Parenting

***

Brian took the girls to the city for the day and night and so I have had the house to myself for over 24 hours. I had grand plans of doing all the things that a mom thinks she’ll do with such freedom, but instead I sat in front of the television the entire day and night in a saddened daze.

How is this possible?

How is it possible that in the year 2017, I am having archaic conversations with my children that my grandparents had to have 60 years ago with my parents?

How is that possible?

In the last 24 hours, I have been consumed with the sadness and fear – and realization – that we will be fighting this battle over bigotry and racism as parents until the day we die. And then our children will be fighting it with their children. Because these horrific people will always exist. And the real sadness comes in that they exist in not only large ways – groups marching down a street filled with hate – but in small ways that seep in slowly like a methodical poison.

A racist joke, an off-handed comment, a generalization… these all chip away at everything we are trying to teach our children. Brian and I can drill into our girls over and over the absolute importance of equality and love – and it will take one fucking idiot with a racist joke to plant a seed of doubt.

Do you understand that?

A friend posted yesterday, “Where is the outrage now from the many of you who very loudly [criticized and mocked] the Women’s march?” – a peaceful march of four million people.  And his question could not be more on point.  How quickly your energy for outrage has vanished. And don’t tell me it’s because you don’t feel the need to “acknowledge” a small group of white supremacists. That “small” group of hate marched down a city street and reminded us of what is still out there. That “small” group of terrorists (say it, Mr. President) proudly affirmed all the quiet hate that is still swarming in this country.

Quiet hate.

That is what this country is filled with. The people with the small, “off-color” jokes. The people who say “them” and “those people.” The people who completely miss the point of Black Lives Matter.  And sadly, just reading “Black Lives Matter” in this post will instantly either turn people off or put them on the defensive. Somehow they believe that saying “Black Lives Matter” is saying no other lives matter.  I have news for you. Your white life has always fucking mattered. It has mattered so much that there has never been a fucking question of it mattering.

How do people not understand that?!

Me writing this is not jumping on a soapbox or an exercise in self-righteousness.  I am a white suburban mom and I will never, ever understand what it must feel like to know that if my black child goes missing, she will fall into a secondary importance of a white child who has gone missing on the same day.  When is the last time you saw a Dateline episode or even the nightly news report on a missing black child?

I will never understand how it feels to know that if my child were shot walking down the street, the outrage, if any, would last a day and then be buried along with her.

I won’t truly understand the fear of a mother who watches the news and sees a parade of grown men and women proudly carrying hateful signs that tell my children they don’t belong – that this is not their country.

I don’t pretend to understand how any of this must feel.

I do know this. If my child, sister, friend or neighbor came to me with her heart in her hands and said, “It has been bruised and broken for years – and no one can help me,” I would not then pull out my perfectly beating heart and say, “Well, my heart matters, too.”

There is loud hate on the streets. There is even quieter hate slowly filling the small spaces surrounding us. In those small spaces, our children are watching and listening.

So, we will teach our kids what all sides represent.

And we will also make damned sure they know which side is filled with blatant hate.

 

***

I remember once feeling superior that my lovely little human never went through the “terrible twos” and giving myself a pat on the back for (so-far) raising an even tempered, happy little girl.  “Oh, I bet that one’s a firecracker!” I’d hear countless times at the grocery store from people observing Ivy’s red hair. And I’d proudly, no, smugly respond, “No, she’s a pretty happy go lucky kid.” 

And then…

My child turned 3 1/2 and some sort of miniature demon has taken control of her to the point that I now look fondly back at potty training as a sort of utopia.

Now, I’m not saying animated movies are, in fact, documentaries based on true events, but if someone were to tell me my child was injected with night howlers by Assistant Mayor Bellwether in Zootopia, I may not question it.

I mean, she hisses at us sometimes.

When she gets really pissed off, she calls me by my first name instead of Mommy.  Let me just say, if you think the effect of calling your children by their full name gets attention, imagine having your three-year-old say to you (in the most dismissive way ever), “Ok, JEN. You don’t have to yell. I’m right here.”

