Monday, December 29, 2008

First Day without Diapers.

OK. So yesterday wasn't so bad. I mean, if you don't mind waking up to a room reeking with pee, having to start a load of laundry before you can even get your coffee, having to change his pants and underwear and socks again a half an hour later, then driving to church wanting to bite all your fingernails off wondering if warm pee is seeping into that nice car sear back there, and then at church going through all THREE pairs of underwear and change of clothes that you brought for him, thinking you were bringing WAY to many, I mean, how many accidents can the kid have in two hours? Three, obviously. But is wasn't so bad. I think the highlight was that he was telling me all morning he had to poo, which makes sense because yesterday he didn't go. So we tried and tried and tried. And he didn't go poo in his pants at church, which is always a good thing, and then when he got home, he told me again he had to go poo. So we tried some more. Nothing. I felt for sure that he was going to be one of those boys I have heard about, the kind the go potty fine on the toilet until it comes to poo--then they go hide in a corner to do the smelly business. Well, Ethan just seemed he was going to be one of those kids. He has never once wanted to go poo in the potty. So I just knew we were going to have a poo-in-the-corner kid on our hands.
Well, he was playing fine in his room when all of a sudden he poked his little head around the door with this curious look on his face-- tense, a little scared, and very concentrated. His voice was constricted but he squeaked out, "I have to go poop."
So off to the little potty we went. And lo and behold, the little kid did it, beautifully, holding his Thomas the Train book in his hand, turning the pages between the cutest little grunts you ever heard. For a moment I felt what it must feel like for a mother to be there for her daughter through labor--all this emotion, struggle, and desperateness for them to succeed, but you just have to be there. You can't make them do it and you can't do it for them.
And then the icing on the cake is that he did it two more times later that day. So the whole morning really didn't even compare to the victory in the afternoon. The battle may not be won entirely, but there is no way we are going to lose.
Then this morning I was sure I was going to wake up to another load of pee soaked bedding and the kid was dry as a bone. I kept touching his bottom and the sheets because I couldn't believe it. I almost laughed. He acted like it was no big deal--"yeah, I didn't pee." Then we went to the little potty again, and he filled it up. I about died.
I am still being careful though. I don't want to dehydrate the poor kid but when he asks for milk, I fill just the bottom of his sippy cup (which, o my gosh, when do you have to take those away? O Lord help me.) and then every fifteen minutes I ask him, "Do you have to pee?" Or "Let's go pee!" Like any normal person, he almost always shakes his head no, but I have to ask again, just to make sure, "But honey, are you sure you don't have to go pee?" The irony is when he does go, he is usually the one to initiate it.
More than anything, this has been a lesson for me to trust my two year old. It's enough to fry your nerves almost to the point of burning them charcoal black.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


He cried. He rolled on the floor. I told him he would stay in his bed until he decided to put them on. When he did decide, I knew everything would be fine. He wanted to check himself out in the mirror. As he looked at himself he said, "I look like that super hero, just like that guy with the red ones". I agreed. Just like the guy with the red ones.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Woo Hoos and Boo Hoos.

Santa and his elf.
A cereal bar! What could be better!!

The red nail polish is chipping, which means that Christmas is over. It was good and bad, like all things are.
Watching Ethan was joyfully good. He can't help but be happy, and his happiness reaches anybody in eye or ear shot. That is him playing Santa in his sleigh, delivering toys to "all the children"-his phrase, not mine. For a very old two year old, he handled the present over load very well. By the end when he'd open a gift, I'd start to say, "Ethan, go say tha--..." and he'd start reciting, "thank you thank you thank you" about fifteen times to nobody in particular, in a trance-like tone. I felt so bad for him I just let him be. I'll send a "thank you" in the mail on his behalf.
The bad is that I still feel tired, even with the new eight hour sleep schedule I am on. I feel old. What a horrible feeling. Maybe some of it has to do with my short hair--when I wake up I look like a drunk off the street. Seriously. With my missing half eyebrow and crazy hair and blotchy skin. So the rest of the day, after I shower and cover my face with color, I still feel old and worn underneath it all.
My marriage feels old too, quiet. Not really sure what to do about it--I feel like I have tried all the tricks I know over the last five years to try and liven things up, and none of them have any lasting effect. It's just me and Joey, same as we've always been. He's practical and consistent and hard working and boring, and I am emotional and inconsistent and looking for a thrill somewhere.
And then sometimes I look over at his profile in the car, when we are driving, and it's like all these petty feelings come to a cosmic explosion of a different reality, a reality of Joey as my provider and leader and companion, even if I don't feel the slightest mushy gushyness at all. The realness of this reality is gone in an instant, and then we are just driving again, trying to get somewhere.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Sunday.

I feel blessed to be sitting at the table with Ethan, to have spent the last week with him. The days still go by quickly, only I am much more relaxed most of the time. I think about work less and less and less, although my thoughts still drift there, mostly when I am in bed alone, trying to fall asleep.
I am re-reading a book on biblical discipline and it is so good. I have already seen tiny fruit, like the size of a berry. I realize one of the reasons I tend to hate disciplining Ethan is because I have always tended to hate discipline in my own life. The revelation is this: I am getting just as much "training" when I correct Ethan as he is. Everything I am trying to teach him, I need to learn; the only way I can effectively teach him to obey, is if I am seeking obedience in my own life. Every time he needs correcting it's a reminder of my own need. Without remembering a loving Father, this gets wearisome.
All the more reason to focus on the God-child born in a manger, that "tiny heart whose blood will save us".

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cheerios and the Chills.

