Burning the Midnight Oil…

This youngest child of mine apparentlylives a very busy existence. I’m beginning to expect that he is sneaking out at night to frequent some swinging night club. Or perhaps he’s hitting open mic night at the local karaoke bar. Better yet, I would be willing to bet that he’s moonlighting as a go-go dancer. No matter what the occasion the fact of the matter is that my little man is exhausted.

This afternoonon one of my many sweeps through the house looking for the inevitable destruction at the hands of my 3 year-old, Jack, I found him holed up in his sister’s room. (The black rubber boots were his idea, by the way.)

At first look I thought he was undoubtedly playing with something of Avery’s thathe’s been forbidden from touching time and time again.

As I approached him I noticed one very startling fact: he wasn’t attemping to hide. There was no sudden scrambling to escape my piercing eyes.

Hmm. I see. Apparently…he’s asleep.

Sitting up.

Listening to my iPod.

Which, I didn’t actually give him.

Wow, the rebellion is getting out of hand. First, the late night go-go dancing, and now the unabashed thievery.

I’ll deal with the roguish behavior later. For the time being, I’m just going to let him sleep.


A Very Wet Day…and my special “gift.”

We have been experiencing some very strange weather in these parts as of late. I’m actually quite concerned regarding the mental health of our local weather god, Mister Weather (appropriate name, no?). Something is very wrong. Very, verywrong. We go from a bright, sun-filled sky to monsoon-like winds to torrential downpours in mere minutes of every day. I’m beginning to suspect that Mister Weather is suffering psychotic episodes of some sort. Or perhaps a bad breakup with Mother Earth. An interrupted romance can create all kinds of havoc on someone’s mindset.

Now, normally, these crazy weather patterns are not such a problem for me. I hunker down in my cozy home wearing sweatpants and watch the phenomenon from my family room window. Dry. But today? Today was very different.

We were out of milk.

And this is simply not an option in this household. Jack has an unatural relationship with milk. It. Completes. Him. He starts panicking when we’re halfway through a gallon and there’s no spare in sight. Not wanting to risk Jack’spotential ‘lack of availablelactose’ behavior I determined that a trip out into the mayhem was in order.

I waited and watched, planning my trip for when the rain had abated. Seeing nothing but spotty cloudsI threw on a sweatshirt and made a mad dash to the car.

In the rain.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I have a special “gift.” At any given point in time, if I step out of doors, Mister Weather is alerted of my presence and sends rain showers to water the Earth around me. It happens all of the time. We could be experiencing periods of drout, rain having not touched the ground in days, and I step outside to get the mail and it will start pouring. And I will be without an umbrella. It’s a cruel “gift”, really.

Today was no exception. By the time I made it inside my car from the front porchI was literally dripping. From my mascara-coated eyelashes. Not a good look.

I began my drive to the grocery store, marveling but not surprised, at the sudden clearing of clouds and the emerging of blue sky visible through my windshield. Of course. I’m inside.

I reached the store and sat with my hand on the door handle, contemplating my exit. It appeared as if I was in the clear and I dashed into the store.

Aha! Take that, Mister Weather!

I strutted over to the milk case and grabbed my three gallons, a definitive pep in my step. As I paid for my milk I couldn’t help but notice the store clerk averting her gaze from my face. Oh, crap. In my haste to beat feet to the door I had forgotten about the blue/black mascara now streaking down my cheeks and the half-soaked, half-frizzed hair sticking out of the top of my head. Again. Not a good look.

Embarrassed, I gingerly paid for my milk and approached the door, car keys in hand. With a glance at the suddenly graying sky, I stepped outside the store and into what quickly became a torrential downpour. I was standing five feet from my car door, balancing three gallons of milk on my hip, and feeling utterly defeated.

Damn this special “gift.”

Is three years-old too young to make a milk run? I’m seriously considering it.


An Alternate Universe?

Today has been a day for the books. Today has been the kind of day where I raise my face to the heavens and cry, “Why!?!?!?” Today has been the kind of day where I realize that the fact hair remains follicly attached to my head must bedue to divine intervention. Today has been the kind of day where I honestly question my effectiveness as a parent.

