Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Riled Up

Potty training. It's what convinced me that I have no desire to rear another child.

Here's today's example: Bunny, time to go potty.
No, I don't have to.
(I take my shoes off, then remember that I need to schedule a service call with out alarm company.)
Sniff, sniff. I knew it.

Holding my anger together was challenging. An accident is an accident. Bunny is yet not telling us when she needs to go potty, but is generally pretty agreeable to go on a regular schedule.

I suppose her refusal should've been my clue.

So when she takes a dump in her diaper within minutes of my potty suggestion, how am I supposed to react?


With how many tones of voice can the following be said: "Bunny, where are you supposed to poop? That's right, in the potty. But where did you poop? Next time, go in the potty."

Sweetly, gently, annoyed, anger, disappointment, disapproval . . .

I have used them all. Again I must remind myself that time will be the biggest factor in behavior change, not the way in which I remind and teach.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Disney Lessons

Disney movies of old teach us that, if you're really hot, you can overcome poverty.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The pic was taken from the balcony overlooking our living room.

JD was trying to find a way to reach a string that I was holding. First, he tried jumping. Next was the long brown ottoman. Too short. Finally, as seen in the pic, he piled up pillows. He quickly found that the pillows' altitude reduced considerably when having fifty pounds of force applied atop. His next move was to bring me the big fleece blanket Wife uses to combat our drafty house.

Instead of finding ways to get to the string, he found a longer object to dangle from the balcony. I'm guessing this experiment has not seen its conclusion.

Quality Customer Service

I have to give some companies credit for giving me outstanding customer service over the past few months.

First, Playtex. I purchased some straw-style sippy cups from them. Some of the parts were lost / broken, so I called to inquire about purchasing replacements. They sent me out a couple of sets free of charge as well as guiding me to the best place to buy them in the future.

Second, Playhut & MerchSource. JD has a Star Wars tent made by PlayHut. One of the supports broke. I called to get a replacement and they sent out two for free. The same thing happened to Bunny's Discovery Kids Princess Castle (a tent similar to a PlayHut product.) MerchSource, the distributor / licensing company for this particular Discovery Kids product was happy to send out replacement parts free of charge.

Finally, Accessory Innovations, a product licensing company, is providing me with a new backpack for JD. I stepped in the plastic bracket that connects the padded strap to the adjustment strap and it broke. I called and they asked for a pic of the backpack and of the damage. I used my Motorola Droid with built-in camera to take pics and email them to the person while we were on my land line. She said they would send out an identical or like replacement this afternoon.

I guess the moral of the story is: don't get pissed off. Just call the customer service number or use Google or your preferred search engine to find the manufacturer. If you're forthcoming (I admitted to breaking the backpack and to my kids breaking the tent and sippy cup parts) instead of going in guns a' blazing, they'll probably take pity on you and hook you up.

Why the manufacturer and not the place from whence it was purchased? Regarding the backpack,Target said that after 90 days there may be nothing they can do. Much of their merchandise, like clothes, toys, and things like backpacks are seasonal. I would say that the manufacturer has a more vested interest with your happiness. Target figures that, unless they really piss you off, you're coming back. (Though Target, generally, does try very hard to please their customers. Sometimes their employees get in the way of that.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Potty Saga

She knows she has to go. It's not like it just comes out. She's gone on the potty enough times to know what's going on.

Recently, she's been going poop in her diaper (and underwear in Ms Polar Bear's class - to the extent that she had to cut the underwear off of Bunny) right around the time scheduled to go on the toilet. Yesterday, we came inside the house from going on a walk. I had to go, so I told her that I would go then she would go.

Big mistake.

I came back a couple of minutes later to find that she had pooped in her diaper. I could tell that it was fresh, as it hadn't been smashed by sitting down on it.

GRRRR! I did not hide my displeasure.

Reality check, Daddy, Bunny is all of two years old. Okay, she's 2 years, 8 months, 29 days old. The fact that she is, in general, on her way to being potty trained puts her nearly a year ahead of her brother's progress.

Perhaps that's consistently one of MY problems as a parent. Once I set an expectation in my head, I have a hard time allowing for age-appropriate setbacks.

You're able to go poop and pee on the potty? Then you should be trained right now. There's no gray area in my head. It extends to other places: getting dressed and undressed, cleaning up, using please, thank you, and you're welcome.

Chill out, Daddy.

I was just thinking about whether I should find a motivational tool like treats. In general, I am against rewarding "good behavior," as opposed to rewarding hard work, which I strongly favor. Saying, "Please," and, "Thank you," are things that we do because we respect other people and we're a polite family. Pooping on the potty is a basic function of being human.

Which takes me to another argument: does the end justify the means? Could I point to rewarding good potty usage as the cause of my success? First, at some point, Bunny will be potty trained, treats or not. Second, would treats in this arena lead to expectations for treats in other places?

I NEVER, EVER promise treats for good behavior at the grocery store and similar errand running. Nor for saying please and thank you. And not now for going numbers 1 & 2.

There was a time when I tried using "potty treats." Now JD, 5, asks for one when he poops. Forget it.

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that patience and realistic expectations are the keys to success. Expecting JD to poop and pee on the potty every time is realistic. Expecting Bunny to do so is not. She's going to have setbacks and this week may be an example of that. (A bit of a "Duh" moment. Yes, I have been accused of being a Master of the Obvious many times before.)

One thing I have learned from dealing with JD's developmental issues is that we often see plateaus and even setbacks juts before a long string of success. While always difficult in the moment, if I can be future Downtown Dad, I would tell present Downtown Dad to chill out, that success is just around the corner, even if that corner is a month or two down the line. Keep being consistent with communicating expectations and scheduling and it will work out sooner than later. Getting angry will only hurt her self esteem and make me question my ability as a parent.