Thursday, February 17, 2011

"You Will Eat Those Thoughts Later."

That's me to myself.  Yesterday when I was on Facebook I ran across a post by a friend about potty training.  Since I am in the midst of this myself  - with my two year old - (I, myself, am potty trained for the most part), and since it can be quite time consuming and a fairly painful experience I took the time to read through the 27 or so comments to her post to see if I could find any good tips.  I found one comment particularly interesting.  It was from a person who will remain nameless to protect her innocence and she said something like (and I am paraphrasing), "My two year old is terrified of her potty.  I have done basically everything I can to make her potty beautiful and engaging, but she still acts like Carrie when I place her on the potty."

Now, four children has taught me to be a little kinder and gentler to other moms.  What I have found in attempting to parent four children is that God thinks it is quite amusing when I am smug or condescending to other parents or to their parenting nuances, and He usually lets me know He thinks it is amusing by sending me the exact problem I am being smug and condescending about in the next 24 hours.  Or sometimes He waits about two years just to give Himself an extra chuckle.  SO, I try not to judge other parents in any way shape or form just in case I am faced with the same problem later.

BUT, when I read this post, I admit, I giggled out loud, and I experienced a teensy bit of smugness (in my MIND).  I found myself thinking, "Jeesh.  At least baby is not terrified of the potty for heaven's sake.  And I would NEVER decorate a potty just to make it more agreeable.  And I would NEVER go to the lengths of this woman to get my kid to actually GO potty on the potty.  No, never.  That's not for me.  AND besides my kid would never act that way.  Baby would never be terrified of the POTTY."  I may have even thought, "Humph."  (At the end.)

Well, I have now (like so many other times) apologized profusely in my head (because I didn't actually SAY the above in words I just thought them).  Because it has come to pass that what I was being critical about actually happened.  In less than 24 hours.

Baby woke up this morning terrified of the potty.

I know.  It's scary.  She woke up terrified of the potty.

She looked normal and like the same baby when she woke up.  So, I innocently said to her after removing her night diaper, "Hey, baby.  Let's try and go potty, okay?"

To which she responded, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I NO GO POTTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And, me being a little slow and not quite having had my third cup of coffee thought, "Hmm.  That's weird."  And then I actually said, "Oh, come on, baby.  Let's go on your princess potty.  Want to?"

To which baby threw herself on the ground and began to squirm and shake like I needed to stick a wallet in her mouth to keep from her swallowing her tongue all the while screaming, "NOOOOOOOOOO I DON'T LIKE THE POTTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I was then terrified.  I remained silent and promptly put a clean diaper on her. 

I am not going to read anything today about potty training and I am not going to have smug or condescending thoughts about other parents and their particular problems. 

Just in case.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Princess Singing Potty OR: another rest stop on the descent into fourth child parenting

I am not especially proud of the nickname I have in my neighborhood as The Potty Training Nazi, nor am I particularly embarrassed of it either.  I potty trained my three older children all by age two and the method I used was basically:  Potty Train or Move Out.  I did not use any fancy methods of sticker charts, candy, or bribery.  I potty trained my kids as I imagine my own mother potty trained me (or did not potty train me - which is a whole other blog post).  I used good old fashioned "Pee and Poop Are Nasty And Go in the Potty."  Along with some good 'ole public humiliation and shaming in there for good measure. 

I abhor poopy diapers.  Of all the jobs I have done as a mother of four changing poopy diapers is the one I hate the most.  (And - mind you - I hate me some vomit.)  There is just enough time to get pregnant and have a baby in between my older three, so getting them all potty trained was in the interest of my sanity as well (and the budget since a case of diapers costs close to 10 pounds of ground beef - and seriously, which would you rather have???).  So, basically this equation all equaled three kids that potty trained fairly early and relatively easily (except for my oldest daughter - but, again this is another blog post for a later date).

