Sunday, May 29, 2011

That cooler will never be the same again

Some terrible storms have been crossing Missouri lately. On Wednesday we had the worst one so far to hit St. Louis. Not too long after Ben woke up from his nap the tornado sirens started blaring. So we grabbed some snacks, the cats and my laptop (for radar monitoring and possible show watching if Ben got bored) and headed downstairs.

Ben almost never gets to go in the basement, so he's always excited when he does. He was having a good time exploring and stalking the cats in a closed environment. After checking the radar and assuring myself we still had a little time before we were all blown away, my mind wandered to other things, mainly what was I going to do if Ben needed the bathroom. My eyes darted around the basement and first landed on the kitty litter box. It would be an appropriate place, but then I imagined him falling in and decided against it. Then I saw the coolers. Specifically the little cooler without wheels that would be a little taller than he's used to, but still an acceptable height. And it was decided.

Eventually he did have to pee, so I explained that we couldn't go upstairs and he had to use the cooler. It worked out great and thanks to our Sam's membership, we had a plethora of Kleenex and toilet paper downstairs. Perfect. We were in the basement for 1.5 hours, so he peed a few times.

Eventually the storm started picking up, so I was paying more attention to the radar than to Ben. And just when it was getting really bad outside (rain, wind, hail), Ben pooped in his pants. The boy has timing, I'll give him that. So I sprinted upstairs to the diaper bag and grabbed an extra pair of underwear. And as the storm raged outside, I was in the basement hoping I wouldn't die with a pair of poopy underwear in my hands.

To make matters worse, when I finally finished that unpleasant task I went to check the radar again and knocked my laptop off its perch. The battery popped out and a piece broke off, so we were left in the dark. Except for my smartphone and my iPod Touch. It was like the 1800's down there!

In the end everything was fine. None of our tree branches even fell down and usually they fall at the slightest breeze. Since I couldn't face the trauma again, Heath cleaned out the cooler. He said it was one of the worst things he'd ever smelled. Yeah, just imagine being there, buddy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Conversations with a Toddler - Part 8

Scene: Ben was having a rough morning and he was rolling around on the floor whining.

Me: Are you angry?

Ben: Yeah.

Me: What made you angry?

Ben: A squirrel.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Potty Training

I've been struggling to write about this topic in a way that is both not gross and not boring. It's hard because our progress is very exciting to me and I could talk about Ben's bathroom habits for an extended period of time... But I'm guessing Heath is about the only other person on Earth who's as interested as I am.

So basically what we did is holed up in the house for three days straight. We took our nice Persian rug out of the living room and steeled ourselves to clean up a lot of bodily waste. The method we used to potty train Ben focuses on having the child learn his body's signals as to when he needs to use the bathroom. Basically that entails giving him a lot to drink and feeding him high fiber foods, so he has plenty of "learning opportunities." :)

The first day was pretty much what I expected. Ben was super excited to put on his new underwear because we'd been talking it up for weeks. Not two minutes after he did, he had his first accident. The morning was pretty much a waterfall of pee. Luckily we have hardwood and linoleum on the first floor, so there wasn't too much carpet damage. We spent a lot of time playing in the kitchen, right next to the bathroom.

Day 1 - 15 accidents
Day 2 - 3 accidents
Day 3 - 2 accidents (and we take the blame for one of those)

I'm so proud of how well he's doing. It really started to click for him by the end of the first day and today, five days later, we haven't had a single accident. Yesterday we went to the grocery store without incident and today we were at the playground for almost two hours.

The only thing that's a little annoying is that he's not verbally telling us he needs to go. We've caught onto his signals (grabbing his butt or his crotch), but that means I need to keep a pretty close eye on him at all times. I'll be glad when he starts using words to tell me, but it's a start. At least he's noticing when his bladder is full.

I'm surprised at how fast I'm starting to trust him and how after only two outings sans diapers I'm not really nervous about it. It's not as big of a deal as I thought. I'm very pleased with how this has turned out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wish us luck (and clean floors)

One of the requirements for Ben to start preschool is that he be potty trained. Eek! Potty training is something I've been dreading since he was born. But, it coincides nicely with him outgrowing the LARGEST DIAPERS ON THE MARKET*, so this weekend we're biting the bullet. Heath took today off and we're implementing a Three Day Potty Training Method. Supposedly by Sunday Ben will be fully potty trained day and night. One of my friends from playgroup just recently used this method and it worked great for them, so I have high hopes. Ben's ready for this and I've really been pushing the peer pressure angle (which I know will bite me in the ass later): "Isaac doesn't wear diapers. Lily doesn't wear diapers. Amelia doesn't wear diapers."

