7 Quick Takes About Miraculous Twins, Being a Crazy Stalker, and Other Stuff

Linking up with Conversion Diary, and actually making it on Friday this week.

1. Last weekend was Miss’s first piano recital. DSC_0115 Doesn’t she look so tiny?? Her song was about ten seconds long, and I was nearly in tears when she was done, it was so cute. DSC_0117 She went up in front of the audience like she owned the place. DSC_0118-2 She was thrilled to play in front of a crowd. I had no idea she could be so cool under pressure.

2. Last weekend we also potty trained Sis. DSC_0112 I like to use this 3-Day Potty Training method, which is horrid for three days and then awesome forever (except for a few days after I did the program with Miss, which were far, far from awesome).

It’s very strange to no longer be changing diapers! DSC_0132-2 3. Lass had her first haircut on Wednesday. Just as it was with Miss, her first cut came at 3.5 years old. She was so excited. IMG_3097 And I am so mad at myself because I forgot to save a snip of it. IMG_3099 All that beautiful hair, and I didn’t save any of it. I just want to cry every time I think about it. But she loves her haircut and has no idea that I messed up. Hopefully she won’t hate me when she’s 15 and realizes I saved hair from her sisters’ first haircuts but forgot hers. Or rather, hopefully she won’t hate me for that.

4. When we first got to the salon and the girls were climbing in the chairs to get started (Miss got her second haircut at the same time, so you can see they’ll be going for haircuts about as often as I do), I had an interesting exchange with the woman cutting Lass’s hair:

Her – “How old are they?”

Me – pointing at Lass, “She’s three,” and pointing at Miss, “and she’s five.”

Her – eyes bugging out, “Are they twins?

Me – blinking. . . “Uh. Nooo?”

Her – “Woooowwww.”

I get asked all the time if they’re twins. But never quite like that.

An “After” photo of my not-twins: IMG_3101 IMG_3102 5. It’s not uncommon for me to run into Super Friend when I’m out and about on any given day. We live in a not-huge town and we go to all the same places. The grocery store. The Catholic store. Target. We always laugh when we see each other as if it’s soooo craaaaazy that we’re running into each other again.

It was much the same thing on Tuesday when I pulled into the Target parking lot and saw her car there. I texted her real quick “Are you at Target???” She replied something like, “Yes! At Starbucks” (I’d like to take a moment to interject how amazing it is that there is a Starbucks in our Target store. Marketing genius, is what that is).

So I hopped out of my car and chuckled to myself all the way into the store, where I walked in to see her standing right near the entrance (since that’s where the Starbucks is). I laughed and said, “I swear, I’m not following you!” in cheesy reference to the fact that I had just seen her at the grocery store the day before.

Unfortunately I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings when I said this and was oblivious to the fact that my crazy-stalker-lady comment scared the crap out of the woman walking right in front of me. She jumped and looked quickly over her shoulder with an expression of terror, made worse by the fact that Super Friend and I were cracking up laughing at my stupidity. So then I said, “Oh, I’m not following you either!” as the woman rushed into the store to get far, far away from me. I hope she got a laugh out of it once the initial horror was gone. Maybe?

6. I recently bought the book “Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year”  by Haley and Daniel Stewart to help me in my attempts at teaching my girls about the liturgical year and celebrating it as a family. It’s a wonderful book, and is full of delicious-looking (haven’t had a chance to make any of them yet) recipes for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter seasons, as well as for many saints’  feast days.

So with the book you can read about a saint and make a meal that somehow represents that saint’s story (mostly by being a dish from the place where the saint lived, I think, though I haven’t looked through the whole book yet) on the saint’s feast day. History, religion, geography, and dinner, all in one! The book has lots of saints in it that I have never heard of, and recipes for foods I’ve never tried, so I can’t wait to make some of the dishes.

7. “Feast!” does not have a recipe for commemorating St. Rita’s feast day, which was yesterday. You may remember that St. Rita is the patroness of impossible cases, and I chose hers as my confirmation name.

