Sunday, July 31, 2011

Potty Party

As I've mentioned before, Peeper now wears panties at home during the daytime. She is usually mostly sort of compliant about going and trying when we remind her to, and when she tries she almost always goes (if she sits for more than a second), but she has yet to give us a heads-up that she has to go.

There were a couple of incidents a while back, where she said, "Hey Mama!" repeatedly, as I asked "What, Honey?" and then she peed, standing right there.

So, we've talked quite a bit about "What do you say when you feel the feeling that you have to go?"


And yet, no.

And lately, she's only hit and miss about letting us know that she's already gone.

So, in an effort to coerce encourage her to sound the pee-pee alarm before it's too late, we pulled out the Sesame Street potty chart that Santa Claus brought last Christmas. (Yes, we knew at the time that it was way too early for it.)

We've been holding off on charts and rewards and such because she's been so compliant about it all, so far, but we really don't know how to get her to make this leap.

(I suspect the answer is, as Dr. Sears would say, "The tincture of time," but we figure a dose of Elmo can't hurt.)

Anyway, this chart is pretty cool, in that there are five different columns in which you put stickers for five different parts of the process:

Elmo gives her stickers featuring Dorothy, his pet goldfish, for "Uh oh, I gotta go!"

Abby gives her pumpkin stickers for sitting cooperatively on the potty. (When we say, for as long as we say. Sort of.)

Cookie Monster gives her cookie stickers for actually pee-peeing (or pooping, but that's not happening).

Big Bird gives her stickers with his teddy bear, Radar, on them for wiping. (And flushing, according to the chart, but she's excused from that part because our flusher is too hard for her to operate. She makes up for it by flushing twenty times while I'm peeing at Target.)

Ernie gives her Rubber Ducky stickers for washing her hands.

As you can see here, if she sits, she usually pees, she's got no problem with wiping and washing, but she's yet to tell us that she has to go.

Every time she goes and we do the stickers, she asks for an Elmo sticker, and I tell her again what Elmo gives stickers for. Still hasn't happened.

On a related note - do you see how almost all the stickers are right in the little circles, and only one circle has been skipped. I think she has applied all but maybe the first set, all by herself.

I should get video of that process.

There are usually four stickers being handed out, and for each one, she holds it up to all the "wrong" columns and says "Is it along (does it belong) dere? Nope!" until she gets to the right one, and sticks it on.

This evening, after way too much "Well, if Peeper sits on the potty she'll fill her up Abby column, and we can get ice cream after dinner . . . . " we went to Baskin Robbins and had some ice cream to celebrate.

(We were heading out for Mexican food, and Baskin Robbins is across the parking lot from the restaurant, so it was going to be very convenient.)

Ice cream is evidently very serious business. I promise she really was having fun.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Is There a Doctor in the House?

This evening, Peeper was dressed for bed (nothing but a diaper) and playing in her room. I heard her saying "I am a doctor! I am a doctor! I am a doctor!"

I wasn't paying a lot of attention until she walked back into the office, wearing her "doctor shirt" and stethoscope, and carrying the blood pressure cuff and a doggy who "needs a opewashun, his tummy huhts."

I'm sure she'll learn to put it on front-facing before she starts medical school.

Then she told me "Come in the doctor room." I asked where that was and she said, "Right here in the street. In the hall."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fairy Queen

Butterfly Wings: Big Lots, clearance priced after Halloween
Fairy Skirt: Dollar Tree, $0.50
Crown: Target, $1.00

Naked Fairy Queen flying in circles around the living room: Priceless

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thirty-Three Months

Dear Peeper:
You are thirty-three months old today. Two-and-three-quarters. Closer (by the smidgiest of smidges) to three than two-and-a-half.

And every day, you get closer and closer to being a kid and farther and farther from being a baby. At least once a week I am struck by the fact that I can just totally converse with you like a regular person.

(Well, plus a lot more poopy-talk than with most people.)

I know I go on and on in every one of these letters about how your speach is changing and developing, but it is really amazing, even now that the changes aren't as dramatic as it was for a while there. (January was a doozy!)

You are now using "I"/"me" and your name sort of interchangably, and also using "you" some, as well as "my" and "your." I've never heard you use "me" for "I" but lately you've started using "she" and "he" for "her" and "him," and in "Put he there" or "What's she's name?"

I find it especially interesting how hmm, "meta?" you are about not just using, but discussing language. You are very big on asking "What ____ means?" or telling us that "____ means _____." You will also ask, "What Mama talkin 'bout?" whether I'm talking to you or to Mommy.

