I’m not sure I will ever be the best Mama I can be until I decide what kind of mama I want to me. While I love to cook and bake, read stories to my kids, give and receive “raspberries” or “zerberts”, I’m not sure I’m mature enough to receive complete “fulfillment” from that (especially considering the involution of laundry, and my inability to put it away before it has been folded, knocked over, and refolded at least three times). I think it takes an amazing woman to “just” be “Mom”. I know that I turn to my tutoring and writing to ESCAPE from my children. Now that Papa Bear has gone back to a fifty hour work week, I find myself more physically and emotional exhausted than ever before.
Tonight Papa Bear and I were sitting and discussing our weekend plans, and tears began tumbling from my eyes. I wasn’t even crying, in the traditional sense, but I could not stop them from flowing. Lil Prince is already trying to walk (he low-crawls, but seems to want to skip actually crawling altogether), and I can’t stop the frantic little voice in my head that screams, “Good grief, it’s going to get even harder than this!”
But, yesterday I took a deep breath, and I was “just” a mama. I baked bread for the second time in one week. The unparalleled aroma filled every space in the house, and while it lingered, life seemed a little better, and slightly less complicated.
I’ve started to think frequently about modern conveniences and whether or not we should call them that. First of all, someone has to pay for them which means having to work more hours and spending more time away from loved ones. Secondly, if the smell (and then later the taste) of baking bread could bring me peace, what would my day be like if I spent part of it placing and removing clothes from the line?
OK, this actually sounds awful to me, but it would help to snap me out of my “folding problem”.
Back to yesterday, it was much too windy for the girls to play outside. Actually, the wind blew so loudly that Cuddle Bug was convinced a dog was growling in the garage. She wouldn’t stop pointing at the door, making her meanest growl face, and saying, “Rrrrr, doggie!” So, we sat around inside, ate a lot of popcorn, and read about a dozen books.
They are just starting to get into the whole “video” thing. This poses a tremendous conundrum for me. If I were to let them veg-out and watch back to back movies (or, more likely, the same movie over and over again), my life would be much breezier. But, would I still qualify as their mother, or could I easily be replaced with a baby-sitter? So, I did let them watch a video when they woke up early from nap-time, but when the credits began to roll, and Tiny Dancer pointed at the t.v. and demanded, “A-gin, a-gin!” I put their sing-a-long video on instead, and we danced around the living room for about half an hour. Oh (revelatory moment), that’s the kind of mama I want to be!
Also, it was my second full-day of potty-training. OK, I guess I’ve recovered enough to “talk” about it without crying. Our first try went something like this:
It was a gorgeous morning. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the potty-seats were cleaned-up and ready for use. I sat them both (the potty-seats) in the shade on the back patio. Then I took off the girls diapers, and let them splash around in the kiddie pool until I thought it might be “pee pee time”. I then called them both over, sat them down, and started energetically asking them to potty. After only about ten minutes, my voice began to droop–my encouragement waned. Tiny Dancer acted as if she could not hold up under the pressure, and while still keeping her bottom on the seat, she leaned forward toward me, stretched out her arms, desperately grasped my neck, and held on tight. Then, she began to sob. This started Cuddle Bug to sobbing. I can’t even express the gratitude I felt when my mother-in-law fired up the lawn mower. She was actually mowing the lawn, not simply drowning out the vulgar noises of my children, but I was grateful none-the-less.
About forty minutes into the process, Tiny Dancer did potty. The problem is that she wasn’t trying to, and she wasn’t happy about it. She was in the middle a massive fit at this point, and in her flopping on and off of the chair, she started to pee (while she was in the off-flop). I quickly sat her back on the seat and began to praise her profusely. I clapped and whooped, Cuddle Bug clapped and hollered…but Tiny Dancer continued to wail. I gave her a little candy reward, and she ate it through sobs, chocolate running down her face. “Well, that didn’t work!” I thought. But I was ready for Cuddle Bug to go right away, since she had just seen the process demonstrated so brilliantly.
About an hour into our now hellish morning, Tiny Dancer was lying across my lap, Lil Prince was crying (feeling completely neglected in his activity seat), Bay Bit was still bouncing happily, Cuddle Bug was distraught–I was sobbing. It was time for the babies to eat; so, I grabbed Lil Prince and the Boppie, sat back down by Cuddle Bug, and nursed baby boy while Tiny Dancer sprawled across my legs.
Right about the time Lil Prince finished eating, Bay Bit reached her boiling point. I switched them out, and in the same (extremely uncomfortable) position as before, nursed Bay Bit. When she was done, about an hour and a half into my unraveling nightmare, Cuddle Bug’s potty-seat was still dry as a bone.
This was clearly not going to work, and it was now nap-time. Thank. God. I carried the girls to their room and laid them gratefully in their beds. They fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow (the only plus I can see in this potty-training approach). We tried again, for a much shorted stint, after naptime. The results of day one were: Tiny Dancer, 2 number 1, 0 number 2; Cuddle Bug, 0, 0
Day two was the windy day, so we set up inside on the laundry room floor. This bought went much more smoothly (it would basically have to!) but was still pretty unprofitable. I spent what felt like an hour blowing bubbles, reading stories, and putting on a puppet show; then, as soon as I got up to get Cuddle Bug’s blankie, she peed. As I sprinted back into the room, I could see her pointing into the potty-seat and saying, “Yucky, yea!” She gets it, and I’m excited about that, but it took us forever to get there again. So, after reading horror stories of kids becoming dangerously constipated because they were unwilling to go on the potty-seat, I’ve decided to move on to plan B.
What is plan B? Well, it basically consists of big girl underwear, and A LOT of plastic pants! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Want to share your potty-training stories or advice? Please use the comment section on this post. Write away!