About The Author

My photo
A 1st generation American on a path to keeping happiness through every bump in Life's road. A wife, a mother and a friend creating a blog to document her journey.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Potty Training Boot Camp

Date: 31 Jan. 2009 - 1 Feb. 2009
Recruit: Sophia
Drill Instructor: Mommy
Age of Recruit: 28 months and 5 days
Mission: Operation Flush

D-1 (the day before...)
After speaking with a veteran of high potty training respect in the field, I finally understood the basics required in potty training. Everything I had thought was needed, wasn't. Detachable toilet seats? Don't need 'em. Dvd's, books and the like? Nice fluff but not necessary. Pull ups? No. Fancy toilet seat look-a-likes? No. Diapers that make your child feel cold? Ummmm...no. My 'Potty Training Whisperer', or so she likes to hope she is (she is) understood that I am a work from home mother and my passion was to have my 2 year old start going to the bathroom like the rest of us do, and with that she provided me the 5 most important points to note down in my mental potty training vault:

1) no more diapers...say good bye and never look back.
2) cloth training pants/panties. Not the water proof noisy ones....the cloth ones.
3) Stickers and a board...the stickers of characters or things your child loves.
4) Use your toilet seat with a cushion meant for training toddlers
5) Stick to it. You must with this to get the job accomplished. Don't slack off...do it and be physically and mentally (and emotionally) completely invested in it.

I got off the phone feeling motivated and emotional. Happy to embark on my new path with my daughter and sad as I look at the remaining diapers in its stack waiting to be used by my once-upon-a-time babygirl. My girl is growing up on me. I didn't want to do this. I changed my mind once every 20 minutes or so. I would look at my girl talk, dance and follow the beat to a song on t.v. and think wow...well, she's not 3 yet...maybe I can wait. Then 20 minutes later when I hear myself say "Sophia, will you put your applesauce cup in the recycle bin?" and watch her actually do it with ease, I think 'what the hell am I doing? She's so ready for this'.

Ultimately I went shopping for the things I needed, cleared my house's halls to the bathroom, removed the litter box (sorry Bella, you'll be fine in another room) and prepared for the big day. I called my other girlfriend and though I hadn't planned to talk about it, the subject came up and it was a sign from above that potty training was gonna happen and there was no backing down. My 2nd girlfriend was able to potty train in three days. A three day program which involved everything that my whisperer explained to me. What was more, she reminded me how much easier I had it right now by being at home and having only one child. Great point. The fact that two out of two said the same thing gave me the motivation to look at my little toddler and say "yes we can!" I went to bed and teared up my pillow as I said goodbye to the handful of diapers that seemed to look at me like I was rushing things. I just turned my head and mentally pictured my daughter getting through with flying colors....

The following details are notes I had taken from the time Sophia woke up to this evening before she went to bed (Saturday and Sunday):

Saturday 8:45am
Took off Sophia's diaper. Dry. hmmmm....odd. Good! She'll pee on her 1st sitting and we'll be over with the training! (yeah right, fool). Told Sophia about the potty and had her sit on it. She nervously cried a bit. I sat with her and showed her stickers that she liked and explained what it could sound like. Psssssssssssss....! Turned the water on...psssssssssssss! Poor Sophia felt it was too much and pleaded after 5 minutes "No potty mommy, pleeease!" Kept her on for total of 10 minutes and no pee. That's okay...we've got plenty of chances. Put on her new white underwear - taking a deep breath.

9:15am - taking milk...watching the new Wiggles...and then I heard "Oh!" and saw Sophia looking down. "OMG! YAY! POTTY TIME!" I said and swooped Sophia up and flew her right into the potty chanting "POTTY!POTTY!POTTY!" all the way to the toilet seat and we laughed as I pulled her underwear down and she sat down. She realized she's on a toilet and starts to whine...all her pee was in her underwear as well as the hall in a trail of drops. We sat for a few minutes. I showed her the sticker board I pasted up in front of her. Showed her the stickers we'll soon put on there. Didn't work. Little tears came out of her eyes. "Mommy, no potty...please". I'm looking strong and determined but I'm ready to cry for her. I told her to take deep breaths (you must teach your child to do this earlier...it helps for SO many things!!) and told her what a great job she did. From a dvd I watched earlier I mimicked one part where the child looks at the potty and says bye bye to whatever they left in it as they flush...so we did that, though nothing was there.