So I took inspiration from the book and found my own recipe to celebrate her day. St. Rita is from Cascia, Italy, and I found a recipe for “Lentils with Sausages in the Style of Cascia” in this cookbook.

I cooked lentils once, a looong time ago, and they were awful. I didn’t get the texture right, and they had no flavor. At that time I told my husband that I would never, ever cook lentils again, but I couldn’t find any other traditional Cascian dishes, so I went for it anyway. Never say never, right? He actually remembered me saying that, and mentioned it to me yesterday.

Thankfully, this time the lentils were much better. DSC_0140 These actually had very good flavor, and I think the texture was how lentils are supposed to be. I realized that I just don’t much like lentils, because their texture isn’t appealing to me. But this dish was pretty good. As my husband said, “Edible lentils! That’s an improvement.”

Also to celebrate St. Rita’s day the girls watched this video, we colored a picture of her, we looked up Italy on our world map, and we made a bee craft, since my girls were especially interested in the part of St. Rita’s story involving the bees. It was a great way to celebrate a special feast day, though maybe next year I’ll search harder for different recipe from Cascia, sans lentils.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and for more quick takes, check out Conversion Diary.

Please, No Prison Riot References This Time

This girl is now potty trained.

She was fantastic throughout the 3-day process.  Today she didn’t have even one accident.  She totally rocked it. The biggest difficulty she’s had these past few days has been with false alarms.  I’m not sure if she was just worried about having an accident or still a little confused about her signals for “time to go!”  It was probably a little of both.  An example: Tonight she was sitting on my lap while watching a movie.  She let out a big toot, stood up, looked at me, and said with a big smile, “I just poop on you Mama!”  I tried not to laugh.  For about a tenth of a second.  She just smiled bigger as my mom and I cracked up and I tried to catch my breath to explain to her that she had not, in fact, pooped on me.

Whatever.  She had fewer false alarms today than yesterday.  She gets it.

It was seriously awesome to do the potty training thing with my parents here.  My dad cooked dinners, making it possible for me to hover around Lass at all times, saying repeatedly, “Make sure you tell Mommy if you have to go potty, okay?” and for us to still eat good food.  My mom totally covered things with the other two.

This little one got handed off to Grandma many times while I ran with her sister to the bathroom.  She took it in stride.

Hopefully, the great results will continue.  The 3-day program I use is tiring, but if you’ve been reading here for a while, you might remember that my real trouble with potty training Miss occurred during the week after the initial training was done.  In fact, in writing about an especially difficult day that week, I referenced what I had learned about handling a riot while working in a federal prison.  You know things are tough when you’re comparing dealing with your toddler with handling a prison riot.

Let’s just say I am fervently hoping I do not have any type of repeat of that experience this week.

In other news, my husband is coming home tomorrow night.  He will probably be very dirty and possibly quite smelly after more than a week out in the woods.  I don’t care.  I. Can’t. Wait.

