Potty Training

Potty training my three year old son feels a lot like teaching a chicken to tap dance.  You’re clearly not speaking the same language, but even if you were, the chicken would ask you why you are pulling your hair out trying so hard, that he has no interest in tap dancing.  This kid breaks me every time.  I always start off motivated and in a happy, “I can do this,” mood.  I am encouraging and loving and patient with him.  Then he pisses on the floor and throws all of his books in it.  As I am cleaning up this mess, he hides behind my curtains and poops so that it streaks down the curtains and smears against the sliding glass door and into the track of the door.  I tell myself to remain calm.  I smile at him and try to explain that this is not the goal.  I take him to the bathroom and tell him to pee pee on the potty.  He refuses.  He laughs at me, and runs away with his little naked butt.  I bribe, bargain, threaten, and plead, and with little to no progress, I am left completely worn out and defeated.  More than once Nate has come home to me sitting on the floor surrounded by pee, hysterically laughing and crying at the same time.  Yup, he broke me again today.

My method for potty training so far has been the same method my mom used for me and my brother.  She told me to just let him run around bare butt all day and keep taking him to the potty and reminding him, and that it took a few days each to potty train me and my brother.  A few days my ass.  I have tried multiple three-day sessions where I covered the couch, closed all the bedroom doors, and tried to potty proof the house as best I could.  I obviously forgot about the curtains.  We were making some headway while I was still pregnant with Summerly.  He was only two years old and I was elated by the progress we were making at such a young age.  Then he sensed my weakness when I got too pregnant and tired to keep up with him, and he started fighting it.  Then we took a break for a while since Sum was born.  We started up again when Sum was about six months old, and we have made ZERO progress since.

In fact, I’m positive Mav thinks this is a game.  He knows that I will get distracted with Summerly at some point, and then he will be free to pee wherever he wants.  And once he does, I will then be busy trying to keep Summerly away from it while I clean it up.  And while I am busy keeping Sum away and cleaning it up, he pees again, and it just goes downhill from there.  Then Nate comes home and says, “Hey Bud, let’s go pee pee on the potty just like Daddy does!”  And somehow Maverick happily obeys.  And I am left in shock.  So then I realized Mav knows exactly what I want him to do, but just doesn’t want to do it yet.  Nate and I are both very stubborn people, so go figure my son is too.  I resigned to just dropping the potty issue for a few months figuring he would show interest when he’s damn well ready, and not a minute earlier.

Well, it’s been a few months and now I’m thinking he’s just lazy.  One of these coming weekends I am planning on just locking the two of us in the bathroom from sun up to sun down.  My thought behind this is that I have to take away the biggest thing that matters to him; freedom.  Nate will bring us food in there and we will not leave the bathroom for any reason.  Like prison.  Believe me, I am not looking forward to this.  But if it works, then it will be COMPLETELY worth it.  This gives you a clue as to how desperate I am, lmao.  So if anyone has any advice on how to work miracles, please let me know your success story.  And everyone else, wish me luck and patience because I’m definitely gonna need it.

Poop

That’s right.  I am writing an entire post about poop.  And believe me, I have plenty of material.  I mean, we all know babies poop a lot.  But no one ever told me that it actually explodes out of the diaper, and that this happens quite often.  I referenced this last week with the explosion in the swim diaper at the hotel pool.  But I really want to make it clear to all of those who are unaware, that this bizarre phenomenon is a part of daily life once you are a parent.  My very first eye-opening experience was when Mav was about three weeks old.  We were both sitting on the couch shirtless for some skin to skin breastfeeding bonding.  All of a sudden, there was a very loud, gurgly, ripping sound, and simultaneously about a quarter of a cup of pudding-like warm poop shot out the side of his diaper onto my stomach.  It then proceeded to slide down into my bellybutton, and then down through my legs to it’s final resting place on the couch.  I was so completely shocked that I remember actually looking around the room for someone to confirm that this had, in fact, just happened.  And furthermore, for some instruction on what the hell am I supposed to do about this?

