Category Archives: Potty Training

He Pees Like a Super Hero

So, you know how I mentioned that Caleb suddenly got inspired by suckers and went a whole day without an accident in order to earn one last week? Well, the next day, he insisted on earning another sucker. And the day after that? We ended up going to Build-a-Bear for the long promised “Three dry days” elephant.


How appropriate is it that his “independence” was symbolized with an elephant?


People, it has now been almost a whole week and he hasn’t had a single accident. The kid is even waking up dry in the morning.

I am elated. And, honestly, a bit annoyed.

Let’s face it, any kid that can go from consistently peeing in his pants every time to NEVER peeing his pants with the flip of a switch has obviously had the control to do it for quite some time now. He just didn’t want to.

How the heck did two mild, compliant people like Sean and I get such a stubborn kid?

Oh, yeah. That’s right. We’re not.

Whatever. At least he’s doing it in the toilet now. Or, at least, he usually is. He has already decided that trees are much more convenient than trudging up the hill when he’s playing outside. As long as he doesn’t start running out the back door and DOWN the hill when the urge hits, well, I can live with it. After all, our back yard is pretty secluded—it isn’t like the neighbors are going to actually SEE him watering the plants.

This morning, however, he decided on a new method that I don’t think I will be living with.

As I was drying my hair today, Caleb came running into the bathroom proclaiming that he needed to pee. Off came the pants. Up went the toilet seat.


The kid stood, facing the toilet, on the edge of the bowl, grasping the edge near the back with his hands. He performed the entire bladder emptying in that position. Not at all missing the appearance of what he had just done, he grinned at me and said, “Mommy, I stood like a spider!”

And honestly, folks? That is just what he looked like.




Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Parenting, Potty Training

Everybody Has a Price

I have mentioned, off and on over the past months, my struggle to potty train Caleb. At just over three years old, he is officially the latest of my children to potty train. I have tried praise. I have tried candy. I have tried Build-a-Bear. The past week, I have been reverting to the “mean mommy” approach that finally worked with Noah (taking away things he’s used to and loves—like all beverages other than water—if he refuses to use the potty). Improvement has been marginal, at best.

Yesterday, we ended up spending the evening with my little brother and his family. Drew and his wife have just started working on potty training their two year old daughter.  They decided to motivate her by giving her Blow Pops as a reward for peeing in the potty. Every. Single. Time.

There are random suckers floating all around their house. My sister-in-law confided that she enjoys getting to “clean them up” (apparently, a love of Blow Pops is a trait she and her daughter share). My brother just laughs that his daughter will be diabetic by the time she’s three.

But it’s working for them. She’s telling them when she needs to go potty.

And the really crazy thing? It was apparently working for Caleb, too. This morning, he told me that he was going to use the potty all day, and then I would give him a sucker (I’m impressed—barely three years old and already smart enough to know that there was no way he would finagle a sucker for each individual success).  I told him that that sounded like a fair deal and that, if he could go without any accidents until my doctor’s appointment this afternoon, I would buy him a sucker on the way home.

He spent the whole morning running up the stairs yelling, “Gotta go! I can’t have an accident!” any time the urge hit. And he stayed dry.

On my way home from the doctor’s office, I stopped at a gas station to pick up a sucker. Much to my delight, I found one shaped like a pacifier (shhhh…don’t tell that I still let him have one at bedtime—the kid is so good at melting my heart). I wish you could have seen his face when I gave it to him. Mouth open. Eyes wide. Then, a HUGE grin. To him, it was the coolest thing EVER (and I got major mommy brownie points). Even after it was gone, he stayed dry the rest of the evening.

He has informed us that, tomorrow, he wants Twizzlers.

I can live with that. And, if he stays dry the next day, I will follow through on my promise of an elephant from Build-a-Bear.

But the day after that? So sorry kid, it just becomes an expectation.


As I already mentioned, I did have a doctor’s appointment today. I also had my follow up ultrasound.

She is still a girl (yes, the tech double checked after I told her that we already have four boys).

Better yet, she appears to be a normal, healthy girl.

The echogenic spot is still on the heart, but that was no surprise. They told me last month that it wouldn’t go away (and that it doesn’t indicated any type of problem or defect). Her bowels, though, looked completely normal. And that is what I had been praying for. No echogenic bowel=no reason to assume that there is an increased risk for Down Syndrome. Her growth is right on target, too. This time, no doctors came in wanting to explain statistics or encourage me to get an amnio. I was told that the doctor was satisfied with what he saw and that no further tests or ultrasounds were recommended.