And the tantrums. My God, the tantrums.

Here are just a few reasons for her full on fits in the last week:

  • I picked out her plate for breakfast.
  • I cut her waffles the wrong way.
  • I sang.
  • I said “Good morning.”
  • I wore my hair up.
  • I made eye contact.

I’d like to follow the above with somewhat of a disclaimer, because sometimes I do say, “Good morning!” and she responds happily. But I haven’t yet figured out the rhythm of her mood swings, so every morning is a complete crap shoot and reminiscent of Sally Field in Sybil.*

(Ugh. The majority of you are too young to even get that Sybil reference.) 

Anyway, it’s not just the randomness of Ivy’s moods that are shocking to me these days, it’s also the completely condescending way she executes her responses.

She matter-of-factly claims one of the following every time I ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do: 1) temporary paralysis;  2) utter starvation; and/or  3) hiccups (which, for some reason, she thinks is an illness).

She told me last week that picking up her toys was boring and too serious.

I recently asked her several times to please pick her crayons up off the floor, because our dog keeps trying to eat them. After giving her my ‘last warning’ voice, she put down the toy she was playing with, gave an exasperated sigh, put her hand up, in my direction, and shouted, “JUST GO ON YOUR COMPUTER AND WORK. I’M HANDLING IT!”

Yep.

***This is the part of the post where some people are shaking their heads and saying to themselves, “Uh uh. No way would my kid talk to me like that. That child needs discipline.***

***And this is the part of the post where I respond to the above parents and say, “Screeeewwww you.”***

Three and a half has proven to be my kryptonite in parenting, to date. I had thought it was the first three days of potty training.

I was gravely mistaken.

I like to tell myself that this phase is teaching me patience and discipline in motherhood. But in reality, it’s only teaching me patience and discipline in alcohol rationing.

Because if this keeps up, we’re gonna need a bigger bottle.

xo,

Jen

 

***

When I was five years old, I watched Albert Peece* eat glue at our kindergarten table. I gagged uncontrollably the first time I witnessed it. As the child of a large animal veterinarian, I had seen some pretty disgusting things in my young life by then (those medical rubber gloves go all the way up the arm for a reason, people); but, for some reason, Albert eating glue unnerved me to no end.

Albert would eat glue almost every day during art. He’d roll it in a ball between his fingers and then pop it in his mouth like a Cheetoh. (I’m totally gagging as I type this, by the way.) But I loved art so much that I learned to tune out his nauseating habit and focus on my own paper, scissors and (appropriately used) glue stick.

These days, you know what feels a lot like tuning out Albert Peece and staying focused on my own art? Parenting.  Parenting in the midst of of noise and chaos and nauseating behavior. And I’m not even talking about the actual kids. 

I learned (and wrote about) pretty early on that staying in your own lane is an important key to happy parenting. But let’s be honest, it’s not easy. There are so many distractors from the outside world bringing us down, telling us what to do, how to do it, what to be angry about, what to agree with…

It’s exhausting.

I’m a stepmom to a teenager and a mom to a three year old, and there is so much that I don’t know and have yet to learn.  But there is one thing that I am quite positive about:  I can clearly identify the things that truly drain me as a parent and they have nothing to do with my kids.

1. Chronic Complainers.

I’m not talking about those of us who need to vent. We all need to vent. That is completely healthy and therapeutic. I mean, where would we be if we held it in all of the time? (Rubber walls and meals slid under doors comes to mind.)  What I am talking about are the complainers that never stop telling us how bad they have it, and how busy they are, in parenting. Whether it be social media or in conversation, they do nothing but complain. 

I don’t know if it’s because I have close friends who have gone through the ultimate pain of losing a child, or if it’s because of my own fertility struggles, but I have a low tolerance for chronic complainers, especially when it comes to their children. I’m all for commiserating together and venting while sharing our struggles, but when you choose to do it every five minutes, I lose compassion for you. And I think that’s the saddest part of this altogether, because I do have compassion for the struggles – just not when you constantly cry mama-wolf.

