Friday, January 29, 2010

On the subject of OCD

Apparently Baby Charlie HATES paint. Actually, he hates slimy and messy things of all kinds, but paint is the topic du jour.

They usually paint two or three times a week at school. He loves school, he loves playing, he loves his teachers, and he loves his classmates. He does not love paint or paint shirts. Apparently he shrieks when they try to come near him with the paint shirt. He shrieks again when they put the paint tray down in front of him. God forbid they actually touch his finger into the paint itself, I've heard it's like the world is ending.

So this week they were doing finger paints in preparation for the art show that will be held at our local community college next month. Right now, all of the pictures are hanging on the classroom wall. Most of them are covered in paints of all different colors. Then there's Charlie's.

If there were no snowman labels, could you tell which one was his?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Mac, Chicken & Cheese Bites

When this recipe for Mac, Chicken, and Cheese Bites from Weelicious came up in my Google Reader I just about jumped for joy. Baby C and I both LOVE macaroni and cheese. It's a PITA to send mac and cheese for his lunch though, because he still hasn't quite mastered the spoon. I prefer to send things that are easily picked up. Perfect solution!

Mac, Chicken & Cheese Bites
(Makes 20 Mini Bites)

1/2 Lb. Macaroni
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cup Milk
1 Cup White Cheddar (I only had yellow cheddar in the house)
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, divided
1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Cooked Chicken, diced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions.
3. Drain the pasta and set aside.
4. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan melt 2 Tbsp of the butter.
5. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Add the milk in a slow stream and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally .
7. Add the white cheddar and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
8. Pour the cheese sauce and chicken over the pasta and stir to combine. (I omitted the chicken this time around)
9. In a bowl, combine the 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
10. Grease mini muffin cups.
11. Pour about 1/4 cup of the macaroni mixture into the muffin cups, sprinkle the top with the bread and cheese mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
12. Cool in muffin cups, remove and serve.

I left out the chicken on this first pass just to get an idea of how they would go over on their own. Next time I make them I'll include the chicken and probably mix in a few chopped veggies or peas. What better vehicle for the green stuff than mac and cheese? Baby C must have liked them quite a bit - I sent two muffins as his main lunch dish and it looks like he licked the bowl. Yum!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Power90 - Week 2

We've officially entered Week 2 of the Power90. It feels like a lot longer than that since we started doing Tony's other videos a few weeks earlier, but for the sake of the program we'll leave it at that.

Week 2. After running through the Level 1-2 Sculpting session we decided that we were good with bumping things up to Level 3-4 now, rather than waiting for the halfway point in the program. Holy hell, I don't think my triceps and chest muscles will ever forgive me. The first part of all four circuits is push-ups. 8-20 reps using various arm positions. I'm not even close to being able to complete them all, even in the modified position. Yes, that's right. As I said before, I'm a sissy and I do weakling push-ups with my legs bent. That brings me to my first note of progress, though - last night I actually did SIX push-ups with my legs straight out! SIX REAL PUSH-UPS! That's double the number I was able to do last week! I'm thoroughly impressed with myself, and it's certainly nice to have some kind of measurable progress going.

I'm not going to hop on the scale or whip out the measuring tape until we've been at it for a full month. I don't think that minuscule losses really matter all that much to me, so we'll just see where we net out. Even if I don't end up losing much in inches, as long as I can tell that my strength is increasing then I'm good with that. The goal here is health, not scary olsen-twins thinness.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Public Humiliation

How do toddlers manage to go from incredibly pleasant, chatty little people to insane angry monsters and then back again all within a matter of minutes?

I needed to go to Target to pick up a gift for a baby shower. I thought it would be a quick and painless trip, in and out in under 10 minutes. Baby C was happily chattering away in his carseat, so I decided to just take him with me rather than take him home and go back out later.

Boy oh boy, was that a mistake. The second we stepped through the door it was like he had turned into a demon child. He didn't want to get in the cart, again pulling the DAA and falling onto the floor yelling. I finally managed to wrestle him into the seat, and he proceeded to sit there and scream the whole time we were there. Nothing could distract him from his mission to cause me to be "THAT mother." You know, the one you side-eye when you see her pushing a screaming child through the store? The one whose misbehaved rugrat ruins your laid-back shopping experience? I could feel the judginess burning a hole in the back of my head. It's like you want to scream out and say "No! He's not always like this! This is an anomaly, he's off of his normal curve right now. I'm a good parent, I swear!"