Of course I know that there are no guarantees that everything is perfect and normal. There never are.  But everything looks as perfect and normal as I could ask for with the technology available.

I’m satisfied with that. And very, very grateful.


Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Parenting, Potty Training, pregnancy

Up My Stream of Consciousness Without a Paddle

Maslow has nothing on Nintendo.

The hierarchy of needs claims that physiological needs, security, and love all come before things like achievement and problem solving. Maslow obviously never played the Lego Star Wars video game (is that not just the geekiest sounding thing ever?). You see, I could wake up in the morning, discover that I was too weak to move off of the couch (let alone care for relatively helpless progeny), and beg my husband to take mercy and he would insist that he couldn’t possibly get to the office late, let alone stay home all day. But if my kids happen to figure out how to get past the part of the snow level they have been stuck on in the Star Wars game right around the time Sean should be getting into the shower?

Let’s just say he was almost half an hour late getting out the door this morning. And they were all yelling and high-fiving when the level was beaten.


Wyatt is an exceptionally bright kid. It amazes me, sometimes, the things that come out of his mouth.

Last night, he was trying to get out of eating dinner, so he told me that his stomach was hurting.

“Well, if it’s that bad,” I told him, “you should probably just go ahead and lay down.” And, really, I meant it since I wasn’t entirely sure that there wasn’t something wrong since he had just fallen out of his chair. Not that falling out of the chair is anything unusual—it wouldn’t be a meal if Wyatt didn’t fall out of his chair—but he did manage to hit his chin so hard on the table that it instantly bruised. Since he doesn’t usually hurt himself while falling, I was open to the possibility that he might be sick.

After a few seconds of thinking about my response, he looked at me very seriously.

“Mom,” he said, “I really don’t think that that is going to be necessary.”

It was delivered in such a grown up way for someone who is only four. Sean and I both started laughing which, of course, offended Wyatt.

As I was telling the story to my parents later, we started discussing just how smart he is. I commented that I needed to start working on reading with him again. I had started briefly when Noah was just learning to sound things out (Wyatt was still three at that point) and decided to quit because Wyatt was picking it up more quickly that Noah and Noah was getting frustrated.

I went back home right after Sean had put the kids to bed.

“Wyatt grabbed one of Noah’s phonics books tonight and decided to read to me,” he told me.

Yep. Just like that. He still has to sound out each word, but he has very little problem doing it. If I work with him every day, he’ll be reading on his own in no time.


As I continue the saga that is potty training Caleb, I find myself in a familiar position. He has mostly mastered the proper disposal of solid waste, but is still making many sets of tires disappear from the fronts of Pull-ups on a daily basis. Wyatt was the exact same way.

This morning, I suddenly remembered how we got past it with Wyatt.

While Noah was having a school day with Grandma, I loaded the other kids up and drove to the mall. We went straight to the Build-a-Bear store (which, I discovered this past Saturday, should never under any circumstances be visited on Valentines Day unless you want to stand in line for an hour just to get into the store and make the vomit-inducing token of love that will likely be burned at the stake when things just don’t work out). I told Caleb to look around and tell me what his favorite animal there was. He very quickly honed in on an adorable elephant. I let him hold it, stroke it, and give it hugs. I used my phone to take pictures of him and the elephant together. I told him that we would come back and make him his own elephant after he had kept his Pull-up dry for three days in a row. That’s right, folks, I’m using the promise of a stuffed animal to bribe my kid to pee in the potty. I took the pictures to remind him just how much he wants it. And he WANTS it.

I’m just wishing I had worked on the concept of time before I made the deal.


A conversation at my house today:

Wyatt: (Crying) Noah kicked me!

Noah: He was yelling at me!

Me: Did you kick him?

Noah: He was yelling at me!

Me: Yes or no. Did you kick him?


Me: Go to your room.


Me: You’re yelling at me. Should I kick you?


The second half of my day with the kids today was a bit, shall we say difficult? As we were eating dinner and my kids were playing a rousing game of let’s see how many times we can almost spill the soda Daddy is letting us share, I finally looked at Sean and told him that I was “inside out.” Every so often, I reach a point where it feels like someone just ripped off my skin, flipped it over, and reattached it with every last nerve-ending exposed. Yeah. Once I reach that point, you had better not even think of TOUCHING MY AURA. Really. Just stay away.

