Potty Training Boot Camp

So incredibly excited here. One more Calf is done with diapers!

I gotta say, the transition from diapers to toilet over the years has been really hard for us. I have never been interested in the parent-led method for a number of reasons, some of which are that it seems to take for-e-ver and makes a lot of messes.

Instead, we’ve opted to wait until the Calf was old enough to understand and be able to do the whole thing him- or herself. Which meant diapers until about 4 years of age.

(No, my mother in law was never thrilled about this. Why do you ask??)

Usually the Calves would have some days where they would be dry but refuse to use the toilet. With Calf #1 I eventually told him that his underpants wanted to be worn. Calf #2 seemed to prefer to not be wet or messy; this made it a little bit easier. Calf #3 spent a lot of time sitting on the portable potty seat (in the living room while watching movies) but she was never really interested. She was, actually, the latest to be done.

This time has been different, of course. Calf Number 4 would usually go Number 2 on the toilet–it was the Number 1 that wouldn’t “take.”

About a week ago, I remembered a technique we’d used with Calf #3. She wore a long-ish dress and nothing on her legs and spent a lot of time in the kitchen so that any messes were easy to clean up. It really didn’t take long after this before she understood that the potty was the place for it. The reward was that she would get to wear the coveted underpants!! after 3 clean, dry days.

So last Monday we started this method with Calf #4.

* Monday, Day 1: One accident.

* Tuesday, Day 2: No accidents when we were at home. We had errands to run and she wet her diaper while we were gone. (I couldn’t give her underpants because she hadn’t had 3 dry days. . . but I guess the diaper away from home won’t work, either.)

* Wednesday, Day 3: No accidents at home. Tried a Pull Up away from home, intending to get her to the toilet every chance we could. Unfortunately, one of the chances was a Porta-Potty and she refused to go in. She would do camp-style in the woods. But still, the Pull Up got wet.

* Thursday, Day 4: Home all day; no accidents–though there was one incident of peeing outside. (Thankfully we don’t live in the city.)

* Friday, Day 5: Home all morning; no accidents. I promised her a treat if she kept the Pull Up dry while we were gone–and she earned it!

* Saturday, Day 6: Gone most of the day. I promised her a BIG treat if her Pull Up stayed dry; it was mostly dry so she got her treat.

* Sunday, Day 7: Home all day with underpants! And–two accidents. :(

* Monday, Day 8: Dry all day, home and away, in underpants!

Yee hawww!! I cannot believe how excited I am to have only one in diapers again.

And the bonus: She’s my earliest to be done at 3 years 7 months.

I Used To

I realized this morning that I’ve fallen far from where I used to be as a mother and house keeper.

I used to meal plan. (Ahhh, those sweet days. . .)

Shoot, I used to cook! Meals now are often sandwiches or scrambled eggs, something quick. I don’t even use the crock pot much any more because that takes forethought.

I used to wash the table after each meal.

I used to blog. (Ha ha ha. What am I doing now? :) No, I mean I used to blog a LOT!)

I used to spend time connecting with bloggy buddies. I miss those people. I bet a bunch of those links in my blogroll are no longer active. :(

I used to study and memorize the Bible.

I remember after miscarrying, during a low time, a dear friend hugging me. “I miss you!” she said. “I bet you miss you, too!” It was more than just not seeing me as regularly as before. I just wasn’t myself. Yes, I did miss me. I don’t know that I’ve gotten back to me yet.

Some days it feels like I have.

Some days it doesn’t.

I never got to be the mother I wanted to be. The ideal, before having kids. I don’t know where those ideas came from but they did not take into account reality or how children really are!

My oldest is 11, nearly 12. Just a few more years and he’s gone and living like an adult. I cringe thinking about that. He’s got so far to go to be ready for that! When do we have time to do all those things that we wanted to teach him (and his siblings) before they were on their own?

