Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Parental Dos and Don'ts

This is just a wrap up of the things I have learned as a parent the past two weeks:

* Do not laugh hysterically, while naked, as your child slips and slides their way to the potty in the midst of an accident, no matter how cute they look when they land on their tushy. For one, it makes your wobbly bits even more wobbly, and for two, the child does not appreciate you finding humor in their situation at all. You may also lose some neighbors and or be visited by a law enforcement official (Hi, Officer Dombrowski). It's best to cover up while rushing to the potty emergency.

* When running errands while potty training, always have a complete change of clothes and two back up pull ups just in case. While nakedness on an infant is cute, apparently nakedness on a toddler is not. (Hello again, Officer Dombrowski. So nice to see you twice in one day)

* Do not, for a SECOND, leave a toddler unattended with a fish in a jar. Toddlers don't understand the big ruckus as they try to feed the "fishie" 'Nilla wafers. For all I know, the fish enjoyed it, but if I can't have any, neither can he.

* Know that your toddler's endurance far EXCEEDS your own endurance. After thirty six rounds of "This mine? This mine?" you will cave. Learn to pick your battles. Should you cave on the pocket knife? Probably not. Can you cave on the butane lighter? Iffy. Will you cave on the thirty six bags of Nemo treats loaded chock full of high fructose sugary goodness? Absolutely.

* Get used to the fact that you are dumb. Your need to repeat everything to the resident toddler in chief "Nooooooo. No. NO. NO!!!!!!!" only reinforces this fact.

* Learn to appreciate the value of poop in the potty. Doesn't matter if all of it landed in the potty or if it was a half and half, you'll never praise a bowel movement so much in your life ever...if you're lucky.

* DO NOT, under any circumstances, make a comfortable chair as the time out chair. When faced with X (the "unpleasant thing they want to do", like get dressed for school) or time out, time out will ALWAYS win, thereby defeating the purpose of the time out. Also, a time out chair near the TV is just as ineffective.

That's it for now. I'm sure some more parenting tips will smack me upside the head later.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What a wonderful weekend

This weekend was a very exciting weekend for many reasons. The highlight of the weekend was Aunt Terri's visit from Tennessee. I'm thinking after this weekend, Aunt Terri ain't stoppin' by until TIC is potty trained.

So, earlier, I reported that school gave us the greenlight for potty training Kaitlyn. I, for one, couldn't have been more excited! Due to Aunt Terri's visit (Hi, Aunt Terri!) it was scheduled to be a low key weekend. We could be as close as we wanted to be to a toilet ALL WEEKEND LONG! Starting with Saturday morning, Kaitlyn would be wearing UNDERWEAR! We were all excited! When I picked Terri up from the airport, I filled her in on the plan.

Saturday morning came. As I'm changing Kaitlyn I brought out the special Dora underwear. She got so excited about it she put it on herself and told EVERYONE she put on her "unnerwear all by myself". We got down to the basement to watch tv and hang out. Every five minutes I ask Kaitlyn if she has to go to the bathroom. Nope nope nope. Suddenly, K comes over and she's wet. She has had an accident. Later, she shows Aunt Terri where the accident was...Apparently Kaitlyn got excited about going down the slide and peed at the top of the slide. We switched from underwear to pull ups for pretty much the rest of the weekend.

On Saturday I got my hair 'did'. As soon as I got home, Terri and Brent complimented me on my new 'do. Kaitlyn excitedly exclaims "Mommy!!" She turns around and sees me. I reach out my arms to hug her and she completely bypasses me heading for the kitchen towel. She grabs the towel, comes over, tries to scrub my hair to her specification. My hair does not comply. Kaitlyn says "I be wight back, K?" and goes upstairs muttering about a towel. Two seconds later, she comes down with a BIG towel from my bathroom and attempts to scrub my hair again! Soon after, she stops. I'm not sure if my hair did what she wanted it to or if she simply gave up because it was going to take to much time and effort to make it "right." Then, and only then, did I get my hug!