It hasn’t always been like this.

When we brought Avery home from the hospital, after 23 hours of grueling labor (pre-epidural, that is),I mentally prepared myself for the most difficult job in the universe. And within seven days I was laughing in the face of that job that has brought much stronger women to their knees. This parenting stuff was easy. The tiny little bundle of baby slept. And ate. And pooped. And smiled. And then slept again. Despite a few little hiccups along the way, this process has basically been repeated for the past seven years.

Fooled by the relative ease at whichJer and Iparentedour first child we jumped atthe idea to add toour lovely little family. Avery was (and has continued to be)so effortless we thought, why not? It’s obvious that our our combined gene pool results in a happy, sleepy, pleasant little human. Let’s do it.

Enter Jack.

Not wanting to rehash his entire babyhood (lots of sleeping, pooping and intermittent smiling) I can definitely say we thought we were in the clear, yet again. Smooth sailing for months and months. Years, really. And then, quite suddenly, the waters started getting a little rocky. It became evidently clear that Jack was not his sister. Jack was a horse of an entirely different color. One of those wild mustang-types that buck at the prospect of being tamed. We determined that Jack was going to take a little bit ofwork so Jer and I rolled up our sleeves and set out to do our best.

And man were we right

I was woken up this morning by the enticing and familiar smell of mint wafting across my nose. Sensing someone standing two inches from my face, I tentatively opened one eye. Staring right back at me was my three year-old son, smacking his gum. And, due to the fact that Jack does not have an endless supply of chewing gum at his disposal, I could only assume that he had jacked it from my purse. While I was asleep. At seven o’clock in the morning. Real nice.

And sothe day went on.

After a slightly tumultuous morning consisting of chasing Jack away from various deathly situations and reprimanding him after numerous “butt” and “stinky” comments, I was ready to collapse by lunchtime. Grabbing the remote for a little Gilmore Girls-induced R&R I punched the button to access the TV menu.


I punched the button again.

And, nothing.

Having previously learned a little trick of shifting the remote batteries in their case to revive a little juice (from my 7 year-old daughter, no less) I opened the battery compartment and quickly learned my problem.

The batteries were missing. Mmm hmm. With sudden clarity, I whisked around the house checking various battery-powered devices only to discover that they were all missing their batteries. A firm nod from Jack confirmed my suspicions that, in fact, he was responsible for their relocation. At some point during our action-packed morning Jack had managed to remove all of the batteries from their various homes and moved them to his bedroom. *sigh.*

Seeing no end in sight for my exasperating day I retreated into my bedroom for some calming breaths. After I talked myself down from the ledge I turned around to find this:

Surely, we have shifted into some alternate universe where naughty is the accepted behavior and t-shirts are worn as underpants.

And little boys routinely wear size 12 Vans.

Willing myself to embrace the attitude of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” I decided to move past my day’s frustrations andsit down with my little man to watch a movie. Settling comfortably into our alternate universe, I snuggled close to my baby boy, grabbedup the remote and pressed ‘Play’.

Ah. No batteries. And reality came crashing back.


My Prayers Have Finally Been Answered

Shhh. Can you hear that? Yep, you got it. It’s the angels singing, rejoicing a true miracle hereon Earth.And if you listen real closely you’ll hear a whimsical tinkling, porcelain music to my soul. The sound of my son not peeing his pants.


I feel like this moment has been a long time coming. Potty-training is certainly not for the faint of heart. And, sure, we’ve done this before with Avery (now a 7 year-old) but I can attest that it was a much easier process.

“Avery, stop peeing in your diaper.”

“Okay, mommy.” End of story.

But Jack, oh Jack, has been an entirely different storyline.

“Jack, stop peeing in your diaper.”

What diaper?”

“The one you’re wearing…and peeing in.”

I not.”

“Yes, you are.”



Mommy, I pooped. Change my diaper.”

We’ve endured countless moments of helplessness watching these encounters, just like the one described above, occur.

