children, potty training

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Broccoli of Times

It seems little T.Puzzle is showing signs that he is headed toward catching on to this potty-training business. I’m trying to find the balance of pushing him (basically calling him out on his crocodile tears) and trying not to make the potty a huge power struggle that I will ultimately lose.

He hadn’t pooped at school or into the evening. As we began our day he still had kept his pants clean. I decided to strip him of all pants and undergarments because I know this is a technique to help kids learn when they have to go. I figured we would stick around home, I would pump him full of food, put him on the potty periodically and eventually something would happen.

I had T.Puzzle sitting on the toilet for one of his periodic opportunities and I decided to fold a basket of laundry. My thinking was that if I wasn’t hovering over him, he might be more inclined to go. Once the laundry was folded, I’d let him get down from the potty and take it from there.

I’m folding up the last shirt when I hear him began to wail. He is obviously upset as he comes booking out of the bathroom.

“Broccoli came out my butt!” he cries. Tears are rolling down his sad face which only emphasizes his distress. He has a hand clenching his backside as if in disbelief.

I rush to the bathroom and see that he has actually pooped. It’s tiny. And,… it’s green. It kind of does resemble broccoli.

I try to celebrate the amazing feat of getting his first poop in the potty. All he can focus on is that is was broccoli.

As I got him ready for naptime I said, “Keep your Thomas pants clean, okay?”

“Okay,” he said.

About twenty minutes into nap he starts wailing again. This time when I see him he yells, “Broccoli came out my butt, again!”

So, am I potty-training or is T.Puzzle simply hinting that he wishes to become a vegan?

children, health


Full Speed’s frames are irreparable. New ones have been ordered and we are back to waiting. He should have his new glasses by the time he leaves for college (hopefully).

And, I took T.Puzzle to the doc to have that bulge on the side of his neck evaluated. I tried to let it go but that thing kept staring at me.

I had to take both boys so you know it was absolute insanity. There were karate moves, climbing contests and fights over the scale to see who weighed the most (Full Speed did but only by seven pounds).

The doctor was kind and efficient, not to mention extraordinarily patient. My heart stuck in my throat as I watchfully observed him examine other regions of little T.Puzzle’s body for signs of inflammation. It took maybe thirty seconds but felt like a lifetime.

T.Puzzle got the all clear for now. I was so relieved I wanted to hug the doctor. Sure, his nodes are inflammed and swollen all up and down his neck but since that’s all the doctor could find, that’s normal for now.  T.Puzzle tested negative for strep and we were sent on our way. All I have to do is keep an eye on the node (which could stay that way indefinitely), and if I don’t see any changes like in skin color and size, he should be fine.

I do what I can to keep my boys healthy and then I have to let go of the things I cannot control. This is my challenge. This is motherhood.

children, mommyhood

My Winning Strategy

Since T.Puzzle has turned three, I’ve been holding my breath for the dissipation of his terrible twos. Most Moms you talk to tell you the threes are worse but that has not been my experience. Like a fine wine (you know I had to use a wine reference) T.Puzzle’s older brother has gotten better with time. I’ve seen the same phenomenon with him. It’s groundbreaking and exciting.

However, and you know in the land of my boys there is always a ‘however’, he still likes to sass me, say ‘no!’ to just about everything, test his behavioral boundaries and throw raging (although less frequently) tantrums.

I went upstairs to inform the boys that dinner was ready. They were watching T.Puzzle’s  current favorite Thomas the Train movie, ‘Hero of the Railways’. They had not had a snack and T.Puzzle had taken a lengthy nap (hallelujah!) so I suspected they were famished.

Full Speed is game and he darts downstairs. T.Puzzle, well, he’s a different story.

“I not hungry! I not eat!” he proclaims.

I shut off the movie and tell him it’s now or never.

“I not eat! I not eat! I won’t go!” he cries. By this time angry tears are spewing from his eyeballs and he has dropped into the wet noodle formation. All caregivers are familiar with the wet noodle defense. His thirty-four pound body is now lying in a floppy heap on the floor. I have to clean and press him (I made sure to use my knees to protect my lower back) but I manage to get him off the floor and carry him all the way to the kitchen table.