How do I get back to where I was before? The good habits, I mean. Those that had to go by the wayside long gone. Now the idea of doing a menu plan or a Bible study makes my eyes roll up in my head. Where would I find time for this stuff? I’ve been doing everything by the seat of my pants for so long! Not just meal planning. School, taking care of the children, the house.

I’d love to have more order in the day to day life. But it takes time to plan and I’m swamped with just getting through the day. How would I add one more thing in??

The world is a merry go round racing a hundred miles an hour. Somebody stop this thing, I wanna get off!!!

And Another Thing. . .

Related to yesterday’s post.

Trauma brings about its own memories. And they stay with us a loooooooooong time. I think that’s because when something happens, our senses are heightened. I read something once that was talking a bout this very thing from a biological standpoint. It was fascinating! I can’t remember where I saw it now, so I can’t link to it or even speak intelligently. But it has to do with the “fight or flight” response in a human’s mind, hormones, and emotions.

That’s why, years later, audio and scent cues can bring up the traumatic times again. You smell the perfume you wore at your prom, or hear a bit of the theme song, and it takes you right back to the emotions of the night.

There’s muscle memory too. The reason you remember how to ride a bike after years of not is because your muscles remember what they’re supposed to do. That’s also the reason that *ahem* a mama’s belly pooches out so much quickly in a third (fourth, fifth, sixth, . . .) pregnancy. Those muscles remember!

They told me when my baby was in the NICU that she would have no memory of that time. Well, The Bull and I only partly believe that. No, she probably doesn’t remember specific events. But we’re convinced that she DOES remember, something at least. Maybe she remembers feeling crappy or has a vague memory of the scent of a cleaning solution or the taste of a medicine, or something that she couldn’t put into words. Emotions?

She still sleeps with us (the latest of all of our calves to do so) and when she wakes alone she gets really upset. She clings to me in a way that the other children didn’t at this age. I think it’s more than an emotional bonding. I think it’s because of her days of alone in the hospital.

(And for my part, I’m usually more than  happy to be clung to. That’s because of the horrible days that I had to leave her in the hospital.)

Anyway during a seriously emotionally charged event–childbirth, car accident, ambulance ride to the hospital–you are more likely to remember EVERY DETAIL much more strongly. For a long time after my first husband’s death, it was like the events of part of that time would replay in my mind like a movie.

So every year, there’s a little bit of remembering that doesn’t go away. It was a seriously emotionally charged event.

Why do I need to share this kinda stuff? Why can’t I just do like everybody else and ignore it, or journal it, or pretend that the hard times never happened? What do other people do, anyway? What do you do to grieve, when the grief was years (or decades) ago?

Kinda makes me want to shut off my emotions so that there’s less hurt to go through to have to try to deal with. Sharing this stuff is too hard and people are dealing with their own stuff, they don’t want to be bothered with other peoples’ stuff.

(ETA: After figuring out what I wanted to say in this post and before posting, I found out a dear friend lost her baby in a very dramatic way March 13. My heart is aching all over again, knowing at least a little bit of the pain this family will be dealing with.)

21 Years

You’d think after all these years I could let it go. But it sticks with me. Still today I am remembering where I was, what I did, throughout that day. After getting the news. After going home. And then going to a friend’s, because I didn’t want to be by myself. The phone calls and the things that were said.

No, it doesn’t hurt as badly as it has in some years. Year One was dreadful. After a few years the pain began to fade, though the year after my miscarriage–my due date with that baby just happened to be March 14–it was severe again.

Maybe “letting go” or “moving on” isn’t about not remembering, not feeling. But clearly it’s not comfortable to remember with others.

I ran into an acquaintance today who I’ve not seen in years. She knows about my baby but had not met her yet.  “I  just can’t imagine!” she said, speaking of all we went through with her in the NICU. Shoot, I was there and I can’t imagine it, don’t want to remember it. “I just love the happy ending!” she said. I just wish it were possible to get the ending without having to go through the terrible time we had. Eight weeks in the NICU was no picnic.

Of course, when I brought that up, she seemed to want to change the subject.

*sigh*

Here’s to less painful memories in the future, or at least memories that I don’t feel I need to share with people.

