Things They Don’t Tell You

The other day, my dear friend Amy and her family were over for dinner. They’ve got three kids who fit right in between the ages of ours and our oldest girls are besties. We love getting together because we can just manhandle the craziness and the more the merrier and everybody loves chaos and sometimes we drink. Also, my sister-in-law happened to be over that night as well.

 

So, house full of people is what I’m saying.

 

Y’all, it was so fun. Because I’m a secret communist or because I’m dedicated to dorm life or something, we’ve got all the kids’ beds in one room leaving the extra bedroom as a dressing/play room and it. is. awesome. All the kids played semi-nicely upstairs. The grown-ups had real conversations and we ate pizza and it was great.

 

Until we heard a little voice yell, “Jovi just threw up!”

 

And, sure enough, she did. Poor kid stood right at the top of the stairs and just yakked straight down ’em. To say it was epic would not do it justice. It was a masterpiece.

 

And as Amy and I were cleaning vomit off of every stair in my house, she looked at me and said, “You know, you think you’re going to have this little baby and it’ll be so snuggly and sweet… But nobody tells you that your baby is going to turn five and throw up down the stairs at your friend’s house.”

 

And we both laughed like maniacs because it’s totally true. And also, when you’re cleaning puke, you might as well laugh ’cause what choice do you have?

 

The good news is, my stairs got cleaned for the first time since I’ve lived in this house. So, that’s a thing.

 


 

And I’ve been thinking a lot about the things they don’t tell you…

 

Like, nobody tells you about how little boys grab their junk from day one. That happens, guys, it’s weird.

 

And nobody tells you that someday you’ll be struggling to teach your daughter how to squat and pee because the dang bathroom at the park is locked. And wow, is it hard to teach someone how to squat to pee. It does not come naturally, unlike junk grabbing, apparently.

 

When they hand you your darling baby boy and tell you to take him home from the hospital, nobody tells you that someday (presumably after you’ve boasted to the internet that he’s knocking potty training out of the park) he’ll alert you to the fact that he’s pooped his pants…right as you’re changing the baby’s diaper. You won’t think this is that big of a deal until you see said poop running down his leg and onto your couch (damn you to hell, Burger King nuggets). They don’t tell you that this will happen when you have a friend over.

 

But here’s the thing. When they hand you that baby and they tell you he’s yours, they also don’t tell you that you’re in the club now. You’re part of the larger fraternity of parenthood and we are tight-knit bunch. They don’t tell you that, if you play your cards right, you’ll be able to seek out some like-minded compatriots who will be there for all the other stuff they don’t tell you about.

 

So, sure. They don’t tell you that your kid is going to puke in public or poop on the couch when you have company…but they also don’t tell you that you’ll have somebody to commiserate. If you’re lucky, you’ll have someone right there with you, elbow deep in vomit. You’ll have a buddy who brings you coffee and then cleans poop off of your couch unasked while you scrub your kid upstairs. You’ll have someone you can text at 3 am to ask how to get horrifying stains out of microfiber or to message about how comfort nursing is making your skin crawl. They don’t tell you you’ll have brothers in arms, but you will. You totally will.

 

Which is good, because they also don’t tell you that while you let the Mad Pooper soak in the tub so you can run to check on the couch, he’ll poop in there, too. When you discover that monstrosity, the little guy will say, “Look, Mama! I made you coffee!”

Potty TRAINing

Allow me to set the scene:

Interior – Day – Chez Delagrange – Everett sits enthroned upon his Thomas Potty. (See Fig. 1)

bdy85-thomas-railroad-rewards-potty-d-1
Fig. 1 – The Thomas Potty exactly as seen in Chez Delagrange…only my floor’s not that clean. Obvs.

 

The potty plays the melodic notes of the Thomas theme song and ends with the tell-tale “chugga-choo-shhhh” sound that can only mean one thing – The “train” has left the “station.”

All around the boy there is great rejoicing…much like this:

 

We’re potty TRAINing, y’all. (See what I did there? I had to or my dad would have and then he’d think he was real clever and we can’t have that.)

 

A few words on the Thomas Potty…Ev got it as a Christmas gift and was genuinely so pumped about it that he couldn’t even handle it. This thing has magical sensors in it so when a liquid (or presumably a solid) hits it, it plays music and makes train sounds. If that doesn’t pump your pistons, I don’t know what will.

 

The only down side I can see to the Thomas Potty is that your average two-year-old can easily figure out how to take it apart and make it sing without peeing in it. You can say a lot of things about a two-year-old, but if you need a button to be pushed (literal or figurative) they’re pretty much your best bet. Unfortunately, the button on the Thomas Potty is on the bottom, which requires said two-year-old to turn it completely upside down, something that I sort of expect to backfire on my aaaaaaaannny minute now…

 

And, because motherhood is basically an eternal experiment in “Things I Never Thought I’d Say,” or because I know you’ve just been wishing that you could experience this craziness firsthand, but haven’t called because you’re not sure if you really want to experience this crazy firsthand, here are a few of the phrases I’ve been recently repeating over and over…and over.

  • “Do NOT put your broccoli on your potty!”
  • “Dude, if you keep moving your potty around you’re going to forget where you put it and nobody needs that!”
  • “Guys, mind your own business! You really don’t need to see his pee.”
  • “I know you’re trying to help, but let’s just let Mommy be the one to empty the potty.”
  • “Drop. The. Potty. I said put it down!!”

