Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Well, Poop.

By the end of this post you'll either think I'm incredibly creative and witty, or completely off my rocker. I've thought about it, and I'm OK with either. After all, they're not so far apart. Potty training has been a topsy-turvy journey for me Hannah. If you've read my blog in the past you might recall this colorful post, wherein I was a slave to Hannah's bladder for a week. She "got it" eventually, and was a regular at all the local restrooms for a while, because she knew she would get chocolate or marshmallows every time she peed. She even got so good at it that she could stop mid stream, get her M&M, and then pee again 5 minutes later for another. Mommy caught on though, and stopped rewarding Hannah for peeing. I had my sight set on bigger, more solid things. Like poop. Yes, try as we might to make her sit there for just a liiiiiiittle bit longer, Hannah would not, could not, poop on the toilet. She huffed, and she puffed, and she pushed with all her might. But it was always the same story. "No poo poo. I can't." She even developed a gag reflex to the sight/smell of her own poop. I know, gross. If you saw the picture at the beginning of this post and you're still reading, I suspect your stomach isn't that weak, though. So on would go the Pull-up and out would come the poop. Like clockwork. She also started becoming more stubborn about peeing, too. If she wasn't to be rewarded with refined sugar, what was the point? So I let it go . . . let her regress back to soggy diapers and a trash can that always smelled like Johnny on the Spot. I figured some day she'd get it . . . at least by the time she graduated high school.

I don't know what made us get back on the potty training wagon. I think it was a combination of the cost of diapers and seeing how much waste they created, Hannah's impending 3rd birthday, and a heavy sense of Mother's Guilt that my child was some how becoming accustomed to sitting in her own excrement. So we tried again. This time, no Pull-ups, no sticker chart, minimal rewards UNLESS . . . unLESS she went poop in the potty. I promised her the WORLD if she would only poop in the potty. The world, in Hannah's eyes, consists of shopping, ice cream, and going down a slide. So of course those are the three things I promised her.

But the pressure was too high. For three days the two of us camped out on the battleground bathroom floor, she on her pink cushy potty and me on the not so cushy linoleum floor. The conversation went a little something like this:

"Hannah, if you poop in the potty, we'll go shopping and have ice cream and go down the slide. Do you want to do those things?"

"Yeah! Let's go!"

"Ok, but first you need to poop in the potty."

"No thank you."

"But don't you want to go shopping and have ice cream and go down the slide?"

"Yeah! Let's go!!"

It was easy for me to lose my patience in what felt like this desperate situation . . . to the point of becoming cross with her when she either didn't deliver, or when she delivered in a paper diaper during nap time instead of in the toilet. Pressuring her with bribes she clearly wanted but didn't know how to earn put an enormous strain on our relationship, and on what little energy and sanity we mothers have left for potty training. More often than not these manipulative conversations would culminate in tears and giant sobs of "I caa-aaa-aaa---aan't" which would then reduce me to tears and holding my half naked toddler in my lap, rocking her and apologizing for being so manipulative and mean.

I took her to my sister's house, pink potty in tow, for a little change of scenery. Amy and I sat on her (very spacious) bathroom floor while Hannah ran around with no pants on, luxuriating in the air on her naked tush and the freedom to sit on the potty when it pleased her. I even brought along "Little Bunny Poo Poo," a puppet who talked to Hannah while she sat on the potty, and made farting noises to make her giggle. Now when Hannah plays with the puppet she does nothing but make farting  noises. Nice one, Suz. We were in there for two hours, but no poop. I knitted a hat during this time:
. . . and now whenever Hans wears it I'm sure to remember that day, in the bathroom with my sister, waiting for the poop to come while Little Bunny Poo Poo mocked my haphazard ambition.

On Sunday we rested, and feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, I gathered my creative faculties on Monday and  made play doh poop. It was a delicate mixture of neon orange, hot pink and kelly green, but I think I got the hue and swirling just right. When I sent the photo of my creation in text messages to all my friends, a few replied that it was almost too perfect and could do with a few specks of indigestibles, but I thought that would be going a little to far, wouldn't you?

When she was otherwise occupied, I dropped the play doh in Hannah's (sanitized!) potty and set her favorite little doll on top and just waited for her to discover what "dolly" had done. I only wish I'd video taped the reaction.


"She did?!?!?! WOOOOOOW! Way to go, Dolly! You did it!"

" . . . . how 'bout . . .  Hannah poo poo?"

And after 20 minutes of singing, reading books, and having a long conversation about all the people and things that poop ("And elephant poo poo? And tiger poo poo? And lady bug poo poo? And Uncle Kevin poo poo?") she FINALLY POOPED IN THE POTTY HALLELUIA!!!! It was one of the 50 most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life. Ever. My play doh replica paled in comparison. I'll admit I felt just as accomplished as Hannah did. Probably a little bit more. Yes, I thought, We did it! No one was more ready for shopping, ice cream, and about 50 rides down the biggest, reddest slide in town than Hannah and me. We. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Here are some paintings by Hannah. The first one is a family of anacondas. I know this because while Hannah was painting it she was singing "Purple Anaconda, Mama Anaconda, Dada Anaconda, Uncle Pete Anaconda . . . " She also mentioned a "Nanaconda" and a "Hannahconda." If you squint real hard you can see them.
This next one I like to call "Conversing Paint Brushes."  She painted it with a baby paint brush and a Mama paint brush, and her technique involved dipping Baby Paint Brush in the paint, putting it on the paper, and then chasing it with Mama Paint Brush. Then the paint brushes spoke in high pitched voices: "Hi Mama. I'm running. See? Weeeeee! You wanna run? No? Ok. How 'bout potty? You wanna potty? No. Yes. No. Yes. NO! Ok, how 'bout chocolate. I'm running Mama. See?"
Artistic soul that she is, Hannah likes to paint at least 2 or 3 times a week. What do I do when there is no more room on the refrigerator? I do what any good mother would do. I cut her paintings into (heart-shaped) pieces. . . 

And re-purpose them for Valentines. :) Hannah did the gluing, of course. I'll tell you what the baby glue said to the Mama glue another time. Happy Valentine's!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quiet Time

I've needed some quiet time away from blogging to gather myself, take care of my family, and just plain be without worrying about getting the right photo or writing the perfect description to catalog the events in our lives. I know it's been a long time since I've expressed myself here. I keep coming here and wondering if I even know how any more. I'll start with some pictures . . . mostly of Hannah, of course.

Hannah visits her cousin's first grade class and fits right in . . . 

My favorite birthday card:

 My 27th birthday at the Cheesecake Factory:

 Kevin is commissioned into the US Marine Corps, and the "three little boys" don't look so little any more:

Hannah keeps her cousin Rivers entertained . . . 

 The technicolor dreamcoat . . .

 Hair just out of curlers . . .

Lunch at my favorite Greek restaurant after grad school auditions:

And last but not least, some crafts that have occupied my time:

I think I'll close with the rainbow dragon. He represents what my life has been lately . . . colorful, precious, and a little scaly. What? I have much to catch up on - the job hunt, the journey toward grad school, more potty training anecdotes (I know these are what people really come here to read), and maybe, just maybe, a little philosophy and introspection. That is my empty promise . . . for now. :)