So, you can imagine my amazement of where I ended up yesterday - in my bathroom encouraging my two-year old to pee in her princess throne so that it would sing to her.  Now, I am no dummy.  It only took me about one year to realize that this fourth child would be infinitely different from the other three.  She would eat hot dogs at six months, peanut butter at two (months), watch TV as a babysitter, never be on a schedule (schedule - what's that???), eat chips from the bag (and not the individual size bag), have a cavity at an early age due to the wild consumption of candy, and basically not ever, ever want to use the potty.  It makes sense to me now that by the time the fourth child comes along the mom and the dad are flat-out worn down and could care less about some of the values they had previously held high.  Even knowing all this, I never imagined I would be at Target considering buying a SINGING PRINCESS (did I say - I hate princesses, too?) potty.

But, there I was.  And, it went something like this:

Me to baby's daddy (or "baby daddy" as she likes to call him) - What do you think?  (In front of the array of potty training tools.)
Baby Daddy - Just buy the cheapest potty with the least paraphernalia. 
Me - Okay.
Baby - I want that one.
Me - Which one?
Baby - The princess one.
Me - (I hadn't quite seen the princess one, but once she pointed it out I made the mistake of pushing the button that says, "Push This Button."  It then sang a Royal Princess Song which is the same song it will sing when "your baby pees or poops in the potty!") Oh, that's cute.  (Thinking - blech.  I hate princesses.)
Baby Daddy - Do you want the Frog Potty, baby?  It's only $9.00 and the Princess Potty is $20.99.  And I just wrecked the family van, so we have NO MONEY.
Baby - No, daddy.  I WANT THE PRINCESS POTTY.  I don't like frogs.
Me - How about this potty.  It's...........a..............potty and it's only $14.99?
Baby - No, I want the PRINCESS POTTY.  (Then her eyes move over to a Cars Potty that is $29.99.)  Um, daddy, I want the Cars Potty.
Baby Daddy - No.  Cars are for boys.  HOW 'BOUT THE PRINCESS POTTY???

Baby - Yes!  I want the Princess Potty!!!

Baby Daddy and me in unison as we sling it into the cart - Princess Potty it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, that is how I ended up yesterday for a good part of the day (oh, except when baby pooped in the neighbor's front yard) encouraging baby to pee and poop in her princess potty so we could all hear it sing.  AND, I am even more shocked and appalled to admit that I like the Princess Singing potty.  It is entertaining at worst and bribery at its best.  Baby loves it.  I can't say  that she is any closer to potty trained today, but she does love the potty.

And, that is also how we ended up where we are right now as I type.  Me blogging, my four kids all sitting in front of the tube and baby sitting on her throne (after peeing a LOT in her diaper) right in front of the TV eating candy right out of the bag.  The descent of fourth child parenting is on-going and rapid my friends and I admit I can do little to stop it.  ;o)

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Well, sir. You have to do what you have to do."

That was a State Farm Insurance Company Very-Important-Kneel-to-Me-Because-I-Am-God claims rep.  And what she said apparently is the new and PC, "You are screwed." 

So, by now you should know that In Sickness and In Health (which, "Are we out of the sickness, yet?") otherwise known as -  E. -  was in a vehicular accident Wednesday morning.  "Vehicular accident" is insurance-speak for "rear ended on the way to work."  And dealing with the insurance has been as fun as buying a bathing suit after you've given birth to and breastfed four kids.  "That fun?" you ask.  Yes!  THAT fun.

Recap since Wednesday (most of this is true, but don't quote me later.......or now):

E is for In Sickness and In Health
SF is for the State Farm Rep

This conversation is being recorded for your protection.
E (under his breath - don't mind that he's talking to a recording) - Oh, you're the one who's going to need protecting later.
SF - Hello.  Mr. D?
E - Yes.
SF - We have here that you were involved in a vehicular accident Wednesday a.m. at approximately 9:00?
E - Yes.
SF - Can you describe what happened?
E - I was rear ended.
SF - And can you describe how that happened?
E - Uh, I was driving and I was rear ended.
SF - And can you describe that?
E - Uh, I was exiting on an...........exit...........and I was hit from the back.
SF - And can you describe what happened next?
E - Uh........I was pushed into and under the vehicle (thinking - if I talk like them maybe they will understand me) in front of me.

