Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

July 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 1:36 pm

Today my first born turns three. It is so hard to believe that I created something three years ago that has become the boy in front of me today. Everyday I love him more. Is that possible? Yes, most definitely it is.

Today we celebrated by having about 20 kids over to our house for a party. Yup, 20. It was a crazy fun mess… and I think I may have had more fun than Andrew…. who by the way had the most fantastic time of his life.

To make the party a success, we made it a play-date, not a gift-giving party. There were no gifts, and no meals. Just 2 hours of snacks and fun. We had mounds of applesauce, apple-juice, water, yogurt, bagels, veggies to dip, jugs of coffee, fruit salad, and other assorted munchies.

For the adults, the food was the party itself. Every parent knows that you usually go starving while running after your kids. You often find yourself 4 hours later remembering that you didn’t eat your breakfast, you didn’t finish your coffee, and all you ate were the crusts from the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you made for the kids lunches. So that in and of itself made the parents as happy as clams, which made them calm while their kids ran around like sugar-crazed-banshees.

But the kids… oh the kids… it was like it was everyone’s birthday, not just Andrew’s. At the age of three, everyday can be like that if you have some fun things going on. I had such a great time watching it all, that I almost didn’t want it to end. They were all so cute, and so happy. It was Andrew’s birthday gift back to me.

The kids passed the time squeezing blue icing in shapes on the top of their cupcakes. They were fishing in the coolers for magnetic fish with fishing poles. They were painting the fence with paint brushes… (because there were houses drawn on the fence in chalk). They were making HUGE bubbles with all the big bubble wands we had set up all over the yard. They were drawing on my dining room table (which was covered with white paper) with crayons. The sandbox and the construction trucks of course were well utilized. And of course, there were sprinklers involved. Lots of squealing with delight and jumping around in swimsuits or diapers.

It was a beautiful day.

Andrew loved it. Never before had his backyard turned into a preschool full of his favorite friends. He didn’t know whether to open the door and escort more people in, or run to the backyard where all the new fun things were going on. His eyes were as big as saucers the whole time, and I could hear him yelling with delight.

And his face when we brought out the cupcakes was priceless. He stood there, surrounded by 30 people who were singing happy birthday, with the biggest grin that I have ever seen. He was so proud, happy and content. It was like he couldn’t believe so many people came to our house just for him.

I was so proud of him at that moment for the little man that he has become. I was proud that he is nice to other kids, and that so many would want to come celebrate with him. I was so proud of him for sharing all his toys. I was so proud of him thanking people for coming. I was so proud that he was mine. How did I get so lucky?

Happy Birthday Andrew, I love you. Thank you for giving me the gift of you on this very special day.

July 18, 2007

Selective Hearing?

Filed under: Nathan — by mvmommy @ 2:30 pm

My grandparents are one of those couples who could be on a comedy show. They are not funny on purpose, it’s just their interactions that are hilarious. They don’t know it, but they are.

One of the main gripes of both of my grandparents is that the ‘other one’ can’t hear. They are constantly complaining that the ‘other one’ forgot to do something after they were explicitly told to do it. Likewise, the defending party insists that they were not told to do it at all, and that is why it was not done… watering the garden, picking up something at the grocery store, putting an important date on the calendar, etc. Thus the argument ensues over which one is hard of hearing and which one is not.

It’s been going on forever, and behind the scenes everyone else in my family has decided that Grandmom can not hear, and Grandpop refuses to hear. Thus, selective hearing. When my Grandmom talks, he tunes out. It’s actually comical when you test it out. Grandmom can be yapping at him from about 5 feet away for 15 minutes about something he is completely ignoring. And then I can whisper something about fishing, and he would hear it from across the room.

Recently I have decide my husband has those same genes. He seems to have no ability to hear the children between the hours of 11:30 pm – 5:00 am. When it’s time for him to sleep, you would think he locked himself in an invisible sound proof chamber to which nothing short of a sonic boom would wake him up. It is INFURIATING!

Since Andrew has been potty training, he has started waking in the middle of the night to go pee. I can hear him get up the minute his feet hit the floor and he heads down the hall towards our room. I don’t expect Nathan to hear him at this point – I figure this is a mothering gene that he doesn’t have. However, I do expect him to wake up when Andrew rustles into our room by banging the door open and comes to the side of the bed, and practically yells: I NEED TO GO PEE! Unfortunately, Nathan is still snoring away at that point.

So every night for a month I have been waking up in the middle of the night at least once for Andrew’s pee break. And don’t even get me started if Andrew’s having bad dreams… that could tack on an extra 2 visits to the kids rooms. And if Justin is even remotely sick… just tack on 2 more visits. It has not been unusual for me to wake up 2-3 a night in the past month…. sans husband.

But last week pushed me over the edge. Andrew woke up and had an accident. Not only was he bawling in our room – full force – but he was covered in pee. Somehow I was trying to wrangle him into the bathroom to calm down and get cleaned up. Likewise, I was trying change his sheets in the room where Justin was sleeping – without waking him up too. When I say changing sheets, imagine moving the mattress completely off the bed and stripping it down. Clearly not a quiet task. Does the ruckus wake Snoring Beauty? NO!