By the time I was heading out the door to our Wednesday night youth activity at the church, I was one loud noise away from imploding into a quivering mass of gelatinous goo. A word to the wise husband: When your wife is in this state, don’t even think of saying, “Sure, another whole evening without kids,” as she is walking out the door. Even if you plan on trying to play it off as a joke. Because she may just contemplate un-ladylike hand gestures while muttering about the nine hours you get every day without kids.

Tonight’s activity at church involved all of the boys and girls doing different service projects (cleaning the church, making signs for a food drive, making cards for some of the members). I was asked to be in charge of one of the groups. The kids were split up using the count-off method. Somewhere out there, the “one, two, three, four” gods were laughing their collective butts off. I ended up with a group of one Beehive and three Deacons. For those who aren’t familiar, Beehives are 12-13 year old girls (this one just turned twelve), and Deacons are 12-13 year old boys. Girls at that age are at the height of self-consciousness. Boys that age? Aliens.

I think I know how slugs feel when you pour salt on them.


Filed under Daily Life, I think my head might explode, Kids, Parenting, Potty Training

Talking with My Mouth Full

I’ve got too much on my plate. I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. (Isn’t it interesting that we describe stress with food terms? Then we stuff our faces to deal with the stress. She says while eating a bowl of ice cream.) So, instead of being productive, I’m blogging.

So, what all is on my figurative plate? Hmmm…Christmas shopping, making photo albums for Sean’s family for Christmas (they ask that I do it every year), make decorations for a big program we are doing for our teenage girls this Wednesday and, oh yeah, try to run a household with four little kids, three dogs, a husband…you get the idea.

To top it all off, the kids are sick. Oh yeah, and so am I. Yay.

C~ had a nasty fever all yesterday afternoon and evening. It didn’t break until half-way through the night. He was miserable. And E~ has one of those lovely coughs where, every time I lay him down, he sounds like a barking seal. Obviously, I kept them both home from church today. They both seem to be feeling ok at this point (thank heavens), but sleeping is still going to be an issue. I’m just praying that E~ doesn’t get the fever, too.

I was bad while home today. Instead of trying to create a fun, impromptu spiritual experience for us all, I turned on Mythbusters and tidied my living room. The Mythbusters gods must have known I would be watching. How else can you explain the fact that they were testing whether or not you can get hurt by peeing on an electric fence? (Answer: Yes, you can get shocked, but it isn’t incapacitating. One of the guys actually did it.)


In other news…

E~ has broken through a second tooth. Hooray! Someday, he may actually be able to chew something.

We have had more breakthroughs on the potty training front with C~. Every child has his currency…apparently, C’s is Twizzlers. I bought a pack yesterday, and told him he could have one once he pooped in the potty. Later, he told me he needed to. I hurried him back, where he quickly changed his mind. After much cheerleading (and a few tears from him), he earned that Twizzler.

Apparently, the experience provided him with a measure of comfort about the whole issue. He pooped on the potty three times today–twice completely on his own. WooHoo! In addition to his Twizzlers, Grandma came over this evening to bring him brown M&M’s.

Yes, just brown.

Isn’t that how everyone celebrates a pooping victory?


Random Kid Funnies…

The other day, N~ had to read the word “hip” in his phonics lesson.

“Mommy, what is a hip?” he asked me.

“Well, it’s where your leg hooks into your body. Right here,” I said as I pointed to my side.

“Oh, next to your love handle?”



C~ loves to vacuum. As I was straightening up today, I gave him the chance to do so. Now, a lot of little kids enjoy vacuuming. What is strange to me, though, is that he is also very insistent about putting it away.

I let him push it over to the closet and opened the door for him. He seemed to be struggling with getting it in right, so I started to push it in for him.

“No, Mommy, I do it. How ’bout you go get me a drink?” Said as a command, not a question. Thankyouverymuch.


We finally decorated the Christmas tree tonight (we cut it down over a week ago). In the past, I have let the kids help put up the non-breakable ornaments, then the “elves” came to decorate with the glass bulbs after they went to bed. This year, I let them do the whole thing with me (as my husband pointed the camera at me and called out, “Say ‘Full frontal lobotomy!'”).

N~ and W~ lost interest about half-way through–about the time that Sean took pity on me and made hot chocolate to distract them. C~, however, was not to be seduced by the cocoa. That child shows true Christmas decorating potential. He would contemplate the placement of each ornament. As we got more and more done, he started to get excited and tell me, “Look, Mommy! It’s my special tree!”