In the interest of time I will just skip all of the nonsense-speak and frustration and get right to the deathly comical parts.

E - So, I need a car to work and I need to work for money since I have a wife and four kids who cannot work because it would be illegal.  So, can I get a rental?
SF - I'm sorry sir but it says here that you don't have rental on your policy.
E - Well, can't the other person pay for it?
SF - I'm sorry sir but it says here that the police report will not be released for 10 days, so we don't know if the other person is at fault.
E - So, you're telling me I can't get a rental even though I need a car to work?
SF - Again, sir.  I'm sorry, but there is no rental coverage on your policy.
E - What about doctor's visits?
SF - I'm sorry sir but it says here that you are not covered on your policy for that, but if you would like to pay your deductible of $1500 we can get you in to an approved doctor of your choice.
E - Well, I don't have $1500.  I've had brain surgery in the past six years and I might have complications or a concussion.  What happened to Like A Good Neighbor?
SF - I'm sorry sir.  We only play nice insurance agents on TV.  You can always wait 10 days to see a doctor.
E - What if I am dead by then?
SF - Eeery silence................Well, sir.  You have to do what you have to do.

Where are those bathing suit catalogs?  Let's get this thing done while I'm already in pain!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I may be psychotic, but that should come as no surprise.

So, just a quick update from yesterday's It's Too Cold in South Texas 2011 Dressing Disaster.  You will all be pleased and happy to know that as a mother I have totally redeemed myself (and PAY ATTENTION because in my life this never rarely happens).  Last night I had the foresight (I know, what's that???) to set my alarm 20 minutes EARLY (that would be setting it for Too Freaking Early) so that the peeps could be physically and mentally ready for the Cold.

So, here's a Post Groundhog Day (more on that later) Morning recap:

6:00 - I heard on the radio that we would more than likely experience the same power outages that we did yesterday (termed brown-outs not BLACK-outs.  hmm.  more on that later, too).
6:05 - I lit a fire (not figuratively like usual - literally) so that I could make the peeps breakfast tacos.
6:07 - I woke the peeps up in an attempt to have everyone ready before the power outage.
6:10 - I was delighted that no one was arguing about wearing warm clothes.
6:11 - I made a mental note to "thank" hubby later (don't think about that too much or you will want to poke your mind's eye out) for somehow performing an impressive sewing feat (without an actual sewing machine???) and fixing bubby's Old Navy (gosh, I love that place) winter vest zipper (after bubby searched his messy closet last night and found said vest).
6:17 - The kids were dressed APPROPRIATELY (can I get an AMEN?) and came down for breakfast.
6:20 - They all went back up to brush teeth and do mouthwash while I screamed, "Don't forget your flashlights, and let's all be ready before the power goes out today!!!"
6:25 - The kids were happily (I know we are in some sort of alternate universe today) putting on all their winter wear and chattering incessantly about how it was going to SNOW on Thursday (I know - I told them that in an effort to gain more points as Best Mom in the Universe - the Alternate Universe - that is).  I normally do not encourage this kind of CRAZY thinking (snow in South Texas - are you NUTS???), but today I not only encouraged it I found myself saying psychotic things like, "Yes, baby.  Weathermen know exactly what they are talking about.  They are SOOOOOOO smart.  Yes, they are like the smartest people on the planet.  Yes, I know I have said they don't know anything in the past, but I changed my mind it IS going to snow Thursday.  It is.  It is."  I felt a little Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  Now, if you know me you know that I abhor weather people (sorry if you are one - don't stop reading my blog and don't hate me), so this was just crazy talk.  Sheesh.  I am almost convinced that it is GOING TO SNOW ON THURSDAY.  That's how convincing I was.
640 - All the kids sat on my couch and watched TV in all their paraphernalia and complained periodically that they were hot and when the heck was the power going to go out.  Collectively they could be heard saying things like, "MOM.  What were you thinking getting us dressed all warm like this???  The power is still on!!!???  Can we take these clothes OFF???"  While I said, "No.  Be quiet.  Watch TV.  Be happy you are warm."
7:06 - The bus came and went in the light with no power outage.  Boo.  Hiss.
7:59 - Baby is still asleep as I type this.  OR she has long since suffocated in her room - which may be too hot.

