Monday, February 28, 2011

Adventures in potty training... Take 11

In a moment of hopeless optimism, today I purchased some big boy potty seats to fit on the big people potties. You got it folks, we're going to try potty training again. You may remember our last attempt was not super successful, and honestly we haven't even really tried since then. But that changes... tomorrow.

As for tonight... Tonight I put the big boy potty seat on the big people potty and decided to give it a whirl.

I called Ty over and pulled his pants down, and stuck my hand in poop leaking out of his diaper. I wash my hand, clean his butt, deal with the poopy diaper, and help him on the potty. We sing the potty song for a few minutes and then I let him down. He peed on my foot almost immediately. I threw him placed him back on the potty and he finished pee-peeing in the big boy potty! Woo hoo! Success! And then I sent him running on his merry little naked way.

After that, I was feeling cocky, so I stripped down big brother and put him on the big boy potty and commenced with the potty song singing once again. I was unable to finish the song as he and I had an ongoing argument regarding whether his boy bits should point down into the potty or lie on the seat. (This is a problem only for my child on Viagra.) Eventually I got tired of playing whack-a-mole and sent him on his merry little naked way, too.

So, there's still some work to do. But maybe March will be our lucky month.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sometimes God is an Indian giver

In 1993, not long after my 13th birthday, my 15-year-old cousin died of a self-inflicted gunshot. His mother found his body. I remember riding my bike to the church and crying on the steps, knowing that God heard me and that Justin would live. Six months later, my 80-year-old grandfather died of cancer. I remember, even at 13, I recognized that death is always sad, but it is not always tragic.

Justin’s mother never recovered. She developed cancer and died several years later on Christmas Day. I remember thinking how happy she must have been when she touched his face again.

Through the years the majority of funerals I’ve attended have been for 70 years+ great aunts and uncles or grandparents. They’re sad, and we miss them, but nothing ever had the gut-wrenching heartbreak there was when we lost Justin. It wasn’t just the loss of a person we had known, it was the loss of what he could have been and what he should have been.

In early 2008, we buried my Granny. She’d lost her mind and body to Alzheimer’s and no longer knew happiness or the ones she’d loved.  She had buried two husbands, two children, all her siblings, and a host of assorted friends and family, and she was ready to go. A few short months later we gave birth to Aubrie (named after my grandfather who passed in 1994) and subsequently laid her to rest.

I never knew Aubrie other than her flutters in my tummy and her acrobatics on the ultrasounds. I never held her in my arms while she was alive. I never watched her sleep. I never got to wipe her tears, or even see her fused eyes open. But she was ours. And she was our future. She was a one-pound ball of potential and hopes and dreams and unconditional love and acceptance. And then she was gone.

There’s this club you’re initiated into when you have a child die, whether she’s not even born yet or 60-years-old. We share a common respect for life and wage the internal battles you can only fathom if God gives you the most precious gift and, then, takes it back. Some parents get to watch their children die slowly of diseases they can’t beat, all the while begging God to spare their child… anything, God, if you’ll just spare my child… Then there’s the children who are just gone in an instant, and the parents are left to forever remember that their last words to their child were said in anger or frustration, or that they didn’t make it to his last ballgame, or that they didn’t realize to cherish every single moment because they didn’t really know it could be the last.

Since joining “the club” three years ago, the only funerals I have been to have been for children. We’ve met too many families who’ve watched their children be stronger than any child should have to be as they fight some illness they didn't ask for, only to bury them days or months later. And then there was a cousin we lost in a one-car accident in September, full of life, just a month shy of his 18th birthday... and it never gets any easier. Once you’ve felt the pain of losing your own child, each child you hear of who dies is another twist of a knife buried in your soul, another kick in that empty place in your heart. Once you’ve lost a child, you truly understand every child is precious. Every child is a ball of potential and hopes and dreams and unconditional love and acceptance. You can no longer hear a story about a child with cancer and simply think, “Oh thank you God for protecting my child,” because you have some understanding, no matter how far removed, of that child’s mother’s pain. You can no longer hear of the suicide of a teen boy and simply think “Thank God that’s not my child,” because, in a small way, it is your child. Another twist, another kick.

Early this morning I received a text I was not expecting, and it is with great sadness I report to you all that Baby Bella has passed away today on her nine-month birthday. Her mother was there and held her as she passed. Bella fought and overcame and surpassed and amazed… and now she is gone. I don’t understand why. I don’t understand at all.

