Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Boy & The Pees

Diapers, Pull-Ups, Training Pants, Underwear, or Naked?
Miniature potty, removable seat for regular toilet, wall mounted urinal, or outside?
Reward with stickers, candy, money, or no reward for “productivity”?
Wait until they are ready, or do it when you are ready?
What am I talking about? The choices involved in potty training a child. 
It has reached the point where The Boy must be potty trained. The preschool he will attend beginning in September, does not allow children unable “to use the bathroom with minimal assistance.” So, he must learn. We have been waiting for him to show an interest. But now it is make or break time, do or die, because the registration fee is non-refundable (and it was enough for a decent dinner out for DH and me). Don’t judge me for waiting so long, it’s really not my fault.

Snark Girl is to blame. When she reached the age of 2 we began hearing, “She isn’t potty trained?”   “She’ll never learn if you wait too long!” (I have no idea what kind of grade that person received in Logic 101.) “It’s past time. My child was potty trained at 1 year old!” (Yeah, big deal, your kid is 6 and routinely walks around showing her underwear to the boys in her class. Brass pole in her future?)  We bowed to peer pressure (we don’t normally do that) and tried to potty train Snark Girl. We should have tried to potty train a mule instead. Snark Girl did not want to do it, no interest in it at all. If we nagged her too much, she would just pee or poop on the floor. So after three months of NO progress, we gave up. OCDiva had just been born and it was too much. We thought we’d try again in a few months (I think we all know that didn’t happen). Time passed.

We ignored the fact that our 3 year old daughter (with the vocabulary of a 1st grader) still wore a diaper. Her sister was wearing one, it wasn’t a big deal. Then we reached “do or die time”, yes preschool enrollment. We thought we were in for another fight, but once we explained to Snark Girl that she would be LEARNING all kinds of things and PLAYING with OTHER KIDS, she was on board. She potty trained (night and day) in under 3 months. We had setbacks of course, and ended up bribing her to get her to stop pooping in her pants. But she was trained in time for preschool. No trauma. No drama.

With OCDiva we didn’t even try. We waited until, at around age 2 ½, she BEGGED us to let her stop wearing a diaper. It was great. She watched what Snark Girl did, potty training was completed in under two months. It was fabulous! She was trained in time for preschool with a year to spare!

So you understand why we just waited on The Boy to decide? We thought he would come to it on his own. He likes to be clean, shouldn’t that translate to not wanting to wear a wet/dirty diaper? Uhm, no.  I tried the “naked” method. All this resulted in was various sections of my floor getting Clorox wiped multiple times a day, although toward the end he did start peeing in the little potty pretty consistently, as long as he was not distracted by playing. But he hated it, he cried and begged for a diaper. Nothing worked as a bribe or enticement. Preschool? Doesn’t care, he’ll just play with Hulkster and hang out with me. Big Boy Underwear? Nope, diapers and Pull-Ups are fine, thanks. Bribes? No thank you, don’t need anything. Despair and irritation was setting in for all of us so I gave up. The despair deepened. Until dinner tonight.

We happened to go out to dinner tonight. We were there for a long time (bad waitress, go see the post on my Facebook page) and suddenly, The Boy said, “I need to go pee!”  (Yippee!) I kicked DH under the table (he was talking to OCDIva) and pointed at The Boy. DH said, “What is it Buddy?” “Daddy, I need to go pee! Now!” So off they went to the men’s room. I waited, afraid to get too excited, but hoping.

DH and The Boy returned to the table. The Boy said, “I wash my hands in da sink.” (Aanndd?) “Oh, and I pees in the potty. “

Hallelujah! Angels are singing! There’s rejoicing in the street! The preschool deposit is not wasted!

He proceeded to use the men’s room three more times at the restaurant. I don’t what The Boy thinks will happen tomorrow, but I have news for him, from now on, he’s not wearing a diaper unless he is sleeping!

Hmm, wonder if that policy will convince him to keep taking naps . . .

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Secret Shame

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
“Messy desk, messy mind.”
 “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

 If I’ve said things once I’ve probably said them a thousand times. (I tell you the following things not to brag but to help you understand the impact of what I will reveal to you later.) I am an extremely organized person. I like having a process/system, a plan, for things to be neat, put away, organized. When I hear someone say, in reference to planning something, “Oh don’t worry, it will all work out,” I break out in a cold sweat because it never just “all works out”. I am often asked how I keep track of everything that goes on with my kids, husband, and dogs. I have been offered money to organize my friends and acquaintances homes (my family gets me to do it for free). People are forever saying to me, “You’re so organized! Your house must be immaculate! I bet your kids never lose anything!”  So now that you are aware of my reputation, I shall reveal my secret.
My house is messy.

