Monday, January 24, 2011

To Train or Not to Train

I don't want to.

I really, really don't want to potty train Carter. It's not that I mind him using the toilet...I'm not trying to keep him little or's that I don't want to have to be the one to go through the process with him.

I just can't figure out how to sell this idea.

So, imagine you're two and you're playing with some awesome, totally cool toy. And instead of doing your stuff right there and continuing on your merry way, you now have to put down the big shiny fire truck and go to the potty. In reality, I often hold it as long as I can because I'm in the middle of something and don't want to be bothered. It's such a hassle! So maybe I'm not the best role model in this situation.

The problem is that diapers are too absorbent. They spend all this time making new and improved diapers which leads to kids being able to comfortably sit in their own urine for much longer. What I really need is the least absorbent diaper ever. I want him to suffer as he sits there so he has some incentive to want to pee elsewhere.

This week we had to switch Carter over to size 6 diapers. He's a big kid for his age so it makes sense. My worry, however, is this: I've never seen a size 7 diaper.

That's apparently the deadline for potty training. The manufacturers have sent us a message..."If your child is still in diapers at 40 lbs then you have failed as a parent and we no longer want your business. Thank you."

So I guess I'll be changing Carter's adult diapers pretty soon.

I like it when I read expert quotes saying things like "Don't feel guilty bribing your children when it comes to potty training." HA! This is no comfort to me. I don't feel guilty bribing my children when it comes to pretty much anything.

We use M&M's as bait, but even those don't do the trick. One day he caught me sneaking a few...

"Mama, did you use the potty?" Yes, I replied, I had in fact used the potty. "Good job, Mama! You're a big girl!"

I asked him if he wanted to be a big boy and get M&M's too!

"No, I do not."

Well, that settles that.

The other method I've read about is the so-called "Cold Turkey" method. This is just what it sounds like. You take them away all together, accidents be damned.

Have you ever seen, say, a smoker kick the habit in this way? They aren't pleasant to be around. Carter is already not pleasant to be around a lot of the time...

Since I'm avoiding it at all costs I look for every excuse to delay the process. I recently read an article that said something about not starting until after 27 months because that's the optimal age, etc. etc. etc. I excitedly shared this news with my husband! We have more time!

Then Mike pointed out the fact that Carter is well past 27 months old.

Oh yeah.

So two things I learned:

1. I have less time than I thought and 2. I don't know how old my own kid is.

Bummer on both counts.

To be continued....

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

When I hear Grant scream I usually assume it's because of something Carter did. I'm right 95% of the time. But there's always the other 5%.

Obviously I want to punish Carter when he does something to his brother. The problem, however, is that I don't always witness the incident. And occasionally Grant is just having a temper tantrum and screaming through no fault of Carter. So how can I tell the difference?

Easy. I just ask Carter.

"Carter, why is Grant crying?"

"Did I push him?"....and there we have it (sometimes he answers questions in the form of a question. I have to stop letting him watch Jeopardy.)

So, yeah, he totally confesses to whatever he did. All the time! I don't think it occurs to him to lie. Amazing, right? The doctor keeps telling me how smart he is, but this may prove him wrong.

As a mother, I really like this honest streak in him.

However, I have a little sister. And I want to tell him that he's giving all older siblings a bad name when he can't even cover up a little shove. Also, as an attorney, I feel obligated to point out the obvious. Hello! You're mother didn't SEE what happened. And your brother CAN'T TALK! She can't prove anything. Deny, deny, deny!

This little habit of his is useful in many ways. It lets me know when I should come running and when I can continue doing what I'm doing.

The other day I was in the shower and heard a loud bang. So I yelled to Carter and asked him what it was. "A firetruck, Mama", was the response. Nice. That can wait.

When he goes in time out he always knows just what he is in there for, and he'll tell you in detail.

"Why are you in time out?"

"Because I climbed the chair and threw a dump truck." Oh really? I missed the whole chair climbing thing, I just saw the dump truck go flying. OK then, good to know.

This morning he threw a fake hot dog across the room and it hit Grant. After his time out (which I still say does nothing, by the way) I asked him what he was in there for.

"Because I throw a hot dog at Mama."

"No. Who did you throw the hot dog at?"

"I throw a hot dog at Mama."

At this point I realize...OH MY GOD...he meant to hit ME! And he's TELLING me this! What a little shit! His real crime is just bad aim.

I hope he doesn't grow out of this soon, it's a very useful parenting tool.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Godfather

I'm fairly certain that Carter is the head of his own Stuffed Animal Mafia. He runs it out of his room, his bed is where he conducts his business. Don't cross him, cause when you're out, you're out.

He started his gang with just a few guys. He called them "The Boys". I'm not joking. At first there was Tigger, Wags, and a few other no name creatures that took up some space at the end of the bed.

When he was tired he'd tell me "Wanna go see The Boys". And when we got up there he'd crawl in and gather them all up saying "C'mere Boys". He wanted to keep them close...probably to keep an eye on them at all times. This kid does NOT mess around.

I would picture him up there going "Yo...yo Tigger. You my BOY Tigger! If Piglet or anyone starts messing wit you, I'll take care of it...I got yo back, man!"