Okay.  Three things needed cleaning; me, Mav, couch.  Well, couch can wait.  So I carried Mav to the changing table and set him down so that I could strip us both and start a shower.  Before I could do this, I glanced back at the couch to see my little Pomeranian Yoshi, about to feast on the poop puddle.  Nope, couch is now priority number one.  It’s a good thing Mav couldn’t crawl or roll over yet, because I left him on the changing table while I quickly cleaned up the couch just enough so that my dog wouldn’t be interested.  So back to me and Mav.  I stripped us and walked right into the shower holding him.  I figured that was the fastest way.  Later that day when Nate came home from work, I told him the whole story like, “You’re never going to believe this!”  Well, he didn’t believe it, and thought I was completely exaggerating.  Until it happened to him.

So truthfully, poop explosions, (as most moms aptly call it,) will happen about twice a month on average.  However, there will be times when they happen multiple times a week, and even multiple times a day.  And you will go to the doctor to ask about this, because surely, this isn’t normal.  And they will tell you that unless there are other accompanying symptoms, that it IS perfectly normal, and you have a healthy baby.  Crazy.  And the reason we were spared the poop explosion for Mav’s first couple of weeks of life is because when babies are born, for the first week or so, they are still pooping meconium.  Meconium is basically the remaining amniotic fluid that the baby ingested while still in the womb.  The key thing to know is that meconium poop is the consistency of tar.  For real, you have to sandpaper it off of your infant’s butt.  No, mom, you never warned me about this.  How the hell could you have forgotten about these things?

Okay, one more poop story, just for shits and giggles…literally.  I was about six months pregnant with Summerly at the time, and Mav and I had been out running errands all day.  Mav seemed to have an upset stomach all week long, but was especially fussy this afternoon.  He was very gassy, and was screaming and crying in the carseat.  He eventually let out the loudest man fart ever, and seemed relieved.  But I still decided to stop by the urgent care on the way home to be safe.  I pulled Mav out of his carseat and set him on my hip to carry him in, when I felt something thick and wet on my arm.  Yup, big old pile of mud poop.  Well, with my other arm holding Mav, I couldn’t really wipe it off.  So I decided to wipe my arm on the nearest car tire, which wasn’t mine, lmao.

I wasn’t going to stroll into the urgent care to ask for a bathroom while we were both literally covered in feces.  So I popped the trunk of my SUV, and laid him down to change him.  I then realized that I only had three wipes.  Damn.  So I stripped him and cleaned us both up as best I could, and walked into the urgent care with Mav only in a diaper.  You know when you walk in somewhere and the door closes behind you wafting back your smell at you?  Yeah, well we smelled like a sewer.  The lady at the front desk told me that the wait to see the doctor was two hours, and I was like screw this.  We weren’t gonna sit there covered in poop for two hours.  So I went back to the car to load Mav and go home, when I noticed a large mud puddle of poop in the carseat.  AAHHHH!  I have no more wipes or diapers or hazmat gear.  So with a tear in my eye, I took off my Free People cardigan, and laid it on the carseat to cover the puddle, and then buckled Mav in.  Once we got home, it took me about two hours to shower us both, clean my car, and clean the carseat.  Not to mention there were multiple loads of laundry to be done, and my sad Free People cardigan to salvage.

So what I want to be taken from all of this is that whenever anyone says, “#momlife,” this is what we are really talking about.  The down and dirty little secret that it’s the most unglamorous job around, but definitely the most rewarding.  A lot of poop, sweat, and screaming terrorist toddlers, but we are saints for raising these humans who will so appreciate it later.  Like WAY later.  Just keep being patient.

What’s next?

The question Nate and I are asking each other now is when we want to try again.  So the irony of this whole thing was that we were going to wait a couple more years before having a third.  We wanted a little break where we could just enjoy each other and Maverick and Summerly, before jumping back into sleep deprivation and breastfeeding.  But, like I said before, babies come when they come.  And this one was coming now, even though Nate and I weren’t sure we were ready.  And the beauty is that we got ready.  And actually really excited.  Then life threw us this curveball, and now we are a little confused.  On the one hand, we would love to try again right away.  We were in love with a new baby, and would like to make that a reality.  On the other hand, we don’t want to make an emotional decision, and ignore all the reasons we originally had for waiting.  Also there is some hesitation that we don’t want to be hurt again, but I try not to buy into that because that’s just pointless.  The truth is, I don’t believe there is ever a right time to have a baby.  I think all the planning in the world still doesn’t prepare you for the utter chaos that is a new baby.  But that’s really part of the fun.

