Thankful for the Twins Finally Using the Potty

IMG_3191So, I finally, stepped up to accept my, unfortunate, duty as a parent to train my girls to use the potty.  Indeed, freedom from the endless loop of changing diapers, was motivating, but secretly, I hoped to avoid or just ignore it. Would it really matter if they were still in diapers in first or even third grade? Aren’t there worse things to worry about? Sooner or later they would figure it out on their own. Then, we learned that ski school and camp wouldn’t accept them for drop off, untrained. Alarmed, we had a hard deadline in January and had to get to it.

Back when Luca was young, and I was a fresher faced mom, I, enthusiastically embraced these challenges, reading up on all sorts of advice. Unfortunately, all the experts were aligned. Lock yourselves in for three days, take off the diapers, and let it all go. Well, after the shit hit the fan, or in this case, the floor, I was done. NO WAY could I cope with that for 72 hours. Since I had committed to getting rid of diapers, I put underwear on him and continued for another few torturous days; sitting him down every half hour, me next to him, hoping for a miracle.

Fast forward seven years and, despite technology’s evolution (I didn’t even have a smart phone, let alone iPhone, back then), they still don’t have an app for this. Overwhelmed with two of them, I opted for a laid back approach and promptly amazon primed two pink potties, a portable potty for the playground (Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus), two cases of pull-ups, about 20 pairs of disposable underwear, candy, stickers, and extra bottles of wine to set about my task.

It’s been a frustrating few weeks, but real progress is happening. Maxine took the lead, being the most consistent with usage, supported by her utilization of algorithms to calculate optimal candy accumulation per pee or poop, manipulating timing for optimal rewards. Though I am very proud, one downside has been her determination that it’s not worth her time if she needs to do her business during reward blackout periods occurring daily before 7:00 am or after 6:45 pm.

Laurel was also catching up, but mostly on how she can guilt me into also earning candy for doing absolutely nothing but crying and screaming when Maxine gets her rewards. Though painful, I had to wise up to her manipulation and hold her accountable to, at least, sit on the potty to earn a candy treat. Luckily the prospect of a special new Doc McStuffins, or as she calls it, Stuff McStuffins back pack had her in a frenzy. She only needed one poop on the potty and it was hers.

It was an arduous few days when Maxine earned the coveted prize, before Laurel, and, to Laurel’s envy, wore the backpack everywhere, even to bed at night. Luckily, after dragging both potties, the portable potette (which came in very handy during a nature walk on Shelter Island), and everything else we needed for Thanksgiving, to our house in Bridgehampton, we had a breakthrough. After catching Laurel sneaking off behind the sofa to do her business, Mark yanked her into the bathroom. In a critical moment requiring excellent timing and aim (both rare for my husband), to her shock, Laurel nailed it right in the potty.

Anxious to see her rewarded, I jumped the gun. Once she had that backpack strapped tightly on, she immediately went on strike. After two long days, it took the fear of loosing her prize and possibly spending the afternoon with a fictitious babysitter to motivate her back to action. And, while there have been some slight mishaps, I am confident she has turned a corner.

Among so many things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving, having the worst of this job behind me, for the last time, is certainly one I don’t take for granted.

 

 

 

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He Just Turned Ten, But We Both Have Some Growing Up To Do

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Luca’s 1st Birthday

Luca, our only child for 7 years, turned ten on October 14th! Somehow, he still manages to be the sun we all orbit, even with all the chaos his sisters’ create. From his first moments the kid’z been fawned and fussed over, cherished, adored, and overly spoiled. Not that he doesn’t deserve, almost, every moment of it. He’s given us more laughter, love, pride, and pure amusement this past decade that I could ever express in words.

Like most kids, he lives for birthdays and holidays where presents are involved. Which BTW, when did Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s Day become holidays for relatives to send gifts?

As parties go, this year’s wasn’t over the top but, with little free time on my hands, it was stressful nonetheless. By the morning of, I was still unsure how, after committing to provide transportation, I was going to get 13 of the 16 kids coming from FIDI and Tribeca to Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City, Queens, during rush hour, on a Friday night.

I also needed to pick up the cake, assemble gift bags, and make sure a sitter was lined up for the girls. Bottom line, I put a lot of work in with little time and help, save for my mom who ran with me to Party City on the eve of the party, while Mark was enjoying a guys night out.

At this age, Luca’s expectations for additional gifts, on top of, yet, another birthday party needed a serious adjustment. We checked out his Amazon wish list and promptly nixed 3 more giant nerf guns (how many Nerf Zombi Strike FlipFury Blasters does one kid need?), and a tactical vest kit (sorry, NO). Since he would be showered with gift cards from all of his friends, we picked a few listed items, including a pair of random headphones.

But, always wanting things to be perfect, I fretted that, for his turning double digits, I didn’t have that one special gift. I thought,”rather than just any old headphones, why not buy him a cool pair of Apple Beats.” Now, desperate to have them for tomorrow, the 14th, Grandma and I sprinted to the Apple store knowing we still had to get the cake and grab the girls by 1:00. Considering the kid looses everything, I opted for a, slightly, cheaper pair, rather than dropping $300 on wireless ones. Miraculously, I got the last blue ones in stock, and coupled them with a matching iPhone case as a gift from his sisters. Feeling pleased, I ran to pick up the cake.

On Saturday morning, with Luca anxious to open his gifts, I couldn’t wait to surprise him with the upgraded headphones. But, no sooner did I hear, “Is this it?”, after he surveyed the few boxes we brought out, “I can already tell you didn’t get me a nerf gun,” he said, choking up. Defensively, I reminded him how many he had and maybe he could use his gift cards (ie, his own money) for more.

He was acting very childish, but I knew he was tired. Rather than let it go, I became incensed when I saw him sulking on the couch. Before I knew it, I was laying into him, “Didn’t you just have another birthday party, with transportation for all of your friends, and a beautiful soccer ball cake? I went out of my way to buy you something special.”

Clearly we were both out of line but, as the adult, I should have been able to let it go. Hell bent on making my point, I rambled on throughout the morning, exhausting us both. Unlike Mark, somewhat, the, detached, voice of reason, I also couldn’t bare living with Luca’s disappointment, however misplaced it was.

Later that day, it all blew over, and soon Luca was rocking out with his Beats, thanking us lavishly. All was right with the world again, until later that week. As he stepped off the bus, on Friday, he turned to me, his voice seeming to crack a bit, “Mom, why didn’t you buy me the wireless ones?”

I mean, what is it with kids? It never ends.