Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Photo

I love it when my kids play in unique, imaginative ways. It reminds me of my childhood.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Poop: Not Again

I stomped into the TV room and glared at my husband, "There's poop all over A's bedroom." He grumbled, got out of his chair, and came to help me. We've been through this before, with our first son. We were lucky enough to skip it with number two. At roughly the same age, 2 1/2, our oldest and youngest decided that they no longer liked the feel of poop or pee in their diapers, but instead of seeking us for help, they tried to solve the problem themselves.

This means that last night when A pooped in his diaper, he attempted to changed and clean himself with wipes that were in his bedroom. He also attempted to get himself in a set of new pajamas. (The top ended up twisted around his chest, the arm holes not utilized.) I'm sure you can picture how this went. I'm very irritated because the house we were in with B had hardwood and our current house has carpet.....white carpet that my mom picked out when she no longer had children. I hate this carpet so much and poop stains don't help my loathing. I have big plans to rip the carpet out and put in something one can actually keep clean. Although carpet keeps your feet warm, it is a dirt trap! I'd rather just invest in some nice slippers.

So, in salute of my latest parenting adventure, I decided to post an old column I wrote about Potty Training. Enjoy.

To potty train or not to potty train, not only the ultimate dilemma, but the ultimate parenting adventure. An adventure to me includes new horizons and exploration, forging the unknown with great expectation, and all of these certainly reflect my mental state during the era of potty preparedness/awareness, as we have not dubbed it.

I remember feeling panic rise up in me as my son became acutely aware of his inner workings. Should I gently guide his developmental milestones, vigorously demand skills, or act like nothing is really happening and proceed with the status quo, diapers.

This was like nothing I had encountered in the first two years of my oldest son’s life. Rolling over, jabbering, sitting up, crawling, walking, and scoring soccer goals in our backyard had just happened! It was beautiful. His little self just figured it out, but somehow I knew this would not be the case with potty awareness. Sure, he was letting me know he got the concept of wet and poopy, he’s remove his diapers himself the second either one of these occurred and stash them random corners of his bedroom.

He’s ready. This was the mantra other, experienced mother’s explained. But, isn’t 2 and then a few a bit young for a boy? Right? I was explaining this baffling juxtaposition to a fellow mommy in the local library. Her eyes got big as she noticed the title to a DVD on the shelf, “Here, have him watch this!” She triumphantly handed me a DVD titled Potty Power.

Awesome, a video! I just plop him down in front of the television, place him on the potty, and in no time he’ll be a big boy with his big boy potty. We raced home; I was getting the adrenaline rush, a true symptom of an exciting adventure. We got ourselves comfortable in front of the T.V. and I pushed play. Surely this informative movie would help my son get to the porcelain throne, mesmerizing him into big boy pants. The results: a toddler running naked through the house shouting, “Potty Power” as he sings the lines, “no more diapers for me, no more diapers for me.” The propensity for diaper freedom was only exasperated by his newest DVD loyalty. Major mommy mistake.

I guess new adventures in life lead to making a few mistakes; they are par for the course. However, I think I like the mistakes I make on fun, exotic vacations. You know the kind, where you sign up for a snorkeling tour that should only take the morning, but the tour you’re on takes the whole day, which turns out to be amazing as you end up swimming with dolphins. Yeah, that is the kind of adventure I find myself yearning for during these days of the toddler doldrums.

But instead I had ventured out in uncharted waters with my oldest being the guinea pig. I now know to skip the Potty Power video with any subsequent children.

This was actually just the first of three attempts to toilet train my son. I really shouldn’t have given into the peer pressure to potty train. The diaper flinging was just a phase and was not a true indicator of potty preparedness. It was more of a two-year-old reaction to new-baby-brother.

During the craziness of the power struggle that soon ensued between mother and son, I kept having to remind myself that this all-encompassing activity, potty training, would soon pass, and my child wouldn’t be a young man (someday) and still in diapers. I had to calm myself down, quit comparing my child to other boys who seemed to respond well to parental potty instruction, and just wait.