You have a few nonsensical (at least to us) phrases that you love to say, and just crack yourself up. Of course, we always ask what they mean, but you haven't really told us yet.

Once day when you were visiting Eena and Papa, you came home saying "Baggy waggy!" and when we asked what it meant, you turned the question back around on us. Mommy defined each word for you, and now you say:

"Baggy waggy! What that mean? Baggy means loose. Waggy mean wag Galoot's tail."

We still have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

The newest one is "I get the tape!" (We think.) It seems that it might come from a Sesame Street video, in which Grover is a doctor. (A's Anatomy)

You think it's hilarious.

You also define more sensicle things, too. I'm not thinking of any specific examples at the moment, of course, but just today you were explaining a couple of synonyms to me.

Of course, you don't call them that, but I suppose you could if I told you the term. Cookie Monster and his friend Emma have taught you how to make an hypothesis, and you know and use lots of other big words.

Which just cracks me up, but of course you're going to use the words that you hear all the time. There are so many words and phrases that I hear you say and think "Where the hell did she get . . . oh."

If you try to get me to eat something I don't want, I usually say, "I appreciate the offer, but . . . " and you've started saying that - or telling me to say it when I use different words to say "No thank you."

Everyday, you crack us up a hundred times with things that you say, either because of the wording or the meaning, or both.

In the past few days, you've started calling Mommy "Boo," with exactly the same inflection that I use, especially when you're calling to her from another room. "Boo-oo? Where are you?"

Last week, I was putting some food on the table (to say that I was "serving dinner" would be a stretch) and you climbed up into my chair at the table.

I said, "Hey that's Mama's chair," and you replied, "It's Peeper's chair now!"

A couple of days ago, although you had your own sippy full of smoothy, you grabbed my mug and as you were putting the straw in your mouth, you said, "I stole it from Mama!"

Of course, some of the things you repeat are a little less fortunate. A couple of weeks ago, we were having a rather tense day, and one of us kind of lost it with you, about your experimentations at the table.

There was something said about how you were making a huge mess, and you said, in all innocence, "I aaaam?" then some "mad words" were used, and after a bit, you started saying "God dammit mess! God dammit mess!" over and over and over.

At the moment, I was on my knees, cleaning the floor (yeah, that's not happening ever again) and I just put my head down and tried to keep you from seeing me laugh. Tears streaming down my face.

Finally, I said, "Peeper, 'God dammit' is a grown-up word." and you said, "Tell Mommy dat."

I said, "You tell Mommy dat," thinking that you were going to go tell her that it was a grown-up word, but instead you went down the hall and said, "Mommy, God dammit mess!"

Luckily, you now seem to have conflated that with one of my less offensive, you-Mama-now swears, "Ding-dong-dangit," because you've started saying "Ding-dang mess!" Much better.

Your other favorite is "Jackass." As in "Hey, Mommy - jackass. Jackass, Mommy. Jackass."

Anything else you say, nobody but Mommy and I can understand, but "jackass?" Clear as a bell.

I asked you "Where did you learn that word, honey?" and you pointed at the front window and said, "Learn dat word outside!"

That's when Mommy reminded me that I'd called Galoot that (but he is) during a walk the other day.

Your potty mouth aside, you are very polite - well, you certainly do your share of demanding, but you often say "please" unprompted and will always add it if we remind you. You are very good about saying "thank you," often in situations where I don't even expect it.

Several times lately, I've handed something to you, or done some little thing, and you've said, "Oh, thank you, Mama!" I suppose that's exactly how we say it to you.

More than once, I've asked if you could do something for me, and you've said, "Sure!" or a couple of times when you wanted me to sit down and read to you, I said "Can you move over, so I lean on Mr. Panda (or a pillow)?" and you've said, "Of course!"

On the other hand, often when we ask you to do something (or, more often, to stop doing something), you'll say "Oooh-kaaaay" with a tone of voice that is several years older than you are.

You are really enjoying summer, and especially enjoying the backyard. We are out there several times a day, and you run all over and play with the water hose, and ride your inch worm, and go in and out of your play house, and water the garden, and make mud puddles, and put your froggy boots on all by yourself so you can carry fruit and veggie remains out to the compost bins all by yourself.

Today, you were trying to climb a tree. A pine tree. With no branches lower than about fifteen feet up. You just stood there, putting your hands on it, and sort of jumping and grunting. It would have been sort of pathetic if it hadn't been so funny.

