Monday, March 21, 2011

on the twelfth day of potty training...

So... potty training. For anyone interested in our progress, here is a rundown of things so far:
  1. I can sing any and all lyrics to songs from "Elmo's Potty Time". Some of the songs about perseverence, I'm convinced, were written to parents rather than two-year-olds.
  2. We have gone through two containers of Clorox wipes, a roll and a half of toilet paper, daily loads of laundry, and 38, 424 toilet flushes. I'm a bit scared to see our water bill this month.
  3. Teaching your toddlers to "stand on their heads" (with feet still on the ground) is VERY helpful when wiping little bottoms.
  4. From its association with dozens of accidents, I now have PTSD from the word "Uh-oh!" Full-on flashbacks, hypervigilance, irritability, and bad dreams.

In short, potty training hasn't gone exactly as I had planned. (Me and my nice, planned, perfect world--why won't real life cooperate?) To be fair, Lily has done pretty well. A few days ago she had an accident-free day, and today she had only one accident. But then, she loves praise and encouragement (and candy), and hates to do things wrong or get into trouble.

Noah, on the other hand, has decided that right NOW would be a great time to start the terrible twos in full force. Tell him to do something--ANYthing--and he won't. Won't, won't, WON'T!! And he'll have a grand time just staring at you, willing you to make him do it. Applied to peeing in the potty, this translates to... well, accidents. Or purpose-ents, or something. Because the kid KNOWS what it feels like when he has to go, and he just refuses. And you can lead a kid to the potty (and hold him down), but you just can't make him pee.

Anyway, that's enough potty talk for now. I have a couple more tricks up my sleeve and if those don't work... well, I don't know many adults who wear diapers. He'll probably learn eventually. Until then, I'm going to be severely jealous of any parent I see with kids in diapers.

The visit with my parents was fun--true to form, I didn't take very many pictures. At least events this week weren't exactly photogenic anyway.

Grandpa loves grapefruit. The kids were fascinated, until they tried some...

A much bigger hit were the purple-icing-coated cupcakes that my mom brought home one day. They were decorated with Dora the Explorer, and since that particular cartoon creation is the subject of Lily's current frenzied obsession, she thought they would make a nice celebratory dessert. They were also extraordinarily messy.

It would have been nice if they could have pooped purple or something exciting like that, but I was again disappointed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

all aboard the potty train

Well, we've taken the plunge. "Diaper" is now a dirty word around the Hewitt house.

With spring break on the horizon and my mom coming to stay for a week and a half, we decided it was time to tackle the dreaded "P" word and get potty training over with, once and for all. I had planned this for months--I did lots of reading, bought training pants, and got plenty of pull-ups ready for naptime and bedtime. When I told people our plans, the response was almost universally skeptical, but I persisted.

"What if they're not ready?" people would say.

"But they ARE ready," I would say.

"What if they don't want to do it?" they would ask.

"They WILL do it," I would answer.

"Both of them at the same time?" they would question.

"Of course! They'll learn from each other," I would reason.

"Are you sure they're old enough?" they would say.

"SURE, they're old enough. We're going to do this!" I would assure them.

After all, they're almost two years old, I told myself. My mom potty trained me and my siblings by the time we were two. LOTS of kids are trained at this age. And we are all completely sick and tired of diaper rash. So what if there are two of them? It may be twice as messy, but we'll figure it out. They know how to say "tee-tee", "poo-poo" and "yay!" --what else do you need to know? We're set!

My mountain of confidence lasted about two hours into the first potty training day. After several glasses of juice, a dozen accidents, and the worst meltdown I'd seen from Noah in a long time, I was ready to throw in the pee-soaked towel and admit defeat. My careful plans and charts I'd made were abandoned. Noah was such a basket-case I ended up putting a diaper back on him. Thank goodness for Grandma, who calmed me down and convinced me to give it a little more time.

So after a little while, I took off Noah's diaper and held him down on the potty for a few minutes as he screamed and fought and....FINALLY went tee-tee in spite of himself. He immediately looked down, surprised, and seemed short of shocked and relieved that he hadn't self-destructed. Half an hour later, he sat calmly as he relieved himself, then clapped his hands and shouted, "Yay!" as he gleefully accepted his candy reward. It's amazing what changes an hour or two can bring!

And Lily, bless her juice-guzzling little heart, had more accidents than successes that first day--despite her apparent understanding of the whole potty process. But she's gradually done better and better too.

As for myself, I'm still terrified to leave the house with them and I'm not sure how complete their training will be by the end of this week, when I go back to work and real life resumes. But I find myself so proud of them that I can't help but think they may continue to surprise me.

...and I'm really, REALLY glad we have tile floors now. Can't even tell you how glad.

Watching their hero Elmo talk about using the potty:

Monday, March 7, 2011

take a picture; it'll last longer

I will readily admit that I'm terrible at taking pictures. I'm a bit better at taking pictures of the twins than of other people and phases in my life, but ...well, not much. When we're with other people, I tend to be reminded to pull out my camera after other folks have already been snapping pictures for a while. (And shamelessly mooch their pictures later!) Even when something cool is going on, it just rarely strikes me to pull out a camera to capture it.

Part of it is that I'm scattered. I just am. I do well to remember my own name sometimes, let alone to snap a bunch of photos when I'm trying to keep track of two zoomy little toddlers.

But part of it, I think, is that it's just not that rewarding to take pictures. It's not positively reinforcing, to put it behaviorally. I can't take pictures of the things I really want to remember, the things I enjoy most. Like the way I can turn an anguished cry of "Boo-boo!" into a satisfied sigh with a simple kiss--dozens of times a day. And the willingness with which two tiny hands grab my fingers at my command, ready to follow me anywhere. The way it feels when Lily finally settles before her nap, nuzzling into my neck while I run my fingers through her hair. The way I can tell from across the house what my kids are doing (and whether they shouldn't be). The satisfaction in Noah's face when I've finally figured out what "Da!" means in a particular situation, after he's repeated himself 20 times.

They told me to make sure I had a good photographer at our wedding, because after a while that's all you remember--just what's in the pictures. And it's true, really. Two weeks after the event, I couldn't remember what song I had picked for the end of the ceremony--and I had agonized over it for months. My memories now run like a flipbook that mysteriously resembles the wedding album on the bookshelf.

But there is no good photographer here, and even if there were it wouldn't matter. There's just no way to capture the things I want to hold onto forever. Even the things I do remember will become grainy and distorted with time. It makes me a bit sad, like I'm constantly saying goodbye to two tiny people as they constantly get replaced by two slightly less-tiny people. And I know I will love the next stage as much as I have loved this one, and the stages before it, and even my life before them. I think I just have this impossible wish to hold onto everything wonderful my life has ever held, and never let anything go.