Monday, April 28, 2008

With Five You Get Minivan

So, in case you're wondering why I've been sort of lame in the posting department lately, I have a good excuse! It's because I've been too busy falling asleep spontaneously, surfing baby name websites for an obscene amount of time, pondering whether a laundry-hating person such as myself could actually attempt cloth diapers, and researching minivans. Yes, mommytown is getting a little number three is on his/her way!!!

For a long time Brandon and I really debated about whether or not having three kids was such a good idea. We have a pretty good thing going on right now seeing as we have the two most awesome kids ever (all of my readers' kids excluded, of course). Are we just setting ourselves up for some really lame kid that maybe won't be as cool as our other two? What if no one really likes this new kid? Or they are the type to always stir things up and want to play cowboy when Emma and Charlie want to play space explorers? What if they hate all things princess and transportation-oriented?

Plus, you pretty much have to get a giant car once you have three kids. Our hip, small car days are numbered. We considered all these possibilities and decided to go ahead and tempt fate in the hopes that we will have a third kid who is just as awesome as the other two. Plus, I am a third child myself, so I am biased toward third-born children everywhere. My parents probably had all these same worries and discussions and went ahead with things anyway. Hopefully they don't have any regrets? There was probably a moment of regret there in my late teens.... We won't go there now, though.

Baby number three is due November 5th-ish and we couldn't be happier. The first trimester is pretty much history and I am glad to be back to my non-nauseated self. So far, this baby is quite the mexican food aficionado. I had the realization recently that I incorporated guacamole into just about every meal we ate last week. I am all about the avocados (and the chocolate ice cream) lately. He/she also already gets the hiccups and seems to be very laid-back--both traits we witnessed on the ultrasound last week when, save for a spastic hiccup every now and then, we could not get the little bean to wake up and show off his/her spinal cord and profile.

Well, the kids are home from preschool now, so I better pay them some attention. The kids are talking to me in their robot voices right now. WE-ARE-TALK-ING-LIKE-RO-BOTS-TO-DAY-A-PPAR-ENT-LY. IT-IS-PRET-TY-FUN-TO-TALK-LIKE-A-RO-BOT. GO-A-HEAD-AND-GIVE-IT-A-TRY...YOU-WON'T-BE-SOR-RY. HAVE-A-GREAT-DAY-MY-FELL-OW-RO-BOT-FRIENDS.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fight for Your Right to Potty

Will Charlie ever be potty trained? I'm beginning to have my doubts. Visions of him in a cap, gown and a pull up are becoming more and more realistic to me. Sometimes I imagine a college-age Charlie in his dorm room, asking his roommate to toss him a diaper so that he can take care of business...because it seems highly unlikely that Charlie will ever attempt to go #2 on a potty of any shape, size, color, or type. I think I just might be doing something wrong in the potty training department? Truthfully, I think the person who is the most in need of training is me.

Tell me your secrets, all you potty training wiz kids out there (no pun intended), I need your expert advice, please! Do I need to have a potty party? I actually bought the book Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day at the beginning of this potty journey and started to read it. It reads like a high school term paper about going to the bathroom and throwing parties. If, for some reason, your personal hobby is learning about potty training through the ages (Did you know "in the mid-1960s children in London were starting their potty training before they were five months old, while Parisian children--just across the English Channel--weren't starting until they were almost eight months old"?), then you will love the section of this book entitled "Changing Traditions." If you're like me, and just want your child to get his pee pee out of the tunnel (as in, "Charlie do you need to go pee pee? No, Mommy, it's in the tunnel."), then this section could easily be skipped. If you are one of those moms who likes to research a little before making a major purchase like a plastic child's potty, then there is a great chapter on which potties are the most popular. I was proud to see that our Safety 1st Potty 'N Step Stool made the cut (phew!). There is also a section explaining how to trace your child's bum so that you have a little bum pattern to take with you on your potty shopping trip (because "one size doesn't fit all").

Finally, chapter 5 gets us to "potty party day!" Now, we're finally getting down to business. This is the chapter that promises to unlock the secrets to potty training Charlie in one day. Here is the Potty Party Checklist:

  • "Acquire all items on the Potty-Training Essentials list ( potty chair, baby doll that wets, doll underwear, training pants, disposable pull-ups, big-kid underwear, potty chart, flushable wet wipes, waterproof mattress covers, waterproof blanket)

  • Purchase the items on your chosen party theme list (I think our theme will either be "spiderman scooters" or "super dinosaurs.")

