Friday, November 25, 2016

All or Nothing

Alden is a very even keeled little boy. He is very kind and tuned into the feelings of others.  He's made tons of friends at preschool and gets along with the older kids as well as the kids closer to his own age.  So, when I say that his approach to life is all or nothing, I don't really mean that he is extreme.  Or a dare devil.  It's just that he tends to go from not doing something to doing it fully and completely.  He doesn't do things half way.

He skipped over walking and went straight to running.  Our friends would joke on the few occasions that they saw him walking that he had the funniest stride -- he kind of stuck his tummy out first, slapping his feet in down.  But, he almost never walks.  He runs. And hops. He's been doing a two footed hop for over a year.  He's a hopping machine. 

Potty training proved to be no different. We've had a little potty for about a year.  Every once in awhile, we'd sit him on it.  And, he actually went on it a few times.  We also asked his daycare providers to sit him on the potty once a day, which they were doing, but being met with resistance (he's sit for about 2 seconds and demand to get down).  Then, about a month ago, he woke up on a Saturday morning and said, "I have to go potty!"  I got up with him and we went into the bathroom and he went.  A lot.  I know, TMI.  But, this is a blog about children -- TMI is sort of the whole point.  He was so pleased with himself and danced around the bathroom clapping for himself.  Eric had bought jelly beans and lollipops to encourage potty training, so I ran downstairs and got him a jelly bean and told him what a great job he had done.  And that was it.  I kid you not.  I asked him if he wanted to try out his new underwear.  He did.  We went to music class with him in underwear, which seemed pretty daring given that he had only gone to the potty ONCE that day (a feat he had accomplished previously).  I don't really know what compelled me to do that -- I just knew it had clicked for him.  He got through music class, a trip to Home Depot and Kai's soccer game without incident.  He was using the potty and even telling us when he had to go.  He did have one accident that day and one the following day. 

I took him to school on Monday in underwear.  I had a feeling that wasn't going to go over so well since the last time they had seen him, on Friday, he wasn't even a little bit potty trained.  I dropped him off and told them he was in underwear but he had diapers and a change of clothes in his backpack.  The Director wasn't there when I dropped him off, so I called a few hours later to talk it over.  She was highly skeptical of the wisdom of dropping Alden off that morning in underwear and gave me an earful about how young he is and that even if he was successful at using the potty at home, it was different at school because he would be distracted by his friends and forget to go, and them - again - emphasizing how young he was and that we were probably getting our hopes up and pushing him too fast.  I listened patiently and told her I had no expectations and that if he had an accident, we were totally fine with them reverting to diapers.  I told him that we were just following his lead and that I had a sense that he was ready, even though it had happened rather quickly.  We agreed to play it by ear and see how it went.

And he didn't have any accidents that day.  Or the next.  Or the next.  He went three weeks with no accidents at school.  He has sense had a couple when he got too into an art project and forgot to go, but at that point, everyone agreed that he was potty trained.

From 0 to 100 in a single weekend.  That seems to be Alden's approach, thus far, to mastering new skills.  I'm sure there will be instances when this particular trait might be frustrating, but with regard to potty training... it was awesome. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Kai recently decided that she wanted to wear glasses.  The only problem is she has perfect vision.  I remember wanting glasses really badly when I was her age -- well, a little younger.  I wanted them so much that I purposefully flunked the eye exam at school, earning me a trip to the eye doctor.  I didn't know that eye doctor's were not so easily fooled -- and that when he peered into my eyes he could tell I was a faker.  I didn't get glasses.  I did get in trouble.

Kai knows this story and is also smarter than I was -- so she didn't try to get glasses my faking bad vision.  Instead, she just started begging for glasses and insisting that she could have them with plastic lenses.  It turns out, two other kids in her class wear glasses at school that do not have prescription lenses.  It's a thing.

She wanted frame that cost $60.  Both Eric and I agreed that it was ridiculous to spend $60 so that she could wear glasses she doesn't need.  We refused. 

