Friday, March 25, 2011

The problem with a naturally easy-going kid

Be prepared to hate me. Seriously, moms with high-maintenance kids, you might want to stop reading, I'm really going to brag on Nixon for a minute.

I'm blessed. I know it, but I love it all the same. Nixon is, by nature, an easy going, cool-as-a-cucumber (where did that phrase come from by the way??) little guy. He has been from the very beginning of his life outside of my womb. Inside it was a whole different story.

Nixon was a calm, quiet baby. He hardly ever cried without cause. He started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks old. He's always been a stick to the schedule kind of baby/toddler and it only takes a few days, a week at the most, for him to settle into a new schedule. He slept 80% of the 26 hour flight here, and when he was awake he was content eating and getting snuggles from Mac or I. Sure, he was only 4.5 months old at the time, but other children younger and older were less content and more loud for attentions sake. Even when he was teething, he'd cry only out of necessity. As soon as I found a way to calm his raging gums, he was perfectly happy and content again. He took his time learning how to walk, but never got frustrated and pissy. So what if his little friends were walking, Nixon was faster crawling!

But the downside to having a laidback kid by nature is, I'm not equipped to deal with the "terrible twos". Since I've never really been challenged by Nixon, I'm not very cool and collected when faced with a meltdown. It frustrates me that he's pissed off and throwing a fit. We do time outs, and even when he knows he's in time out, he just sits there. He doesn't get down/escape/fight going onto his time out chair. I can think of only a handful of times that he actually attempted to get down before his time out was over. Most of the time he sits in the chair and cries or plays with his feet and waits for one of us to free him. I mean seriously, how lucky am I, right?!?!?

So, now we're in full-blown terrible two zone. And its rough for a mom who's never had to really parent. Yep, raw honesty here, Nixon is so laid back there's not much I've had to do beyond feed, clothe, play with, clean and very rarely, correct his behavior. Until today, I usually lose my shit...I mean mind, within seconds of Nixon starting a fit. Then he's feeding off of my frustration and it gets ugly fast. I know this is not how I'm supposed to deal with him, really I do. But it feels like someone stole my perfect baby boy and replaced him with some demon seed on a mission to make me lose my mind. And it works too!

Now, realizing the flaw in myself and correcting it takes time. I think today was my breakthrough!

I took Nixon to the zoo. It was cool but not cold outside. The zoo had 4 schools of children there, so I took great pains to avoid the really crowded areas. Nixon got to walk around, feed fish and birds, see the animals and have some snacks. We were really having a great day! The end came so fast I'm still reeling from the directional flow change!

We were walking back up towards the entrance. Nixon wanted to take the stairs, so we walked up 4 flights of stairs. When we reached the top, Nixon saw it. The "it" that ultimately became the bane of my existence as a mom. The train. Its a small train that takes riders in a circle twice around a very small track. I had every intention of taking Nixon on the train. I had yen in hand, stroller parked when the train came back. The employee running it shows me a ticket. So I needed to get a ticket, unlike the last time when the employee took the yen for the ride. Well, Nixon was not happy with the change. I tried, pre-meltdown, to tell him we had to walk away to get tickets to ride. Nixon kept walking to the train "open, momma, open" and "I ride". Well, since he couldn't get on because I didn't have the tickets yet, he started to lose his mind. I gave him the chance to calm down and walk with me to get the tickets. He started slamming his sippy cup on the bench. I asked him to stop, he slammed it again looking right at me.
I gave him a hug, pulling him closely so I could whisper in his ear. I told him one more time, he needed to come with me to get tickets to ride OR we were going home. He threw his cup at me. That's it, game over!
I scooped him up, buckled him in the stroller and told him we were going home. This, obviously, did not sit well with my little monster. He bucked, thrashed, screamed and cried the whole walk to the car. He did say "bye bye" and "thank you" to the lady at the gate and the birds we passed on the way out. Polite even when throwing a temper tantrum, I'm a proud momma. He started saying at the car "I wan Dadda", so I called Mac only to have Nixon screaming into the phone "no no no". I put the stroller in the car, the snacks and drinks in the car, I got into the car and we left the zoo. The screaming lasted until he realized we'd really left the zoo! He got quiet and said "byebye aminals". He hugged BeBe, drank his sippy cup, ate some raisins and decompressed.

The mom accomplishment I had was I never raised my voice, I never felt frustration or the need to reel him in. We were outdoors, so if he screamed he screamed. He stopped when his throat got sore. I stopped once, because he sounded like he was gagging and he nearly was. He was so upset he was drooling and almost vomiting as he cried. I let him relax, gave him a hug and continued walking to the car.

