Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The brown diaries -- vol 3

Can there really be a third instalment? I never intended for a trilogy. After a long hiatus, we've made some terrific progress, though. LGO now has a potty wall of fame -- yes, we've adopted the dreaded sticker chart. He likes it, and given his appetite, I figure it's a better incentive than the carcinogenic Smarties. Of course he is showered with praise, too. And he often declares proudly, 'I did a HUGE poop!' so there is certain pride in the act of expunging, and of course, as with all things male and bravado, size is everything.

For a while we would read books with him on the john. After the millionth reading of The Purple Snerd and Munsch's Mortimer, however, we splurged on a LeapFrog 'notepad', which comfortably fits on his lap. Now he'll doodle while doing his business. It seems to work. And yet, with all this triumph, it's a wonder we don't have the training in the bag yet.

We sit him down after each meal, like clockwork. More often than not, he produces. After he peed in the big toilet yesterday, I figured it was time to introduce the big boy underwear. Within a half hour: carnage. He not only did No. 1, a No. 2 also greased his fancy tank engines. The worst part -- not only didn't he announce his intention but he didn't seem to mind going in his pants in the least. Just sort of hobbled around, a la John Wayne, with the chocolate parcel in his drawers. Never once said 'boo', not so much as an 'uh-oh's', no declarations of the sort.

So, after cleaning him up, we put on new pants and new undies (Y-fronts this time, Old Navy). Another half hour, and another trickle. Still isn't fazed. No comments from the peanut gallery. Unlike one of his female friends, who screams and cries when she wets her panties, with LGO it's business as usual. Does this mean he isn't ready? Still? How can I get him to care about where he shits? Is he doomed to be one of those guys who pees against brick walls in alleyways when perfectly good toilets abound? Say it ain't so...

Monday, February 14, 2011

For better or whatever (redux)

Chocolates or a dozen roses? Yes, it's that time again, when your significant other indulges in a (banal) attempt to show you just how much you mean to him/her. Singletons aren't the only ones who want to vomit pink on the 14 day of February; they're not the only ones who'd love to tell Cupid where to stick his freaking arrow.

With the divorce rate being what it is, makes you wonder why so many people continue to buy into 'happily ever after'. If monogamy really is dead as the cynics would have us believe, then why are people still getting married and remarried ad infinitum? Romance after marriage may be a rarity, yet death-do-you-part is a dream that we as a society still cling to for dear life. Despite our shoddy track record, we desperately want monogamy to work.

I have been with my significant other for nearly half of my life now. Scary to think of it in those terms, if only because it's a stark reminder of how quickly the years stack up. Twelve, to be precise. That is no small feat these days. Some of my friends are already well into their second marriages. I'm not sure what our particular secret is. There isn't some elixir when it comes to staying with the same person, no magic bunny hiding underneath the marital bed. Marriage, to me, is a lot like writing: 99 per cent perspiration, 1 per cent inspiration. In this age there is so much competing for our limited attention -- children, work, friends, even hobbies. The real work of marriage is to stay connected in spite of all those conflicting demands on our time. After all, no relationship is unsinkable, and complacency is the iceberg no one saw coming...

For some reason many couples are reluctant to carve out time for each other. Children certainly complicate the issue, but babysitters are significantly cheaper than divorce lawyers! Blame 14 February, I say. It doesn't have to be Mo√ęt and Chandon. It doesn't even have to be heart-shaped or velvet to be heartfelt. A simple walk or chai latte together can act as a crucial reminder of why you enjoy spending time together. Defer that connection for too long, and you'll roll over one day and hardly recognize the person beside you.

Sex is nice, but what's icing without cake? You have to lay the groundwork, so to speak. A wise friend once introduced me to the Six Second Rule. No matter what's happening around you -- deadlines, tantrums -- wrap your arms around your partner, and make those seconds count. Sounds silly and overly simplistic, but it works. Intimacy is all about being present in the moment, otherwise sex risks becoming yet another thing to strike off the To Do list.

So rather than plunk down in front of Glee, why not share a bubble bath or snuggle together with a glass of red? BlackBerries and televisions are the sworn enemies of romance and, ironically, of true communication. You know this; I know this. If it's artificial glow you want, then go light some candles.

At the end of a long day, I still feel blessed to fall into my hubby’s arms, even if it is only for six seconds. To me, evolving through the various stages of life with the same person is the biggest turn-on. Personally, I love how our plot keeps thickening, twisting in unexpected directions. Becoming parents was just another chapter in our saga (an exhilarating, sometimes arduous chapter), and already I find myself looking forward to the next chapter, and the next after that.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On bullying a bully

They say there’s no such thing as a bad child, only bad behavior. Recently I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing up close and extremely personally this so-called bad behavior. When I enrolled my two-year-old son in a program named (wishfully, ironically) Terrific Twos, I was excited. The aim of the class is just to give tots a taste of preschool life, with its structured activities ranging from crafts to stories and singsong. Beyond that the big draw for me is the chance to drop off my son and eventually leave the room for a while...

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