Gianna, the vampire.

Published March 16, 2012 by Danielle

We’ve been super busy lately. Well, super busy chasing around Gianna and dealing with the time change! She has adapted quite well to springing ahead one hour. Our bedtime routine starts at 7pm and she is in bed by 8pm at the latest. Although, I think she is a bit confused as to why it’s still light out when we wind down, read books and brush our teeth. Otherwise, it’s been smooth sailing…until I picked her up from the sitters the other day.

The sitter and I were talking while Gianna was be-boppin around and I was getting her things together. She asked me if Gigi ever bit us at home!! I was so taken aback! I said, “Noooo…why?” The sitter then informed that Gigi bit 3 boys 3 separate times! I was mortified. My stomach lurched. The sitter said that all incidents were because the kids had a toy that she wanted. She got mad, stomped up to one and bit him on the arm.  The next incident occurred pretty much the same way: Gigi got mad and bit the kid on the hand. Both times not breaking skin, thank god!!

I was so embarrassed. I felt like a horrible parent. That somehow, someway this “phase” was my fault. Was it because I’m a working mom and she resents that? Was is because she’s an only child thus far & spoiled? Regardless of the reason, it is unacceptable behavior! The sitter was great about it. She thinks it’s because Gianna was frustrated and couldn’t use her words to convey her emotions. Again…still unacceptable!!

I was still so embarrassed when I got Gianna in the car to go home. I buckled her in her car-seat and quietly got in the drivers seat. At a red light I turned around to talk to her for a minute. I said, “Gigi! I heard you bit a boy today with your teeth and hurt him?! You don’t bite people! You don’t hurt people! That makes them sad. That is bad and it makes mommy sad too. You have to be a nice girl. Nice girls give hugs and are sweet to other people.” By the looks of her face, she knew exactly what I was talking about. Her eyes were wide and serious. After my small lecture she said, “Nice. No bite!”

When we got home I told my husband about the biting incidents. Of course at first, his man-like response was, “Those boys probably deserved it!!” Then he too lectured Gianna a bit. Not harshly, pretty much just saying what I said in the car. She gave us both hugs and ran around playing, unphased.

That night, as I carried Gigi up to bed I held her and reitterated the fact that she has to be a nice girl at the sitters the next day. She responded with, “Nice. Gigi nice.” The next morning, after getting her ready, I gave her a hug and a kiss goodbye before my husband whisked her out the door to the sitters. I said, “Gigi be a nice girl today! Give hugs and be sweet.” She simply smiled and we haven’t had anymore “biting incidents” since!

Now stealing drink boxes…that’s another post all together!!

The horror that is leaving the house!

Published February 22, 2012 by Danielle

Ever since having Gianna she has become my #1 priority. Most everything I do, I do for her. This little ball of energy controls my life! I’m not complaining at all. I enjoy being her Mom…most of the time. Since I am a working mom, I do tend to not want to leave her on the weekends. I haven’t missed a milestone in almost 2 years and I don’t ever want to miss one. I feel guilty leaving her so much during the week, that I rarely get out to blow off steam on the weekends. My husband always tries to get me to go out and get a babysitter for Gigi. I’m not a hermit and I do crave for some adult fun once in a while.

This past Saturday was one such night. We had a babysitter booked and were ready to go! Now, even though Gianna is only 22 months old she is the type of kid who needs to know what is coming next. So, after her nap I told her that Ashley was coming over to watch her while Mommy and Daddy went out for a while. She looked at me with her big eyes and said, “Ash??” She understood completely. As the afternoon went on I kept reminding her what was to come that night.

Finally, around 6pm Ashley arrived. Gianna saw her at the door and squealed in delight. She immediately started showing out and dancing, jumping and clapping. Yes, she’s a little ham. I gave Ashley some instructions and we talked a bit. Finally it was time for me to leave and I kissed Gianna and told her I’d see her in the morning when she woke up. Her face was panick-stricken. She clung to my neck like a monkey. I kissed her again and told her bye-bye. Ashley had to actually tear her from me and I grabbed my coat without putting it on and was out the door as Gianna was screaming, “Nooooooo!! Mamamamamama!!!!” It broke my heart. I almost went back in. I was in tears!!

