June 18, 2013
Spoiler Alert: This blog post contains quite a bit of bathroom banter, so if that’s not your thing you might want to check back later. You’ve been warned!
And so we begin…
We’ve made great strides in our potty training world since the last post! Junior has embraced the potty at home and finally decided that using the potty at daycare is also acceptable. So this weekend we ditched the daytime diapers and covered his rear in spiffy new Jake & the Neverland Pirates underwear. He was psyched, and for fear of having to remove his prized undies, he willingly sat on the potty throughout the day. Only one accident that evening, and I take full blame because my heated game of cornhole apparently took priority over checking on Junior’s bladder. Oops.
On Monday Junior strolled into daycare with a little spring in his step, knowing that his big boy tush was far too cool to be crammed into a diaper. Off I went, fingers crossed that he didn’t take ten steps back and decide the potty was evil. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he only had one accident at the end of the day – I’ll take it. So we headed home to eat some dinner and play outside for a little while.
After a walk around the neighborhood, me pulling the dog with one hand and the wagon with the other, we decided to goof around a little bit longer on the driveway. The dog was roaming in and out of the garage and Junior was jumping on his little trampoline. I got a whiff of something gross and chastised the dog for eating out of the cat box again. I don’t know what it is about big dumb dogs, but cat poo is quite appealing to them. I kept telling Annie to get lost because her breath stunk.
I looked down and noticed that Junior had dribbled in his shorts so that was perfect timing to head upstairs and get cleaned up for bed. In we go, Annie the dog following close behind and breathing her hot poop breath on us. “Damn Annie! Eat this treat and get a drink of water!” I said with disgust as I tossed her a cookie.
If there was a vinyl record playing somewhere in the background, this would be the exact moment something scratches across it, signifying a stop-you-in-your-tracks situation. Oh God… Annie didn’t eat cat poop, Junior pooped in his underwear. That’s what I had smelled for the last 20 minutes as he bounced up and down and all around on his trampoline. Dear lord, I was scared to look.
My husband is traveling nonstop for work right now, so I’m temporarily playing the role of single mom during the week. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but last night I would have given anything to do the daddy handoff and find a reason to go to Wal-Mart. But since that wasn’t an option I took a deep breath, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work.
There’s nothing like seeing your first child’s first poop smashed into a pair of (formerly) pristine, white toddler briefs. I immediately think of Mr. Hanky, the South Park character we all know and love. Gross, I know. I’ve never missed diapers so much in my life. I think I panicked at first because after I got Junior somewhat cleaned up I looked at the soiled underpants and didn’t know what to do. Throw them away? No, that doesn’t sound right. You can’t just throw out underwear every time there’s an accident. No, you’ve gotta get the poop off and get them into the washing machine stat. So that’s what I did. I washed the poop off. In the sink… DUMB. Come on mom! You’re an intelligent, educated person! The poop goes in the toilet, not the sink! Now it’s starting to clog up the drain and stink to high heaven. Get that poop in the toilet and put some Drano in there! It was all happening so fast. You can only imagine what else was running through my head: Don’t let Junior sit on anything because he still has poop on his bum. Don’t let him touch me anymore because I already have poop on my leg. God I hope that dog isn’t chewing up the furniture downstairs since nobody’s watching her. How much poop is glued to this tiny pair of underwear?!
I finally got it under control. Poop was now in the toilet, sink was cleaned out, Drano was poured, rinsed underwear was in the washing machine (sorry husband, with some of your dirty laundry), and my precious, confused child was happily splashing in the tub. Things started looking up and smelling better. We ended the night with a couple of bedtime stories and a quick lesson on the importance of putting poop in the potty. As we said our prayers I secretly prayed that he would never, ever, ever poop in his underwear again. I don’t think my prayer will be answered… But next time, for the sake of my gag reflex and my indoor plumbing, I think I’ll just toss the dirty underpants in the Diaper Genie and move on.
June 7, 2013
I often read about how important it is not to be a short order cook at dinner time. You should teach your kids to experiment and eat the same things you do, in an effort to keep things simple, dirty fewer pots and pans, and introduce them to something other than PB&J and chicken nuggets. All of that is excellent in theory, but I think challenging in practice.