11:15am - heard the trickle and Sophia's "uh-oh!" and repeated the same routine. She laughed again because I'm crazy with my excitement. All the pee was again in her underwear. Scrubbed, cleaned and went back to play and get lunch ready.

12:30pm - Sophia...I repeat Sophia says "Mommy! Potty!Potty!" And like the rated "G" mom that I am I said "are you f-cking kidding me? (gasp!) I'm sorry! YAY!!!! OMG! POTTY POTTY POTTY!" and swept her little tushie right to the potty again. All in her panty. I didn't care...she TOLD ME she had to go potty!

2:30pm - She did it again! "Mommy! Potty!" I zipped her over to the toilet. No pee this time in her underwear. Asked her if she wanted to pee or poopy? Had poopy problems (has always had them since birth). She tried to push! WHAT?!? How awesome! A little pee trickled in the potty! I praised her but she was scared because that was new and cried to please get off the toilet so off she came. I told her not to worry that we'll come back to the potty as many times as she wants to. Congratulated her and gave her a sheet of Disney stickers to use. She put Goofy up.

a few minutes later - She asked to go back to the potty. No problem girlie. Let's go! She pushed and was so upset and frustrated. After we got her off the toilet I just had to give her 2 m&ms (I don't give hard candy, but chocolates will never be shunned in my house) and she went for her nap.

5ish - wakes up from nap...peed in panty. No biggy, expected that.

After dinner - nothing...just playing...

9pm - still playing happily...

9:50pm - "Mommy! Go potty?" Sophia says. OMG YES! Let's go! All in her panty. (sigh) Okay...we'll try again tomorrow.

10:15pm - nigh-night....

DAY 2 Sunday 8:15am
Sitting on potty...sad...pleading with me. "No come out Mommy!" nothing came out. Nothing in her panty from the night either...so strange. She's not possibly holding it in already??? Sat with her for 10 minutes and gave her a book to look at with me. One of her favorite books. "Mommy, please" she cried "all done please!" Okay babygirl....let's go downstairs for breakfast.

10:10am - "Mommy, go potty?" As I whisked her she began to cry out of fear and confusion. Oh my gosh...why is she crying? awww this is all so new. Deep breath. She was crying, and whining to get off. I said "No, baby...you're staying on here. You'll pee, you just have to calm...down" she wouldn't. Sophia? Calm down...Sophia? you don't have to cry baby. It's going to be...SOPHIA. I spoke firm and loud (usually do this when she's done wrong so I felt BAD - but guess what?) She looked at me and froze. I froze.


AH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You DID IT! SOPHIA!! YOU DID IT!! She had no idea why I was making an ass of myself but it made her laugh. Thank G-d she laughed. Let's see if she'll do that again later!! YAY!

2:10pm - Sophia woke up from her nap and asked if she could go to the potty. I'm speechless. WHAT? OKAY! Pee was in her panty. ohhhh that's okay. She was disappointed this time. (wow, I'm amazed.)

3:10 - asked to go to potty...whisked her to the toilet - and nothing in panty or toilet.
3:12 - asked to go to potty...whisked her to the toilet - and nothing in panty or toilet.
3:14 - asked to go to potty...whisked her to the toilet - and had a little trickle...YAY!
3:16 - asked to go to potty...whisked her to the toilet - and all was in her panty. (sigh)

4:10pm - Sophia asked to go to potty...whisked her to the toilet - and this time walked away from her and stood with my back to her in front of the door (thought maybe she needs privacy to concentrate)

she went pee again! AHHHH! Let's try that turning the back/'being busy' method again later!

(btw - still no poop yet.)

5:55pm - Dinner is done. Sophia said "Mommy go potty?" For some reason I asked if she's sure...and she actually answered saying "yes". I took her to the toilet, gave her another book she likes and walked out to stand away but near the door where I can peek in.