Reload

As I’m adjusting to life as a mommy of three, I am finding I have not been blogging as much as I’d like. I intend to get better about this.  But in the meantime, I might “reload” a old favorite post here and there just to keep from going too long without posting.  Here’s an oldie but a goodie from the first days of Miss’s potty training.  I still cringe a bit when I read this one…
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When I started as a prison psychologist, I had to go to the same two-week training that the federal government makes all correctional workers go through. Among other things, I learned self defense, spent a lot of time on the firing range, had physical fitness tests, and learned lots about how to prevent and handle a “major disturbance,” which is prison staff lingo for a riot. I remember one instructor saying something like, “We have the control in our institutions because the inmates let us have control. There are way more of them than us, and they could take control at any time. We will always get it back, but don’t forget that they could take it.” I heard this idea several times in various trainings I went to over the years. I think the purpose of saying this was to stress to us that our control was fragile and we needed to exert it with respect, lest our residents decide they weren’t gonna take it anymore.
Fast forward seven-ish years to a day in the life of me, The Mom, the one with the “control,” and Miss, The Toddler, the one who generally goes along and lets me have control because life flows better that way. The one who decided yesterday that she wasn’t gonna take it anymore and went into all out riot mode. Yes folks. My 2’7″, 26-pound 2 year old brought me to my knees yesterday.
Remember my post from the other day when I said potty training was going so well? Remember how I said I firmly believe you can’t force a child to go to the bathroom? Well. My daughter firmly proved me right yesterday. And I never even tried to force her to go to the bathroom. I just tried to get her to not go on the floor. Or on her little chair in her room. Or on the couch. Yesterday was not my best day as Mommy, and Miss decided to seize control of things by controlling what she could – her bladder. Yes, potty training worked very well. Miss does know when she has to go and she is able to tell me. She had been doing this very well all week. One thing she had not been doing at all was napping. So after five days without a nap, we were both tired and a bit frayed. She had an accident yesterday because she did not tell me she had to go. Throughout the entire training process up to that point I had been super positive and upbeat, even with accidents. “Next time just make sure you tell Mommy when you have to go so we can keep those underwear dry, okay?” Well, yesterday I had a not-so-wonderful Mommy Moment and I scolded her for her accident. Nothing too awful, but I definitely used a stern voice and told her that she was supposed to tell me when she had to go and not pee-pee on the floor. I think I gave an exasperated sigh or two. I did manage to regroup fairly quickly and then in my more upbeat voice repeat the usual reminder to tell me when she has to go the next time. But apparently she was not all that forgiving of my moment of testiness. From that point forward, she was in control and letting me know it. She refused to go to the bathroom when I took her in to let her try. I never pushed the issue, but did try to get her to go a few times in an attempt to stop the madness that had begun. She wouldn’t even sit when I’d take her into the bathroom, but then would go moments later in a less favorable spot. She wasn’t giving an inch. Suffice it to say, she had many accidents throughout the afternoon. I was trying so hard not to get into a power struggle with her, which was ironic, given that I had absolutely no power with this issue at all.



Things did improve somewhat right before bed, but by that time I was a wreck. I was berating myself for being the most horrible mother ever, and thinking I had ruined all the hard work we had done on the potty training by scolding her and that I had perhaps scarred her for life as all sorts of Freudian theories came to mind. And yes, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Just ask my mom, who I called near tears while chugging a glass of wine within minutes of putting Miss to bed. Or my husband who wasn’t able to get home until late last night and came in to find me grumpy and tearful and asking him to go get me ice cream (he did).
Of course, at the end of the day, when your toddler takes you down, you just have to get back up. By the time I went to bed, with the help of my husband, my mom, some wine, and some ice cream, I was feeling much better. I went to bed hopeful that yesterday would just be a bump in the road and that today would be a huge improvement. And of course it was. Miss had only one accident. She was happy to go on her potty and glowed at the praise she received. I was going to leave her with our babysitter so I could go grocery shopping this afternoon. I desperately needed to get some groceries and had wanted to go yesterday after her non-nap, but she refused to go to the bathroom, and I wasn’t willing to take her out in public with a full bladder with the way things were going yesterday. So today I thought I’d just avoid any problems and let her stay with our babysitter, whom she loves. But as I was getting ready to go she said, “I want to go store too. Pwease Mommy. I not get my pants all wet.” Well, that just melted my heart and so of course I let her come along. We had a great time. And when we got back, wonder of wonders, Miss finally took a nap! Oh halle-freaking-lujiah!!! All the world looks so much brighter on this side of a nap.



There are days when being a Mom just kicks the crap out of you. I really believe that there isn’t any more important job. Therefore, when things don’t go right, when I screw up, my feelings of inadequacy and guilt are greatly magnified. I question myself and feel like a failure. No one can make a mother of a two-year-old feel more impotent than that two-year-old. But amazingly, even when she is being a stinker and I’m at the end of my rope, the girl is sweet and loving and brightens my world. Just when I feel like I want to go crawl under my covers and stay there, she will say something like this comment from yesterday, “Lass so sweet, Lass so cute,” and then when I ask her if she’s cute say, “No, I not cute. I pwetty.” My girls make me laugh. They make me smile. They make my heart swell until it feels like it’s going to burst. Sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out. Always they make me want to be a better Mom. Even yesterday. Hell, especially yesterday! I’m not perfect, and sometimes I totally suck at this Mom thing, but in the words of that instructor, I “always get it back.” I guess that’s just what moms do. We do our best for our kids and sometimes we totally lose it. But we always get it back. 
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I hope to be back soon with a fresh post and some new photos!

