August, one of my least favorite months here in the desert, is finally over. Although the oppressive heat that dulls my soul has yet to diminish, it helps to know that within a few short weeks the temps will begin to dip back down into a tolerable range, which makes me grin like I have a secret to share. There will once again be hours of play at the park for my energetic girl and long, meditative jogs to de-stress after work. I will be able to breathe again.
Although, as far as dreadful Augusts go, this year I remained somewhat productive instead of melting into a pool of lethargy. I read (and re-read) a few books: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern; Save the Cat Goes to the Movies and Save the Cat Strikes Back by Blake Snyder; The Woodlander (The Grey Tales) by Kirk Watson; a self-help sort of book that shall not be named; and as the month closed, I began The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh.
I worked out some of my screenplay issues and rewrote the first act so it now makes more sense, but it still doesn’t grab you the way it should. I need to make my protagonist more interesting, because right now the most charismatic one of the bunch would be a tie between the priest and the informant. I need to make YOU care what happens to the main character. I need to step it up.
Speaking of movies, I took Maya to her first theater movie, Planes. The movie itself was less than spectacular, but she didn’t care. She loved going to the theater and she was so well-behaved that I will happily do it again. For myself, well, I finished season 2 and watched season 3 of Game of Thrones. Huzzah. Now the wait begins…
I maintained my workout schedule (above my usual sessions, actually), which is usually a challenge for me during July and August due to heat-related depletion of energy and willpower. My eating habits over the past few weeks have left much to be desired, but whatever. We can’t be “on” all the time, every day, forever.
I did, however, forgo alcohol during the entire month just to make sure it wasn’t becoming a habit. I used to enjoy a glass of wine or beer (sometimes two on the weekends) with dinner or after Maya went to bed, typically four or five nights a week, so I wasn’t imbibing enough to inflict damage, but I started to question why I felt the need for this indulgence. So I stopped drinking. I’ll admit I was relieved to find the act painless. In fact, I didn’t think about it much at all. I discovered that it wasn’t necessarily alcohol that I wanted; I basically wanted something other than water to drink at night. And, you know, wine tastes so damn good and gives you a pleasant buzz, so why not…
It’s been over 40 days since I last indulged. I haven’t lost any weight from cutting alcohol (possibly because I’ve consumed too many tortilla chips and guacamole and chocolate lately [not mixed together, mind you]) nor have my sleeping habits improved, both of which are touted as benefits from abstinence and both of which I would have welcomed in my life. My checking account balance didn’t fluctuate much either. So, it would seem that nothing much changed due to my adios to pinot noir and hefe-weizen.
Not exactly true. I’ve had willpower, mental clarity, and control of my emotions pretty much all of the time (leeway for hormones). Because even if it’s one glass of wine, my thought process isn’t quite the same as when I’m stone sober. There has not been a single moment of alcohol-induced ambiguity, which was exactly what I needed. In fact, I’m going to continue my travels down this road. I have much I’d like to accomplish and a clear mind is essential in attaining my goals. I’ll save my wine for evenings with friends, not as a regular indulgence.
The best thing about the lousy month of August this year: I finally succeeded in potty-training Maya. Or rather she finally determined she would do it (once she felt like it). I did everything I could to try to get her potty-trained at an earlier age, but nothing worked. I felt like a failure for a while, and then after speaking with several doctors about it and finding out that many of their own kids were late trainers, I took their advice and let it go. One fine Monday she decided to use the toilet and didn’t regress. No “training” period. Nothing. She just did it and has done it every time since. It’s been two full weeks without a diaper change and it is SO nice to move past that stage at last.
Sometimes it’s still hard to believe we’re to this point already and soon enough she’ll be starting school… and (aside from the wonderful sitter) I’ve done it all by myself. Reading, writing, numbers, games, and puzzles… Am I bragging? Maybe a little, but sometimes you need to step back and take a look at how far you’ve come, especially when maybe you haven’t had many spectacular accomplishments aside from raising a healthy, happy child. By the way, my daughter will turn four at the end of November, so for any parent out there who is concerned about the toilet-training delay you might be experiencing with your child, rest assured that your kid will do it when they are ready. Obviously, if you think there is something medically wrong, then have your child examined. Otherwise, take the advice that physicians gave to me and let it go. Encourage your child, but don’t make a big deal about it if they aren’t successful. And don’t let other parents make you or your child feel inadequate. Each child is unique and they all accomplish milestones at their own pace.
Another bonus… I followed through on a promise I made to myself: when Maya was potty-trained and I no longer had the expense of diapers, I could upgrade to this century with a smartphone. My Nokia Lumia 928 should be here today and I’m pretty excited about it. It was within my budget (aka “free” after the $50 mail-in rebate) and the reviews are decent. My son is highly tech-savvy and likes his Windows phone, so I trust his opinion. Plus, the kid’s corner feature will be especially handy with Miss Maya.
Hmmm… I guess August wasn’t quite so bad this year after all.