Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Potty Chronicles, Pt. 2

Potty training is a process. One that I am, apparently, not very good at guiding.

*banging head against wall*

After two wildly successful days of M Meets Toilet, he decided that he longer wanted to pursue a diaper-free life. It went something like this:

Me: M, do you want to go to the toilet?
M: Um, no thank you.

Me: Come on, M! Let's go pee in the toilet!
M: Um, no thanks.

Me: Time to go sit on the big boy toilet!
M: Um, not now. No thank you.

And yes, he was always that polite about his refusal to pee. That is just his style.

There were many, many conversations like this each day. M didn't seem to mind wearing soaking wet underwear. Gross.

My professional mama opinion was that we should pull back a bit. No pressure. There is no point if he is just going to dig in his heels and get upset when I direct him to point his parts towards a large, porcelain chair with a weird hole and water in it. Seriously, think about how difficult it is to teach someone the concept of using a toilet! Go ahead, try it. Nose blowing is another tricky one.

So we have pulled back. There has been the occasional moment of excitement when M has inquired about the bathroom, but it usually results in a spell of naked dancing rather than actual peeing.

I may have experience with potty training, but I learned again that each kid is different and what worked with C clearly isn't going to work for M. I wonder how many times I am going to learn this lesson before it sticks. For now, it is back to the drawing board with M.

Did your child resist potty training? What finally worked for you?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Potty Chronicles, Pt. 1

Yesterday began the first round of potty training M, my second child. He will be three this summer and, more importantly, he is starting preschool in September. As a lot of you parents know, most preschools won't take non-potty trained kids - at least that is the case for us.

Potty training C was a nightmare. It took well over a year and involved lots and lots of negotiations, tantrums and crying (mostly on my part). I read books. I read blogs. I consulted my pediatrician. I asked other parents. I cried to my mother.

C got the hang of it eventually and headed off to his first year of preschool with no issues.

Now it is time for M to learn.

I made up my mind that yesterday was the day. There is no good day to start potty training. You just have to accept that you are in for a huge mess and a lot of stress and jump in with both feet and hope the fall isn't too far.

My tactics? No more diapers. We went straight into underwear.

I used training diapers with C and I think it just ended up prolonging the process. Ultimately, he could still go whenever and wherever he wanted to go.

So, how did M do on his first day of potty training?

After a lot of accidents, I finally got him in the same room as the toilet. After a few more accidents, I got him to sit on the toilet.

As I sat down to catch up on some emails before dinner, I heard that glorious sound that every potty-training parent longs to hear: the sound of pee hitting toilet water.

Praises were sung. Happy dances were done. The euphoria of a potty training success is right up at the top in terms of achievement in parenting.

But don't get too excited. Rome wasn't built in a day. In fact, I have a few days of starting Rome from scratch before I make a dent in the ultimate goal of one less child in diapers.

Now on Day Two, I am back to a lot of accidents, a bit of persuasion and seemingly endless amounts of patience. I have potty trained one and I know I can potty train another.

If I can get this done, I only have one more to go!

Tell me your potty training triumphs and nightmares!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Sisterhood

On this holiest of days, we thank our mothers, our grandmothers and, for the mamas, ourselves. But if you have a moment, think of all of the other mothers around the world. Regardless of language, culture, religion and a million other differences, there are some things that we all have in common. 

If there were to be a meeting of mothers from all corners of the earth (let's pretend there is some kind of universal translator involved), we would have something to talk about. 

We have all held a tiny bundle in our arms. We have all marveled at the miracle of life. We have all put someone else's life in higher priority than our own. We have all paced the floors during teething or fevers while we chanted lullabies thinking, What on Earth can I do to make you go to sleep?! We have all been disgusted by some bodily fluid that our child has produced, but dealt with it anyway. We all think that our child is the most precious, most adorable, etc., etc. in the world.

The milestones for our children have all been the same: rolling over, crawling, standing, walking, first words. We have all rejoiced in the small triumphs of our child reaching those milestones.

So, as you are spending time with your children today (or without if your family has given you the day off), take a second to appreciate how amazing it is to be a member of this sisterhood of mamas.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On the other hand...

I'll have plenty of other lovely things to look forward to in my man-filled house. Just because I don't have any daughters doesn't mean that I am spared from all awkward conversations and situations, just a big chunk of them.

Not at all.

Since my last post, I have been focusing on the things I will have to endure. So mothers of all girls, these are some of the things that you will get to skip in the years to come:

- I am already having to discuss the status of my sons' nether regions. C, in particular, gives me regular updates on his little buddy. At some point, that will stop and they won't want to me acknowledge that they have nether regions.

- They are going to bring home slimy, creepy, crawly things of all kinds. I will have to pretend to like these creatures because, if they know I don't like them, the boys will use them as a terror device.

- Once I leave the realm of diapers, I am hoping I have a few years of neutral odor before my home smells of B.O. Not long after that, clouds of Axe Body Spray will clog my sinuses the moment I open my front door.

- Boys, way more than girls, go through a really long, weird phase in their early teens. Their limbs are longer than they think, so I'll have to remove all breakables that I got to put back on display after the toddler years. Their skin is awful, but they aren't as predisposed to begin a skin care regime. The body odor/Axe thing will kick in. Oh, and no boys are attractive at this age. This will be the time that I love them from a distance, which will work out well because they won't want to be anywhere near me either.

- They eat a lot now, but I can only imagine the kind of grocery bills I am going to have. Bulk shopping is already going to start in the next few month since F is on real food now. Let's guess how many carts I'll need to fill when I have three teenage boys to feed!