OMG! this is SO GREAT!! When she was done she said "All done Mommy! I did it!" (I tear up typing this...I'm so proud of her)

5:58pm "go poopy, mommy...go poopy!" she said. I was in the kitchen washing my hands, spun around and said "ok, babygirl!" and was shocked. There she was - standing on the stepstool in the powder room getting ready to sit down (still tearing up over this). Nothing came out but I didn't care. I was swelling with pride that she is telling me and trying to do the act herself.

6:05pm - saw Sophia grabbing her tushie and trying to find her secret place that she likes to usually go so I came to tell her that we can make the potty room that secret place and no one has to see what she does, that it was her private time. She was hesitant and yet wasn't. Sat her down and told her "I'll be right where you can see me, but this is your time...take a deep breath and look at your board; Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy are all so proud of you baby! Whenever you're ready, you go, okay?" and walked away.

6:08pm (still sitting on toilet) "I did it! I did it Mommy! Mommy! I did it!" I swung my neck around super fast, saw her smiling and ran to her. I said "you did it? You went poopy?" She said "mmm-hmmm!" I was misty-eyed (both because of the putrid smell of poop and the fact Sophia got it all out in the toilet). She explained the plop noise and I giggled and gagged at the same time (I still have a major gag problem with poo smells - oh well).

She couldn't be happier. I yelled HOORAY! And she clapped her hands. Her daddy heard the noise and came by. "Daddy! I did it! I poopy!" My husband said, "Did you take pictures?" Of the poop? ummm - no. I'm NOT scrapbooking that, Brian. But of the board and her successful day or understanding potty time? Absolutely.

I texted people I knew...I even made mini brownie bites (a homage to pooping in the toilet - I'm sick, I know...). I know she's not COMPLETELY trained, but it's safe to say that she got the basics down. More so, I got the basics down. I know that not every child will be ready. For me, I felt Sophia was past ready and I went on my gut. I know there will be more moments and confusion, but we had a breakthrough today and Sophia at least knows that there is no more diapers, and peeing on herself feels awful.

The future now relies on the idea of keep on keepin' on and I believe by summer we'll be toilet bound and fancy free :) To any of my friends that are new parents or have a child ready for training, I wish you the patience and tenacity you will require to complete your child's boot camp for your own Operation Flush!

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Summer Wind

It's been a while since I've been able to put my thoughts on virtual paper. Summer crept up on me and told me to lay off the computer and start enjoying the outdoors, so I did. It got easier to want to do things when I have a child that sees Life as the most fun ride to ever be on. Before summer, I've been holding indoor picnics and entertaining my little darling with songs, dance and laughter. Then the sun finally came out to play and asked us to dance along with the summer wind. We eagerly accepted the offer.

On practically a daily basis I have contacted my "Mother-from-another-mother" (my mom-in-law) to only leave the following message: "I wanted to call and tell you that I love my freekin' daughter. Okay, take care." I cannot believe that love can still grow when I thought I was at capacity. I'm supposedly in the 'terrible two's' with my girl, but the 2's have not been so terrible. I'm probably getting Ginzu knives mentally thrown at me from mothers that have it harder than me (gulp) sorry. I do think I'm blessed and I do count my blessings because I know there will be change coming as my girl grows and is exposed to the real world. I know who I was as a teen, so I have an idea of what I'm in for! For now, I'm relishing in all the goodness she is giving me and praying for more of the same. :)

The past few months my husband and I have spent laughing to tears over her. She's a natural ham. Her character seems so well-developed that I have to assume she's an old soul. She's the coolest girl I know. From her comments to her expressions to the simplest gestures, she's shown me that she's got everything under control. This summer I took her to our neighborhood park. It has a great atmosphere with a large grassy park to run, a playground safe for toddlers and slides of all kinds to enjoy. A lake poses as a backdrop to this park and its duck friends fly in to swim around and meet the little toddlers and their parents that come with food to share. I looked at her as she was waving at all the ducks exclaiming "hello duck!" and thought, wow, my girl was barely walking last year and here she is trying to arrange a get-together with the ducks for a grand lunch buffet. Last year she only wanted the swings to swing on and this year she cared about the slides, ducks and even see-sawing with me all the live-long-day. I'd hear her yell "uuuup! And dowwwwn!" as we soared up and down the see-saw, letting the summer breeze sweep through our hair.

