Monday, November 28, 2016

10 Things On a Monday

1. I had to wake Coco this morning.
   1a. She spent the first ten minutes of her day crying and trying to climb back in her crib.
   1b. I could relate to the feeling.

2. Elsa the Elk/Elf is back in action. Zuzu was excited to see her and is still a little afraid of her, though she won't admit it. What she's not afraid of, however, are consequences of her behavior. Elsa creeps her out because Elsa is a creepy elf who sneaks around our house in the night. As far as Elsa the Santa Snitch goes, though, Zuzu is in Camp Couldn't Care Less.
   2a. In other words, Behavior Modification via the threat of an elf who tattles to Santa so we get a Christmas without presents is not working here.
   2b. But we're still moving the damn thing around every night.
   2c. Next year she's not showing up until December 1.

3. My children view our fireplace as an invitation to get naked in the living room.

4. I started feeding Cooper a grain-free dog food a few months ago. He loves it, but he is looking super fat now. I need to discuss this with our vet.

5. I get a sort of perverse pleasure out of cleaning gross things. Like today I cleaned the inside of our dishwasher. It was looking kinda grungy around the edges. And I scrubbed the gross screen that collects food particles in the bottom. And now I'm running a vinegar cycle. It makes me feel so virtuous.
   5a. I may need more hobbies.
   5b. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to have a sub-point a without a sub-point b, but I've got nothin'.

6. I'm making my students memorize and recite poems. Today I had a big athletic guy up in front of the class, ready to recite "A Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns. Before he started, he took a deep breath and then said, "Man, this is hard! I feel like my heart is beating out of my chest!" But he recited the poem perfectly (although not with a Scottish accent). His classmates gave him a big round of applause and it was a nice reminder that admitting vulnerability can build community.

7. We put up Christmas decorations over Thanksgiving weekend. We have a rather large amount of decorations, especially as we inherited several things from David's grandma. The house does feel cozy with the tree lights glowing.

8. I'm halfway through the new episodes of The Gilmore Girls and my heart is set on Rory ending up with Logan. Don't plot spoil it for me! He's so adorable.

9. We put up Eliza's stocking this year. Zuzu wanted to. I was kind of on the fence. My friend Sonja has Santa put a rose in her daughter Elizabeth's stocking while he's filling Elizabeth's little sister's stocking, and I really like that idea, so maybe we'll make a similar request of Santa this year.

10. Coco really wants to look at gross things.
   10a. Every time I wipe her nose, she says, "I see it??!!" and demands to look at the boogery tissue.
   10b. Today after she got off the potty, I closed the lid before she flushed and she lifted the lid back up. "No," I said, "We don't want to look at that!" She turned to me in disbelief. "I yook at it!" she said.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Conversations with Zuzu

Let's Get That In Writing

Scene: Arguing about who knows what.

Me: That's not a decision that kids get to make. That's a decision that grown ups make.

Zuzu: When I grow up, my kids can make ALL the decisions.

I've Played that Big Sister Game Myself

Scene: In the car.

Zuzu: Poopoo peepee. (laughs)

Me: That's enough potty talk.

(repeat that exchange twice more)

Zuzu: Poopoo butt!

Me: Okay, consequences the next time I hear potty talk.

Coco: Poopoo butt!

Me: Coco, do you want consequences when we get home?

Coco: Yas.

(a few minutes later)

Zuzu: (in a very quiet whisper) Coco, say poopoo butt.

Like a Boss

Scene: Before school, in the kitchen.

Zuzu: What's a boss?

Me: Someone who tells other people what to do.

Zuzu: So you're a boss.

Me: Yes. Who am I the boss of?

Zuzu: Daddy.

Hey, It's a Valid Concern

Scene: On our way to get photos taken at JCP.

Zuzu: Who will take our pictures?

Me: I don't know if the photographer will be a man or a woman, but they will be very nice and you will need to follow their directions.

Zuzu: But what if it's that mean man?

Me: It won't be a mean man.

Zuzu: But what if it's Donald Trump?!

Still Working on the Punchline; Or, Existential Humor

Scene: Teaching Zuzu a joke.

Me: Why was 6 afraid of 7?

Zuzu: Why?