2. “Studies show” reports.

I admit that when I became a new mom, I paid attention to every new “Studies show” article I came upon. Learning about every ‘new study’ made me feel informed and like a good parent. And then I quickly realized that the new study reported yesterday conflicted with the new, new study released today and before you knew it, I was locked in my closet with a bottle of vodka trying to decipher if pacifiers were or were not going to limit my child’s ability to get into Harvard.

Enough!  Our parent’s parent’s parents somehow kept our gene pools going successfully without all of this information, so we can, too.

I still read a few reports here and there and make thoughtful notations in my head, but I no longer give them as much weight (or importance) as I once did.

3. Blind bags.

Seriously, YouTube. I will never forgive you for this.

4. The Comments Section… Of anything.

I recently had a post published on a very public forum and I very hesitantly read the comments section (with one eye closed and a bottle of wine for proactive measures). Luckily, that particular piece was pretty mild, so I wasn’t verbally crucified, but I see it happen every day. And it’s frightening. Had it been one of my past posts on step-parenting, I’m sure I would have been tarred and feathered and I’d be doing an ugly-cry right now instead of writing this.

The comments section of nearly everything these days usually ends up making me feel disheartened and disappointed. It reminds me there are some nasty people out there, which then makes me sad for my children and the nastiness they’ll eventually encounter in school, play and in life, in general.

5. Click-Bate Mommy Wars.

I enjoy reading posts, blogs and articles from other moms. I love that there are some great conscious platforms out there that bring together so many different viewpoints. What I don’t love are some newer platforms that seem to be posting click-bate titled articles purely because they know it will initiate controversy and discord among moms.  There is one network, in particular, that I recently unfollowed because it was clear they cared less about genuine varying viewpoints on parenting and more about starting fires for follows.

Differing opinions are good, healthy debate is good, sharing personal experiences is good.  But please stop perpetuating mommy wars with your ridiculous hook lines and asinine subtitles.  We are smarter than that and we are onto you.

***

Bottom line, parenting can be exhausting. Life can be exhausting. I can’t control the outside world, but I can control how much of it I let in and allow to affect my parenting.

I love being a mom. I am not a perfect mom and it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows, but I love being a mom. So, I’m going to focus on my own little piece of art over here and teach my kids to filter out the useless, unproductive noise of the world as much as possible.

Oh, and I am also going to teach them not to eat glue.

Because seriously, WTF, Albert?

xo,

Jen

*Names have been changed in order to protect the guilty.
**Fake names may or may not rhyme with actual names.

***

Let’s talk truth in motherhood, shall we?

As I sat drinking my coffee this morning and scrolled through the feed of pages I follow on Facebook, I noticed a theme. Endless pieces posted by “mom portals” with titles like Why I Will Never *blank* Again or Yes, I Resent My Husband For *blank*. And after reading each title, I would skim the comments and read the (inevitable) criticism of the writer’s point of view, etc.

Harsh criticism.

Like, people are effing mean.

But that’s what happens when you read the comments section of anything really, right? Vultures hovering to point out why your opinion/suggestion/way is wrong/damaging/idiotic.  I don’t usually like to breathe life into coined terms like Mommy Wars, but let’s face it: they exist. And, apparently, the causes of war are endless.

Endless.

If you write about feeding your child with a Little Mermaid spoon, someone will comment that Ariel is an anti-feminist child bride and terrible example for your daughter.

If you write about feeding your child homemade yogurt, someone will leave a snarky comment about proudly dumping a Lunch-ables on their kid’s lap as he zombie-stared into his iPad.

If you write about breast-feeding, someone will comment with 50 defensive reasons why they didn’t breast-feed.

If you write about not breast-feeding, someone will comment with 5,000 reasons why you should have.

How about rather than get involved in a heated conversation about heated baby wipes (pun intended), we all be a bit more “Meh. Live and let live.”