It is my secret shame. Why is my house messy when there is a place for everything? It is because not everything is in its place. The backpacks and briefcase never make to the hook in the mud room. The lunch bags never get in the bin in the kitchen (this is really bad over a school holiday when a science experiment grows in it). The coats/hats/gloves do not make it to their home in the closet (they seem to prefer to lounge on the dining room floor). We run out of milk, mayo, paper towels because DH/the girls don’t write it on the board when they use the second to last (or even the last) of an item. Clean uniforms never quite make it to the dresser (they seem land on the floor next to it). The dirty laundry never quite makes it to the mud room on Sunday afternoon. Swim bags and dance bags are seldom packed the night before those activities. We have to hunt for DH’s keys/wallet/badge at least weekly because they don’t make it into his assigned basket. Homework/library books are often found strewn about the house instead of in the backpacks.

Why don’t I just pick it up, pack it up, clean it up, put it all away? Why don’t I save myself the aggravation of telling them all, repeatedly, to deal with their crap, to follow the system? Why don’t I just take care of everything and everyone in this house?

Well because, contrary to what my children and husband seem to believe; there are only 24 hours in a day and I am not Wonder Woman (I don’t know about wearing that outfit, but I dig the jet). Also, I feel like it would be unfair to them to just “do it” for them. I feel like I would be shortchanging them by not letting them learn to be organized, to plan. DH may be a lost cause, he’s an adult and for no older than he is, he’s rather set in his ways. I still hold out hope for my children. I hope that they will learn something about being organized and planning out how to do things. I hold out hope that none of them will end up on an episode of “Hoarders”. Perhaps someday they will appreciate what I’m trying to do for them.

I’m going to assume that “someday” will come when they trip over a backpack (because they couldn’t see it over the two bags of groceries they are carrying), falling, breaking the carton of eggs, and spilling the bag of popcorn kernels that were in the bags. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fantasies & Dreams

We all have fantasies, things we dream about; new car, winning the lottery, losing 15 pounds, meeting our soul mate. We all fantasize and dream. But I think moms (especially SAHMs/SAHDads) fantasize and dream about different things than most people do. Oh sure, we dream about cars, money, chocolate that makes you lose weight, calorie free wine, and we fantasize about hunky men (or for the men, hot women) we see on TV. I’ll tell you non-moms a little secret though, those aren’t the things we really dream and fantasize about in the deep dark corners of our hearts and souls. 

If you were able to see into the very soul of a mom the dreams and fantasies you would find are probably things that non-moms might take for granted.

We dream of a day when we are allowed to use the bathroom unaccompanied and uninterrupted. Not even long enough to bathe, just long enough to pee!

We fantasize about counter tops that are not sticky or piled with dirty dishes.

We dream of not running out of milk because the person that drank the last of it didn’t write it on the list.

We fantasize about taking a shower and actually having enough hot water (and shampoo) to wash AND rinse our hair, and maybe even a clean, dry towel to use after the shower.

We dream of a dining room table with a centerpiece that doesn’t get used as a football. 

We fantasize about having a Christmas tree in the “perfect spot” in the living room instead of locked behind a gate so the baby doesn’t eat the glass ornaments.

We dream of the day we don’t run around like crack monkeys with OCD, checking and re-checking every that the bathroom door is closed, just to keep the toddler from drowning himself in the toilet.

We fantasize about wearing clothing that is not used as a burp rag or napkin. (Although if you are “busty” like I am that napkin thing might be unattainable.)

We dream of, well, dreaming, or at least sleeping long enough to actually have a chance to dream.

We fantasize about having conversations with other adults, that do not involve using the words; poop, diapers, or thrush. (Unless of course you’re a physician, then all bets are off.)

We dream of not tripping over baby gates resulting in all manner of injuries and spills.

We fantasize about a day we do NOT know the “plot” of every episode of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, or what Dora has in her backpack. (Oh to not know the words to the backpack song, clearly written by a drug addicted gerbil.)

We dream of not searching the entire house for the missing set of eyeglasses needed by a child who hates them but cannot see the board without them.

We fantasize of a day when everyone in the house can and does self dress, giving us time to comb our hair, and maybe change out of our pajamas before school drop off. 

We dream of not spending our Saturdays running endlessly to practices, games, and sleepover pickups.