I have a 2 ½ year old who is a pretty good eater. Is he the mock love child of Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, devouring arugula salads and roast duck? Hardly. But he likes meat, fruit, and a few stealth vegetables that I sneak in. Despite this, dinnertime gets tricky for me in a couple of ways. First, I love to cook. It is my absolute favorite thing to do (besides eating). I bury my face in cookbooks, food magazines, and recipe websites whenever I get the chance, so I’m always trying something new. Usually what I’m experimenting with are things most 2 year olds won’t touch. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised (Junior loved Korean beef tacos — odd), but usually I have a pretty good pulse on the things he will like. So if I go the anti-short-order-cook route here are my options: put my adult-friendly concoctions in front of Junior and say “eat or starve,” settle into a life of grilled chicken, rice, and applesauce, or split the difference. I vote for the latter.
Sometimes I get a wild hair and decide to start creating something off the wall at 6:30 PM, which makes it too late for Junior to be part of the taste test panel. Yes, hold your gasps, we aren’t always able to sit down and have dinner like the Cleavers every night. I rarely get home from work and daycare before 6, and my husband is usually later. Unless something has been brewing in the crock pot, or I’m tossing together something quick or eating leftovers, we may have to divide and conquer. But on those nights at least one of us is sitting at the table with Junior, recapping the day and having quality time. Sometimes, though, the only thing in front of me is a glass of wine, and I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it. The life of 2 full-time working parents is challenging in a few ways, and the family dinner is one of them. But we make it work the best way we can.
I digress… Back to my conundrum of Junior starving because he doesn’t like my grown-up food, us being bored to tears with kid food, or coming to a compromise. I try to work it out so Junior’s dinner includes at least one component of what I’m fixing for us, if it’s not something he’ll enjoy all together. Example – if I’m doing something with crock pot pulled pork that I know he won’t like (i.e. making it super spicy), I will set aside a couple servings of the meat for him (plain) before I dress up the rest. That way he’s eating the main dish along with us, but his is more kid-friendly. Another example – I recently made Mediterranean-style pita sandwiches with things he doesn’t care for, like grilled shrimp, peppers, cucumbers, and white bean hummus. So instead of a pita wrap, Junior had a pita pizza using some marinara sauce I had in the fridge, and the chopped spinach and feta cheese I was using for my own meal. I really didn’t have to deviate much from what I fixed for myself, other than pulling out the marinara and some shredded mozzarella.
This tactic has made mealtime a little easier. It allows me to still cook “interesting” things, and Junior can sample what he wants, but if necessary, still have a kid-friendly dinner using some of the same ingredients. Does it work every night? Nope. But as is the case for every family, you figure out what works on that particular day. And if that occasionally involves a little short-order cooking I’m fine with it. There’s a reason fish sticks were put on this planet, and one of them is so I can enjoy sushi every once in a while…
I will say, however, that there is tremendous truth behind the “let your kids help in the kitchen” trend. Junior has experimented with so many more things since I put an apron on him, gave him a wooden spoon, and hoisted him up on his helping chair. A little food for thought. Order up!
May 30, 2013
Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that we haven’t made much progress on the potty training front. We’re trying though, without pushing too hard, and have had some positive moments. Small victories keep me motivated… It’s like a golfer who misses every fairway and lips out 10 putts, but birdies the final hole… Utter frustration can be wiped out with one small taste of success.
I’ve read a little, consulted with friends, and tried to follow my instincts, and I do think we’re heading down the right path. But boy it’s a frustrating path. I’ve never been labeled the most patient person in a room so I’ve had to dig deep to find my inner tranquility during this process. The best bang-my-head-against-the-wall moments come after we spend 20 minutes sitting on the potty, chatting about the potty, reading the potty book, talking about toilet paper, letting out a few toots, and then decide it’s not the time and go back to the diaper. And 60 seconds after getting suited up Junior runs to me with a big ol’ grin and says “I pee peed in my diaper mommy!” Cue the head banging.
Like everyone says, he’ll do it consistently when he’s ready. But I can’t wait for him to completely make the decision; I feel like I need to make sitting on the potty a part of our routine whether he wants to or not. The handful of times he’s gone have been after a teary fit; part of me feels bad for making him get upset, but he can’t always call the shots. And he is always SO proud after he goes – it’s worth the twinge of guilt I experienced a few minutes before.