(*That is, unless another parent’s choice actually poses outright danger to their child or yours.)

I’m not saying ‘don’t have an opinion.’ I’m all for healthy debate.  But does that even exist online anymore? In all things lately, it seems, it’s either us vs. them. There is no middle ground – no in between. Not with politics and definitely not with parenting.

And in the (mom) blogging world, in particular, there appears to be two themes:

1/   Cinderella-mom.  Cinderella-mom lives in a mommy-world full of birds singing and perfectly dressed children and magical moments documented on social media. Cinderella-mom sings to you about the joys of cleaning and cooking and child-rearing, and she never ever discusses being tired or run-down or run over. Cinderella-mom and her little mice crochet blankets from leftover love and she makes organic moisturizer out of her (publicly unseen) tears. Cinderella-mom is happy, dammit. She is so… damn… happy. And she wants you to know it. You will know it, do you understand?!

And then there is…

2/   Daria-mom.  Daria-mom is sarcastic and snarky and likes to tell you how bad of a mom she is. Over and over. She makes fun of Cinderella-moms while throwing Cheetos at her kids for breakfast and then blogs about what a bad/badass mom she is for doing it. Daria-mom rolls her eyes at anything positive parent-related and physically gags when hearing the word “magical.”  Daria-mom loves her kids – when they are sleeping. Daria-mom laughs and points at anything handmade or homemade and loves to write about how anti-mom blog she is, and then posts all about it on her blog… about mom-ing.

Ok, so.

What if I were to tell you that both of these moms…

are equally f*cking annoying?

Why does it have to be one way or the other? Why is everything sooooo one way or the other lately?

*cough* politics *cough*

Listen, I get it. When writing, there’s a shtick… And I’m seeing more and more that the shtick is to either display perfection or anti-perfection. You can’t be both. Some moms want to be inspired. Some moms want to feel less alone. I get that.  But why are we stabbing at each other in the process?

Here is what I’ve learned through writing. Y’all aren’t one-dimensional. And you definitely appreciate honesty.

For as much good feedback I get on decor ideas for a playroom:

I get just as many (if not more) comments and kudos for the reality of what this playroom looks like on any given day (that a camera or guests aren’t present):

(I mean, you guys really liked the above photo…)

What this tells me is that all kinds of moms who put themselves out there are useful and have merit.  So I wish we’d all take a breath and stop dismissing one way in order to promote another. In fact, how about we stop doing that in life altogether?!

Puppies are cuddly and soft and fluffy and full of love. They also piss all over the place and sometimes eat their own poop.

There is no one way to be… except yourself – all of yourself . So, definitely don’t put yourself in a corner, baby.

(Also, don’t eat your own poop. That was just a metaphor.)

Ok, now I’m gagging.

And it’s not over the word “magical.”

For the record, Cinderella has always been my favorite princess and Daria is my favorite animated series.

Sweet and sarcastic.

You don’t have to choose, or be,  just one.

xo,

Jen

 

ps – Seriously, you haven’t entered my JORD giveaway yet? You know I’m not a big deal, so your chances of winning are pretty high, right? Click here and get on it!

 

***

Why is my house quiet? Why did I wake up this morning without my three year old, Ivy, staring at me ala The Ring?

The reason for this temporary euphoria is because my 13-year old step-daughter had a sleepover last night. And when big sister has a sleepover, Ivy considers herself a plus one and doesn’t leave her side. So, I have a house with teens and toddlers all sleeping away until likely noon.

Cue birds chirping and mice singing while making me a pot of fresh coffee.

A lot of people ask me how it is to have the girls so far apart in age, and my immediate response is always, “It’s great!” And I mean that. There is nothing I would change about their age difference, because the bond they have is so tight – even with those ten years between them.