We explained that, unless you are a squirrel or a cat, that's not happening, but we helped you "climb" into a couple of different lilac trees, which have multiple trunks, and you just loved that. (Then we told you to never, ever, ever try that on your own until you are much, much bigger.)

You are loving the garden, too, even if you have prematurely harvested a few things. I think that next summer, we'll let you have your very own 2x2 plot to take care of. We've already bought you a "My First Garden" raised bed box for it. It was on sale at Lowe's, marked down from $9.99 to $1.00 because the connectors are missing, but  I think that we can rig something up for less than $8.99, so we had to get it.

Oh, and I suppose the biggest new is that you have, more or less, given up your nap. Actually, you would still like very much to take a nap every day, sometime around 4 - 6 pm, but when you do fall asleep, even for a couple of minutes, you are up until midnight or later. On the other hand, if you power through, you will go to bed sometime between 8:30 and 9:30, and sleep twelve hours.

I've not quite managed yet to start getting myself to bed any earlier than I was, so morning does come rather early, and I'm missing my own afternoon naps, but I can live without the naptime break in the afternoon, in exchange for three or four hours on my own before Mommy gets home from work.

Now, if I cna just learn to go to bed when Mommy does, instead of staying up until three or four in the morning.

Like right now. (Again with the back-dating.)

And, on that note, I will shut up, sign off, and go snug you up.

I love you, little girlie.


Panda Pics - 33 Months

IVF, Explained by a 2 Year Old

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tooting Her Own Horn

We've got to get this kid a toy trumpet, because she's "making" one out of anything she picks up that's remotely cylindrical.

You'll notice that this one has a mute. (Her words, not ours.)

Letter of the Week: Q

Tot School
~ Peeper is 32.75 months old ~

A Note To My Regular Readers: I may be repeating some photos or stories that I've already published, but I want to put all our learning activities in the one post that's part of the Tot School link-up.

Tot Schoolers: Welcome! If you enjoy this post, please feel free to stay for a while, and have a look around. I'll give you a fair warning that much of my blog is PG-13, but my Tot School link-up posts will always be G-Rated.

Letter Crafts: Q is for Queen, q is for quilt

As predicted, we were back to scrounging for our ABC box. Here's what I came up with:

Q magnet, q bath foamie, Qq book, Q - quetzel animal card, Q - quail block, quarter, quilt (sort of) and a queen's crown.

I had planned to use the queen from her Duplo castle, but I couldn't find her. Later, we realized she was in the bathtub, and even got her out of the bathroom, but she never made it to the box. 

Oh well. I'm pretty sure Peeper knows that Q is for Queen.

Once again this week, she wasn't too interested in the tracing or coloring "letter pages," but she was totally into "My queen cards!" from the Tot School Printables.

We are not at all into princesses here, so when she went through the "royalty" vocabulary cards and matched them up to a black-and-white version of the card page, there were a whole lot of new words for her.

What she really enjoyed, though, were the shadow matching cards, the puzzle and the sequencing cards, although she didn't really put them in order so much.

The first time I gave her the sequencing cards (small, medium and large queens), so told me that "Dis(medium) is da Mommy, and dis (small) is da baby." When I showed her the large one and asked "Who's this?" she said "Dat's da Mama."

Well, I am a few inches taller than Shrike, so I suppose that makes sense.

The puzzle and shadow matches, she did over and over and over.

She also really enjoyed the quilt square matching cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler. (I reprinted some of these for her quilt letter craft, too.)

We've not really done much with them, but she did get a new toy / learning tool / "acection" (collection) this week. Stapkles had these big plastic paperclips in their back-to-school specials for something like fifty cents or a dollar.

She's quite into Bert and Ernie and talks about "Bert's papercwip acection" all the time, so I thought she'd enjoy them. So far, she's just been playing with them, but I'm sure there are all sorts of lessons that we can use them for.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Swing and Swim

Shrike's parents are away this week, but that didn't stop us from going over to their house and availing ourselves of their airconditioning.

Of course, you know Peeper wanted to play outside.

Who is this kid on the big-girl swing?! (She had a lot of help.)

Then we grabbed some dinner and headed over to swimming lessons. This week, it was Mommy's turn to go in.

Taking a ride on the whale with the teacher, MissA. Would you believe that she remembered and recognized us from two years ago?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Camping Out

Not in a good way.

