How to Not Potty Train Twins

Dear World:

Just in case you mistakenly believe that I have this whole mom thing figured out, let me be completely honest.  There is one thing, one huge, smelly, icky thing, that I totally suck at: Potty Training.

Maddie took forever.  There was much attempt at patience as well as smiles, silly songs, a cute potty chair, and an extra attachment for the adult toilet.  Then came the frustration, the accidents, the crying (mainly on my part), and the utter despair.  Finally, my mother-in-law laid down the law.  Maddie was told, in no uncertain terms, that if she peed in Grammy’s floor, she was going to get a spanking.  That’s all it took!  After a year and a half of effort on my part, my mother-in-law’s voice was the answer.  There were almost no accidents from that point on!  It was like a blessing from the heavens.

With the twins, I knew it would be more difficult.  The plan was to wait until they were older than Maddie was when we started trying to house break her.  The problem with all best laid plans, however, it that my twins don’t like plans.  They don’t follow the directives given them, and they make their own rules.  At about twenty months, they began ripping off their diapers like it was the greatest game ever invented.  Imagine, or it may be more pleasant if you don’t imagine, the effects of ripping off a diaper filled with liquid and often solid toddler byproducts, often at high velocities.  Most dramatic were the times when the removal occurred before naps, and again, if you are brave of heart, imagine what that looked like by the time they woke up.

So, with a heavy heart and knowledge of what was in store, I began the journey toward civilized bathroom usage with our identical mass producers of foulness.

What I have learned follows:

  1. Never get too excited too quickly.

When I began this journey, I was so excited to see the twins happily sit on the potty, or even the full-sized toilet.  Maddie never cooperated and we had to coax her to remain in a full-upright and seated position.  I was ecstatic!  Surely this would not take as long with them as it had with her.

  1. Never assume that your positive attitude will affect the attitudes of wee small ones.

I was all smiles.  We were going to do this.  It would not only save me the time wasted in cleaning their goo-encrusted bums, but think of the money that would be saved not having to buy diapers for two!  If I kept smiling they would happily “Let it Go” and the process would be over.  (In fact, we even sang that song as they sat, time after time, on the potty seats and produced NOTHING.

  1. Never believe that buying cute products will work wonders.

When I really got down to the business of training them, necessitated again by a frenzied drive toward total nakedness on their parts (I swear no one else in the house is driven by nudist tendencies), I sent my husband to the store to buy a second potty chair that closely resembled the one left over from our trials with Maddie.  Armed with not one but two Froggy Potties, the twins and I excitedly renewed our vigor.  Now they fight over who gets which seat… fail.

  1. Never waste money on specialized butt covering devices.

While I haven’t wasted money on pull-up style training diapers this time around, we did have some left over from several years ago, so out of storage they came.  The babies do quite well putting them on themselves, but guess what else they can do…  Those suckers come off with a fluidity and a velocity far surpassing that of the previously mentioned flying diapers.  I swear!  You could do physics experiments based on the trajectory of these little pink and white missiles.

  1. Never feel bad for ingenuity.

I must admit, in my frustration, that there have been days (many of them) that I have needed a break.  Twice, so far, I have resorted to taping diapers on them.  Interestingly, the sound of the tape being unrolled sends them into panicked sceams, and I am not sure why.  In all honesty, as I type and they run around their room bare butted and threatening to flood the world, I am eyeing the packing take with great intensity.  I am attempting to resist the urge, but resistance is often futile.

In total honesty, the twins are almost no closer to being potty trained than they were when I began this journey.  I am more frustrated than I want to be, but we will continue to persevere.  If nothing else, I can always buy stock in cleaning products and hope for the marked to increase…

Yours truly,

One very tired Mommy

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Fifteen Years and Counting

Yesterday marked the fifteen year anniversary of my high school graduation. As I sit here in my own classroom, now devoid of students awaiting Saturday’s graduation festivities, I realize two things:

  1. I’m officially old. Not Jurassic Park old (though it did come out when I was in eighth grade), but older than I’ve ever been before.
  2. I am so much better now than I could have imagined.

So it is with a nostalgic heart and a smile that I dedicate this, an account of my growth since I marched into that iconic theater in my purple gown so many years ago.

I am real.
Bigger than I was in high school, I would love to be somewhere between the size I was then and the size I am now. What matters the most, however, is that I am not totally defined by looking the way I think I should look. I am not skipping meals or eating like a sparrow to keep someone else happy. I am not convinced I am fat while my stomach is smaller than I ever thought it was. I am a real woman. Curvy, bumpy, and natural. And I’m almost ok with that.

I am intelligent.
In high school, I thought intelligence was defined by the classes I took and what my grades were. Now, more than a decade later, it is not the degree I hold that determines my intelligence; truth be told, I have learned far more from my life experiences than I did in high school and college combined. I’m still a work in progress, but the world around me makes more sense. And it scares the hell out of me. No longer trapped in the microcosm of high school, I know what lurks in the shadows. And in the sunlight. I know more than I ever thought needed to be learned.

I am valuable.
My worth goes far beyond what I could have understood fifteen years ago. My paychecks may never be grandiose, but there are aspects of my world that would cease to exist if I wasn’t there to take care of them. No one can ever be me. They may be good, or important, or often even more competent than me, but they will never be me.

I am genuine.
High school was a blur of trying to be liked and trying to belong. Things were said or left unsaid for the benefit of my peers. Now, I am what you see. Though I still often second guess myself, I am who I am. I will not lie or deceive to hide from the truth. Even if it is not a truth you want to hear. Or that I want to hear. Life if better when lived up front.