This is what our family looks like. These two girls and us. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I think one of the hardest challenges for stepmoms may be the constant need to make our families feel whole in a dynamic where our husband or partner had a life before us that included a completely different family. I know it is something I have struggled with, especially in the beginning. It is absolutely normal to feel this way. Hey, the world is changing and what a family looks like is, thankfully, changing as well to encompass all sorts of lovely combinations. However, that doesn’t mean us step moms do not have human moments where we wish we were the first and last wife. The only wife, to be frank. And we wish we shared experiences with our spouse that he did not experience before.

These feelings are perfectly acceptable and no one should be ashamed of them. For some stepmoms, it can be really difficult to get over and past this mental hump. Your husband had a life before you. A wife before you. And I get asked quite often how I deal with it. This is always my answer:

Accept it. And respect it.

Respect it?

Yep.

Let’s be clear, I’m not telling you to throw your husband and his ex an anniversary party every year or have your spouse retell the story of how they met over and over.  *Shudder*  I am saying that it helped – and helps –  me, personally, to accept what was, compartmentalize it and move forward with a healthier perspective. Their relationship didn’t work out, but it did happen. Instead of dismissing it as a failure, so that I can feel superior, I choose to view it as a stepping stone that eventually led them down a better path. And bright side: that path eventually led my husband to me.

In the public stepmom world, we witness some pretty nasty views about “the ex.”

He never loved her anyway.
He was trapped in the marriage.
He was miserable the whole time.

I know every situation is different and there are definitely high-conflict situations where ugliness is being thrown about with reckless abandon.  However, if you are particularly struggling with the fact that your husband had a wife before you, then I urge you to look at it a different way.

Stop focusing on the fact that this woman is your husband’s ex and see her as the mother of your step-child(ten). 

Although I acknowledge my husband was married once before, that relationship had nothing to do with me, so it makes no sense for me to dwell on it or deny it.

And lets think about those ugly comments, in particular, for a moment. Would you want someone dismissing your marriage – whether it failed or not?  I’m pretty sure dismissing a first marriage feels just as lousy as someone dismissing the second. Also, and most importantly, let’s pretend that your step-child(ren) heard you saying those things. Is it okay to take one giant swipe to discount an entire relationship, one that happened to bring a child/children into this world,  whether it was successful or not? Children of divorce sacrifice so much.  Why would anyone want to dissolve or dismiss what may be one of the few happy memories or ideas they have of their parents being together?

Aside from a mindset trapping you in a sea of negativity and making you look petty and bitter, this outlook will also stunt you from growth, maturity and moving on, in general.

My husband had a wife before me. My husband had a family before me. And out of their love, I received one of the greatest gifts ever: a beautiful step-daughter and a wonderful sister for Ivy.  I will not discredit their relationship or past life. And though I certainly won’t dwell on it, I also won’t shut my eyes and cover my ears and pretend it never happened. Just as I wouldn’t want anyone to dismiss my marriage or family now.

If we accept our husband’s past and stop denying that it was real and that it happened, it will bring our mind peace moving forward.  More importantly, we will be a better step-parent for it.

Empathy is huge if you are to get by in this step-parent world. You have to have it or you will struggle constantly. Let’s push down these walls of us vs. them and put ourselves in their situation as often as we can (and, hopefully, they will provide us the same courtesy). I’m not saying this will solve all of our co-parenting issues, but I do promise – this will open a floodgate of newfound understanding, compassion and common ground.

Let’s do it for them and do it for us. But most importantly, let’s do it for our very whole families.

xo,

Jen

It’s that time.

We are in the throws of potty training over here.  I apologize for the pee-tunnel vision – but when you are in it, it’s pretty much consumed your life for the time being.

I’m going to be frank.  I feel like I have been pretty laid back about motherhood for the most part… until now.  I don’t think much about milestone timelines and I’ve kind of always held the mindset that babies/toddlers get to where they are going on their own time.  You can’t force them to walk or talk or crawl or sit up.  They do it when they are ready.

But this… this whole potty training gig is something we have to teach.  They don’t just wake up one day and pass by you on their way to the bathroom with a Golden Book under one arm, and then come out afterwards holding a cigarette and coffee.

