You Know Your Life is Overtaken by Small Children When…

10.  You had to clean the downstairs bathroom 3 times in less than 24 hours in preparation for company.

9.  Your king-sized bed is too small as a result of uninvited munchkins appearing in the middle of the night (and sleeping in the unconventional position of sideways across the top of your pillow)

8. You have to wash your sheets again this morning even though you washed them yesterday because one of the uninvited munchkins had a leaky Pull-Up.

7.  You turn your beloved office into a playroom.

6.  ‘Stupid’ and ‘butt’ suddenly sound so offensive.

5.  You pack three baggies of exactly the same snack to avoid arguments when packing one to share would be so much easier.

4.  Leaving the house with unbrushed hair is perfectly acceptable.

3.  Your front door is covered with extra door locks not meant to keep hardened criminals out but your kids in.

2.  You’ve never been a drinker, but you find yourself, on more than one occasion, having strange cravings for vodka.

1. Your ob/gyn asks if your husband and you have thought about what birth control you plan on using, and you reply, “Abstinence.”

Forget the Baby Book

I make a lot of good intentions.  One can witness this fact by the three baby books I bought for each child.  I don’t always follow through on these intentions.  One can also witness this fact when noticing Caleb’s baby book stops after one year, Hannah Grace’s is blank except for her birth announcement, and Chloe’s doesn’t even have a birth announcement.

Over Caleb’s three-and-a-half years, he has said some of the most amazing sentences to leave a baby’s mouth, and he gets funnier and funnier. Unfortunately, I’ve probably forgotten half of these anecdotes, but no more! Starting today, I WILL record the precious gems that leave all of my kids’ mouths!

Now, yes, I could record them in their cute baby books so they wouldn’t look so pathetic, but I’d probably become overwhelmed with guilt that I didn’t fill out the page asking for the price of bread on their birth dates.  I’d spend the whole afternoon Google searching for this bit of trivia that I wouldn’t record the more interesting parts of the baby books–the parts about them.

So. While I don’t write in my blog as often as I’d like, I do write at least once a week, if not more.  And while I don’t have much of a memory at this point, I have just enough brain cells left to remember one or two cute ramblings from the mouths of my babes, so below is where I will keep record.  This blog will be on-going, and I will add their newest to the top of list.  Enjoy!

Hannah Grace: (After I told her that her hair is beautiful) “No, it’s not; no, it’s not.  My hair is AWESOME!” 5/10/2010

Hannah Grace: (from completely out of the blue) “Mom, we don’t say ‘tootie-butt.’ (Thank you for the reminder!)–1/6/2010

Caleb: “Mom, batteries don’t die!  People die.  Batteries stop working!” (I stand corrected)–Jan 2010

Hannah: (Caleb was antagonizing Hannah Grace, and he apologized by saying ‘I’m sorry, Hannah Potato’ and later ‘I’m sorry, Hannah Banana.’) “No, Caleb.  That’s not right.  You say, ‘I’m sorry, Hannah.”‘–1/5/2010

Caleb: “Hannah, I’ve sung the song for you three times, and every time I sing it makes me tired.  I’m not going to sing it anymore!” (Hannah Grace loves “Single Ladies” by Beyonce, but we couldn’t get it to play on my phone.  She would start to whine, so Caleb would sing the song for her with amazing accuracy)–1/2/2010

Hannah Grace: “Caleb, patience. Not now!” (In response to Caleb’s repeated request to watch his movie in the car even though he was told Hannah Grace got to listen to her song first.)–1/2/2010

Caleb: (We were walking outside of Barnes and Noble at the mall.  Music was playing.) “Where is that music coming from?  Me: “I’m not sure.  I think there are some speakers outside the store somewhere.”  Matt: “Why?  Is the music bothering you?”  Caleb: “Yes, it’s bothering me!  It makes me want to die!”–12/19/09

Hannah Grace: “And God said, ‘Don’t eat the vegetables!” (referring to the Bible story of Adam and Eve where God says not to eat the fruit of the tree)–11/11/09

Caleb: “And then Jesus rubbed blood on the blind man’s eyes, and he could see again!” (the Scripture states that Jesus made mud and rubbed it on the blind man’s eyes)–11/11/09

Hannah Grace: “Where’d you put the gummies?” (she pointed her finger and asked Matt this question immediately as he walked into the house from work.  I told her earlier in the day that I didn’t know where the gummies were; perhaps, her dad did)–11/11/09

Hannah Grace: “Daddy, you’re my boy.” –11/9/09 ( I think)

