Random Thoughts: The Parenting Is SO MUCH FUN Edition

1. I’ve been encouraging the girls to get in the habit of doing their homework in Extended Day. *Most* of the time they do it, and I check it, and the billions of other papers that come home, in the evening. Sometimes they forget. When they forget, they get no screen time until it is done.

Yesterday, Flora had a complete meltdown about homework. How much she hates it. How much she hates school.

And then she showed me the library book she had picked out, which was all about the world’s oceans.

Flora: Loves to learn, hates school.

2. Given further conversation after another meltdown at home, I am sensing that it’s less about school work — although I do think she hates spelling; it’s her lowest grade — and more about certain social aspects of the classroom. I don’t get the sense that she is being bullied, but I do get the sense that she gets teased and reacts badly to the teasing.

My girl, she is sensitive.

For now, I’m not sure what to do. Her solution is home schooling. As I said to her last night, “Who would home school you?”

Neither one of us could answer that.

3. In between meltdown number one and meltdown number two, I learned that somehow Flora had seen the Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” video and that she was appalled. “She’s naked! On a wrecking ball! Why would she do that?”

Until today, I had not seen this video, and I still haven’t seen the twerking video from the VMAs because, no. I have no interest in Miley Cyrus, her career, or her personal career choices. But I thought I had better check out the video, just in the interest of —

Yup. Holy shit. She’s naked on a wrecking ball. Also: provocatively licking a sledge hammer.

Okay then.

Step one: What I told Flora yesterday boils down to: Miley Cyrus is a grown up. More, she’s a famous grown up who is a singer and actor, and if she doesn’t keep those eyes on her, she becomes less famous. She’s allowed to make her own poor choices now. And, yeah, naked on a wrecking ball = poor choice.

Step two: WHERE IN THE HELL DID FLORA SEE THIS VIDEO? That needs to be determined. We don’t let the girls go on the computer at home. So.

4. M is now wearing underpants. I sent him to daycare this morning in Mickey Mouse skivvies, with a prayer and an extra set of clothes.

I did not potty train M. He decided he was ready. The nanny started putting him on the potty this summer. Things progressed from there. And I did buy him potty fish to encourage his moving in the right direction.

So, if anyone asks me: Yes, boys are easier to potty train than girls. Although Dan’s still going to have to teach him to pee standing up.

What’s been YOUR parenting (or parenting-like) challenge this week?

Soccer and Poop

Yes, two things that should not go together. But you don’t live my glamorous life.

Flora had her first soccer game on Saturday. And although the red team (to be named the Penguins, I believe) was outscored by the white team (the Dolphins) something like 48 to 6, it looked to me like everyone was having fun and that’s all that counts in my opinion.

In the meantime, Kate was pretty good. She didn’t try to escape from the field, like she did at last Wednesday’s practice, and — shockingly — she did not try to get in the game.

However, there is one aspect of having Kate at soccer that is going to be muy, muy unpleasant.

The Port-o-Potty.

In a bid to get her potty trained, I have gone the hard-core route. When Kate is at home with me — or even not at-home but nonetheless with me (or her father) — she is in underpants. I carry one or two extra outfits with me now, and a few plastic bags for the, er, fallout.

Her resistance to pooping has ended (for the most part — thank you Miralax), but she is still not asking to go to the potty when she has to go. (This goes for pee, too.)

We’ve had some accidents, as you can imagine.

However, one place she simply LOVES to go potty is when we are at soccer with Flora. Oh, the magic of the port-o-potty. Its siren call lures Kate in two, three, four times for the magical experience of pooping in a stinky, hot box with blue water and more germs than I care to contemplate.

And I stand, door propped open at my back, begging her to “really finish pooping all the way this time” [because I swear I’m going to hurl my Starbucks’ pastry right here beside the port-o-potty if I have to spend anymore time in this box with you and that sucker cost me $5, so don’t make me do it].

We have been, over the course of one game and one practice, in the port-o-potty up to seven times.

And, to add insult to injury, on Saturday, instead of going to the port-o-potty ONE MORE TIME, Kate decided to poop in her pants because she couldn’t be bothered to interrupt her hard-won time on the playground.

