Sunday, September 26, 2010

I hate sundays

I am not sure what it is about Sundays that get my children to decide to make my life miserable. Without fail, my Sunday morning is spent yelling and screaming trying to get them out of the house so that we can get to church in time for Sunday School.

Today, the argument was primarily with Sarah who refused to put her clean clothes away from yesterday. Pat yelled at her that her play date would be cancelled if she didn't take care of it. Of course, the hysterics began. It becomes all about how horrible we are as parents, not about her responsibilities.

I hate the fighting that always precedes church. I hate yelling at my kids. I hate feeling this way on a day when you are supposed to rejoice. Part of me wants to just leave them at home. Of course, that defeats the point of teaching them about God and religion. Part of me is so jealous of those who don't go to church. To wake up with no agenda, no rush to be somewhere. To be able to leisurely plan my day. But then again, I'm sure my kids would fight me about that too!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

potty time

One of my good friends had a daughter a few weeks after we had Emma. We've been comparing their developmental milestones ever since. Emma sat first, M spoke first (I'm pretty sure M spoke in full sentences before Emma said 2 words, Emma walked first, M recognized colors and letters (seriously, this girl is smart). Well, my girlfriend decided that when M was 18 months old, she was ready to potty train. She bought pull-ups and got some books and videos and was determined to have her potty trained. She told me stories of friends who potty trained their kids that early and she was determined. I was skeptical, but she was a first time mom and, well, you know how they can be (wink).

So as the days-and then weeks-went on, L shared her frustration with the whole process. She was upset that the daycare provider was not working with her, she was upset that her daughter didn't seem to be making progress, even though she would use the potty at home a few times a day. I tried to tell her that it was probably too soon. I also shared with her my suggestions on potty training, but she brushed them off. I don't know what it is about this process that makes mothers so defensive. Friends have come to me with numerous parenting questions from breastfeeding advice to what first foods should they try. However, when it comes to potty training, everyone thinks they have the best solution. I certainly don't profess to be an expert, but I am on my third child and I've learned a few things along the way. But, whatever, you keep trying your method and let me know how that works.

I am a firm believer in naked potty training. Pull-ups are only used for outings, naps & bedtimes. The way I see it, if you teach them to pee in a pull up, it is no different than peeing in a diaper. We go naked in the house, wear pull-ups only when necessary and once it seems like the child has figured out when they have to go, we try training panties (those thick multi-ply cotton ones that Gerber makes). It is often two steps forward, one step back (or even one step forward, two steps back). Usually the first few times in panties, end up in accidents. all three of my girls could go accident free for weeks when naked, but then as soon as a cotton pantie went on, they would pee. It must be something about just feeling something on their bottom.

About 8 months or so, we brought our potty out of storage and let Emma get used to seeing it. She took to it pretty quickly. We spent a lot of time naked, a.lot.of.time. Then Summer hit. It is hard to do naked potty training when your are outside all the time playing with the neighbor kids. So, I didn't push the issue. We were still naked most of the time in the house, but I wasn't pressed to get it done right then.

Then one evening, Emma decided to go poop in the big potty. We were amazed and excited! She was so proud of herself for pooping in the potty like a big girl. It seemed she turned a corner on her own. Then came Elly. Elly was the new girl at daycare who is a bit older than Emma and was already close to being potty trained. That was all it took. Lina, the daycare provider started taking Emma to the potty along with Elly, and the next thing I knew, Emma was coming home in the same diaper she left home with. Last week, Lina handed me a huge bag of diapers and said she didn't need them anymore. Instead, I sent in a few pull-ups and panties and a change of clothes. She's been wearing panties ever since!

My baby is potty trained!! My baby is potty trained. I'm not so sure this milestone is a bittersweet as some of the others.

Oh, and my friend's baby M, she's still walking around wearing pull-ups as diapers. And, she finally asked me to tell her what to do.

Friday, September 10, 2010

cat people, rats & goldfish

To be honest, part of me felt as though no one would understand my grief after Zoe's death. I kept waiting for people to say, "but she's just a dog". Fortunately, everyone understood. everyone seemed to sympathize and many grieved with us.

However, there was a conversation last week that still has me miffed, to say the least. This conversation was with a couple who are cat people. We were greeted with the usual, "we were so sorry to hear about Zoe", etc. There was a brief conversation about what happened and then a comment that still bothers me, "We know how you feel, we've lost a rat and about 5 goldfish. It's tough".

Really, you are comparing the loss of an animal that should not even be domesticated and a few goldfish to the death of my companion of 11 years. Seriously?!? WTF!!

There are clear differences between cat and dog people. There is something seriously wrong with them.

Or maybe it was just this cat person.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a letter of love

Rest in Peace
May 8, 1999 - August 30, 2010

My Sweet Sweet Zoe,

My first "baby", my companion, my kids' protector and playmate, my loyal friend. You gave us so much over your 11 years on this earth. You were always there with a sloppy kiss and your famous full body wag. A bad mood or sad day could easily be turned around with some of your puppy love.

I remember picking you out of your litter. [Pat still gives me grief that I chose the active pup instead of the laid back one -I had read that a lethargic pup could indicate an illness]. That first year or two with you were so important to me. Your companionship got me through the lonely nights as a newlywed whose husband worked long/late hours. You were there with me when I had moments of doubt, moments of fear, and moments of joy. You listened, without judgement, when I rambled on about God knows what.

When Sarah was born, you were so curious, yet cautious. It was as if you knew a great friend had come into your life and you so wanted to play with her. But you knew to be gentle and patient, in ways I had never seen. You became Sarah's companion and she came to love you like I did, maybe even more deeply.

As each new baby arrived, you learned the joys of a never ending stream of crumbs and treats that would end up on the floor. Always patient with the girls, you let them climb all over you, try to ride you like a horse, and pull your tail. I am so grateful that you never snapped at them, never growled, never gave us any cause for concern. In fact, you were so giving and forgiving, that you would allow Emma to sneak kibble from your bowl, even as you were eating it.

I know that as the years went on, the attention we showered with you began to fade. It never meant that we loved you less. There were times when you demanded our attention and would flip your head up under our hands so that we would pet you, over and over again. I wish I could go back and make sure you always felt loved and needed.

You were a wonderful dog, but a horrible Labrador. I will never forget our first trip to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland; you refused to go but knee deep in the water, and were afraid of the ducks. You rarely retrieved anything. You barked at anything (or nothing), but surely would just lick a burglar upon entry. You always seemed to be underfoot, but that was only because you always wanted to be around us. You were never content to spend long periods of time outside or away from us. You always seemed to want to be in the same room as us, and that was just fine.

This last year aged you and I don't know why. Just Sunday afternoon as we laid on the floor petting you, I looked into your eyes and I saw how tired you were. Little did I know that would be the last time we would share that moment.

I want you to know that you were so important to this family. We miss you so much in all that we do. In fact, as we were driving your body to the veterinarian's office, I turned to Daddy and said, " you know, I looked at the food on the counter and thought 'we better put it up or Zoe will get it'". It turns out that Daddy thought the same thing! We both shared a laugh and at that moment I realized how your presence touched every aspect of our lives.

We are healing, slowly. Sarah was upset, as you can only imagine. You and she had a special relationship, one that can never be duplicated. Daddy and I are grieving for our first baby and it is hard.

I hope that you didn't suffer in the end, but I am grateful that you passed away while Daddy was off of work, sparing the girls and I from coming home to find you after their first day of school. I hope that you knew...know how much you were loved and appreciated. I hope you are chasing the bunnies, and maybe a few ducks too!