I’m far from an expert (obviously) but here are some of the things I’ve tried. Some have worked and some haven’t, and there’s clearly no right or wrong way to do it. Every tot is different, every parent is different, and every situation is different.
Training potty: In my last post I shared a picture of the luxurious Elmo potty that we bought for Junior at Christmas time. He sat on it once or twice but it was more of a novelty and had too many distractions. So I made an executive decision to go straight for the grown up potty, using the removable seat from the Elmo commode.
Big boy underwear: A number of people suggested I let him run around in regular underpants so he could wet himself and learn that it’s uncomfortable when he’s not wearing a diaper. So I bought a dozen pairs of Disney themed underpants and gave it a shot. He was so excited to look at all the characters – Mickey on some, Jake and the Neverland Pirates on some, Pluto, Goofy, crocodiles, you name it. So I slipped a pair on his little bum and within 5 minutes he peed through them. Instead of feeling icky, he happily said “I peed in my underwear. Can I have a fresh pair? Mickey this time?” FAIL. I think he would have peed through all 12 pairs just to try on each pattern. I didn’t give him the chance to prove me wrong though.
Potty book: It’s cute, short, and tells the story of a little kid (we named him Peter) who faces a moral dilemma: pee pee in my diaper or pee pee in the potty? After much soul searching he decides the potty is the best place and he plops down. The best part is when he falls asleep on the toilet waiting for the big moment and is awakened by something… “What was that?” he exclaims. The next page reads “Tinkle Tinkle TOOT – I did it!” Literature at its best – I love it. And considering Junior has no issues tooting on the pot this line is quite appropriate. The book is good because it puts his mind on something OTHER than locking down his bladder.
Pee Pee Treat Box: This was my epiphany. I like to think of it more as the “cause and effect” method but let’s face it, bribery is the better term. He pees in the potty, he gets something in return. I had to stop into Target one day at lunch and as I passed the $1 junk aisle I decided to grab some stuff, put them in a box with a lid, and call it the Pee Pee Treat Box. Every time Junior pees on the potty he gets to reach into the box without looking and grab a prize. Silly stuff – rubber duckies, new cups for his juice, flash cards, etc. He loved the idea of the treat box, but unfortunately it wasn’t as motivating as I’d hoped it would be. But nonetheless he’s happy to claim a prize after his pee pees, but it’s not WHY he pee pees. This morning for example, I decided to try a new tactic and actually show him everything in the box instead of making it a blind draw. He liked it all, but it wasn’t until he saw the sidewalk chalk that he opened the floodgates. And go figure, when it was time to actually choose a prize for his good deed, he picked the Elmo cup and not the chalk. To be honest, his real motivation was me promising him a handful of marshmallows at breakfast if he went…
At the end of the day timing is everything. This morning wasn’t typical; usually he goes in his diaper as soon as he wakes up, but for whatever reason he was still dry when I went in to get him. I scooped him up and ran down the hall, he didn’t want to go, fussed for a while, and eventually he just went. I have to rely on his daycare teachers to put him on the potty throughout the day, but unfortunately with a room full of kids they can’t dedicate 20 minutes of waiting to my guy. That’s life. My husband is traveling quite a bit for work at the moment, so it’s up to the new and improved patient ME to make it happen. And I’m at peace with the fact that it will happen when it happens. But for now even the smallest dribbles make my day. TINKLE TINKLE TOOT.
April 10, 2013
I invented a new phrase not too long ago after I visited a friend to meet her new baby: baby amnesia. Truth be told I’m hardly that far removed from the infant stage — our son is only 2 ½ — but it’s amazing how quickly I forgot what a teeny tiny little baby felt and sounded like. It happens every time I find myself around someone’s new bundle of joy. How do I hold it? Why does it feel like its head is going to fall off? Was Junior’s cry really that high pitched when he was born? Why can’t I remember anything from his early days? Baby amnesia.