The one lesson I have finally internalized after three years of watching parents bury children is thank God we had them. Thank God for the one day, for the one month, for the nine months, for the one year, for the 18 years, or for the 48 years. Thank God for giving us the most precious, amazing children… Children who taught us more lessons in their short lives than we ever knew we needed to learn… Children who were able to change lives just by existing. How empty and sad our lives would be if they had simply never existed.  We would have avoided the pain but would have never had the joy… and that would have been a much worse fate.

But it doesn’t stop the pain or the longing, and it doesn’t fix that wound deep inside you that never, ever heals.

Please keep Bella’s family in your prayers as they begin to navigate the ins and outs of this club no one ever wishes to join… and never, ever take your own precious gifts for granted.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh my, it's a blog post!

Yes, I know. I'm a bad blogger, a bad mother, a bad American. I have been pulled so many different directions lately playing catch-up, putting out fires, and wiping butts, that I have neglected that which is really important in life... Blogging. And I miss it, I really do. I miss sitting at my computer and enjoying it and not just working on paperwork until my eyes bleed. I miss sharing my boys and their idiosyncrasies and my fabulous, fool-proof, easy-peasy parenting tips that make other parents' strategies pale in comparison (ha!) I miss reading the blogs of others and catching up on how their amazing little kiddos are doing. I miss... Sitting. And thinking. And finishing.... anything. Oh well, those days will come again I suppose.

My last update was in December I think, so even though it seems like Dax should have his license and Ty should have facial hair, we actually haven't had that many changes. Dax had his adenoids out at the end of December and that was followed two days later with a super-fun adventure at my mom's in Po-dunk, MS, that involved a little blue boy and some very nice, understanding paramedics. He had a few apnea spells for about a week after that, and then everything leveled back out again. The good thing about having his adenoids out? Other than that first week after, we haven't had any airway issues. The bad thing(s) about having his adenoids out? A.) Adenoid breath smells worse than bulldog farts, and B.) when they stop snoring, you can't hear them breathing at night and that makes for one super-jumpy, sleep-deprived mama.

Other than that, Daximus is just plugging along. He had an assessment with the school system on Monday. They were appropriately enamored with him, and he seemed to do okay (but not great) on the tests. He did, however, show them how outrageously long his attention span is, and that he knows his letter sounds, and how smart he is by demonstrating tricks such as, when presented with a red block and asked "what color?" ("red" is very hard for him to say,) he put down the red block, picked up a green one ("green" is much easier for him to say,) and said "geen."

(McGuyver pulled a similar trick with his early interventionist a few weeks ago... She had 10 letters out and asked him to give her "W." He did. A few tries later she asked for the "M." He picked up the W, turned it upside down, placed it back in its spot, then picked it up and gave it to her. You can't argue with that. ;P)

I absolutely, positively cannot believe he will be three in a little over a month. Not possible.

So my not-so-little boy Tyler runs everywhere he goes and gives the best kisses and hugs in the world, and loves Elmo, cookies, cars, and his wiener. Aaaaaaand, he's not talking yet. Not even a little. We had him evaluated last week for early intervention and, ding ding ding, he has enough of a language delay that they're concerned. I waffle back and forth on whether I'm worried or not. On one hand, he's not even two yet and he's so far ahead physically... He's already walking down the stairs holding the rail and running everywhere he goes and his balance may possibly be better than mine. He has no signs of sensory issues other than a strange fascination with firmly pushing items against his chin (so weird) and using his fingers to feverishly blend all his food items into smithereens before he eats it, and those are more quirky than interfering. On the other hand, he's supposed to be my "normal" kid, and dammit, I just want him to start acting like it. I mean, he's got totally normal people to learn from, right? Right?!? Anybody?


And that's really all that we've had going on. Other than, you know, everything else.

So this brings me to an idea I had yesterday, and if I can figure out how to do it tonight I will. If not, then maybe sometime soon. Or not. But it hit me Monday when the assessor reminded me again of how "scattered" Dax's skills are... And then again when our early intervention coordinator told me how "scattered" Ty's skills are. And then again when I remember how my mom always said how "scattered" I was... And again when I realize just how "scattered" my life is now...

I mean, really, I always heard it was a balancing act... But it's not. There is no "balance" during this stretch... It's a scattering of as much as you can toss in as many directions as you can toss it, and a sincere hope that enough gets into all the corners of your life that need it. A hope you scatter enough water to put out the fires, and enough attention to nourish the areas that need love and growth.

I'm scattered.

And that, my friends, will be my new blog name. What do you think?