Monday, March 29, 2010

I Did It All By Myself! (sort of)

My cousin suggested that, this week, I write about something brilliant I've done, since the past couple of weeks I have indulged in self-deprecation for the sake of humor, so here it is: 
Jack is now 2 years and 1 month old, and he is potty trained.  He has been potty trained since he was 20 months old, which is pretty damned amazing, especially for a boy.  When other moms find out (I try not to bring it up or brag spontaneously) they always ask in awe, "How did you do it?"  I shrug and say, "He was just ready.  I was so surprised."
I WAS surprised.  I worked in child care for seven years and was the lead teacher in a classroom full of spirited two-and-a-half year olds for most of that time.  I know a LOT about potty training, and the first rule is, don't force it.  You cannot toilet train a child who isn't ready, so when Jack showed interest is sitting on the toilet around 15-months I didn't think much of it.  He saw Jason and I do it, and he wanted to imitate us, just like with anything else.  I'd put him on the big potty whenever he wanted, and ever so often he'd even pee in it a little.  I'd make a big deal out of it, even though I was pretty sure it was just coincidence.
Then, when Jack was about 18-months old, I ordered him a little potty just to get my order over 49 dollars and qualify for free shipping.  When the potty came, Jack and I opened the box.  I took it into the bathroom and told him, "It's a little potty, just for you."  I took his diaper off, and he sat down for about 2 seconds and lost interest.  About 20 minutes later, I was starting dinner, and Jack came and pulled on my hand.  He was pulling at his diaper urgently.  When I took it off, he ran to the potty, sat down and peed.  I was truly awestruck (yes, by urine.)  I hugged him and almost cried.  My little boy was growing up.
After that, Jack spent increasing amounts of time naked or at least bottomless while at home.  We toted that potty all over the house to whichever room we were in.  At first, we had some pee on the floor here and there.  I'd tell him. "Pee pee goes in the potty, not on the floor."  If I caught him in the act of peeing on the floor, I ran him to the potty, like a house training puppy.  Before long, if he were naked, he peed in the potty every time.  I'd tell people he was "naked trained" because if he had any sort of pants on, he peed in those.
Around 19 1/2 months, I decided he was ready for undies.  Before trying them, we read books about potty training and "big kid undies."  I pointed out how Momma and Daddy pull their pants and undies down to potty, so they stay dry.  Then, one afternoon I showed him his very own big kid undies - padded cotton training pants with cars and trucks on them.  Jack was so excited to put them on and show Jason.  Then, he went right to the potty, asked for my help pulling them down and peed.  We were all ridiculously giddy.
For the next four days, we pretty much stayed home, practicing using the potty with undies, and yes, there were some accidents.  After that, we slowly began to venture out of the house with the undies.  Everywhere we went, we visited the bathroom first, even if Jack didn't have to go.  I wanted him to get the idea that there were bathrooms everywhere and not to be scared of things like the hand dryers or loud-flushing commercial toilets.  At first, we just went places like the grocery store, where he was in the cart the whole time (with a piddle pad under him) or the park, until we were both more confident about pottying in public.
There was some back-sliding around the holidays last year.  I think it was partially the excitement of the season and partially the fact that using the potty was no longer a fun, novel experience, and he didn't always want to stop playing to do it.  We persevered, though.  I was determined that we would NOT go back to diapers, since I knew Jack was very capable of using the potty.
Now I am very glad we took the time to train when Jack showed signs of readiness, even though he was so young.  It's saved us a small fortune in diapers, and it's way easier.  Lest you think my child is a boy genius, I did joke at the time that he would be the first child to potty train before he talked.  Jack didn't start calling me "Momma" (or addressing me as anything for that matter) until 21 months.  It's true that Jack was just ready to potty train, and none of my strategies would have worked if he hadn't been.  When I really think about it, though, I am going to take some of the credit.  He certainly wouldn't have done it so early if I hadn't followed his cues and been committed.  So, yeah, I did toilet train my son at 20 months.  That's why my brain has no room for the location of certain aforementioned tampons.

