Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Penises and Potty-training...

Fair warning: This is not a "Potty-Train your Toddler in 3 Days! With Pictures!" post. There are enough of those and, personally, I would like to punch those people square in the throat. (Also, I call bullshit that your child was fully, big-kid potty-trained at 17 months, no matter what your oft-pinned blog post says. If your kid can't say, "Excuse me, Momma - would you put down your gin and tonic and help me locate a restroom, please?" and then have the sphincter control to actually hold it until you arrive at the restroom, wait in line, and finally set him/her on the strips of toilet paper you carefully arranged to cover up as much Ebola-covered toilet seat as possible, then, no. Sorry. Not potty-trained.) Instead, this is a from-the-trenches account of lessons learned.

It started off innocently enough. I was blissfully wandering through Target by myself when K called and asked me to buy something normal like razor blades or windshield washer fluid or bananas,  and then threw in, "and maybe a potty seat." Looking back, that moment seems like the first time someone suggested to Oedipus that maybe he should just go see the Oracle: "I mean, what's the worst that could happen? It's not like you're going to end up killing a guy you don't know is your father, marrying your mother, fathering your half-siblings, and then gouging out your own eyeballs in angst… LOL, AMIRITE?!?!"

But, after a little eye-rolling, I decided I could make room for a $6 hunk of plastic among the cartful of my own impulse purchases and tossed the least-ugly seat in.

It was fine for awhile. We decided that we wouldn't do the "potty-training bootcamp" (and by that, I mean that I told K in no uncertain terms that I am pregnant and exhausted and will not be pouring energy I don't have into something that I'm not sure the boy is really ready for anyway. Hello! He still thinks my drink of choice is "teeeeeeea"). So we came up with a little compromise involving lots of talking about the potty, and "trying" to "go" on the potty at certain times (e.g., after diaper changes, before and after nap, etc.), and, naturally, lots of M&Ms.

I quickly learned, however, that potty-training a boy is just code for watching your child play with his penis. On the plus side, it has helped my vocabulary: I used to think that I would only use the proper anatomical terms for my kid(s)'s bits, but somehow "quit playing with your testicles!" sounds really weird. These vocabulary decisions need to be made ahead of time, though, because "quit playing with your balls!" should only be said to a child in a gymnasium regarding basketballs. So far, I've settled on "bottom," with the exception of the phrase, "Stop! Point your penis into the toilet!"

… And this is where we're stalled. He's only interested in the potty for three reasons: 1) stalling before bed/nap; 2) "treeeeeeeeeeat??"; 3) flushing an empty toilet 17 times in a row while Momma cries softly in the corner.

Which brings us to last night, when I came to the conclusion that only the same-sex parent should have to potty-train the child. J had gone back and forth between the potty ("treeeeeeeeeeeat??") and bathtub probably 7 times, each time involving much "I must dry off every single drop off water before I sit on the potty -- No! With the hand towel!" drama, along with many admonitions of, "if you have to go potty, hurry and sit on the potty." I finally thought to ask him if he was "all out" of potty, at which point he knocked on his penis with his knuckles, and leaned over as far as possible as if to listen for urine -- what? Sloshing?? I yelled downstairs to K that our child would be going off to college in diapers and that I, for one, was totally fine with that arrangement. He asked what was going on that was so discouraging for me, and I ended up crying on the stairs with my head in my hands telling him that J was knocking on his penis. To which K replied, "oh -- it must've been because we watched the episode of Curious George about 'tapping' maple trees to get syrup, because George gets confused and thinks that means that you have to knock on them and then it just comes out. Haha - he was trying to 'tap' his bladder." How could I have possibly missed that? Oh, right - probably because nothing involved in my potty training resembled a cedar tree.

So where does that leave us? J's preschool teachers told me last week that he is the only one in the class interested in the bathroom, which can only translate to, "Congratulations! You get to clean up tons of messes!" For now, I'll continue on this Sisyphean task, randomly crying on the stairs, and trying to decode subliminal potty-training messages in every episode of Peg + Cat and Curious George (I'll probably even eye J's nativity scene with suspicion - you never know. Baby Jesus could be in on it.). Or, maybe I'll just start researching slim-fit Depends.

(Also, in case anyone was wondering: Yes, I use allusions to Greek tragedies to make me feel learned, like my entire life doesn't revolve around a 2-year old and his adventures with excrement.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Little Update.

Quick update: We moved! We left Hawaii on July 5th, spent a few weeks back and forth between the grandparents', and landed in New York (the state, not the city… damn.) mid-August. New York was kind of a surprise… we found out 2 1/2 weeks before the movers came that our things wouldn't be going to the house we had already rented in Alexandria, VA. I'm thinking of writing another post about that whole mess entitled, "That's Why They're Called 'Orders.'"

(Aloha and Mahalo, #3601 -- It's been real.)

