Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Teaching remembrance

It's hard to believe that 9-11 happened twelve years ago already. I think once we reached the "decade" mark, in a way it has started to feel like a distant memory -- while in other ways, it still feels like just yesterday. And now that I live here in Texas, it feels a little more distant still. I know if I were still in New York City that life would be going on as usual - but there would be more in-your-face reminders to take pause at -- from all the flowers piled up at the fire stations and extra police in the subways to the new Freedom Tower where the WTC once stood.  And to be sure, I'm definitely not advocating not moving on, but I think it's important to take some time out to respect and reflect on this day no matter where you live, and to teach the importance of remembering this day to our kids, even though they weren't even in existence in the remote recesses of our brains at that point in time.

Up until this point, T has been too young to do anything. He still might be in theory, but this year, I took him along on my own personal act of remembrance. Every year, I take flowers to the closest fire station. It's just a little thing that I like to do. I started doing this in 2001 like many other New Yorkers when I felt so helpless and had the need to do something - anything - to show I cared. In the years I lived in the city, the sidewalks in front of the fire stations were always piled high with flowers on this day - as I am sure they still are. It's a little different here in Austin. Here, half the time I end up  dropping them off and driving off as fast as humanly possible because oddly enough, I find it a little embarrassing to do. It might have something to do with the fact that one year, the fireman that was there when I dropped off the flowers seemed to have no clue why he was receiving them.  This year though, since T is obsessed with fire trucks and firemen (in fact, we just booked his birthday party for this year at a fire station*) I thought it could be a learning experience for him to come with me and say "thank you." So I talked about it with him before hand, and he was pretty happy to be getting to go on a post-school trip to the fire station to say thank you to the firemen. Unfortunately, of all days, today the garage doors were shut and there were no firemen to be found. So we left the flowers at the door and said "thank you firemen" to nobody -- but it felt pretty good to pass along a little do-good moment to my crazy toddler.

*Yes, his birthday is in December and I booked the space yesterday. We know I'm a tad anal.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Potty Training Time Part II

...Later that same day...

You may recall a mere few hours ago, I wrote about how potty training was off to a great start. Then, I heard at school that T actually told them he had to go #2 -- and went -- on the potty! I was feeling pretty good about it. My kid must really LOVE pottying. We obviously rock.

Then we got home.

And he was so immersed in Cars that he tried to ignore the potty timer (aka the microwave timer) when it went off. And since mommy and daddy weren't going to let that happen, the situation dissolved into a lovely tantrum about how he didn't want to go potty. Which led to him missing potty timer #2 and having an accident. Which led to an escalation to what we refer to as an epic tantrum in this house -- and a second massive pee accident while having said tantrum. All this OF COURSE woke the baby -- who finally was dozing off on a nap for the first time all afternoon.

It may not be rational to be completely pissed off at a 2.5 year old, but after sitting on a pee covered bathroom floor trying to get him to "go tee tee on the potty"- man, I was ticked*. On the bright side, I've discovered the perk of using the tiniest room in the house for this training -- the pee at least is confined to a smaller area on the floor.

*Not to mention that I actually cooked dinner tonight! (Yes, really!) Which sat there, cold, while my kid freaked out for 45 minutes.

Potty training time

We decided this was it - the time to take the plunge and start to potty train T. A lot of the kids at school are being potty trained (yes - an early form of peer pressure). We actually think that not potty training him has been contributing to some tantrums when it comes to diaper changing, so we decided to give it a whirl ourselves.

You'd think something "natural" like this wouldn't be so nerve-wracking for me, but I've been admittedly petrified. Our school has the policy of "no turning back" -- so this is it. If it takes a week or a year, T is in big boy undies from this point forward. I can't help it, I have carpet and like to do things beyond the walls of our house on the weekends, so that thought is a bit scary to me. However, a week ago, I took T through the big boy underwear section and he fixated on some Planes underoos and has been carrying them with him EVERYWHERE (not past the car - but they go to the couch, the car, and pretty much everywhere in between), so I took that as a positive sign.

We started last weekend after a birthday party and failed nap - so the mood was not the best in the house upon Go time. (That and we insisted he stay downstairs because we don't have carpet down there -- and he wanted to play upstairs with his toys in his room so it started with a bit of a power struggle and a tantrum.) But we had promised the wearing of the Planes underwear, so we followed through. And amazingly, it's been going better than I expected. Sure, there have been a few accidents when the little man hasn't wanted to stop what he's doing to go, and it appears he is afraid to poop in the potty at this point (lovely image, I know), but all in all - it appears to be a good move on our part. I'm not quite sure how we'll leave the house any time soon, but baby steps right?

On the downside, potty training has turned the one and only room in our house that didn't have anything relating to kids into a child-stuff filled room. It's not even funny.  The powder room is the closest room to the main room in our house, so it's now been assigned the title of the potty training room. Our poor guests now have to share the tiniest space in the house with a 2.5 year old boy. Lucky them, right?

Potty training essentials

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I fell of the face of the earth

Pretty much.  It's been one of the crazier and more stressful summers of my life...that's for sure.  Well, for starters, baby number 2 decided to make HER debut 5 weeks and 2 days early.  What I thought were really bad Braxton Hicks contractions turned out to be - oops - really labor and I ended up arriving at the hospital 10 centimeters dilated and involuntarily pushing in the car.  Bigger oops.  Long story short, Devon Rebecca then gave us 5 weeks of ups and downs in and out of the NICU until she finally came home on July 19th, her original due date!  Knock on wood we're finally all getting back to a normal routine and she's the sweetest, most precious addition to the fam (not that I am the slightest bit biased).

As Vickie has well documented 2 and 3-year olds have some adjustment issues when their younger siblings arrive.  Actually, "some" might be an understatement.  We're doing much better now but for a month or so there was an epic tantrum at least every 20 minutes and I may have locked myself in the bedroom closet on more than one occasion while praying for patience and sanity.  Wait, that was last night actually.  God answered my prayers in the form of preschool, which has been a much-needed break for all of us I think.  And Audrey loves her little sister so much, I know she's going to be the best big sister in the years to come.

And now it's on to battle the bulge for me.  I have to concur with Vickie that the weight isn't melting off quite as quickly the second time around.  So I'll be braving the 100+ heat with my jog stroller and hoping I can make it more than halfway around the block without passing out.  Stay tuned.