Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ode to Potty-Training in My House

Alex potty-trained himself this week. No big deal, just hops up there and does his thing. I don't know what clicked in his head (he's 3 1/2), but it did. He gives a big grin and an exaggerated thumbs-up and off he goes.

And now I understand the snotty potty-training parents/experts. If all I ever had was this experience, I would be definitely bragging to my friends about 'how EASY boys are' and 'how MINE never had any problems' and 'have you tried the floating Cheerios?', etc. ad nauseum. The only thing I can point to is that last Sunday morning, the church nursery ran out of size 5s, and he was HORRIBLY offended by the pink pullups. Maybe he thought that was the punishment for big boys who 'didn't get it.' Hence the move from blank stares to success. Who knows? But let me tell you, I had KATHRYN first. The following is a gritty mommy tale, with TMI. Read at your own risk... ;o)

Kathryn, the dear (spoken sarcastically), was petrified of potties, petrified of going 'poo', scared to death of everything. She was afraid of the kiddy chair, the unfolding adjustment thingie for the big potty, the hole in the potty, flushing, sitting... did I mention EVERYTHING?! She would hold everything, giving new meaning (and true meaning) to the word anal-retentive in my mind. Suppositories were a necessity once or twice a week, accompanied by screaming, shrieking, pain and agony. She once held one of those for 3 hours! I tried everything, read everything. We bought her favorite candies (skittles) and toys- she was sooo excited. But when she realized effort on the potty was involved, she never asked for or looked at them again. They sat forlornly on the counter for weeks; she never snuck any and even asked about them. Sigh... Note to all incredibly frustrated mommies: don't shoot yourself in the foot.

I'm probably going to get hate mail on this story. (Disclaimer: I NEVER say, "Come on, kids, I'm going to leave you." I think threatening children with abandonment to get obedience is akin to cruel and unusual punishment. Children should come because you say come. So the following incident was birthed on a rough day, and will be forgiven by all tired parents, no doubt.)

I had stepped into the bathroom and closed the door. I was doing what we all must do, when Kathryn yells through the door in a panicked tone(age 2 1/2), "Don't flush yourself, Mommy!" I have at this point heard that sincere warning approximately 15 gazillion times. Did I mention I'm tired? For some reason, I flushed the toilet, gave a fading shriek and fell silent. "Mommy?! Mommy?!" Revenge accomplishes nothing; that little trick set us back for MONTHS AND MONTHS. Thank goodness she doesn't remember this ;o)

All this reminiscing to say "Thank God for an easy one!" and if you're in the middle of potty-training purgatory, it's probably NOT because you've overlooked the guaranteed perfect method. Give yourself a break. They all figure this out before their first date. They're all different, and this, too, shall "pass"! Leaving the computer to burn all diaper coupons... wahoo!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

May I Just Go Back To Bed??

Every morning I spring from my bed, a big grin on my face and rush downstairs (who needs coffee?!) and begin my morning calisthenics ("exercise" sounds sooo crass). Of course, I don't sweat, I glisten. With a smile. Everyday. Right. If you believed any of that, I've got a bridge to sell. The truth is I've been exercising for years and years. I despised P.E. as a child. I was only ever good at one game in gym- dodgeball. And just at dodging. So I had ZERO ability to throw the ball back at my opponent. I just dodged around until the inevitable happened. Then in high school I got into aerobics. My mother was a heavyset teenager, so I had lots of maternal (shhh...pressure) to suck my stomach in, to be active. I know she just wanted me to avoid the pain she had endured for years. The other reason I started to workout was physiological. I have a tummy issue that thrives on being sedentary. So it's pretty much exercise or else! Which would you rather, a series of hospitalizations or a little sweat? Yeah- some choice...

All that to say, I'm almost 30 and I've been doing this for YEARS. Why is it I still hate it? Why is it the only thing that keeps me going is a fear of hospitals and a desire to burn off that extra cookie? At some point, doesn't self-discipline become pleasurable? Evidently not for me. It takes about 30 minutes of good, hard, old-fashioned work for the endorphins (those feel-good hormones) to kick in and then I'm smiling. Do you know how long 30 minutes is to a MOM?! Whine, whine, whine, whine....

I think a lot of life is like this. Kathryn asks me a lot if we can do something NEW- something we've never done before. She craves new experiences, and I try to coordinate interesting days for her. But that being said, life is rarely new experiences. No matter how beautiful the house may look at Minute 1; at Minute 1.3 there will no doubt be another thing to redo. Ever calculated how many loads of laundry you will do in your life? OK, don't! (I did!) Life is about living the ordinary, the repetitive, the mundane with excellence. When Kathryn asks me why I exercise, I say, "So I will be a strong, healthy mama." And that's why we do what we do- because we love each other. The joy in the day comes from the growth in our relationships and feeling His pleasure as we work for Him. Or work-out. Time to break that sweat. :o)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Sorrow of Soraya M.

I rarely cry over a movie. And I NEVER blog about them. But I watched a DVD so gripping that I wept in the shower and I simply MUST share.

The Stoning of Soraya M. is set in 1980's Sharia-law Iran and is based on a true story. Soraya, on trumped-up charges, is stoned to allow her husband to marry a fourteen year old child. The film is rated R for the stoning scene alone, which I could not watch in its entirety.

A deep pervading sorrow rushed through me as they buried this woman, hands bound, waist deep in sand. I really don't want to describe it as it's so depressing.

Let me just say, I was furious with those who claim Christianity is oppressive to women. Just a cursory read of scripture shows a Christ who elevated women to a status previously unheard of. We are presented as treasures, to be loved sacrificially, to be honored. To be respected by our children. Christianity is unique among the religions of the world in this regard.

Also, I was filled with gratitude that I and my daughter and my mother and my sister live in this amazing country. Full of flaws, yes. But based on Judeo-Christian values and law. Sharia law is something we must never allow in this great country of ours as they have in Europe. Years ago, my mother's mother lived with the tragic knowledge that her unsaved husband had a mistress. But she was never dragged out into the road and stoned, so he could be remarried.

As I cried over Soraya and fumed over what could be done to change the world (you know me ;o), God whispered into my heart, "Give them Jesus, give them Jesus." Jesus is the only solution for the great sorrows of the world. And as I pictured him taking my lashes and being nailed to my cross, I knew (once again) that his salvation was for the Sorayas of the world, too.

This post is simply a pathetic attempt to express the fullness of my heart. At the grace of God. At the tragedy of sin. At the praise of our Savior. At the gift we have to offer others.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Welcome, welcome- OCTOBER!!

I love this month! As a kid, it was more country-style Halloween-centric. We trick or treated at all the old people's houses and counted all the houses that got rolled overnight. (We never allowed to participate in the toilet paper-draping of trees- so deprived ;o)

My grown-up October has a bit different feel. Papery, drying hydrangeas, mums popping out everywhere, the smells of my favorite muffin (pumpkin chocolate chip) coming from the oven, settling into cozy sweaters, football with friends, a great bowl of white chicken chili. Yum! And books. And music. I've settled into a new love- Nathan found the amazing Lawson Rollins online and I'm enamored with the Pandora station I'm creating with Spanish classical guitar.

Today I'm steam-cleaning the carpets and cleaning the windows. The carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is chilling in the frig for football tonight, and... Alex needs a diaper change (He just climbed up in my chair). Real life calls me out of autumn reverie. Post diaper change, I need to check on the laundry and do some ironing. The normal, the routine, the good. Happy fall, ya'll