Tagged: Potty training

A day in the life: Greenpoint, Blackmail and Dexter

Note: I have been MIA for almost 3 weeks and have a lot of catching up to do!!! Looking forward to reading some of my fave bloggers. You know who you are 🙂

7.00am The Screw Up
The day started by a sobering realization: I gave our nanny her Friday off so she could have family time with her young kids. But DH was not working and I had to work…I gently warmed DH to the idea of having to mind the kids on his own. I started to say things like: ‘I have the meeting during the kids’ napit should be quick and nice’.

‘Where’s your meeting?’
In Brooklyn…’
He raised his eyebrow it is just the second largest borough in New York so I vaguely say: ‘I think it is somewhere in Greenpoint’.

I.e. 3 transfers, 3 boroughs Manhattan – Queens- Brooklyn = there is not a fucking chance that I will be back before the kids wake up from their naps. I am now trying to hide the IPad so that DH does not check Google Maps.

8.00am The Breakfast
We get ready to eat and of course I forgot to buy Nespresso refills, sliced bread, jam,…basically I had shopping amnesia. Facing me, I have an understanding silent DH who starts mumbling in his head (oh yeah DH, I can hear you we are practically twins…) and three tots who do now pretend to be starving. I mean they were perfectly content poking each other’s eyes a la Kill Bill for a stupid toy pocket light that is (seriously) the size of a quarter coin. Morons.

This until they heard the ‘we have no food, we have no coffee’ lineIt was just what they needed to start shaking the kitchen gate and scream ‘Moooooom, I am hungryyyyyy!!!!‘Terrorists.

So I dash to our local hipster coffee place the Double Dutch looking like and smelling SHITE, in my PJs and see on my way some neighbors with their 2 young kids all dressed up (obviously smelling nice shampoo) strolling away to enjoy the sunny day. I am a fecking failure 🙂

8.45am The ‘I am choosing my battle’
I get the kiddos ready and decide to skip our usual tooth brushing routine that sounds like this:
Me: Please open your mouth so I can brush your teeth
Them: No!!!!
Me: C’mon or your teeth will be broken like Mama’s and I don’t have money to get then fixed. Note: I really don’t.
Them clinching their teeth: No!!!
Me: C’mon!!! Forcing the toothbrush in their mouth seconds before getting whacked in the head by an hysterical tot.

So yeah, I have no time for this crap. Not today.

10.30am The Me Time

DH takes the 3 musketeers to the building common yard to play with their scooters. I finally have my coffee and start cooking the kids’ lunch because the deal was:

I’ll watch the monsters but you feed them. If you leave before, they won’t eat’ This blackmail works EVERY time.

That is the main difference between DH and I: food. He is of the school ‘you play with your food, you don’t eat. You complain about your food, you don’t eat.’ I am more like ‘OK I’ ll hunt you down with a spoon until you eat’. That is my Lao fiber, that pathological need to feed people.

11.30am The Rat Race

I am still not showered and running after my kids riding their scooters with a spoon of chicken pasta. My Lao grandma would be proud. Meanwhile DH is rubbing his forehead; he is probably thinking that this day cannot finish soon enough. Of course, the kids refuse to eat. DH is happy to eat the leftovers; the man is depressed.

12.30pm Finally

I am out of the house (showered) and I stop feeling guilty. I am even excited by the idea of doing a transfer in Queens. I am pathetic.

3.45pm Rad Greenpoint

My meeting is finally done, I met with 2 beautiful and bright women entrepreneurs. I am fully energized. It occurs to me that people in Greenpoint are hip in the right kind of way:  they are super friendly, talk slow and smile like a LOT. I also learn a new word: ‘rad’.  I think it means ‘awesome’, ‘cool’, ‘out of your mind amazing’. Everyone is Brooklyn seems to say ‘rad this’, ‘rad that’. Somehow I don’t think I can pull it off. My skinny jeans are not skinny enough.

4.15pm The Psychopath

As I am on the train, I am checking out what the guy next to me is reading but cannot find out because the guy is actually Michael C. Hall with a sports cap on. I have been obsessed with Dexter for a longtime and still think that Season 4 with John Lithgow is one of the best things I have ever seen on TV. So I remain speechless feeling both giddy and scared shitless. Michael C. Hall was so good as Dexter that as I am sitting next to him, I am catching myself looking around to see if we are alone in the train carriage…I freak out. For real.  I am teleported to Miami and am wondering if I am going to be the next Dexter victim…

4.45pm The Bouncy Castle

I get home and the kids are about to go ballistic inside the bouncy castle that DH is now setting up in our living room…Where’s the beer?

5.15 pm The Playground

I hate playgrounds. I always end up bickering with 4 year olds and always seem to be searching for one of my kids. Too much stress; so I dial my friend Emma: ‘Fancy a Harlem tavern with all our 5 kids?’ and I am counting the minutes.

6.00pm The Tavern

aka the place where kids eat chips and listen to Jazz while their parents get plastered with beers and mimosas. It has a very high ratio of staff and usually half of them likes children so B-I-N-G-O,  they will always stop your kids in time before they stab themselves with a knife. Awesome for outnumbered parents.