During this I am sweating. Sweating because I can’t help Andrew who is still crying. And I can’t change the sheets because they are getting stuck in the dark. And I can’t yell for help because I will wake Justin. It is at this point I march into our bedroom and start hitting Nathan to wake up. It takes me literally yelling at him & shaking him to get his butt out of bed. I tell him to take care of Andrew & help him pee while I change the sheets.

The whole time I am changing the sheets, I can hear Andrew still crying for Mommy. When I come out and the bed is changed, I see that Andrew is in the same position I left him, and Nathan is simply sitting on the bathroom floor quietly. He might as well been sleeping there. When I come in, he moves silently back to bed, while I finish up with Andrew & get him back into bed.

By the time I make it back to bed, Nathan is already asleep and I am so wide awake that I can’t sleep for another hour.

What is with that? I could strangle him, but I know that he honestly doesn’t hear it. How is that possible? It was like World War III was waging in our house, and yet his snores were still permeating every corner of the upstairs.

I think I now know how my Grandmother feels when she’s talking to my Grandfather. I bet she wants to hit him with a 2×4. I promise I will never laugh at my Grandfathers antics again… and I also promise that I will strap the baby monitor to Nathan’s head so he is sure to hear the kids in the future.

July 9, 2007

Entrainement de la toilette – via la France

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 3:15 am

I have no idea if that is the right translation for “Potty Training the French Way” … but that is what was intended.

Only a great-grandmother can make potty training even more difficult than it already is. I say that with a laugh and a smile.

My grandparents are from Europe, and in their old age they have come to love their bidet. Yes, I mean the toilet that is really not a toilet, more of a bathtub for your butt. Or a fountain for your butt if you prefer. They had one installed a few years back when they remodeled their house. I have always found it funny and chuckle to myself whenever I see it.

The other day we were visiting & my son noticed this strange contraption in their bathroom. After quizzing me on it endlessly, he decided that he wanted to try it. So I told him, if he pooped on the regular potty, he could use the bidet to clean himself off afterwards. Sure enough, without fuss, he pooped a little later & then insisted upon using it.

I have never used one before, so I had to haul my grandmother into the bedroom in the middle of the night to show me how to turn it on. Andrew promptly sat on it and announced that he liked it & it felt good. He refused to come off of it, until I had to drain the thing and tell him there was no more water in the house.

The next morning, he tried to poop again just so he could use it. And he asked if he could take the bidet with us to go home. I rolled my eyes and said no. What 2 year old uses a bidet around here? I have got to have the kid with the cleanest butt for miles around.

Well tonight, Andrew surprised me. After all his recent fuss about pooping on the potty, he decided to kick it up a notch. He got out of bed tonight, walked into the bathroom by himself, and pooped by himself. I stumbled upon him with no warning when he ran out of the bathroom yelling “I pooped, I pooped!!”

Promptly after proving to me that he really did it – he asked to use the bidet. He decided he didn’t like toilet paper, and that Mommy should go get the car so we could drive Omi’s and Opa’s house to use their bidet. When I explained that it was nighttime and too far to drive an hour every-time he pooped – he told me that we needed a bidet for our house.

Oh for goodness sake. Is this the sort of bribery that pooping on the potty is going to resort to?

His father going to kill me when he gets home from his business trip. I can just see the look on his face when Andrew runs up to him telling him how nice his butt feels after he poops and cleans himself with a bidet. I am sure that Daddy will teach Andrew more farting and burping noises as an appropriate retaliation.

July 7, 2007

Yellow and Brown alert

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 6:26 am

Potty training (paw-tee tray-nee-g):

moments of absolute genius, followed by moments of unadulterated stupidity

That should be the definition in Webster’s dictionary.

One of the reasons I have not been blogging for a bit has been due to my love of summer with my kids. However, it has also been because I am consumed with pee & poop. Potty training has sucked me into this vortex where all I think about is where the next accident will be, and whether I will be prepared.

Do I have two outfits in the car at every given moment, for a play-date that might last more than an hour? If he hasn’t poop’d in a day, is he going to be constipated? Will he poop on the potty? Or will he run and hide and poop in his pants? Should I try to get him to the toilet when I see him doing the ‘grab my crotch’ dance? Or should I let him tell me? When do I back off? When do I push it?

Everyone wants to give you advice. And being a novice to potty training, I had been suckered into believing the few preachers that said, “oh it’s easy… when they are ready, you just train them for a few days and it’s done!” Voila! I am ready. He is ready. Why are we still cutting the underpants off this kid and tossing the underwear into the garbage can, because he used them like a disposable diaper!!!?

I had prepared myself for the accidents. I smile, make no big deal about it. Calmly wipe myself with disinfectant spray from head to toe and hose him down with a power sprayer. However, inside I am seething. I am not mad because I am callous mother who can’t understand this is new to him. I am mad because he actually does it on purpose. Yes, you might not believe me … but he does.

