Archive for October, 2011

It was really hard to get out the door to church this morning. Well, we got out the door, but one of us was crumpled on the sidewalk, sobbing over the sad and unexpected fate of Uncle Teaspoon. She was unpersuadable for quite some time. None of the other spoons could console her.

Abi had a plastic cup full of plastic spoons of different sizes and colors, and I’d given her permission to take it in the car. These spoons were, of course, an entire family: babies, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Just before we left, she stuck another favorite spoon into the cup, a metal measuring spoon that I immediately removed on our way out the door because I didn’t want it to get lost. It took awhile for me to figure out why she was so heartbroken. “I want uncle to come,” she wailed, again and again. Uncle? Who was uncle? Oh. Right. The teaspoon.

We told her she didn’t need it. We told her Uncle Teaspoon wanted to stay home. We told her he needed to stay and get lunch ready for the other spoons. He wanted to watch over the house while we were gone. Abigail was having none of it at first, but finally she calmed enough for me to wipe her tears and put her in her carseat. “Can Uncle Teaspoon come with us now, mommy? Please?” she asked.

“No. I told you. Uncle Teaspoon wants to stay home and and make spoon lunch.”
Her dad started the car. “I am really appreciating the absurdity of this conversation,” he said.
Abi resigned herself to the situation and played with her other spoons.

Abigail has compiled a list of things her dad loves: work. baseball. coffee. mints. bananas. cereal with honey. the green ones in multi-colored pasta. She’s wrong about the green pasta, but right about the rest. Whenever she sees any of these items, she wants to save it for daddy. When she eats pasta, she will make a little pile of the green ones to keep for him. Any time she spots a shelf of Altoids in a store, she wants to buy them for him. Ditto the bulk beans in the coffee aisle. If she happens to catch a glimpse of a ball game on a TV screen, she sits to watch it on her dad’s behalf because “Daddy loves this!” It is her job to choose the bananas for daddy at the grocery store, too.

Abigail is also determined to love the things her dad loves. She sits at the computer desk and types her “work.” She wears his baseball hat and shouts “Go, Miguel!” during games, though the Diamondbacks are now out of the running. She dips her finger in his coffee and sits on his lap when he eats his morning cereal, intercepting as many bites as possible. She crunches mints with passion. Her total devotion* is the cutest thing in the world. I’m glad her dad is such a good man; surely she emulates him not just in a preference for mints and honey, but other, less obvious ways as well. And she will be a better girl because of it.

*Except when it comes to music. Her dad loves music, both playing and listening, and she will have none of it. She mutes the strings on his guitar and yells for him to stop. She covers her ears when he puts on a song he thinks she will like. He keeps trying, though! Someday Abigail will be a music lover in spite of herself.

Potty training was one of those toddler parenting things I dreaded most. After all the stories of year-long-struggles and poop on the walls and fears of frogs in the toilets and ruined furniture and embarrassing accidents in public, I just didn’t want to get into it. But it hasn’t been that bad. We did a little bit when Abi was 18 months old because she suddenly insisted on it, but once she realized that going in the potty didn’t happen automatically, she was over it.

We picked it back up again about six weeks ago, and she is doing really well. She’d probably be doing better if I were more consistent. One thing about potty training is it trains the parent, too– I have to be always on the ball, stripping her of her diapers immediately after outings and sleeps, constantly keeping track of the time and her liquid intake for potty trips, and so on. I do not always do this. Why not? Because it is hard.

We did the well-hydrated naked child method. It took her about half a day to get the basics of peeing in the potty and one more day to really nail it down, though pooping in the potty has been tougher. As I’ve written before, she is a private naptime pooper. And once she realized that this whole peeing in the potty thing was not just a game, but would be the story of her life forever, Abi rebelled a bit. She’d shout I’M FINE! and struggle mightily every time I tried to take her to the potty. A few timeouts straightened that scene out. (Reason to be grateful #7,219– a few timeouts are all it takes to correct my child’s behavior. Worked for throwing food on the floor, picking up toys, and potty tantrums. WHAT LUCK!) She still often shouts that she is fine, but will sulk her way in there and try, muttering the whole time, instead of fighting it.

A few weeks ago she got to the point where she was having no accidents at all when she was naked. Put her in underwear, though, and she’d forget that they weren’t waterproof and just let her rip. We had a discussion about how underwear are NOT pull-ups, which she seemed to get right away, and this week I started insisting that she wear underwear most of the day, including out around town. She loves using public toilets for some reason and will nearly always say that she has to go, just for the chance to check out the latest stall. Yesterday she finished up and announced, “And now we look under!” No, we don’t. I think she got a glimpse of the person in the neighboring stall before I could grab her. Her cuteness really pays off in these situations– people smile indulgently instead of getting offended.

She’s been doing remarkably well with the underwear stuff, though today she had two accidents (her first in about four days). Next I have to figure out what to do about the whole naptime thing. Do I leave her in there naked, with a potty? She wouldn’t decide to play with whatever ends up in the potty, would she? Hm. Or put her in there in underwear, and tell her to hold it until naptime is over? It’s only an hour, and she never sleeps anyway. Hm.