10 Things That Don't Happen at Chez TypeAMama

10. Ironing. Don't own one (or actually, I think there might be one out in the shed), and I believe we had to throw out the cheapo ironing board because the cats peed on it. Or maybe that was me.

9. Card games. This is not necessarily deliberate or by choice. There has been the occasional Texas Hold 'em game at our house, but I'm looking forward to the day that we can sit down with the pooper and start to play card games with him - even Go Fish and Crazy Eights.

8. Watching commercials. Thank God for the dvr.

7. Spanking. It's just something DH and I agreed on that seemed to be not necessary. Pooper's just 19 months right now, so this could change if/when he darts out into a parking lot or some other life threatening behavior. But so far we're managing with re-direction and time outs.

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup. Holy cow, you have to REALLY be a label reader to manage this one. It's in EVERYTHING. If something's supposed to taste sweet, then just give me regular sugar. And if it isn't supposed to taste sweet or is already sweet enough on its own, keep that crap outa there.

5. Country music. Except for stuff called "crossover" or "alternative" or whatever: Lyle, Dixie Chicks, Johnny Cash, Marty Robinson (God help me).

4. White walls. A friend of mine says she thinks they're immoral. I think I agree.

3. A full night's sleep. Natch.

2. Home perms. This is kind of random, I know, but if permed hair ever comes back in style (yes it WAS. Shut up.) I have already had enough home perms between the ages of 12 and 20 to be very, very lucky to still have ANY hair growing on my head.

1. Artificial foliage. Although given my knack for slowly torturing plants to death, maybe it's time to reconsider this.


Reign of Chaos

The house is a wreck, I'm neglecting half of my clients, the pooper (a much more apt name these days than "cub") is cranking out nose goo like it could be sold on eBay, my voice has finally returned from a long vacation in parts unknown, and I didn't think I could get stretched any thinner than I am already and then this 217,000 2-story Wal-Mart with a 3-story parking garage attached in the middle of my neighborhood (no freeway access, man) thing came along and it turns out in fact I COULD get stretched even thinner. And did I mention the holidays? Houseguests? Decorating? Cleaning? Cooking? Making MERRY???

Some of it I'm looking forward to, and some of it not so much. The being busy isn't really that bad, and if I can make it to Target today to buy a new monitor that will actually stay plugged in and not go off in the middle of the night and wake me up because it's running out of juice, then there's the chance of getting at least 6 or 7 hours of continuous sleep each night, which these days is a veritable buffet of zzzzz's.

The pooper has lately taken to waking up screaming crying in the middle of the night - 0 to 60 out of nowhere. I have been racing in each time because the howls are truly startling and he's been standing in his crib and puts his arms out to me as soon as I walk in the room. So I pick him up in the dark and stand next to the crib with him doing the sway, and after about a minute or two his breathing has calmed and back to the crib he goes and goes right back to sleep. Sometimes this happens twice in one night, so last weekend, on the second one, I didn't go in, just to see what would happen. After two minutes the screaming and crying completely stopped as abruptly as it had started. Boom, out. So now maybe I'll give it a few minutes before going in again, and maybe this nuttiness will stop.


Camping with a Toddler

Last weekend we took the cub on his first camping trip. We kept it easy and straightforward by camping nearby, at the Rocky Hills Ranch just across the highway from Smithville. By staying relatively nearby, if the poop hit the fan we could pretty easily make it back to town in under an hour.

Some learning points:

- better to camp with toddlers when the days are a little longer if they tend to wander off. The cub just wasn't interested in staying near the campfire, even though it was warm and toasty.

- bigger tents ARE better. For his first trip, the cub seemed to be willing to accept that the tent was like any other "room" (and, although it was a tad embarassing, our large tent is actually larger than the smallest bedroom in our house).

- it's really hard to keep a hat on a toddler's head while he sleeps.

- hot dogs rule.

- helpful items if you can park near your campsite: a small folding table, collapsible chairs, an easy-serve igloo cooler filled with water for drinking, washing, cooking etc., a propane "stove".

Overall, I think the cub enjoyed himself. Our friends commented more than once on how "independent" he is, as we would watch him stroll fearlessly off into the distance by himself. Also, there were a couple of times that he walked over to the car and gestured, as if to say, "Okay, this park has no slides or swings or steps. Time to go home." We took the advice of friends and brought Benadryl to help with sleeptime, which was a good thing. Next time we'll go when it doesn't get quite so cold at night, and we'll have better chairs. And better food.

Turkeys and Angels

A couple of weeks ago my neighbors and I got the shocking news that a Wal-Mart was to go into our neighborhood as part of the redevelopment of the Northcross Mall. Needless to say, the vast majority of us are opposed to this. Unfortunately, no one knew about this until after the lease had been signed and the site plan approved. A Wal-Mart in central Austin. The apocalypse must be near. Those responsible would be the un-invited turkeys to the holiday season.