We made it to the baby aisle, I got what I needed, and we checked out. The second we were back out in the parking lot Baby C was all smiles again. I strapped him into his carseat and he looked at me with a smile and said "cookie?"

:: sigh ::

Friday, January 22, 2010

For real?

I listen to ESPNradio pretty much all day at work. I totally get that their target demographic is mostly males, so I can deal with the advertisements for hair replacement, 5-hour energy drinks, and HDTVs. There are even a few spots that have been running for a few years about how important it is to be a good parent and how to spend more quality time with your kids.

Then there's the long-running commercial for AshleyMadison, the online dating site for married people. A site that exists for the sole purpose of providing people with good matches so that they can cheat on their wives.

That's bad enough, but the commercial that I heard yesterday really pushed me over the edge. It started out simple enough, an advertisement for a (probably scammish) start-your-own-business-and-work-from-home company. I usually tune out when the commercials are playing, or take the headphones off altogether, but my ears certainly picked up when I heard one of the most offensive leads ever:

"Do you hate sending your kids off to daycare so they can be raised by someone else?"

Wait a minute, did I hear that right? Yes, yes I did. How sucktacular of them to say something like that. It really pissed me off, and someone is going to get a nasty letter about it, even though I'm sure it's not going to matter.

I hate that working mothers are so often made to feel guilty by the rest of society in general, but to use an emotion like that for advertising purposes is just downright disgusting.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Toddler Trick

Have you ever noticed that toddlers are incredibly good at resisting when it comes to being taken somewhere they don't want to go? I've dubbed Baby C's most successful maneuver the "Disappearing Armpit Act." How do they do it? It's like they're able to make their armpits completely disappear when you try to pick them up.

Last night when we were coming home from work and daycare I took him out of the carseat and put him down so that we could go and get the mail. I turned around to pick him back up to go inside and he busted out the Disappearing Armpit Act. He didn't want to go back inside, and I could barely get a good handle on him. He pulled the DAA and slid right through my arms. He didn't want to go inside. He wanted to stay out and play. In 35-degree weather. Whose child is that? I'm glad he wants to run around and be active, but not when it requires me to stand outside and freeze my tush off while I watch him. I gave in and let him play for about 10 minutes, then insisted that it was time to go inside where it was nice and warm.

I had to resort to carrying him lengthwise under one arm, but we made it back in. Such flexibility!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Out with Jillian...

In with Tony Horton and the Power90.

I finally got to the point where I couldn't stand to listen to or look at Jillian anymore. My co-worker Lynn did the P90X a while back and loved it. She's actually just starting up as a coach for the program. I always teased her about it, but in the back of my mind I thought it might be something to try after my lactating days were over.

So here we are! C and I are doing it together, which can only help us to stay on track. I need that late-evening motivation when all I want to do it sit on the couch and watch TV. We decided to start with the Power90 rather than going straight for the P90X - figured if we jumped into something that was outside of our ability range then we'd be less likely to stick with it.

2 weeks ago we started circuiting through Tony's Power Half Hour series, and then last night we began the Power90 in earnest. I don't know that we'll go the full 90 days, we might jump over to P90X sooner than that. So far the sculpting on the first set of disks is way too easy. We're going to swap that part out for the Power Half Hour disks.

I'm not looking for (or expecting) any huge bodily transformation. I'm relatively happy with my shape and size, but certain parts could stand to be a little firmer. I've also resigned myself to the fact that my stomach will never be exactly as it was pre-baby no matter how many crunches I do.

Oh! And my first AW! Last night I successfully did THREE real push-ups! I've forever been a knees-bent push-up kind of girl, and I'm very proud of myself!

Monday, January 18, 2010

We've got the beat

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

I can't rotate the stupid video, but you get the idea. He plays this song over and over and over again, and loves dancing to it. Unfortunately he got a little self-conscious when the video came out, so you're missing out on his rump-shaking.