And Jack has been one stubborn little muchacho. You might remember, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile (in which case, thank you) we’ve had some very specific trials and tribulations around building this dude a more familiar relationship with the ‘john’. Quite plainly, he’s been a giant pain in the rear.

Peeing in the toilet was a whiz (pun fully intended). Jack discovered quickly that he quite enjoyed letting himself hanging out ‘n about freely. But, as I explained in this postthe other part of the training was not so successful. To be frank, the kid flat refused to poop in the toilet. And I was exhausted trying.

So, for the sake of what little sanity hasn’t yet been sapped from my intellect, I stopped for a little while. Until this happened. Oh, but I was something mad. The sheer cheekiness of this kid motivated me to hit the training with an entirely new strategy. Force him.Jack spent so much time sitting on that pot his buns cheeks took on a semi-permanent oval indentation.

And, with a little resilience,we hit payload (hehehe…load). It finally worked! Which prompted me to post this. And man was I in heaven.Somehow I had convinced myself that Jack’s sudden success was a giant indicator of our future in blissful toilet-directed expelling of bodily fluids and other matter.

I was wrong. Which prompted me to post this. And man, was I no longer in heaven. Like a slap in the face, I was reminded how so much of life is out of my control. Bummer. (It would be a whole lot easier if I had control over everything that happened in this house…easier and more fun. Well, at least more clean. And sanitary.)

But today, folks, I m back with yet another potty-training post. This time,though, my news is optimistic yet realistic. The kid is done. He’s toilet trained. Officially. Jack’s been accident-free for a good two weeks and has apparently discovered the benefits of toilet freedom.

Thank the Lord.

I’m hoping that this will not ultimately be a post in vain. I’m hoping that Jack will continue with this bout ofindependence (well, as independent as being wiped on a daily basis could be) but we are all estaticthat he seems to be moving (bowel moving, that is) in the right direction. I fully assume and expect that he will have setbacks. He may even purposely decide he prefers the diaper to the commode (at which point I’ll explain to him that he’s wrong.) But, we’re on our way.

And the landfill couldn’t be happier.

(End note – in the interest of full disclosure, as I am finishing up this post,Jack has peed his pants. Lovely. But, in the infamous words of Scarlett O’Hara, “After all…tomorrow is another day.” Let’s just hope it’s not a wet one.)


I Spoke (Way) Too Soon.

Okay, folks. Stop the celebrating. Put the champagne away. Set that mozzarella stick down. My victorious mood from yesterday has gone a teensy bit awry.

Based on the events of today, I’m thinking that Jack isn’t quite ready tocompletely succomb to the world of the non-diaper wearing. In fact, a few times today I was wondering who force-fed my baby Fiber One bars which prompted multiple needs to poop his pants. That’s right. You heardme correctly. Poop his pants. His pants.

Regardless of numerous reminders to use the potty, the kid just couldn’t bring himself to do the big deed. That is until he was supposed to be napping while wearing a pull-up, because trusting him to sleep without peeing the bed would be like trusting a opossum to not die while crossing the road. Theodds aren’t real great. So, during Jack’s naptime he managed to cross all his wires correctlyand move the bowels. In the pull-up. Which requires me to participate in the clean-up efforts. For the umpteenth-hundred time.

And, sadly, it went downhill from there. But, despite the minor setback (as minor as 1 poopy diaper and 2 soiled underpants in one day could be) I have decided to hitch up my britches and dig back in to the purpose at hand. Get the kid potty trained. He knows what to do. He knows how to do it. He knows why he should do it. Now? We just need to set the “doing it” part into full-time motion.

After all, greater tasks have been accomplished. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree in 1849. Climbers succeeded in ascending the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953. Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1980.Great things.

Let’s face it, folks. Training a kid to unload in the commodeis not rocket science. It’sa stroke of luck, timing and a little bit of resilience. So, I resolve to not delve into that vast abyss of disappointment but rather plunge head first into that miracle worker known asdetermination.

For now I will replenish the dwindling stash of pull-ups and Oxy-clean some underwear. The time of freedom is near. Until then, I’m going to snuggle that boy (and maybe sneak in some subliminal messaging while I’m at it.)