Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Forgive me Father, for (maybe, it's possible that) I've sinned.....

Oh Internet, I think I need your guidance. Parenting is hard. It's hard for so many reasons. And mostly I feel like I'm decent at it, but yesterday........ Well..... Let's just say I may have made a questionable decision. But I'm in such a quandary! HELP ME.

Here's the low down: Gibson -- who is almost 6 -- Whizzes the bed with nightly regularity. And even though he doesn't like to, he wears pull-ups also with nightly regularity, which saves me from a non-stop barrage of smelly wet sheets and perhaps saves my sanity too. He's been otherwise potty trained since he was 2 and didn't ever really have many daytime accidents. And because he sleeps like a log -- a slumber so deep it takes 8 to 10 good shakes and a really loud voice to rouse him -- I KNOW he can't help it. I would never dream of punishing him for it.

Now let's cut to Landis, who is four and has also been potty-trained since he was 2. Contrary to Gibson, Landis has fantastic bladder/bowel control, never had any accidents and only pee'd his bed twice in two years. He doesn't sleep as heavily and gets up to go when necessary. I'm not really sure why I'm giving all this background information on the boys nighttime potty habits, except to say that they've been competent at going by themselves for a long time, with the exception of Gib's bed wetting --which I hope he'll eventually grow out of. No, the issue I'm struggling with is that Landis has recently taken up pooping in his pants.

Not a full-on load, mind you, but a pretty healthy start. Why, you may wonder, is a kid who has been going to the bathroom proficiently for 2 YEARS, pooping in his pants again? Well, it would seem that lately he just can't seem to be bothered to actually take the time to stop what he is doing and GO. He's into holding it. Holding it so long that, frankly, he can't quite hold it all. And he refuses to go until he ABSOLUTELY HAS TO, which usually means that by that time, he's pooped in his pants.

Now, Internet, the first few times this happened I was really nice about it. And what I mean by "first few times" is somewhere in the ballpark of 6 to 10. Who wants to get his or her child in trouble for what is seemingly an accident? Not me. I know that sometimes these things happen. But they keep happening and happening and happening. And it's not just the poop - though that's what I find to be the most aggravating -- it's that he waits to pee too. I'll look over at him as he's engaged in some activity, doing the universal pee-pee dance, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, and ask him if he has to pee. "No." he replies. And as he does so, I begin to see a wet spot appear on the front of his shorts. Just a small one -- the size of a quarter -- but a pee spot all the same.
"Landis!! YES YOU DO! I can see you starting to pee in your pants! Get in there and GO!"
He stomps off in a huff to use the facilities, aggravated that I would insist that he pry himself away from what he was doing to actually take care of business.

And I think I got to the threshold of my patience when, on one particular occasion after the scenario described above had played itself out, he returned to his previous activity STILL DANCING.
"Landis! Did you go potty?"
"You did?"
"Then why are you still dancing?"
"I have to go poopy."
"THEN GO!!!!!"
"No. I can hold it."
"No you can't! This is why you're pooping your pants! If you have to poop, then for God-Sakes, GO POOP! Quit trying to hold it until the very last possible second!"
Again, he stomped off in a huff because I had the audacity to actually make him go to the bathroom BEFORE he let one go in his pants.

After numerous attempts at just talking with him and trying to get him to understand that he needs to go the first time he feels the need to go, I finally told him that if he pooped in his pants again he was going to be in trouble.

So last night, as we were taking a bike ride to the park, he pooped his pants again. Of course, he didn't tell me right away so he proceeded to ride on it for 10 minutes. Then we played on the slides and the swings, and since I wasn't near his butt, I couldn't smell him. But after about 15 minutes of playing he announced that he had to poop, so I grabbed our stuff and we started walking toward the bathrooms. It was then that I realized he was walking a little funny.
"Oh no..... Landis........ You didn't already poop your pants, did you?"
"Ummmmm...." He felt around the back of his pants with his hands, checking his butt thoroughly. "I don't feel a big ball..........."
"OK, well then lets hurry."

