Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh, hello

I think the less time I have to write, the happier I am. Not because I don't love writing, but because it means I'm doing something. I have a lot to write about . . . reflections on the last 12 months of my life, Grandpa Hansen's funeral, more potty training anecdotes (I know you can hardly wait) . . . but for now I'm just unbelievably happy, and I don't want to write. (gasp!)

Auditions for "Annie" at the RCCP were this week. After a 5-day casting process, I am bouncing off the walls calmly, maturely announcing that I got that part I auditioned for! If you're either in the area or drawn to it by this news, you can see me play Grace Ferrell with a ridiculously talented cast on one of these dates:

July 30,31
August 6,7,8,13,14

I'll write again when my nerves are back in check and I can sit down to a full meal again. Or, you know, when I feel like it. :)


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Excuse my potty mouth

I'm writing about this because I can't seem to speak 5 words in a row these days without one of them being pee pee, poo poo or potty. I decided last week that the day after Eric's funeral would be the day I'd start potty training Hannah. Why, you might ask? Why indeed. There's a lot of pressure on moms to start potty training as soon as possible. Here are some of the things people have told me:

1. You want to start potty training before your child becomes too willful and stubborn to listen.

2. Your child needs to be potty trained by the time she goes to preschool (usually around 3-3 1/2 years old).

3. It's unhealthy and unnatural for your child to "get used to" running around in her own pee and poop.

4. You'll save in diaper costs the sooner she's potty trained.

5. You are supposed to begin training at 2 years old.

6. You won't have spend so much time changing diapers any more.

7. If she's letting you know when she's wet or poopy, it means she's uncomfortable and ready to start potty training.

8. You'll help the environment by getting her out of diapers earlier.

Believe me, nothing gets a mom moving faster than making her believe she might not just damage her child but MOTHER EARTH if she doesn't make haste with potty training. I can't say that any of these reasons are a good "fit" for me. Honestly? I was curious. And bored. And sad. I needed something to do, a mission to take my mind off of myself. I also needed some good writing material. So I decided now was as good a time as ever.

Seriously, Suz?

So maybe my motives aren't pure, but here I am doing it anyway. Yes, potty training takes planning, patience, and creativity. It also takes cunning, vigilance and a touch of insanity. Do you know how grueling it is to make a 2 year old sit down in one place long enough to figure out her bodily functions? I read a book that suggests keeping "a couple" books next to the potty to keep your toddler occupied. We have a CRATE FULL. And I've already rotated new books in, not for Hannah's sake but for mine. I'd say a quarter of my day is spent huddled over Hannah on the bathroom floor singing potty songs*, serving beverages to her royal highness on her little pink throne, and reading every. book. in. the. house. I swear, if I have to read "The Belly Button Book" one more time, I think my head will implode and become a belly button itself.

In preparation for the inevitably disastrous beautifully momentous process of potty training I read the book "How to Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day," and I have to say it is a load of CRAP (sorry). The plan Teri Crane lays out sounds fun and easy: Have a day-long potty training party. In the morning give your kid a doll with diapers and have your kid potty train the doll. In the afternoon load your kid up with juice and potty train your kid. Easy peasy! Ha. Not only does the plan require you to have the energy and demeanor of a crack addict, but the language skills required of the child are that of a 4 year old:

"Each time you and you and your child discover that Dolly's underpants are wet or soiled, after you've asked the questions suggested in the accidents section, suggest, 'Let's help Dolly build her potty training memory muscles!' When you make that suggestion, tap your temples. Tapping your temples as you say the words creates a visual image to reinforce the verbal message. Explain to your child that after each accident, Dolly sits on the potty to build her potty-training memory muscles so she can remember that she doesn't have accidents in her underpants. She goes on the potty."

Like the nice urine yellow color I chose for highlighting? That's because I want to pee on this page. If I tried using words like "potty training memory muscles" with my two year old while "tapping my temples" to create a visual image, she would probably a) run out of the room, b) throw her doll down the toilet for making her life so complicated, or c) start singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."

You know what I say? Ef Teri Crane's method. I'm going on the fly. I've got this potty training thing in the bag, complete with shiny new potty, colorful "big girl" underwear for Hannah, a potty chart most kids would donate their left kidney for, and a very large jar of M&M's. With bribes like this we can't possibly fail, right?


