February, 2014 Archive

The Urination Situation

When I picked Madelyn up from preschool almost 2 weeks ago, her teacher informed me that she had disappeared into the bathroom and was found with her pants at her ankles, her diaper on the floor, and her tushie on the miniature potty. In the potty: you guessed it. She had never actually taken it upon herself to go to the bathroom all on her own without any prompting. For the past handful of months, we’ve incorporated the potty into her nighttime routine and she successfully goes, but that’s been with supervision and assistance. So color us surprised to learn that she did it all on her own at school — an environment that had proven to cause some anxiety and trepidation.

I wasn’t too excited about it; being housebound for three days and swimming in pee didn’t sound like a fun way to spend President’s Day weekend. I was one ankle bracelet away from house arrest and I’m not Martha Stewart enough to see the silver lining in the whole thing. Except the whole no-more-diapers thing, I guess.

So after school on Friday, we made a trip to Target and picked out some undies for Madelyn. She was very excited to choose the coveted undies because she’d heard all about them in one of her favorite books. It’s a very no-nonsense board book with mostly illustrations about a baby who’s learning how to go on the potty and at the end, he/she (can’t tell what sex the kid is) does it and the parents and dog and cat run in the room to see (why were they not in there with him/her all along?) and the last page of the book says UNDIES! and has a bunch of underwear with different designs raining from the sky. It’s obviously Madelyn’s favorite part of the book. It’s kind of like the scene from American Beauty when Mena Suvari (who?) drenches herself in deep red roses. But in this case, it’s panties. Sorry I’m not sorry for giving away the ending of the Potty book.

Decisions, decisions. These are the most important decisions.

Decisions, decisions. These are the most important decisions.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Winner winner chicken dinner!

On Saturday and Sunday, Bryan was obviously home from work, so we definitely tag teamed on Madelyn potty duty. She pretty much lounged in just undies and at first, we prompted her and reminded her to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. There are certain iPhone alarm sounds I never want to hear again. I also made her a sticker chart and every time she had a successful potty production, she got to pick a princess sticker and place it on her chart. I simply wrote numbers in order on a paper and every fourth number, I drew a star. Each starred number earned her an M&M so she had small goals to look forward to throughout the process. She loved putting stickers on each number and definitely didn’t protest the M&M, but she was just as happy to hear her own tinkle sounds in the potty.

She only had a few accidents and I wasn’t swimming in pee like I’d anticipated. Madelyn: 18274 Mama Drama: 0. Madelyn was a champ most of the time. She would start a drip-drop in her undies, feel it, and then alert us that she had to go, and she’d finish on the potty! I think even Charlie Sheen would call that winning (is that still trending or am I so two years ago?).

Reading The Potty Book on the potty. It's all so very meta.

Reading The Potty Book on the potty. It’s all so very meta.

Remember pop quizzes in school? Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I gave Madelyn Dry Checks randomly throughout the day and would reward her for being dry. That way, she not only associated making sissy and doody in the potty, but NOT making sissy or doody in her undies (and yes, “sissy” and “doody” are our words. I enjoy using them.).

Madelyn made such great progress on Saturday and Sunday that I got super cocky about Monday when I’d be alone with Madelyn at home when Bryan had to go to work. Well, cockiness gets you nowhere! Madelyn had three HUGE accidents — Hurricane Sissy stormed and I hadn’t battened down the hatches. I sent Bryan several pathetic/frustrated texts and was about to Google a potty training consultant. These setbacks really made me sad, but that’s what the roller coaster of potty training is all about because after those accidents, she never once had another one. She alerted me any time she had to do anything as little as a tinkle and worked those undies like a rockstar (although, most rockstars probably don’t even wear undies. Is Miley considered a rockstar? I bet she doesn’t wear any.).

Tuesday, we had plans to meet friends in Orange County. I was SO so so so nervous to leave the house for the first time AND that first time require a two-hour drive. Twice. I packed 14 pairs of undies and 5 pairs of clean pants. I may as well be a Boy Scout because I was more than prepared. I even lined her carseat with Princeton’s piddle pads and packed two portable potties so that Madelyn could easily go in the car if I had to pull over.

When we arrived in Newport, I was expecting the Pacific Ocean to have filled her carseat.

Instead: Dry. As. A. Bone. I’m not even kidding. I kissed her so hard, her face turned raw.

