Monday, 30 September 2013

Will Poo for Candy

Here we are, 3 years old! Still in a diaper — no excuses, bad mommy! Daycare said he’s the smartest boy, but he can’t go to senior preschool till he’s out of the diaper. That lit my fire — my laziness is holding him back academically.

That weekend it was cold turkey. “If you want a diaper you have to put it on yourself,” I boldly stated.

The poor ol’ Lightning McQueen undies never knew what hit them. It was pee city for the first day. Miraculously the poo went where it was supposed to. Amazing!

Of course, I did have a secret: I was filling W with M&Ms, two for pee and four for poo. And I waved that rainbow-coloured crack in front of him for 48 straight hours. I even ate them in front of him to make him salivate.

Like most things you have to endure as a parent, toilet training has been a learning curve for me too. I have had to pack extra clothes when we go out, remind myself to be patient, remind myself to remind him to pee. In short, I have to do one of the things I do worst — slow down. Sit. Wait. Maybe that is why I put it off so long — I don’t want to spend ten minutes in the Costco bathroom. I don’t want to do even more laundry.

I am happy to report that at about ten days in, we are almost accident free. However, I am slightly less stoked about senior preschool since I learned there was no price differential between the junior and senior rooms. But, I think I can almost stop buying those ridiculously expensive size SIX diapers! Small victories…

And, just for laughs here are a few snippets from recent conversations between W and me:

“Look, I pooed three logs!”
“Look, I pooed a tree!”
“I pooed a circle — I can poo any shape!”
“Bye poo! See you later…”
“Okay, I pooed! Can I have M&Ms NOW?’

Tightrope Mama

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Bouncy Castle is beside the Crematorium

Cookie started dance lessons recently. She dances at home quite a bit, making up her own moves, and of course we want to encourage her to move. I was never able to take dance lessons as a child — my mom was concerned about eating disorders from experiences in her own life, the details of which are vague but are related to ballet. So I felt I’d missed out and, of course I live vicariously through my child, so ballet class was a given.
Cookie was enthusiastic, but when we showed up at class she froze and clung. The teacher was so friendly, so graceful, a perfect role model. But there were other kids in the class. This Cookie did not expect.
I’m not sure why; she’s taken other classes in other things and there have always been other kids, so why did she think that it would be just her and the teacher? Maybe because we were there first, so at the beginning of her experience it was just her and the teacher. She was not happy. She sat out the whole class. I was furious — irrationally, I know; I mean, she’s three, and I probably would have done the same thing when I was her age. The teacher suggested we come back for the afternoon class and try again. Another mom suggested we watch ballet on YouTube.
Of course! I thought. Duh — we did no preparation for this other than talk about it. And I’m slowly learning that these days, preparation is key.
So we went home and spent the day watching Swan Lake on YouTube. I didn’t expect to get past the first few minutes — as much as I love watching ballet, I tend to nod off at times — but Cookie watched the entire hour and a half while I explained what was going on. She was mesmerized. She wanted to dance like that. Wow, why hadn’t I thought of this?
So we went to the afternoon class. Once again, she froze and clung to me. The teacher, being a good parent herself, said, “Cookie, can you please help me show the others how to do this, since you’ve seen it already?” No kid can resist that. She participated for half the class —progress!
The following week she hesitated for only a few minutes before joining in. The tutu helped. Girls love tutus. I hate that girls love tutus, but I’m the one who enrolled her in ballet, so I’ve got to get over that, obviously.
Cookie’s dad and I struggle with this hesitation, anxiety, shyness. We don’t want her to be shy, and we’ve tried to make her confident in unfamiliar situations, but it’s not working. We understand it; we were both that way as children and still are. So it hurts us to push her when she’s uncomfortable, even though we know it’s good for her. I think what I’m trying to do is find the balance between forcing her to embrace the unknown and giving her all the support she needs. I remember feeling abandoned at times when my parents forced me to try new things on my own, and as much as I’m glad now that I tried those things, I don’t ever want her to feel abandoned. So I sit in class and smile manically at every little thing she does. I don’t even touch my phone the whole time. Such self-control!
Last week the church near our house had a celebration with music and cupcakes and a historical tour of the cemetery. As we approached the parking lot, a helpful but earnest Boy Scout said, “The bouncy castle is beside the crematorium.” As we bit back our laughter-cum-horror, pretty much unsuccessfully, Cookie jumped up and down and cheered. I cheered inside. She has a natural trepidation for bouncy castles, seeing as they’re filled with strange children, but she goes in them with her daycare friends, so maybe she’d got over that. I had hope.
There were two bouncy castles. One was empty. It was the perfect plan — she’d go in, and then other kids would join, and she’d be forced to have fun with strange kids. What better way to show her that the unfamiliar was okay?
But no; where were her daycare friends? She would only bounce with her daycare friends. Even though it was empty. Bouncy castle fail. Confidence fail.
Man, I was dying to get in that bouncy castle, though. We didn’t have any where I grew up, and by the time I encountered my first I was too big. We may just have to rent one so I can finally try it and we can force Cookie to go in. Immersion therapy. That’s good for confidence, right? At least I’d be there supporting her the whole time, like the helicopter parent I’ve unwittingly become.
East End Mama

[image: shy ballerina here]

Monday, 23 September 2013

I Quit

At BlogHer 13, Sheryl Sandberg challenged us to write down what we would do if we 
weren’t afraid. And it took me about 12 seconds to write “Quit my job.” So here I am — 
fearless (well, not quite, but close).

It is only fitting that LouLou come with me today, on this most momentous of days! 
I am leaving my job — resignation letter is all ready to go! This wasn’t a decision I 
arrived at easily. I had many nights of tossing and turning while I weighed all the options. 
It wasn’t clear cut and obvious. I worried, “What message am I sending if I Lean Way 
Out?” But then I realized that I am actually Leaning Way IN to my life. My real life, my 
family, my kids, and our two businesses. I have decided to work with my husband. Yep, 
I no longer have a den of bitch lions to contend with, I have a singular grumpy (but cute) 

For years my husband has run his own place, and I have always helped (mostly unpaid) 
from the sidelines, but the controller in me can sit out no longer. All of our eggs will 
definitely be in one (or two) small baskets, which is scary and means we have to pay for 
our own root canals now, but other than that I am excited. 

I am so optimistic about this change, I barely want to write about the final act of ultimate 
bitchy-lion-ness that resulted in my boss cancelling our original meeting because she 
was too busy “preparing for holidays.” I also barely want to go into the mundane details 
of the commute and expensive parking I will no longer have to endure. 

For sure, no matter how I spin this, people will see this as me “staying at home” or 
“being a mom,” and while that is somewhat true, actually nothing is further from the truth. 
I have never worked harder, been more tired, or felt as important as I have this year. 
Surely that must mean I am headed in the right direction — yes? Yes!

 Tightrope Mama

[Image: Sheryl Sandberg talks to BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone at the BlogHer conference on July 27, 2013. Read more here]