One day he was doing the potty dance, when I asked him if he had to pee. He had been going on the potty pretty well for weeks… yes, there were accidents… but he clearly knew how to do it. Well this time, he yelled NO in my face. Ran to the sandbox. Squatted, and pee’d into the sand – while looking straight at me. Seriously. How does one stay calm in the face of that sort of adversity? I about wanted to kill him. I just turned around and let him stay there. And frankly, he didn’t care. Not one bit. So those of you, who advise… ‘leave him in it, they won’t like it.’ Well, this kid doesn’t mind.

We had been at it for about 3 weeks and I almost gave up every dang day of those weeks. One day would be amazing – he would tell me he had to go and we would go. One day would be horrible – he would refuse to go near the bathroom all day, not even once. One day he would go in himself, not need my help in any way. And the next, he would tell me he liked pooping in his pants. I have bought at least, AT LEAST, 24 pairs of underwear. And we were down to 4 today.

But, after all this complaining… I think we have turned a corner. We conquered the pee in the last week and a half. He has had no accidents. I attribute this to the fact we went on vacation and he was surrounded with people every minute of the day. Thus he had no privacy to have an accident (he typically likes to hide). So he got used to asking someone to go to the potty – on planes, in strange homes, on the beach, at the park, in the middle of a wedding! It was amazing. Nothing like performing under pressure.

But the poop was still a problem. He did great on vacation. But when we got home, the first thing he did was go back to his old ways. I about rammed my head into the wall with frustration. I have talked to every woman I know with an older kid, trying to figure it out. Finally I just let it go. I just stopped trying and bought about 12 more pairs of underwear and figured… I am going to wait him out.

I think he felt my resolve to do nothing, say nothing, and just wait. It must have daunted him. Because this week, I think we have turned a major corner. There has been no more accidents. None. And he tells me when he needs to go. And he takes care of his own clothes. And he washes his hands. It was like the heavens opened up and the Pee Fairy came down with her magic wand and told him, “you shall now use the toilet and use it well.” And so he has.

With this comes a freedom I didn’t actually know I was missing. Seriously, I can’t believe that I can take this kid places and not worry about bringing the diaper bag, an extra change of clothes, wipes, and Balmex! I feel like I walk about 2 feet taller, and I want to tell everyone I meet “he’s potty training”. But I don’t have to. He does it for me. The other day he ran into the airport full of people and yelled, “Mommy I pooped on the potty” as loud as he could with this HUGE grin on his face as he raced up to me for a big hug. As we did our victory dance, I didn’t care that 100 people were watching us. They should have joined it, it was definitely something to celebrate!

July 5, 2007

Gone Fishin’

Filed under: Stuff — by mvmommy @ 2:17 pm

The family has been on vacation and basically been ‘doing’ summer for the past few weeks. There is so much to report and funny things to share, but who wants to take the time these days?

I haven’t wanted to miss a moment playing with the kids in the sun, or eating ice cream in the hot weather, or hosing down things just to keep cool. It’s been fun being a kid again. And it’s the first time for my children, so it’s like starting over for me.

In the past few weeks we have take rides in speedboats on lakes, and have watched the joy in my children’s faces as they realize that the water sprays out from under the boat & makes waves. They were googly-eyed over the wave runners that were racing us. And the call of the drawbridge bell, was almost too much to take. We HAD to see the tall sailboats go under, and HAD to watch the cars wait until the bridge went down. And honestly, there wasn’t anything I wanted to do more.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time snuggling my children during naps or bedtime, because we have been in odd houses and condos and hotels. In all this change, one thing is certain: my boys love to snuggle with mommy. At one point I had both boys tucked into the nook of my arm sleeping up to me… and I thought, this is heaven. This the moment I dreamed of while being a mom. I laid there for an hour hoping they wouldn’t wake up.

In the past few weeks I have introduced my kids to the East-Coast side of my husband’s family. We had a reunion/wedding to attend, and the kids put on their best show. They pretty much charmed everyone with their enthusiasm and excitement for everything. Andrew was the ring-bearer in a wedding, and he did beautifully (for an almost 3 yr old). Definitely took the ‘long route’ down the aisle. Later after the obligation of carrying the rings was over, he fell in love with the flower girl and decided to give her a whirl. Believe me, watching him voluntarily dance with this little girl had me in tears. I was just seeing him 20 years from now getting married and moving away. Seriously, I bawled like a baby, it was embarrassing.

And Justin…. that kid could wrap you around his finger with his smile. He had all the old ladies crooning over his bald head and little mini blue suit. He mastered the art of peek-a-boo to a form of flirting. And he used his honed skill endlessly to capture the hearts of all the women on the plane rides, airports, parks, and beaches. He is still trying to use it on me. And despite the fact that I know he is ‘working me’, I cannot help but fall in love with him over and over again.

Summer vacation with my kids has been just what the doctor ordered. It’s time to slow down, enjoy the little things. It’s been time to look at them through other people’s eyes, and realize what AMAZING kids I have. It’s been a great time to just let them be kids, not expect the world from them, and love them… Love them… LOVE THEM.

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