Watching her eyes beam with happiness, and listening to her contagious laughter throughout the days was worth more than any level of salary I could ever earn in a lifetime. I cherished every moment. We spent a lot of time at different attractions. From parades, Six Flags, the Dells and a local gym to her most favorite place to go - the Brookfield Zoo, all of the attractions were places that summed up to being her 1st awesome summer.

As Sinatra said in the song Summer Wind, "Like painted kites, those days and nights, they went flying by..." The summer sure went flying by. Though we are in a new season, and I love all four seasons, I'm sad to see the summer go away. It's actually a bittersweet moment for me. Seemed like the summer wind came and swept my little baby away and yet in that place was left the most amazing little toddler that holds me, kisses my own boo-boos for me, grabs my hands and yells "come on, Mommy let's go play!" and showers me with loving kisses - just because. This new girl is no longer glad to simply have a stroll down to the park. Instead I find her playfully jumping into Mr. Fall's puddles, hugging the leaf-less trees and showering herself with the leafy-friends she met on the ground. She's learned all the letters of the alphabet, can count to almost 20, and feels grateful when anything is given to her by saying "for me? Oh THANK YOU!" My daughter and I lost ourselves this summer. While we hibernate this coming winter among the fingerpaints and my arts and crafts box, I know we'll be dreaming up more sunny days as we wait to dance again in the next summer wind.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Brithday, Ma...

(Written Thursday October 16, 2008 11:59pm)

I’m typing this to you at 11:59pm….just a minute before your birthday is over. Ma, I am so sorry. Sorry for so much. Sorry for everything I ever did to hurt you because I was so involved with me…sorry for wanting to do what I wanted and never caring about your needs. Sorry for not supporting you more and hugging you as much as my heart wanted to. I am sorry for not feeling free enough to just be me when Dad was around and let you see my tender side. I am sorry for not knowing how to handle your Alzheimer’s in a more understanding manner. I wish I had all the right tools to have kept you with me and it seemed as if I never found the right person or answer. I never wanted to leave you with Dad. Never wanted to walk away from you and never wanted to see you in the condition Dad left you in. the troubles were so big and with my hands being tied from a controlling father I prayed to G-d for Him to either give me the right direction or get you out of there fast. You have meant more to me that I can even say and I miss you with all I have, Ma…..I miss you so damn much.

Oct 16 is your sweet birthday…the day you were born…a wonderful day that should be celebrated so well and I have been anxious to do something in honor of you. This day passed with all the daily issues and typical actions and I only just remembered this evening that today finally came – and I was heartbroken that I did nothing. I am a mess about it, Ma….I want to give you everything in my life to have you back here with me. I want you in my life. I want to see you and hold you and laugh with you…I want to drink and dance and gossip with you. I want to hear music, drive around and drink chai with you. I want to dress up, eat grocery samples and play rumy with you. I want to color your hair, paint your nails and try on your pretty clothes. I want to take you out to dinner, go salsa dancing, and see a movie with you. I want to cook with you and steal a kiss from you. I want to lie down next to you, put my arms around your tummy and just rest calmly knowing you’re near me. I never ever want to be without you and I hate that I wasn’t allowed to grow up with you in my life to watch and enjoy. I want to experience life with you. Ma…there’s only one you and I lost you and I’m miserable without you. No one has ever loved me like you. No one has ever been there for me like you. No one has ever held me like you and no one has ever protected my feelings like you…and I waited too long to show you how much I wanted to give back. I had plans for us…I thought we’d grow old together and I lost you. I try to move forward but I take steps back because I want you with me. I look at your contagious smile on the picture on my wall and I wish I could turn around and see you sitting on my couch with my daughter Sophia. You were a flawless rare diamond among false stones…and I only had a short while to revel in what you offered. I should be feeling privileged, but I just feel lost without you. You were my anchor. I know you may be looking upon me, and as much as I know I will try to embrace it, I will always wish you were right here next to me.