I decided Saturday night to go out to Michaels to get stuff for tie dying t-shirts. While at the check out, I see Silly Bandz. What a perfect reward for going potty! We get home and I pull out the silly bandz explaining what they are for. Kaitlyn immediately has to go to potty. No successful attempts until later that evening when Mom (that would be me) completely misread the signs and pulled her off too soon. Quickly rectified and we had a truly successful attempt. There was big fanfare as we let Kaitlyn pick out her silly band. Five minutes later, the Silly band was ditched in a cushion somewhere. Apparently Kaitlyn hasn't gotten the memo about how cool Silly bandz are.

Sunday brings us tie-dye t-shirts (Thanks to Jenny Fischer for the idea) and a very cranky toddler. No underwear this time, only pull ups and a very early nap. Since this potty training stuff is so exhausting, Terri and I both took naps while TIC napped. We had a visit from a prospective kitty adopter who decided to adopt another kitten and then we were off, with a still cranky toddler, to Hellburger for a late lunch/early dinner. Thank GOD for glow bracelets because that was the ultimate saving grace for our meal that day. Not even a new George DVD could satisfy K. Shortly after arriving home Kaitlyn has a blow out of epic proportions. She went straight into the bathtub, that's how bad it was. It was a three person clean up effort! Kaitlyn was kind enough to show Aunt Terri all the places she pooped on the carpet and her toys.

Finally, Monday arrives. This is the day that we are going to be in FULL cahoots with the day care. She went to school wearing underwear and only had one accident all day. She was duly rewarded with two silly bands for her two successful potty attempts (both of which were promptly ditched). Kaitlyn, Aunt Terri and I go to Dulles Town Center for some birthday shopping. All day long we're stopping to allow Kaitlyn to go to the potty. I think she's overwhelmed by strange places for potty so she doesn't go. I didn't think to bring a pull up with me, but I do have diapers. Despite bribing her with a turn on the Merry Go Round, there is no potty at all. We sit down to have dinner and five minutes after placing our order (and five minutes after the last potty attempt), Kaitlyn peed in her chair. Aunt Terri to the rescue! While I clean up TIC, she retrieves a diaper and I think, but am not certain, cleans up her third potty accident of the weekend.

This potty training stuff is exhausting, both for TIC and the village that raises her. I think by the time we recover from this, Kaitlyn will be dating. Maybe we should keep her in diapers if for nothing other than to deter potential suitors! Hmmmm....food for thought.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My child did WHAT?!?!?

There will be a much longer post later to discuss the collective plan for whirled peas, poverty and the Gulf oil spill. For now, I will simply crow about what a GENIUS my child is and how her GENIUS is obviously a reflection of the collective GENIUS between Brent and I.

The collective decision was made for TIC to start potty training on her schedule. This was borne out of sheer lazinees, to be perfectly honest. Neither Brent nor I did any research on methods, rewards, etc. My thought was that peer pressure would be our guide. She'd see the kids at school going to the bathroom and she would want to get in on the action. This course of action DID cause me a bit of worry. What would happen when she was 30 and not potty trained because her parents were too lazy to perform a search followed by a couple of clicks on the interwebs? I didn't reallylet it consume me as they make Depends for that kind of thing and if she hadn't succumbed to peer pressure to pee and poop in the potty, then nothing I could say or do would change the outcome at that point.

We have encouraged potty time to no avail. Then, the skies opened up and God smiled upon us. Well, okay, that's a little dramatic, but it's like a switch was flipped. Brent went to pick up Kaitlyn and the teacher said Kaitlyn had at least one successfully potty attempt and we should bring her wearing underwear next week. When the hubster told me that, I am not ashamed to admit I doubted him. I asked him if he was sure if they were speaking of OUR bebe child. He assured me they were.