Word of the Weekend

Apparently Baby C learned the word "no" at some point last week. I had never heard him say it, and certainly never heard him say it to ME, but this weekend we learned that he knows how to say it and knows what it means.

Charlie, hold my hand while we're in the store. No.

Charlie, finish your breakfast. No.

Charlie, we have to get your pajamas on. No.

Oh, what fun we're in for!

Of course, there's some cuteness mixed in there, as he shook his head and loudly told the cat "NO!" as he sniffed around the bowl of animal crackers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Well, we've gone another step farther away from Baby Charlie and towards full-blown Toddler Charlie. One of his first words was "shoes," only he didn't say it like the rest of us say it, but with an emphasis on the S's and without the "oe" sound, so it was more like "shuss."

He walks around the house carrying his sneakers, showing them to us and telling us that they're "shuss." He will bring us his "shuss" and beg for us to put them on his feet. He will try on everyone else's, reminding us the entire time that they are "shuss." Last night the era of "shuss" came to a sad end, when he picked them up and said "shoes," plain as day. I know it's forward momentum, and we want them to learn new words and how to speak properly, but I'm going to miss the "shuss" :(

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jumping on another bandwagon

I'm going to take part in the 365 Days of Pictures project. I thought it would be fun, especially since I'm still working on figuring out the "right way" to use my DSLR. They aren't all pictures of Baby C, either!

2010 in the House of Bean

Monday, January 11, 2010

Am I Projecting?

Every once in a while I "catch" Baby C doing something that sets off my OCD sensors. He's usually very particular about how he plays with his toys. The gears have to stay on the gear board, they can't go in the bug jar. Nothing can go in the bug jar except the bugs. On the gear board, each gear has it's own place. You can't switch them around once he's put them on. It's not the same setup every time, thankfully. If he passes an open door it has to be closed. Lids have to be closed. Cabinets have to be closed. He likes to line things up on the floor while he plays.

From what I've heard and read, these are all normal behaviors for toddlers to exhibit as they learn about how the world works. All the same, I always find myself wondering if he has OCD, too. While they haven't proven a genetic link for OCD, it's very strongly suspected that it's hereditary, so I guess it's only natural to wonder. Oh, well. I guess he'll either grow out of the toddler quirkiness, or start counting things like I did/do. A math genius in the making.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Faith envy

To continue my ramblings on faith and religion....

In a previous post I mentioned that I am somewhat envious of people who have faith. I know that some agnostics and atheists have a kind of "holier-than-thou" complex going on, feeling that they're superior to and smarter than everyone who subscribes to a particular religion. These are the people who are so smug in their non-belief that they refer to all religious followers as "sheep" and are convinced that no one with any shred of intellect could possibly buy all that crap, hook, line, and sinker. I'm not one of those people. I don't think that it's a matter of "buying" anything, I think it's a matter of choosing to believe in something and having faith that your belief is right.

Note: I am in no way asserting that all religions are good and proper and respectful of the world, just choosing to ignore that particular aspect of things for the moment. I'm talking about pure religion here. Religion as a religion, not as an institution. Big difference there, in my opinion (but again, that's a topic for another post).

I was raised and confirmed in the Catholic church. I know what the basic ideas of Christianity are, and I decided long ago that I didn't believe them (I don't know that "believe" is the right word here, but I can't think of a better way to describe it). That doesn't mean that I'm going to convert to Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, or any other religion, but that I'm choosing not to believe in anything. I believe that we have no way of knowing what else is out there beyond our own experiences. I do think that there has to be something else to life, that we're more than just a complex network of neurons and electrical impulses, but that we have no way of knowing what else is out there. I think that our discoveries are limited because we're only human.

So how does it relate to my envy of the faithful? Well, to be completely honest, I WANT to believe that there's something else. I guess it might be even more accurate to say that I NEED to believe that there's something else. If I were to say that I think there's nothing aside from this world that we experience every day, then that would make me sad. I also find it hard to believe that all of "this" - consciousness, life, the planets and stars - just happened to show up one day by chance. I just don't think that we have the ability to understand and explain where it came from. Our knowledge is limited to our experiences. I don't think that any religion has it right, I don't see how that could be possible.

