Wednesday, July 29, 2009

maybe I should try torture tactics instead of time outs

I woke up to find that Gabe had figured out how to open the child locks on his closet door and he removed everything from his shelves, including all his markers and crayons, with which he drew on the walls and furniture. He also tore up papers in his closet, threw around stickers, destroyed flashcards, and distributed my boxed up pictures around his room.

An hour later, I left him alone for 3 minutes while I ran Josie up to her crib for naptime. He figured out how to open the gate leading down to the basement and tore everything off the shelves down there, including opening up board games and tossing Monopoly money and houses around the room.

All of this right before our scheduled house showing at 11:30am, so I almost had a nervous breakdown at the second incident. Gabe ended up sitting in time out for 30 minutes until it was time to leave, because I couldn't possibly live through another mess while I was trying frantically to clean up.

Then while we were driving over to the park where we played yesterday because I wanted to try to find the shoes he THREW OUT THE CAR WINDOW yesterday afternoon, I had to take away all of Gabe's car toys because he kept flinging them at his sister. Then I had to remove anything accessible from the car seat because he was picking those things up and throwing them across the car at her. He even took off his SHOES and threw them at her. Of course, Josie thinks all of this is hilarious and cracks up and eggs him on the whole time, so he thinks he is being oh so funny.

For the rest of the morning I felt like a prison guard at Guantanamo Bay. Every time we got in the car, I'd remove everything around him and even remove his shoes. At one point he asked nicely for a toy and I thought the message had been adequately delivered so I let him hold the toy, but in the time it took me to close his door and open mine, he'd already thrown it at her.

The terrible behavior continued throughout the day, with tons of whining and throwing of toys and food and not listening and not following directions. By the time I strapped him down for his nap, I was ready to sell both kids on Ebay with no reserve price.

BUT, the best was yet to come.

After his nap we headed over to the drug store to pick up a prescription and they were taking forever to find it. In the meantime, Gabe was opening and slamming the cooler doors, throwing the greeting cards around, running and hiding behind display cases, and generally pushing me over the edge. I turned my back for 30 seconds to talk to the pharmacist yet AGAIN about the prescription and suddenly, I heard a bloodcurdling scream behind me. A bloodcurdling scream I recognized as belonging to my own child.

I turned around to find that Gabe's head was stuck inside a life-sized M&M.

A life-sized, plastic, bright yellow M&M, with my child attached at the neck.

Every customer and employee in the store seemed to materialize out of nothing in response to the insane screaming from this lunatic child, and I swear I thought about leaving him there for just a second. Just a teensy tiny split second, though, before I rushed to his aid to dismantle the giant M&M with the help of employees. Finally we were able to extricate his head from the jaws of the M&M, with resulting welts all over his face where he wedged himself in.

The irony, of course, is that my prescription was for birth control. Which is probably why they were so frantically trying to help me fill it, because every pharmacist behind that counter realized that this woman REALLY NEEDS A FUCKING BREAK ON THE GESTATING FRONT. Thank you.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

catching up

1. Thank you so much for all the words of confidence and sympathy, and I especially thank you for not telling me how much we suck, even if you really do think we do. I've been in a fragile state of mind over this whole thing, and that might have sent me over the edge.

We've taken a step back from the whole situation and are trying to just think through this rationally and calmly. That means we are not shipping the dogs off to my parents' house, as much as we might like to, and Josh has (at least for the moment), stopped endlessly complaining about everything they do. I'm trying to come up with concrete solutions for how we can improve everyone's lives- ours and the dogs. We'll see how it goes over the next few weeks and then reevaluate.

2. Last week Gabe had a little incident where he ran into the very pointy corner of our dining room buffet with his EYEBALL. That's right, his eyeball. Talk about taking the heat off of the dogs. We had to make an emergency trip to the doctor where they dyed his eyeball and looked for corneal abrasions and checked the back of his eye and all that. It looks like he is fine, but he had a nasty laceration all along the outside of his eye socket and on the inner corner of his eye that was bleeding, plus a huge area of burst blood vessels on the actual white part of his eyeball. It was traumatic for all involved, but thank goodness he is fine. The doctor kept saying repeatedly that he was a lucky boy, and my stomach churns any time I think about the alternative.