In the last several days I’ve adopted yet another new term: puppy amnesia. Yes, roughly a month after losing our beloved golden retriever we stumbled upon a beautiful red one who had just been surrendered to our local humane society. What an unexpected discovery right outside of Trader Joe’s (aka my wine haven) last weekend. I elbowed my way through the small group of people who were trying to get to know her and decided she needed to be ours. So I plopped Junior down on a chair and fed him donut holes while I filled out the application. Several days later I came home from an evening work function and, for the first time in 5 weeks, was greeted at the door by a dog.
And this is where my puppy amnesia set in… Was our old fella this rambunctious when he was seven months old? Did he like to dig up the back yard? Did he insist on twisting himself up in the leash EVERY time it was clipped onto his collar? Did he grab every paper product in his path and ingest it in 2.3 seconds? To some of those questions I can answer “yes” and to others I can definitely say “no.” Our first golden was a rare one; yes he was goofy and rambunctious and never learned how NOT to jump when he greeted people. But he never had any interest in eating stuff. This new dog has an affinity for napkins. I guess that’s a heck of a lot better than furniture though…
So off to obedience school we’ll go. She’s a beautiful pup and we can tell she’s got it in her to be a wonderful dog. She just never had the discipline early on, sort of like a young child who never had any real boundaries and acts up as a result of it. Well call me Mrs. Boundaries from this point on, because they’re being set. Junior can’t spend the next 6 months being the dog’s unwilling tackling dummy.
Are we crazy? Lately I think the answer is YES. But what fun is life without a little bit of crazy mixed in? And a little slobber, shredded napkin debris, a newly tormented cat, and a yard full of poop…
March 19, 2013
First, let me explain my little hiatus from the blogging world… Without going into too much detail, I unexpectedly lost two members of my immediate family (my beloved dad and my beloved dog) in a very short period of time. So needless to say, life has been quite sad and hectic in 2013. We are praying for comfort, and praying that we can learn to accept – and one day – enjoy life without two special members of our family. There are good days and bad, but we are all pushing forward.
One thing that was high on my priority list for the New Year was potty training. Santa dropped off an exquisite Elmo potty for Junior, brightly colored with a realistic sounding flusher. What more could a 2-year old ask for? Diapers. That’s what he asked for.
For obvious reasons potty training took a backseat once our lives were turned upside down so suddenly. I didn’t have the time, the energy, or the patience to fight over where his pee pee landed. But now, the change of the season demands a change in bathroom habits. So I told his daycare teacher to do what they do when it comes to potty training, and I dusted off the Elmo commode at home.
I’ve heard from a number of people that boys are slower to use the potty than girls. So I expected a little push back from him. What I wasn’t expecting was kicking, screaming, crying, and what appeared to be plain old fear of the potty. He seems to do better at daycare because he sees his other little buddies doing it. In fact, the other day he raced over to me when I arrived to pick him up and squealed “I pee peed in the potty Mommy!!” I was so pumped and thought we’d turned a corner. That night he agreed to sit on his potty at home (without his pants on this time) and I thought to myself, “wow, that wasn’t so hard.” Idiot… If I’m lucky he sits on the potty once a day at home and not one dribble has landed in the yellow plastic bowl. He likes to pour water in it. He likes to stand on it. He likes to encourage ME to go pee pee on the potty. But him? Nada. Even now at school they say he’ll sit on it for a few seconds but rarely opens the floodgates.
He’s only 2 ½ so there’s hardly a reason for concern. But it surprises me a little that my son, who prides himself on being a “big boy”, is so adamant that he’s going to wear diapers forever. I’ve bribed him with candy and treats (don’t judge) and I’ve told him how he’s the only one of his big boy friends who still uses a diaper (don’t judge). Many people have suggested that when it gets warmer, I should just let him run around naked or in regular undies so he doesn’t have the comfort of a diaper. He’ll learn that he doesn’t want to go on himself, so he’ll use the potty. I’ll give it a whirl and see how it goes. In the meantime I’m hoping he’ll just wake up one day, grab a good book, and ask me for some privacy so he can take care of business…
I’m open to other wee wee words of wisdom so please share!