Anyway, surprise number 2… a few days later we found out that I'm "in the family way," as no one says anymore. I'm a bit into the second trimester now and already have noticed quite a few differences between pregnancy #1 and pregnancy #2. And so, without further ado:

1) The Doctor. With J, I went to see the doctor to confirm I was pregnant about 4 minutes after the clinic opened the morning after I saw those two lines on the EPT, and was panicked when they told me that they didn't need to see me until 9-12 weeks. (What?!?! Don't you people know how important consistent pre-natal care is for the health of the baby?!?! How am I supposed to know what I can and can't drink/eat/breathe/watch/wear?!?! You can't tell me that polyester blends don't harm the baby!!) With this little one, the nausea hit, the fatigue hit, the bloating hit (oh, Lord, did the bloating hit), and having a medical professional assess my hCG levels seemed superfluous. I called our insurance company to see where I should go, and found out that since I wasn't in our service area, they wouldn't really cover an appointment, so I thought, "Meh -- I'm sure things are fine. $300 for a doc to tell me what I already know isn't super necessary. I don't need to be seen until the end of the first trimester anyway…"

("Yep! You're knocked up!")

2) The Belly Part I. With J, I was about 20 weeks before my baby-belly could be distinguished from "ugh - I should not have had that third burrito at Taco Bell. Pass the gas-x." This time…. a plumber asked me at the ripe ol' gestational age of 14 weeks how far along I was. Seriously?! Fix the leaky pipe and leave, crazy person. It's comparable to blowing up a balloon for the second time. Basically, it went from conception to, "where are my maternity pants?" Not to mention the belly button. Think of that little plastic guy in the turkey that pops up when it's cooked. And, yes - it is visible through my clothes. Cheers.

3) The Belly II. Along the same lines… the belly thing last time was exhilarating (after the distended bowel look passed, obviously). I was so proud the first time I realized that I couldn't see my toes without bending over, and when I got big enough that strangers knew I was pregnant, it was like Christmas. This time, I feel like a house. I sent a pic to my mom of my belly from my perspective, noting that toes were definitely not visible, and she sent back a very enthusiastic "YAY!!!" and I was like, "ugh. Do you know how difficult it is to be this big?? And I already know I'm going to get bigger!"
(See?? No toes. At 16 weeks.)

4) The Deets. Funny story: I met a gal recently who is pregnant with her first. I asked her how far along she is, and she replied, without the slightest hesitation, "22 weeks on Thursday." A few minutes later, she asked me the same thing, and I couldn't remember. "Uh… 16? Maybe 17? Definitely second trimester... Let me check my app…." People that know me well might say, "yeah - but she can't keep track of anything anyway." But, with J, I absolutely did. I knew exactly how many days/weeks I was - for the whole 39 weeks. I knew which things were developing which week, was giddy when I found out he was growing that fuzzy stuff (which I definitely knew the name of -- lunago? Spell check seems to think that's incorrect), and almost cried when he started blinking his eyes. This time, I'm lost. I know I'm pregnant. I know when I'm due. I know that the nausea and fatigue are making way for the hippo-like appetite and fatigue. Beyond that…. did you know that The Bump has an app that tracks it??

5) The Fatigue. This time, I have a toddler to chase. Last time, I curled up on the couch in K's sweats and watched NCIS for 9 months. I basically "cooked" from the freezer and pre-made sections at Costco. This time, I have to make sure my toddler isn't doing things like grabbing a dirty mixing spoon off the counter and using it to stir the tupperware full of flour (true story).  I have to actually cook decent meals. I can't watch crime shows all day, due to the paralyzing fear that my child would grow up to be a psychopath. He needs things during the day: new diapers, food, milk, attention, etc. Tack on the mommy guilt from a fatigue-fueled lack of patience and the number of times I just fork over the popsicles (they're fruit based!!), and I basically spend all day thinking about how soon is too soon to change out of my maternity yoga pants, and back into those heavenly Navy PT sweats.

(Yes. Those are brand new bottles of acrylic paint… And, yes, we did have to replace the carpet.)

The biggest difference, though, is the huge difference in the intensity of emotion. With J, sure, I was excited to meet the little and nervous that I'd never sleep again. With this one… I almost know what I'm getting into -- which is at the same time even more terrifying (ugh - nursing pads. 3 am feedings. baby brain. blowouts. eau d'spit up.), and makes me even giddier (first giggles! baby smell! watching a personality develop!).

(We get to do this all over?? Yay!)

(tl;dr: Mostly, I'm a huge slacker and, if the pregnancy so far is indicative of the way that we parent this little, [s]he's basically screwed. Oh, and required mushy "thankfulness" crap.)

(edit to clarify: I'm partway into the second trimester, not semester. At least I didn't go all Legally Blonde, winter "ovester," amirite??)