3. My daughter has decided her one true love is power cords. POWER CORDS. I'm just going to let you mull that over so you can envision what my day looks like these days.

4. Tomorrow is my 31st birthday! ACK! 30 felt so much younger than 31 for some reason.

5. We are still showing the house and having open houses and tons of interest, but still no offers so I think we are dropping the price. Sadly. I'm too depressed about this to spend much time thinking about it, but I'm just going to hope for a good offer and try not to dwell on the question of whether or not we should have negotiated more with our first buyers. Sigh.

6. On Saturday we are leaving for the Cape for a week where my inlaws have rented a house. I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about this, although not so excited about the packing and about trying to keep the house neat during the packing. I'm a little stressed about that part, but still excited about the beach part. Also not excited about the wearing of a bathing suit part, but yes for ice cream and grandparents as babysitters and swimming.

7. How about all of your summers? Good? Great? We are having a great summer except for the less than stellar weather around here. I've come to realize that having a toddler during the summer is amazing, though. We go swimming every day, eat ice cream every day, enjoy the lazy mornings and late afternoons, and the days go by so gloriously slow and are so much fun and I am treasuring these days.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm preemptively cringing at the emails I'm going to get

I haven't blogged much about the dogs, because I'm not sure what to say. As far as the accidents indoors, we've pretty much remedied it. We have absolutely no rugs in the bathrooms or kitchens, since that seems to be the root of the problem. Last week when it was raining nonstop I put a towel down to wipe their paws and within an hour Murray had peed all over it. It is frustrating, but I live without bathroom rugs and I tossed the kitchen rug in the trash because Murray wouldn't stop peeing on it. The front hall rug is the same, but I refuse to get rid of it and just watch him like a hawk. I keep them out of the carpeted basement, and I occasionally clean up messes in the living room and dining room.

Although it isn't a perfect situation, I consider the retraining a relative success because the vast majority of the time I live without indoor accidents. I still feel frustrated, though, because Murray dislikes Gabe and Gabe finds the two dogs irresistible so I spend a good chunk of the day yelling at either the dogs or Gabe. For a while I was locking the dogs in the kitchen to prevent the chasing, but lately I've been trying to keep the dogs in their bed and Gabe away from the dogs. It's hard and Gabe gets sent to time out several times a day for bothering the dogs, but it is the best I can manage right now.

Josh on the other hand, continues to be anti-dogs. He is perpetually annoyed by their behavior (because truthfully, they don't listen anymore), he hates cleaning up after them, feeding them, and is exhausted from the constant correcting. It is a source of friction between us and we seem to be constantly arguing about the dogs, to the point that I banished them as a topic of conversation because it is stressing me out too much.

I'm not sure what the solution is, because as I said to him today only half-jokingly, I feel like the dogs are going to drive us to divorce. I have taken over the vast majority of the dog responsibilities, but he continues to feel angry and exhausted by the few responsibilities that fall to him.

Bottom line, he wants to get rid of them. I don't. Or at least, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt over the fact that we made a commitment to these dogs who played a huge part in our lives up until we had kids. I cannot believe we are becoming THOSE people. I never thought I would ever consider getting rid of the dogs, but this is where we are. If it were up to me, I would keep them and deal with the annoyance and the frustration, but I can't keep fighting with my husband over this. It is too exhausting.

I'm not sure what we'll do, since the idea of not having them is surreal. One thought is to beg my parents to keep them for a few months until we get past this whole house-selling, possibly moving, very young baby and toddler, crisis mode we are living in, and in the meantime we reevaluate. Maybe at the end of this little trial separation Josh will decide the dogs aren't as much work as he thought, maybe he won't. Maybe my parents will love having the dogs (doubt it), maybe they won't. At least we won't have this constant source of conflict for a little while.