Caleb: (after I was explaining to Hannah Grace and him that they cannot play with my china–it’s Mommy’s special plates from when she got married) “I’m going to marry Hannah, and I’m going to give her special dishes.  And on her birthday, I’m going to give her very, very, nice clothes.”–11/1/09

Hannah Grace: “Daddy’s my favorite friend”–9/29/09

Caleb: “Mommy, we can find a nice family and give them our dog.”  Mommy: “What?! Why do you want to give away Scout?”  Caleb: “I want a cat.”– 9/29/09

(Hannah Grace brought home from preschool blue-colored water in a bottle as part of the classes’ study of the color blue) Caleb: “Hannah, how did you get that blue in there?  Did you squeeze a lemon?” –9/29/09

(in a bathroom stall at church, loudly so that the woman in the stall next to us could hear) Hannah Grace: “Can I see your penis?”  Mommy: “No, because I’m a girl.”– 9/27/09

(in the bathroom at home) Hannah Grace: “Are you going to wipe my penis?”  Mommy: “No, you don’t have a penis.”  Caleb: “You don’t have a penis, Hannah!  You have a hole.”–  9/26/09

Hannah Grace: (talking to Chloe) “Hello, sweetheart.” (To me)  “Hers my darling. Hers my baby”–9/22/09

Hannah Grace : (referring to Chloe) “Hers not your baby.  She’s Daddy’s” –9/18/09

Caleb: (Ready to go downstairs one morning, he yelled these sentences waiting for Matt to open the baby gate) “Come on, Dad! Let’s go!  You’ve got work to do!  You need to make money!”–  9/18/09

Mommy: “Eat your chicken, Caleb.”  Caleb: “Chi-ken? Bock-bock?”–somewhere around a year old, a memory we don’t want to forget!

The Morning I Knew My Husband Really Loves Me

I previously had the idea that my children conspire to make certain nights hellish for my husband and me.  I don’t think that they have a hushed meeting behind a closed closet door huddled around a flashlight while articulating their plan–that’s silly–our flashlight needs new batteries, and the baby can’t sit up.  I am leaning toward the idea that their brains telepathically communicate  that they should get up in the middle of the night.  And often.  And staggered.

It’s 12 A.M., and I decide that, perhaps, Chloe isn’t going to wake up soon to eat, so I should go ahead and get in a couple hours of sleep.  At 12:15, I hear her little cry.  I grab my glasses off my nightstand, amazed at how quickly I went from awake to asleep and now very groggy.  I take my time swinging my feet over the side of the bed and listen as Matt gets up to change the baby.  I go to meet him in her room; I’ll nurse her in the rocking chair.  Instead, I meet Matt in the doorway.

“She just wanted her binky.  She’s back asleep.”

I climb back in our bed that’s much too tall for me (although, I love it) and begin to snuggle under my sheet and next to Matt.  The little cry returns.

“Uggh,” or some other kind of grunt leaves my mouth.  I look over at Matt who decided he had already completed his duty and continue getting back down from our bed.  I go into Chloe’s room and smile at this sweet baby who is looking up at me with the sleepiest little face.  I pick her up and change her and then move us into the rocking chair.  As she nurses, I relax into the chair, allowing my head to fall to the side and my body to melt into the cushions as much as possible while nursing in an upright position.  When I don’t notice any more sucking, I gently pick up Chloe and lay her back down in her crib, positioning her binky back in her tiny mouth.

As I walk into my room, I look forward to the ascent into my bed, as Chloe should now have her long stretch of sleep.  Maybe, tonight she’ll sleep eight hours straight as she did a few weeks ago.  I take off my glasses and lay them on the nightstand and begin to drop next to Matt on my pillow when I hear footsteps scurrying down the hallway.  Footsteps carry emotions with them, and these footsteps are carrying a scared little boy.

Caleb frantically bounds into our bed, and I try to suppress another “uggh” knowing that my little boy is scared.

“Come on, Caleb. I’ll lie down with you in your bed.  Come on, buddy.  Let’s go.”

I finally convince him that I’ll really follow if he gets out of my bed, and we jump down.  We make a quick pit-stop to the potty, and then crawl into his little twin bed.  I will myself not to fall asleep so as to be able to move my neck in the morning.  When I am assured that Caleb is calm and sleeping, I trek back down the hallway and into my room.

I glance at the clock on Matt’s nightstand which now reads a little past 1 A.M. and muster up the strength to climb what now looks like Mt. Everest.  It’s less than six hours before the alarm is supposed to wake me, but I welcome any sleep and snuggle next to Matt.

