Monday, May 16, 2011

Butt Update

Last week Ronnie started wearing underpants. Now, this does not mean she is fully potty trained. In fact, I would say instead that she is merely in the process of potty training. She still has accidents. Lots and lots of accidents. But for her, just wearing panties is enough to make her remember to use the potty and she really, really hates having to wear a diaper at all now.

It’s amazing how different the potty training experience is with Veronica compared to her brother. Kirk was just uninterested in it at all. Pure laziness. He would have kept going in a diaper forever if we would have let him. Which is why we started the sticker charts. Potty candy was all well and good but ultimately, he needed a bigger reward. Earning stickers to save up for a toy prize mattered a whole lot more to him than the personal pride of a pair of underpants. I guess that’s why Ronnie’s moving forward so much quicker and at such a younger age. I’m not sure if it’s the younger sibling thing or the girls-train-earlier-than-boys thing or personality differences or some combination of all of that. But it’s definitely been unique.

Kirk always used the actual potty chair. He didn’t switch to the potty ring until he had been using the little chair for quite some time. We’d always have to clean it out and it was gross. Ronnie has never used anything but the toilet seat ring insert. When she was first showing interest many months ago, I pulled the potty chair out and she would sit on it but it was basically just a toy. She didn’t start actually going until I set her on the ring. That’s what she uses at daycare, too.

So now I make sure she goes every morning when she first gets up. She’s really good at morning pee. The rest of the day is hit or miss. She’s been going to daycare in underpants but always ends up coming home in a diaper. She still needs one while sleeping so she needs one while taking a nap. Miss Ronica likes to then have her panties on top of her diaper, so she’s still wearing them. Sort of. I must say, size 2T Hello Kitty panties are just about the cutest thing ever.

Mama’s also been having increased potty focus the past few months. The entire family got hit with a nasty bout of stomach flu back in February. All four of us were down for several days with repeated puking and diarrhea. It was not fun. But after we all got well, my butt never went back to normal. Essentially, I’ve had intermittent diarrhea for months now. I thought maybe it was red meat so cut that out. I cut out alcohol and caffeine and dairy. None of that made any difference. I tried adding lactobacillus to my water. Nope. So I finally went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago and had blood taken and had to provide a stool sample. That was a real joy to collect.

Last week I got the results of the tests back. “Your blood tests for Celiac disease (gluten sensitivity) were both quite elevated. This makes the diagnosis quite likely.” Awesome. I have an appointment with a gastrointestinal specialist set up for next month. But in the meantime, I get to speculate on life with a possible celiac diagnosis. There is no cure. The only way to fix my butt issues would be to change my diet. Radically change my diet. Wheat gluten is in *everything*. Seriously. It’s used to thicken even ice cream! I love pasta and bread and crackers and cereal. Sure, my favorite grains have long been corn and oats but there’s wheat flour in corn bread and dieticians are divided on whether or not oat gluten is also bad. Basically it’s at the point now where every time I eat a sandwich or a plate of spaghetti I find myself thinking, “Is this the last time I’ll ever be able to eat it?” I’m not supposed to modify my diet on my own before additional testing or else I’d have to eat a bunch of gluten specifically for tests. So in the meantime, I’m keeping on keeping on.

But what will this mean for my family? I already have a massively picky eater in Kirk. Dinner is a fight more often than not. I don’t want to have to make special meals for myself but I also don’t want to have to force them to eat weird grains and bizarre recipes when they don’t have to. There are just so many factors and such a potential for ripple effects. I’m trying not to worry. But being celiac would certainly help to make sense of certain things my whole life so part of me would be happy just to have the answers. Even if that means knowing that I’ll pay later for that sandwich on delicious whole grain bread.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Libraries Rule

Never apologize for your reading taste.
-- Betty Rosenberg, Library Science educator

I’ve always loved this quote. I think it’s an important thing to keep in mind whether you’re a voracious reader or only read a handful of books a year. But it’s especially important when you find yourself “stuck in a rut”. Genreflecting is a legitimate way to find your next read and it’s OK to stick with what you already know you like.

Something else that’s important? Quitting a book that you don’t like. This is a tricky one. My aunt has been extremely influential on me with this one. She’s a professional librarian and so reads a lot. Like, a LOT a lot. And obviously even when you’re surrounded by books day in and day out, there’s still a limit to how much you can actually get read. So if it’s not making you happy, don’t waste your time. I’ve found it rather freeing to know that I *can* put down a book unfinished. But it took a long time to get to the point where I was comfortable actually doing so. And I still don’t do it often. Usually once or twice a year the book club selection will just plain not appeal to me but I’ll try it out for a few chapters, if only to get a feel for the writing and be able to explain why I didn’t like it and didn’t continue. Rarely will I quit a book that I picked out for myself.

Over the past year and a half or so I’ve tried to stay on top of modern publications by requesting books from the library as I read an intriguing sounding review in a magazine. Yes, usually they’re something I would normally be drawn to anyway but it’s a trick that has pulled me into new directions, too. Sometimes I don’t remember exactly why I was interested in the title and by the time it becomes available on the wait list it will be a complete surprise me to me. Typically a pleasant surprise. But sometimes I’ll take a look at the cover art and read the flap and find that for some reason, I don’t want to read it. So I return the book unread. That’s been a shock to me and it’s also been incredibly liberating. Still, it’s not the usual event. More often than not I’ll read the book anyway and be very glad I did.

Sometimes it’s not that I don’t want to read the book at all. It’s instead that I don’t feel like reading it right at that moment. Tastes change and like with movies, sometimes you just aren’t up to the in depth historical drama or the intricate character study. You just want a comedy or a thriller or explosions and action. So in those instances I’ve returned the book unread, but then re-requested it, putting myself to the back of the queue but still getting it again at a later date.

Now. Here’s where these habits are all starting to intersect. I’m starting to have repeat returns. My Shelfari shelf of I Plan To Read has several books that I’ve checked out and returned unread and re-requested more than twice. Which is silly. I’m trying to be realistic. I know I’m never going to finish Game of Thrones in time, especially with new interest due to the TV show; it’s just always going to have a wait on it making it impossible to renew. The Book Thief is ridiculously popular right now and I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever be “in the mood” for a YA Holocaust tale. But I’m sure it’s as good as they say. I’ve been meaning to read His Majesty’s Dragon for several years now but my library only has a single copy and for no apparent reason, it seems to have a lot of requests on it at all times. It’ll be interesting to see if I do give up on any of them. I finally realized I was never going to actually read The Kraken after the second time I checked it out and I haven’t requested it again since.

What am I reading mostly these days? Supernatural mysteries and YA dystopian futures. So books that fall into those bailiwicks I’m eating up with no problem. I picked out Journal of a UFO Investigator strictly based on that awesome title. All I knew is it was YA and had a great cover. What I’m finding is that it’s a somber coming of age story. And it’s really good. But I don’t know that I want to keep going with it. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll return it unfinished and request it again, or just give it up for lost. I think I would ultimately be satisfied with the read. But it’s hard and it hasn’t really grabbed me yet. And I have the next Nightside, as well as the next Black London, sitting on my bedside table. And I think I’d rather find out how John Taylor is going to track his mythical mother through alternate universes, or watch Pete Caldecott grow closer to Jack Winter as she learns how to control her newfound magicks and try to balance that with her mundane day job of a detective inspector.

And I’m not going to apologize for that.