We got into the bathrooms and I helped him with his pants only to make a fabulous discovery. Not only had he pooped already, AND ground it all over his butt, he also WASN'T WEARING ANY UNDERWEAR!! And his pants were lined with netting, so you can draw your own conclusion as to what that looked like. I seriously thought I was going to kill him. He couldn't ride home naked, and it didn't even matter at this point if I even cleaned it, since he was going to have to grind it all over his butt again on our ride back home. So I did what I could for him in the park bathrooms -- cleaning everything to the best of my ability -- and told both boys that since Landis had pooped his pants we were going home.

And when we got home I punished him.

And now I feel a little guilty about it.

On the ride home I told him that he was in trouble and I gave him 2 choices -- a spanking or a cold shower to get his butt clean. He chose the cold shower. And he cried the whole time like I was torturing him -- and while it probably doesn't qualify as torture.......well, it certainly wasn't pleasant.

So now I feel guilty about making a 4 year old stand in a cold shower, but I am COMPLETELY FED UP with the pants pooping. He's normal, and regular, and hasn't had a lick of trouble pooping in the potty for 2 YEARS! I've had it up to my eyeballs, and I'm officially at my wit's end. Internet? Was that OK? Has anyone else had to deal with this? I'm in bad need of some good advice, because this parenting thing? It's hard.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Been workin' so hard. I'm punchin' my card......

Well, Hello there! Long time no see, eh? What have you been up to? Me..... well...... I've been covered in an itchy, bumpy red rash that has so completely covered my entire being that I may actually go and see a doctor today, but that's a story for another post.

Besides scratching obsessively, you know what else I've been up to? I've been working out again. Ever since I stopped that atrocious coughing, and can actually take a deep breath without hacking up a lung for 3 minutes as a direct result, I've gotten myself back in the gym. It's been great because after those 6 weeks of non-stop coughing, I forgot how good you feel after a solid workout. In fact, I was feeling so good that I thought I'd take a class that has generated some serious buzz at our facility. It's called cardio-funk, which -- as you can probably imagine -- involves a lot of gettin' down. So it has all this buzz because it's a serious workout, but also because it's a freakin' blast. Not to mention the fact that it's taught by a very attractive guy who can dance like a pro and - in my perception - is totally straight. (Ladies............? Care to come try the class and maybe take a peek?)

So I tried the class for the first time, and let me tell you, we definitely did some serious gettin' down. Some hardcore cardio funkin'. We got down to some old school Michael Jackson, we funked out to some great hip hop. We channeled our inner Tina Turner to Proud Mary, and shook it like a Polaroid picture. We let the dogs out, and we did the entire routine to Footloose. And it was during the routine to Footloose that my friend Erin -- who was thoroughly entertained by the fact that we were partaking in this class -- got Gibson out of the childwatch and held him up so he could have a peek at what was going on. "Do you see your mom in there?" she'd asked him. And you can bet your sweet bippy that he did. He watched like a hawk and soaked up as much of the song as he could so that later he could tell me all about it.
  • "Mom! I saw you dancing today!"

  • "You did?"

  • "Yeah! Erin held me up and I got to look. I saw you."

  • "Did you like it? Was it fun to watch?"

  • "Yeah! And I liked the song you were dancing to."

  • "Which one?"

  • "Loose! You're loose! Everybody thinks you're loose!"

  • "Ummmmmmmmmmmm.......(this is where I bite the inside of my cheek and stifle the intense need to roll around on the floor holding my sides and laughing hysterically).......actually, I think the words are: Loose, FOOT loose, Everybody cut foot loose."

  • "No..... I heard it. It goes: Loose! You're Loose! Everybody thinks you're loose!"