Chloe must read my thought and takes it literally because she awakes at 3:30 to which I announce, “I am not feeding her.”  Matt quiets her but eventually brings her in our bed at 4:30 when she yells that she’s not kidding.  I try to nurse her while lying down, even though I’m fairly certain that she’s not hungry.  I don’t care; I just want to sleep, and if nursing Chloe will achieve that goal, so be it.

Unfortunately, Chloe doesn’t want to eat and squirms and cries.

“Maybe she’s uncomfortable.  Let me get a diaper; you watch her,” I order Matt as I hop off the bed.  I zig-zag down the hallway as a drunken woman looking for a drink, except I don’t need any help passing out.  I have to descend our stairs to get  a cloth diaper out of the dryer ( I really need to buy more of those things) and back up again.  I change Chloe only to produce the same result–a squirmy, crying baby.

Back off the tallest bed in the world with Chloe in tow and onto her rocking chair.  As I hold her close and softly sing, I feel her break wind against my hand and know the cause of her discomfort.  We gently rock until she is finally soothed, and I lay her down in her crib.

It’s almost 5 A.M., and I wonder if it’s even worth climbing into bed but try once again.  This time  I don’t attempt any closeness with Matt, nor him with me.  We are both curled into our own little cocoons of quiet, and I let sleep envelop me.

When Matt’s alarm goes off at 5:30 A.M, I am amazed that he actually gets out of bed.  Guessing our talk about guarding our family time has hit home with him, I roll back over knowing Matt will be off to the gym soon.  I hear the shower but am too tired to process what that sound means.

About 15 minutes later, I hear footsteps running down the hallway.  This time, they carry the emotion of happiness with them, and a little boy bounds into my bed.

“Put Curious George on!” Caleb exclaims excitedly.

“Caleb, lay down and go to sleep.  It’s not even 6:00!” I grunt, but Caleb is wide awake.  When I beg him again in a tone that is much harsher than I intend, he plops off the bed and in a pile on the floor.  I quickly apologize and plead with him to lie down next to me in bed.  We can snuggle.

Caleb complies, but all of these dramatics have roused me.  I know I will not sleep any more this morning.

When Matt finally comes out of the bathroom dressed, I ask him, “What are you doing?  I mean, why are you up so early if you’re not going to the gym.”

“I wanted to get in early in case I have to leave to help you out.”

As I push through the fog of thoughts in my mind–Does he think I might fall asleep and need someone to watch the kids? Is he afraid I’m going to hurt the kids?!–I understand his statement.

“My doctor’s appointment is tomorrow, Matt.”

I very well may have told Matt that I was looking for someone to watch the kids today, Thursday, instead of Friday.  I don’t know.  What I do know is the look of utter dejection on my husband’s face when he realized he had woken up at 5:30 A.M. on no sleep for nothing.  And in that moment, I knew he must love me more than anything.

For weeks, months, years, Matt has tried to wake up early in order to get to the gym before work instead of after.  His pattern of hitting the snooze button for two hours straight has become a sore spot in our marriage.  He cannot seem to wake up early for anything, yet he did it, on maybe two hours of solid sleep, for me.

As tired as I am, I stare at him from amidst the covers and pillows and feel a warmth inside I hadn’t quite felt in such a  way before. We kiss, say our “I love you’s,” and Matt heads down the hallway only to return a moment later with another child.

“She’s awake, too?” I question incredulously as Matt puts Hannah Grace in bed with me.

“Yes. She was just standing at the baby gate staring.”

I can only smile and officially get up to get the kids ready for preschool. I have the fleeting thought that they will nap well today, but I know better than to believe such an idea.

I’ve never been a coffee-drinker, but I think today might be a good day to start.

Reasons You Might Go Completely Gray Before Age 35–Part 2

10. You single-handedly have paid for your doctor’s BMW.

9. Your daughter’s cry is indistinguishable from a fire engine’s siren.

8. Your nephew gets a bloody nose on your watch because you didn’t differentiate between the softball and the golfball your son was pitching.

7. Your daughter gets run over by a Power Wheel containing the aforementioned son and nephew.

6. Part of your morning routine is cleaning banana out of your daughter’s ear.

5. Your two oldest children haven’t taken a nap in eight days.

4. Your baby hasn’t slept more than fours hours straight at night in eight days.

3. Upon your noticing pencil markings all over the wall, your son blames his aunt saying she allowed your nephew to do it.