That is why I did. I waited. I told myself, Christmas. I would wait until he was a few months shy of his 3rd birthday and try again. So I did. And it worked! It didn’t seem nearly as complicated by round three. I sort of knew what to expect and how to react. What rewards would work and which ones wouldn’t. I wasn’t a novice anymore. After all I had attempted this before. By Christmas it was slightly familiar, like a family cabin one returns to for comfort and retreat.

Before the New Year he was wearing big boy underwear and telling us when he had to go, no longer us telling him. It was a beautiful thing. I was relieved. My son would not go to kindergarten in pull ups. Most of all, I was OK. I survived.

Now I’m not quite as scared about training the next one, however as any mother knows, not one child is like other, so I know all my tricks, bells, and whistled won’t necessarily work with number two, and that is why I still claim that potty training is my least favorite developmental marker. Even when I try and remind myself that being a mom is one huge adventure, and potty training just a bigger bump in the road, I guess I’d really just rather swim with the dolphins to get my thrills.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Win A Copy of Just Moms

We are giving you the chance to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Just Moms. Simply follow this link to our Facebook page and post a picture of your kids enjoying the simple pleasures of summer.

Become a fan of our FB page and you'll be updated on book happenings, pictures, discussion questions, and more.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Camping Part 3: The Camp Fire

I always look particularly great after a few days without a shower or a mirror.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Camping Part 2: Spirits Lifted

By noon on Saturday the rains had stopped, well, at least subsided. We went to the lake, went on walks, played on bikes, and the adults got some chatting in between chasing children episodes. The trip got much better. Seriously, if it hadn't stopped raining I would have been tempted to pack it up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Camping Part 1: Deluge

So, do you love camping? This was the question I asked in Monday's post. For me, it is a love/hate relationship, but when it rained on us this last weekend I was definitely hating it rather than loving it. My spirits were lifted by noon when the rains subsided; this was noted and observed by one of our fellow campers, so I guess I wasn't hiding it too well.

I will call this first pictures post: Deluge

Lucky for us the worst of the rain came at night when we were putting our children to bed. So no adults around the campfire that night. We all just went to bed, and I have to admit that the rain coming down on the tent all night was a bit cozy.

Oh, and you got to love the shot of my hubby: hot, hot, hot!

My husband being proactive just in case night two was as rainy. It wasn't! We actually got a chance to sit around the fire and chat.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Camping: Do You Love It?

Camping. An exhausting, American tradition. We are about to embark on our first camping trip of the 2011 summer season, and I’m dreading all the lists, packing, organizing, setting up of camp, taking down of camp, loading back up again, unloading it all back onto the floor of our washroom, and then starting to wash and clean it all to put it away for next year’s big trip.

Perhaps most of the burden falls upon the wives, the women of the campouts? I noticed tonight, reading Facebook, that post after post by the “mamas” of the houses read something like this, “Back from camping, exhausted.” Or, “Now the unpacking begins, just got back from camping.”

I find myself tensing in anticipation of my own weekend of exhaustion. I’ve already started making the lists. I have a camping supply list, food list, snack list, clothing list, beach toy list, and list of things I still need to buy for the trip. I should probably make a list of all the lists I need to write.

I already feel dirty and grimy. And am I the only one who gets a little constipated on these types of mini-vacations? It must be a mental block I have with pit toilets.
Then there is the sleep factor: I don’t get a lot. When I was younger, and much more limber, sleeping on the ground was almost comfortable, but not anymore. Also, our two-year-old is a wildman when he realizes we are all in the tent together. He gets so excited by all this family time that he bounds from sleeping bag to sleeping bag.

Last year, on our big group camping weekend, we were woken at midnight to the sounds and smells of vomit coming from our oldest. All night long I tried to vainly catch vomit in my pillow case as my son threw up over and over again. Several times I would hear the retching and dive across the tent only to realize it wasn’t him. Where was that sound coming from? The next tent over? Half of our camp group was violently ill. Is it bad that I was always relieved when the vomiting was happening in another tent?

