Monday, September 26, 2011

Toward a Peaceful Coexistence with Pee-Pee

If you read my facebook status updates, you will know that WAY too much of my life right now revolves around pee and poop. Let's just say that potty training with Jackson has been a process-- a loooong process. This has caused some worry for me regarding Jackson starting preschool. There are few entry requirements for his preschool (no, we don't go to one of those uppity preschools with an application process and letters of recommendation), but being completely potty trained is one of them. (Um, how exactly do you define "completely"?)

Jackson has been getting better and better at using the potty. He usually goes without help pretty much whenever he needs to. But he has a bad habit of waiting too long to go and then not quite making it. This results in a perpetual wet spot on the front of his pants and several changes of underwear and pants each day. He usually doesn't have "puddle on the floor" type of accidents, but I still have not been able to get him to successfully keep one pair of pants dry for a single day.

The bright side of things is that he has never had an accident at preschool. Maybe it is because he really likes preschool, but he has never peed his pants there-- although he has had a fairly big accident within minutes of coming home. I keep thinking that one of these days his "staying dry at preschool" skill will transfer over for general usage, but it hasn't happened yet.

We have tried a variety of different methods, consequences and bribes in our quest for the elusive dry pants. I tried to think of a "natural consequence" for wetting pants and the most logical was something to get clean again. Since Jackson really likes baths that didn't seem like a good option, so I went with cold showers. (This probably sounds harsh, but I was getting desperate--we've been doing this for months now). But even after days of consistently enforcing a cold shower after he wet himself, there was still no difference. So I resorted to bribery: jelly beans for staying dry between trips to the potty. He liked the jelly beans, but it still didn't increase the frequency of dryness. (Did I mention that even when he makes it to the potty he doesn't have the best of aim, so we perpetually have toilets, floors and bath rugs that are generously sprinkled with pee-pee? I'm beginning to wonder if the makers of Clorox wipes have him on their payroll....) So I finally decided that I just needed to give him time for his body to learn and in the meanwhile to work toward a peaceful coexistence with pee-pee.

(This next paragraph contains graphic descriptions that may not be appropriate for those who are not parents or have not had to potty-train....)
This morning I woke up in a less-than-great mood. I consciously chose to have a slow morning and went upstairs to get dressed about 10 minutes before Addy had to be at playgroup. I went in to my bathroom and something didn't smell right. There was a discarded pull-up and a big pile of runny poop in front of my toilet and splattered on the walls. I scrambled to clean it up, muttering thanks for the invention of paper towels and Clorox wipes, and then got dressed and went to get Jackson's clothes from his room to get him dressed. There was another discarded pull-up on his floor, along with several poop smears on the carpet. More Clorox wipes and 10 minutes later, the mess was cleaned and Jackson was dressed. But by this time Addy had pooped and needed a diaper change, but at least she'd had the courtesy to keep it in her diaper. We were 40 minutes late for playgroup and I was 15 minutes late for my appointment that was during playgroup.

After a streak of whatever plans I tried to make not working out (Childwatch at the YMCA was full, tried to read a book but kept getting interrupted), we settled into the afternoon while Addy was down for her nap. But, before long, I heard Camryn yelling, "Mom! Jackson either barfed or pooped on the floor!" Sure enough, Jackson had another bout of diarrhea and not quite making it to the potty in time. This time there was runny poop in a pile in front of the toilet, squished into the bath rug, splattered on the side of the tub and a big puddle of pee-pee to top it all off (like a cherry on top). After more paper towels, Clorox wipes and scrubbing the rug out in the toilet, I admitted defeat and succumbed to feelings of defeat and futility and an afternoon of simply existing-- and trying to forget about the existence of poop.

This is AFTER I cleaned off everything I could....
But, having shirked my responsibilities to write this blog post, Addy has now emerged from the playroom with green marker covering her arms, hands and chin. I think that's my cue to go....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rant Invasion

Okay, I need a good rant. Today has been a downer day. There hasn't been anything terrible, it's just one of those days where you wake up feeling "off" and things never quite get into place. Sundays tend to be hard days for me (the day of rest, right?) and yesterday was no exception. Maybe I'm still trying to recover.

