Thursday, March 19, 2009

The "P" Word

Yep, I'm finally bringing up the dreaded "P" word. The one word that strikes fear into every mother's heart: POTTY-TRAINING.

I know there are a thousand different theories and methods out there and even more success/failure stories. If you're new to mothering, you are probably wondering where to start. I'd like to add to the confusion and give you yet another potty-training how-to theory.

I can now say, with confidence, that Caleb is potty trained. He has been almost 3 weeks now without diapers and only 2-3 accidents (all of those while busy playing) during that time. He's been sleeping in his big-boy undies and going out on the town in them, too. When he came running up to me on the playground and told me he had to go potty, I figured we had arrived at the past-tense of potty-training. =)

So, now I'm passing along my experiences to you. Take all of my advice with a grain of salt, since I've only done this potty-training thing once.

Rebecca's Potty Training Manual
1. Wait.
That's right. . . the first and most crucial advice I can give you is w-a-i-t. Bladder/bowel control and awareness is primarily a developmental milestone, not a matter of obedience. Your 18-month old may be ready, but chances are, he isn't. And, just because your neighbor's 3-year-old is trained, doesn't mean that your 3-year-old is ready. So, wait until you're sure that your child will succeed. That probably means waiting until AFTER your child is ready.

2. Ignore.
The second step is to ignore everyone's anecdotes (hmm, am I shooting myself in the foot here?) and advice. Go with your gut. If your great-uncle's wife's cousin trained her 12 children to go potty in the toilet when they were only 14 months old, that's great. But you shouldn't feel pressured to do the same. Ignore people who look at you funny when you're still buying diapers for your 2-year-old, it's okay. They'll get over it. For the sake of your child and yourself, don't use other people as your measuring stick. Don't even use other siblings. Remember, it's primarily a biological issue.

3. Relax.
Relax if things don't go the way you think they should. If you think your child is ready and it turns out they aren't, it's okay. Don't stress and don't make it a big deal. Just wait and try again in a few more weeks/months. I think another word to keep in mind is Grace. Be gracious with your child. I am a strong proponent of training for obedience, but I honestly feel like potty-training is less about obedience and more about the natural physical limitations of a child. Don't shame your child if he/she has accidents or is a little on the late side of being ready. It'll come eventually. Just look around you. . . how many normal 15-year-olds do you know that aren't potty trained? My guess is, none (that could be because there aren't any "normal" 15-year-olds!) So, don't stress. It'll happen eventually.

4. Have Fun.
Did I just say have fun? Yes, I did, and I didn't forget that we are talking about potty-training. This is a big achievement for you and for your child. Celebrate your successes. Make it fun. Children are very fun and playful. That is what makes children so magical. Don't make potty-training a drudgery. Your child probably won't respond well to it if it is. Buy the coolest, most fun underwear you can find. Put them out for your child to admire. Talk it up. . . when you use the restroom, talk about what a big girl (I'm assuming anyone that has made it this far into this post is probably a mom) you are and how exciting it will be when your child is a big boy/girl. When he decides to be a big boy and succeeds for the first time, throw a party. Dance around. Cheer. Call Daddy at work (if you can) or Grandma. . . or both! It's big news in your child's mind, so make it big news. Get out the ice cream or chips or whatever treat it is that your child loves best. Children love excitement, so make potty-training exciting.

So, what did this look like for us:
1. Waiting.
Before Caleb's 2nd birthday, we purchased a little potty chair. We put it in a prominent place in the bathroom and hoped that he might be interested. He was, but only if he could stay fully clothed while sitting on there. I was tempted to force him to try it sans diaper and clothes, but then I thought, "Why? Why does it matter if he wants to sit on the potty with his diaper on?" And, I realized that it didn't matter.

Over the next few months, he tried going potty a few times and was successful once or twice, but I could tell he really wasn't ready. So we kept waiting.

I knew we were getting close when he started asking to go. But, still we waited. I wanted to be sure that he was totally ready.

2. Ignoring.
Caleb's cousin, who is 9-months younger than Caleb, potty-trained herself almost 4 months ago. She was only 16-months at the time!! Talk about feeling the intense pressure to keep up with the Joneses! It wasn't anyone else I had to ignore this time, it was myself. I had to ignore the internal pressure I was feeling and go with my gut. I knew Caleb wasn't ready yet and that his cousin is a potty-protegy! I mean, seriously, how many 16-month-old potty-train themselves. Not many.

3. Relaxing
This one was pretty easy because by the time we actually started potty training, Caleb was definitely ready and he basically potty-trained himself. So, the relaxing I had to do was before the potty-training started. But, we have had a few accidents and when they happen, I just say something like, "Oh well, buddy! It's okay. We'll just clean it up and try again next time. Okay?" We clean it up, pick out more cool undies, and start over. No big deal. And, each day, we ask God to help Caleb grow big and strong and go pee pee on the potty. Remember, it's all about grace, and ultimately, it is God's grace we need, even for things like going potty.