I’m Getting Up Now

When I started as a prison psychologist, I had to go to the same two-week training that the federal government makes all correctional workers go through. Among other things, I learned self defense, spent a lot of time on the firing range, had physical fitness tests, and learned lots about how to prevent and handle a “major disturbance,” which is prison staff lingo for a riot. I remember one instructor saying something like, “We have the control in our institutions because the inmates let us have control. There are way more of them than us, and they could take control at any time. We will always get it back, but don’t forget that they could take it.” I heard this idea several times in various trainings I went to over the years. I think the purpose of saying this was to stress to us that our control was fragile and we needed to exert it with respect, lest our residents decide they weren’t gonna take it anymore.

Fast forward seven-ish years to a day in the life of me, The Mom, the one with the “control,” and Miss, The Toddler, the one who generally goes along and lets me have control because life flows better that way. The one who decided yesterday that she wasn’t gonna take it anymore and went into all out riot mode. Yes folks. My 2’7″, 26-pound 2 year old brought me to my knees yesterday.
Remember my post from the other day when I said potty training was going so well? Remember how I said I firmly believe you can’t force a child to go to the bathroom? Well. My daughter firmly proved me right yesterday. And I never even tried to force her to go to the bathroom. I just tried to get her to not go on the floor. Or on her little chair in her room. Or on the couch. Yesterday was not my best day as Mommy, and Miss decided to seize control of things by controlling what she could – her bladder. Yes, potty training worked very well. Miss does know when she has to go and she is able to tell me. She had been doing this very well all week. One thing she had not been doing at all was napping. So after five days without a nap, we were both tired and a bit frayed. She had an accident yesterday because she did not tell me she had to go. Throughout the entire training process up to that point I had been super positive and upbeat, even with accidents. “Next time just make sure you tell Mommy when you have to go so we can keep those underwear dry, okay?” Well, yesterday I had a not-so-wonderful Mommy Moment and I scolded her for her accident. Nothing too awful, but I definitely used a stern voice and told her that she was supposed to tell me when she had to go and not pee-pee on the floor. I think I gave an exasperated sigh or two. I did manage to regroup fairly quickly and then in my more upbeat voice repeat the usual reminder to tell me when she has to go the next time. But apparently she was not all that forgiving of my moment of testiness. From that point forward, she was in control and letting me know it. She refused to go to the bathroom when I took her in to let her try. I never pushed the issue, but did try to get her to go a few times in an attempt to stop the madness that had begun. She wouldn’t even sit when I’d take her into the bathroom, but then would go moments later in a less favorable spot. She wasn’t giving an inch. Suffice it to say, she had many accidents throughout the afternoon. I was trying so hard not to get into a power struggle with her, which was ironic, given that I had absolutely no power with this issue at all.



Things did improve somewhat right before bed, but by that time I was a wreck. I was berating myself for being the most horrible mother ever, and thinking I had ruined all the hard work we had done on the potty training by scolding her and that I had perhaps scarred her for life as all sorts of Freudian theories came to mind. And yes, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Just ask my mom, who I called near tears while chugging a glass of wine within minutes of putting Miss to bed. Or my husband who wasn’t able to get home until late last night and came in to find me grumpy and tearful and asking him to go get me ice cream (he did).
Of course, at the end of the day, when your toddler takes you down, you just have to get back up. By the time I went to bed, with the help of my husband, my mom, some wine, and some ice cream, I was feeling much better. I went to bed hopeful that yesterday would just be a bump in the road and that today would be a huge improvement. And of course it was. Miss had only one accident. She was happy to go on her potty and glowed at the praise she received. I was going to leave her with our babysitter so I could go grocery shopping this afternoon. I desperately needed to get some groceries and had wanted to go yesterday after her non-nap, but she refused to go to the bathroom, and I wasn’t willing to take her out in public with a full bladder with the way things were going yesterday. So today I thought I’d just avoid any problems and let her stay with our babysitter, whom she loves. But as I was getting ready to go she said, “I want to go store too. Pwease Mommy. I not get my pants all wet.” Well, that just melted my heart and so of course I let her come along. We had a great time. And when we got back, wonder of wonders, Miss finally took a nap! Oh halle-freaking-lujiah!!! All the world looks so much brighter on this side of a nap.