This is how it goes every time  I leave her. It’s horrible…the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear her cry for me. I am only able to relax and enjoy myself when I get a text from the sitter saying Gianna is asleep for the night. Even though I know she calms down after I leave, goes to bed with no fuss and wakes in the morning happy…I’m still a wreck. So, because of this I don’t go out that often. Well, that and the age induced alcohol insomnia!!!

Oops…he really was sick!

Published February 16, 2012 by Danielle

We all know what big babies men can be when they are sick. The smallest of colds sends them into “I can’t move!” mode. I’ve learned over the years that they just cannot take pain like we women can. A 100 degree fever for a man is analogous to a 103.5 degree fever to a woman. I’ve had to give Gianna a bath when I had a 103 degree fever! Not fun, not pretty, but I did it!

About a week or so ago, our family passed around a pretty nasty cold. Nothing too crazy. Snotty nose, sore throat, the usual cold symptoms. Gianna and I got over it pretty quickly. She slept fine, although coughed in her sleep for a couple of nights. The little monster never complained and was always in a happy mood, aside from when her nose got too crusty. My husband, on the other hand, seemed to still be struggling after Gianna and I were better. I admit it. I was bitchy. I was annoyed. Picture this scenario: I would come home from work on a day that Danny had Gianna all day. I walk in the door and he’s laying on the couch as if he can’t move. Uh…okay. He’s sick? Right? He then proceeds to go to the rec. center to work out. Ummm…he’s supposed to be sick? No? When he came home from the rec. center hours later, he would be as white as a ghost and complaining of not feeling well. His hands were tingley, he was shaking and oh…could I get him water and Tylenol? That first night I was so unsympathetic. I couldn’t help it, though.

The next morning I found out he had a 101 degree fever during the night. He felt better since it broke. Dramatic Daddy over? Not so. Against my advice he went to the rec. center yet again to work out.  Late that night he developed a 102 degree fever. To me this just wasn’t making sense. He had no fever during the day, only a fever at night? Huh? Not that I thought he was lying, but…come on!

The morning after his 102 degree fever he had to drop Gianna off at the sitters while I went to work. After he dropped her off, he high tailed it to an Urgent Care. He called me at work, in a feeble sounding voice, and informed me of his diagnosis. He had a bad viral infection that was about to turn into walking pneumonia!! He was sent home with an antibiotic and cough medicine with Codeine and instructed to rest as much as possible.

Oops! Needless to say, I felt pretty bad. Perhaps next time I’ll believe him or be a little more sympathetic. Maybe?! Mom’s NEVER get sick days, but Dad’s sure do! Where’s the fairness in that? I guess him having to throw out Gianna’s diarrhea covered onesie today while I was at work makes up for it all. I would have loved to see his face while changing that diaper!

Is “Spirited” the new word for Brat?

Published February 10, 2012 by Danielle

Being a parent is challenging. Being a parent of a strong-willed 22 month old girl can be draining. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Gianna more than anything in the world. She’s adorable, loving and cuddly…when she wants to be. When Gianna doesn’t want to be those things, she is a terror!

It all started around 4 months ago, when Gianna was 18 months old. She started throwing the most crazy tantrums; literally screaming at the top of her lungs and throwing herself on the floor. I was mortified! If a toy didn’t do what she wanted, if she couldn’t get yogurt on the spoon into her mouth, or if a crayon broke she would lose it. I tried several methods of controlling these tantrums. My first instinct was to yell and chastise her. Didn’t work. Just made the tantrum worse. Next I tried talking to her and even comforting her. This just ended up with me getting my hair pulled. Lastly, I just walked away and said, “Okay, go ahead Gigi and throw a fit.” This seemed to work. The tantrum would run its course, lasting half as long as using the previous methods. Even though I had instant success with leaving her be during a tantrum, I was still worried my little pumpkin was becoming a brat!

