Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poop Goes In the Potty

Ahh, milestones. Those generally broad standards upon which we parents get to hang our hats of pride or our heads in shame; that pediatrician approved window within which we can stand up tall and say, "My kid is perfectly average."

I remember when I used to have time to read parenting books (or anything for that matter), and I would sneak a peak at the beginning of each month to see which developmental records Amari would be breaking that month. When she rolled over from her stomach to her back at the precocious age of two months, I knew she was not only a genius and the best looking baby on the planet, but she was also practically bionic. I'm pretty sure that was the last milestone she achieved early.

Today, at the completely average and expected age of eighteen and a half months, Amari took her very first poop in her very own potty. You might recall that diaper changes have been historically traumatic (or more accurately dramatic) for Amari. Just the mention of the D Word incites tears - probably because a cold wipe on a warm ass is totally unpleasant. I get it - I'm glad my toilet paper is dry and neutral fe

Fortunately for us, Amari does not have a poker face when it comes to taking a dump. Again, probably because large poops coming out of a small hole is totally unpleasant. In the past, when she's in the crouch, making the face and/or grunting, she'll shake her head vehemently when I ask if she's pooping. Today, however, she appeared to be particularly uncomfortable, so I asked, "Amari, are you pooping?" and she looked up at me in despair and managed to say, "Yeah," with tears in her eyes. I picked her up and asked, "Do you want to make poop in your potty?" to which she squeaked out the same, "Yeah."

So off we went and by the time we got to the potty, pants down, diaper off, she was ready to go. She cried a bit, but when I pulled her off and showed her what she'd done she marveled and pointed and then began crying again. I sat her back down and she cried and I held her and just a few moments later, a much larger reward awaited her. She appeared to very proud of herself, and after I cleaned her up, I took her to Granny C's for a high five while Mama finished her shower. When Mama was done Amari and I showed off her accomplishment, Mama and I sang the chorus of the Poop in the Potty song, and Amari ceremoniously dumped her milestone into the toilet and flushed.

For those who haven't heard the song, check it out:

No pictures of the poop, but here's a peak at the happy conquering heroine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wedlock 2: Revenge of Attachment Parenting

Ugh! What a day. I feel like a teenager with a flimsy journal in his lap, ready to capture the misery of his meaningless existence with excessive profanity or crappy, rhyming poetry. I did almost nothing today and I'm completely exhausted.

Amari has been sick for almost a week now - coughing and sniffing and whining about it every step of the way, and I'm about a day behind her - coughing, sniffing, and whining, too. We had to go out of town for a memorial service for my cousin on Sunday, so Carrie took Monday off to help out with some things I needed to take care of. Today, however, she was at work until almost seven, and after a restless night of sleep, the persistence of her cold, and perhaps the emergence of yet another molar, Amari was in fine form today.

All day, I felt like Rutger Hauer in that old, '90's, sci-fi movie Wedlock where he plays a jewel thief whose incarcerated in a futuristic prison that utilize explosive-filled collars to keep their prisoners detained. If a prisoner is separated from their partner by more than 100 yards - BOOM - both collars detonate. Similarly, when I was more than about six feet from Amari today - BOOM - a loud screaming noise would go off in my head. Only it wasn't in my head, it was my daughter and it was coupled with tears dripping down what felt like a snotty, two-and-a-half foot shadow.

Not even the sacred nap time came with a break. Each time I tried to sneak away from the couch, Amari would open her eyes, seemingly to just let the back-up of tears pour down her face. It was so sad - for both of us. For a moment I envied my Ferberizing friends, cycling in their garages or enjoying an uninterrupted Sports Illustrated article, but I was hungry and I really had to pee. I felt like attachment parenting was coming back to bite me in the bladder-filled ass.

Once that moment passed, and once I let go of any hopes for a productive day, I was able to relax into Amari's neediness and just be there for her. Although I let her cry at my knees while I cut some veggies for lunch, other than that she took a permanent place on my hip for the rest of the day. I wouldn't boast if it hadn't been so challenging, but I felt like I did a good job today. I kept reminding myself that it has gotten easier and will continue to do so. The times that Amari needs me so completely will become fewer and further between, which helped me to just enjoy being so important for the day.

By seven o'clock, however, when Carrie walked in the door, I'd never been so happy to see her. Half an hour later, Amari was sound asleep.

Hopefully I'll write off happier, healthier things soon.

Sleep well, Amari, we all need it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bad Car-ma or Car-tastrophe

Last Thursday was Cinqo de Mayo - Amari's half-birthday for many years to come. She's eighteen months old now, and slowly but surely she's morphing from baby-faced toddler into a little girl. More than that, her personality is revealing herself to be an independent, determined, assertive, and loving individual. She tries new things every day and when something challenges or excites her she will repeat it to the point of mastery. When, on the other hand, something frustrates or confounds her, she becomes very dramatic, tears emerging as though they live just beneath the surface of her cheeks as she throws herself to the ground. This can also be seen at the slightest mention of the dreaded D-Word: diaper. 

When I'm the object of her frustration, Amari slaps my hand away and makes an ambiguous noise of disapproval. I quickly give her my best serious face and say, "Are you hitting Dada?" and she almost always responds by leaning in for a kiss or putting her head on my shoulder and patting my chest. I'm an absolute sucker for both.

The day after De Mayo, Amari and I had car trouble in the Safeway parking lot. We came out from an early morning shopping trip and my key wouldn't turn in the ignition. The steering was locked, and in the past a quick jiggle and turn of the key and the car would start right up. I jiggled and turned but nothing happened. I tried again. I started to get annoyed. I'd left my cell phone at home, which added ammunition to my catastrophic thinking. I proceeded to teach Amari a few new swear words, but I'm pretty sure I said them fast enough that she probably thinks "Motherfuckingcocksuckingbitchfucker" is one word. A word that should be said in conjunction with banging the steering wheel, accidentally honking the horn, and scaring the old couple walking by.

Once I regained my composure, realizing we had plenty of food and water for Amari, I decided to model some better problem-solving skills, and headed inside the supermarket to use their phone. Over the course of the next hour I learned several things:

1. Ignitions die. Apparently they will only turn a certain number of times before they say, "I'm done. That was the last time you'll ever turn me on." That's what she said. Never mind. I learned later that they're also expensive.

2. As long as Amari is eating, drinking water, and listening to music, we could be stranded out at sea and she wouldn't give a damn unless I happened to say the D-Word again.

3. Employees on the phone lines of AAA are not highly trained mechanics. I should have already presumed this, but there's no substitute for hands-on experience. Trying to maintain an optimistic attitude, when I finally got through to an operator, I explained my current situation, adding, "I was hoping that you guys at AAA might have some secret tips to unlocking steering wheels." This was before I knew it was the ignition. The kind (and naive) lady on the phone replied enthusiastically, "Oh, you bet we do. Have you tried jiggling the steering wheel while you turn the key?" Really? That was the secret she was so excited to share? Fortunately, she also a tow truck.

4. Small towns, good friends, and family are invaluable. The extra-helpful tow truck driver was the parent of a former client of mine in the schools, my buddy Jim was there to meet as at the mechanics, my good old Granny C loaned us her car for whatever we needed to do. Two days, and $440 later, our car-tastrophe was finally over.

In the meantime, Amari polished off a bag of goldfish while I used a packet of her wipes to clean up the inside of the car. Not exactly lemonade, but certainly better than the thesaurus of profanities it began as.

I've also been teaching Amari faces the past few weeks. Here are a couple she's mastered and will do on demand.

 Surprise Face

 Cute Face

Just plain adorable...