There are days when being a Mom just kicks the crap out of you. I really believe that there isn’t any more important job. Therefore, when things don’t go right, when I screw up, my feelings of inadequacy and guilt are greatly magnified. I question myself and feel like a failure. No one can make a mother of a two-year-old feel more impotent than that two-year-old. But amazingly, even when she is being a stinker and I’m at the end of my rope, the girl is sweet and loving and brightens my world. Just when I feel like I want to go crawl under my covers and stay there, she will say something like this comment from yesterday, “Lass so sweet, Lass so cute,” and then when I ask her if she’s cute say, “No, I not cute. I pwetty.” My girls make me laugh. They make me smile. They make my heart swell until it feels like it’s going to burst. Sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out. Always they make me want to be a better Mom. Even yesterday. Hell, especially yesterday! I’m not perfect, and sometimes I totally suck at this Mom thing, but in the words of that instructor, I “always get it back.” I guess that’s just what moms do. We do our best for our kids and sometimes we totally lose it. But we always get it back.

Day 3 – We’ve Come a Long Way Big Girl

Potty training can be tough!!

Today was Day 3 of the 3-Day Potty Training Method. We had a few ups and downs. But over all, definitely much forward progress. Miss seems to have gotten the hang of telling us when she needs to pee, though we had a minor set back today when I had put her down for her nap and she called out that she needed to pee but I didn’t hear her, so she wet the bed. And with less opportunity for practice, we’re still working on completely getting to the potty in time for #2. But in general, I say the program was a success. From starting on day 1 with frequent accidents,

to consistently staying dry by the end of day two,
to weathering a setback today and finally making some progress on the poop factor (she held it all through the first two days!),
I’m very happy with the result of all our hard work this weekend. I would do a little dance if I weren’t so tired.
Why am I so tired you ask? Well, in addition to the focused nature of this potty training program, which is surprisingly exhausting and will be discussed further below, we did have wet sheets last night when I checked on Miss around 3 am. I got her up, changed her, peeled off the wet sheet and waterproof mattress pad, took her to pee, and she went right back to bed. She was amazingly sweet throughout the process too. Unfortunately, when I brought the sheets down to put them in the washer, I found that my old dog had decided that I hadn’t cleaned up enough pee these past few days, so she peed on the floor in the kitchen. And pooped just for good measure. By the time I got back to bed it was after 4, and just as I was finally getting back to sleep, Lass made her presence known by yelling a few times before peacefully and quickly going back to sleep (her, not me). But then what would motherhood be without lots of pee and poop and lack of sleep???
Small price to pay for moments like this
Lass was an absolute angel this weekend. In spite of being unceremoniously plopped down a few times so I could run her sister to the bathroom, and even once or twice being yanked off the boob while nursing for the same purpose (this mostly occurred on Friday when the peeing was frequent and the hubby was absent), she maintained her sunny disposition. She used the time to practice her mobility, which is increasing more and more every day.
And of course she managed to be adorable even though the poor girl never even got changed out of jammies most of the weekend (I didn’t either for that matter).

