Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bad Dog, The Continuing Saga

I came home one day ast week to the sound of my dogs running down the stairs. Immediately, I knew something was wrong, before I even opened the front door.

I should never hear the rush of Italian Greyhound feet stumbling down the stairs as if every moment is a race for which the winner gets a pile of hotdogs. They should be securely locked in their crate until I come upstairs to let them out.

I opened the door to find this.

Apparently I forgot to lock the crate when I left that morning. Stinkin' dog got into the trash can and redecorated the house for me. Grr. And there he is, with the balls (not literally, 'cause, well...ya know) to sit in the middle of the mess like, "What's the big deal? It's not like I shredded a pile of trash all over your house. Oh wait, yes it is."

Actually, I was really grateful it wasn't worse. And really grateful we're potty training so there weren't any diapers for him to destroy, as that is a disgusting past time of his.
Dumb dog.

For better or worse, though, he's my dog.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wet But Dry

What a rainy day we had today! The kind of day that generally makes us Amercians groan and say things like, "Ugh! England!"

We do get our fair share of dampness here in the Queen's country. To be honest, though, we don't get a whole lot of proper rainy days. I almost never actually bring out my umbrella (other wise known as a "buhwella" in this house.) I just suffer through the drizzliness until it dries out.

Other than the higher-than-usual raindrop count, it was a standard day. Oh! Except that Caleb had no accidents all day at school for the very first time! Yay! Even during nap time! I'm so proud of him. :)

Way to keep it dry on a very wet day, kiddo! Momma's proud of you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fight Inertia!

I think one of the hardest things for me to do is to recapture momentum.

It's such an amazing thing, momentum. Just the act of moving creating more movement. The success of one step inspiring another. There are times it feels almost effortless, whatever it is you're doing, as long as you keep the momentum.

For whatever reason, the momentum I had earlier in the year for a healthy lifestyle waned this summer. And holy smokes, it's so hard to pick it back up.

I've just been in a bit of a fitness funk and a nutrition funk, and all of that tends to add up to a less-than desirable general funk. I stare at the same ingredients in the kitchen that used to come together in yummy recipes and I just can't figure out what to do with them now. The thought of defrosting and dicing up a chicken makes me absolutely exhausted before I even begin! The idea of packing my gym bag seems daunting.

Why is this? It didn't seem like that big of a stretch just a few months ago. Sure, it was a little added work in my day, but the benefits were pretty awesome, and it wasn't like I was spending hours cooking or preparing food. The food was great, so it was worth it! Now, though, most of my meals have gone back to being frozen meals or from a box. And lemme just say: yuck.

Maybe I just need to shake things up. I feel like I'm missing the trees for the forest here. Change seems so daunting and overwhelming and exhausting. Maybe I just need to focus on one meal at a time and quit trying for a complete overhaul in one day.

In college, I read Ethan Frome in one of my many English classes. I remember having a discussion about inertia...about how things are always the same because nothing bothers to change. In the midst of this discussion, I had this epiphany about how my course work had been come just that...work. I was missing all these opportunities to learn, I was allowing all this knowledge to slip through the cracks of my brain in pursuit of a decent grade and a quick degree. Nothing was changing (as in, I wasn't actually learning) because everything was the same (homework was just a task to accomplish, not a chance to gain knowledge.)

I went home that day and wrote on a marker board above my desk, "The goal is knowledge. Fight inertia!' I wanted to remind myself daily that it wasn't about the piece of paper at the end. It was about what my brain retained at the end of the journey.

My dad sent me a picture of the board not long ago, and I couldn't help but shake my head at how often I need that reminder. Not just about knowledge, but about many aspects of life.

It's so easy to slow down and get comfortable and eventually to find yourself in a rut. It's so, SO hard to pick yourself up (or kick yourself out) of that rut. And it's even harder to work up all your dissatisfaction into actual momentum towards whatever it is you're trying to reach.

Do you ever feel like you'll spend your life learning the same lessons over and over? Yeah, that's me right now.

So I find myself in the familiar position of trying to get started all over again. I know what needs to be done. Shoot, I've done it many times before. I just need to break out the jumper cables and restart my motivation and just. get. moving.

Tomorrow is a new day. Let's try this again from the top...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Potty Training Report Card

Last week's unexpected successes with potty training were exciting, but the week that followed presented challenges. I'll spare you the soggy details, but I will say I've done a load of Caleb's laundry every other day this week to ensure he has enough changes of clothes for the next day's attempts at potty training.

So I decided to use this past weekend to refocus our potty training efforts. I figured if one weekend of potty training had brought us that far down the path do Diaper-Free Land, surely another weekend of nothing but potty training would really help to seal the deal!

Turns out, though, that two weekends of potty training make mommy crazy. ("No TV and no beer make Homer something something.")

Although Saturday was bad, Sunday, on the other hand was a great success! In fact, it was the most successful day we've had to date. No accidents! Even after nap time!

We attempted a trip out in public on Sunday for the first time during our two potty training boot camp weekends. We went to base to run a few errands. Before we left the house, I packed a bag with three changes of clothes and Caleb's new travel potty.

What' s that I hear you say? What kind of travel potty are we using? Well, I'm glad you asked. Because I freakin' love this thing.

We are using the Potette Plus by Bibs & Stuff. Here's the Potette lined up next to his frog potty (his personal favorite potty) and a potty seat he's still a little unsure of. The Potette is on the left, sans liner.

Now, to use the Potette, you also have to buy Potette liners, which are essentially small, plastic carrier shopping bags that smell like baby powder and have an absorbent pad in the bottom of the bag. Here' s the Potette with the liner in it. You can actually pull the liner all the way around the lid (and I usually do.) I suppose you could just use regular carrier bags, but that absorbent pad is nice!
Here's a peek down at the absorbent pad at the bottom of the bag. Genius little piece of material!