That's my update.  Thanks for the read.

Here's the POST SCRIPT.

1.  There is a saying about being prepared (I can't think what it is and it doesn't matter) and it is a lie.  When you are prepared what you are PREPARED for is not going to happen.  That is God's sense of humor.  He loves you, but He also needs a good laugh every once in a while.
2.  What used to be called black-outs are now called BROWN-outs.  Did you know this?  I learned it yesterday and was frankly amazed that no one had more to say about this.  What is up with this?  This fact was not lost on my kids.  After my boy child Know-It-All told this fact to everyone, my girl child said, "Why are they called brown-outs, mama?  Aren't WE brown?  Are we OUT now?  Oh, wait.  Were black people OUT before?  Because that's not right, either."  To which I answered (because I know everything), "I have no idea, baby.  But, I agree.  It is fascinating."
3.  The Punxsutawney ground hog's name is Phil.  (This next fact is from the same girl child who was talking in #2).  He lives with his two brothers named Phillip and Larry (no, not really Larry, I just can't remember the other one's name and him being named Larry is just funny).  Which prompted more questioning, "Mama, why are two brothers named Phil and Phillip?  Dont' you think that's weird?  Would you do that to us?"  To which I answered, "Yes, baby I think that's weird.  Mama is not going to have anymore babies, but if I were I would never do that to you.  I am not THAT crazy."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What could be MORE fun than rolling black-outs?

Rolling black-outs with four kids.  So, you should know by now that I don't do cold weather well.  In fact, I don't DO cold weather.  I summon my inner bear and eat and hunker down and basically do my best impersonation of hibernating.  This can be difficult to manage when you have children for whom you are responsible.  Before you start saying, "Well, she should live here in the north where it actually gets cold.  She should have to experience really frigid temperatures.  She is such a whiner...blah, blah, blah."  I LIVE IN SOUTH TEXAS.  IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO GET COLD.  I LIVE HERE FOR A REASON.  Okay, enough said.

So, let me just fast forward my whole life (from when I was born in Michigan and may have actually liked cold weather, to when I moved here, to when my blood apparently thinned to the consistency of..........something really thin, etc., etc., etc.) to this morning and here's what happened.

5:45 - My alarm rang and I could tell by how I was sweating even though the ceiling fan was on that it was cold as a witch's ah-hem outside.  Now, you are probably thinking, "What???  That doesn't make sense and that's weird of her not to make sense.  She always makes sense."  Well, let me give you a quick lesson in South Texas Two Story House Heat.  See apparently contractors (and I am sure all the contractors that read my blog will comment about this) in Texas are not familiar with HEATING IN A TWO STORY HOUSE.  Because as anyone here will tell you - - it don't work right.  We set our thermostat at 68 degrees and it ends up being about 190 degrees upstairs and 40 degrees downstairs.  It's like the heat is "averaged" over two stories (and I am no math major).  So, on super cold nights my hubby and I sweat it out in our room (which just happens to be the absolute hottest in the winter - imagine the Sahara Desert and you will have a good idea) while the kids are moderately warm in their rooms and the downstairs remains cold enough to blow steam out of your mouth in (okay I tried to fix the grammar in that sentence and I am just too cold to think that hard). 

5:50 - I got up, brushed my teeth and headed downstairs to assess the cold.  I decided It Was Cold.
5:55 - I was drinking my first cup of joe and already had the stove fired up for pancakes (if that brings to mind Laura Ingalls Wilder - you are not that far off the mark).  I decided to make hot chocolate for the peeps as well.  Their love for me grew exponentially when I decided that.
6:00 - I poured a second cup of coffee and marveled at how "ahead of schedule" I was (that my friends is always a mistake and God invariably lets you know).
6:20 - My pancakes and hot chocolate came out great and I decided to wake the small peeps so that they could begin what would take a million years - DRESSING FOR COLD WEATHER.