2. You caught your son peeing on the wall but didn’t catch your daughter when she peed in front of the baby gate in her room (apparently, she called for you, but you thought she was a fire engine siren).

1. You have to change your baby’s wet crib sheets–but she didn’t wet them.

The Day After September 11th

As I looked at my facebook page throughout the day, I noticed many status updates focusing on what people remembered from this date eight years ago.I, too, am able to recount where I was eight years ago on that dreadful morning–at a new teacher’s conference to be exact–but my thoughts quickly moved on to another topic.  September 12th and all the days after.

How is my life different as a result of 9/11?  Not just longer airport lines and things that are out of my control, but how am I living any differently?

When 9/11 happened, I was only 22, newly engaged and working as a new teacher.  I didn’t have too many problems, so-to-speak.  This September 11, I’m looking back over a really lousy week as a mother of three and wife and evaluating many aspects of my life.  The meaning of 9/11 is hitting me harder now, possibly, than it did eight years ago.

Eight years ago, a husband didn’t come home.  A mother didn’t get to tuck her kids into bed.  A girlfriend didn’t get to experience her wedding night.  A father-to-be didn’t see the birth of his son.

As I thought about September 11th, I didn’t think about the on-going political implications of the tragedy or anything other than how I was living my life.  By the grace of God, I am here to write this blog today and share it with anyone that God also chose to grant another day, and, yet, today could be my last.

Even as I had these thoughts, I continued to figure out how I would win the argument that I would inevitably have at the end of the night.  Honestly, I still don’t feel any better, but I want to.  I want to fully embrace the idea that today could be my last day.

On September 11, 2001, I don’t know if the mother possibly had to hold back tears as she dropped off her smart-aleck teenager at school.  I don’t know if the soon-to-be-Daddy sighed thinking about his crabby wife with swollen feet and all the complaints she’d have for him when he’d walk through the door that evening. But I do know they would each squeeze their loved one a lot harder and a lot longer if they knew it would be their last embrace.

It’s easy for me to remember 9/11.  Unfortunately, it’s also easy for me to forget.

Dear Children…

My Dear Caleb and Hannah Grace,

I am in need of therapy, or possibly you are in need of therapy, but either way, we cannot afford a good therapist right now.  Therefore, as you are not taking your naps as I’d asked, even after telling you a good surprise awaits, while HG has smeared diaper cream all over her bottom and legs, while C has broken the second picture frame in two days, while you both somehow have gotten HG’s curtain rod and, subsequently, curtains off the wall, I have come downstairs to quickly write out my feelings.

I do not want to yell at you.  I love you both, and when you come home from preschool, I want us to have happy times.  I want to hear what you have learned.  I do not want to reprimand you for screaming, refusing to get in your car seat, being mean to each other, etc.  And I especially don’t want to get frustrated during the time that is supposed to be my time (even though my time really just means the ability to scrub the kitchen floor without interruption). I no longer want to feel frustrated, so I won’t.

Okay, I hear you calling that you need to go to the potty, and I do feel better.  Amazing, isn’t it?  I’m now going to go upstairs, we’ll clean up together, and we’ll try to salvage the rest of our day.

Love,

Mommy

A Preschool Poem

I wake up at quarter ’til seven

for a preschool that starts at nine,

no one can fault me for trying,

but we rarely get anywhere on time.

I nurse the baby as Big Brother dresses,

then pick up Sister crying at her door,

tell her to get ready for school

pointing to the outfit laid out on her floor.

She runs around in circles

as I try my hardest to get us dressed,

a task that should take a few minutes

has stretched close to an hour–at best.

Finally dressed we all brush our hair,

but Sister decides hers is not clean,

a glob of shampoo in her bangs,

and suddenly I become very mean.

Huffing down the stairs for breakfast

Daddy appears for my morning trial,

out with the camera bag for pictures,

but of course Big Brother won’t smile.

DSC_5344

We finish our cereal a’plenty,

Sister smears some in her bangs,

for the second time I fix her hair

and try to still the anxiety pangs.

Out the door with backpacks and Baby,

and inside again for things I forgot,

I make one more attempt at a picture

and settle for an action shot.

DSC_5351

Into the van we must go,

my patience is further and further slipping

when I look over at my two preschoolers

who are now frolicking in a bag of grass clippings.

We pull up to the preschool drop-off,

and my kids squeeze out the side door,

I watch as they leave with their backpacks

and realize they are babies no more.