Kai has an allowance, though.  An allowance we frequently forget to give her -- so she tends to get it in $50 to $100 chunks a couple times a year.  This has happened a few times and she isn't much of a spender (she doesn't need to be -- we buy her all sorts of stuff!) so she had savings to spare and suggested she buy her own frames.  At first, it seemed crazy to let her buy her own frames, too.   She doesn't need glasses!  But, then we relented.  However, I told her that we could find them for less online. 

So, after a quick online spree, Kai chose her glasses and then set about waiting 2 days for them to arrive.  And, she's been wearing glasses nonstop ever since.  Although, when she first sees people that she knows, she freaks and won't wear them.  Even though the purpose, to her, is to trick people into thinking that she got glasses.  She can't keep up the hoax because she gets so freaked out and embarrassed by the theater of it all.  So, she rips them off and then announces that she got fake glasses.  And then proceeds to wear them as though they are real. 

 An 8 year old hipster.  Who knew!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Halloween has become one of our favorite holidays.  Orange Food Day used to be my favorite holiday -- but, that was because it was a day to watch trashy movies, play LOTR risk, drink far too much wine, and eat the orange processed food until I started sweating from sodium overload.  It's a holiday designed for adults (adults in their 20s that don't have children). We've continued the tradition since having kids and, truthfully, they LOVE it.  Who wouldn't? It's an excuse to eat Cheetos, drink Fanta, and play with friends.  But, since having kids, we haven't really been able to relish in the debauchery that is Orange Food Day.  So, it's lost its luster a bit, for me. 

I guess that's the way it goes with all things parenting -- the things you once did (and loved) become traditions you hold onto in an effort to hold onto the person you were prior to kids.  But, I'm not that person anymore and those traditions are more enjoyable for the folklore than the actual experience of it.  Not that we're going to stop having a day of Cheeto eating and Fanta drinking once a year.  Kai thinks its a legitimate holiday.  But, Halloween has become a bigger deal for us.  Which, I never would have expected, as I generally hate dressing up and could care less about candy. 

But, the kids LOVE Halloween -- and, really, that's all it takes for me to love it too.  They love the weeks leading up to it when they are planning and then trying on their costumes.  They love decorating the house and seeing all the decorations around the neighborhood.  There was a zombie like character on the porch of a house near Kailey's school, and Alden would crane his neck in anticipation whenever we got close to the house asking, "see scary little guy?  See scary little guy?"

Our neighborhood is a scene on Halloween, and so it's fun to get into decorating.  This year, Kai and Eric constructed a coffin together and then made a pumpkin-head man that was attached to a string so that he would sit up in the coffin to greet the trick-or-treaters as they came by.  And, of course, we had the giant spider that we lowered from the tree.  And glowing, huge eyes in the upstairs windows. 

Alden was equally into Halloween this year. He loved his costume and spent weeks leading up to the big day galloping around the house.  And, Kai spent endless hours practicing her gymnastics moves. 

The day of, we had neighbors and school friends over to the house for pizza (that no one ate because of the constant interruptions by trick or treaters at the door and the frenzy of the kids to get outside and GET. SOME. CANDY.)  Alden was a wreck during the dinner portion of the evening because he was so worried about not getting to go trick or treating and he wanted to eat candy so badly. 

Once we got out, we had 4 toddlers and 3 third graders -- which, is really not a great combination.  The third graders were fast.  They wanted to buzz from house to house and get as much candy as possible.  The toddlers were confused, overwhelmed, and easily distracted.  We quickly decided to split up -- the third graders going with Leanna's parents and Cathy, Darcey and I stayed with the little ones.  Eric manner our house and handed out candy.  It would have been fun to stick with Kailey -- she was having such fun -- but, it was also fun to be with Alden.  He wouldn't go to the scarier houses and was ready to head back home after one block. 

Once back at home, the party continued.  The kids played upstairs, eating candy and making up spooky stories.  We handed out candy and had fun with the other parents.