Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"i will throw it at mom"

There comes a moment in every parent's life. A moment they've anticipated and feared. A moment they've read about, talked about, watched how-to videos about.

For us, that moment has arrived.

Toilet training.

Okay, I actually attempted this moment a few months ago. In January we did a "trained in a day" boot camp complete with practicing on a doll, candy rewards, and lots and lots of toilet talk. It was a total fail. We were all tired and frustrated by about 4pm and couldn't go on. After that, I tried the laid back approach of just asking Genghis with some frequency if he wanted to wear his underwear instead of a diaper that morning or afternoon. The response was always an adamant "no".

But the reasons to press forward with some expediency have been piling up. Genghis is ready. Life is only going to get more complicated for the foreseeable future. The thought of changing and washing diapers for three children is completely unimaginable.

So yesterday afternoon, I told Genghis he was too big for diapers. My "method" is to cut myself off from diapers as an option during awake times, remind Genghis of the utility of the toilet (prior experience has confirmed that he does know how to use the toilet), clean up messes like its just spilled milk, and celebrate milestones with high fives and positive feedback.

Genghis' counter-response has been interesting. When I rolled out the plan yesterday afternoon, he refused to wear underwear. He opted to sit in the bathroom for an hour, naked, instead. Here are some snippets of our conversations.

"Genghis*, do you want to pick which underwear to put on?"
"No! I want to put the underwear in the bathtub. No. I want to put it in the trash can."
"Are you ready to put on your underwear?"
"I will take it and throw it at Mom."
"We're going to get ice cream when Dad gets home."
"I want ice cream."
"You need to wear your underwear to go outside to get the ice cream."
"I don't want ice cream."
[Enter bathroom, Genghis is sitting in the sink, covered in layers of liquid soap with his underwear piled around him.]
"I am washing my hands and my legs."
"Yes, you are."
"And I am wearing all of my underwear."

He finally decided it would be okay to wear underwear if he could put it on when it was tucked inside of his shorts, so they went on together. Whatever.

Today, Genghis took a different tack. He was very excited to put underwear on in the morning. And he made it the whole day without any accidents, and also without ever using the toilet. (The nap time diaper was a sight to behold. Also, we went swimming in the afternoon.) Still, there was a solid 5 hours of morning playtime in there. I have always described Genghis as strong willed.

I don't know whether to consider this a success or not.  But mostly I wonder what he'll do tomorrow.

*Except I used his real name. I don't think he's aware he has an online sobriquet.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

etiquette in childrearing

Family dinner tonight inspired Abe and I to submit a series of questions to the Miss Manners column regarding etiquette toward our "house guests".* A sampling:

Dear Miss Manners,

Recently, we had a dinner guest bypass the serving spoon and use his bare hands to help himself to the main dish on the table. We politely removed the serving dish from his vicinity, and he responded, "But I want to grab it!" We asked him to use the serving spoon instead of his hands and he simply repeated (though in an escalated tone), "Want to GRAB IT!"

What further course of action would you suggest?

Serving Up Trouble

Dear Miss Manners,

We had overnight guests last night. After retiring for the evening, the guests proceeded to call out from their quarters at regular intervals throughout the night, demanding our attention. We saw to it that their dietary and digestive needs had been thoroughly attended to, that their quarters were reasonably comfortable, and that they had appropriate attire for the night. We were puzzled as to the nature of their distress. Additionally, despite the apparent total lack of sleep during the night, our guests were eager to start the next day "with the sun" as it were.

Can you suggest techniques for assisting our guests to have a more comfortable night's rest - or perhaps an effective method of sound-proofing?

Sleepless in San Francisco

Dear Miss Manners,

We have an awkward dilemma. Two of our guests have chosen to consistently engage in forceful squabbles over the recreational items we have provided for their enjoyment while staying at our home. At what point is it appropriate to spank a guest?

At the End of My Rope

Dear Miss Manners,

Halfway through dinner last night, I looked over to see one of our dinner guests standing on his chair, completely nude, and draped in spaghetti noodles.

As hostess, what would be the appropriate response?

Lady Godiva

*We didn't actually submit any letters. Do etiquette columns still exist?

Friday, April 5, 2013

friday photos

A few snapshots from Xena's first birthday, a few weeks ago. Going through our B+ pictures, I decided that something really cool should happen to us so a documentary filmmaker can follow us around and take all the photos and videos for us.

In the meantime...

Xena wasn't very interested in her birthday cake, just the candle. But I assure you, this Chocolate Tres Leches cake from Mel's Kitchen Cafe is divine. Considering this is about the 2nd cake I've ever attempted to make from scratch, I would rate it pretty easy and fool-proof.