Ugh, it is a horrible situation and I feel like such a shitty dog owner for letting it come to this, but I'm at my wit's end.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

thank goodness for ice cream

After all that sweetness and love from the last post, today I was ready to sell my son on Ebay. His behavior today was ATROCIOUS. Horrible. Terrible. Awful. I actually considered crying by lunchtime, because I couldn't believe I had 8 hours left in the day. He'd had 3 time outs by 10am (during one of which he retaliatory peed on the time out chair), then he skinned his knee at the park during a playdate and refused to stop screaming about it for AN HOUR, so we had to leave the playdate in shame, and when he still wouldn't calm down at home, I put him down for his nap without lunch. I was at a loss for what to do because he had honestly lost his mind. He kept screaming and screaming and screaming and nothing I did helped, except for the nap. That nap helped, but he resurrected the crazy behavior in the evening and then retaliatory peed in his stroller because I wouldn't let him get up and walk in the grocery store.

I am not joking about being ready to set up shop on the corner with a big sign saying "MOTIVATED SELLER. PLEASE BRING ALL OFFERS."

So there you go, Gabe isn't always a sweetheart. My friends tend to think I'm lying about his bad behavior because he does turn on the charm when we're in public, but here is my proof. Not always perfect, not by a longshot.

We had some nice moments, though. We went to a farmer's market and had ice cream, and while I walked around and picked out vegetables he tickled Josie's feet and laughed with her. During dinner he was incredibly cute and kept sharing his green beans around the table, while providing commentary about what he was doing, "Oh, one for Mommy, one for Daddy, one for Josie. Oops! Sorry green bean, I just didn't see you there, here you go."

I'm just hoping he remembers all the other cute moments, rather than the screaming I have done today, especially after the peeing incidents. Sigh. There's always tomorrow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

happy birthday hubs!

Ahhhh... what a great weekend.

It was my dear sweet husband's birthday on Saturday, and per his request, we did nothing big. On Friday we headed to an outdoor concert in our town. We met up with neighbors there, ate a picnic on our blanket while Josie rolled around in the grass next to us and the older kids ran screaming through the playground, and listened to the music in between chats. On Saturday we went out to breakfast,played at the park, then went out for ice cream. Josh's aunt gallantly volunteered to watch the kids for a couple of hours while we raced over to Harvard Square to eat at our favorite Indian place. On Sunday, we went over to our favorite friends' house and had the perfect summer barbecue. One of those summer barbecues that reminds you of the beauty of summer, with swing sets, popsicles, homemade cupcakes, food, laughter, and the cutest kids around. The kids were seriously delicious, playing together nicely for the whole day, making us laugh so hard our stomachs hurt.

Josh and I drove home in a contented haze, our kids passed out in their car seats behind us, holding hands over the center console and talking about what an awesome weekend it was and what great friends we have. This is the kind of weekend to make you adore summer.

The house is still on the market although we've had a couple of calls for repeat showings and we're very hopeful. Hoo boy, though, people are suspicious. I provided a list of updates we've done over the years, and people have questioned tons of them, as if we have something to hide. Hello, people, I redid the kitchen because it was a nasty old 50's kitchen! I painted the exterior because that is what you do when you are a homeowner. I painted the basement again because I want to sell the house and I want it to look good. No crazy ulterior motives here, just a regular old seller who would like to sell. If it doesn't sell in the next couple of weeks- well, let's not talk about it. Positive thinking, I say.

Our next days are full of plans for trips to the beach and pool and parks and since the house is perpetually clean for showings, all I have to worry about is laundry and planning dinner. Now I understand why people work so hard to keep their houses neat; it is such a relief to walk into a gleaming house. I'm not sure I can keep it up, but I see the allure.

As an aside, remember back in the day when people used to make radio dedications to other people? Like, "this one's for susie, I love you so much"? I sent Josh an email with this link- my version of a radio dedication to him. I don't say much about Josh on here (per his request), but seriously, besides my children, marrying him is the best thing I've ever done. I love him.

Hope your days are also full of fun and sunshine and ice cream. Those are the best days, indeed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I didn't need the sleep anyway

Our house situation has been eclipsed by a sick baby. Josie had her well baby visit last week, at which the doctor discovered tons of fluid in her ears. It was leading up to the weekend, so he prescribed Amoxicillin, but told me not to fill it unless she became intolerably fussy or ran a fever. Sure enough, Saturday afternoon came around and she sprouted a fever that hasn't let up yet. Finally, this morning I took her in to the pediatrician because she seemed so miserable and pitiful.

