Thursday, January 26, 2006

Potty Town! Excellent!

Hello all, and greetings from Potty Town, where the population is large and we are thinking of moving.

On one of my recent library trips, I decided to check out a book about potty training. I really knew nothing about it. Who in the heck is born knowing what to do in these instances?! Up until that point we had bought a potty, practiced going on it, even bought some special underwear. That was it.

Naively assuming she would just one day decide to go regularly on her own, I had convinced myself that my role was only that of encourager, and that no way was I going to be doing anything to put pressure on the precious one. After reading, "Mommy I Have To Go Potty," I realized that being laissez-faire about the whole process was just as bad as putting a ton of pressure on her. The book taught me that I should make the most of her obvious readiness. It gave me permission to give her a nudge.

So. My nudge went a little something like this. Each morning I would remind her that we were going to go listen to a book on the potty. Sometimes she didn't go, but when she did, I would whoop it up and tell her how proud I was of her. I also ended our day the same way. She seemed to feel proud of every time she went and because there were so many opportunities to go, there were many opportunities for success.

This went on for a few days and then came the day when we put on a special pair of Elmo underwear and I explained how Elmo didn't want to get wet. We continued with the frequent mom-imposed visits to the potty where sometimes she went but sometimes she didn't. There was one point in the day when she said, "Elmo got wet," and we matter-of-factly changed her and started again. It was the only accident that day. The second time we did underwear she wore it all day long and had no accidents. Also, at that point, she was recognizing when she had to go and going all by herself. There was a point when she disappeared and I realized she was in the bathroom on her potty. I felt the same way then that I do when I catch her trying a food that she did not previously eat.

Since then, she has had a brief vacation from the town of Potty, as she was visiting the land of the Sick and Feverish. Boy, was THAT a thrill. She's been sick with about EVERYTHING since the summer but this latest illness was the worst. It definitely sent us backward a few steps. Who can think about going potty in the potty when all you wanna do is breathe normally? And as for the motherly nudge, it got lost in a sea of sleepless nights, wherein every hour my cherub would wake up and moan for her momomy.

All in all, what move is that simple? You don't just decide to live somewhere, and occupy the new house in a day. Doesn't even happen in a month sometimes. So it is with the pottytraining experience. However, now that I know how to nudge, and she is feeling better, we will just keep at it. And in the meantime we will be packing up the moving van with pull ups, in preperation for our move to Potty Town.

I think we're going to really like it there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

So these are my late night thoughts

So you know how you lay awake at night and think you hear a noise and you work yourself into a tizzie thinking that for sure someone has broken into your home and is waiting outside in the dark hallway to murder you any moment? These paralyzing moments are way more frightening when you have kids because you think: WHAT IF THEY GET THEM OR HURT THEM? WHAT WOULD I DO IF ANYTHING EVER HAPPENED TO THEM? I calmed myself with the assurance that the duplo blocks spilled in the hallway would make noise when the burglar stepped on them, so at least my snoring husband MIGHT wake up in time to hoist his maglight above his head threateningly. One good reason to leave the duplos littering the hallway.

Tonight the Jooge was yelling "MOmeee" so I went in only to find her in bed, wearing nothing but her diaper and white tights. Did I help her don such garments for sleeping? Methinks not. But I found myself helping her into a long sleeved shirt, then tucking her in with the words, "You can wear whatever you want to bed as long as you're warm." I was proud of her covert night dressing games, though it's also all in the name of avoiding sleep. Oh well, kudos for getting the one peice sleeper off and the tights on.

This is me, the late night me, off duty and soon to be offline. I feel like I sound cocky and drunk but anyone who knows me knows I don't drink much. I'm drunk on the fact that everyone's asleep and the only person who needs me is ME! Sweet dreams!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mom Nightmares

Last night I had a dream that I was with my parents and we were going on a trip. We stopped at a strip mall to get some stuff. My dad walked into the grocery store with Avery on his shoulders. He wasn't holding on to her and she was just sitting there, and I was both angry that she was so far up without support but also envious of his cavalier attitude and the payoff: a chill babe perched precariously, but unaware. I freaked out because she's still only 9 months and I didn't think it was safe. Then, later, we lost her in the store. Suddenly she wasn't with us. I was freaking out again, wondering how we could have misplaced a BABY! Turns out one of the grocery clerks pointed us out to several abandoned carts near the produce section and it was like a common problem at this grocery store because there were several carts with abandoned babies in them just sitting waiting for their families to claim them. In the dream I was so bothered by the fact that she had been left behind or misplaced. More guilt and anger ensued. How bizarre.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Read it and Weep

Not to brag or anything, but the Jooge is reading.

Now, before you doubt me, let me tell you, I was a TEACHER before I was a mom, so I KNOW READING. I taught first graders and second graders, even third graders to read over the seven years that I was a professional. And she's reading.

Of course reading has phases, and my darling two-and-a-half-year-old finds herself presently in one of the earliest phases of reading, one where "retelling" stories from memory is the norm. Some kindergarteners can't even do this because they aren't used to being around books or sitting on laps for stories.

Right now she is sitting in her sister's crib next to me retelling the story of The Fourteen Bears of Summer and Winter, a true childhood favorite of mine. There's a page where the author lists all the bears that were in the family and they all have names like Veronica and Hannah, Ramona and Virgnia. So she's on that page and she keeps saying, "Vemonka, Viginia, Vemonka, Viginia," as she points to all the bears. Not only is it cute, it's a pretty good imitation of what's been read to her. She repeats phrases verbatim, and when I listen to her, cozied up and using an intimate hush for her ears only, I am amazed by her memory and by the way she repeats the very things I read on automatic pilot. She just said, "The breeze blew," actual language from the story.

I had a first grader one year who was really struggling with reading. I encouraged the kids to read nightly with someone at home. At conferences the mom said to me (in front of her daughter) "She's not REALLY reading, she memorized it." It just killed me. Her mom failed to acknowledge a natural developmental phase of reading as legitimate progress towards the real thing. Let's not even go to the place she put her child by discounting her efforts.

The bottom line is that reading has come to Jooge because she's been surrounded by books, read to often, in a home where reading is valued. The single largest predictor of children's success with reading is being read to at home.

I'm very proud of Julia's love of books and stories, her way of being captivated by characters and language. It's one of the best gifts I've given her.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Unforseen Duty

So I'm sitting here, enjoying ME time by browsing blogs on the internet, when I hear a faint yelp from Jooge's room.

Upon listening closer I realize it is indeed Jooge shouting at me from her room where at 10pm she's still not asleep. It was a shout that also sounded like the beginning of a cry, which has been her way lately, full of a general preference not to be in her room alone.

I went in and found her lying there, eyes drowsy, holding a book.

"Mommy! Close it!"

I didn't know what she meant. The book she was holding? Already closed. I tucked her blankets around her legs.

"Mommy. Close it." Close her water bottle? I explained to her that the straw on this particular water bottle did not close down like her others.

"The diaper. Close it." I leaned down closer wondering if her diaper was failing her.

She was pointing to the corner of the room, where the diaper genie was sitting with it's top open. I went over and closed the lid and my precious, cherubic child sighed a huge sigh of relief, like NOW everything was okay. And she uttered one of her favorite phrases these days, "That's um I wanted," in this relieved voice.

Nobody tells you that motherhood entails little duties such as these. Nobody can predict that a two and a half year old will be deeply disturbed by open diaper genies lurking in the corners of their room.