Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hot off the virtual press: Just spent close to an hour going through this Scarry BEST WORD BOOK EVER that my little brother and I had when we were little and Mom gave the girl on her actual Birthday Zero and, you know, we probably didn't even make it halfway through. Especially allowing for digressions to talk about each two-page spread, you can probably occupy a curious kid with that thing for three or four hours, no problem, provided all that anthropomorphism doesn't start in on the old sanity erosion--which you definitely want to watch our for when you're home alone with the kid, always and no exceptions--but I kept checking the digital clock on the cable box waiting for it to be 2:00 and NapTime. At five minutes till, I told her that we had five more minutes and then it would be time to use the toilet and get pajamas on and read one more thing before taking a nap.

Then it hit me. She knows numbers. But, so far, telling her "one more minute" is pretty much interchangeable with and as abstract as "just a little bit more" (which she busts out all the time, these days, unfailingly accompanied by thumb and finger an infinitesimal distance apart, a very little bit). So, I stopped reading and said, "See the numbers on the cable box? That's a 1 and a 5 and another 5 over there. Right?" Nod. "All right, well pretty soon here, that second 5 is going to change into a 6. And that means one minute went by. Then it's going to bump up to a 7 and then an 8 and then 9 and then the whole thing's going to change to a 2 and a 0 and another 0. And then it's going to be time to stop reading this book and get ready for NapTime, like I said before. Does that make sense?" She points at the clock. "The numbers are going to change one more minute." "Yeah, that's pretty much it." "I want to see it." "Well, take a look." And three seconds didn't go by before that 5 clicked over to a 6 and her jaw just dropped. Astonishment, pure and total.

As you might expect, we did not read another word of Richard Scarry, but crouched down in front of the clock, marveling as the next four minutes clicked by. The wonder was pretty much gone by 2 of the clock, she jumped up the instant it changed and ran to get ready. Will probably give this a little while to sink in before we hit military time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


No pictures this time.

The girl's awareness of her waste functions has been steadily increasing of late. Oftentimes, we will get real-time updates with regard to breaking developments in her diaper. Sometimes, they are of the present tense gerund variety (I'm pee-peeing!"), other times, we are only privy to the aftermath ("I have a bowel movement* in my DIaper!"). We've been talking about how we're going to toilet-train her, when it's going to happen, etc. Catherine figured she'd take off a Friday or Monday and we'd just hunker down with this 3-day method that's all about positive reinforcement and the goal of keeping your underwear dry. Result based. Well, that was all well and good, but I have really not been looking forward to the notion of dedicating a weekend to this, even though I know that of course it needs to be done, essential for proper upbringing, blah blah blah.

Well, Sunday, the kid wakes up at 6:30 like she does, and her mom tries to change her diaper and notices that it's dry. She held it through the night. Then the girl says, "No! No more diapers! I want to wear panties. Like a big girl." Well, with me still out for the count, Mom busts out the Superman underwear (naturally) and I wake up three hours into Toilet Training: Day 1. With the proviso that we can pull the plug if we want, this is not really what we signed up for, but at the end of the day, you've got to listen to the kid, and she seems pretty gung-ho about it. While I read the 40-pg document that someone's passing off as an "e-book" (I prefer to think of it as a toilet training manifesto), there were two more accidents, bringing the total count up to 5 by, seems like, 10:15. Not a grand beginning. But by the time I made it through the whole thing, she had landed it all in the toilet without incident and could not have been happier about it. The final count for Day 1 was 7 Celebrations and 6 Learning Experiences (because, friends, every sopped pair of underwear soaked through with urine is a teaching moment, I am here to tell you). No sign of any bowel movements. Not a strange thing, as it's kind of a different situation.

Day 2, five Celebrations + one crazy 2-day worth of serious eating bowel movement right under the wire before BathTime, which was serious cause for celebration, as well as gratitude to the four prunes that made it all possible. We're here in the middle of nap time of Day 3 and so far we're at four Celebrations along with another turd that was frankly intimidating, bringing to mind Jack Palance's catchphrase, or at least opening salvo, from beloved family classic City Slickers.

Along with maybe half a dozen false alarms, because she's having such a good time saying, "I'm pee-peeing!**" and watching everybody drop what they're doing and hustle into her bathroom so that she can do her business. Sometimes, she wants company, directing people to sit in certain locations, sometimes she will say, "I need my privacy," and slam the door in your face before, presumably and one hopes, waddling back over to her little toilet with her underwear around her ankles. But, as with everything else, she is embracing this experience with great delight on her face, a joy that is infectious, even when the smell is a little bit stout.

*I can't stand any of that "poop" or "potty" level of language. Was originally campaigning for "urinating" and "defecating" but none of that took. She added the second "pee," too, but my sole triumph was that she was totally down with calling it "bowel movement," which really brings down the house when she busts that out on someone who isn't ready for it. Also, not unfunny when we're walking to the park and she will point out the droppings of dogs with lazy owners. "I see bowel movement over there. And right there. And right there...."

**Still, yes, with the present tense, even though experience has taught us that the literal intent behind the sentiment can be translated to something more like "I need to pee soon."