Me: Because 7 EIGHT 9!

(later that day)

Zuzu: Why does 8 like to play with 7?

Me: Why?

Zuzu: Because he EIGHT a hotdog for breakfast!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekend Update (not the SNL skit)

My weekend got off to a rough start with a trip to urgent care Friday night. My throat was sore and it came on fiercely and suddenly and if I was dealing with strep, I wanted to know right away. So I dragged myself to urgent care and paid the steep copay and got swabbed. Negative for strep, I went home and slept 10 hours and felt much better the next morning!

Saturday morning I took the girls to JCP for their annual Christmas dress photos. Zuzu was reasonably cooperative this year (a big improvement from Easter two years ago, which ended with an enormous temper tantrum when we had to leave the photographer's eggs behind and then Zuzu bit David on the arm hard enough to leave a mark). She was a little too eager, so we had a lot of super fake smiles with squinty eyes and her head tilted over to her shoulder. Next to Coco standing stone-faced or (my favorite) looking completely vacant.

I took them by myself, which made me nervous, but sometimes I think they are actually better behaved for just one parent instead of two. Anyone else have that experience? Why do you think that is?

Once that ordeal was over, I allowed them to play on the germ factory of an indoor playground at the mall. Then we walked down to the pretzel place, visiting not one but TWO public restrooms on the way there. (Because Zuzu didn't have to pee, so she just washed her hands, but then she DID have to pee. Because of course.)

We wandered back out through the car via the toy department of JCP, where I took various photos upon request of Zuzu with toys that she really, really wants for Christmas, including some Nickolodeon flying carpet princess dolls related to a show she has never seen (eye roll). It took a long time to get them out of there, but the thrill of the escalator helped. Coco had hit her limit at the end, and went boneless on me near our exit, but we finally made it out to the car. Unfortunately, at some point during the mall visit, we lost one of Coco's dress shoes (they changed clothes and shoes after the photo). Insert gritted teeth emoji. It may have fallen out of the bag in the parking lot. So she wore those shoes exactly one time. Sigh.

David spent the day working on a lit review for class and then he fixed a Blue Apron meal for us while Zuzu (who was exhausted but refused to nap earlier in the day) snuggled on my lap in front of the fireplace while I read a book and pretended to face paint on her face with a dry paint brush. Of course it feels AMAZING and relaxing to have someone softly trace your face with a dry paint brush, so she ended up falling asleep at 6:00pm and she slept until 10:30pm when she woke up and wandered downstairs, then went back to sleep until the next morning. I guess maybe we all were a little overtired this week.

I finished The Girls which was well done and creepy but gave me nightmares that made me kind of wish I hadn't read it. Also when the doctor at urgent care asked what I was reading (and marveled at the fact that it was a library book) he glanced at the title and, chuckling, said, "The Girls. Probably wouldn't be my first choice!" I replied flatly, "It's about a cult in the 1960s." I don't know what he assumed I was reading about, but he seemed a bit taken aback by that announcement. Eyeroll at the patriarchy.

We went to church on Sunday and Zuzu was super well behaved and Coco was... not. Then I went with my friend Erin to see Hamlet--the filmed stage production with Benedict Cumberbatch put on by the National Theatre Company that was shown at the Tivoli. It was fantastic. It was also like four hours long, including a 20 minute intermission, but still great. We felt very cultured and self-righteous afterward. Also full of popcorn and M&Ms.

Sunday evening we had dinner fairly early (the Blue Apron selections this week have been dynamite!) and then settled down with the girls to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox. We listened to the amazing audio book in the car a while back (the narrator is so great), but Zuzu still had LOTS OF QUESTIONS about everything happening in the movie, particularly what all of the animals were and what the names of the farmers were and what they were doing now and was going to happen to everyone. Over and over again. It started out cute and then verged on annoying so I finally had to say, "WATCH THE MOVIE TO FIND OUT!"

David said it was like watching a movie with his Grandma Peggy. (Our favorite movie memory with Gma Peggy: Watching Lost in Translation and getting about 2/3 of the way through it when his grandma had this epiphany and exclaimed, "Why, they're in Japan!" Oh, man. We miss her--especially this time of year.) The movie held Coco's attention, too, which kind of surprised me, and it made me get a little misty realizing that this was our first Family Movie Night and the girls are getting big enough for us to do this. The future is now.