Brother holding the teacher’s hand,

Sister, motionless, looks back with fear in her eyes,

as she is carried away with the teacher,

“It is I,” I think, “who will cry.”

I could go on and on about that moment

when I became ever so sad

looking on while my kids walked away,

not mine for the time to be had.

The truth of the matter is

the time was brief when I suppressed a tear,

and as I pulled away from that preschool

to the choir of moms I added my cheer!

Note to my preschoolers:  I love you very much and treasure making wonderful memories with you both.  With that being said, I will also treasure the three hours, two days a week when I only have one child at home with me!

Potty Training: It’s as Easy as 1, 2, Pee!

My kids eat dog food.  They break into Mommy’s make-up bag and put mascara on their toes.  I have caught my daughter pooping in my shoe and later peeing on her daddy’s foot–on purpose.  My kids write on the walls and the floor with crayons and markers, and they spray bathroom cleaner in their faces.  My daughter washes her hands in the toilet bowl with liquid soap, and my son rolls his three-month-old sister across the floor as if she’s a watermelon.  I write cheesy titles for my blog posts. And my two kids are potty-trained.

Despite having me for a mother and whatever genes make them do the weird things they do every day, they managed to learn how to use the potty, and relatively early for that matter.  My son was potty-trained a few months after he turned two, and my daughter a little before she turned two.  Now, I am not an expert at anything (except for maybe creating an environment that encourages strange behavior in children), but I feel fairly certain that if my kids can learn how to use the potty, yours can, too!

There are a lot of books and videos out there that make promises to have your child house-broken, I mean, potty-trained in a certain amount of time.  One week!  Three days!  One day!  Well, I wasn’t so optimistic.  However, if you’re in a time-crunch, pay your $30 to these experts, and let me know how it goes.  As I said before, I’m not an expert, and I really don’t know anything.  Therefore, I’m not going to charge you $30 to read this blog post, but I will give you some free advice based on my experience–the 3 R’s: Readiness, Resolve, and Reward

Readiness:

Without paying $30 for a book, I had somehow learned that children will show signs when they are ready to potty train.  Both of my children began showing signs around 18-months.  My son and my daughter had a great interest in the toilet, especially flushing it.  They would let me know when they had wet or soiled their diapers, and sometimes, they would alert me when they needed to go to the potty.  They would sit on the training potty in the bathroom before bath time, and many times, they would go.  Before beginning any training with my kids, I had a pretty good idea that they had an interest in the topic they were about to study.

Whether your child is ready at 18-months or two-and-a-half years doesn’t matter.  However, when they show signs of readiness, go for it.  Sure, you can just wait until your child is three and possibly have a really easy time (although, I wouldn’t risk it. I don’t know what happens if you delay training past your child’s readiness!), but why would you?  Stop paying for diapers, and train your kid! However, don’t force potty training on your child so that your kid looks smarter than those in your play group. You’ll just end up frustrating your child, possibly delaying his or her potty training, and frustrating yourself.  Remember–just like the developmental milestones we all watched for when our kids were babies, all children develop at their own individual rates.

Resolve:

Okay, you’ve decided that your kiddo is ready to dump the diapers.  Now what?  Take a deep breath, get down on your knees, and repeat this prayer:  “Dear Lord, Grant me the strength to make it through this next phase of my child’s life, the endurance to see his training to the end, and the stomach to handle all the poop and pee I will have to clean up off the floor, walls, and wherever else my child sees fit to leave his mark.  Amen.”

Potty training is frustrating, and in no way, fun (although, there are many memorable and even cute moments), so you have to decide that you will not give up.  Trial and error is a part of any adventure upon which you embark, but my hope is that my experiences will eliminate some of your errors and give you some strategies to use.

I had dabbled with the idea of training my son before he was two, but right around the time he was really ready to train, I had to go back to work full-time for a brief period as a teacher.  I, therefore, chose to wait until summer break to fully embrace potty training.  By this point, he was already aware of the concept of potty training and, probably, a little bored with the idea since I would quasi-train him and then back off.  Having started this way probably delayed us a little bit.  However, when I was 100% mentally ready to give it a go and not quit, I started when I knew we would be home for about three days straight, and I had my son ditch the diaper and Pull-Ups for good.  He was allowed to sleep in Pull-Ups at night, but during the day, he ran around with a naked hiney.