Now, I digress for a minute to tell you that just as I hate cold weather - - my kids hate it MORE.  They refuse to put clothes on most of the time (even the nine year old - which can be quite problematic) and seem to never feel the temperature as it really is.  So, often my kids can be seen all winter long in flip-flops, t-shirts, and jeans........outside...........when it's below 70 degrees.  This yanks my chain like nobody's business.  I mean there is no quicker way to tick me off (if you are one of my small peeps) than to refuse to wear warm clothes.  Where does this stem from?  I'll tell you.  The phone call I got from a dear sweet kindergarten teacher years ago after my girl child refused to wear her big, beautiful, brand spanking new, pink coat all winter.

It went something like this: 

Teacher - Ms. D?
Me - Yes.
Teacher - This is a very delicate matter...
Me (thinking) - Oh GAWD.  What have they done???
Teacher - The kindergarten teachers would like to take up a collection to buy C. a coat because we have noticed that she doesn't wear one to school.

The rest of the conversation is not important.  What is important is that since then I am like The Coat/Appropriate Cold Weather Clothes Nazi. 

So:  It takes a good night-before prep, along with early morning hours to get my kids to dress appropriately in cold weather.  It came as no surprise, then, that when I hustled into the kids' bedrooms to wake them at 6:20, my boy child asked me if Old Navy would be open that early. 

"WHAT???"  I tried to be patient and answer.  And I suddenly had that Your Good Mood Is About To Change feeling.  If you are a mom - you know the one.

It was then that he told me he had lost his ONE COAT and could we make a quick trip to Old Navy to buy one!!!


6:35 - The small peeps came downstairs looking like one homeless boy, one small girl in several layers of clothes but managing to look warm, one smaller girl (who may have Sensory Issues - or she's just Difficult) who was loudly grumbling and loudly complaining about having to wear long-johns and pants and was already shivering and she was only downstairs, and one baby who had already managed to take off her WARM pajamas and whose teeth were chattering as she said, "Cold, mama, cold, mama, cold, mama."

6:45 - I heard on the radio for the third time that morning that it was 17 degrees outside - wind chill 7.  I grumbled to myself that why can't I just have normal children who like to dress warmly??? 

6:47 - Just as I had sent this motley crew BACK upstairs to brush teeth and swoosh mouthwash, and I was going to finish up lunches, find hats and gloves, and make sure if they didn't have coats that at least their extremities wouldn't be frost bitten - THE POWER WENT OUT IN A ROLLING BLACK OUT. 

Which I have since learned is going to happen in order to save energy and money (oh, good because I love to save money and energy............BUT NOT WHEN IT IS FREEZING AND I HAVE FOUR KIDS WHO ARE NOT COOPERATING ANYWAY), and that "We Can Help" by turning down our heat and being patient."  (To which I again say - oh, good I love to help and be patient, yada, yada, yada.)  

6:47-7:06 - Lots of screaming and wandering occurred.  Baby felt compelled to scream continuously, "Mama, TURN ON THE LIGHTS.  I CAN'T SEE."  I tried to make sure everyone had at least a sandwich in their lunch, and find hats and gloves, and the kids did their fair share of screaming and fighting over flashlights.

7:06 - The bus picked up the kids in the pitch dark.  Bubby had no coat and was seriously pitching a FIT about wearing his super cute Old Navy beanie that he said looked "dorky."  Girl child flatly refused to wear her hoodie, but agreed to wear her vest.  She said she didn't need gloves and no, she was not scared of winding up in the hospital due to extreme frost bite.  The smaller girl child was STILL grumbling about pants and shoes.  And the baby waved to the bus driver in the dark, from the door, wearing nothing but a diaper.

7:10 - I was back upstairs again (with baby back in her pajamas) looking longingly at the bed waiting for there to be enough light for me to see whether or not it was going to be worth it to dress and be productive.