But damn was it hard to not cave and just get the tickets and let him ride the train. That goddess-forsaken train! Damn you train!! Next time, Mac is coming with (his idea). One of us will distract Nixon while the other gets the tickets, quickly!

If Nixon were a difficult child, I'd be better prepared for fits like that. Or not, maybe we'd never leave the house and we'd never get to enjoy each other together like we do when we go on "dates" like this together.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Under the category of: Me

Well, some of you know I entered a photo contest last month on facebook. The winner(s) would receive a free boudoir photo shoot complete with hair and makeup. PLUS, a photo in the company's calendar. Well, there were 6 total winners chosen, all of whom will get 2 photos in the calendar. I was winner number 6!!
Then it became a waiting game.
Someone reported the company for operating a home-based business without a license from the base. So, instead of preparing for the photo shoots, they had to go and fight for a license. Two weeks became a month, a month became women getting pissy. Finally, the company said they were getting ready to plan the shoot. One girl dropped out right before this announcement but her loss is another girl's gain.

The point of all this is....I'm dieting hard again. And Jillian Michaels and I are spending a lot of time together. Twice a day. Once while Nixon's napping and once after he goes to bed. I really hate dieting. Even more, I hate that I HAVE to diet in order to feel good about myself. And worst of all?? I hate exercising!! I hate, hate, hate sweating. It's gross. But sweat I must.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The day the Earth moved and everyone forgot how to READ

This week the world watched as one of the most powerful earthquakes in history rocked Japan and led to a devastating tsunami sweeping through the country. It was front page news, headline news and on every major newstation for hours as the media looped the raw footage as it was being released.
And where was my little family?
Over 1000 miles away on Okinawa, the small island located off the southwestern coast of mainland Japan. We had a tsunami warning issued for the island on Friday evening, with waves predicted to reach 2 meters (approximately 6 feet) as a result of Japan's 8.9 (though now, 2 days later its been officially declared as a 9.0 magnitude earthquake) earthquake and the powerful aftershocks. What wasn't commonly mentioned is the extreme amount of quakes in the area for DAYS before this monster hit.
I've been checking this website (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Maps/region/Asia_eqs.php) almost daily for about a month now. We've had 9 earthquakes on Okinawa since the beginning of February. It's stressful to me and I've considered asking for anxiety medication to deal with it, but I haven't. Yet. Looking at the site, there were over 120 measurable quakes before the now 9.0 hit. Since it hit there have been nearly 150 aftershocks, many considered significant (measuring over a 6.0 magnitude). This quake has been a long time in the making, but no one predicted it to be so powerful, so destructive or so life-shattering. The video coverage, boats being tossed around like a toy in a bathtub, cars being washed away and whole farms flooded in mere seconds had led to an automatic panic, though understandable, of our friends and family back home.
One of the first things I did, upon learning of the situation in Japan and our subsequent tsunami status, was to post on Facebook all the information we had as it came. I also posted it on Mac's wall because he's not always timely about doing so. I made sure to let people know we were safe.
And still, the concerns and questions with borderline DEMANDS to know we were okay started coming in. It was, as if, my statuses were lost in communication between the fear of the unknown and the assurance that we were safe. I explained in posts that we live on an island 1000 miles from the quake. "Did you feel it?" "What did you see?" "Are you leaving the island?" from well-meaning friends and family, became overwhelming when we're repeating the same info over-and-over-and-over, because it seems everyone stopped listening as soon as they heard Japan and couldn't process the distance, a literal ocean's apart, from the devastated affected area to our safe little island. It was frustrating trying to explain we're not even on the same fault line as the mainland. Yes, we've had earthquakes, last February's being the most powerful one I've ever personally felt, but nothing like what Tokyo experienced.
I suppose we should be grateful so many people were worried/concerned for our family's safety. And believe me, I was deeply touched by all the concern I was receiving. I take part on several forum boards on babycenter.com and I made sure to post on those that I'm on near daily, that we were okay. I was surprised to see a thread started, inquiring about my safety, on my birth board, which I hardly ever post on anymore. I felt very blessed that so many people, whom I've never met in real life, were concerned for my safety. These people were wishing my family well and safety on the forum and my facebook page.

So while the repetition of info to so many people was tedious, the concern overwhelming and the comprehension of simple geography not fully grasped, in the end everyone knows we're safe. The tsunami predicted to reach 6feet was less than 2 feet. We've not had a single tremor here and while radiation from the failing nuclear plants is the newest concern, there's no radiation detected at the base closest to those plants on the mainland and that means there's none here either.

This is not anything I want to live through again anytime soon and for now it's life as usual in our neck of the world.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A lesson in patience and following your heart

Potty training under way!