Being a TypeAMama, of course a development like this just puts one to work figuring out how to make it not happen. Enter the Angels. I am amazed at the dedicated, qualified, and committed people who have come forward to spearhead the effort to ensure that the redevelopment at Northcross includes neighborhood input and reflects the best planning principles and development vision for the area. Which, by the way, does not include a 24/7, 219,000 square foot supercenter with a three-level parking garage attached.

For more information, go to www.responsiblegrowthfornorthcross.org.


GOP Takes a Spanking

Ok, so this is a new direction for the blog. Truth is, I frequently have lots more on my mind besides the cub, and I'm thinking I may write more if I broaden the horizons here a little. Plus, it's more interesting for me to write about all the things a Type "A" Mama might have on her mind. So here goes.

One thing - my politics go pretty far to the left. Not as far as communism - I do, after all, represent profitable businesses and anyone who's had the opportunity to negotiate on the other side of a deal with me knows how seriously I take the "profitable" part of my job. And there are some things I just don't think the government ought to be properly involved in. Like telling people who they are allowed to fall in love and build a family with, for instance. Which brings me back full circle (these days) to the left end of the spectrum. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

I'd like to think that the recent election sweep for Democrats indicates a more socially progressive nation than I had hitherto dared hope for, but I don't think so. I think, rather, that it reflects the very deep American pragmatism that comes to play in our political decisions. Americans will vote based on cultural values when everything else important is more or less taken care of. But when things are going seriously awry - corruption, an unpopular war, repeated failures of leadership, crippling health care costs - they'll fire whoever's in office and bring in a new guy, even if there's disagreement about abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research.

I hope that the Democrats will recognize that their mandate now is to govern. Which means rolling up their shirt sleeves, extending an open hand across the aisle, and starting to put solutions into place that never would have been passed in the all-GOP Congress. Start to seriously consider a single-payer system for goodness' sake. Raise the minimum wage. Create a sensible path to citizenship for immigrants that separates the contributors from the criminals. Invest heavily in efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses and dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Increase funding to education and provide tax relief for college tuition.

Get to work.


Speech Delays

I'm really tired and this is really a boring entry unless you happen to have a 19 month old child with speech delays and you're considering the Early Childhood Intervention Program. In which case, read on. Otherwise, this entry's really only good for helping you get to sleep tonight. In fact, I got sleepy writing it.

The cub is going on 19 months old and doesn't really have any words yet. He's starting to get a little more varied in his sounds, he gestures and points and tries to communicate, he signs a little, and he understands when we tell him something simple to do, and sometimes he even does what we ask him to. But no words - more specifically, no consonants. Not even mama or dada. So I've called in the Early Childhood Intervention people.

Today was our first meeting, the initial "Intake". The program seems to be pretty fantastic, very affordable, and we can stop at any time. I have to admit that I'm a tad skeptical about the young woman who came to meet me for the intake, though, because she looks to be straight out of college. Not that there's anything wrong with that, and she comes across as very informed, articulate, and conscientious about her work; it's just strange to be turning for help to someone almost half my age. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt and carrying one of those cute little mini-purses didn't help. She wants us to get the cub's hearing checked, just to be sure, since he had all of those ear infections from 7 - 11 months. We'll get that done after the first of the month, after DH's insurance from his new job kicks in. We'll find out if he's eligible for the program after the assessments are complete. If he has less than a 5-month developmental delay, he's not eligible. Which would be a good thing, but also a bummer not to qualify for a little intervention.

We've about worn ourselves out reading to the cub, saying words to him, cheering and congratulating him every time he makes a sound and repeating it back to him. I probably say "up", "in", "out", "down", "more", "ball", "bye-bye", "cup", "book", "open", "closed", "eat", and "drink" about a jillion times a day. Not to mention also colors, letters, shapes, numbers, and lots and lots of singing. For a break I'll read an article on recent developments in trade secret law. I'm doomed.

DH is starting a business with a friend that takes lots and lots of coding for the website before they can launch. I wasn't able to make enough $$$ to support us all while he worked on the business, so he's had to get some more immediate cash flow supplement and take a corporate job. Maybe we can recover our savings and pay credit card debt down for awhile and then he can quit again. The insurance in the meantime will be nice. Although, I have to say, the people at Golden Rule are not half bad if you have to make do between jobs. For the three of us the premium was only $930 every three months, with a total family deductible of $5,000. Unfortunately they excluded c-sections for me, so if we 'd gotten pregnant on the plan it would have been pretty outrageous. But other than that it's been pretty good. DH developed viral meningitis and we blew through his deductible pretty quickly with the trip to the emergency room, but everything after that was covered 100%.