Yes, I may be a dork, but I turned to my local library in search of a couple of parenting books. Let me state that I believe no book can tell you how to parent or make you a better parent, but I do believe in researching options and different techniques that perhaps I didn’t think of. I picked up “The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers” by Elizabeth Pantley.

Bedtime for Gianna had become a complete battle of wills. She would stall and scream for 45 minutes straight if left in her crib to “cry it out.” The smart little cookie would even lie!! She would proclaim that she pooped even when she didn’t. See, she knew her pooping would mean Mom getting her out of bed and changing her diaper! As I read the above mentioned book, I took note on some things the author was saying. I learned that children are creatures of habit. They love routine and often want to know and expect what to comes next. Gianna’s bedtime woe’s weren’t to drive me crazy. She was trying to assert herself in controlling when she was ready for bed. I only read the chapters that pertained to Gigi. We now have a calm, HOUR long bedtime routine that involves, milk, reading tons of books and dimming the lights. Ding, Ding! Round 1 goes to Mom!!

The other book that I checked out was one that I had my eye on for some time. It is called “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. According to Sheedy, a spirited child is one that is more “intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and energetic” that other children. This fit Gianna to a T!!

I’m not saying she’s smarter that any other kid, but her energy level sometimes leaves me ragged. Her sitter has often times mentioned how persistent she is. As I read through this book I found some very interesting techniques on how to deal with her outbursts and tantrums. I learned that Gigi has certain triggers and how to avoid them, thus avoiding a tantrum. I also learned to give her choices, thereby making her think she’s in control of her life. I’m talking little choices, like which jammies she wants to wear? The red or purple? What snack does she want instead of the chocolate? Pretzels or a granola bar? To my amazement…this all works!

One day not long ago, when Gianna and her Daddy were playing on the floor, she reached out and slapped him! **gasp** Danny’s instinct was to reprimand Gianna by spanking her (not hard), but I intervened and said, “Gigi…no hit! It makes Daddy sad when you hurt him.” You know what the little cuss did? She ran right up to me and yanked my hair. Then, a lightbulb went off in my head. Instead of chastising Gianna, I scooped her up and gave her a big hug and kiss saying, “You need to be a nice girl that gives kisses and hugs. Mommy love nice girls.” Gianna then ran to her Dad and gave him a big hug and kiss. After that she ran to me doing the same. This went on back and forth for well over 10 minutes! I got through to her! My method worked! Ding, Ding! Round 2 goes to Mom also!

I’m not saying that these two books are the answers to your parenting woe’s. No book in the answer. Sometimes being a parent means just flying by the seat of your pants. I used the above mentioned books for ideas that perhaps I would have never thought of on my own. Ideas that work for my family. As a first time Mom, I want to hear what works for others. I want to hear how their kid behaves and what it does to them mentally, physically and emotionally. I want to know I’m not alone in sometimes not liking my kid because I believe a parent that tells you it’s all baby lotion, love and flowers is a liar! Have Gianna’s tantrums stopped? Heck no! I don’t expect them to, but they are becoming less frequent and more controllable. Consistency and persistence is the key and we are working on that. Some days are better than others, but the better is becoming the norm. You never know what tomorrow will bring though. Like Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” Who knows…round 3 just may go to Gianna!!

Scrappy’s horrible, terrible, very bad day.

Published February 8, 2012 by Danielle

Today was Scrappy’s ve t appointment. Poor buddy hadn’t a clue what was about to happen to him this morning. I went to work as usual and Gianna went to the sitters. After about an hour at work, I left to come home in order to get Scrap ready for the vet. First, my husband and I had to clip his nails. They were overdue and way too long. I didn’t want the vet to think I was a neglectful mom. I ended up nipping one of his veins. I felt to bad. Blood was everywhere. My husband, the clean freak was running after him, wiping up blood from the kitchen floor. I was hurrying to make a coagulant out of baking soda to put on his nail. We were due at the vet in 30 minutes and I still had to get Scrappy’s muzzle on him!