Last night we took a trip to Target and bought supplies: lots of underwear, several new sets of sheets, M&M's for rewards.We're ready. Bring on the pee!

*If this doesn't work soon we'll have to put him in adult diapers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Such a polite boy

I honestly think that manners are one of the hallmarks of good parenting. If a kid says "please" and "thank you" and shares pretty well, you can probably assume that the parents are getting other things right, too. Which is why it pleases me so much that after millions of repetitions, Ben's manners are starting to kick in. He still has a problem remembering to say "please" when asking for something. Usually it's more like, "I want some juice," or the more desperate, "I need some juice." Obviously juice is crucial to the continuation of his life. "My juice levels are critically low, Mommy. I don't have time for social niceties!" However, when I tell him to ask politely he always quickly supplies the "please."

He is rockin' the "thank you," though. He thanks me when I get him food, when I help him get dressed, when I agree to take him to the playground. This morning he even thanked me after I cut his fingernails. "Thank you for cutting my fingernails, Mommy." Oh my god, how cute is that?!

He's even started saying, "no, thank you," when I offer him something he doesn't want. He has no idea yet, but the sting of him not eating broccoli is definitely lessened when he refuses it politely. It gives me a little jolt of "I'm a good mom!" even if all he's eaten that day is bagels, mac & cheese and Popsicles.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

3 x 3 x 3

I put Ben on the waiting list for pre-school last fall, on the advice of other local parents. It felt somewhat silly doing it an entire year in advance, but it's a popular school and siblings of current students get priority. It paid off, though, because we found out Ben got in! It's exciting because part of me honestly didn't think he'd get in*... But when I opened the letter my first emotion was sadness. He's so social and curious I know he's ready to be in an environment like that... But he's my baby! It's hard to believe he's ready to do something "on his own."

Over the past two and a half years I've come to learn that every transition for the kid is a transition for the parents, as well. Ben deals amazingly well with big transitions and I hope that continues for the rest of his life. It is a gift. I, on the other hand, am absolutely abysmal when it comes to transitions. (For reference see: my college years, when for the last four semesters I literally made myself sick with worry over what I'd do afterward.) Most of the time young kids lean on their parents for support. That's what parents are for. But as the kid gets older, he can take more weight and I think on this one Ben might have to support me a little. The crazy thing is, I think he can handle that.

Okay, time for a step back into the light of reality. It's the power of threes: He'll be three when he starts and he'll go to preschool three days a week for three hours. Not really a huge deal. See how I can inflate things in my mind? I know once he starts I'll love it. It means time to myself and running errands without him. By that time I'll be getting big from the pregnancy, so a break will be wonderful. And once the baby comes it'll mean time alone to get to know the new baby. Plus, time for him to get away from the new baby, if he wants. We can do this. As I, at the age of five, once told my mother, who was comforting me during scary parts of the Wizard of Oz, "It's only a movie," I'm sure Ben will say to me, "It's only preschool."

*This is all based purely on them having space for students. Ben didn't have to take tests or go through an interview or anything crazy like that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To the women who raised us and put up with our shit (that's more for Heath's mom):

Thank you. We love you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring...

It's been raining a lot in St. Louis lately, which means a lot of time spent indoors. With a very active toddler. In a way it's been okay, because the first trimester of pregnancy wipes you out, so I don't think I would've had the energy to run to the playground all the time, anyway. And though the low physical impact of playing trains is good, the low mental impact is DRIVING ME CRAZY. Ben's been watching a wee bit more TV than usual lately. And the rumors of me falling asleep during an episode of Dinosaur Train are greatly exaggerated. (No they're not.)

There's some hope on the horizon, though. I'm nearing the 12 week mark of my pregnancy, which means hopefully sometime in the next few weeks my energy level will start to creep back up and we can dive into summer fun. And only four of the next ten days show rain on!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Little brat

Ben's starting to understand the concept of stalling for time. Usually he goes down for a nap easily, but last Saturday for whatever reason he didn't want to sleep. So after I left the room he almost immediately started yelling for me. "Mommy, Mommy, go see Ben!"

I went back in and told him to lay down, but he countered with, "I have to throw up." Now, I knew he was lying. He hadn't been acting sick and still wasn't. But, on the off chance I was wrong I took him into the bathroom. I opened the toilet lid, he leaned over and blew a raspberry into it. Then he grinned at me.

It's a good thing the instinct to keep your kids unharmed is so strong.