Friday, December 29, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Disturbing Episode

On Tuesday, I was at the bookstore with the Lone Star Baby, taking a potty break. She had used the potty and was waiting for me to finish in the tiny stall, chattering in her high little voice about everything we were doing as toddlers will. Someone slammed rather loudly and dramatically into the stall next to us, causing me to think sympathetically about how sometimes you really have to go. Then, however, the person began repeating everything the Lone Star Baby said in a nasty, mocking, gutteral and somewhat incoherent way, interspersed with cussing. This was kind of scary. I scooted the Lone Star Baby over to the opposite side of the stall and waited, hoping that the woman would leave while we were still in there, without incident. After a little more of this, she did, banging lots of doors on her way out. I waited a bit more and then eased out, making sure the coast was clear before I let the baby follow me. We washed up and left and I looked around the store a bit for the woman's purse strap, which I had been able to see, but did not spy it on anyone and finally told a clerk about it, although there was hardly anything that she could do to help. It really was scary. The Lone Star Girl uses that bathroom by herself all the time and it would hardly make sense to stop letting her go into public restrooms unattended, although that is certainly a mother's first impulse after such an event.

I guess the woman may have been drunk and what I really suspect is that she was probably just crazy. A third possibility that popped into my head, though, was that she was one of those scary childfree people and was angry at the sound of a child chattering away as mine was doing. Those childfree movement folks like to talk like they are just rational, fair-minded folk when the mainstream media is interviewing them, but anyone who has ever seen the things they say or the ghastly pictures they post when they are trolling around the Web knows better - they are wicked. This woman was probably just crazy, but to hear the angry mocking of my baby and know that there are people in the world who are truly hateful towards children was very unsettling.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Good-Bye, President Ford - I remember you

President Ford was the first President in the stretch of my own memory. I only remember him in the context of his race with Carter, but I think it is significant, the passing of the first President one remembers.

I have a vague recollection of a planned televised debate between President Ford and Governor Carter that was possibly cancelled or some such difficulty due to President Ford having laryngitis at the time. I remember thinking that was rather unfair to him. I was at my Grandma's house having those thoughts and I think she liked President Ford.

I was raised to be a Democrat, though. I remember my mom and my madrina dancing around, chanting "Carter, Carter, he's our man! We kicked ol' Satan in the can!" during this period. I lived at Gaslight Apartments during this time and I lived there between when I was 3 and barely 5, all pre-kindergarten, so it occurred sometime during my pre-school years. I date many of my early childhood memories according to where I lived at the time.

Hitting the Potty-Training Hard

The Lone Star Baby turned two and a half this month. Since she started attending her school at the age of eighteen months, she has been required, by the school, to wear cotton underpants while there. They have a happy attitude about cleaning it all up and learning to use the potty. Although I do know that there is certainly a true window for potty learning, as they claim, between 18 months and 24 months, I still find it all a bit nutty. The window in question requires a full-on, dedicated effort on the part of adults to observe a child's elimination habits and get them to the potty on time so often that the child becomes habituated to it and can eventually do it on their own. I am more of a fan of the sort of developmental windows during which a child takes charge of mastering the next step with less need for adult pushing. Somewhat unfortunately, that window for potty learning happens rather after the age of 3, creating a rather interesting cultural scenario involving which way to go.

We, feeling not so friendly about laundry, have kept the Lone Star Baby mostly in pull-ups at home, except when she requested panties, as she sometimes did. The laundry load from school started out quite high, but has diminished to rarely any recently, so I have come to the conclusion that it is time to do my part. The Lone Star Baby often balks at using the potty at home, so we were not really enthusiastic about it, but we utterly sucked at potty-training her sister, so I feel duty-bound to get on the ball. Another thing that is hard about doing it is that the Lone Star Baby spends a great deal of after-school time out and about with her dad and her sister and it is much harder for Daddy to do the potty -every-half-hour thing in public. Still, it is time.

We are now keeping her in panties except at night and making her go regularly whether she wants to or not. Her resistance is still there but is waning and she is still having way more accidents than she does at school, but she is doing pretty well...just one or two a day and they are minor ones. I wish I didn't feel pressured to push it before it worked itself out, so she wouldn't either, but such is life. Some of these battles seem more worth holding out on than others and I'll choose natural weaning over natural potty training any day.

Merry Christmas!

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas! Ours was very nice. The Lone Star Girl still felt a touch under the weather, but she had mostly a great day anyway. We opened presents in the morning, then had brunch together. Then my dad and stepmother came over for a bit and we then went to my Grandad's house for a little while. Around and between these, the girls played with their new stuff and watched the Lone Star Girl's new copy of High School Musical and the Lone Star Baby's new Diego DVD. Also, the Lone Star Baby is learning to play Checkers.

The Lone Star Baby is at the age where her greatest joy was in the opening of the presents - she opened hers and all the others, too, since she liked it so much. She also seemed to derive a deep sense of self worth in throwing away all the wrapping paper. Lone Star Pa said she took it as a solemn duty. One of the Lone Star Girl's presents was a bunch of duct tape, in all different colors. Her new craft is making things like purses out of duct tape.

I must say that my favorite thing about our family Christmas is still the sweetness and generosity of the Lone Star Girl. She labors over presents for each of us, makes us beautiful things, spends her own money even though we tell her not to...and she is mainly excited on Christmas morning to see that we like what she has given us. I just love her.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cookie Eve

My baking duties for the season are about done. The kids have not been so into the annual sugar cookie mania this year - they are being difficult - so I have done a lot of solo cookie time today. My tour of duty began when I made over eighty cookies on Tuesday night after the girls were asleep for our Fifth Grade Winter Party contribution. Then, on Friday, the girls did help me make cookies for the two neighbor families we are closest to and with whom we get together before Christmas every year. We always exchange presents for the kids and I bring cookies for the families, while another family makes fudge. That get-together was Friday afternoon, so we got some of the cookie making done early for it. We all had a great time.

Today, however, the kids insisted on lolling around on the couch, acting like their colds were making them more miserable than they were (had I said the words "Barnes and Noble", I feel quite certain that they would have perked right up), so I made the cookies for the other four neighbor families we always take cookies to all by myself. The Lone Star Girl and Lone Star Pa got lippy about having to go out in the wet to deliver the cookie containers to the appropriate doorsteps, but they did not really want to wake my ire, so it got done. I also picked late grapefruit and oranges from our trees and made some deliveries of those. Last night, we did pretty much all of our wrapping, so we are in pretty good shape now. I am pushing for an early dinner out and a tour of lights, then back home for our traditional Christmas Eve.