I am trying to get on top of Thanksgiving prep and Christmas shopping. We are expecting 11 or 12 people at our house for Thanksgiving, so I need to figure out seating, since our dining room table comfortably seats 6 and can do 8 if we squeeze... I know we'll have plenty of food, but I want a cute table because for me table setting is more fun than food prep. (Also, I lost the party potatoes argument so we're having mashed potatoes instead which is okay but maybe we need both???).

I've decided to do a book a day advent thing for the girls. I realized we had 21 different kids' Christmas books (crazy! but awesome!), so I ordered two more from and picked up this one new to get to 24. I wrapped them all up in shiny paper and numbered each one (this exact version of this one from when I was a kid is (obviously) number 24) so Zuzu can work on number recognition and we can read a new story each night.

And that's the update. Now I have a stack of papers to grade and I have to run a mile this afternoon and try to beat my previous time of 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Unsettled. (Also, Some Thoughts on Hair Cuts and Underwear.)

We are moving forward in the World Without Bangs. I still look at Before photos and sigh...

But she's got no regrets, folks. This girl is confident that her hair looks good. And I just can't help but love that about her.

When she got home from school on Tuesday, I asked her if her teachers said anything about her hair.

"They asked me if I got a hair cut."

"And what did you say?"

"I said I cut it myself."

"And what did your teachers say about that?"

"Nothing. They didn't cry."

David assumed we would cancel Christmas photos, but no such luck. However, they are just my portrait studio pictures of the girls in their dresses. I'll be using photos from our summer photo session on our Christmas cards. The girls haven't changed that much. (Except for Zuzu's hair... sigh.)

* * *

I still feel worried about the aftermath of the election. I'm in disbelief that the Alt Right or people who support the Alt Right by providing a platform or by NOT denouncing what they do/say have an actual seat at the table. I'm terrified about what it means that someone who denies that humans are causing climate change will be in charge of protecting our environment. I may save money on my taxes, but it will be at someone else's expense, and I'm sad about that. I'm worried for friends who have pre-existing health conditions and fear losing insurance coverage.

And here's the thing about hate speech and hate crimes--these things would have happened no matter who won the election. But they are happening now with what feels like an endorsement from the president-elect. It's not retaliation--it's celebratory. And it's so ugly. And it's happening here.

I hope so hard that people who supported Trump for non-racist, non-sexist, non-asshole reasons will demand that he act like a non-racist, non-sexist, non-asshole. I really, really hope so.

I heard yesterday that Hillary got over 1,000,000 more votes. I know a lot of people don't like her, for various valid and invalid reasons, but damn. I hope that the popular vote at least indicates that love trumps hate even if it doesn't mean that Hillary trumps Trump.

I remember when the whole voting kurfluffle happened when Bush ran against Gore and I was pissed off about how the whole thing shook out (although I voted for Ralph Nadar in that election, so whatevs...). This feels different.

* * *

In the wake of all this fear/anxiety, I'm making my therapist proud by remembering all the times she talked to me about self-care. I'm still exercising with my student personal trainer. I'm trying to make time to do yoga before bed.

(Last night, I replaced "yoga before bed" with "evening walk to Ted Drewes for custard" and that also seemed to relieve some stress.)

I made a donation to Planned Parenthood and to Stray Rescue.

I'm also doing a letter writing project. It started with a thank you note to Hillary Clinton, but now I'm making a list of people whom I see fighting the good fight and trying to make a difference so I can send them a note. Most of them aren't public figures, but are people who make a difference in my life. I want to acknowledge their efforts. And, because I'm a huge nerd, I'm trying to enclose a poem that seems to fit with the situation. So I'm reading more poetry, which also seems to help relieve stress.

My impulse when I'm sad/stressed is to turn inward. I want to stay home. I want to avoid phone calls. I want to shut out the world. I'm working hard to resist that impulse. To send messages, to attend events, to be part of the conversation.