But, as much as we moms dream and fantasize about all of those things (and others) when the day comes for each of those to be fulfilled we will also cry a little because it means our “babies” are a little more grown up, and a little closer to leaving us behind to start living their own fantasies and dreams.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Ice Pick As A Motivational Tool

I love my life but there are days that get to me. You know, when you’ve just “Had it”. For years on my “Had it!” nights, I have joked with DH that he if he doesn’t quit contributing to the problem, he is going to awaken from a deep sleep to find an ice pick pushing against his temple, not to puncture, just hard enough to awaken him and really get his attention.

This has been a “Had it!” night.  Not really any one big thing, just lots of small things.  Cranky girls, whiny boys, disobedient dogs, defiant refusing to do homework kids, grocery store claiming to be out of the milk that’s on sale when I could see it in the back room waiting to be stocked (I like to buy a lot and freeze it), sippy cup of rotten milk found  leaking under a chair, DH leaving trash in the sink, etc. Through it all I didn’t yell, throw things, or use my “mean mom” voice, until DH came home.  

When DH came in, Hul­kster was turning off the power strip to the TV (and its accompanying cable/web browsing boxes). Rather than just telling the 21 month old no, and removing him from it, like I have done 45 times in the past 3 days. He started yelling “NO!”, at the top of his lungs. Well, as most do most toddlers, Hulkster has kind of a “lather, rinse, repeat” mentality when it comes to behavior that elicits a big response. Well DH kept yelling, Snark Girl had disappeared for 20 minutes and when told to do her homework stomped and snarled, OCDiva was flipping out about bent flashcards, The Boy was whining to watch “Octonauts”, and Hulkster was lathering rinsing and repeating.  The level of noise and bad attitudes combined with my day was just too much. 

I stated loudly that it would be a miracle if they all survived the night, especially DH because I was getting out the ice pick. Everything stopped. 

They all looked at me like I’d lost my mind! (I was probably close.) But suddenly the girls started doing their homework. The Boy quit whining and wanted to help with dinner. Hulkster hugged my leg. DH started solving the TV problem instead of bitching about absentee extension cords. 

My migraine was creeping up on me again, so at the end of dinner, I looked at DH and said, “I am no longer on duty tonight as a mom. You will now deal with all of this,” as I gestured to the dinner mess and the kids. He began to protest until I said, “Ice pick.” He nodded in assent commenced dinner clean-up, putting kids to bed, and doing dishes.

DH knows I’m joking about the ice pick (well, mostly) but sometimes I catch him looking in the drawer to make sure it’s there and not hidden under my pillow.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My First Post; What I've Learned

Well hello everyone! I’m so glad you are here.  I am a stay at home mom to 4 mostly charming children, two girls; Snark Girl age 10, Obsessive Compulsive Diva age 8 (OCDiva), and two boys; The Boy age 3, and Hulkster age 21 months. I also have a Darling Husband (DH) and two dogs.
When I quit the job I was paid money for doing, a female co-worker, at my going away party, asked, “Can, can I borrow your office chair until you come back?”  I told her she was welcome to keep it because I wouldn’t need it. Lots of people laughed. I assume she is still “borrowing” that chair 8 years later.  I don’t know why she (and others) assumed I would hate being a SAHM.  It’s true, there are days I don’t enjoy every minute of it, but who enjoys their job every minute of every day?  There are things I find hugely entertaining or wonderful every day, and things I just do not like or understand.  While I still have a lot to learn there are skills I’ve acquired that I never dreamed I would need.  For example I never thought I would learn . . .
 . . . to frost 6 dozen cupcakes in under 10 minutes with the big “bakery style” big swirl of frosting.  
 . . . how to get urine and it’s odor out of an upholstered/carpeted surface.
. . . to entertain two toddlers with the contents of my purse for an hour at the eye doctor because Darling Husband removed the toy bag from my SUV.
. . .  to correct a Nursemaid’s Dislocation of the elbow in a screaming 3 year old.
. . . to love a child that screamed at the top of her lungs at me because she did not want to do her homework.
. . . so much self control that I could be friendly with the parent of a child that bullied my child for years.
. . . to laugh at a gallon of spilled red Kool-aid.

. . . to show no fear to my child when they needed surgery.
. . . how to survive on less than 4 hours of sleep a night for multiple nights in a row without becoming excessively psychotic from sleep deprivation.
. . . how much I still need to learn.
So join me as I try my best and realize that no matter what I do neither I nor my children will ever attain the boringness of perfection. Join me as I find things that make my day wonderful, like The Boy throwing his little arms around my neck and loudly declaring, “I wuv you! You my Mama! I wuv you SO much!” That would be pretty hard to pass up for that office chair.