We are eating breakfast. Ethan wants some Tylenol because he thinks it will help his runny nose, so I half heartily give him a couple squirts out of the little dispenser, even though it makes me feel like a lazy mother who can't tell her child no. I did have his breakfast ready though, something we are working on so that he doesn't get up and want to lay on the living room floor with just a sippy full of milk while he cuddles his blankies.
He stuffs a couple of Cheerios into his mouth and then lifts his little fist in the air and drops a couple more for the doggies waiting expectantly. He does this a couple of times before I warn him he's about to start his day with a good morning spanking. He stops.
It is cold cold cold outside. Just looking outside gives me the chills. I think we will get dressed and go try to find the last two Christmas gifts, then we will be ready.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Days.

I have not regretted one second of this white coat. Ethan's first Frosty.

"Isn't this great Mom? Come lay down in the snow. Lay down in the snow in the sun. It feels so nice Mama, come'on."
I don't know how I thought I could live without these days with Ethan and Joey. Days we are home together, with nothing in particular to do.
Ethan loves the snow. Makes me kinda like it again too. In fact, I have a fire in my pants to go snowboarding. I want a new hobby, something I have never really got into yet. Painting, crocheting, and even decorating the house all seem a little boring right now. I want to fly down a mountain with my cheeks burning from the cold.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I just finished my Christmas shopping, except for Dad. I met Jess out at the mall and we walked around in the cold from store to store. We got free hot cocoa from a lady dispensing it from what looked like a box on her back. It was so good, just the perfect temperature.
Ethan was a doll. I bought him a hat and mittens because all I had dressed him in was a hoody and too-short cords, so his ankles were showing. His new hat is the kind that have those flappies that go over his ears, and it's a little too big. Priceless, really.
I bought myself a soft, white down coat. I have about a bazillion coats, but not one that I can wear with whatever anywhere. So I bit the bullet and bought it. It was on sale, and I was cold too.
Did I mention Ethan was a doll?
It felt good to be outside, even though it was cold. My ears are still cold.
I came home to wrap and realized I was out of a key ingredient in this wrapping business: tissue paper. So I will have to pick some up. And some deep boxes.
It was a surprise to wake up to snow this morning. It was very pretty. I drove to kickboxing on side streets that were covered in huge sheets of ice, but we got there OK. I hate driving on ice. We only passed one accident on the freeway, the SUV like a dead bug flipped upside down.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I quite my job two days ago. There are a lot of things swimming around in my head.
A "big weight" has not been lifted off my shoulders, like I thought. Although in a sense a lot of pressure is gone--it's just been replaced with new pressure, pressure to train Ethan.
I know going to work for me was easier than being a "full time" mom; the problem was I couldn't handle working full time and even being a "part time" mom. I was getting crazy thoughts and dealing with Ethan was on the verge of making me violent.
I am in my bathrobe and it is two fifteen in the afternoon. I am sipping jasmine green tea. My nails are freshly painted.I've already taken a nap-my right eye is not twitching from lack of sleep. These are my luxuries now.
But Ethan is still awake, whining his room. He's been in there for a solid two hours. And you know what? He will do the same thing tomorrow.
I know staying at home will be good. I can remember what it's like to want to make a home really homey, to want to learn to cook good meals, to be a blessing to my husband (who's he?) and to Ethan, to have time to go to dinners and graduations and birthday parties without feeling like these "extra" things were going to make me snap.
I fought so hard to make this job work--I didn't realize that while I was fighting for it, it was digging itself a big whole in the middle of my heart. I didn't realize that I had actually succeeded in building good relationships with my customers. I thought we all hated each other, deep down. The emails and responses I got from them were so frustrating: "you will be missed" "please keep in touch" "if you ever come back, please call me" " I hope the next person treats me as well as you do"...I wanted to punch the computer screen, throw the telephone.
But it's done and over, and I am trusting that even though my heart is heavy, God guides us. Even when we are unsure.
Since I have not been working, I have had the chance to read Ethan stories without skipping pages because I'm afraid I'll fall asleep before we get to the end. We've danced together. When I kiss him goodnight, I don't question if I am wasting this time I have with him now. I'm starting to get to know him again; he's grown into quite a different boy from a year ago. Smart and persistently stubborn. He sings, even when he is in time out.
It scares the heck out of me to think he's training depends on me.
It scares me like work use to scare me, the same insecurity--Can I do this? Maybe the responses from my customers is one way of God telling me that I can do things that I think I suck at. Even being a mom.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


The other day I was walking on my lunch break because I am trying to become more physically active and I stepped in fresh dog poo. The ironic thing is that the exact moment my tennis shoe hit the mushiness, I was thinking how strange it was that I saw two stray dogs roaming around.
The neighborhood I found was out of a story book--big, wide, winding streets lined with trees with houses that all had three car garages and double doorways welcoming you inside. It was quiet and almost eerie the more I kept walking, like I had just stepped into one of those fake worlds where all the people are beautiful and plastic. A good few of the houses had yard workers blowing leaves and cleaning out flower beds.
So anyway I sat down and cleaned the poo out of my shoe with a little stick. Then I walked back to work.
After work I had a mini meltdown, was over it by the time I picked up Ethan, and then it came back when I realized what a grumpy mood the little man was in.
The thing is I would really like to have another baby, I think. And also I feel overwhelmed right now with my responsibilities, so maybe I want to have a baby not only for the smell of new baby hair and everything but also so that I can quit all these responsibilities I have and focus on ONE thing--the baby.
OK, and Ethan and Joey.
This feeling has been growing for quite some time, so maybe it's time I do something about it instead of just feeling overwhelmed all of the time. Maybe.