I moved his potty onto the hardwood floor by his playroom, and I showed it to him.  “If you have to pee-pee or poo-poo, go here,” I instructed him.  Then I backed off and watched him.  I did not ask him if he needed to go to the potty every five minutes because I didn’t want to aggravate him.  Trust me–if I had told my son I wanted him to go to the potty, he wouldn’t have.  It  needed to be his idea. If he had an accident, I would hand him a paper towel to clean it up.  I wouldn’t scold him, but I would remind him of where to put his business.  Eventually, he figured it out.  Was this part of the training a little gross?  Yes.  Did it work?  Yes.

Two examples from which to learn: 1. I was afraid to take Caleb in public in his underpants, so I would give him a Pull-Up.  Big mistake.  How confusing of a message!  It was like I was telling him, “I want you to go to the potty, but I am going to put a diaper on you.  Even though for two years you have worn some sort of diaper and peed in it with no consequence, you are not allowed to do that anymore.  I know you know that you can pee-pee in your Pull-Up, and the pee-pee will stay in there and not run down your legs, but, please, don’t do it.”  I kid you not, the day I decided Caleb would wear his underpants out of the house was the day potty training sunk in for good.

2. I let Caleb run around the house naked for too long.  After about two days of having no accidents while being bare-bottomed, I should have made the move to underwear.  I almost had to retrain my son because he was so used to relieving himself without having to pull anything up or down. I remembered this mistake when I trained my daughter, and the transition from bare hiney to covered hiney was much easier.

I trained my daughter in much the same manner with one main exception–I took her to the potty every thirty minutes to an hour at first.  She was 18-months-old when we tried potty training, and she was not making the connection between the pee running down her legs on the carpet and the pee that was supposed to go in the potty.  After going with my help a few times, she began to make the connection on her own.  With Caleb, I let him go on his own; with Hannah Grace, I took her to the potty.  You know your child and his/her cognitive ability at the point you begin training.  Try the method you think will work better, and then try the other if the first one didn’t work.  If neither works, pay $30 for one of the potty training books.  They’re the experts–not me!

My daughter did regress when her sister was born because she decided she was neither going to go to the bathroom with relatives, and when I came home from the hospital, nor with me.  I didn’t push her.  She was only 20-months-old, and I didn’t have the desire to monitor her toilet use while breastfeeding a newborn, so we gave it a rest for a while.  Eventually, she decided she wanted to use the potty again.  At that point, we ditched the diapers again and resumed training.  Remember the first point about readiness–if your child is not ready, potty training will not be successful.

One final word on resolve–you have to decide that your child is going to be successful.  Be consistent.  If one minute your kid is in underpants but the next in a diaper because you don’t feel like dealing with a potential accident, you are going to delay potty training. Have an extra pair of undies and pants packed in your kid’s favorite backpack.  Have your sweetie take those essentials every time you all get in the car.  Sure, it’s inconvenient to clean up your kid after an accident, but it’s also inconvenient to change diapers for three years.  And if you know you have a zillion places to go in the next couple of days, or a vacation to take, or a baby to have, don’t start potty-training!

Reward

Most likely, your kid doesn’t care if he’s potty-trained by two-and-a-half, but he probably likes candy.  Even if you’re a health-nut like me (or especially if you are), give your child a good reward every time he or she goes to the potty.  I tried stickers, but they weren’t nearly as exciting as candy, and my kids just stuck them all over the floor.  Then I lightened up.  One M&M for a successful pee in the potty and two for a poop were not going to set my kids on the path to an overweight adulthood.

The reward you choose doesn’t matter, but giving it consistently does!  Praise your kids up and down!  Sing silly songs!  Have fun (or at least try)!  Going to the potty is a big deal, a HUGE step toward graduating from baby to big boy or big girl.  Celebrate with your child, and he’ll be more likely to want to go to the potty.  You’ll also get a kick out of how much affirmation you get when you go to the bathroom.  One of my favorite memories is when my daughter came in while I was using the bathroom.  She excitedly proclaimed, “Yea, Mommy!  I’m so proud of you!”

Let’s face it–potty training stinks.  Literally.  So the goal needs to be to make it as painless as possible.  My hope is that the strategies I learned will help you as you tackle this obstacle.  If your child isn’t progressing, check the 3 R’s:  Is your kid really ready? Have you resolved to stay committed to the task at hand?  Are you rewarding your child for a job well-done?  If the answer to all of these questions is ‘yes,’ then, well,  buy a potty-training book.   If those experts can help you in a day, then they deserve all the money they make!  As for me, I’ll try these same techniques with the next child and save the $30 for a night when delivery pizza seems more healthy than cooking in my kitchen.