Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The brown diaries -- volume 2

Oh, how I wish there wasn't a volume two...  But there it is. Here's where I confess that we abandoned Project Poo a while back, mainly because there was too much going on in the lead up to Project 2nd Birthday.  Now I'm here to report and mull over the fact that there is never a 'good' time for potty training.  Maybe a 'quasi ready' time but never a right time.  Our lives, let's face it, are always busy.  Especially when they orbit a pint-sized dictator.

And my, how the pint-sized dictate! 
Mine is so clever, so astute in so many respects. He can recite books I haven't read in months, songs I sang maybe once -- unlike his pre-senile ma, he actually remembers the lyrics...  Yet ask him if he needs to poop and he fixes you with a look like you've asked him to recite Pi in its entirety.  (As a matter of fact, he probably could recite Pi, but I'm so not going there.)  Nope, when it comes to the brown stuff, it's a mutiny.  Does he sense my desperation?  Does he deliberately play dumb?  Or does he genuinely not mind the squidgy pasty feeling of shit stuck to his rear end?  Beats me.  Is there method to this madness?  You tell me. 

So far our 'training' methodology is largely hit and miss: 
The large being miss with the occasional hit.  When I remember, I sit him on the potty. He obliges, reads a few books.  If the urge takes him, he'll piss and poo there, too, but mostly he's content enough to do so whenever, wherever.  Does this mean he's not ready?  Is he ready when he's able to signal me?  The little grunting face he pulls is fine and dandy, except that it only lasts for a split second and by then, the damage -- in a manner of speaking -- is done. 

I know he won't be 24 and still crapping his pants
(Ok, so maybe after a big night out he will probably, on occasion, still wet himself -- I'm a realist, after all).  But I feel I'm missing some crucial something here...  I'd rather wait it out and put him through the rigors of 'poop camp' for, say, one (intense) week than drag out the process for months.  Call me crazy.

To those who made it through the trenches
Just how did you do it?  Was it as gory as all that?  Are pull-ups really worth the money?  And, finally, how did you keep your precious sanity in one tidy piece?  Loonie for your thoughts...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to keep the in-laws from becoming outlaws

Blood is thicker than water. Trust me, it is. Even if you've sworn allegiance to your partner 'til death do part you, make no mistake — family will ALWAYS trump your romantic relationship, no matter how sound. Even when said family is estranged or annoying or downright abusive, the ties that bind weigh heavier than the old ball and chain.

Click here to read the full article, as featured at Parenting Squad.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am mommy, and I own the universe

Once upon a time I had trouble bonding with my son, and he with me.  Other than meeting his basic needs, I felt -- at my lowest low -- that just about anyone could look after him and he wouldn't know the difference (it's funny how depression warps your perception).  After all, not even my breasts were sustaining him. He would have done better with a wet nurse!  It's a shame when we are in the abyss that we don't have rose-coloured, fast-forward lenses we can slip on to see the future. Even the near future.  Lots of half-empty people could benefit from that kind of optimism.  Myself included.

These days LGO and I couldn't be closer.  In fact, the mother-and-son bond is verging on problematic.  In the immortal words of Ms Morissette:  Isn't it ironic, don'tcha think?  But how close is too close? Lately my son has taken to bestowing me ownership of everything in the universe.  All things, in his autocratic perspective, are 'Mommy's'.  The stars?  Mommy's.  The cars parked up and down our street?  Mommy's.  Every piece of food or clothing or footwear?  Mommy's.  Even when my neighbour came toting her own bottle of San Pellegrino?  You guessed it.  I'm no child psychologist. But there must be a simple explanation.  Personally, I don't give a hoot what the rationale is.  In an ideal world, anything I wanted on whim would be mine all mine.  But that wouldn't be a very nice world, now would it?  No sense telling my son that.  Better his world view than him declaring 'mine mine mine' to everything in his sight.  I guess he's generous that way.  Or maybe he assumes that what's mine must by extension also be his.

What is possibly even more grating to others (Mr Green included), though, is the advent of the dreaded separation anxiety.  It does make me wonder when exactly does intimacy cross into anxiety territory.  A few cuddles: healthy.  Following you from room to room, and crying as soon as you're out of eye shot: not so healthy.  (Then again, Mr Green also does this sometimes.  I guess I have that effect on men!)  Take today.  While a friend was here, I nipped upstairs for a piddle.  Ten seconds later, LGO ran to the bottom of the stairs, frantically calling out, 'Mommy, Mommy, love you'. My heart melted, of course.  But it is a little testing, considering it happens even when Daddy's also present in the room. I am told by Those Who Know to enjoy this phase while it lasts.  Because it is just that -- a phase.  And soon enough he'll be scrambling off to preschool and then high school where he'll cross the street, pretending not to know that freaky lady blowing him kisses.  But for now that freaky lady is happy to claim those snuggles whenever she pleases.  After all, she's Mommy and she owns each and everything under the sun.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ode to a single parent

It takes a village to raise a child. Or at the very least: one superhuman parent. Every now and then I don my cape and play that wonder woman. Like many moms out there, when my husband goes away on business, I unofficially become a ‘single parent’. And, also like most moms out there, it’s not an experience I relish.  Yet I do recognize that every now and then it’s healthy and necessary to be ousted from your bubble-wrapped existence. And walking in another mom’s footsteps, even if it’s only for a few short days or weeks a year, helps me to see beyond the periphery of my smug little life.

Click here to read the full article, as featured in Real Zest.