Why I Ate A Bag of Pretzels for Lunch

From the “five is a lot kids!” file. Or maybe the “am I nuts to home school them all?” file?

It started easily enough. The older three calves were doing schoolwork, the 3 year old calf was playing, and I was sitting and nursing the 1 year old (who keeps pinching me–ow, I need to trim her nails!)

And then the 3 year old announced that she had poop in her diaper. (REALLY?! Can’t you tell me before you do it?!?!)

Still nursing the baby, I told her to sit still and I’d change her when the baby was finished. No, she couldn’t; it wasn’t comfortable to sit with dookey in the diaper I guess. So I told her to lie down, just wanted her to be still. I didn’t want her to run all over the house, leaving a little trail. Ugh. No, she couldn’t lie down, either.

Instead, she knocked over some boxes of things intended to be put into the crawl space. The 11 year old and 9 year old were oh so happy to interrupt their school work to clean it up. (Never mind that if I’d asked them to do it, they’d have complained to the high heavens.)

Finally the baby was (mostly) finished and I headed to the bathroom to change 2 diapers and use the toilet myself. On my way past the laundry room I throw the clean towels in the dryer and start a load of whites.

Finally, I get to the bathroom to change the diapers. I finished with the 1 year old and she toddled out to do whatever 1 year olds do after a diaper change. Then I moved on to the 3 year old. Clearly, she has no interest in using the toilet as she told me, as I attached the clean diaper, that she was going to go pee in her clean diaper. Uhhh, really?!?! I about flipped. I put her on the toilet to pee, her screaming all the while that she doesn’t want to.

Meanwhile, the 1 year old fell in the hallway on stuff knocked over by 3 year old that wasn’t picked up by the 11 year old and 9 year old. Somebody had already picked her up to comfort her but she was still fussy. I figured she would be ok and gathered a few stray socks to add to the washer and went back into the bathroom, where the 3 year old said she was done on the toilet and has wiped herself–with baby wipes–and put them into the toilet. AAAUUUGGGHHH! Don’t flush!!!!

I quickly grabbed them out of the toilet (eww, ick!!) and threw them away and THEN flushed, put a diaper on her, and put her to bed. Not because she needed a nap, but because *I* needed her nap. I could not keep cleaning up after her right at the time!

Finally, it’s my turn for the toilet. The 1 year old is still not being comforted by her older siblings; she has waddled in and wants me to hold her, RIGHT NOW. So I’m trying to hold a crying 1 year old and unbutton and pull my own pants down. (Tmi? Or keeping it real? Whatever.) I put her down to finish the paperwork and she starts fussing but then toddles off to do whatever 1 year olds do after being fussy. While finishing my job the 11 year old comes in to tell me that the 9 year old and 6 year old are playing baseball in the living room with a plastic ball of some sort.

As I can’t exactly dash in there to calmly and gently stop them (and really, could I do that at this point?? Probably not.) I yell, wondering where on earth their brains are!? Surely they are old enough to know this isn’t acceptable? When do kids develop brains and / or common sense, anyway??

Is it nap time yet??? For me, I mean?

And then the baby decided that no, she wasn’t finished nursing yet. Okayyyy, back to it.

At the end of this little scene, the 1 year old was finishing her nursing, the 3 year old was crying in her bed, and the other three calves were playing Pokemon instead of doing their school work.

And as I was hungry and the only thing nearby was a bag of pretzels, well, you get the picture.

All this happened in just a matter of minutes. Typing it up took half an hour. But I had to take the time to do this. I just had to jot it down because this, it’s my life many times.  It’s too crazy to be believable.

Or maybe it’s so crazy it’s believable.

Superbowl 2014!

Five years ago I started this blog and one of my first posts was about watching the Superbowl. (Wow, five years!? And still I haven’t updated the calves’ photos on the side bar. Nor have I added #6. Note to self. Take care of this in my spare time. Spare time? What’s that?)