We had signed up to be involved in We Stories long before the election, but I'm finding new urgency and a helpful sense of common goals in that group. Plus, we got some fantastic books after attending their launch on Sunday. Coco is really into Please, Baby, Please, which is so much fun to read out loud. While she's obviously too little to have an in-depth discussion about racial injustice, I just make it a point to emphasize how much the characters in these books who don't necessarily look like her are actually just like her--the act the same way, like the same things, are loved by their mamas. It's a small thing, but it feels like something.

We got a copy of Shades of People, which we already owned, so we donated our extra to Zuzu's school. She was very proud to share her book, and it's evidently prompting some discussion there. She came home and announced, "I have one friend at school who has dark skin."

(Ummm.... okay... this is why talking about race with kids feels awkward...)

So I said something about how all of us have skin in different shades (basically quoting the book) and then asked her if she has some friends at school whose skin has freckles.

"I have a freckle!" she said proudly, "It's next to my ba-gina."

(Ummm... okay... she does have a freckle kind of on her underwear line, so... great?)

* * *

Speaking of underwear, the potty-training situation with Coco has been... hit and miss (ha ha see what I did there?). She'll have a day of no accidents, then she'll pee her pants four times in one day. She does much better at home than she does at school. She hits the potty for about every other poop, but I think we can all agree that batting .500 when it comes to poop in your pants is NOT ideal.

Still, she's just the sweetest little peanut. Her goodbye routine at school has finally, finally shifted from sad face and teary eyes to hugs and hugs and kisses and kisses and she walks in the door confidently and is greeted enthusiastically by her friends... it just melts my heart every morning. She is still a mama's girl, and takes a while to adjust to new situations, but once she is in, she is ALL in. And I love that about her. Every day when I ask her what her favorite part of the day was, she just recites the names of her teachers and her friends. It's ridiculously cute.

* * *

My grief season is creeping up. Weirdly, I think the post-election-sadness has kind of distracted me, but I never forget that Eliza's birthday is coming up. And what do I do with six years of missing?

As Zuzu and Coco get older and demonstrate more and more of their personalities, I can't help but wonder how much like or unlike Eliza they are, and how her presence might have shaped them in different ways. Zuzu asks a lot more questions about Eliza ("Did she come out of your belly and float right up to heaven?"), which never fail to leave me fumbling for answers. ("Ummm... yes? No. Sort of? I don't know, honey.") We'll plan to attend the vigil on December 6, but I'm not sure if we'll bring the girls or get a babysitter. (Probably a babysitter...)

We've also been thinking back to a year ago at this time, when David was spending so much time with his grandma and we were coping with the news of her cancer coming back. A season of grief that overlaps with a holiday all about gratitude and the start of a nation that now feels angry and divided... It's an unsettling place to be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Zuzu got out of bed this morning a little reluctantly. She'd taken a (short) nap at school yesterday, which pushes back bedtime from 7:30-8pm to 8:30-9pm. But she was up! I heard her in her bedroom, choosing her clothes for the day (not my favorite ensemble, but it wasn't aggressively attacking the color wheel, so that's refreshing). 

At one point as I walked from the bathroom back to my bedroom, I noticed that Zuzu was no longer in her bedroom. It's a bit unusual for her to go downstairs without me, but she loves to exercise her independence by getting out the breakfast supplies, so I assumed that was what she was doing. By the time I finished getting dressed, she was back upstairs and I saw her in my peripheral vision as I was putting on mascara. 

"Hi, sweetie," I said, leaning toward the mirror the way you do when you put on mascara. "Can you check and see if your sister's awake?"

A moment later I heard the two of them giggling in Coco's crib, and I went into the Coco's room and lifted her out of bed, ready to carry her to the bathroom. Zuzu climbed out of the crib and we were chattering about breakfast and pancakes.

And then I gasped, staggered, set Coco down, and nearly collapsed. 

I covered my mouth with my hands and started crying.

When questioned as to her motive, she replied:  "I didn't want my bangs on my face."

I think we've pretty well established that this child is shameless, but when she realized that I was crying, she said, "I'm sorry, Mommy. I won't do this EVER again."

We have Christmas photos scheduled for Saturday. The girls in their Christmas dresses. And now, with big-ass bows on their heads.