She went once during our lunch, her first public restroom. And despite MY anxiety about it — hi, germs — she performed on the potty and didn’t give one thought to the loud flush. She is lucky, however, that I did not cut off her hand after touching every. little. thing. Lady receptacles need to be placed NOT at toddler height, dear Public Restroom Designers of the World. waaaaaaaaaahhhhh

So after we washed her hands three times (classic OCD comfort number) and disinfected with antibac, we resumed our afternoon with friends with no further accidents. I didn’t change her undies once the entire day. Take that, 14.

I made her go before we started our drive home, but she was too distracted by the sights of the parking lot to produce. While sitting in my flat trunk, she narrated every passerby: “That lady is wearing white.” “That man is holding a bag.” “That car is gween.” “That car is bwue.” Who needs a newspaper when you have Fashion Island?

This borders on humiliating and humorous. As usual, I vote for humorous.

This borders on humiliating and humorous. As usual, I vote for humorous.

At almost two weeks later, I’d say Madelyn has definitely gotten the hang of the potty. I am so, so proud of her and really amazed how easily it came to her. I think we waited the right amount of time. The only thing I did wrong?

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I ordered a brand new box of diapers. So 120-ish fresh diapers later, I have a potty trained toddler. Figures.

She’s Just Two Emotional

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but toddler words filled with rage and angry beady eyes and snot stains on the cheeks with wild mane-hair and blood-boiled skin freakin’ HURT me.

I know, I know: Madelyn is two-and-an-almost-half and is still learning to process her feelings. I know all this. But it doesn’t make the hard days any easier. Or give me less of a reason to exile myself to the Four Seasons and order room service and a masseuse. I really can’t complain, as Madelyn has always been so super easy, so I realize I can’t win ’em all. She’s going through her own self discovery, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing something wrong or if I could handle situations differently.

Top 5 Phrases Madelyn Utters These Days:

1. “I don’t waaaaaaaaaant to!”

2. “Go A-WAAAAY!”

3. “No touch! No touch!”

4. “No, IIIIIIII do it!”

5. “Where’s Daddy?????????? WHERE’S %$*&@!# DADDY?????????”

So yeah, thanks a lot, speech therapy.

She seriously goes from 0 to 100 in point two seconds, which seems a lot faster than what sports car commercials seem to claim. This is seriously something that happens 32 times a day when Madelyn wants to watch the toddler cult classic, Frozen:

Madelyn: Fo-zen.
Mommy: OK, Madelyn. How do you ask nicely?
Madelyn: Fo-zeeeeeeen. (four seconds later.) FOOOOO-ZEEEEEN. (two seconds later with a punch to my bicep for added effect) FOOOOOOOOOOOOO-ZEEEEEEEEN (burst into tears! Because! No! Patience!)

Cue more tears, lots of wailing, and a face that resembles an angry Kool Aid mascot.

Then, eventually like… hmmm… after 35 minutes of biting sobs that make her lose her breath, I’ll get:
Mommy: Yes, Madelyn?
Madelyn: Can I watch Frozen please?
Mommy: Yes, of course! Thank you for asking nicely!

THEN, as sweet as this transition is, she’ll become unreasonably upset that a song is over or the pillow fell on her elbow or she dropped her baby doll. And it all starts over. The tears. The gasps. The snot. It’s just so much fun.

So on days like today, when I came home from a day of work and experienced three hours of incessant tantrums before we finally put her to bed, I ask myself first, “Why don’t I get to work 24 hour days? Does school HAVE to end? Aren’t teachers supposed to sleep at school in the classroom?” and second, “When can we go back to a time when Madelyn was happy-go-lucky instead of giving drama to her mama?”

I’ve been lucky to be a stay-at-home mom with a very light and flexible work schedule. I appreciate the days I get to go to work because, even as a teacher, I still get to interact and socialize with adults and stimulate some intellect. While working is definitely for me, it is also for our household. With our new house and new expenses, the teacher money — while it isn’t anything grand — helps with the extras, so my time away from the house is, in effect, for Madelyn. So when I come home from a day of work and then encounter the mood and ‘tude as of late, I feel frustrated and dejected. I know I need to be handling this better for myself because Madelyn just needs to grow and develop through this stage. So really, it’s about me learning to not take her antics personally.

While we get through this stage, I’d like to be a more patient mom and grow some thicker skin. I don’t think it’s ever OK to be her punching bag because I want to model for her that I respect myself and, therefore, so should she, but I also can’t let her actions and words make me feel sad or unloved.

When Madelyn finally asked nicely to watch Frozen, and I happily put it on for her, she ended up setting into the sofa right next to me and rested her hand on my leg, tapping her fingers on my jeans to the beat of the music.

I whispered, “I love you, Madelyn” and welcomed her back.

Madelyn on swing