Turns out, she may or may not have an ear infection, but she definitely has Coxsackie. We seem to have a monopoly on this particular illness around here, honestly. It is no wonder she has been fussy and clingy for the last couple of days, she's been feeling like crud. Last night, as we were entering our third consecutive night of high fevers, I felt myself starting to let the worry creep in. You always hear about these horrible stories where parents assume their children have a run of the mill virus and then it takes a turn for the worse. I tell you, that kind of thinking can make you crazy in just a few minutes. I'm crossing fingers that she is feeling better asap.

Gabe seems to be feeling fine, although we've had a run of not-listening-itis lately. I think this is largely caused by the endless rain and gloomy weather and the non-stop houses we've been going to see. I think the poor kid is bored senseless now that his toddler program is on break for the summer, and I haven't even had the luxury of nice weather to work off his energy outside.

We have been doing our best to give him one fun activity per day, though, so last week we took him to Chuck E. Cheese, then the zoo, then a block party, a fourth of July parade, and today I took him to the movies. All were very enjoyable for all involved, and in truth, Josh and I probably had more fun than Gabe. That's saying a lot, because Gabe had a GREAT time.

The house is still on the market, and unfortunately for us, we've found a house we adore but now we don't have the money to buy it. The sellers are encouraging us to enter in an offer contingent on us selling our house, but we still feel uncomfortable with putting anything on the table until we've sold this one. I'm crossing fingers that the right thing happens- whether it is selling or staying. I just want to make the right decision.

I'm also crossing fingers AND toes for some actual summer weather. Torrential downpours, flooding, and 60 degree weather just doesn't feel like July to me.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


If you saw my Twitter last night, you saw that our buyers backed out. FOR NO GOOD REASON. The having no good reason thing is really pissing me off, but I guess its better than having a problem we have to remedy. We had the inspection yesterday morning and the inspector actually told the buyers and both agents that it was one of his best inspections ever, and the house was in excellent condition. The buyers came with a whole entourage of folks, though, cousins and grandparents and uncles and milkmen and who knows who else.

One of the cousins, in particular, kept arguing with the inspector over random things. She said she didn't like the way the furnace LOOKED, even though the inspector insisted the furnace was in great condition. My broker says she kept insisting the newer furnaces were better, to which the inspector said that certainly newer furnaces have some improvements, but those are improvements, not problems. She also complained about one spot of squeakiness in the hardwood floors outside of our upstairs bathroom and said she thought we should have to REPLACE those floors. I should go upstairs right now and take a picture of our floors, because although the entire house is hardwood floors, they were covered in carpet for the vast majority of this home's life, and every realtor who came into this house has commented on their excellent condition.

Besides these two non-problems, the inspector found that there were carpenter ants in the garden (!!!I'm not sure what to comment on bugs in the garden!!!), trees coming too close to some of the electrical wires, a garage door without a sensor for children (would go back up if a child gets in the way), and a chimney without a cap. All of these together, even if we were to take care of all of them, would probably total out to less than $1000. The buyers, however, asked for $20,000 off the price of the house because they want me to replace the furnace and replace the part of the hallway floor that creaks.

Their own broker told them they were making a terrible mistake, and she was unbelievably apologetic to us. She kept telling them they would never have a better inspection than this one, but when I told them to shove their requests, they (unsurprisingly) decided to back out. Sigh. Back on the roller coaster.

We kept our appointments today to see some houses, and of course as is always the case, today I saw several houses I loved and on which I would happily have made an offer. Even worse, a house on our dream street in our current town is on for a much higher price than we can afford, but they said they would happily consider a lower offer from us because the seller is in a situation where she needs to sell. I can't stop thinking about that house, and worrying about losing out on an awesome opportunity.

At the same time, though, Josh and I are reconsidering our plan to put it back on the market and entertaining the idea of staying in the house for another year or more. We need a bigger house, but now that we've pseudo-finished the basement, we have enough space to stay if or until I get pregnant again. We don't HAVE to move, at least not now.

We have more showings scheduled, another open house, and who knows what will happen. I'm frustrated and angry and disappointed, but it can't all be sunshine and roses, I know.