Lo and behold, Kaitlyn peed on the potty once on Saturday. No attempts on Sunday. Two successful attempts today at school, two accidents (one at school and one at a restaurant) and a successful attempt at home. WAHOO!!!! Here's hoping we keep this trend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Toddler Trainwreck

This weekend was a hectic one, with lots of activities. However, Toddler In Chief continues to battle the nasty day care bug (not sure if that's the medical term for the crud coming out of her nose, but I'ma use it), so we decided to scrap her weekend plans in favor of a restorative weekend. Generally speaking, a snotty TIC means a cranky TIC come Monday drop off. As if I didn't already dread Mondays for work reasons, I now have the opportunity to dread Monday drop off.

Last night, TIC came to our room in the middle of the night clutching Woody and wanted to climb into bed. While this is not a new phenomena, what is new is that she spent the rest of the night in our bed. Usually she gets fed up and goes back to her bed. So, I was especially dreading this morning. I know *I* didn't sleep very well and assumed Kaitlyn didn't either (foolish, foolish me. She wasn't the one with the foot upside her head all night long).

Fast forward to drop off. We got to the classroom right after a new little boy. I didn't pay attention other than to "pity the fool" as Mr. T used to say, though I recognize I'm not using it in the proper context. Formerly new parents (me) recognize the newbies in the way the children cling to them to prevent mommy or daddy from leaving. Obviously, this tactic fails and the child is left wailing and the parent leaves broken hearted. The new little boy was no exception to the rule. What is FASCINATING is that MOMMY was in the car and made DADDY do the drop off. That's cold, man. Anyway, as soon as we get to the classroom, Kaitlyn pulls up a seat at the table and sits down to one of her least favorite breakfasts. I clearly took advantage of this to do my administrative stuff (love note, status report, etc). Bebe child wasn't even LOOKING at me. I finish up and go to give her several kisses on the neck and she BRUSHED ME OFF! She was looking at the new little boy in all his writhing, crocodile tear producing glory. My child has learned, at the tender age of two and a half, the entertainment value of watching a trainwreck.

I'm so proud I may cry.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Didja get my good side??

I was never so good photographically as when the digital camera became affordable. I tried so hard as a kid to take good pictures, but inevitably, there was a blur indicating I didn't hold the camera still long enough to get the ideal picture. I'm sure I've got some really great shots of some wonderful people having the time of our lives, if only I could identify SOMETHING in that picture that would trigger my memory. I wish that statement was an exaggeration, but it's not.

Fast forward to the digital age, especially the series of cameras known as the "point and shoot." Unlike in real life, you get do overs with point and shoots. Well, for still pictures anyway. For anything else, you better have your game face on cuz trying to catch a picture of your friend on the zip wire doesn't really lend itself to do overs. I, for one, am a huge fan of do overs, and take advantage of them every second I can. I don't know (nor do I care) how to frame the perfect shot so that the light hits the drop of water and makes it look like the perfect bead. I DO know how to point and shoot at bebe child and that's all I need.

Today, the toddler in chief and I went to the library to pick up a book. While there, I went to the online catalog to see if there were any books about Toy Story. Kaitlyn, without my initial awareness, was emulating me. She sat right down at the computer next to me and was looking up books on the path to enlightenment (silly me, I thought Toy Story books were sufficient). When I happened to notice what she was doing, I immediately took a picture with my camera phone. Kaitlyn, being very tech savvy, came over to see the picture I took. We both agreed it was not the best it could have been, so wordlessly, resignedly, she got back up in the chair and posed again. Again, I took the picture, we consulted on the results, and decided we were satisfied. Spontaneity? Out the window. But, you have to present your best side when auditioning for the Ford agency, or so bebe child tells me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Teens already??

There has been a moratorium on stickers in the Shoup House. Not because they get everywhere, but because the plan is to use them as rewards when we start potty training in earnest. When will that be? I have no idea, but we're prepared!

