I went through my first year of posts to edit the boys’ names. I originally referred to them as Frick and Frack. These were the nicknames my mom gave them when they were very little. You could see how this could become confusing to a reader so I went back through and updated their names to Full Speed and T.Puzzle. There are a lot of posts in that first year that made me laugh out loud and made my heart swell with love. There are touching posts, posts about the loss of my mother and posts about how Mad Dog is always right (not really!) and as a married couple we never fight (no comment!). There are some posts I read through where I cringed and broke out in a cold sweat. It was like I was right back in it. Reliving those vivid details of some of the epic power struggles I endured with my boys (especially T.Puzzle at the onset of his terrible threes) was not for the faint of heart. After reading these I fully understand why I never felt compelled to expand my brood. However, I am deeply grateful for the two that I have. One of the biggest takeaways in terms of my parenting abilities is NEVER ASK ME HOW TO POTTY TRAIN! I failed repeatedly and miserably not once but twice. There was a point in time that I wondered if I should buy stock in Pull-Ups as I was fairly certain my boys would be wearing them FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES! Again, I could not do that again. Two is my absolute limit. I heard the Pull-Ups people were really bummed to hear that.
There were some stand-out posts and there were some where I was clearly phoning it in. However, there was one in particular that floored me. It is the one I wrote on the year anniversary of Writes for All Mommies’ inception date. Here is my favorite passage from it:
I think the biggest change for me has been coming to terms with motherhood. I think sometimes when we are unhappy with who we are, we blame our choices and our circumstances. I will admit, especially in the newborn years, I struggled with my all-consuming role as a mother. I thought that maybe if I had made some different choices, like continuing to work or if I was somehow parenting better, I would feel happier. Turns out, it wasn’t my boys or motherhood, it was me. It doesn’t matter what I accomplish outside of motherhood that determines my value, it is ultimately up to me to determine that. Whether I become a world-famous author or if all I manage is to raise two, well-adjusted boys, my value remains constant. I get that now.
From this I would like to take it one step further. What if I actually don’t have to do a thing to prove my value? What if our value is actually tied to who we are and not what we do? Is it possible my value was already locked down before I even decided to have kids or pour my heart out on my laptop keyboard?
I now know this is not only possible, it is absolute truth.
As I was getting little T.Puzzle dressed for the day, he is always curious to know what kind of character underpants he is going to wear. He is delighted when the characters are Thomas the Train related.
“Don’t peep or poop on Thomas!” he exclaims. I love that he says peep. It never fails to entertain me. I will be sad when he finally figures that one out.
Our day was action-packed as usual. We started at the sprinklers, headed out for pizza and then topped it off with Target. Mad Dog even had additional plans for our evening but I quickly nixed them. I told him I needed a break.
He then offered to take the boys to the grocery. This left me with some peace and quiet.
When my trio of men returned, Full Speed was the first one through the door.
“What kind of report am I going to get from your Dad?” I asked referencing his and little T.Puzzle’s behavior at the store.
I wanted to recap some of our spontaneous weekend adventure highlights (and lowlights) because it was certainly a memorable time. To kick-off the weekend we dined in our hotel restaurant. About 15 minutes in, little T.Puzzle, who is kicking-butt with his potty-training, announces he has to ‘POOP!’ I grab him and race through the restaurant and make it to the bathroom just in time. Upon returning to the table and after the arrival of our food, Full Speed starts acting weird. He keeps saying something is in his throat and he is extremely whiny. Then, he gets that look. It’s a look only a mom can recognize. Yep, it was the ‘he’s gonna hurl’ look. And he does. Right in the restaurant. I sensed the coming vomit early enough that I had a plastic baggie ready and manage to catch almost all of it. I leave Mad Dog with little T.Puzzle, my untouched food and the bill, scoop up Full Speed and run to our room (here I go with more running). He still looked ghastly pale so I had to pick up my pace and endure what was possibly the longest elevator ride in the history of elevator rides. When those elevator doors finally crept open, I busted out and ran full-tilt to our room where Full Speed unleashed the rest of his stomach’s contents into the toilet.
I was exhausted. Mad Dog brought my food up and once I knew Full Speed was settled, I finally had a chance to eat. Mad Dog also brought a bottle of wine because he is a brilliant, brilliant man. Things just got exponentially better from there. Mad Dog and I watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our balcony (the boys were long asleep by then), we had an awesome family day at the Magic Kingdom the following day (no more vomit, thankfully) and we even managed to catch the new Toy Story movie on our way home (the boys were absolutely riveted from start to finish).
Even though I consider the weekend a huge success, I still get frustrated at motherhood. That feeling that no matter how much I do or how much I take care of everyone, it is never enough. I’m too busy running to bathrooms with sick, puking kids who excrete an assortment of grossness from every possible orifice. I mean, how am I supposed to find ‘me’ time in the midst of all that?
However, as the boys grow and need me a little less each day, I sense my freedom and independence returning. This is a very good thing. It makes me feel more balanced and hopeful. Sometimes when you are in the thick of something like motherhood, you can’t see past the tantrums and the vomit to see what is right in front of you.
And for me, that is two of the most incredible kids on the planet.
I know most moms are all about sharing advice. What works for them, what doesn’t and what is the complete undoing of one’s sanity. From the content of this blog, it is obvious that I am clearly no parenting expert. I will save you the hassle. If you ever feel the need to ask me potty-training advice simply don’t. I care about your mental health too much.
Oh, I know little T.Puzzle is mastering this potty thing and I also know it has hardly anything to do with my assistance. He was just ready. When he was ready things started to fall into place (like in the toilet and not all over my floor).
Here is an example of my questionable parenting skills. I decided that every time little T.Puzzle poops on the potty he gets a Tinker Bell fruit snack (my boys are in a huge Tink phase; I’m guessing it’s her teeny, tiny skirt and not her magical abilities). Now this poor kid is trying to poop like 20 times a day to get more fruit snacks. I’m worried for him. He looks like he might pop a blood vessel in his forehead while attempting to gain his reward.
For potty training advice, clearly I’m not your gal. And frankly anything else I have to say that is mommy-related is a real crapshoot.
These are going to be some of my good memories of the summer of 2010:
When Full Speed woke up this morning he put his hand over his chest and said, “Mom, I can feel my heart beeping!” He was so cute he made my heart skip a ‘beep’.
Little T.Puzzle has pooped on the potty three days in a row. He may actually be fully potty-trained some day. What will a diaperless existence be like? Even though I’ve never been, I’m guessing it will be like nirvana.
These things may seem insignificant. In my world they are everything. I’m glad you are sharing the ride. Thanks for reading.