortunately recorded.)
B) I wear a visor.
C) I may be obscured by a giant foam baseball head.

But I'm getting paid! At least in theory! Will it put my kid through college? Hell, no. But it might buy 6 months worth of pre-school and that, friends, is worth its weight in overly enthusiastic catchphrases.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Potty training + dieting = goooood times

Day 4 of potty training. To my treMENdous surprise, it's not actually that bad. We've only had one accident each day which seems pretty darn impressive, considering A) he just turned 2 1/2, and B) he's a he. (Supposedly girls are easier. Fewer options.) Not that he could really forget. "Do you need to potty? Want to potty? Let's go potty! Remember, pee-pee only goes in the potty. Have to potty? Why don't we sit on the potty? I think I have to go to the potty. Want to go with me?" Sometimes I don't even ask - I just plop him on the toilet if the moment feels right. While this keeps my house pee-pee-free, I can't actually tell if he's learning anything. The few times he did escape the potty, he didn't seem to faze him that his tush was stewing in grossness. (Seems like something you'd notice, but I'm not 2 1/2.) Still, it takes 21 days to make a habit so I figure if I just keep providing the toilet and the reminders, his brain will eventually put it together.

I'm sure I will rue the day I typed this, but so far the Terrible Twos are pretty freaking great. I should state for the record that I have a really easy kid. He may not be a sleeper (hello, 5:15 am) but that's an acceptable price to pay when the waking hours are this cool. I've been witness to some serious toddler fury (I'm talking to you, nursery school classmate who routinely screams, "SHUT UP! I HATE YOU!" at children and adults) and so far Owen seems immune. His biggest source of frustration is his tricycle, which is just a little too hard to navigate in our bite-sized apartment. (I know how you feel, kid.) Our living situation is like a game of Jenga - one thing moves and it all falls apart. I'm still hoping we'll win the HGTV Green Home. Or a trip to Sesame Place. I enter a lot of contests.

Did I mention that I've stopped eating meat? No major reason really. I've always been snobby about my meat choices (no factory farms) but I was reading an article about a farm school for professional chefs where they go and learn how to slaughter. And while it was clear that the farmers were very caring and conscientious toward their animals, it still provided a pretty gristly mental picture. I still cook meat for Matt and Owen which makes things a little hectic come meal time, and I can't say it makes the diet any easier (cheese! All I want is cheese!) but I'm doing it.

At least until Thanksgiving.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Two words: Potty Training

So I'm back at Weight Watchers again which is awesome because, hey, nothing makes potty training more fun than doing it while on a diet.

Potty training. Blech. I have to tell you, I'm having a lot of trouble committing to the commitment. I know the drill: we need to ditch the diapers and let Owen run around naked so can begin to understand that pee-pee goes in the potty and not on, say, the cat. I'm sure it's an effective system. If you have a yard. Unfortunately we do not have a yard. We have a teeny-weeny apartment full of furniture that is easily stained.

Right now we've pretty much mastered elimination communication, which means I take him to the potty at the usual times (after eating and naps) or when my Spidey sense is activated. (Oh, you just want to sit alone in a corner and not be bothered for 5 minutes?) I still ask if he needs to go, but it's strictly a formality. ("I. Don't. Want. To. Go. To. The. Potty. Mommy.") Mostly I just tell him that it's time to go to the bathroom and that yes, he can bring whatever random toy he's playing with and yes, I know he doesn't want to, but once he's situated with a book he's totally fine. Heck, I have to practically pry him off the can! This technique keeps him dry 80% of the time, but I can't quite commit to full-blown underwearing. I tried it a few days ago. 2 pairs of poopy briefs later I called it quits. While I generally love Big City living, nothing makes me crave the 'burbs more than not having a washing machine. Instead, I have to soak the mess in the sink and let it drip on the shower rod until I have enough dirty clothes (or quarters) to merit a trip to the laundry room. And don't get me started on going outside sans diapers... (Did I mention that almost none of the city's playgrounds have bathrooms?)

Anybody have an effective, nontoxic carpet cleaner?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I can't stop reading about Kyron Horman

I can't stop following the story of Kyron Horman, the 2nd grader who disappeared in Portland a week ago. For those who haven't been obsessively Googling, the boy disappeared from school during a science fair and hasn't been seen since. Nobody saw anything. The parents don't appear to be suspects. He was 150 feet from his classroom and now he's gone.

It's not that I want to know the outcome. (After 10 days, it's unlikely to be a happy one.) But I need to understand how a child can just go away. I know it's ridiculous - I know that terrible, terrible things happen and understanding, say, cancer does not protect you from getting it. But I can't stop reading every article, every comment, hoping to figure out what went wrong so that I can somehow, magically, guarantee my own child's safety.

I have to keep reminding myself that these stories are the exception which is why they're in the news. Now excuse me while I go hug my kid.