That is REALLY a lot of soap

This may be short and full of typos.  I am trying to make good on my dedication to write every Monday, which I intended to do while Jack was napping today.  Today, however, he didn't take a nap, so I'm attempting to write in the 30 minutes before we have to leave to take the dog to the vet.  Jack is also periodically coming over to "help" me, so we'll see how this goes.
My blog is quickly becoming a testament to the fact that I as a mom have a lot to do, and therefore, often do absentminded, flighty and blatantly stupid things.  At least, having a kid is the excuse I'm sticking to for the next 20 or so years.  To add to the tampon story, here is another blunder of mine, which is a lot less gross:
I went to Costco the other day to purchase large quantities of toilet paper, tissues, granola bars, etc.  One of the things we buy there is a particular brand of bar soap, so when I saw the soap, I plunked the large, plastic-wrapped package in my cart.  I paused and stared at the soap for a minute, thinking, that's really a whole lot of soap.  Do we usually buy that much?  At which point, Jack shouted gleefully, "EAT!"  I fished a fig bar out of my purse/diaper bag and moved on to find the gargantuan flat of V8 we typically buy.  V8 is the only vegetable Jack will eat on a regular basis, so we go through a lot of it.
We finished the rest of our shopping.  I got everything on my list, approached the checkout lanes and took a glance at my watch - plenty of time to get home, eat lunch and get Jack down for his nap.  I drove home with the windows down.  It was a beautiful day, and Jack loves the wind in his hair.  I mentally congratulated myself for getting the morning errands done with no hitches and having a kiddo, happily enjoying the breeze in the back seat.
We got home and unpacked the car, including the large flat of soap.  I paused again, with the soap sitting on the kitchen counter.  That is REALLY a lot of soap.  I looked at my receipt (I know, I know, this is something I should do before I leave the store) and saw I had bought 75 dollars worth of soap.  Upon closer inspection, I realized the cardboard box full of soap had individual plastic-wrapped packages of 14 bars of soap each.  With six packages, I found I'd bought 84 bars of soap, amounting to about a 2-year supply.
I was exasperated with myself, since this happened the week after the tampon thing.  When Jason came home, he saw the big box of soap and teased me unmercifully for...well, it's still going on, actually.  Lucky for him, I have a good sense of humor about my own dumb-ass mistakes.  When he asked me (once again) "How did this happen?  What were you thinking?" I stuttered and stammered and came up with the same answer I had when my parents used to ask me that question as a child, "Well... I wasn't."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gross but True