I mean, really, people.

I threw those underpants out, by the way.

Random Thoughts: Notes

I haven’t meant to have disappeared like that. Things are super busy. Which is, mostly, good.

++

Potty training Kate continues to be a disaster. I blame inconsistency on our part.

++

On the other hand, I have a post in mind called “Control Freak”, all about Kate, and how she wants to be in control of EVERYTHING right now, right down to her poop. And I don’t mean whether or not to poop on the potty — I mean that she doesn’t care to choose to poop at all right now, and will hold it… for long periods of time. If you’ve ever potty trained a stubborn toddler, you know the catch-22 this behavior leads to. Yeah, we’re there. Advice welcome in the comments.

++

Also, advice on helping my children fall asleep when they need to. The bedtime coups continue. Dan is ready to turn to melatonin? Melanin? Something like that? Help me out here, Interwebz. A 10 p.m. sleep-time is BAD for growing children. And their mommies.

++

Finally, Kim Z recommends the Fiery Furnances in my music post, and then adds that some people can’t stand them. So I checked them out on YouTube, and if you seriously are annoyed by this, something is wrong with you. (IMO.)

++

Happy Easter weekend, peeps. See you on the other side.

Twitter-ish

It kills me that I get emails like this: “Kate grudgingly pooped twice on the potty today. We’re trying to make a big deal out of it but I’m not sure that she cares either way.”

++

Just, please, let this be the beginning of the end of diapers.

Kate’s New Year

I am sincerely hoping that one of Kate’s resolutions for 2010 — for the first week of 2010 if she can pull it off — is to get herself potty-trained.

She did great at day care last week, which was at ye olde DCL’s because their day school was closed the week between holidays (they do not charge us). The continued obstacle is pooping. Pooping on the potty just isn’t happening.

Yesterday, we were supposed to go over to my in-laws for the afternoon. Getting Kate in for a nap proved futile (which was particularly painful because I wanted to nap). I told her if she didn’t nap, we were not going to go to Bella’s — Flora and Daddy would go without us.

She didn’t nap.

So while Flora and Daddy headed over to Bella’s at 3 p.m., Kate and I stayed home. I actually managed to get a lot of cleaning done. Kate and I went over for dinner, and came home around 8 p.m. She actually did not throw a big tantrum about the whole thing, which makes me think I didn’t pick the right thing to take away from her.

As far as potty training: my strategy is to get her a few little toys, $1-store stuff, for her to have when she poops on the potty. I’ll get her one big toy, probably Littlest Pet Shop related, for when she makes the real transition to the big-kid room at day school.

Here’s hoping.

Problem Child*

Kate and I are having some issues. More to the point, I am having some issues with Kate and her behavior.

She is an energetic child, and she does not sit still. It has become much more of an issue in public than anywhere else, and it’s exhausting. I felt like my Friday evening and most of the day on Saturday was spent literally wrestling with her.

On Friday, the combined mis-behavior of my two children lead to us leaving a restaurant for the first time ever (we got our dinner to go). (So much for all that Progress.)

Saturday, we were at an indoor craft fair in Dormont (organized by my SIL), and I was unable to relax and look at things. Kate had to touch everything, run, kiss the metal frogs, and just generally be my Wild Child in spades. I wanted to buy pottery mugs (or goblets) for Dan and me, and order personalized books, and check out a couple other booths, and Kate made it impossible.

I worried that I was going to have to bail on Saturday night dinner with ClumberKim and her family, plus two other tweeps (Abby and Beth). The girls were tired of running around (truth be told, so was I!), but I wanted to see our friends, too. It turned out to be okay (although putting a party of 9, including four kids, in the middle of the restaurant was a risky decision on our hostess’ part), but Kate barely ate, and I barely got to eat, and I did not get to have a conversation with anyone. Despite Flora and Oliver being happily occupied, I was fielding questions along the lines of “How do you spell ‘publicity’?” from Flora and trying to keep Kate from falling out of her booster seat (although Mr. Clumber should be lauded for his ability to occupy two under-3s at the same time).

