Diapers and potty training, part the second

When R turned two and still needed diapers, we were pretty disappointed. At one year, we would go through stretches where we had two or fewer wet diapers, usually when we were out on the campaign trail and couldn’t take him to a potty in time. He was 99% poop-trained as well; by 14 months, he was learning a billion words a day and would consistently say “poop” just before he went. We thought the end is in sight.

Fast forward to the terrible twos.

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My second birth story

I threw on Christmas Eve 2012.

My father-in-law’s tourtiere never gets enough love from the rest of the family, so I washed down three helpings with some ketchup and a beer. It all came up an hour after I got into bed. My poor mum-in-law cleaned it all up while I sat shivering in her kitchen with a cup of hot water. My sis-in-law wondered, maybe you’re pregnant? Ha ha ha, no way. Probably just drank too much, I’m such a lightweight, ha ha ha.

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Saying No: Self-Protection or Punishment?

“Russell want almond moo-moo!” shouts my increasingly verbose toddler.

“But we don’t have any almond milk… how about some regular moo-moo?”

“Want almond moo-moo!” he shouts again, his mouth turning into a pout. Tears are forming.

I try to hand him a cup of regular milk anyway.

“No!” He swings his arms wildly and knocks the cup on the floor, spilling it.

I push his chair away from the table and feel the anger bubble up. “Not OK,” I mutter with a big scowl. “No moo-moo for Russell.”

Before having a toddler, I observed plenty of disputes between parents and children at the park. I wanted to be one of those mythical parents who manage to never say no — I would reason with them, “work with them” to get to a consensus about leaving the park (or whatever it is). The reality is, of course, that it’s pretty hard to do.

I still try to avoid saying “no,” and when I do, I try to explain my reasoning. We are leaving the park because mummy is needing some rest. Or, mummy doesn’t want Russell to chuck food on the floor because we don’t want to be wasteful (I still have to figure out how to say “needing to not waste” in the positive — maybe “needing to conserve”?). Sometimes it works. Usually a distraction or diversion is used in conjunction. (“Look! A butterfly!” actually works wonders.)

I also try to address his need and feelings. For example: “I hear you’re needing to play and you are feeling disappointed that we are leaving the park. Can we play with rocket noodles while mummy has some lunch?” (Rocket noodles are noodles that turn into rocket ships which then fly into Russell’s mouth.) Soon he would be able to counter with his own suggestions and negotiate with me. I overheard a mother and daughter having a similar exchange where the young girl came up with the solution — going to a restaurant with a play area so mummy and little brother could have food and rest while she continues to play.

Sometimes, though, I have to intervene with force.

At not quite two years, R has yet to fully develop his reasoning capabilities. He sees it and we try to practise it, but the reality is that we’ll likely have a few more years of unilateral noes from us for really dangerous and/or undesirable things, such as hitting, biting, and running into the dog with his truck. “Please don’t, it hurts” works most of the time but he does like to test our boundaries. The tricky part is determining whether I’m taking away the truck to protect gir or to punish Russell. It started off being the former, but now it’s probably both.

The idealistic parent in me is against extrinsic punishments. But punishment isn’t all bad, as long as it fits the crime and the reasoning is explained as best I can to a semi-reasonable being. So far, “I have to protect gir because this hurts him and he can’t protect himself,” is the best I can do.

Right after he spilled the milk, Russell fussed and fussed about being let off the high chair. (“All done, down?”) I took my time to explain that I was upset about the spilt milk — “it’s wasteful and mummy wants to be not wasteful, and mummy needs cleanliness so she is mopping up the milk” — before I let him down. I wanted badly to just push him away and keep him trapped in the high chair. I wanted to hear him cry over the spilt milk so he is just as upset as me. But to ignore the otherwise reasonable request felt like I would be punishing him unjustly.

The other day, he spilled apple juice by accident and said, “it’s wasteful, bye-bye apple juice.” I think we’re on the right track.

GTD, mindmap, agile

Life is throwing me curve balls again, after a year of relative peace and recuperation.

Last November, M decided to run for office. He’s been nominated by the Green Party of BC to run as the candidate in Vancouver – Fairview. At first I resisted being his campaign manager, but because he never got one, I became his de facto CM.

In December, I lost my job and R lost his daycare. The family daycare nanny had taken in too many kids under the age of 2. She claims she’s never had a problem with the Westcoast Child Care Resource, with whom she was registered. Except that at the beginning of December she got a new inspector, and this new inspector says, rules are rules, lady. Bam. No more daycare the next day. Not even, like, hey, you have a week to find another nanny, ok? Nope, scramble scramble scramble with my schedule and M’s schedule and my parents’ schedules to see if we can put together enough hands to childmind for two fucking weeks before the holidays. Merry Christmas.

Lesson learned: it’s always often worthwhile to check the rules anyway even if the expert says “it’s ok, don’t worry.”

There are more pictures (lots of pictures) over in der family blog.

So what does a full-time mum and part-time campaign manager do to stay sane?

I turn to work for inspiration. Namely, Getting Things Done to stay on top of things, a mindmap to keep my eyes on the big picture, and Agile Fucking Family.

We’ve had two weekly family meetings so far. The best part so far is, quite simply, how uplifting it is to get together and talk about all the things that went well, because it’s really easy to focus on just the shitty parts (especially when they’re staring right at you in the form of piles and piles of dirty dishes and/or laundry).

I don’t have enough time or know enough about it to talk about GTD, so I’ll just let you google it yourself.

I don’t have enough energy to talk about my mindmap at length, but I’ll just say that it’s helping me identify areas of my life that I really want to work on but haven’t been putting enough energy into. Things such as spending time with the pooch, or looking at going back to school, or hanging out with my friends. I’ve poured myself into motherhood and working on M’s campaign and I’m really neglecting a lot of things I want to care more about.

And, like, that campaign stuff just kind of landed on me. Looking back, it’s not something I really want to pour my everything into. Don’t get me wrong, I want to support my own husband in doing something really cool and so far being a CM is a really cool job and I meet tons of cool people. But I also want to just fucking knit, you know? I haven’t touched my knitting needles in three months. I really miss ‘em.

Counting down the two months until I can start knitting for babby.