The faithful don't wonder if there's something else, they KNOW that there's something else. Sure, plenty of people question their religion at some point, but most of them eventually end up with an even stronger faith in their religious convictions rather than no faith at all. Even if heaven isn't a real place, they're content to "know" that's where they're going when their time on earth is over. It's the comfort of a warm blanket to curl up under at night. The world isn't as cold and scary. It just is, and they know that there is something even better to come. Sometimes I just want that, you know?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

White Death

The white death is almost upon us. We're supposed to get 4-6 inches of snow, so of course everyone around here is panicking. I thought I was lucky because my car is getting maintenance done so they let me borrow a brand-freaking-new Audi A3 Quattro. I guess maybe they thought that if I drove around in it for a day or so then I'd want to buy it?

Anyway, I was excited because it's AWD and it's snowing. Then I got to work and realized that my snow scraper, snow brush, and hat and gloves are all in my real car. WTF? That was poor planning.

I left Baby C at home with C today. Our daycare center will be closing early, so I figured that I might as well just not bring him in at all so I don't have to deal with sitting in parking lot traffic to go pick him up. I'm also not very familiar with the loaner car, and it definitely handles differently, so I'd rather not have him in the backseat while I'm driving on the road with jerks who can't handle a few inches of snow. So Baby C and C are both at home, probably still sleeping, and here I am at work. At this point I don't even know if it would benefit me to take a half day, since the worst of it is supposed to come around lunchtime.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Aaaaaand, we're back

I certainly had a difficult time dragging my ass out of the nice, warm bed this morning. I only hit the snooze button once. I would have gone back for a second round but I decided that the 9 minutes would be better spent picking up some coffee in the drive-thru at Dunkin.

I don't know why this has gotten so hard all of a sudden. I guess I should have seen it coming, seeing as how I start to tear up every time I talk to my very pregnant co-worker about what it's like to come back from maternity leave. I've been back at work for 14 months and it still makes me sad to remember how awful it felt to leave my tiny baby there. It's not like I don't love my daycare center, I just wish I had more time at home.

I think part of it has to do with how much he's grown up since he moved to the toddler room last month. He's just changing at such an amazing pace - picking up new skills, learning new words, always surprising me with his abilities. He picks up his toys, leads me around the house by my finger when he wants me to see something or get something for him, and is getting much better at shape sorting. I'm sure he's enjoying being in a room with big kids now, and he's learning by watching them. I guess that's the really good thing about daycare. I like that he's exposed to older kids and has lots of fun stuff to do and learn.

On the bright side, an email from daycare reminded me that they're closed for MLK and President's Day, so there's a good excuse to take another day off from work. Maybe we can make it to the waterpark, after all.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Where did that come from?

So my vacation ended up being pretty crappy. I got the IUD on Tuesday and then was completely incapacitated most of Wednesday and a lot of Thursday. In addition to that wonderful experience, the motor on our ceiling fan burned out on Tuesday night. If we had gone to bed only five minutes earlier there's a good chance the house would have burned down. Late the next day we realized that our fridge had died, so we spent Thursday shopping around for a new one.

Long story short, while I was able to get a lot of good play time in with Baby C, I didn't get to do any of the really fun stuff that I had planned, specifically a visit to the indoor water park. I had a BOGO coupon that was only good during the week and expired on the 31st, so I was really excited to use it during my week off from work. It didn't happen. So while we were watching the Bearcats completely implode during last night's Sugar Bowl I had a little meltdown. Ok, maybe it was a big one. I was just so sad and frustrated that we had to deal with so much junk on my week off and that I didn't get to do anything fun with Baby C. I started thinking that maybe I'm missing out on a whole lot as a working mom, all these fun places that stay-at-home-moms get to visit and activities that they get to do. I want to do that with MY kid. I want to go on field trips and go to story times and do all of the same things that they do. No one caters to working moms. These things are so hard to find in the evenings and on weekends.

So I threw myself a big, sobbing pity party. I didn't even have any ice cream to make myself feel better. I know that I wouldn't be a good stay-at-home-mom full time. I know I like working, and that it's part of who I am. I also know that I have no choice BUT to work. That's just how our household is set up. In reality there's not even anything I can do about it. But I felt bad for myself anyway. Actually, I still feel bad for myself, and I'm completely dreading going back to work on Monday.


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