But soon his bedroom crew turned more mobster than gang banger.

As he grew in power, he added more members to his "family". Tigger, Little Tigger, Big Wags, Little Wags, Blue Puppy, Frankie the Fish, Tommy the Thumb, Mickey Blue Eyes....OK, maybe not those last few, but seriously, if he starts naming his stuffed animals like that we got a problem...

Every once in a while someone will get kicked gotta keep everyone on their toes to keep them loyal, right?

This stuffed penguin from a trip to the Aquarium used to have a spot at the foot of the crib. One day I found that guy in the toy box downstairs. Not sure what he did, but it wasn't good.

It's crazy, but now I get sad when I see that one of the original members has gotten the boot.

"Big Wags" has been up there forever. But the other night when I went to put him in the bed Carter said "No, Mama. No Big Wags." So I had to put him on the floor...I almost cried.

Mike and I actually had a conversation about what "Big Wags" could possibly have done to deserve this treatment. Was he seen fraternizing with the downstairs toys? Did he mess up that hit on Grant's Brown Puppy? If Carter starts making them kiss his Bink before they can get into the bed then I'll be really concerned.

We still don't know what the criteria is for maintaining your place in the group. But I'll tell ya this, if you manage to piss off Don Carter'll be sleeping with the dust bunnies for sure!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Did you just hit me?

Carter just hit me for the first time.

Actually, let me clarify. Carter just hit me for the first time with malice aforethought (see mom, I just used my law degree!)

When he's hit me in the past it's always been in the "I'm two and I'm mad and I don't know how to express this" kind of way. The temper tantrum gone awry scenario.

This was different. This was intentional. This was the "I'm two and I'm mad and I know EXACTLY what I'm doing" kind of way. The deliberate action scenario.

This is what happened: Grant was playing with a balloon (his birthday balloon to be exact) and Carter decided that was actually something he should be playing with instead. He grabbed it away. I took it back and told him it was Grant's turn and Carter could have it in a minute (please remember this is Grant's balloon and now he has to stand in line to play with it...second child.)

I turned my back to Carter and gave Grant the balloon...that's when it hit. The slap heard round the kitchen.

The worst part about it was that it wasn't an immediate reaction. He paused, therefore he thought about it...premeditation. (God, I should be billing these hours huh?) First degree smack-a-cide. A crime punishable by a time out. But not just any time out...solitary. He got locked in his room.

Now, my first thought was "Great. He's gonna run around hitting people now. My kid's a psychopath." Probably a normal mother reaction. But my second though was "He waited until my back was turned. He sucker punched kid's a wuss!" That's a more me reaction.

I guess we'll have to wait and see which one he is. I'm relatively sure that he can't turn out to be both. I don't many wussy psychopaths.

Of course there is the third option of he's two and he's testing his limits...but that would be the rational way to think about the situation. And I don't think I've ever been accused of possessing that trait...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Playgroup vs. Singles Bar

The new session of classes is starting shorty, so naturally its time to write a blog entry about the ridiculous and complicated world of "Mommy Friendships".

See, you have to have different levels of friends.

You have your Friends - the ones who knew you before you had kids, the ones who know that you rock at drunk Pictionary and can't handle your Scorpion Bowls!

Then you have your Couple Friends - the ones you grab a quick bite to eat with every once in a while when you can get a sitter.

But then you have your Mommy Friends - these are the people you meet at playgroups, the ones who are also around on a Wednesday morning and know all the words to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song.

I am lucky enough to have had several friends who had kids at the same time as me, so I don't really need to put myself out there on the "Mommy Market" too much...thank God, cause its a really harsh place. You want people to like your kid, and often its the moms that have to make the first move...these two-year-olds aren't driving themselves to playdates, after all.

In fact, I find more and more that these classes are kind of like the singles bars of the parenthood world...

First of all you need to make sure you are dressed correctly. People judge you. (I know this because I am one of the most judgemental people that I know.) You don't want to be overdressed, cause then it will look like you are trying to hard...but you don't want to be under dressed cause then you aren't trying at all. You need to be just dressed enough so that you tried, but it doesn't look like you did.

Are you following me so far?

OK, once you've got the outfit down you have to come up a way to make a connection with the other parent:

She looked at me. Should I talk to her? Well I'll just give her a little smile first. Maybe she was looking at the mom behind me. No,'s me. I'm so nervous, do I make the first move here?

Usually you end up using the same old lame pick up line, but instead of "So...come here often?" its " old is your son?"

This is your opening line. Now you just have to wait and see what kind of response you get.

If you get a drink thrown in your face..well...then you're probably at the wrong type of playgroup.

If you get a short response with no follow up question about the age of your darling little one, then she probably was looking at the mom behind you after all. Cut your loses and move on...after all there's a cute stay at home Dad over by the baby slide who looks promising...

However, if you get a response, a follow up questions AND a continued dialogue..then YOU, my friend, have hit the jackpot! This may be your Mommy Soul Mate!

But don't get excited and move too fast! You can't invite them over for a play date that afternoon, for example. Then you'll just seem desperate. You need to leave them wanting more...

I know all of this because I am lucky enough to have found my Mommy Soul Mate this way...and I got her digits after only, like, three classes! Beat that!