Anyway this year is no exception. The mood here inside Moose House here is electric. Snacks are (mostly) prepared. Calves have asked this morning no less than 74 times “When is the Superbowl?” (Answer: Three hours! Two and a half! Two and a quarter! GO PLAY IN YOUR ROOM!)

I’m especially excited about this year. Last year I spent Superbowl Sunday out of state with my youngest while she was in the NICU. The Bull and the kids were at home. It was hard for us to be separated for so long. And it is GOOD to be home with my family all together today!

We will be eating well, of course. This is one of our main Superbowl activities. Aside from the game, of course.

This is one of our all time faves. This year I’m making it a little milder for the Calves and me to enjoy. (The Bull likes really spicy foods!)

Two new recipes to try this year: a slight substitute for our old standby.  And a new soup to try. The Bull doesn’t really like soup, so when he requests one I try to oblige. I’m going to make it less spicy though (I hope!)

One thing VERY different for us this year is that I’m serving some dairy-free alternatives to snacks.  Calf #1 has had to avoid dairy for the past few months. (It started a year and a half ago but we then took a hiatus.) He hates it. I hate it. But I’m trying to make life as easy for him, and really DF is better than gluten free. . . .

Anyway, some families will just opt to go completely dairy free but that doesn’t work for us. So I made him a bacon ranch dip (made with plain ol’ mayo, dairy free cream cheese, and dairy free “sour cream.” It’s actually pretty tasty. I’m also making two pots of the soup, one DF (using rice milk) , one regular. We’ll see how it works.

Aside from eating, I’ll spend my time working on this project. I started it for The Bull almost two years ago. Then I had to put it aside while I started a baby afghan. It’s taken a while to get back to it. I’m changing the colors slightly to make it look more like an M1 Abrams (a blast from his past.)

I must admit that while I will (mostly) follow the game, I am more interested in the commercials. I have seen a few of the preview commercials and the one that strikes my heart hardest this year is the Duracell commercial. I guess one of the players is deaf? Wow!

Why? She is at risk for losing her hearing because of some of the extreme life-saving measures taken a year ago. . . so I am noticing all sorts of things about hearing loss, deafness, sign language, etc. (So far she’s doing fine! She LOVES music and is talking much better than some of her siblings at this age. And we are monitoring her hearing every 6 months just in case.)

Well, I’d best get back to the kitchen to finish snacks. Hope ya’all enjoy the game!

What I Wanted To Post Last January

(In January 2013 my youngest was fighting for her life. So while I had lots of things I wanted to post, I was a little busy. So this thought, though it would have been neat to post then, had to wait.)

After my parents divorced, my mom told us over and over that she and dad had been married fourteen years. I gave it little thought at the time, but just accepted her counting.

Till The Bull and I had been married 13 years and a couple of months. Then I started to wonder: How many years were they really married? Was it 13 years and some months? Or 14 years plus a few months?

I finally added it up and what I had grown up believing was a 14-year marriage was actually only 13 years 7 months!!! Amazing enough, but even more when you considered that that mark, for The Bull and I, was January 2013.

Of course this blew my mind away! We have been married longer than my parents were!!

This isn’t, of course, a “Looks like we made it” kind of post. His parents were married 35ish years before his father passed away.  One set of his grandparents were married 50 plus years!

Nor am I saying that we are so much better at marriage than my parents–we’ve certainly had our share of marital unbliss.

But as a teenager, I pretty much had it drilled into my brain that nobody, nobody, NOBODY stayed married longer than 14 years (though it was actually, only 13+7.) All my young adult life I figured 14 was it. After 14 years, a marriage would self destruct.

Somehow, we managed to beat the odds, at least in my mind. I know there’s nothing magic about that 14 year mark.

But to have come this far. . . that’s mind blowing, to me! And through tragedy and trauma over and over and over. Wow. How did we manage that??

Here’s to many, many, many more years together, my dear Bull. ;)

January 2014 Update: June 2013 was 14 years. Still here. Still married. Still in love and (usually) happy together! ♥

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