We've been at it for an hour and some change now. Five trips on the potty. One accident. No worries, we've got lots of undies.

The most recent trip Nixon was really "no, no, no!", so I asked him if he wanted a diaper or to try undies. He said "undies". So I softly told him, when he's in undies he has to go on the potty. He said okay, so we'll see.

The problem is he wants the stickers, but doesn't want to sit still on the potty to get the sticker.

_________________________________________________________________________________
And in the 5 minutes it took me to write that (^^) we had a breakdown.

Nixon went to the bathroom and threw a fit. Crying and fighting the potty. It hurt my heart to see him so upset. So, I called it a day, he just not ready yet.
But the mommy guilt is saying I gave up too soon.
And of course, while Nixon is crying about stickers and fighting undies and a diaper, Mac wakes up. So he gets to be Nixon's savior from mean ole Mommy trying to make him use the potty. While I'm in the bathroom fighting tears for being a failure and damaging Nixon beyond all repair (see? mommy guilt is evil!), Mac and Nixon are cuddling on the sofa watching Dora together.

Its not working if Nixon is fighting the whole way. We'll hold off a bit longer and try again, when he's more ready.

In the meantime, the diapers are still in aisle 8, right?!?!?

T minus 8 hours....

If there is one thing I am guilty of in this life, it is over planning the hell out of something I've never done before. Marriage, child birth, moving around the world and now potty training. I've made lists for all of those events. Each one slightly different depending on the event.
My latest, uncharted territory/event is potty training. I'm diving in head first tomorrow!



We have the potty training chart, to keep track of successes!






The Sticker Zone- a poster board on Nixon's bedroom door for him to (safely) stick his reward stickers on.











The potty seat, which will go over my toilet seat.












The step stool.










And, the creme de la creme of potty training efforts, Nixon's very own bathroom library!! An old easter basket, converted into a sink-side holder for Nixon's brand new, bathroom only, books! I read (big shocker, I read a lot of books on the subject!) that using books can capture the child's interest and keep him from rushing off before he's done. We shall see.







I do not have a photo of Nixon's reward box. For the first day, Nixon will get to choose from the box for every 3 pee's. A poop is an automatic reward box trip!! As we go on, the number between reward box trips will increase. A trip to the 100 Yen store, plus a few other small items, have filled the box. Which is hidden in a closet, so Nixon can not get into it whenever he'd like.

Tomorrow morning, we'll get up, clean up his morning diaper (poop please!) then onto the potty for the first time before going into new undies. The timer will be set for 20 minutes and our day will begin.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's been a bumpy ride, but baby without you it'd have been lonely

March 7th has come and gone, so another year of marriage is beginning. As someone, who once longed for marriage at the age of 18, I can honestly say I needed the right partner first.

Our marriage has been bumpy and challenging, but we overcame each obstacle and we're really and truly, better for it. I won't claim Mac is the love of my life, or my soul mate, and he's not my best friend but he has helped me create the one, true love of my life. He's helping me raise our son and while it's trying because we're not always on the same page I wouldn't want anyone else by my side.

I finally spoke to my mom today. It took 4 months of trying to call home before she finally picked up. It was a normal conversation with my mom. I love my mom, she's my mom afterall, but we are different entities and we've never really understood each other. My mom is a large reason that I tell Nixon "I love you" a thousand times a day. She's also a reason I talk to Mac and make sure we're okay. I've seen what she's gone through and I never want to be in her shoes.

Mac has been on leave for a week now. We've got another 7 days with him home and then it's work as usual. It's been nice having him home. It's been good for us. We've managed to reconnect and it feels good.

Last night, on our anniversary, I'd asked him if he has any regrets about us. Things he'd do differently, stuff like that. His answer was private, between the 2 of us, but the gist was he regrets what happened when he thought he'd never see me again. Silly boy....I was already in love with him and decided I needed to make sure he knew he was mine.
A month later, he knew and we are where we are now because of it.

I don't know how many years we'll have together. But I do know...he's not getting rid of me easy!

I love you, Cookie. Thank you for 3 years and can't wait to see what our future holds for us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ideas run amuck

I'm sure I'm not the only one, who has an idea take on a life of its own until it becomes reality, right??

A couple days ago, I had a random thought pop into my head. It's an idea for a children's book about families. I fell asleep and figured "well, that's the end of that one". And it was...until my shower last night when the whole thing took over my brain! I went to bed, with pictures for the story in my head. I woke up this morning and its still there bubbling under the surface.

So that's how this one idea has come to be brewing in my head. When I get a chance today I'll start writing the story and then go on to find someone to illustrate it.

And to think: it all came to pass because I saw a stick family decal on a car one day.