So now he's learned a new song that he loves to sing -- frequently. And even though I make attempts to correct his lyrics, I mostly just let him sing it the way he wants. Because explaining to a 5 year old that perhaps it's not appropriate to sing about how loose someone is just opens a whole new can of worms, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Gibson had his official last day of school yesterday, and frankly, I think I might be more excited about it than he is. Of course it's possible that being that I've been through 18 years of schooling, and he has really only been through one, I might have a better concept of summer vacation than he does. In any case, let me just say a "THANKGODHALLELUJAH" that I won't be speeding up the highway twice a day, every day, 30 minutes each way anymore.
And let me just go ahead and get another "HALLELUJAH!" regarding the demise of that little commute, since gas prices will no doubt be 5-freakin'-bucks-a-gallon by the time summer is over, and frankly, that would have just broken our backs. Next year, the G-man will be riding the bus to school. (PRAISE THE LORD!) And that particular school happens to only be 3 minutes down the street. (AMEN!) It will pick him up AT OUR DOOR! (SING IT SISTER!) And drop him back off there too! (SWEET JESUS!) I am so filled with gratitude for that big yellow mass of transpotation salvation that the first time it stops in front of our house, I might just run out the door, climb the steps, and kiss the driver square on the mouth. That's right, I said ON THE MOUTH. I'll do it too. You watch.

But I digress...... The whole reason I even sat down to write this post was to tell a funny story about Gibson, and what happened when I was picking him up from school the other day. (Did you know I'm not going to have to do that anymore? A bus is coming to my house next year. Seriously. Twice a day every day. HALLELUJAH!!!!!)

What was I saying...? Oh yes...... Funny story......
So I went to Gib's school to pick him up, and all the kids were lined up in the hallway by the front doors the way they are every day. I was walking toward the school and the dismissal teacher saw me coming, so she stuck her head inside the door and said "Gibson! Go!" as she gave a little jerk with her thumb over her shoulder. I milled around as I waited for the G-man to emerge and in the meantime she dismissed a few more kids. "Jordan! You can go. Shaia! Devon! Go! Calvin! Go!" I watched as all the other kids came out the doors to their waiting parents when they were called. But no Gibson. I wondered where he was. Eventually she took notice that I was still standing there. Waiting......

She looked at me with some confusion. "Are you still waiting for Gibson?" she asked me. I told her I was. "I called him," she said. "I wonder why he didn't come out?" She stuck her head back in the door. No Gibson. She asked the inside teacher if Gibson went back to his classroom. The inside teacher said No. She looked at me, I looked at her. We both knew he had to still be in the school somewhere.....we just couldn't figure out where.

So where had Gibson gone? Well, it appears that when she stuck her head in the door and told Gibson to "Go", he went..................straight to the principal's office. Now I ask you, what was that child doing right before she dismissed him? Because if that wasn't the mark of a guilty conscious, I don't know what is.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A letter to my son

Dear Landis,

Today you're four. And I can't believe it. I'm not sure how all that time has passed -- how you've gone from infant to full-fledged little boy in what seems like the blink of an eye. But full-fledged little boy you are, as proven by the fact that when I hold you in my arms and rock you, you are all arms and legs hanging off my lap in various directions. Yes, I still rock you. I do it because you love it. And for the record, so do I. I love the cuddly little bundle that you are when we sit on the back porch just before bed-time, you smelling of ivory soap, wrapped in blankets and soft in your pj's, snuggled in my lap as we rock slowly back and forth and wait for the stars to come out. I love the awe and excitement you express when you see the very first one winking at us, twinkling faintly in the dusky sky, and the sweetness of your wish when you say the words "star light, star bright...... first star I see tonight.....". Those are the times when I wish you could stay small enough to fit in my lap forever.

In some ways it seems completely appropriate that you are four -- that it's about freakin' time you turn four, since you've seemed older than your years for so long. It's not just that you are so tall, but that you are extremely coordinated, and whip-smart too. All of which causes people to ask me things like "Why isn't Landis in Kindergarten this year?" And when I reply with the appropriate answer - "Well, because he's only 3" - they practically fall over and say something along the lines of "3!?!?! He's only 3!?!?!". It's the same response you'll get your entire life when you explain to curious folks what your age and/or height actually is. And I know that your father is sorry he passed his enormous height genes on to you because the world is not built for extremely tall people. And I know he grows weary of answering the same questions over and over and over again about whether or not he played basketball, and just exactly how tall he is, watching people have the same responses time and time again. I can see already that it's going to play out the same way for you too, so I hope you have been blessed with patience and a good sense of humour. Or at least that your sense of humour develops beyond:
"Old MacDonald had a farm!
E - I -E - I - Ohhhhhhh!
And on his farm he had some POOP!
E - I - E -I - Ohhhhhh!
With a poop poop here and a poop poop there!
Here a Poop! There a Poop! Everywhere a POOP POOOOOOP!!
Old MacDonald had a farm!
Which sometimes I think will be the death of me.