- I think the sex conversation is a bit weirder with boys. I am one of those parents who feels that it needs to come from both parents, so that will be fun and I am sure they will be super comfortable with it.

- If you have seen Transformers, there is a scene when Sam's parents burst in on him when he is in his room. I am sure I will interrupt "happy time" at some point as well.

I know I am in for things I can't imagine. Mothers of boys: what else does the future hold for me?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Conversations I won't be having

I have no problem admitting that I wanted a girl. I was convinced that C was a girl, only to be corrected by my ultrasound tech at my 5-month scan. M and F were no surprise. My doctor did tell me that F was a girl and three pinkalicious weeks went by before my dreams of tutus were shattered forever by a more accurate scan.

While I had always dreamt of tea parties, ballet classes and lengthy shopping sessions, I wouldn't trade my boys for anything. Things may be a little dirtier, a little smellier and a little louder, but we have a ball.

Since I am not planning on getting pregnant anytime soon, or ever again for that matter, I occasionally find myself pining for a girl. When these pangs rise up, I think of a few things that, as the mother of all boys, I'll never have to do (bra fittings, shaving lessons, monthly hormonal surges). This is a double-edged sword because it can also take me into "things I'll never get to do" territory (prom dress shopping, wedding dress shopping, lots of other shopping). A safer way is to think of the awkward conversations I get to avoid.

Any parent will tell you that the job is full of difficult conversations. If I think back to some of the sticky topics that my mother and I broached, the worst ones were all related to my gender. Since I know that I won't have to hit those down the line, I shouldn't have it quite so bad!

Here are just a few of the conversations that I will never have to have:

- Keep Your Legs Crossed: Wear A Skirt With Class
- Welcome to Menstruation: Riding the Crimson Wave for the Next 45 Years
- Tampons: A Beginners Guide
- Makeup: How Not To Look Like A Tramp
- Keep Your Clothes On: Celebrities Aren't The Only Ones Whose Naughty Pics Hit The Internet

Just to be safe, I'll probably will touch on that last one with my boys.

I am sure that I will have my fair share of awkward conversations in the years to come. Don't think for a second that I won't be hitting the major ones: sex, drugs and the long-term ramifications of following a bad fashion trend (you early 90s kids know what I am talking about and boys were not exempt).

But next time I am a little sad that there are no ballet shoes or Cabbage Patch dolls in my house, I'll remind myself that I will never have to convince my daughter that the prom dress she loves is going to haunt her fashion record forever or the wedding dress she has her eye on isn't going to happen because it costs more than my car.

So you tell me, what is the most awkward conversation you have had to have with your child? Or if your kids are still to young, what is the conversation you are most dreading?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Skin care regime

I was watching an old episode of Oprah and she was interviewing a beautiful actress who has entered her older years. Oprah was asking her how she had managed to keep her skin looking so amazing despite the fact that she is now in her 70s. At this point, the actress (and I honestly can't remember who it was) launched into a detailed description of her skin care regime. It started with the fact that she doesn't do a thing in the morning before moisturizing and she went on to describe her scrubs, toners and facials.

By this point, I am cracking up. My skin care procedure is only in place because I would kick myself later on if I did nothing now. I take off my makeup, moisturize and am devoted to SPF like a good girl.

I am sure there will come a time in my life that I can take care of my skin in the morning before I do anything else, but it certainly won't be here for a while. I am guessing I have another ten years before I even get to brush my teeth immediately upon waking up. Right now, I am tending to a crying baby, a sleepy-eyed toddler and a preschooler. Most days, I am lucky to get a shower before 10:30. In a few years, I'll be rushing to get everyone up and dressed for school.

As for my end-of-day routine, I am barely standing by bedtime. You really think I am going to stand in my bathroom to do a glycolic peel? I don't think so. If I am going to trade my precious sleep for anything, it will be a good book or some writing time. I'll accept the crows' feet and the laugh lines when they come. I'll know that I could have done just a bit more to prevent them, but I made the choice to get some sleep instead.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just like dating

I never had to do the grown-up dating thing. I met my husband in college when it was easy to meet people and dates were low-key. I have never had to go out on a blind date or scan the crowds looking for someone who looks like a good match for me. Until now.

I am just going to throw this out there - finding other mom friends is just as hard as dating. I know that a friend is not on the same level as a life partner, but they are almost as important. Life sets you up to get married when your friends get married and have babies when your friends have babies, but it doesn't always happen that way. So, what happens now?

For the first time in my life, I am being set up on a blind date. Kind of. My brother is "setting me up" with a new friend from work who, like me, has young kids (almost the same ages as mine), a husband from another country, has a job in addition to raising a family and happens to live nearby. I may just start calling my brother On paper, she and I are the perfect match. No doubt we will have a ton to talk about. But, what if we just don't click?

When you are looking for a partner, there are a lot of things that have to fall into place and the list of criteria is different for everyone. When you are looking for a mom friend, the list can get more complex. It starts with the things that you look for in a friend, but then you have to add in other factors because there are other people involved. Do your kids get along? Do your spouses get along?

You and Other Mom may get along great, but if your kids don't like each other, you limit your interaction to girls-only outings and double-dates. If your spouses don't have anything in common, you cut it down to coffee outings to blow off steam pent-up from days spent with the kids.

Now, having friends who you only see over coffee or dinner are great. I am not knocking those friends (especially since this constitutes most of my friends); however, I hope that, someday, I can find a few friends to get together with as families. The kids will be happy. The spouses will be happy. The mothers will be happy - and that is really all that matters anyway.