Monday, June 11, 2018

The day the switch flips

I have friends from high school who are becoming grandmothers and other who have seniors in high school. I have friends from college with children getting ready to take their driving test. Then there's me sitting over here cleaning poop out of underwear. At some point I was in the same exact place as all of my previous classmates...and now I'm here struggling with two boys who at nearly 4 years old did not get the concept of using a bathroom. Until now.
Praise the LORD I can officially say that my boys are potty-trained!!!!!!!
This process with these boys has felt like pulling teeth. Teeth that are set in that 2-part indestructible epoxy. I've written before that raising children is just pushing toward the goal of getting that switch to flip. It happens in math and connections in history, the definitions of words like "Frigidaire" being "Frigid Air", you know, because it keeps things cold. Just this week I learned that Arby's sounds like R B's  which is short for roast beef...yeah, mind blown that day. So many things that we will all of a sudden just get. Same with pooping in the pot.
Because I like to give credit where credit is due. I must mention that Alex peed first for a while, but one day in one giant leap of progress, William peed and pooped and has never looked back. That boy is a potty pooping machine! Alex then got on board because he will not be outdone by his brother so cudos to him too.
I knew that there was nothing I could do to MAKE them want to do this. I tried with candy and lollipops and chocolate. I was not above bribing. I tried tablet time as a reward and then I bought a foam board from the dollar store and a cheap roll of stickers. I'm not going to say that the sticker chart did it, but that is what was implemented when the magic deed happened.
I have never been so proud as I am that we can use the bathroom like normal human beings now. It really wouldn't have been such a huge deal but school was bearing down on me. William had already gotten demoted to the 2 year old class last year for his defecation. Yes, he pooped in his pull-up and they send him back to the baby room. Then there's the fact that in Public school pre-K, they are not allowed to touch your child and if they have an accident, they child gets sent to the nurse who has to call you and ask permission to clean up your baby.Yes...really. This is what our world has come to. So to say I was stressed to get these boys on the toilet was an understatement. I'm really glad some kids are potty-trained at 2, I really am. That however has never been the case with my offspring. Addison was 3 1/2 and the boys were about 1 month before 4 years old. And now, we are past that, WHOHOOOO!!! I've done so many stupid victory dances for our bathroom victories, I should start a DVD.  Now, onward to our next challenge.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The day I gave Alex away

Yesterday was a normal day. There was school and speech therapy, lunch, school programs and the day I gave Alex away.
The 6 year age difference between my children is as volatile as any age difference can be. There is always screaming and crying, fighting and tattling. With discreet awareness, my children wait until I answer the phone to circle me like a tribe of Indians, yelling at the top of their lungs. I have had to apologize to tenants, realtors, friends, businesses and my mother for the extreme decibals that prohibit normal conversation often leading me to take refuge in a locked bathroom or out on the porch. The little suckers follow me though...everywhere I go. Peaceful moments in my house are at a scarce minimum.
With this in mind, don't be too harsh in your judgement of my actions yesterday. My mom came to get Alex from school like she does every Thursday so that William and I can go to speech therapy. Usually they get ice cream and go to our house to play until Will and I get there. Yesterday, she asked if she could take Alex on a visit to a friend and then home to her house. He ended up spending the night because Addison had a school function that lasted late into the evening. The plan was to just meet back at school the next day, her with Alex, me with Will.
Now, what I told Addison and what started as a sort of jest, turned into a completely different story that went something like this.
Driving home in the car,"Mom, where's Alex?"
"He's at Grandma's house."
"Are we going to go get him tonight?"
"No. Alex is going to live with Grandma now." (This was a flippant comment that I was sure she would know I was kidding....but she didn't)
A panicked look overtook her face.
"But Mom, Alex can't go live with Grandma...he's our family."
"Well, Grandma is family and you and he fight so much. Like you said, He is fire and you are gasoline. When the two of you get together all you do is argue and fight and cry and scream. It's literally driving me crazy and if it doesn't stop, I'm going to be sent to the looney bin. So, we decided it would be best if Alex lived with Grandma."
This is where my story was ingested completely and tears fall down my daughters face.
The only reason I kept going with this is the fact that she actually cared enough to cry. For this child who is usually so mean and uncaring to her brother, it was nice to see her show emotion and sadness for his absence.
We pulled into the yard and went into the house. I managed to get into the house before her and quickly told Michael the slight mess that I had just gotten myself into. I may have been called terrible in a laughing...I can't believe you did that...sort of way. I may have started feeling a little regretful about the whole charade. However, I was in too deep now to just back out. Addison would never believe a word I said again. So with Michael's help, we fashioned a quick plan to help use this as a teaching experience.
Addison came inside and went straight upstairs to shower. As Michael and I were talking in the living room, I heard this wailing. It was my girl in total lament and crying her eyes out. My entire being shrunk in my chair. Maybe I had gone too far.
After the shower we called Addison into our room for a family meeting where we discussed if it was possible to have Alex "move back home."
After much discussion and several assurances from her that she would do her best to change her relationship with him, we decided not to give Alex away.
This morning: "Mom. Alex doesn't know what has happened does he?"
"No darlin'. He just thinks he was visiting Grandma."
"O.K."

I seriously don't know if I have scarred her or gotten through to her. One can only hope the entire experience helped.
In the least, I expect 20 years from now to be sitting around the Thanksgiving table and Addison say, "Mom - remember that day you gave Alex away?" And then we will laugh. I hope.