10.00pm The Bedtime

Somehow we bought wine and ended up at Emma’s and while the 5 kids watch something on the TV…the 4 parents kept sipping wine. Eventually every set of parents has to deal with their responsibilities. Denial is coming to an end: it is passed bedtime and one way or the other you have to clean them and put them to bed. As the kids are yawning under their blankets, for a second I am thinking: ‘What an ass I have been, they should have been in bed hours ago..‘ But my thoughts are interrupted by P.:

-‘Mom, why could I not stay at my girlfriends E. and M’s?

– Well you are only 3, a little too young…

-OK, when I am older, buy me a phone and I will call my girlfriends and I will stay at their place even after it gets dark. I am not scared, you know’

I smile. The apple did not fall from the tree. Atta girl.





Potty training: is it a myth?

When I ask parents about how their kids became clean, I generally get some confusing mumbling that ends up by: ‘I don’t really remember; it just happened’. This concerns me greatly. It sounds a lot like when I used to ask about labor, delivery and C-section. The confusing mumbling, the ‘I don’t really remember’; all this because it is perhaps the goriest thing that can ever happen to you. Could potty training beat being in labor?

Note: I apologize for the lack of originality of this post. There must be thousands of similar posts out there in the blogosphere but I really need to write about it… to exorcise the crap (literally) out of my brain.

DH has been pressing me to potty train G & P since they have been able to walk. He has solid arguments:
• Diapers alone have cost us $7,000 so far (to this we have to add the cost of wipes, diaper pails refills, diapers sacks, ointment etc.)
• The amount of time we spend changing diapers is …absolutely ridiculous. And while I welcome the exercise that I get from lifting them and placating them onto the changing table, DH and I have grown very tired of fighting every single freaking time to wipe pipi and caca (French words for pee and poop) off their butt. Changing diapers should last 2 minutes top but instead the following one sided conversation takes place almost every time:

-‘Stop kicking me.
– Eeeeee (high octave scream)
– Stay still for god’s sake. Do you think I really want to be here cleaning up your butt? Don’t you think I have better things to do?
– Eeeeee
– Stop kicking my face or I will tie your ankles. OK, if you don’t stop turning around I swear I will leave you here with your poop and you are gonna have to do this on your own. I said STOP!!!!

So yes we are indeed very motivated to potty train our kids. However, I honestly don’t know how the hell I am supposed to do this. I have a horde of younger siblings and cousins. In the Lao culture being an older girl in a clan means you are defacto a kind of for free surrogate mother. I thus I knew everything about changing diapers, preparing baby food, milk bottles, rocking babies to sleep. But potty training? No idea. I just don’t fucking remember.

Anyway, every 2 months since the twins turned two, we have been adding a new weapon to our ‘War against the pipi caca’ arsenal: potty seat, padded toilet ring, pull ups, stool to get on the toilet seat etc. We even paid for a 3 days potty training camp at their day care. They came back with bags full of dirty clothes and underwear god knows how long some of these have been in the bag.Yuck. All this investment…but still kids never really showed any sustained interest in the toilet bowl.

DH has his mind set on this issue though; and I won’t be able to get out of this one. So here we are making the big jump in the land of ‘pipi caca’ but alas without holding hands, it seems. We indeed disagree on how to handle the situation.

His approach: let the kids run around naked all day long, not react to accidents and let pipi and caca on the floor for them to understand the consequences, what comes out of them, and hope they’ll be somewhat embarrassed and thus go themselves to the bathroom.

My approach: 7-11am at home without diapers, let the kids have their normal activities outside with diapers on, 6-8pm without diapers, nighttime with diapers. If there’s any accident, I will swab the thing off the floor immediately because seriously yes my house is a mess but turning it into a dog kennel is a dangerous boundary I would rather not cross. And I also ask every five minutes if they want to go to the bathroom. I also rush to get them to sit on the bowl as soon as one of them starts wincing. Thinking about it this whole thing might be more exercising than changing a diaper.

In short, the kids were understandably confused like hell and results were catastrophic in our first ‘training’ day. G peed 6 times over the floor and pooped once in his underwear (I had to wash the underwear, wash G entire lower body, wash the toilet bowl; suddenly 35 cents a diaper did not seem that expensive…). P kept everything inside for 5 straight hours, no fluids in, no fluids out. Major case of stage fright, I reckon. As for L, he washed his hands with his brother’s pee. Total failure.

I am starting to think that somehow parents go to sleep a la Sleeping Beauty and that when they finally wake up, their kids had stopped crapping in their pants and learnt how to eat with a fork (proper table manners training should probably be next on my to do list…).

The icing on the cake came when, after hours explaining to G that urine comes from his body and he needs to release it in the toilet, G showed me water leaking from the neighbor’s plant containers upstairs onto our backyard and said happily: ‘pipi, pipi, pipi’

I looked at DH and said: ‘he thinks the neighbor or God just peed on us and that seems ok. We are so fucked’.

I started to read the book written by Michel Cohen, the French pediatrician who owns and runs the practice the kids go to aka the ‘hip’ ‘ pediatrician superstar.

Here’s what he says about potty training:
‘Okay, get ready for this. No matter what you may have heard or read, toilet training is unnecessary. Children learn to move on from diapers, not because they are run through drills but because they become sensitive to the increasing discomfort of marinating in their own dirty diapers. Just like any other milestone, this occurs naturally as a normal part of a child’s development, and it does not require training‘. Hooray…I may let them in diapers until they are 6!