This enormous pile of hair, along with our kitchen scissors (taken from the drawer where they belong, which she knows are only for grown-ups to use), was in the corner of the TV room, half hidden behind a curio cabinet.

(The scissors are now relocated to a top shelf in the pantry.)

She obviously knew she wasn't supposed to be doing this, because she snuck downstairs and cut her hair while hiding in the corner and facing the wall.

I know it will be funny in a few years. But mercy. It's so terrible. I think I'm still in shock.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In the Upside Down

Zuzu asked David last night if the boy won or the girl. We didn't know before she went to bed.

On the way to school this morning, I told her that I was feeling sad because the boy won. I was sad because he said mean things but he was now going to be the leader of our country. Zuzu asked if he was going to be mean to us (I said no, not sure if I was lying), then, as though she'd just remembered, she added "Oh, mom," she said, "The girl won at my school!"

Her preschool class (which does have a female majority), elected Hillary Clinton. The popular vote itself elected Hillary Clinton. The electoral college did not.

So, in her mind, Hillary is still President of Preschool, which is good news as far as I'm concerned.

I am a white, educated, privileged citizen of the United States. I woke up this morning afraid of what the future will hold. It is a testament to my position of privilege (and my relative youth) that this is the first time in my life I have felt this way. I'm scared of what the future holds in terms of rights for minorities, LGTBQ, immigrants, Muslims, and women.

At my core is a tiny, desperate little optimist, who is trying not to hyperventilate. I'm hoping that something good will come from this. I'm hoping that the narrative continues and this is just an unexpected twist. I'm hoping that he is full of BS in the sense that he doesn't mean half the shit he said.

But I looked at my sleeping daughters last night and I felt like our country had failed them. Voting for someone who objectifies women is tacit approval of that objectification.

I don't expect that we will all ever come together completely to agree on policy or, hell, even scientific fact (global warming, anyone?). I know there are good people who voted for Trump, people who do not support everything he said. But to vote for him--for whatever reason--is to give silent approval of his messages. And his messages are hateful, fearful, and disrespectful of women (among others). I wanted to believe that we were better than voting that into office--all of us.

As my brother posted on FB (I'm still not on there--my mom just mentioned it so I texted him to see what he'd said): "I was wrong about the election, so hopefully I will be wrong about the consequences."

So while I feel like I've entered an alternative universe (OMG THIS IS THE UPSIDE DOWN), I have a job to do. Kids to raise. A life to live. I'm trying to remain hopeful and functioning, so I'm keeping newsfeed stuff to a minimum and listening to podcasts instead of NPR. Also I'm ordering pizza tonight because I can't even.

Here are some things to read that are sort of helpful:

What Do We Tell the Children?

What We Do Now

Still We Rise - This one is particularly helpful if you want to try to do something good today.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Nature Walk and Screen Time

The director of the girls' preschool sent us a link to this article on children and screen time. We all know that too much screen time isn't good for kids, but one thing that resonated with me is the claim that even having the TV on in the background can have an effect on kids.

I hadn't exactly made the connection, but now that I think about it, I realize that on the recent evenings when David has been watching baseball (which doesn't interest the girls (yet?)), they are harder to transition and settle down into bed. On Monday nights, when David has class, I never have time to sit down and watch TV while I'm by myself with the girls, and I'm just not in the habit of turning the TV on in background (mostly because the shows I'm interested in watching are usually not kid-appropriate and it's a treat so I want to sit down and actually watch). And Monday night bedtime is almost always easier than any other night of the week.

David and I still watch Survivor and occasionally we've watched it with the girls in the evening before bed. They usually don't pay attention to the show for long, but they do get pretty wound up while they play and mess around (enough that we will close-caption the dialogue because someone here is almost always shrieking). And those are the evenings when they argue and resist going upstairs, instead of being excited to cuddle and read books (which they are most of the time).

I'm not suggesting that we can't turn on the TV after work or watch TV as a family ever, but we are really doing to start paying attention to the differences in behavior, and definitely keep it at a minimum on weeknights. I'm not preaching here--I'm just strategizing how to make my life easier!

I also think some of this also depends on the temperaments of kids. I have a friend whose kids are in the habit of watching a show each night just before they go to bed. They expect it and look forward it to as part of their routine, and it seems to help settle them down. Evidently, they don't have trouble falling asleep afterward. So this works well for them, but in my experience, Zuzu settles in for bed SO much easier if the screen stays off.

