Potty Training 101 (Oh crap!!!)

It was getting closer to my dear daughter’s second birthday when I finally admitted I had put potty training off for too long. She had been displaying the “ready” signs for months now, but I wasn’t ready to lose the all-too-convenient diaper just yet. When I discovered other children her age were working on it, I decided it was time to stop dragging my feet and attempt to tackle those two most dreaded words: potty training.

The first day went great. While she did have three accidents, she also peed on her potty three times! I was more than pleased. I thought day two would be a breeze and even more successful than day one… I thought wrong.

Day two comes and I tell her to go peepee on her potty. And she refuses. I think maybe she doesn’t have to go yet… Hours go by, and nothing happens. I’m pouring water and juice down her throat in hopes she’ll have to use the potty soon…

“Finally!” I think, “She has to pee.” We can make some more progress…. Until I have her sit on her potty and she starts screaming like it’s a torture device (I mean, the girl can scream). She then proceeds to slam her potty shut and bang her head repeatedly on it. (Oh, the struggle, right?)

At this point, I am determined to make this second day a success instead of a regress. So I wait for the fit to subside, and open her potty and sit her back on it. She then decides it’s a great time to do the “hot dog” dance and starts running around the house like a Comanche yelling “Hot dog! Hot dog! Hot dog!” (Dang you, Mickey) Mid one of her rounds, she pees on the floor. It goes without saying, day two was not a success… Unless you count farting on the pot a success. Because each time she had to “toot,” by Golly, she would sit on her potty for that!

Once we made it through the horrors of day two and her refusals to go anywhere near her potty and after hours of no accidents and no attempts to use the potty, I decided it was time for a bathroom lockdown. And I literally shut her in the bathroom with me and her potty for an entire hour. Boy, was that fun! Let me tell you…

It was hard… so hard… to keep her in the bathroom (she can open doors). To keep her out of the shower. To keep her from having fun. She thought the whole experience was hilarious. Needless to say, shower and bedtime came and she still didn’t use the potty that entire day. Unless you count farting…

The next morning, however, we made progress! She pooped and peed on her potty!!! (Probably from holding it the entire day before…) I also broke out the M&Ms (thanks, Laura; you’re my hero!) which really got her interested… (Probably should have tried that Day 2). As I have gone back to work, my nanny, mother, and husband had the responsibility of continuing this training. At first no day was perfect, but she was attempting to use her potty and succeeding a lot of the time! And that’s all a mom can really ask during this dreaded training process.

Now, she can go peepee by herself (insert applause). With panties, it’s a little bit harder because she can’t yet pull them all the way down by herself, so she still needs a little help. And more often than not, I’m ever so fortunate that she chooses to save her actual poop time for when I’m home to clean it out of her potty. Lucky, lucky me. (Why did I decide it was time to get rid of diapers again??)

In the end, my girl is potty trained before two years old, and I couldn’t be a prouder mama! (But still, those diapers were just so easy…)



The Pregnant Lady Ugly-Crying at the Mall

Yes, I was six months pregnant, alone, and ugly-crying in the middle of the mall the Saturday before school started. You can imagine the looks I received… I’m sure people thought my baby daddy had just abandoned me… Or maybe they actually thought I was an over-hormonal and emotional pregnant lady crying over something trivial… The reason may or may not really be the latter.

Anyways, it was the weekend a local radio station had set up in the center of the mall to hand out school supplies to students in need. I did not know this prior to going, but when I showed up and there were lines of people from the center of the mall clear to the end of one wing, I became a little curious as to what was going on. So I continued my walk to the maternity store, did my shopping, went to get a pretzel, and in all of this time, the lines were still just as long. They were never ending.

So I sat. I looked at the innocent faces of the children in line as I snacked on my pretzel, and I began to cry. Not just one or two tears. I mean I bawled. Because here I was buying myself new pants and eating a pretzel, while these innocent children waited hours for a pack of pencils and paper. 

I wept for those kids who have needs that I will never know. I wept for the parents who can’t provide their families. I wept for the families who may not have food to eat or warm places to sleep. I wept for all of the needs I will never know. Then I wept for my own kids and how much they already have and how, hopefully, they will never experience these needs. I wept for all of the kids who have never felt loved. And I wept for my kids who only know love.

Each year my church shows a video of them handing out hundreds and hundreds of backpacks to the kids in our area, and each year I cry watching that video. But seeing it in person was such a humbling experience.  I think about how much I take for granted. How often I forget to be thankful. How the small things to me are big things to others…

So, yes, I was the pregnant lady ugly-crying at the mall on one of its busiest days of the year…

Mom Guilt and God’s Grace

Mom Guilt and God’s Grace

Mom guilt is a real thing. It’s serious and has the potential to weigh you down and break your heart. It is a feeling I experience quite often, daily even.

When I have to go to work, but she wants me to watch the cheeps… or play babies… or she wants to hold my hair… Oh, Lord, please let me stay with her just a little while longer.

When she is being overly needy and I have a job to do, like fix dinner, or go to the restroom, or grade papers… I just want to hold her and play with her all evening, but how can I do it all? What am I doing wrong?

When I didn’t get to spend enough time with her, because I had to mop or switch laundry and do dishes before going to pick her up… Now it’s close to bed time… Will she even remember who I am in the morning?? Did I make enough of a positive impact on her life today?

After I let her try pudding for a snack… Omigoodness! What was I thinking?! Why did I let her have that? Now she’s seriously not going to eat anything but junk. What if she develops diabetes now?! Why can’t I be a mom that does all organic, gluten-free stuff? I need to be a better mom. 

When she is about to fall asleep for the night and I remember I forgot to brush her teeth… I am a horrible mom. What if she gets tooth decay or cavities… Will I ever get it all together?!

Regrets and guilt can eat you alive. They can make you feel like the worst parent ever. Luckily, little ones soon forget your shortcomings and errors and, tomorrow morning, they will cling to you just like they did this morning. Their resilience reminds me of the grace that our Lord so freely gives.

Not only do we mess up as parents, but we mess up as Christians, as people (or at least I know I do) and far too often.

I am grateful for a God who understands that I am bound to make mistakes and do things that I will regret. I am grateful for my Lord who forgives me when I fail Him and others. I am grateful for a Savior who shed His blood, His life, for mine. So that I may live. When I think about the bigger picture, I realize God’s grace is enough.

If he sees my failures and accepts my shortcomings, if he forgives me, then I can forgive myself, right? If I am enough for Him, then I am enough, period. He made me in His image; so in His image, I am perfect. I am so grateful for this grace that I do not deserve, both from Him and my daughter.