When we found out I was pregnant with Mav, I was terrified because I didn’t think I was ready.  And I was about to graduate from school and take my state licensing test in approximately 9 months.  Terrible timing.  Well, I worked my butt off to make sure everything was lined up so that I could take my last week off of school to have Mav, then travel to Los Angeles 10 days later to take my test, and then go on maternity leave and not go back to school unless I got the results that I had failed.  It was a stressful and blissful month to say the least.  But everything seemed to work out perfectly and I passed!

And then with Sum, we thought we had it all figured out.  Nate was going to transfer to a new command in a couple of months, and then we estimated training would take about 12 months.  So minus a few weeks at a time here and there, he would be home for most of my pregnancy, and not have to deploy until the baby was at least 4-5 months old.  Well, that plan quickly got thrown out the window.  He left 5 days after checking in to the command, and was gone for about 90% of my pregnancy, right up to 5 days before my due date.  I can’t even begin to describe how pregnant hormonal crazy I was during that 9 months.  And I apologize to all grocery clerks, mailmen, and other service industry people I might have lost my very short temper with.

Then shortly after Summerly’s birth, we had to completely move out of our house, (furniture and all), for two weeks because the FAA was replacing all of our windows and doors for free because we live under the flight path.  This was a huge and amazing gift.  I’m not complaining, I swear.  But we had very little say in when the construction would happen.  So just making sure Nate was home to facilitate the move, and that I wasn’t still pregnant or in labor was a nightmare.  We had planned on spending the two weeks in the comfort of my parents’ house playing in the pool all day.  Well, that got kiboshed as well because Nate had another training trip.  So we pawned off the dogs with some friends, and drove 6 something hours to northern Cali to live in a hotel for two weeks.  Did I mention Nate wouldn’t be with me the first three days?  So on my own with a two-year-old and a one-month-old, eating only what fits in the mini fridge and is microwaveable, and washing Sum’s burp cloths and bibs in the sink.  And then 5 weeks after we came home and moved back in, Nate deployed for 6 months.  Sum was almost two and a half months old.  So, again, when you think you are planning for a baby and arranging things in your life in preparation, just be prepared for a tornado to blow through and leave your plan in shambles.

This brings me back to laughing about everything out of my control.  Because it’s so ridiculous I just have to.  Like while we were staying in the hotel for two weeks, Mav had a poop explosion in his swim diaper at the hotel pool.  So I quickly ushered him out of the pool, wrapped him up in a bunch of towels, and strollered him and Sum upstairs to the room.  We walked in as the maid was finishing up, and as soon as she figured out where the smell was coming from, she hauled ass out of there.  I threw him and all his swim clothes into the bath tub, and attempted to wash them as best I could.  Remember that we didn’t have a washing machine readily available.  I got Mav clean and the clothes salvageable.  But the bathroom was a wreck, and you could smell the poop towels I had wrapped him up in from the elevator.  So I peeked my head out into the hallway where the maid was about to start the next room, and as nicely as I could, I asked her to pretty please come back and clean the bathroom.  I would have done it myself, but didn’t have access to any cleaning supplies.  And hotel shampoo wasn’t going to cut it.  So she gave me the, “Fu*k my life,” look.  And I gave her the, “Girlfriend, you’re telling me,” shrug.  And she came back.  I did feel bad, especially when I asked her to take the poop towels with her.  But being a mom, you gotta do what you gotta do, and mostly I’m laughing the whole time.

So back to the question; to have a baby, or not to have a baby?…Well, for now, we can’t really answer that question.  We know that we will have a third baby at some point, but just not yet.  I’m really enjoying being skinny again, and so not ready to give up my beloved wine.  Oh, how I missed you.  And even though we will do our best to be responsible with our work obligations etc, and get pregnant when we believe the timing is right, it probably won’t be.  And that’s cool.  Being parents of two kids already, we know to just roll with it.  And, like I said before, that’s part of the fun.  So here’s to attempting to plan for a baby for the right time, and probably failing miserably, but remembering to laugh about it every step of the way.

Here’s some pix from our two week hotel stay