Finally, after grabbing a wet towel to wrap around his paw, we were in the car and on our way.  Scrappy knew this wasn’t going to get any better. Poor thing was whining and shaking as I held him in the car. Thankfully, the bleeding stopped just as we got to the vet. The staff was great. They kept walking by Scrappy to pet him as we were waiting. He was trying to give kisses through his muzzle. “Such a sweet pup didn’t need a muzzle!,” they commented. 

Finally, we were ushered into the room to see the vet. Scrappy had to get his temperature taken…rectally. Yeah, he was not to happy about this. The need for a muzzle was understood as he yelped and growled a bit. When he calmed down, his brown eyes got so sad and big that  it almost broke my heart.  As the vet examined Scrappy’s fatty tumors, the tech held him and kissed the top of his head. He did great. The tumor on his chest is the only worrisome one right now. As long as it doesn’t get bigger, we are ok.  After some shots, blood taken and new heartworm pills (and $200.00 later) we were on our way home.

Scrappy is okay for now and super happy to be out of his muzzle and home in bed. Poor guy is tuckered out after his bad day. We don’t have to go back to the vet until next year! Yipee…for all of us!!

Scrappy Doo and a fatty tumor or two?

Published February 7, 2012 by Danielle

Here we are on that fun day we call Monday! Tomorrow my dog Scrappy has a vet appointment at 10am. My husband and I got Scrap when he was only 8 weeks old. He is now 10 years old, about to turn 11 on February 21st. My little puppy is a senior! He’s a toy fox terrier/jack russell mix and let me tell you…he is a ball of energy.  When we first got him, he was the puppy from hell. He was absolutely insane. He constantly nipped, ate his own poop and chewed my favorite BCBG slingbacks! My husband kept asking if I wanted to take him back, but I would constantly reply, “No!! I love him already.” After a great deal of tears and persistence, Scrappy finally learned what his place was in our household. He was my baby. I took him everywhere. He was still high strung and crazy, but we learned to live with it. Hey, he’s a terrier! Image

When I was pregnant with Gianna, Scrappy completely sensed something. The little 20 lb tornado turned into an angel around me. He wouldn’t jump on me at all and when I was sick (as I often was) and was sprawled out on the couch watching Lifetime, he would curl up as close to my belly as possible and simply lay with me. As Gianna grew inside my belly, she’d often kick Scrappy and he’d look up at me with his big brown eyes as if to say, “Really?”

When we brought Gianna home, my husband and I were so nervous. What if he didn’t take to her? He had been our number one for so long, how would he handle being 2nd fiddle? To our amazement, Scrappy was great with her. He sniffed her in her seater, licked her and walked away. I honestly could not ask for a better dog with a child. Now that Gianna is mobile and running around like a maniac, Scrap takes it so well. When Gianna cries her sick or hurt cry, Scrappy gets so upset, he howls. They both have really connected in a way I never thought possible.

After Gianna was born, in April of 2010, I noticed one side of Scrappy’s hip was a bit larger than the other. Busy with the new baby I really didn’t think too much of it. Months went by and it was noticeable. I took Scrap to the vet and let me tell you, that is a chore. My pup turns into devil dog. He hates the vet more than anything. I actually have to muzzle him…it’s horrible for all parties involved. Anyhow, the vet concluded that Scrappy had a fatty tumor. Something common in senior dogs. I guess they pose no health problems unless they get too large and hinder their everyday life. She decided not to aspirate the tumor to test fluid, but said if it got bigger to give her a call.