This morning I went to the health club. As I dropped off Sophia at the daycare and walked to work out I passed a lady who seemed to be near your age and Indian. I met her once before and even the last time I met her I felt a strong connection with her and somehow gained a lumpy throat after talking with her. The 1st thing I felt was “oh my…she makes me think of Ma”. Somehow she put my answers of family together to see what had happened to me and she felt so sad for me. The sadness she felt was a mother’s sadness, and she was so sincere. She is an Indian woman who is from the northern part of India – like you. I felt such a need to talk to her because she resembled you…she spoke from her heart like you and she had such a peaceful spirit like you. Today was the 2nd time I bumped into her and she was so happy to see me again, and I felt exactly the same. It was as if we were both drawn to speak to each other, a feeling I can’t put well into words. She talked to me for a few minutes and after hearing the lack of interest in Dad to have a relationship with me, and hearing that he married and still has not cared to try to know me or my daughter…she just cried. I fell into her arms and hugged her tight and held back my tears. I was so touched that she was crying for me…but then, Ma, it felt almost as if it were you crying for me and you were hugging me through her. I felt the warmth that you would give me in your hugs…and I was near to breaking down in hugging her. She then tells me that her oldest daughter’s name is Anita. What are the chances?

So I am home tonight and in a split moment I looked for the calendar and noticed that on your birthday, you sent a woman to come and see me today, to cry for me and hug me. And I finally realized just before your birthday is over that the woman you sent was there because you sent her. You gave me your hugs through her. And a daughter named Anita…of all days I learn it all today.

Thank you for your moments and messages and thank you for all the good you did for me. Thank you for putting up with me through my temper and teen years when I thought I knew everything. Thank you for sailing my rough seas with me and supporting me even if you didn’t want to. Thank you for making me a loving woman, and keeping me tough when it came to respect and what was right and wrong in life. Thank you most of all for sticking through such a horrible marriage for my sake, when I know you didn’t have to. I pray that G-d has given you many blessings in Heaven for all the sacrifices you made for Dad and me. You put up with so much and you tried to fit in so badly in an environment that didn’t care for you. You tried to create and build on ‘family’ and you were given a bad hand of cards….but you played on and did the best for me. You did the absolute best for me and I am a better person in this world because of you.

Ma, you are truly my everything and I hope you know how deep my love is for you. I have much to work on to really be present in moments that you specially make for me because I ache for them. I pray that we meet a million times through my dreams so we can be together and talk and I can hug you over and over again because I love and miss you so much. Have a happy birthday everyday…you deserve everyday to be celebrated, and I’ll hope to be right there with you in spirit to celebrate with you through Sophia and my good actions with her. So many moments you give me and today was the top of the cake for me. I hope I see that lady because I believe you sent her for me and I will do everything I can to be in touch with her. She is your gift to me, and it’s your birthday. Again…you are the selfless one. Why does love have to be far away when being close really matters? Ma, please stay with me forever…I hope you are the one that holds my hand when it’s my turn to be with G-d. I never want us to be apart again. I want to protect you and give you all my love the way daughters should for their mothers. You aren’t just any mother, either…you were and are the most selfless and caring mothers I have ever seen. You are my mother and I love you with my entire soul.

Sending all my love to you…

(10 years ago on your birthday... our last picture together)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My "Ouchie" Day

I went to Target (tar-zzshhhay) to get a storage bin for my backyard. Tried to put it in the cart but with my baby girl in there it was a no go. So I picked it up and tried to put the box, since it was flat, under the cart. Didn’t work there either. I grabbed the box to slowly pull it out from under and a metal pointy thing caught and dug into my middle finger of my left hand. I said calmly “ouchie” (as that is my new vocabulary word for F-CK!).