He sits there in a huff. Everything Mad Dog and I offer him is, ‘I not want that. I not like that. I NOT EAT!’

Yeah, it’s getting really pleasant and fun. I’m just about to drop the hammer and send him to the corner when he picks up a piece of chicken and tentatively puts it in his mouth and begins to chew. Before you know it, he is putting the food from his plate in his mouth so quickly he looks like a robotic conveyor belt. He’s eating everything in sight. Before Mad Dog and I can even sit down to eat our own meals he’s asking for ‘MORE! MORE!’

I have always known that a good rule of thumb when raising energetic, active boys is to keep them well fed at regular intervals throughout the day. If this fails me and believe me it has, my other rule of thumb is to drink wine at regular intervals throughout the day. Either way I’m a winner.

gratitude, humor, kids, life in pictures, mommyhood

Supermarket Miracle

This was my morning. First I got T.Puzzle up and dressed. I said, “What would you like for breakfast?” I was full well anticipating an answer like ‘pancakes!’ or ‘waffles!” Instead he said, “Cupcakes with sprinkles!”

I promise you I did not give him that for breakfast. At least the cupcakes I had baked for his birthday made an impression on him. I guess I will have to Betty Crocker it out for him on future celebratory occasions. Let’s hope he outgrows his egg allergy because store bought cupcakes are a beautiful thing.

When it’s Full Speed’s turn to start the day I ask, “What would you like to wear today?” He responds, “My Santa shirt.” This confuses me. He doesn’t have a shirt with a Santa picture on it or even a holiday themed one.

“What shirt do you mean?” I ask.

“The red one I wore when I met Santa,” he explains. His tone implies that pretty much everyone on the planet except his Mom knows this. Red polo shirt it is then.

I love that in the first ten minutes of my day that my boys are so entertaining. I think that means we are off to a good start.

After T.Puzzle and I drop off Full Speed, we head to the grocery. In the past I have dedicated entire posts to his legendary meltdowns and unpredictable behavior. Today, I changed my game plan. It was risky but it paid off. I had to survey the area and make a hasty choice. On this particular weekday morning the place was dead with only a handful of staff and customers sprinkled about.

I let him out of the cart.

I know as you let that concept sink in, you have a great deal of fear and admiration for me.

He helped me pull the cart and placed (more like plunked and thunked) items in the basket. It went slowly but it went well. I even knew I had a spare fruit snack in my purse to bribe him to sit in the cart during checkout. It worked like a charm.

My morning started off as slightly humorous like any other and then it turned into a supermarket miracle. God bless us everyone!

children, kids, life in pictures, mommyhood, Uncategorized

I Spy

I am trying very hard to get my house back in order after all the visitors. This morning I was clearing floors and decided to put T.Puzzle’s new Thomas the Train track on our dining room table. Per our morning routine (as we are extremely routine oriented here), the boys were dressed, fed and had their teeth brushed. If this goes smoothly it allows time for a cartoon viewing before school. I use that time to sneak back upstairs and change out of my pajamas and occasionally focus on my personal hygiene. I do mean occasionally. When I come back downstairs what do I find but this:

Oh, well.

After the boys are dropped at school and my morning workout is complete, I take a few minutes to phone my sister. She is getting back in the routine of her everyday life and so am I. We both agreed seeing each other helped our hearts tremendously and maybe we will survive this first Christmas without our Mom after all.

I told her Mad Dog is traveling and that overall the boys and I are doing well. She told me to thank Mad Dog for all he did to make the trip to Florida happen and all the other ways that he was generous to her family. I told her I would but when he is traveling, I rarely get a chance to speak to him. He is usually incredibly busy and often times meets with colleagues for dinners out at night. I told her it’s hard sometimes to hear that he is on his way out as I am in the lonely process of shutting my house down and tucking the boys in bed for the night. She said that she understood.

“It’s probably hard to think of Mad Dog eating steak when you are at home eating chicken nuggets with the boys,” she said.

“How did you know I had chicken nuggets last night (I really did!)? Did you put cameras in my house while you were here?” I asked.

This made both of us of laugh. Of course a Mom would eat chicken nuggets. It’s just what we do.