When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday this year -- knowing full well that the teeny trike you've been riding for months without complaint is so small that it jams your knees up into your chin -- I was beside myself with excitement. I knew without a doubt that a bike was exactly what you'd ask for, and we were poised to deliver. You paused and gave it some serious consideration. Then you decided that what you really, really wanted more than anything else for your birthday, was jelly beans on your cake. And the simplicity and innocence of your birthday desires made me want to hug you, if, for no other reason than maybe some of that could rub off on me.

Your June birthday makes you a Gemini. And even if I'd never believed in the accuracy of zodiac signs before, having you would have converted me. The way you swing effortlessly between your cotton-candy sweetness and your devil-may-care attitude is impressive, if not completely exasperating. I often wonder how a boy so sweet and gentle and caring can at the same time be so stubborn and willfull, without the slightest desire to please anyone but himself. You didn't get that from me. And as much as that trait makes me want to pull my hair out by the roots, I respect you for it. You are not easily emotionally manipulated, and I hope that when you are an adult you learn to use that trait in a positive and productive way. It is, after all, a strength. Your brother, he's a "pleaser", and I have to admit that I supplied that genetic material. We (he and I) care an awful lot about what other people think, and what other people say, and how other people feel. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. That trait too, is a strength, for as many reasons as it is a weakness. It's just that you seem to have been born with an innate ability to act on a principle that has taken me 34 years to implement: That sometimes you have to be true to you, without any regard for what other people think, or say, or try to make you feel guilty about.

Your imaginary world is a lively one, and I love to watch you and listen in on the conversations you have when you don't know I'm paying attention. I enjoy the make-believe friends who join us for entertaining dinnertime chatter in the form of your hand-puppets -- each character with it's own voice and mannerisms. You have a fantastic memory, and can remember things I had no idea you'd absorbed. I played a KD Lang CD in the car the other day, and yesterday I heard you singing the words as you were digging around in the fridge. I'm pretty sure you'd only heard that particular song once. And it's because you were exposed to "Ren and Stimpy" at a young age, that you tell me endless stories of why it's important to brush your teeth so that the Tooth Beaver doesn't come chew on your nerve endings and make your teeth fall out. You're quite matter-of-fact about it, and since your brother has lost two teeth and gotten handsomely rewarded for it, I know you believe as whole-heartedly in the Tooth Beaver as you do the Tooth Fairy. (Though, due again to Ren and Stimpy, I'm pretty sure you think the tooth fairy is an old, bearded, balding man in a pink Tu-Tu.) Like I said, your imagination is extremely lively.

Tucking you into bed at night is one of my favorite times of the day, mostly because you're such a cuddler. You snuggle up against me, place your hand softly on my cheek and sigh deeply as you settle in for the night. We talk in whispers, sharing the parts of our day that we liked best, and eventually I tell you to sleep tight. You tell me not to let the bed-bugs bite. And as I get up to leave your room, you always ask for one more hug and kiss. I gladly oblige, and usually that's just exactly what I get: one more hug, one more kiss. But not always. Sometimes, just as I am about to make contact, you turn my face sideways and lick my cheek. It's disgusting, but completely hysterical. And you do it infrequently enough that I fall for it every time.

And that's how it goes with you. You keep me on my toes because I'm never one hundred percent sure what I'm going to get. But regardless of the mood swings, and the face-licking, and the poopy jokes, there is one thing I am one hundred percent sure about: I'm so proud of the little boy that you are, and the person you are growing up to be. And I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

I love you,