January 7, 2013
I’m actually going to recycle a previous blog post from last summer because it still holds true today (if not more). I love my little sidekick more than anything, but his whining skills have improved tenfold since I first wrote this blog. The funny thing is, most of the time he’s faking it! I can usually find a way to divert his attention to something else, and presto, the “whoa is me” act is over. Yep, I’m learning a little bit more every day…
Grammar Lesson (originally posted 7/16/2012)
hom·o·phone [hom-uh-fohn]: A word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not. Courtesy: www.dictionary.com.
Back in middle school we were given some common examples to illustrate this phonetic term: “carat” and “carrot”; “two” and “too”; “there” and “their”, to name a few. I’d like to introduce a new, more relevant example that is applicable in my adult life: “wine” and “whine”.
Wine is a delicious beverage that often encourages feelings of happiness and relaxation. It can be red, white, or pink, but careful consideration must be given to the pink variety as it can be tricky… Wine can vary greatly in price, but my experience typically falls in the “$10 or less” category. Wine is a bright spot in one’s day; the more wine, the brighter the day becomes, until things turn hazy and that means there’s been too much.
Oh how things change when you add one single letter – h – to that lovely word: wine becomes whine. Whine is also a regular occurrence in my life, yet it does not lead to feelings of happiness or relaxation. It comes in one variety only: annoying. If I could pay to make it stop I would definitely branch out of the “$10 or less” bucket. But unfortunately it is a free service provided by my toddler, one from which I cannot unsubscribe, much like junk mail and the Yellow Pages book that still shows up on my doorstep.
It should be noted that there is a distinct cause-and-effect element in play. Whine (the bad kind) very often leads to wine (the good kind). Unfortunately that’s not appropriate at 7:45 on a Monday morning, but sometimes I wish it was. In the evenings, however, a good dose of whine may be matched by a good dose of wine. And that’s what makes homophones fun.
January 2, 2013
I was dreading this morning. There were the obvious reasons, like going back to the office after a week of not being there, having to wake up to the sound of a blaring alarm, the realization that the holidays are in fact over, and there’s nothing exciting happening in the near future. But even more dreadful was the thought of getting Junior up, dressed, fed, and out the door when he’s been living a life of leisure for the last 10 days…
Grandparents have been in town. Friends have been over. We’ve visited people. Children’s museum. Errands. Going to bed late and sleeping in. Hit or miss naps. A fraction of the schedule we’re normally accustomed to. And in addition to our loosey goosey way of life, Junior is knee-deep in the “I’ll do it myself” phase, meaning he doesn’t want me to help him with ANYTHING. And as you can imagine, it means that every task takes a hundred times longer to accomplish.
So I drug myself out of bed after only one snooze this morning, determined to build in some cushion for (1) Junior’s slow, deliberate sock fitting or (2) Junior’s tantrum when I finally take the socks away from him and put them on his feet myself. If not a sock episode, he would surely stomp his feet and wail once he learned that I fed the pets before he woke up.
I love, love, love that he’s becoming more independent. I swear he’s matured beyond belief in the last few months. We have real conversations with each other and he’s finally outgrowing his size 18-24 month pants (yes, my little pipsqueak turned 2 back in September). I don’t want to discourage him from doing things on his own, but sometimes it’s just not convenient. Usually, after countless unsuccessful attempts, he’ll recognize that he needs my help and ask for it. I’m more than happy to wait it out if we’re not in a hurry. But if I jump in and help without his permission, look out…
So how did this morning go? Smooth as silk. I think he was ready to get back to school and see his friends. I distracted him with chatter about his teachers and the playground, and before he knew it he was up, dressed, and headed downstairs for pancakes. He put on his coat and hat without any fussing, and sang along to his kiddie tunes in the car. I couldn’t believe it. And I don’t for one second think it will be that easy tomorrow morning, or this evening for that matter. He’ll want to play trains instead of eating dinner, or he’ll want to do something ridiculous like put on his own diaper or change the crib sheet by himself.
Mr. Independent will strike again. It will test my patience. But there’s nothing more fun than when he does something for the first time and squeals “I did it Mommy! All by myself!” I love it, I truly do. But I think it’s best if he doesn’t hone in on new milestones between 6:30 and 7:30 AM, Monday through Friday. Now if only the “I’LL DO IT” mentality would kick in when it comes to potty training…
Happy New Year!