I think there are lots of 3-day or 4-day or “Boot Camp” potty training methods out there. I honestly didn’t research all of them because the one I chose to use was recommended to me independently by two different, trusted mom friends. Plus several other friends, who got the same recommendation and have older kids, have already tried it with success. And after reading through all the strategies in this program, it just made sense to me. I don’t want to go into explaining all the strategies of a copyrighted program, but I do want to share why this program seemed a good fit to me. It doesn’t involve making your child sit on the potty for long periods of time. In fact, the mom who developed this program insists your should never make your child sit for a long time on the potty. She says you should never make them sit at all. Her strategy pretty much takes all the power struggle out of potty training, and that had a great deal of appeal to me. I am a firm believer that there are two things that you can not make a child do, though many parents seem to try to make their children do them. You can’t make your child eat, and you can’t make your child go to the bathroom. You can make a child sit at the dinner table. You can make a child sit on the potty. I’m personally not a fan of either of these things, so I love that with this potty training method, you are actually encouraged not to make your child spend time on the potty. Among other good points of this method, this was one of my favorites. Now don’t get me wrong. I know there are tons of different ways to potty train a child. And short of a method that involves berating a child and telling her she is bad or dirty for having an accident or not going in the potty or whatever, I don’t think any of them are wrong. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and all eventually result in a child who learns to go to the bathroom on the toilet.
So what’s the verdict with this strategy? Although I can’t say Miss is 100% “potty trained” in 3 days, I will say she’s got the idea and I am not worried about going to music class tomorrow without putting a diaper or a pull up on her. I feel quite confident we will have very few pee accidents during waking hours, and that consistent pooping in the potty is only a few more tries away. And I’m confident that consistently staying dry at naptime and bedtime will occur soon.
The pros of this method?
As mentioned above, no forcing long or frequent periods of sitting on the potty “trying” to go.
No coercion or bribing. Though I did give Miss rewards (stickers, sometimes a yogurt covered pretzel, a small prize the first time she got poop in the potty), I generally didn’t tell her “if you go, you’ll get XYZ.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the practice of explicitly offering a reward for compliance, I just don’t love doing it myself, especially in this type of process.
No pullups or training pants.
Success in a very short time, even if it isn’t necessarily completely done in 3 days.
It helped Miss learn pretty rapidly to identify for herself, and to tell me, when she has to go.
Zero power struggles.
Strong focus on positive reinforcement and even staying positive and upbeat when accidents happen.
I spent a lot of quality time with Miss this weekend. I mean a lot.
Cons of this method:
It is very time and energy intensive for at least three days. You cannot leave the house. You can’t really do much of anything but stay by your child’s side and remind her to tell you when she has to go (of course while playing or otherwise interacting positively with her). Over and over and over and over. . .
That’s really the only con.
So overall, I would highly recommend this method of potty training. It is working for us. I’d do it again. Now to bed. . .

Three Day Potty Training – Day Two

We are potty training this weekend. No pull-ups. Not even at night. Miss threw away her leftover diapers at the start of day 1. We’re using this 3-Day Potty Training Method and it’s working like a charm. I selected this method for several reasons. One is that I know several people who have used it successfully. Two is that it doesn’t drag out the process of potty training. Three is that is makes sense to me. I could go more into detail about why I like this method, but it is a pretty intense, focused potty training strategy that has left this momma pretty tired after two full days of hovering over my two-year old, saying over and over and over “Make sure you tell Mommy if you have to go pee-pee or poo-poo okay?” So I’m too tired to do a lengthy post tonight.
I’ll just say for now that we started with many accidents and mad dashes to the potty. But today we had no accidents except a little dribbling when Daddy didn’t quite get Miss to the potty in time. She even had a couple of times when she told me she had to go in time to keep her underwear totally dry. We have had dry underwear after naps on both days, and this child who has been such a heavy wetter at night and has never woken up with a dry diaper made it through the night with only slightly wet underwear this morning. I went in to check on her at about 3 am, fully expecting to have to change her jammies and sheets (or peel off the top layer of my two-waterproof-layer-sheet system),and she was dry then. So I’m happy with the strategy we’ve chosen to use. I’m thrilled with my girl who just gets it. Here is an amazing video of my amazing girl (in her big-girl underwear) dancing with her shadow. I couldn’t stop watching this.