I didn't have to teach Sunbeams at church because we had Stake Conference, but I replaced teaching wiggly 4-year-olds with playing a Mack Wilberg arrangement on the organ for a choir number. For those of you who aren't familiar with Mack Wilberg, he is the director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a famous choral arranger. A good chunk of his work is originally for orchestral accompaniment (which doesn't cut down easily to only two hands)-- and if it's not, the keyboard part is really hard because he enjoys inflicting pain on accompanists. :) Which would be fine, except: A) I have enough pain inflicted on me already by potty training right now, 2) Organ requires more brain-power for me than piano (the whole playing an instrument with your feet thing...), and, Third, I have two tiny helpers who love to push "transpose" buttons and add an unwritten pedal part while I practice organ. Yay.

Grumbling aside, the number went fine and it was even a teensy bit fun to get a chance to blare loud organ music in the middle of a church meeting. So after I finished playing, I sat down with the fam and prepared to *enjoy* the rest of a two-hour church meeting sitting on the 4th row with four kids (something akin to *enjoying* a triple marathon with no water in the summer in Arizona). Within five minutes of this, the nice lady sitting in front of us (with her teenager-- so she must have some acquaintance with kids in her distant past...) turns around to Jackson (aged 3) and says to him, "Can you please be quiet so I can hear?" Um, okay? For starters, Jackson was being quiet and good- at least for him. He was not being completely silent, but he was being fairly quiet for a three-year-old. And maybe she could have addressed me instead of my partially verbal toddler?

The rest of the meeting was peppered with dirty looks from the lady sitting in front of us, even though we took the two younger kids out whenever they were being truly noisy. I suppose in certain circumstances or situations this would be understandable, but for goodness sake, we were not in a concert, we were in a Mormon church meeting! We are a church where big families are common and it is customary --and expected-- for you to bring your kids with you to the service.

Anyway, I was stressed out from having played the organ and not in any mood to tender indignant looks from the lady in front of me. I really wanted to just go home. It's hard enough to get a family of four dressed in Sunday clothes and to church in the morning. I didn't feel the need to be made to feel completely unwelcome (even though I was playing a difficult organ piece as a free service) because I accidentally forgot to gag my children before I came. I (barely) managed to make it through the rest of the meeting. Yes, I know. I had a very uplifting meeting. I couldn't focus on the talks. Between taking Jackson out to the potty and trying to silence any happy peep out of him and Addy (who is the world's loudest happy baby), I was a bit preoccupied. Every time one of my kids made a sound I winced and waited for the dirty look.

As we got up to leave at the end, the lady sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I just had a feeling that I needed to tell you that it really does get better. I had five kids myself and I know how hard it can be. You have a beautiful family and your kids were just fine." I (who do not cry) almost burst into tears. After spending the whole meeting thinking, "Why are we even here? We are just bothering other people. I'm not getting anything out of it, the kids aren't getting anything out of it. What's the point? We should just go home.", it was nice to know that there are people out there capable of having some empathy. It's not like I don't know that my kids can be bothersome or annoying in a meeting (or on an airplane or whatever other public place we happen to be in). But for goodness sake, they are children. They really are trying and so am I, so please try to have some compassion and patience.  

As for today's trials.... Jackson peeing his pants. And pooping his underwear (after weeks of no poop accidents). Not making it to the YMCA to exercise. Feeling fat. Jared absolutely going ballistic because I couldn't understand that he was TOTALLY JUSTIFIED and didn't make Jackson upset ("But mom... it wasn't my fault that our friend didn't bring another ball for our game on the bouncer and that Jackson only likes games where everyone has a ball...") and so forth. Round up the usual suspects....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ten Years Ago Last Week: A Jared Album

I was planning to do this post for a while but -- in typical form-- am getting around to posting it a week late. Sigh, mommy-hood brings out the promptness in all of us.

Last Wednesday marked the 10-year anniversary of when I became a mother. Yes, my oldest child turned 10. Here is a photo tribute to my oldest child, Jared. Jared, I love you and I am proud to be your mother!

Gotta love the cinder block walls in married student housing!