Harvest Time - And a Mystery

Peeper's been trying to pick things from the garden for a while now, and she did get two both of my peppers, well before they had a chance to ripen and become red or yellow (I do see another flower or two, though, so maybe we'll get more - those plants are not doing well at all, though.) and a couple of green tomatoes, but last night, I actually picked a couple of tomatoes myself and helped her pick the giant cucumber that we've been watching for a week or so.

There in lies the rub.

Back when I started the garden, I thought I'd bought two cucumber and one watermelon plant (the labels said so!) but they all grew looking the same -same leaves, same flowers, same fruits that seem to be cukes - I think someone at Lowes must have mislabeled a cucumber plant as watermelon. Weird.

On the supposedly-watermelon plant, one HUGE (normal length but very fat) cucumber grew first but it now turned yellow.

What's up with that?

Is it ok to eat or is it now over-ripe? (Still nice and firm.)

Is it possibly some sort of yellow squash instead? It looks like a cuke, except for being mostly yellow now.

It's definitely not a watermelon.

Ok, so in this video, she never does actually add the veggies together, but I was impressed that she knew there were three tomatoes without counting.

Update: A MOMS Club friend tells me, via Facebook, that:
You can eat it....sometimes when they turn yellow they sat on the vine too long or there is a lack of calcium in your may also be bitter in the skin.....taste it won't hurt you just will be a little bitter.....if it is then peel the skin and the flesh should be fine. :-) Sounds like you may have picked up a pickling cucumber....they are best when picked on the smaller side.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hot Child in the Small Town

As I mentioned earlier, we got out of the house as soon as we could get our act together this morning (11 am).

Shrike and Peeper visited with Eena and Papa, while I hung out at Panera and got some work done. Then Shrike dropped Peeper to me and headed to work, while we had lunch.

From there, we went over to Petsmart and looked at the animals until our air conditioner fairy called to say that she was home, then we picked up a window unit and two oscillating fans from her.

The fans are now blowing on Shrike and Peeper while they sleep, and we'll install the window unit tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it will help significantly.

Then Peeper and I went out for second lunch, then to the grocery store and finally, around 6:30 pm, came home.

It was much cooler than earlier, but still pretty damn hot.

In fact, it's still pretty damn hot. 84 degrees outside and about 90 in the house.

At least it was cooler than this inside the car.

What's she drinking?

Decaf latte! (Skim milk with a teeny bit of decaf coffee added. To keep her out of mine.)

It's all-nakey, all-the-time around here these days. Even more so than usual. Grown ups, too. There will be no photos of that.

Hot Hot Hot

So, here's the story from the beginning . . .

Our air conditioner's outside unit has been really loud forever - like since before Peeper - in fact, any time we're outside, we turn it off, or we can't hear each other talk.

Lately, Shrike has been worried that something was about to bust loose. Then, on Wednesday, one time it was running but not loud, then loud again, which was odd, so we got someone over to check it out it the next day.

He looked at it and said there was nothing wrong, it's just old and rattly, and showed me how loose one of the outside bolts was. "But, since I'm here, I can try tightening it up and see if I can get it quieter."

He turned it off at a switch where it plugs in, and tightened things, put some foam in to cushion, etc.

Then he turned it back on and it was really quiet. I said "Wow!" and he said "No, the compressor didn't kick on yet." and turned it back off.

Oh, okay.

When he was finished - an hour and a half later - he told me the compressor wasn't coming back on, so he'd installed a "hard start unit" or "start booster" (I've heard both terms).

(Later, I was told that the not starting often happens when it's that hot, and that he probably cooled it off with the water hose or something. That would explain why I discovered that Peeper's sprinkler was not on the hose later that day.)

I asked again "But there's nothing actually worng? It's not about to break? It was just rattly?" and was assured that was the problem. The charge was something like $120, $18 of which was this booster thing.

I turned it off later, because Peeper and I were playing outside (and it was still pretty loud), and it hasn't come on since.

That evening, Shrike discovered that the breaker trips when it tries to come on.

This morning the woman I talked to on the phone said "Oh, yeah, he told me that the compressor sounded really bad yesterday and was probably about to go."

That would be the opposite of what he told me.

They sent out a different guy, who messed with it a while, then came in and said, "It's done."

"Oh, okay, cool. So it's not going to be tripping the breaker anymore?"

"No, the compressor is done. You need a new one. Or a new unit."

He told me that "I checked all the electrical stuff and that's fine. There are no shorts, and the windings (electrical part of compressor?) are fine, but the valves are shot" and later the phone lady read to me from his report that "the problem with the compresor is mechanical, not electrical, so the hard start kit couldn't have caused it."