Anyway, this morning, Kaitlyn found a sheet of stickers and went on a sticker binge! When she came upstairs, as I was getting ready, she said to me "I findit stickers, Mommy!" I looked at her, and indeed she had. She had happy face stickers from her thigh to her toes, but only on one leg. Interestingly enough, there was a "puddle" of happy face stickers right at the top of her foot where her foot meets her leg. She also arranged them in such a way that the colors went from brightest (yellow) to darkest (purple). It was very pretty and very well executed.

While I was in the shower, I heard "Oh NO, Mommy, I droppit stickers!" So I did what many parents do and I parroted back what she said and phrased it as a question: "Oh NO, baby, you dropped the sticker?" To which she replied "I KNOW, Mommy, I DROPPIT sticker!" We all have our lot in life, and clearly bebe child's lot in life is to be saddled with a mom who isn't the brightest bulb in the box. Poor poor baby child. Thankfully, she didn't hear me giggle, as I was in the shower, but honestly, if the attitude is starting this early, I might consider medication for the teen years...for me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Survival mode

Things have been kind of crazy for the Shoups lately. With my new job, long commute and Kaitlyn's new school, our world has been kind of pushed, crammed and squeezed like never before. I've mostly been in survival mode, moving from one activity to the next. It's hard to stay coherent some days, much less upbeat and positive.

I celebrated my 34th birthday a couple of weeks ago. Not a big milestone birthday and the day passed as an ordinary day. I kind of had an odd feeling going into it, so I wasn't surprised by the slight vanilla feel to the day. Next year is the big 3-5! That's the year I plan to become an adult! I heard it's important to have goals so that is mine for next year.

The animal population continues to shrink gradually. We're no longer having the fire sale we once were and are slowly introducing the kittens into the general population. They get the run of the house once we are home and have the run of the basement during the day. I keep saying this will be the last batch of kitten fosters for awhile, for reasons too great to number, but who knows what the future holds? I have a dog foster waiting in the wings that I will bring in once some of the kitten population has dwindled, but for now, we just have our three dogs and that's good enough for me.

Brent continues to be the glue that holds the household together. While I worked long hours last week and played host for a couple of days to an out of town friend, he kept the household running smoothly. He continues to excel at work to the point that he is being given additional opportunities, so that's been really exciting for him. He found out that the big race he wanted to do this year sold out very quickly, so he won't be doing his 50 mile marathon this year. Instead, he'll focus on more centrally located marathons to build his speed and stamina.

Kaitlyn is growing in leaps and bounds. We are still struggling with potty training, but she's just not showing that much interest. The poor thing is currently dealing with her first bout of pink eye ever (after I was JUST bragging to my friend Emily about the lack of presence pink eye has had in her short life) and is super cranky as a result. She loves her new school, is excited about her friends at school and the waterworks are turned down low for the most part. This is good news as your child's heartbreaking sobs can render you useless for the rest of the day, despite the fact the web cam says she's forgotten all about you. She loves to give hugs and kisses, and is generally pretty mild mannered. She will stare at you like she doesn't know what language you're speaking when you tell her to do something she doesn't want to do, but otherwise, is a very well behaved child. It's good to know that SOMEONE can stay grounded amongst all this craziness!

If you have kids and you're reading this blog, give them an extra hug and kiss tonight, no matter their age. A friend of a friend recently lost her little girl, very very suddenly. We always say that life is precious and we should cherish every moment of it. Life with your kids is precious beyond measure. If you don't take this time to appreciate everything your child has to offer (yes, I mean the good and the bad) now, you'll truly miss out on so much. Be thankful that your child is a pain in the butt and can tell you no. Some parents will never hear their child speak. As your child runs away from you in the department store, take a moment (while in pursuit, of course) to rejoice in the fact that both of their legs are fully functioning. And when they throw their food back at you, be thankful that they have food to throw at you. There are so many things in this world that just don't reward you the way being a parent rewards you. Appreciate your family and love them with all your might. Who knows how long you'll have that privilege.