I don’t know why that visual makes me laugh out loud, but it does.

Yes, yes – I know.  There is nothing funny about a smoking toddler.

Anyway, can I continue here?

Ok, let me tell you, I was not prepared.

In full honesty, I was always very flippant about potty training.  “Oh, we plan to just do that 3-day boot camp thing.”  That is what I actually said to people.  Don’t worry, my eyes are rolling so far back into my own head, I’m temporarily blind.  Oh, it’s just that simple, is it?  Aww, good for you!  Now take this bucket of baby-urine I’ve saved up for you and dump it over your mom-bob, you jackass.

I’m sorry. That was totally uncalled for. Your bob is perfectly lovely. I’m just under a lot of stress right now.

My sister once told me, about a month after I had my daughter, Ivy, that though she realizes I am so grateful to be a mom (because of the fertility issues we had, etc.), that doesn’t mean that I can go about life never complaining about parenthood.  She said it won’t make me ungrateful to vent, it will just make me human.

Well, I would like to cash in my complaint chip here, sister!   I have found my kryptonite.  And it comes in the form of potty chairs and Little Mermaid underpants.  And I am allowing myself a temporary moratorium from gratefulness.

Because… this suuuuuuuucks.

Day 1: Enthusiasm and Exasperation.

Rise and shine! We’ve been mentally preparing all weekend that Monday is the “big day”!  No more diapers!  Ivy was excited all weekend, but this morning, she is sleepy and unenthused.  I coerce her with the wall chart I made – and remind her of the wonderful stickers she can collect.  Suddenly, she is on board.  We rip off her diaper and I put her on the toilet.  And we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

After I come to the conclusion that I birthed a red-headed camel or that she possibly has a reserve bladder, we take a break (much to her chagrin, because she’s bound and determined to get a sticker).  But not for long. She wants back on.  I like her determination!  And so we wait a bit more.

And more.

And more.

And… you get the idea.

I give her milk to drink (while on the potty) and tell her it will help her go.  She takes two huge gulps, looks down at her privates and says, “IT’S NOT WORKING!”  I make a mental note that we need to speak about the perils of instant gratification.

I convince her to take a break and I put her new big-girl underpants on.  She happily plays with her toys on the floor and at one point, when she moves across the rug, I see a wet spot.  Our first accident.  She didn’t even care or notice!  But, I don’t make a big deal out of it. We clean it up and I tell her that we will try again.

It is now noon.  She lets out a big sigh and calmly says, “Mommy, I’m tired. I want to take a nap.”  I’m serious. She is actually requesting a nap.  She knows her limits. I tell her I feel the same way. I put a pull-up on her and she happily goes down for a nap without a peep.  God love her.

She wakes 2 1/2 hours later and is ready to go again. But she has wet her pull-up while napping, so I know we may be in for the long haul.  We spend the next hour on and off the toilet.  Finally, we get one tiny microscopic poop! Then… another!  HOORAY!  A giant celebration ensues! She picks out two stickers (she gets one for potty, two for poop) and proudly places it on her board!

We can DO this!  All faith is restored! We got this!

My husband comes home from work shortly thereafter. Ivy shows off her stickers! Everything is wonderful!

I leave to pick up my step-daughter from dance and my husband stays with Ivy.  I get a text that simply has a poop emoji.  I silently cheer!  (This is what our life has come to.) Then I get a video of her singing a deeply dramatic version of Hello by Adele while on the toilet.  I am then informed she has peed. YESSS!

I arrive home with my step-daughter and Ivy is elated to show off her additional stickers. We all applaud and cheer her on.

And then SPLASH. Pee comes pouring out of her while she sits on a stool at the kitchen island. She is scared by it and starts crying. I calmly tell her it’s fine but next time, try and tell Mommy if she feels it. Fifteen minutes later, another splash by the area rug.  Again, she’s scared.  I realize that she has only had accidents when she’s wearing underpants, so I strip them off her and we decide to go commando.  No accidents the rest of the night.