When the preschool director sent out the link to the article, she also suggested that we make it a point to read to our kids this weekend or take them out to enjoy nature. Because I am forever a student who wants the teacher's approval, obviously I made it a point to take the girls on a little walk Saturday morning! We went to Forest Park and paid a drive-by visit to Eliza's tree, then went on our favorite little walk across the pedestrian bridges near the ice skating rink. It's so beautiful back in there, and we even spotted some wildlife (mostly ducks and minnows).

This was the first time we've done this walk without a stroller, and it's hard to believe that they're both so big! I walked this same path a lot when I was pregnant with Zuzu. So amazing to see her here now, looking tall with such long hair. And wearing a self-selected ensemble, of course.

Fearless little mountain goat. Still loving her cowboy boots today.

It was kind of hard being Coco today. Especially when Cooper was not interested in going where she wanted him to go. Imagine her screaming at the top of her lungs in this photo.

Zuzu walked up on the wall just like Madeline ("No one knew quite so well / how to frighten Miss Clavel") and then Coco had to do the same. You can see by her double-grip on David's hand that she's a little more cautious than her sister, though.

We spotted this bird and Zuzu said that it was a swan that used to be an ugly duckling. I had them point at it for the picture, but Coco may be pointing at an actual duck somewhere else.

Gathering dead leaves and stuffing them into her pockets.

"Mommy, is this the jungle?"

"Oh, I heard a sound from nature!"
We meandered through the paths and let the girls pick up leaves and rocks and run on and off the path and greet people walking their dogs. We stayed over an hour, and the girls were tired and getting hangry by the time we loaded up in the car. It was a good morning.

I've been having a lot of mixed feelings about leaving the baby stage behind... I'm actually really happy to pass along our baby things to friends and family, but I think there is a part of me that will always, always ache for one more baby. I am absolutely certain that if Eliza were here, I would feel differently, and that's part of what makes everything complicated. Still, days like today make me excited about entering a new stage of parenting and having the opportunity to do things like this with the girls, without strollers and diapers.

Of course, I'm also excited to watch big-kid movies with them, so we're going to have to schedule in some screen time, too...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

About the FB...

So... some of you may have already noticed that I created a FB profile last week. I put in my e-mail address as required, but I skipped the step where you look for friends. I created it only because it's a component of the We Stories group that we've joined and it was recommended in the welcome letter they sent out. They mentioned particularly that they know some people don't do FB, but we might want to consider creating a profile just for this parents' discussion group. I'm excited about this group, so I decided to overcome my aversion to FB and sign up.

(Related: I assumed that I would reactivate my old account, but evidently it's really deleted, so I'm starting fresh, which is nice.)

HOWEVER, I'm not really doing Facebook, which means I've been ignoring the friend requests I've been getting. It's NOT because I don't want to be friends with you, but just because I'm not really doing the FB thing. Certainly not right before this election!

We'll see how things unfold in the new year... It may be something I can dip a toe into. The grief triggers that were so heavily associated with it for a long time have certainly lessened, and there are definitely people I'd like to connect with whom I don't email or talk to on a regular basis... But I also spend a lot of my life in front of a screen as it is, so I don't really want one more app inviting/demanding my time and attention. So I'm just leaving it open to see what happens.

In the meantime, thanks for the friend requests, lovelies, and know that I'm not avoiding you... I'm just avoiding FB entirely!

Seriously, it's not you, it's me. But really.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Insert: Witty Title

I think I mentioned before that I've been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack pretty often. The last time I was this obsessed with a musical was Rent when I was in college. Anyway, on the way to school today, I said to the girls, "Should we listen to Hamilton or should we listen to some other music?" And Zuzu chose Hamilton!

Nevermind that it contains some explicit lyrics... I haven't heard her repeating any of it, so it's fine. Of course, if she starts singing, "How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore, and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean..." then we may have to have a conversation about appropriate language. Or just film it and put it on YouTube.

Related: I have such a huge crush on Lin-Manuel Miranda I can hardly even handle it. He's overtaken Chris Pratt at this point.