Once your kid has done the deed, you pull the bag off the seat, tie up the handles, and toss it in the trash! No mess to clean up! Super easy! Then you can fold the legs of the Potette flat for storage. Brilliant, right? It comes with a large plastic bag to store it in to keep it separate from whatever else you are carrying with you.

The legs can also pop out to create a little portable potty seat, too! Caleb's still a bit intimidated by big toilets, but hopefully this will help in public potty situations down the road.

Although he's still intimated by big toilets, Caleb loves having his Potette! He's used in the BX, the Commissary, the Arts & Crafts store, the vet's office, and even on the side of the A-11 during Thursday afternoon rush hour traffic. (That was just tonight!)
We're still having accidents, but he's making progress! The last two days, he's only had one accident each day at school. We've had some rough days (and nights!), but if I were to plot it on a chart, I'd say overall, we are moving in the right direction.

On Sunday, after he successfully stayed dry for our trip to base, I figured we'd venture out to our neighborhood after his nap. I took along the Potette, but he never needed it.

We brought out his scooter. He's finally figured out how to push himself along, but he can't seem to get much momentum going, so he prefers a little push.

We also brought out his tricycle. He still hasn't figured out how to pedal, so I pushed him along for a bit on that, as well. He loved it!

Caleb loves the sticker charts we've been using. He gets a little sticker for #1 and a big sticker for #2. Not too many big stickers yet (and none in this pic.) That's okay! We'll get there. (By the way, we're on chart #3 now!)

Over all, we're making progress. There are dark days where I'm tempted to put him back in a diaper and try again when he's 14, but then there are days when he does great! The laundry is never ending, but what can you do? He's a big boy, and he's demonstrated in so many ways that he's ready. I just have to remind myself to be patient and to ride it out.

Good job, big boy!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Super Caleb!

I can't get a Take That song out of my head.

Speaking of which, while flipping through channels this morning, Caleb wanted me to stop on a Take That video (Greatest Day), and he said, "I like that song." At which point I thought, Ya know, if I had a few more years, I could make this kid good and English. A football loving, beans and jacket potato eating, JLS-listening,"That's rubbish," saying English kid.

I don't have a few more years, though. I have a few more months. So I guess I'll have to settle for an American kid with English beginnings!
Oh, man. It's been a great weekend. For real.

Here's a lesson I learn over and over again. I really am only capable of being awesome at one thing at a time. I can be pretty good at a few things. I can be okay at a lot of things. But it general, I'm usually only awesome at one thing at a time. And that one thing varies.

Some weeks, I'm awesome at being Super Healthy Girl. Packing lunches, making breakfasts, planning dinners, hitting the gym. Some weeks, I'm so good at it, I should get an award. And in those week, man, the scale loves me! Unfortunately, I've never been good at maintaining momentum for those kinds of weeks beyond about 3-4 weeks. Sad, but true.

Some weeks, I'm Super Social Girl. Whether it's catching up on friend's Facebooks, or blogs, calling friends I haven't talked to in ages, having lunch or dinner with the girls, getting caught up with volunteer activities, being at all the meetings and events and parties and shindigs I can get my hands on. My mom's always called me a social butterfly. And there's a part of me that seriously thrives in this environment...for a while. Then I want to tuck my tail and run for a while.

Sometime I'm Super Mom. This is the one I enjoy being Super at the most. When it's right, it's SO right. And it's so much fun. And it's so rewarding. And so life-affirming. And when it's not right, it's so hard, and it's so exhausting and I'm battling all that stupid, useless mom guilt.

This week was not a Super Mom week. But this weekend wasn't too shabby! I won't say I rocked the casbah or anything, 'cause really, it wasn't about me. It was about Caleb. My sweet, cheeky baby became a big boy this weekend. He started using the potty! I mean, actually, really using it.

Not without accidents, of course, but by today (the second day of Potty Boot Camp Weekend), he wasn't needing urging or reminding. He was listening to his body's own cues. By tonight, he was even trying to pull down his own pants!


I'm not kidding, man. There is something magical about that sweet sentence, "Mommy, I need to go potty!" He knows! He knows ahead of time! It's coming, man, and I need to get down to business! Of course, I kept him pretty pumped full of fluids so he'd have plenty of opportunities to recognize those signs!

The past few month of struggling with him and suddenly, he gets it. Something in his brain clicked and now we're actually working on the same page!

I realize our potty training journey is far from over. Tomorrow will be the first day we try him at daycare without a diaper. No lie, I'm a little nervous -- mostly about the long drive to school. Eep! But I'm excited to see his teacher and tell him what a successful weekend we've had. I'm looking forward to passing the baton to her and hoping they have a successful week with him, too.

PROGRESS! It's an awesome thing.

So yeah, it wasn't a Super Mom week. But it was a Super Caleb weekend, and I'm super excited about that!
By the way, I know I almost never mention my other two punk kids. So let me just show a little love for Zeus and Zoey for a hot minute.
Just look at this trouble-making face. Have you ever seen a face more prone to mischief? The plates in his front left leg will argue no. Tell you what though, you can't get a better cuddler than Zeus, if you can manage to get him to calm down for a moment.
Then there's Zoey girl. The diva. The slight, small, nearly hairless alpha dog who is perpetually cold and would live under a blanket if we let her. Caleb loves to smell her ears and tell me, "They smell funky!" It's true. They do. But I love those ears!

So yes. Successful weekend. We ate like crap. We never left the house. I barely showered. But whatevs, man. My kid peed on the potty! Take that and put it in your piggy bank! I, for one, am going to go have a Brother's strawberry pear cider in celebration. Wahoo!