And that about wraps up my rambling, disjointed post for today. Just think, I’m not even taking any cold medication. This is all snot and lack of sleep.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. I still have a lot of stars to cut out for Wednesday’s decorations. With any luck, I’ll be ready for the task by tomorrow. Because, apparently, I am so out of shape at this point that hovering over the poster board to trace them all was taxing enough to give me sore butt muscles.

I’m so proud.


Filed under Daily Life, I think my head might explode, Kids, Potty Training

I Think, Therefore I Discuss Bodily Functions

It is amazing how different potty training can be from one child to the next. I remember long, protracted battles with N~ and W~. I remember wondering why the heck I was spending extra money on Pull-ups that were being used as super-cool, big boy diapers. I remember months of wanting to bang my head against any hard surface until I finally hit “mean Mommy” mode, threatening to never give out chocolate milk again until something made contact with toilet water. All of this with little boys who were super excited about wearing underwear, if only for the fifteen minutes before they had an accident in it.

Then, there is C~. A week or so ago, I decided it was time to get serious about potty training with him. I thought I would get him excited by offering to let him put on some big boy underwear like his brothers wear.

He wasn’t excited.

Actually, he stood in the hallway, naked from the waste down, tears streaming down his face and yelling something about not robbing him of his baby status. Well, maybe not in so many words, but that was definitely the gist of it. C~ has a death grip on babyhood.

I did get him in some underwear, though, and we went through his entire supply that day.

We took a step back to pull-ups and started setting the timer for every twenty minutes or so, with a fair amount of success. The next day, I was setting the timer for every half-hour. Accept it wasn’t working. Well, not like expected. He wasn’t going potty when the timer went off. This is because he was coming to me every fifteen minutes or so to tell me that he needed to pee.

And he would.

I haven’t set the timer since then. He has had very few accidents (at least of the liquid variety–we do have a more solid hurdle to clear still). I’m flabbergasted. And grateful.

And the best thing? C~ thinks that this is the coolest thing ever. Even though he is completely self-sufficient, he still tells me every time he goes, and gets the biggest grin on his face when I tell him how proud I am of him. Seriously, I don’t think I have ever seen him get so excited. It’s awesome.


In other news, I submit for your review the most illogical idea ever (just don’t tell my husband I’m picking on him, ok?).

One of our sons has an issue sometimes with bed wetting (I know this is normal–I had a brother who had a problem with it until he was about nine). This week has been worse than normal.

As Sean and I were discussing the likelihood that his bad attitude this week is related to the accidents, Sean expressed that he thought keeping him warmer might help (don’t ask me why he thought this would help).

“Maybe we should buy him an electric blanket,” Sean said to me.

“Um, do think that maybe an electric blanket might not be the best choice for a child who wets the bed?” I asked.

Maybe it’s just me, but (even with the safety measures I’m sure they take) mixing electrical currents and bodily fluids just doesn’t sound wise. Heck, maybe we could just let him sleep with a running hair drier. Next to the toilet.


Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Potty Training

God, Adoption, and PB&J

Today is the last day of November (Holy Crap! Where did the month go?). That means that it is also the last day of Adoption Awareness Month. I didn’t want to let this month pass without some discussion of adoption here, so I’m going for a last minute adoption post.

It never ceases to amaze me when I see someone angrily lament about some stupid adoptive parent who thinks God put their family together. Or an adoptive parent who proudly proclaims that they believe in God, but don’t think He played a role in the creation of their family. They argue that, by believing that God played a part in bringing a family together, you have to effectively believe that God caused the birthmother to become pregnant. Or that God gave one person pain in order to cause another happiness.

This perplexes me. It is so counter to everything that I believe about a loving God.

First, let me say that I do not believe in the concept of predestination. I believe that one of the main reasons that we are placed on this earth is to experience agency–the idea that we are given choices, but have to accept the consequences of those choices. I don’t believe that God “makes” anyone get pregnant. Pregnancy is a natural consequence of sex. By making the choice, a woman risks the consequence.

So, how does that play into the concept of God bringing families together?

To explain that, let me tell you about lunchtime around my house. Every day, I ask my kids what they want for lunch. I may offer suggestions like a turkey sandwich, hot dogs, or macaroni and cheese. Regardless, every day, N~ will tell me that he wants a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I know that he is going to answer this way because he is my son and I know him very, very well. That doesn’t stop me from giving him the choice. I always ask. But I also make sure that I always have peanut butter and jelly in the house.

I believe that we are children of a loving God who knows us very, very well. He always gives us choices. But he knows us well enough to predict the kinds of choices that we will make. And he is prepared.