I don’t think my husband realized all that was involved in a camping expedition. I usually get everything packed and loaded, leaving him with just a few things that require major, muscular lifting. He did get a glimpse last summer when I went away for the weekend and he decided to take the boys on a boys-only-campout. Of course, he started this endeavor at about four in the afternoon and was flabbergasted when he didn’t pull out of our driveway until 6 o’clock at night (finally packed and ready), and then even more flabbergasted when he drove in and out of campgrounds for the next two hours not finding a single site vacant. The tired, cranky boys roasted hot dogs in a day use area and then headed home to the backyard to pitch their tent. I unloaded everything once I returned the next day from my relaxing girl’s beach weekend.

Even though I’m expressing quite a lot of negative energy around this idea of camping, I still like it. I still like the family time. I still like the smell of the tent and the feel of the sleeping bags on my dirty toes. And there is nothing quite like swatting mosquitos around a campfire. Really. I keep telling myself that this is what we do as a family. This is how we make memories. And I am a fan of making memories. I think it is the campfire that keeps me coming back. I love sitting in our chairs next to friends and snuggling with my tired, dirty and stinky boys. I love the conversations, the stories. I love hot drinks in tin mugs. I love the memories we make as a family, the memories that we make between the loading and unloading, packing and unpacking. All that comes between the beginning and the end makes me feel like all my efforts are worth it. At least this is what I tell myself.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

God-Sighting 15,434-Cancer Continued

My oldest raised his arms in victory, "Thank you God! It is like a miracle!" He showed such joy and exuberance. This is a lot from a pretty non-expressive little kid. Today we found out that my MIL's cancer has shrunk so much that the Dr. can't actually measure it. But the other miracle is that my son praised God. You see, my son isn't big on praying. Instead, he likes me to do it for him. He also is timid in praising thanking God, but he didn't even have to be prompted. He raised his little eyes up, like he was really looking at someone and said thank you. It was genuine and real, and it also made me realize how worried and concerned he's been about his grandma.

This whole process continues to be a huge factor in my son's spiritual development and therefore, a major God-Sighting.

Monday, July 11, 2011

God-Sighting 15,434-Cancer

From the start we told the boys. Grammy has cancer. This is what is going to happen. She is going to feel weak. She is fighting the cancer with chemo. She will look different when we visit. She won't have any hair.

C made her special paper clips to hold during cancer treatments. These little trinkets really help the chemo work. Cancer has become a common word in our house. The other day the boys were in imaginative play and I heard the one instruct the other, "And now you have cancer."

We had a choice as parents, tell or don't. Of course, they were going to wonder why Grammy didn't have any hair, but we could have put this off. We live 9 hours away from Grammy and Poppy, and so we could have chosen to not make this fear and worry part of our boys' lives, at least not very much.

But then there is this little item of prayer that we believe in, and that we model for our kids. How could I steal them of that? What if God healed? Then they would not be there for the miracle. What about all the little prayers along the way with little God-sightings? I wanted them to experience God in this very real crises.

My oldest isn't a fan of praying. He'd rather have me do it, but when it comes to praying for Grammy: he wants to speak to God about this. He's even taught me a little doctrine along the way. When I told him that we don't always know what God's plan is he responded, "But God always has a plan." Yes, yes he does.

We spent this last week with Grammy, and it was good. Grammy commented on how glad she was that the boys were comfortable around her and didn't think much of the fact that she didn't have her hair anymore. She was glad that we had made cancer a normal thing. I'm glad we have too.

We've already seen God answer so many of our prayers along the way in this journey of fighting cancer. The boys have been with us for all of those moments. God is a very real person to them, through this. And most of all, we are accepting that "bad things do happen to good people," and that if you look and listen you can see how much God does love us through the not-so-convenient in life. This is a paramount thing to learn as a young child.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Photos

The boys found my camera and took full advantage!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

I'm on holiday! More great stories and thoughts and pictures to come.