Also related: If you're not aware, Hamilton's wife's name was Eliza and hearing her name spoken/sung on the soundtrack is so bittersweet for me and makes me love the name even more.

In another life lesson about not being a jackass by shamelessly bragging about your kids on the internet, Coco, my "easy" baby, has rebelled against potty-training and after two days of perfect records, peed her pants three times yesterday. She didn't poop her pants only because one of her teachers noticed a "poop face" and got her to the bathroom in time. (God bless toddler teachers who recognize poop faces.) She also requested a diaper at daycare: "I'd prefer to just do this in my pants and sit in it, thanks" (That's a loose paraphrase, not a direct quote.)

She got to wear kitty-cat-meow-meow undies today and we had a peptalk about keeping her pants dry on the way to school, so I hope that it's just a small setback. Her teachers said it's normal. I wouldn't know, because by the time Zuzu decided to quit peeing/pooping her pants, she was 3 and 1/4 years old and it was like flipping a switch.

Related: Coco's bottom looks so TINY without a diaper on! It makes me laugh.

Zuzu has a follow-up appointment today for her HSP situation. So far her urinalyses and blood pressure have been fine, so I'm not too worked up about it. She's thrilled to get picked up from school early.

I'm trying to embrace Zuzu's self expression through dressing of herself. Today she wanted to be a cowgirl, so she wore cowgirl boots (hand me downs from our friend Ellie Kate) and her new favorite leggings (navy blue with hearts) and a cowgirl shirt we bought two summers ago in West Virginia when she rode a horse for the first time that is a little bit tight but still fits. She asked me to cut OFF her bangs to make her look like a cowgirl (!?) so we compromised by clipping them back. Then she said, "I look like a man!" (I'm not sure what kind of men she knows who wear green barrettes to hold back their bangs. David's not in the habit.) I also put her hair in pig tails, which was really cute, and seemed to make her look less like a man (!?) except I know they'll be out by the end of the day.

I am trying to do NaNoWriMo because I am an insane person. Except instead of writing a novel, I'm working on my Eliza book project. I listened to this podcast that said you don't have to be good at something to be good at something. Meaning you just have to WANT to do it. So I'm doing it. I'm also still working out with my trainer three times a week AND trying to do bedtime yoga for 20 minutes each night. This is probably why I am sitting on essays I collected from students two and a half weeks ago. As for why I'm writing this in my office right now instead of grading, I have no explanation except it's Friday.

Here's a weird thing: Zuzu has decided that she is "shy of boys." This sometimes extends to boys her age, but is particularly directed at boys who are 7-12 years old. (She's not shy of grown men.) There's a little boy who helps out with her tumbling class, and he is evidently the reason she refused to participate the last couple of weeks (she did FINE and had a blast yesterday, when he happened to not be there). On Halloween, she refused to take candy from two little boys at one house, who were so sweet and tried to just drop it in her bag while she turned away and hid her face. I don't know WHAT is going on with her and I find it really frustrating as a parent and a feminist. We don't know that many boys in that age range, but her good buddy Harrison across the street has a big brother who is nine and she seems fine around him. She says she's shy because she doesn't know their names. ?????? I hope it's just a short-lived phase.

Here's a gross thing: My dog has peed on our sofa and Coco has peed on our kitchen chair and I think the whole house smells like urine. It doesn't help that the weather has been damp and warm, either. (Don't you want to come over and hang out at my house now?) I'm buying new kitchen chairs this weekend (Haven't told David yet.). I did tell David last night that when Cooper dies (hopefully not for a long time, although he is going to be 11 in February), I am going to cry my eyes out and feel absolutely devastated because I love him so much and he was my first baybee and he's still my sweet mama's boy, but then I'm going to buy a new sofa.

I'm starting to do some holiday prep, by which I mean I'm Christmas shopping and thinking about holiday cards. I front load all of this in November because I still feel pretty slumpy/shitty at the beginning of December. This year feels easier than last year, although I actually have mixed feelings about that, which I will detail at another time.

For now, I post these rambling paragraphs that I realize now are mostly about Hamilton and urine; I apologize for the latter. Also, I revealed my celebrity crush(es). Who is yours?