Archive for the 'Potty-training worries' Category

MVT (Most Valuable Time)

October 23, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I’m near the end of the glorious downtime that occurs only once in the daytime hours. Both babies are asleep. As parents know, an hour lasts 120 minutes when your kids are awake and 30 minutes when they’re not. So this is the most valuable time of the day for me. It’s my 1909 T206 White Border #366 Honus Wagner baseball card*, if you will. This is when I take my laptop outside and write this blog.

It’s another great day out, too. Even the faint smell of Liggett Lady’s secondhand smoke and the sound of her intermittent hacking cough seem to be harmonious with nature. Only the back issues of the Farmer’s Almanac will be able to say for sure, but I suspect this September and October have been home to the most beautiful days I’ve ever slept through.

This is the fourth day I’ve been getting around with a cane rather than crutches, and it’s been a major advancement for me. My in-laws are still taking good care of Sarah and Silas, for which I’m extremely grateful. Tiffany comes up on the weekends, too, but each day sees me resuming more and more of the responsibilities of caring for my own children.

Probably one more week of assisted-living exile, and I’ll be back at home, facing 45 hours a week of solo daddy time. I’m having to relearn old stuff and freshly learn new stuff. My body’s still healing, too, which leaves me feeling exhausted a lot more easily. It’s hard for me to resist sleeping when they sleep, and nap time is over far too quickly.

The naptime wakeup ritual has taken a strange turn this week. For four consecutive days now, sometime during her nap, Sarah has removed her pants and diaper. No poop episodes yet, but everything in her bed that could be peed on got peed on. Parents of kids older than mine have been warning me this would happen. And, yes, I had noticed Sarah randomly pulling her pants to her knees and then walking around with them like that, but I just figured it was because VH1’s been showing 8 Mile twice a day for the past month.

The potty-training days are drawing nigh. We’ve been watching the Elmo’s Potty Time DVD on almost a daily basis lately. Having seen “Sesame Street” with Sarah for more than a year now, it’s weird to watch their format be adapted to talk of poop, pee and diapers for an entire hour. Three quick examples:

  • A disconnected shot of a soundstage with twelve to fifteen preschool-aged kids standing around and all simultaneously announcing, “I really need to urinate.”
  • Lots of bathroom-themed songs, including one called “Dirty Diaper Blues.” It’s a decent rendering and all, but the great Elmore James recorded the definitive version.
  • When Baby Bear, the muppet character with the speech impediment, calls himself a “potty animal,” it sounds like he’s saying “potty enema.”

I’ve been more or less out of commission with Sarah since AB2KX**. She’s gotten better at her tricks. Sarah moves fast, she hides my cane when I’m not looking, and she frequently outsmarts me. After just one afternoon back on the job, I was ready to call local adult-contemporary radio and dedicate Sade’s “Smooth Operator” to my daughter. Some people count to 10 to get their anger under control. I get Delilah’s people on the phone.

Sarah is a really fun, warmhearted, loving little girl, and I treasure the time I spend with her. It’s been great to be able to play outside again minus crutches. Sarah likes me to pretend-chase her around the yard, and I can finally do it again. The ground is unlevel, so she kept falling down. I was moving conspicuously slow and unsteady and could never catch up with her. It was like we were reenacting a scene from a bad ’80s slasher movie.

Then we went inside, and I gave her cookies and let her eat the outside of a banana (pronounced “buh-mah-muh”), which Sarah insists is the tastiest part. I’m getting back into the swing of things.

*I just Googled a few “most valuable _____ in the world” queries, and that was the baseball card match. Several sites I hit first all proclaimed the most valuable thing in the world is “time.” Indeed, I wasted five minutes reading about the value of time and another five pondering the simple irony of wasting valuable time reading about how valuable time is. Then about 90 seconds typing up this footnote that no one in their right mind will read all the way to the end. Pickle shoes. Cinnamon and gravy.

**a.k.a. Ankle Break 2010. I’ve decided to get all acronymy on you. But aesthetically, especially with that double asterisk weighing it down, the phrase AB2KX looks like a hack-job. It doesn’t make me cool. Just Google AB2KX and see what I mean.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah and Silas with my father-in-law Jim, our child-care MVP of the past month and a half. Thanks, grandpa!