I looked down at my finger and blood was all over the floor. I guess I really cut my finger. Instantly I put pressure on my cut and took a deep breath. Then I heard my daughter take a deep breath (those of you that joined me at India House have witnessed my daughter’s Deep Breath). I turned to my girl and there she was reaching her hands out to me and saying “Mama! Okay?? Mama?? Okay??” I took the pressure off my finger to look at what the living hell I did, but when I let go, blood just flowed out of my finger like water out of a faucet…so I clamped my finger back into pressure mode. Took another sigh and said calmly to my daughter “well, babe…I guess mommy has an ouchie…” and then looked down again…blood, drops of blood all over the Target floor, blood smeared all over my hands…it was a fricken crime scene.

I saw an employee and called her over to me as I’m held my finger and heard my daughter get louder asking if I’m okay since I hadn’t answered her yet. I told the employee that I needed help and that the cart somehow cut me. She responded “you need a cart?” Needless to say English was her second language. “No…I don’t need a cart, I need h-e-l-p help…” and proceeded to show her my blood-flowing cut. She uttered a gasp and then started saying something in Spanish (which I think sounded like Madre de Dios!) and “un momento”-ed me. She flew down the aisle. In the meantime I couldn’t hear myself think because part of me wanted to faint so I grabbed the cart, and the other part of me couldn’t take the decibel level that my daughter was now yelling “MAMAAAAAA! YOU OKAY!!!?” in.

I grabbed a wipe (thank G-d for baby wipes I am never letting go of those things) and wrapped it around my finger and ran around the cart to my baby. “Baby Girl! I’m okay…I’m okay.” She maternally stroked my arm that was holding my finger steady. “Boo-boo?” She asked me. “yes, baby…mama has a boo-boo”. She looked at me with a concerned look and said “Ouchie?” as she continued to lovingly caress my arm. “Yes, love. Mama has an ouchie” She put her hands out and yelled as loud as she could “AWWWWWWWW!!!” and hugged me. And so that opened up the gates to misty-eye land. The Spanish speaking lady came running back with gauze and tape. I turned my back to my girl and told her to hang on just a second, that the nice lady was going to help my finger get better. “No! Mama! Noooooo!” she whined, and then began to cry. She just didn’t want anyone to help me…I think she felt that her rubbing my arm was suffice to take the pain away (it was). The nice lady understood and after hermetically sealing my middle finger she let me get back to my daughter who was ohhh so mad. “Babygirl” I said “she had to help mama. Mama is all better now see?” and I showed her my ouchie all wrapped up to be magically cured. When she saw the white gauze and tape around my finger she put her hands on her cheeks Home Alone style and gasped an “oh no!” and then folloed through with a loving ‘awww’ and hugged me once again. “No scared mama…no scared”. What a dear. “Thanks honey…mama no scared anymore.”

I walked back to the car with her thinking how well I handled what would have normally been a yell-out-loud painful and stressful experience full of truck driver style vocabulary, and yet I had more control of my surroundings than a Tibetan monk. Don’t know where that came from so it must have come along with the you-are-a-mommy-now package delivered from the Man upstairs. What’s more, to see the level of compassion and love that my less than 2-year-fresh-into-the-world daughter has for me, I simply choke up. As we got closer to my car, she said “Mama?” and I lovingly looked at her. “Yes, baby?” and with all her might she said “MAMA…” and she took a deep breath in…then let it out yoga style…and pointed to me to do it. I finished my deep breath on command. She gave me a hug and said “goo(d) girl, mama” and patted me on my back.

My girl is 22 months old. Going on 40. I’m almost looking forward to my next “ouchie”. Let’s hope the next one is just a small bump on my arm or something….

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spring Cleaning - Do You Have What It Takes?

Something's happened to me since my daughter entered my world. I've had a shift in consciousness...a desire to inspire. I'm beginning to feel a need... a need for speed - speed cleaning, that is. I don't remember feeling this way when I was in my 'nesting' phase of pregnancy. Now all I care about is the cleanliness of things; what's my daughter touching, where is she lying down and what corners of the floors haven't yet been swept up or wiped down? When I see her put her face against the glass of the screen door, rubbing her nose to make silly faces on the opposite side to the guest who comes over, I wonder how clean is that window?