Sometimes, that preparation means having the right family in the right place at the right time for the right person who is making a terribly difficult decision. He’s not forcing things to happen, just preparing for them to. And that is no less of a miracle for the families it affects.


While on the subject of adoption, I want to encourage you to read a post by an adult adoptee. So many of the adoptee blogs out there are people writing about how they feel that adoption had a negative impact on their lives. I don’t frequently see things written by the adoptees who are happy with how things are (let’s face it, that kind of goes against human nature, to write about when things feel normal and right with the world). That’s why I was so glad to see a friend of mine write about her feelings about her own adoption this month. I always enjoy her perspective when we discuss different hot button adoption topics that come up on the internet, and I’m so glad that she wrote some of her thoughts out.

I’m sure that there are those who will disagree with her positive views on adoption, but that’s what makes hearing her say it so important. We need to remember that the negative opinions and theories about adoption that are thrown around are not held by all. I can’t think of a better way to end National Adoption Month than with the positive thoughts of a wonderful woman who just happens to also have been adopted.


Today, I am Thankful For:

  1. The hand of the Lord in bringing my son into our family. And, yes, I see it there. This doesn’t mean that I don’t grieve for the pain that his birthmother went through (and still goes through). It doesn’t mean that I think that I deserved him and she didn’t. It just means that I know that God brought us together in a time when it was right for all of us. And something wonderful has come from that.
  2. Kids who listen and are thoughtful in matters of compassion. Today, W~ had a new little girl in his class at church–a friend’s new four-year-old daughter who just came home a couple of weeks ago after living her life in a Ukrainian orphanage. As W~ told us how class went today, we discussed what it must be like to be in a primary class for the first time after leaving everything that you have always known, and not knowing what anyone was saying (or having anyone understand what you are saying). My kids really listened, asked questions, and tried to understand. I really hope that W~ will use that knowledge to find ways to be a friend to her and help her feel comfortable in class.
  3. The cute things that my kids say. Today, W~ asked Sean if he has a girlfriend. Sean told him that Mommy is his girlfriend. Not being able to resist the chance to gross my kids out, I chimed in, “That’s why Daddy kisses me.” W~ rolled his eyes and said, “Oh brother, why did you have to tell me that?” Priceless.
  4. C’s decision this evening to go to the potty on his own because he needed to! More than once!!! Each time, he giggled and grinned as he proudly told us that the tires were still on his pull-up (truck theme–the tires disappear when the pull-up gets wet). Major breakthrough. I’m praying it continues.
  5. The return of normalcy after a long holiday weekend. Of course, it would have been nice to have a couple of days to recover from all of the cooking and puking before having to go back to the daily grind tomorrow, but I’ll survive. At least until it sinks in that Christmas is less than a month away and I need to decorate a tree, make photo albums, buy presents…sigh.


Filed under adoption, Kids, NaBloPoMo, Potty Training, Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Number Two

Wherever I am, there’s always Poo,
There’s always Poo near Me.
Whatever I do, it shows up too,
“Where are you going today?” says Poo:
“Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
I’m taggin’ along,” says Poo to Me,
“I’m taggin’ along,” says Poo.

“How many diapers?” I asked of Poo.
(“For two?” said Poo to Me.)
“It feels like five-hundred and forty-two.”
“That sounds about right,” snickered Poo.
“You’ll be holding your breath ’till your face turns blue,
But that’s how life goes,” said Poo, said he.
“That’s how it goes,” said Poo.

“Let’s try the toilet,” I said to Poo.
“Yeah, right,” said Poo to Me.
So I bought a small potty, all shiny and new.
“Yep, it’s a potty all right,” said Poo.
“You wouldn’t want me to ruin it, true?
I’ll leave it alone,” said Poo, said he.
“It will stay clean,” said Poo.

“Are you frightened of potties?” I asked of Poo.
“That’s right,” said Poo to Me.
I’m not afraid,” I said to Poo,
I held his hand and said, “You try, too!”
“Silly old mommy!”–and off he flew.
“I wasn’t afraid,” said Poo, said he,
“The seat was just cold,” said Poo.

So, wherever I am, there’s always Poo,
There’s always Poo with Me.
“What would I do,” I asked of Poo,
“If not changing you?” and Poo said: “True,
There wouldn’t be anything left to do.
I’m stickin’ around,” says Poo, says he.
“I am your life,” says Poo.


My sincerest apologies to A. A. Milne for what I just did to the poem, Us Two.


Filed under A Scary Look into My Mind, Daily Life, Just for Fun, Kids, Potty Training