Here we are today and not only has it gotten bigger, more have popped up. I called the vet last week and she wants to see him. I’m terrified for Mr. Scrappy. At least my husband is going with us tomorrow…for the first time in 10 years!! I’m not expecting bad news, I just hate to put him through such an ordeal. (Scrappy, not my husband.) Only tomorrow will tell and for now, Scrap Monster is peacefully snoozing away in bed. Yes, he sleeps with us! It is better to take him in and get him checked out so, as my husband ever so eloquently puts it, “We don’t have to wake up to a dead dog running around!”

Borders Books & Music, porn and me!

Published February 6, 2012 by Danielle

Since nothing new is going on this weekend I’m reminded of a hilarious story that happened years ago. While browsing Netflix, in search of something to watch other than Barney, I came across The Soprano’s. I loved that show back in the day. The first year it was on HBO I was working as a bookseller at Borders Books and Music. This was before it was a micro-managed, corporate ruled company. Bankruptcy was not even a thought for Borders.

There were a handful of co-workers that were into The Soprano’s. We would always talk about the episodes in the break room, or while on a 15 minute break out back playing basketball. Yes, it was a hippy company back then. It is now known that some managers and employees would go out back and smoke pot! I did not partake in that activity, for I was only 21 and straight from Georgia. I was a polite Southern Belle back then, which makes this story even more hilarious.

Since the show was on HBO and some of us didn’t get that channel, an Assistant Manager named Stan taped it (yes VHS…no DVD’s yet!) and it would get passed on to whomever missed that episode. Now Stan’s nickname was “Rulebook Stan.” He was a huge guy and went totally by the rules. No pot smoking or basketball playing when he was in charge. I always got along with him and we would often talk about The Soprano’s. Apparently I missed an epic episode, so Stan brought in the VHS for me to borrow.  He stuck the tape in my mailbox in a plastic grocery bag with a little post it note to pass along to Tom when I was done with it.

So, I went about my shift and when it was time to clock out I pulled the tape out of my mailbox to show the manager on duty, my friend, Cara.  As a rule you had to show a manager the inside of your purse or backpack before you left the building as preventative measure of in store theft. As I showed Cara the tape, I pulled it out of the VHS sleeve and the sticker on it read “Fanatic Filth.” Cara and I both looked at each other and quickly dismissed what we were both thinking. We kind of laughed and Cara assured me that Stan probably taped over something else.  Since Cara was the training manager, she had a T.V. at her desk with a VHS player.  She prompted to pop the tape in and luckily we were the only ones in the back offices. Suddenly her T.V. screen was filled with boobs….huge boobs bouncing up and down. We both looked at each other and screamed, falling over to be the first to hit the stop button!!

I was mortified and laughing at the same time. Cara was laughing so hard she was hyperventilating. Stan gave me a porno instead of The Soprano’s!! I had no clue what to do. Do I take the tape, do I put it back in HIS mailbox? I ended up taking it home. Once home I actually popped it in my VCR to fast forward in case he taped The Soprano’s over a porn?! Not so. The tape was straight up porn. I had no clue how I was going to return this to Stan and I certainly wasn’t going to pass it onto Tom!

The next day, I brought the tape into work in its original grocery bag. I decided to put it in Stan’s mailbox with a little note that read, “I don’t think this is the Soprano’s. No worries. All is good!” I didn’t want him to think I was appalled or offended by the tape or think I’d cry “sexual harassment.” I knew it was a total mistake on his part. He was due in for a swing shift that day, so he’d get the note while I was on the floor working.

I was out on the floor shelving books when I saw Stan walking my way. His face was beet red and I could feel the heat rising in my face. He came over and said, “Danielle, I am so sorry. I’m mortified. A buddy of mine played a trick on me and switched tapes. I’m going to kill him. I’m so, so sorry.” I couldn’t even look him in the eye. I just said, “Hey, it’s no big deal!” And that was that. We never spoke of it again.

This story is quite legendary in the world of Borders. Stan never let anyone borrow anymore tapes either and I never got to see that dang episode of The Soprano’s!!