Day 1: The Big Girl Panty Approach: Wake up and put Hannah in new underwear. Let her have an accident so she can feel herself peeing, then take her to the potty and explain where the pee goes.

Results: She peed on the back deck twice (while playing with a bucket of water, so she didn't really "get it") and in the sun room once. Amy tried carrying her to the bathroom mid-pee, thus leaving a glistening trail of urine all the way to the bathroom, and not a drop left for the pot. We switched back to the diaper by 6:00 pm.

Day 2: The Naked Approach: I decided to let Hannah run around naked while I stalked her throughout the house with her potty. That way when she peed I could just "catch" it, and that would be our segue into potty training! Tricksy, huh?

Results: Hannah spent her morning activities sitting on the potty. She played with her bucket of water out on the deck . . . sitting on the potty. She colored her coloring books in the living room . . . sitting on the potty. She sat on the potty . . . sitting on the potty. I was beginning to believe she would never pee ever in her life again. Ever. I was also worried that I might not get a shower that day, and wondered if duct-taping the potty to her butt would be considered child abuse. My dad came upstairs with a basket of laundry that needed sorting, and needing a break from potty-stalking my kid, I dug in without another thought. Within two seconds Hannah was in the bathroom peeing in the very spot her potty USED to sit before I had the brilliant idea to follow her around the house with it. I wouldn't have found the puddle so offensive if a pile of her beautiful board books were not sitting in the middle of it. It looked like she'd just straddled them and let go. That's when I cried. I tried throwing away some of the soggy books, but my mom fished them out of the garbage and laid them on the deck to dry. Round 2 goes to Hannah. After her nap I let her play in the kiddy pool with NO swimmy diaper so she could feel when she was peeing. And you know what toddlers do when you don't put them in swimmy diapers? They poop. Twice. And when that happens, you get to spend the rest of the afternoon explaining to their cousins why flies like eating poop.

Day 3: The Pull-Ups Approach: Lots of sitting on the potty and batting of eyes. Waiting. Waiting.

Results: Nothing but a lot of dirty pull-ups. Round 3 goes to Hannah.

Day 4: The Pull-Ups/Naked Hybrid With a Little Extra Running Approach: By this point, seasoned potty trainer that I am, I can note a little twinkle in her eye when it's "time." We take off the Pull-Up and run to the bathroom together. The next 20 minutes are full of songs, books, games, and random wild goose chases around the house when she and her naked little butt manage to escape the bathroom. Around the house we go, trot trot trot, and every time she stops running (I'm assuming to try to pee), I pick her up and run her back to the bathroom.

Results: After 3 or 4 rounds of this, when I was beginning to think that duct tape might not be strong enough and a staple gun was in order, we started play "Inai inai Ba!" (Japanese Peek-a-Boo) while she was sitting down. Hand towel goes on my head "Where Mama? Inai Inai . . . Ba! Ih iiiiis!" Hand towel comes off. HYSTERICAL laughing, and in her distraction she FINALLY PEED THANK YOU GOD. Much celebrating. Much showering toddler with chocolate and stickers and presents.

And homemade frozen fruit pops . . . 

. . . an hour later we tried the same method, only she outsmarted me and peed on Mom and Dad's bedroom floor, then pooped in the pull-up I promptly slapped on her. Round 4 goes to . . .

*I'm thinking of copyrighting these:

Potty Training Rhapsody (to the tune of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen)
Mama, just peed again
Put the pee pee in the pot
And it really hit the spot.
Mama, life has just begun,
And now I'm gonna pee on eeeevery floor!
Mama! Ooooooo.....

You Can Do It (to the tune of "We Can Do It" from Cinderella - you know, the one the mice sing)
You can do it, you can do it
You can pee pee in the potty
You can make a pretty tinkle
There's nothing to it really.
You'll keep your diapers dry,
Put a sticker on the chart,
Then dancy down the hall
You will be happier than all,
It' a lovely pee you'll put into the potty.
Hurry hurry hurry hurry got no time to dilly dally
Got to pee pee in the potty
and dump in in the toilet . . . .