Pull-up goes on for bedtime and I tell her how fantastic she did on her first day while secretly wondering how I’m going to be able to keep doing this while also keeping my sanity.

Day 2: Mama Needs a Drink.

Today we had no accidents, but it was emotionally the worst day by far.

We have decided to keep going commando, because she is more aware of her need to go this way.  She feels “safe” when she has underpants on and will pee in them.  And, frankly, she apparently loves the freeing feeling, because she won’t even put pants on now when we try.  However, because she is so aware and afraid to pee while naked, we are in the bathroom EVERY 45 SECONDS.  That is not an exaggeration.  It’s a constant rotation of her grabbing herself, yelling “Mommy, I have to go!”, running to the bathroom and then….nothing.  She then asks to get down. We go back in the living room. And it starts all over again 15 seconds later.

I am drained.

This goes on for hours and hours.  We have no accidents, but we also have no sanity.  We have spent the entire day, aside from her nap, in the bathroom. I expected to be in there much of the day, but the constant false alarms and drama of it is slowly killing my will.  By the time my husband comes home, I am at my wits end and need a break before I end up in the fetal position.  The only saving grace is that my work days have been slow (I work from home).  I don’t know how I’m going to keep this up when I start to get slammed with projects.

At the end of the evening, when I find myself losing my temper with her, I take a step back and shut it down.  I hug her and hold her and apologize and tell her I love her and that we are going to change things up and do it our way.  She says, “ok” in the tiniest, sweetest voice there ever was. We are both learning here – and this is all a foreign concept to her.  She’s doing her best and I’m failing her with my frustration.

NO MORE.

Piss on that, potty training!

Day 3: Newfound Zen

We are now in the zen-stage of potty training. I have woken up with a new outlook.  If she has an accident, so what? If a giant softball of poop falls out of her while we try to race to the bathroom (and it did), so what?  We are just going with it – and it is so. much. better. this way.

Other than the softball poop drop, we have no real accidents.  Our issue now appears to be her holding her pee in.  We’ve read this is common and to keep going (within reason).  She eventually pees throughout the day, but is frightened each time. One time, she circled her portable potty like a caged animal, finally sat on it and cried out when she started peeing. This was immediately followed by a maniacal laugh when she realized peeing was a good thing.  (I wish I had a video of that One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest/Jack Nicholson moment.)

Her last pee of the day – right before bed – is just as dramatic, but successful.

Day 4: Must. Keep. Going.

Ivy wakes up with a wet pull-up, per usual. I couldn’t care less about this. All morning and early afternoon, we attempt to go on the potty.

Nothing.

Not a drop.

I text my husband and tell him I can’t do this anymore, but I’m looking more for consolation and encouragement than surrender, and I realize this when he responds, “Maybe we’ll try again in several months.”

Oh hell no.  I didn’t go through three days of bodily function hell to end up at square one in six months.

We. Must. Keep. Going.

(Does my husband know me, or what?)

Finally, at 12:30pm, Ivy starts doing the wild animal circle around her potty chair in the living room.  She keeps holding herself and exclaiming, “It hurts!”  I know she has to go and I don’t know how to explain to stop holding it in!  She screams, “I’M TIRED! I WANT TO TAKE A NAP. MOMMY, GO GET A PULL-UP!” and I now realize my child is a maniacal genius. She wants to just pee in her pull-up in peace under the guise of taking a nap.  Though I am silently impressed (and slightly frightened) by her savvy attempt at manipulation, I insist we persevere.

I calmly tell her that I will put her pull-up on after she pees. She finally gives in and sits on the potty and pees.  Once again, an instant transformation into excited, happy child forms.  Stickers are placed!  M&Ms are consumed. All is well!

She then gets her pull-up on herself and happily goes down for a nap.  My kid has always been a good sleeper, but her eagerness for naps is outright blasphemous to toddlers everywhere at this point.

She finds this pee and poop business e x h a u s t i n g.

Same, girl. Same.

 

xo,

Jen