4. Having Fun.
Chips and ice cream. That's what does it for Caleb. Once he learned that he could have a chip for going #1 and a bite of ice cream for going #2, he was like white on rice. Chips are his greatest love in life. Throw into the mix some cool Cars undies and lots and lots of dancing and cheering and there was no stopping him. Oh, and the coolest, getting to pee on a tree (this a boy-only activity) while we were out on a walk. Some things are inherently cool to little boys, and peeing on a tree is one of them. This is one thing his mother doesn't understand, but Josh assures me that boys think peeing on trees is really cool =)

So, take heart. If you are dreading potty-training, don't. It doesn't have to be horrible. Expect there to be false starts and accidents along the way. Cheer loud and give lots of hugs. Oh, and for every bite of ice cream you give your toddler, go ahead and take two for yourself. It'll help. I promise. =)

If you have any other advice or want to share your story, please leave a comment. The more the merrier!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The As-Good-As-Boxed Brownies

I love all things made from scratch. I'm into making bread, tortillas, muffins, cakes, cookies, egg noodles, yogurt, pizza and anything else I can find a good recipe for. But, I have a confession to make: I am a boxed brownie fanatic. That's right. . . boxed. The kind with a million preservatives and ingredients I can't pronounce. I love them. Seriously. I can eat a whole pan by myself if I forgo all self-control. Even when I exercise great self-control, I still end up nibbling away 3/4 of the pan over a period of a few days (no one else in my house loves brownies with the same passion).

So, when I finally found a from-scratch recipe for brownies that taste just like the boxed kind, I was thrilled! Why? What's the point? The point is, homemade brownies are way healthier (no preservatives and whatnot) so now I can eat the whole pan with no guilt =)

And, now, I am passing along this gift to you, my brownie-loving friends. May you eat your brownies in peace!

As-Good-As-Boxed Brownies
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla
6 Tbs cocoa
2 Tbs oil
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Combine margarine, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well. Blend in cocoa, oil then flour. Add nuts, if desired. Bake in greased 8x8 pan at 325 for 30 minutes. Do not overbake (duh!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Several of you have been wondering why all the pictures I post are either one cute kid or the other, but not both at the same time. Here is why: when I try to get shots of both of them together chaos ensues.

Just see for yourself. . .

P.S.- Thanks, Kirsten, for your tips about photo processing. I've been having fun over at Picnik. =)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Conversation Snippet 2: The Sucker

It's Josh's birthday today. Caleb colored a birthday card for Daddy and then picked out a sucker to give with it. It's been sitting up on the table all morning, waiting for Daddy's return from work.

I think he forgot about the plan because he just spied it again and the following conversation occurred:

"Yum!! A sucker! Is that for me!?!"

"No. Remember. . . it's for Daddy. Today is his birthday."

"Um, can it be for me?"

"No. It's for Daddy. When Daddy gets home, you can give him this card and sucker and say, 'Happy Birthday, Daddy! This sucker is you, Daddy. It's from me.' Can you say that?"

"Hmmm. . . (long and thoughtful pause) How 'bout I say a different thing??"

"What would you like to say?"

"How 'bout I say, 'This sucker is for Caleb!"

Monday, March 09, 2009

Your daily dose of cuteness

I know my last post was a picture of Sweat Pea, but I just can't help myself. She so stinkin' cute!

And, just in case that wasn't a large enough dose of cuteness for the day:

Okay, I promise I'll stop. . . someday.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Motherhood: A Poem, a Story and a Picture

A Poem

My friend, Gina, posted this poem on her blog yesterday. Since If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is one of our favorite read-aloud books (remember this?), this poem had me cracking up.

If You Give A Mom A Muffin

Original Author Unknown

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook ("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger").
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old's diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are...
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

A Story

Thursday evening, Josh and I were going to enjoy a night out with some friends from school. The plan was for me to taxi with the kids to school around 4:15 to meet up with the rest of the group and from there, head down to Clark Quay for dinner. Of course, the afternoon did not go exactly as planned. Caleb and Annabelle went down late for their naps. By the time they finally fell asleep, the house was a mess. So instead of showering and dressing, I quickly tidied up the house, folded the laundry that had been sitting on the couch for hours, and did the lunch dishes.

Before I knew it, it was 3:45 and I was
still in my pj's. I took a quick cold shower (who has time for the water to heat up?) and managed throw on some clothes and make-up before the kids woke up at 4:00. I changed their diapers, told Caleb to grab his sandals off the shoe rack that is near our front door (in Asia, you don't wear your shoes in the house, so all the shoes pile up near the front door), helped Caleb put on his shoes while I fed Annabelle, called a taxi, put Annabelle in her baby sling, grabbed my purse, slid on my shoes and ran out the door to meet the taxi. Whew! 4:15 on the dot. I was pretty impressed with myself. The house was clean, the kids were clean, I was clean, and we were on time. Was I good or what!?

When we arrived at school, the parking lot was
abuzz with after-school activity. I waved to several people and chatted a bit with a few friends. One of our good friends, Les, walked over to say hi to the kids and as he approached, I could tell he was looking at me strangely.

"What did you do to your foot?!?" he asked.
"Nothing." I said, confusedly, and glanced down. Annabelle in her baby sling was
blocking my view so I lifted my left foot to inspect it. Nothing wrong there. I lifted my right foot and started cracking up!!! In my hurry to get out of the house, I had slid on two different shoes.

Ahh, Motherhood! Oh well, at least my kids' shoes matched =)

A Picture

Note to self: the brown shoes look way better than the black. Ditch the black pair.