July 8, 2008

Meeting Bloggers can be dangerous to your kid’s health

Over the years, blogging has brought many cool perks. I’ve been able to drive a car from Ford, I’ve received countless books, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to Sea World. But the coolest perk of blogging is that I have been able to meet and connect with people that I probably never would have met otherwise.

For instance, this past weekend, my family was able to meet up with Deanna from Deanna’s Corner and her lovely family. Deanna and I have been following each other on our blogs for as long as I can remember and I can’t think of a nicer person or a nicer family. I love peeking into the lives of her two little ones, Ane and Tad.

We all met at the zoo and within seconds Ane, who is four and a half, grabbed onto Swee’Pea and declared themselves friends. Swee’Pea’s not one to argue much so she went along fine.

Before long, we were off checking out flamingos and monkeys before lunch. Everyone wanted to get as close a look as possible.

Not everything was hunky dory, however. As we prepared to sit down in an outdoor eating area, we realized that Ane and TheMonk were nowhere to be found. Ane’s dad, The Webmaster, and I quickly went and searched for them. We found Ane fairly quickly as zoo staff had found her and were already calling security. TheMonk, however, was nowhere to be found. After frantically searching for him and calling out his name, a family noticed me and told me they saw my son walking up the walkway to the front with “an Asian lady.” I took off at a dead sprint in the direction they pointed me to. I haven’t run that fast in a while and it was all uphill. Luckily, as I turned the corner on the last section before the entrance to the zoo, I saw TheMonk holding the hand of a zoo employee. It turns out the “Asian lady” was a zoo employee taking TheMonk to security. As I called out his name, TheMonk turned to me with tear-stained cheeks and bolted right at me and as I scooped him up he clung fiercely to my neck as I smothered him with kisses.

Now that all was right with the world, I carried TheMonk back to the eating area where a very worried Mommy was waiting with Swee’Pea. We scolded each other for not watching TheMonk more closely in a crowded area. I tried to blame Ane, but my virtuous wife insisted that we couldn’t blame a four year old for leading our son astray. *Hmph* Maybe not, but I don’t recommend the girl as a baby sitter for those of you living in the great Northwest.

That small hiccup aside, we all had a great time getting to know each other. I couldn’t stop calling Ane and Tad (their blog name) Ane and Tad, even though I KNOW their real names. It’s a slippery slope when the blog world collides with the real world, I tell you. But I’m so glad these worlds did collide. Deanna has been a great blog friend. She sent us our Curious George videos when PBS briefly lost their minds and substituted Barney for our favorite show. She regularly makes a contribution to my Y and it was long overdue that we finally go to meet.

Next time, we’ll have to come to Seattle.

The kids had fun chasing fish at the Pygmy Hippo exhibit.

Deanna and my ugly mug.

Go and visit Deanna! Tell her I sent you!

July 5, 2008

Potty Time, Excellent!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all parents are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of a potty trained child.

It’s a little known fact that this was the original wording of the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson penned over 230 years ago. Apparently, the other dads delegates decided that it was too specific and only covered those who were parents. So, Jefferson changed it and decided it was best to leave the potty training to his slaves.

Fast forward 232 years later and another attempt at freedom was attempted in the United States. While on a much smaller scale, it was no less important for those directly affected by the tyranny of twin toddlers. Mainly, me and my wife. So, in a symbolic gesture to the shedding of the shackles of tyranny that our forefathers declared on July 4, 1776, the Childsplayx2 family declared our freedom from buying diapers in bulk.

That’s right, we potty trained on the Fourth of July.

But first, we prepared. We bought the book Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day which boiled down to these basic tenets

  1. Make sure your kids are ready.
  2. Have your children teach a doll how to poop and pee while watching potty training videos.
  3. Throw the mother of all parties while forcing large amounts of fluids down their throats.
  4. Have them try to go to the potty at least four times an hour and bribe them with small stuff every time they try.
  5. Wrap a bunch of gifts and let the child know they will get a present if they actually pee or poop in the potty.
  6. Because even three-year-olds are materialistic, they will do anything for a 99 cent toy.

Now, the book is written for those odd families that choose to have one kid at a time. You know, the slackers. All I have to say is, you try potty training both a BOY and a GIRL in the same day. In our case, it took us two days.

And, let the record show, that after a full day of trying on Friday, the 4th, no one had actually gone pee in the potty. The had, however, gone pee on the living room floor, the den floor, the kitchen floor, halfway on the kitchen floor and halfway on the living room floor, halfway on the kitchen floor and halfway on the den floor and on the bathroom floor. It wasn’t pretty. The only good thing was that we could tell that both knew when they had to go potty, they just decided to go somewhere else and no amount of cheap toys were going to change their mind.

In fact, the potty training video we chose (“Elmo Takes A Dump” or something like that), kept saying that “accidents are okay.” That became Swee’Pea’s and TheMonk’s mantra every time they stood in their own urine. “Elmo says accidents are okay!” they’d say with their hands out to their sides. After hearing that so many times in a two day span, Elmo could kiss my potty trained butt, if you know what I mean.

Furthermore, the record must reflect that on Saturday morning, July 5th, after eating a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes and lots and lots of juice, TheMonk decided he really wanted that 88 cent green recorder from Wal-Mart. After a few minutes of talking about our “private parts”, TheMonk peed in the potty!

It would have been extremely exciting but some of the celebration was muted by the fact that Swee’Pea decided (in a bit of sibling jealousy, perhaps?) to pee on the kitchen floor while TheMonk was still on the pot. However, it was poetic justice that TheMonk peed first. Considering that Swee’Pea walked first, talked first, and generally does everything first, it was nice to see TheMonk do something first for a change. In fact, I didn’t realize how badly he wanted it until Friday when he told me that “I’m winning, Daddy” when he tried to pee (he wasn’t winning, but whatever gets him motivated) and then told both Mommy and Daddy before going to bed on Friday night that he was going to pee first. Seems TheMonk was determined to finish first in something.

Swee’Pea seemed a little frightened about actually going pee in the potty. She loved the M&Ms she got for trying and loved to sit on the pot but would often get off the pot and then, moments later, pee on the floor. After much reassurance and some timely potty sitting (she couldn’t hold it anymore and finally had to pee while sitting on the potty) she too was awarded her first toy of the day late Saturday afternoon.

So, all in all, the day ended well. Swee’Pea went pee in the potty twice while TheMonk went at least five times. In fact, TheMonk got so good at sitting on the pot, that he adopted some of his old man’s style of taking care of business…

I am so, so proud.

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