Their estimate is $1500 for a new compressor with a 1 year warranty or $2500 for new unit with 10 year warranty, and there's no need to replace the air handler in the basement.

We got two other companies out to look at it, for second opinions and competing bids.

The guy from the second company put a volt (amp?) meter on it and got no current thru the windings. He said the valves are fine but the windings are all shorted out. He says we have to replace inside thing too, and it will be $4500 for all of it. We are not doing that.

We had a third company give an estimate, but they didn't have a tech avaiable, so we didn't get an opinion on what's wrong. I haven't gotten his estimate yet, but he says basement part is fine and does not need to be replaced.

What the fuck?

Are these guys even looking at the same thing?

Is it just me, or does this seem kind of hinky?

Meanwhile, this was probably the hottest day of the year. It was - well, look for yourself. These photos were taken at 11:30 am.

By mid-afternoon, it was 93 degrees inside, and this was the best seat in the house.

Peeper and I went over to T's house for a while and it wasn't (quite) as bad when we came home.

We've decided to accept another friend's offer to borrow a window unit air conditioner and a couple of fans (we have one fan and lots of ceiling fans) to get things bearable until it's fixed.

In the meantime, Shrike and Peeper are hanging out at her parents for a while, and I'm at Panera with my laptop. Blogging first, obviously, but then I'm supposed to be getting some work done, too.

When it's stime for Shrike to go to work, she'll bring Peeper back to me, and we'll go pick up the AC, hoit the grocery and hang out in other cool places until evening. Not necesssarily in that order, ovivously.

We have to get the house cooled down somehow for now, because best case, it will be at least the end of next week before we'll have a new air conditioner, but we also want to buy ourselves a little time to make a more logical decision about how to deal with it, because right now, we're pretty desperate for relief and they know that they've got us by the hot, sweaty balls..

I want at least one more company to look at the compressor and tell us what cause the problem. If they also say it's electrical, I really have to think that, if the first company isn't intentionally trying to screw us, the guy at least messed up and shorted it out and they're covering up for it.

In which case, they're going to replace it and we're not going to pay for it. (The attorney that I'm doing web work for has already offered to make a phone call, if needed.)

At the very, very, very least, if we have them do the replacement, I think the money we paid them on Thursday should be applied toward the cost of that.

So, Internets, what would you do?

Oh yeah, and the best part? When we finally found the warranty information, it expired in May.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Peeper and I had an impromptu playdate with T and her girls K and C (formerly known as BabyC) this afternoon. Because T is obviously a much more together kind of person than I am, we did a craft!

She found these cute sharks-from-envelopes at The Happy Home Fairy.

Peeper's was more of a Rainbow Fish.

Peeper also discovered "Mr. Tomato Head."

Letter of the Week: P

Tot School
~ Peeper is 32.5 months old ~

A Note To My Regular Readers: I may be repeating some photos or stories that I've already published, but I want to put all our learning activities in the one post that's part of the Tot School link-up.

Tot Schoolers: Welcome! If you enjoy this post, please feel free to stay for a while, and have a look around. I'll give you a fair warning that much of my blog is PG-13, but my Tot School link-up posts will always be G-Rated.

Letter Crafts: P is for Panda and p and for pink and purple paint.

First, I laid out all the pieces, so she could see where they were supposed to go.

Then, she glued them on.

P is also for Picasso right?

After struggling to find things that started with O for our ABC box last week, we had an embarassment of P-word riches this week. (I think we'd better enjoy it while we can. I suspect we'll be struggling again soon.)

Pitcher, package, plate, pencil, pen, purple and pink, crayons, pig, panda, pear, peppers, pliers, P block, pink and purple panda puffy, panda book, Pp animal card (porcupine, I think), panties, pineapple, penny, P magnet, penguin book, pail, plane puzzle (with pieces!), potato, pan, peas, potato chip, powder and puff. Not pictured is a big ol' pumpkin. I thought of other things after the photo was taken.

Here she is discovering and investigating the things in her box.

Make photo slide shows at

She was playing with a puzzle and took it upon herself to sort out the pieces by color.

P is for paper chromatography. Peeper was eating some cotton candy at the table, and spilled her water on it. She said "How it got colored?!" so we talked about the cotton candy making the water colored. When I wiped it up, I let the papertowel sit over night, so we could see all the pretty colors on it. I was more impessed than she was.

We're actually moving into the next week here, but P is for pool! Pdepers' stated swimming pessons, for the first time in two years, and as of the first night, she is loving it!