 

Also, people have already asked about how we potty train and how the boy vs girl thing is going, here’s my two cents on that:

I am a hard and fast and firm believer that this is not a race. I do not know any 30 year olds who wear diapers to work. If your kid is toilet trained at 16 months old, cool! If your kid is toilet trained at 4, sweet! It will happen when your child is ready. I repeat: this. is. not. a. race. Follow your kid’s lead and you’ll be golden…probably literally.

Also, my friend Alisha just told me that her dentist’s wife potty trained their 9 month old. And we both basically said a big hell naw to that. I mean, if that’s your jam, it’s cool I guess. But I’m lazy and diapering a baby or even a toddler is a lot less work, at least for a while. You can slap a diaper on a kid or at least have stuff contained, right? Few things will prepare you for venturing out in the world with a newly toilet trained kid. You’re on their terms now and heaven help you if you dare to call their bluff or wait a moment too long. All I’m saying is, once you potty train, you’re signing up for the “Tour of Every Bathroom in America” whether you’ve got places to be or not. So, take your time. It’s not a race.

 

I am also a hard and fast believer in the “Naked Weekend” brand of potty training. I’m also realistic and know that it takes longer than a weekend. Regardless, I’ve had the most success with hunkering down for as long as possible with a pantless kid and a potty you can move from room to room with you. Also, you have to do a potty dance that is so explosively celebratory you can’t even handle your own face. That’s part of the fun. For more information on this brand ‘o training, check out Kendra’s post on it over at Catholic All Year. (I have an unprofessed blog crush on Kendra…her family just bought a 10 bedroom mansion built in the 20’s and they’re remodeling it and I’m obsessed and creepy and not sorry.)

 

As for the boy vs girl thing…it’s totally not a thing. I’ll admit, I was initially intimidated by potty training a boy, probably because of some societal tendency to deify the penis or just the fact that I don’t have one, so I’m sorta clueless. Here’s the deal: he’s got a while to figure it all out. The main goal here is to get the waste into the proper receptacle. Everything after that will come with time. So the thing’s not a thing. I’m potty training him just like the girls and he’s knocking it out of the park.

 

He’s knocking it out of the park so much, in fact, that I basically never have to remind him to pee. Like last night he was (ill-advisedly) naked and on the loose downstairs while I got the girls out of the tub. He ran back upstairs yelling, “Mama, I peeeeeeeeeeed!!!” at which point I panicked. I asked where he went to the bathroom and the only response I got was, “Don’t worry about it, Mama. I show you.”  Umm…doesn’t really inspire much confidence. So I followed him downstairs and he lead me to the Thomas Potty and yelled, “Aaaaa-priiiise!! In the potty!! Ta da!!!” And sure enough, in the potty it was. Praise God from whom all blessings flow…and I do mean all blessings.

 

And Scene.

 

 

Mom Instincts

Y’all. There are a few ways you know that motherhood is getting to you.

Permanent dark circles…

Lack of hygiene…

The contents of your purse… (No lie, at this very moment my purse contains the following: one dirty princess sock, a pacifier, several french fries, broken-lidded lip gloss I confiscated from the eldest, a diaper, my wallet, a comb, seven tiny hair bands, and the feet of a hopping mechanical chicken. Just the feet.)

There’s also the fact that you develop magical Mom Instincts. Like, I might not shower for days, but you’d better bet I can tell you the exact location of Maggie’s Bunny. Or I’ll be so exhausted that I’m literally running into walls, but I can catch a falling pacifier like a ninja. Mom Instincts allow me to decipher the deeper meaning behind the make-believe games, interpret whether or not requests for the potty are valid or cheap ploys for a later bedtime. While the rest of your life disintegrates around you, Mom Instincts allow you to remember preschool snack day just in time and recall the location of that one Frozen shirt.

I’d like to point out that, while Mom Instincts make you a rock star in the parenting department, they sometimes overrule all other rational thought and make you less than cool on dates. Just saying.

But I really hit a low point the other day in the “Motherhood is Getting to Me” department.

I need you to know that two thirds of our children have had the stomach flu, all have colds, and one may or may not be teething but he won’t submit to an oral exam and refuses to learn to talk, so…hell if I know. Also, the wordless one has been on a sleeping strike, so basically it’s like living with a cranky mute dictator who demands Wheel of Fortune at one a.m. Except he’s not really mute because he screams. A lot. Just no words. And his older sister is potty training. And I’m trying to take a doula class, and Vin is working like a zillion hours a week, and, and, and. Life is crazy.

I tell you all of this in hopes that maybe it’ll explain my actions, but I really just think I’m off. my. rocker.

So, night before last (but I don’t really know because my days and nights have been messed up since 2009), I got the kids into bed and foolishly assumed they’d stay there and took the opportunity to go to the bathroom. Alone. For the first time in forever. (No, I’m not sorry I just put that song in your head.)

I went to the bathroom, instinctively put the ironic Pooh potty seat on the toilet, and sat down.

And then I got all surprised and weirded out that the toilet seat was like a kajillion sizes too small, so I kind of freaked out a little bit, but things were already well on their way and I’ve had no control of that biz since, like, 2009, so I had not choice but to keep on keepin’ on. Luckily my aim is spectacular…unlike my brain which has apparently turned into a pile of mush.