As the title might indicate, this story is a bit gross (think body fluids) but I feel compelled to tell it nonetheless.  If you have a weak stomach you may want to stop here or at least wait until you're done with lunch.  By the way, why is "nonetheless" one word?  But I digress...
Lately, Jason and I have been trying to conceive a second child (proper code for "we've been having a lot of goal-oriented sex.")  So there we are in our bedroom one night after a few glasses of wine, trying to make baby number 2, and all of a sudden there's all this blood... and it smells really really bad.  As you might imagine, this put a damper on our amorous mood.  We cleaned up, talked about what it might be and came to the conclusion it may be just some old blood left over from my last period - disgusting but nothing to worry about.
That was a fine theory until it happened again several days later.  This time, I cried, convinced that the gods of baby-making were trying to throw a wrench in the works.  I still, however, did not want to go to the doctor.  This does not surprise you if you know my family at all.  We happily ignore all health issues until they go away or someone else browbeats us into seeing a professional.  My dad once walked around on a broken ankle for a week before he got medical attention.  At this point, Jason told me I needed to see a doctor.  I made a very weak argument against it and finally settled on something even better - google it!  The internet, however, lead me to the same conclusion Jason had:  I might have some sort of infection, and I needed to see my ob/gyn.  I sighed and resignedly wrote myself a note to call the doctor the next morning.  Then, I sulked for the rest of the day, acted pissy and felt sorry for myself.
It took me two days to get in touch with a nurse at my doctor's office, because I couldn't bring myself to tell the problem to a receptionist.  The nurse, of course, said I needed an appointment immediately.  I got one, amazingly, for later that day, so at 3:00 I sat in the waiting room, playing Word Mole on my phone and waiting to find out whether I had a minor infection or cancer.  It turned out, due to a scheduling snafu, my doctor was overbooked, so I ended up seeing the nurse practitioner instead.  Later on, I considered this a godsend.  30 minutes past my appointment time, I followed the nurse back to the exam room.  She weighed me - Why do they always have to do that?  Then I sat in the room and waited for the NP.  She came in the room, and I got the distinct sense she was in a hurry - not surprising since they dumped me on her at the last minute.  I ran through my symptoms with her:  smelly blood but no fever or pain.  She said, " let's take a look."  So I put my feet up in the stirrup thingies, and she started the exam.  She was down there about 10 seconds before she said matter-of-factly, "You have a tampon up here way back behind your cervix."
My response:  Are you serious?? 
Her:  Yep.
Me:  Oh my god, I'm an idiot.
Her:  (still matter-of-fact) No you're not.
I was both relieved and embarrassed at that point.  The nurse practitioner had either seen this before or has a really good poker face, because she was completely unfazed.  She said everything should be fine and hustled out of the room.  I was glad I hadn't seen my actual ob.  He's a man and probably could not fathom how a person could insert something into herself and forget it was there.  I called Jason from the car in the hospital parking lot to tell him the good/stupid news.  He actually said in response, "How did that happen?"  At which point I made some sarcastic remark about the aliens putting it up there.  I felt like a total scatterbrain, but that feeling paled in comparison to my relief that it wasn't something more serious.  I also wished I had asked the NP what size the tampon was.  I have no idea why, but I wanted to know.
I heard a comedian say once that a woman loses twelve percent of her sanity for each child she has under the age of six.  So I guess the percentage of my brain that keeps up with the comings and goings of tampons is what went out the window with the first one.  This does not bode well for my mental stability with the two children.  But now I know why my mom always forgot her underwear when we went on vacation.  I realized just now that, though I was shy about telling my symptoms to a receptionist at the doctor's office, I have no problem posting it here, where anyone could look at it.  Just chalk it up to my being only 88 percent sane - my new excuse for all my nonsensical behavior.

Monday, March 8, 2010

No, for real this time

So, I'm back... again. Here I am rededicating myself to writing on a regular basis...again. I was talking to my sister on the phone earlier and saying how I always mean to update my blog, but always find something else that needs doing when I have a few moments - put laundry in the dryer, empty the dish washer, pay bills... and before I know it, nap time is over. Add in all the other stuff I try to fit into a week - work, yoga and, oh yeah, sleep, and writing always seems to take a backseat.
After I went on about all this, my sister asked, "Are you sure you really do want to write?" I know what she's getting at. She's asking if this is something I really want to do or am I finding excuses not to do it because I think I should want to do it but don't really. This is a valid question, and I pondered it. Here's the thing: I am excited about writing. I do love to do it. It's a great emotional outlet. I think I do it well, so it makes me feel intelligent and capable. Why don't I make it a priority, then? It's true I'm not bubbling over with spare time. I do spend a fair amount of my week on the floor playing cars with my 2-year-old, but writing's not something I can do while he sits on my lap, begging to type on the keyboard.
The other thing, though, is this: I am a little scared. I am scared to get into writing because I have always fancied myself good at it, and what if I find out I'm not really? I guess that's why I'm fairly relieved that no one reads this blog on a regular basis. As confident as I feel about my skill on the one hand, I'm a little shy about sharing on the other. I know this sounds really childish, and I've decided to get over it. It goes hand-in-hand with something I've been working on in my life over the past several years and that's relaxing my people-pleasing tendencies and letting myself not give a crap what other people think of me.
I am rededicated to writing, yet again. This time I am going to schedule time at least once a week to write here. It will be good brain exercise, and give me a sense of intellectual accomplishment. Because, scared or not, as the Butthole Surfers once crooned, "It's better to regret something you have done, than to regret something you haven't done."