And then there is the whole potty issue. At one time, Kate was willingly peeing on the toilet — she had to be prompted WAY more often than she asked to go (I mean, like, 15-to-1), but I figured we were making headway.

But she refuses to poop on the potty. And lately, that refusal to poop on the potty has turned into a refusal to poop at all. She goes two days at a time between BMs, and by the end of the second day, she is a miserable, cranky, non-eating almost-3-year-old. This refusal to poop on the potty has lead to extreme reluctance to even sit on the potty to pee, so every half-hour turns into a struggle just to get her into the bathroom.

Dan says my expectations are too high, but we haven’t gotten to discuss this in depth yet. I’m not sure if he doesn’t think she’s ready to potty train (he has tried to be encouraging in this endeavor too) or if my exasperation at some of her other behaviors is out of hand.

She is a terrible listener; she is stubborn; she is aggressive (Flora was never aggressive). Trying to channel her behavior is futile, whether I’m trying to play a game with her, get her on the potty, or otherwise occupying her time. Hallmarks of a typical almost-3?

Conversely, I am impatient. I’m not sure if I am more impatient than I was with Flora or if I am more impatient in general, or what exactly. My stress levels are definitely different now, with Kate at this stage, than they were when Flora was here.

Good points: Kate will occupy herself (she just doesn’t like direction). Her attention span is good. She will clean up when asked (three times out of five, anyway). She still naps. (Whew.) She is dang funny.

I’m not sure what to do. Stay home a lot more for awhile on the weekends — I think that would be good for all of us, frankly. Pull back on the potty training? They are trying to get her to go on the potty at daycare, too. (I haven’t trained a kid as a WOTHM, so I’m not sure of the most effective approach to this.) Anything else?

*Just to clarify: Kate, of course, is not a problem child. She is, simply, MY problem and a child, and this is really about me and not about her. Okay, it’s a little about her.

Two Steps Forward, and the Status Quo

Last night as I was getting Bun ready to take her bath, she looked me in the face and said, “I have to go pee.”

So we walked into the bathroom, and — after I stopped her from putting her hands in the toilet — got her properly situated, and she peed on the potty.

I was so proud of her. Not least of all because, frankly, I haven’t made a damn move on the potty training front with Bun. I do not have a clue how I am supposed to potty train a child while I am at work full time. I suspect it may involve a very intense weekend in the house, with Bun’s bum on the pot every half an hour.

Which I understand can be effective, but it sounds like terribly high-pressure situation for a 2-and-a-half-year-old. Especially as using the potty is something I would like her to learn.

As a reward, I gave her a chocolate cookie (note to self: stock up on M&M’s). She seemed to grasp the importance of what she did. I am encouraged. But I still have no plans to go hard-core on this thing. It’s too nice outside!

Unfortunately, on the sleep front, Bun is still not doing well. The nightmares continue, and continue to disrupt sleep for the household. And by household, I mean me.

I thought a routine of ‘monster spray’ and prayers (“Now I lay me down to sleep…” and a litany of “God bless…”) would put the kibosh on the nightmares. This did seem to work — for about two days. But now we’re back to waking up, usually anywhere between 3 and 5 o’clock in the morning.

Last night was especially terrible. She was up screaming by 12:30 a.m. When I went to get her and tuck her into bed with me (DearDR fell asleep on the couch, that lucky bastard), I asked if anything hurt. She said no. I asked if she had a nightmare. She said yes. I asked what about? She said monsters. Trying to drill down a little further, I said, “What kind of monsters?” “Animal monsters,” she answered. I had nothing further to ask, and spent the rest of the night waking up with her toes digging into my back.

I’m of two minds. One mind says, “Let her watch Monsters, Inc.” The other one says, “Make bed time even quieter, don’t talk about monsters (i.e. use angel spray instead of monster spray), and tell Bun about all the good dreams she is going to have.” (This latter is at the suggestion of DearDR.)

What say you? Also, if you have any guidance on the potty training front for a WOTHM, I am all ears.