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Baby pee, poop and puke

October 15, 2010

Andrew Hicks

NOTE: Today’s post, while baby-related, is all about bodily functions, a subject with which every parent is very familiar. If this disgusts you, go watch a PG13-rated Mike Myers movie.

Parenting is known to toss an array of bodily fluids at the nostrils, hands and clothing of moms and dads. There’s the expected and the unexpected. Poor Silas threw up all over himself a couple hours ago. That’s unusual for him, as he generally throws up all over whatever clean shirt I just put on.

Baby accidents happen, but I’ve gotten pretty lucky. Only once with each child have I had the diaper off for that crucial, “I’m still not done peeing,” burst of yellow liquid. Sarah’s was a kind of slow, pooling eruption, while Silas had the loose, haphazard spray of a spastic, one-armed-clown lawn sprinkler. Each equally messy in different ways.

Then there’s the poop. Sarah’s getting close to the potty-training stage, which will be completely foreign to me. I’m going to have to take notes from the Elmo Goes to the Potty* DVD my mom bought my toddler. “What’s that, Elmo? You sit on the toilet and then you go potty? Slow down, dude. You’re going too fast! Rewind!”

Sarah reached a personal landmark achievement a few months back. She had her first poop that was so big, it clogged the toilet. I swear, I see more and more of myself in that little princess every day.

Yeah, her poop is usually a nice, healthy turd-ball. Sometimes, Sarah grunts and makes the poop face while she’s wrestling it out of her body. Other times, she just walks up to me, my nose wrinkles, and I check her back-pocket area for that telltale lump. We’ve been doing this since her lump was the size of a chicken nugget. Now, more often, it’s that one mutant chicken finger that looks more like a chicken fist**.

We’re brand-loyal to Pampers for both babies. Diabolically enough, when Sarah’s in the store, the Pampers draw her attention because there’s a little cartoon Elmo on the bottom corner of each side of the box. It’s about a half-inch tall, like a quarter the size of the UPC, and I never would’ve noticed it on my own.

They are super-absorbent, though. Many mornings, when I’m changing Sarah out of the overnight diaper, that thing’s sagging at a bowed-down angle like a tightrope with three fat dudes in the middle. I’ve tossed some five-pound pee diapers in the trash.

A collander

I saw a five-minute report on “Nightline” about which generic equivalents of name-brand items are just as good and which are inferior. If you’ve ever had generic Ruffles***, you know what I mean. The TV report didn’t mention diapers, but I’m here to tell you, spring for the name brand. Generic diapers are like collanders. They leak from every possible angle. You’d swear you wrapped a thin layer of cheesecloth around your baby’s privates.

Now Silas, he’s on a strict diet of formula. He’s still a few weeks away from the varietal switch-up of rice cereal and, if he’s a really good little boy, oatmeal cereal. So his poop has that look of soupy guacamole that’s been exposed to a little too much air. Tiffany breastfed the first month or so, and Silas’s poop almost smelled like roses. (Well, you know, plastic roses.) Switch to formula, and that poop smell goes way downhill. Today’s batch of stale, tableside diaper guac was twice as rank as usual. Either he had an upset stomach, or it’s time to start feeding him name-brand formula. Which was also not mentioned in the “Nightline” report.

This post isn’t going to win me any Pulitzer prizes, so I might as well close with a poop story of my own. Last month, when I was in the hospital and the nurses were tossing stool softeners**** in my paper pill cups, I asked them how much warning I’d have when the SSs did their trick. Because, you know, I was bed-bound with no crutches and no bedpan. They laughed.

An upside-down Douglas fir

“Oh no, you won’t poop for days. This is just to make it softer when you actually do.” They were right. I was checked into the hospital late Saturday night. Nature didn’t finally answer the call of the stool softener until Friday. Now, normally when pass a tough bowel movement, I compare it to pooping out a pine cone. This was like pooping out an upside-down Douglas fir.

Okay, thanks for reading. You are hereby dismissed. Hope you get your appetite back before Thanksgiving.

*I don’t think that’s the actual name of the DVD. That name sounds like it could be misinterpreted by the less than pure among us. Such as, say, me for suggesting it.

**If a chicken could make a fist. It’s Friday night, my evocative, poetic imagery is spent for the week. Besides, I’m writing about crap here.

***Ruffies, right? Or are those trash bags?

****I accidentally typed “stool samples” first. Which, gross.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah's hesitant look means it's time for Daddy to stop talking about yucky things.