I am a fighter.
High school was a time of conformity. Now, I fight for the things that are important. I fight for my students, for they deserve more than they are sometimes given. They also deserve to be taught to fight for themselves, to prove their worth, and to value the knowledge that is given to them. I fight for my children because they are precious to me. They deserve the world, but they also must value it. I will fight for them until my last breath.

I am a mother.
This is, by far, the most important. My world was rocked when Maddie was born. She and her sisters are my greatest accomplishment. My days are lived for them. They are the reason that I know my worth. It is impossible to feel the love they give me and not feel both blessed and humbled. And so very important.

I am so much more now than I ever was then, but I still remember where I came from.

Here’s to the class of ’99. May we be strong, may we be wise, and may we leave this world a far better place than we found it.

What’s in a Name?

To my beautiful daughters,

By now I’m sure you have realized that your parents bicker. We love each other very much, but all decisions are accompanied with a healthy amount of friendly discord. All decisions save one: your names. You mean more to us than any other thing we could have wished for. You are our pride, our joy, our sleepless nights (Mommy’s especially), and you are as strong and powerful as the women you were named after.

Madison, I dreamed of you years before you were born. I knew what it was to hold you in my arms, and in my slumber I called you by name. Your middle name is shared with your Grammy. She is a unique combination of love, strength, and courage. She would fight a grizzly bear to protect any one of you, and she would win. It is not by coincidence that you, our cowgirl princess, share her name. She loves all three of you so very much.

grammy

Makayla and Abigail, you were named after three amazing women. Though they left us before you arrived, you are their legacy.

Your Aunt Joyce taught me strength and dignity. She was long-suffering and spunky. Joyce shared a middle name with your Granny Bowman, who helped raise me. She was the type that thought babies were meant to be held at all times. She was my refuge. Makayla, it was with purpose that we gave you their middle name.

joyce      granny

Abby, when we learned we were having twin girls, we chose to honor the third of the matriarchs on Daddy’s side of the family. Your Aunt Marilyn was warm and nurturing. Living beside her when our marriage began, she taught me a great deal about how to be a wife and mother.

marilyn

My wish for you is that you all know that you are loved. Your names were crafted uniquely for you. They embody the strength and love possessed by women that have shaped your world. They love you beyond belief and to the moon and back.

Love,
Mommy
 

 

 

Parents NEVER Lie… Much

Warm weather has set in in Virginia, and summer vacation is almost upon us. Keeping with annual tradition, tonight we blew up the inflatable kiddie pool in the back yard and prepared to fill it will chilly (FREEZING) tap water. For the second year in a row, we pulled swim diapers on the twins and tugged suits onto the squirming bodies of our three children.

Realizing I had left my camera inside again, I settled in to watch them giggle and squirm as they laughed and jumped both away and toward the water hose. Laughingly, I learned that the twins liked the water but didn’t want their suits to get wet. Why would anyone want to get water on a perfectly dry bathing suit?

Stranger still was the educational conversation I had with Maddie. It went something like this:

ME: When we go to the big pool, should you go swimming by yourself?

MADDIE: Yes!

ME: No… (Insert explanation of why she needed an adult and who counted as an adult.)

MADDIE: (jump jump jump splash jump jump) Squeal

ME: Remember, we can’t run when we’re at the big pool either. You might fall and break your head.

MADDIE: Like a zombie!

ME: (pause… consider my answer… decide to take the moral high ground and tell her the truth) Yes! Exactly like a zombie!

That’s just how we roll.

“Hello… Yeah, It’s been a While. Not much, How ‘Bout You” (AKA- I Need Your Help)

As a child in the ‘80s, I remember the above lyrics as background music to life in the town house I lived in for four years.  Mom liked the light stuff; Dad would have had something a little more Rock-n-Roll on the dinosaur sized stereo/record player.  I don’t remember who sang it, and I could look it up in a blink thanks to modern technology, but sometimes I like things to remain nostalgic.  (Bonus points, however, to anyone else who remembers hearing it on the radio.)  Needless to say, when I thought of a posting directed at an audience of those I may or may not have met, these lyrics sprang to mind and became the title for my inquiry.

As today would have it, extenuating circumstances have kept me away from work… think of it as teacher hookie.  I have an amazing idea in mind for my next post, but no time to write it as today (since I’m here anyhow) MUST be dedicated to grading.  (See above real life picture of what plagues me.)  After all, the seniors do need to know if they will graduate in two weeks or not.

In true teacher style, I have set a timer for myself… I must work for X-amount of time before I can get back to writing.  So here’s your assignment:

While I write this blog for myself (therapy) and my children (They may read it in the future… who knows?), I do really enjoy interacting with an audience.  Most of you are family and friends, and I do hope that you are enjoying a glimpse into my erratic brain!  Some of you, I am pleased to say, are people I have never met.  The fact that you are willing to read this must mean that I’m doing something well.  Hello to all!

Now the homework  I have so many ideas, and I need to know where to start.  (A blog I read yesterday aslo encouraged asking readers what they would like to see.)  Tell me what I should write about next.  Between my kids, my job, and strange memories from the past, hopefully there is something you would like to see me pontificate about.  If you don’t have a request, please do me the favor of “liking” anything you enjoy and providing tons of feedback.  Follow me if you would like.  I, like my students, thrive on positive reinforcement!  I also, someday, would like to turn blogging in to something bigger, so your constructive criticism is appreciated as well.  Feel free to leave all comments in the comment box.  Help me to be a better writer, and in return, I will try to give you all the worthless knowledge and humor I have to offer.

Thanks for the help… I will see you again soon.  You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.