I'm definitely no "Bree VanDeKamp" of Desperate Housewives (though I do make a great muffin every now and again). I was never much of a clean freak, but I was always known to be an organizer of sorts. I loved planning. Still do. Gotta have a "plan b" for almost every event, because there's always a chance that "plan a" will do an about-face at ya, and I'd hate my efforts to be fruitless. To this day I'll have a home-made itinerary of events printed for whatever vacation me and my family decide to have. Top that with an actual brochure highlighting what we can or will do once we arrive, followed by a "plan b" in case of inclement weather. I know - it's nuts to some readers, but hey, my husband finds it amusing (thank G-d) and quite relaxing since he doesn't have to do a thing but fasten his seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

I've watched myself grow from a single, independent woman who managed just fine on her own, into a wife and new mother of a toddler, laced with many new responsibilities. I have learned that tending to a husband and a toddler, for me, is much harder on the "keep-it-clean" side of life, both verbally and sanitarily (Is that even a word? I'm "Shakespearing" that one.).A house once entertained by rated R shows, alcohol, crazy, spontaneous and fun sex (Tmi?), and manageable clutter turned into rated G shows, 'Daddy' drinks, sex when we can, and seriously unmanageable clutter. It's the type of clutter I'd come home to and say "WTF?" or "OMG!" (I'm also turning into an 'acronym-er' - another instant Shakespearean word. Look up the acronyms here: http://www.acronymfinder.com/).

I honored the rule of learning to say 'no' to always cleaning once you have a baby. I also honored the rule of sleeping when baby sleeps. Now I know why so many women don't honor that rule. After seeing enough Clean Sweep shows on TLC and literally seeing Peter Walsh (the host of that show) pass right by me at O'Hare Airport only a few months ago, I knew it was all a sign of things to come. Maybe it was a SQuire Rushnell "Godwink". Shoot, if this Godwink gets my house clean ...and I cleaned it, I'm in.

So now I am in my pjs, typing and mentally declaring war on my house. "No more!" I chant in my pretend tribal accent to the calamity of paraphernalia that seems to stare and snicker at me. But then before I could hail the word "ATTACK!" I'm found retreating back to my trench, scratching my head. I don't have a plan. Can't attack without a fricken plan. Where do I begin? How do I start? There's no Mary Poppins with any spoonful of sugar.... What do I even use? What about the chemicals? And let's not forget my little wanna-get-into-everything little girl. How do I do it all without her prying into my toxic cabinet (filled with non-friendly cleaning supplies)? I happened to have Mary Poppins playing for my daughter and heard "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job's a game!" Okay...maybe good ol' Mary has a point.

I went back to the computer and researched. You gotta love this age of Google-ing, huh? Just Google and search. Within 10 minutes of surfing I found what I needed and thought, what if there's another me out there in the same predicament? I couldn't leave such crucial information in the dark. People need to know this!Below are three sites that can possibly bring you some motivation to take that 1st step and not feel regret looking back. Your place will be clean, your child will be unharmed and you will actually have time to play in the end!

3) I found this product to be great for me and my home. You need a few drops mixed with water and a spray bottle. I saw this product on Oprah's show and bought it.

What is great is that this product has over 1000 uses, so you don't need lots of different products to carry around with you. For simple cleaning you can create one bottle for all purpose and another bottle for windows and mirrors, all from the same cleaning product. I personally love it. There could be other products that are your favorite and 'green' so feel free to use what you are happiest with.

The last pointer I received was to either have my 16 (or less) tools in an apron or caddy that I take along with me through my cleaning experience. If you are looking for an apron, but don't want to spend over $20.00 for it, I was able to look up 'waist apron' on http://www.amazon.com/ and found the apron I wanted for under $7.00! You may even find it cheaper elsewhere, but my point is to not just give in to the most expensive apron when there are others that do the same job and are affordable!

Now that I have my tools and rules, I'm signing off to embark on my new cleaning journey. Lord knows I have lots of organizing and planning ahead of me, but in achieving my need for speed, my desire to inspire and a cleaner home all together through a new sanitary movement, all I can envision is nothing short of a breath of real fresh air and a 'practically perfect' English nanny floating away with her umbrella.