  • Buy and wrap a present for yourself that you really want (totally on board with this one).

  • Wrap the doll.

  • Wrap and hide your child's big-kid underwear.

  • Cut fabric or alter big-kid underwear to make a dozen big-kid underpants for the doll--these underpants should match or have the same theme as your child's big-kid underwear.

  • Place the potty-chair in the bathroom.

  • Decorate the bathroom and party room with the chosen theme.

  • Wrap party prizes.

  • Wrap your child's Grand Finale Big Kid Celebration gifts from you and your family members.

  • Prepare a variety of enticing bite-size treats.

  • Stash a handful of potty-training books in the bathroom and a handful in the party room.

  • Stack the potty training videos next to the VCR.

  • Purchase a variety of drinks and prepare ingredients to make fruit smoothies .

  • Place the waterproof blanket or rug on the sofa in the party room."

I estimate that this potty party will cost me about $500 and will take about six months to prepare for. I think I'd rather change disgusting underpants for the next six months than spend the time sewing tiny doll-sized spiderman underwear and acquiring potty videos and books by the handfuls. I do like her idea of buying myself a "present that I really want," but do I really have to wrap it?

I also worry a little about post-potty-party letdown. I'm not sure I can maintain the potty joie de vivre for the time it will take to make this no diapers thing a reality. The author recommends having a "potty parade" the day after the potty party. I guess I will consider that option. I don't know...there has to be an easier way. Right? I have a few more minutes left before I have to go pick the kids up from preschool...just enough time to run to Target to pick up some more diapers and wipes for Charlie. Or I could use the time to study up on potty party themes and surf the web for places to buy a waterproof blanket. Stay tuned and I'll let you know which way I decide to go...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free Range Kids

Here's another interesting story that is kind of in the same thread as shampoo visors and banning tag... also check out for more stories about giving kids independence. Are you a freerange mom? I'd like to be, but I don't know if I'm quite there yet.

On DC Urban Moms (a local mom listserv I read) people have been talking about the "subway kid" and reminiscing about the good old days of their childhood when they were allowed to ride the subway, take international flights and ski behind school buses without so much as an adult peeking between the blinds to check on them. I'm sure that there was the occasional injury and natural consequence as a result of this much independence, and I'm not saying that people should send their four-year-old off on a trip to backpack through Europe by themselves, but a little independence and the trust in the basic goodness of humanity would be nice. Yesterday I watched my kids ride their wheeled vehicles of choice (Hello Kitty bike for Emma and Spiderman scooter for Charlie). I was sitting on our front steps while they rode on the sidewalk in front of our house. I told them not to go past a certain point (which was pretty far away...almost beyond yelling distance) and then gave them the freedom to go up and down the sidewalk by themselves while I sat and watched. It was so amazing to watch them zoom away from me (well, Charlie zoomed...Emma sort of moseyed along, riding her bike the way a muppet might ride a bike). I watched them get farther and farther away, wondering with a tiny bit of anxiety if they would zoom and mosey away from me into some sort of danger zone, and then I watched as they stopped themselves when they got to the designated boundary and turned around and came back to me. My heart filled with pride as I watched them. It seems like if you never let your kids have a little freedom in life, you never get the opportunity to teach them how to stop and come back to you. I think we both learned important skills yesterday: me, how to let go and them, how to come back.

Apparently, my sub-conscious was still working through some of this though, as last night I had a very vivid dream about Emma taking a trip solo to the mall in our car. (!) She came back totally unscathed, but the car was returned to the garage mangled and dented. I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm guessing that dream means I'm not completely ready to let go just yet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tag, you're too aggressive

I saw this article today in the newspaper and thought it was interesting. Basically this elementary school principal has outlawed tag from her school, claiming it had become a game of "intense aggression." Granted, I don't have a kid in elementary school yet, but I don't really see what the big deal is with a little bit of intense aggression during recess. For some reason this article reminds me of thumbing through the One Step Ahead catalog and seeing the ads for the shampoo visor and thinking 1) Whatever happened to just telling your child "close your eyes"? and 2) How have I been washing my kids' hair this long without a shampoo visor? What kind of mother am I?
I feel the same way about this tag thing...whatever happened to letting your kids get a few scrapes and bruises on the playground? Isn't that pretty much what childhood is all about? Come to think of it, isn't that what life is all about? Is there a shampoo visor for every aspect of childhood these days?
What do you think? If you have a shampoo visor, it's time to fess up.