I wanted to kick a baby seal

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I found myself at a point where I wanted to pull my hair out, kick a baby seal, and shoot my neighbor’s inflatable pool with a BB gun. I spent nearly two hours sitting on the bathroom floor asking, pleading, and demanding. I took increasingly deeper breaths and closed my eyes, desperately trying not to rage. Potty training was not going well. As a result, we took a break from it. This was four months ago.

Recently, Sarah and I have been having talks with Tyler about diapers, being a big boy, and where he needs to pee and poop. He’s been very agreeable. He knows he should pee in the potty and not in the diaper. He knows that he needs to tell mommy or daddy when he needs to use the potty. He knows that it will make daddy very, very happy if he would quit soiling his diapers.

“Tyler, where do we pee and poop?”

“In da potty.”

“Yes, and what happens when you need to go pee or poop?”

“Tell mommy daddy, I use a potty.”

“Gooooood job, buddy. Now, Tyler, there’s no pee in your diaper right now. Do you need to use the potty?”

“Hmmm. No fank you. Maybe ‘morrow.”

Listen, you little brat! I know that your diaper has been dry for three hours. I also know that you sucked down a cup of apple juice about an hour ago. Your bladder is roughly the size of a golf ball, at best. Why don’t you do us all a favor a sit your plump little butt on the potty, okay? See, one of my duties as your father is to challenge you. This is how you learn and grow and develop the cajones to try new, and sometimes scary, things. So, pretty please, with sugar on top, piss in the plastic bucket.

But I didn’t say that, did I? Nope. “Well, I think you do need to use the potty. We will sit on the potty in 3 minutes.”

Before starting up again with potty training, Sarah and I came up with a reward system. One sticker for every time we have success on the potty. After three stickers are rewarded, Tyler gets a prize (to be determined). Once the ball gets rolling, we’ll start giving prizes after six stickers, then ten stickers. Then, we start to faze out the rewards and hope the habit is formed.

At the last couple family outings, we used my backpack in lieu of a diaper bag. It’s worked out well, and Tyler has developed an interest in my backpack. At his request, I put the backpack on Tyler. He promptly lost his balance and fell backwards with the weight. I asked Tyler if he would like his very own, special “Tyler backpack,” and boy did he! That is how we decided on his first reward for getting three stickers.


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It’s working! We’re having success! As a matter of fact, he’s already gotten his second reward as well (a total of six stickers)… a pony ride at the zoo.

Progress wasn’t going so well at first. We’d sit Tyler on the potty (crying, most times) and tell him to push. We’d sit on the floor near him and wait, constantly prodding him to push more. It worked a couple times, but we usually ended up sitting there for an inordinate amount of time. Tyler would whine “I all done,” and we’d just give up for that session. It was during one of these “I all done” moments that Sarah grew impatient and walked out of the bathroom, telling Tyler, “You need to make your pee come out. Please tell me when you do.”

Less than three minutes later, in an adorable sing-song voice, Tyler said “I doin’ it.”

And he was.

I wondered if our constant prodding and encouragement was placing too much pressure on Tyler. The last few times we sat him on the potty, we told him to tell us when he was all done and walked out of the room. Much to our delight, this appears to be working. He’s even dropped a couple turd-bombs in there as well.

It’s been three days, and things are going great. He doesn’t tell us that he needs to use the potty yet. When we tell him it’s time to try, though, he sits down and pushes out the yellow delight right away. The next “prize”, which he will be receiving later today after having received four additional stickers, will be to watch a DVD and eat popcorn.

Everyone, keep your fingers crossed for us. For better or worse, we’re jumping on the potty wagon and can’t wait to cruise out of diaper-town… just so we can cruise back in this coming February.

And, to those of you that have been to our house (and who watched the video), did you see that they paved our access road??!?!?! FINALLY!!! So cool.

His middle name is Neglect

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We knew, when Sarah was pregnant with Ty, that we wanted to have a second child. After Ty was born, we talked about it here and there, but mostly during light conversation. It wasn’t until around six months ago that the conversations became more detailed and the planning part began to take shape. After the decision was made – heck, even until, and while, we were “trying” – we never put any serious thought to life with multiple children. Then we got the blue line. That was when the figurative voice boomed through the figurative speakers in our home, “This sh** just got real!”

Where will Version2 sleep? Will I have to clear out the office and turn it into a bedroom? How will Tyler react and adjust? Et cetera ad infinitum.

I asked Sarah if she wanted me to take weekly belly pictures like we did with Ty. She gave me the typical look any loving wife gives her husband for asking a ridiculous question and said, “Of course I do.”

Then she took a sip of her (caffeinated) coffee. Coffee she wouldn’t drink while pregnant with Tyler. This is when *it* began. *It* being one of two things.

On my irrational days, *it* was the fact that this pregnancy isn’t the same because this is our second child. It’s not new, like the pregnancy with Ty was. We don’t care as much.

On my more level-headed days, *it* is the knowledge that we were FREAKS during the first pregnancy. Lay like this, sleep like that, no caffeine, no artificial sweeteners, DO YOUR KEGELS!!!! It was almost to a level of neurosis. Given the opportunity, I would have wrapped Sarah in bubble wrap and locked her in a nuclear fallout shelter until the end of the gestation period. How she stuck with our marriage during the torture I put her through is beyond me. Meanwhile, Ty was partying like a fetal rockstar, taking late-night fetal karate classes, and using Sarah’s bladder to practice for his first boxing match.

I know that I deeply care about this newly created life that is barely larger than the Lightening McQueen Hot Wheels car that Ty loves so much. But…

I’ve already missed the first two OB appointments and have had to admire my beautiful Version2 through printed ultrasound pictures that Sarah brought home. I remind myself that I had no choice due to some important work projects, and take solace in the fact that Ty was there to watch the “baby movie” with his mommy.

It has also occured to me that I’ll either need to delete over 90% of the pictures I have of Ty, or be prepared to take thousands of pictures of Version2. My friends and family would honestly murder me if I did the former, so I’ll get Version2 familiar with the sound of a shutter slamming shut on short order.

Rubbing Sarah’s belly a few mornings ago, nearing in on thirteen weeks pregnant, I said, “We need to start taking belly pictures soon.”

She heard what I didn’t say. That we are slackers. She lowered her head, mildly ashamed.

“His middle name is neglect.”

At the end of the day *it* is the knowledge that Tyler takes up a significant portion of our days now. All the time we sat and admired the growing life form in Sarah’s belly during her pregnancy with Tyler… that time simply doesn’t exist any longer. To feel like we’re neglecting the little one right now is, in and of itself, pretty irrational. I’m sure all parents of multiples went through – or are currently going through – similar thoughts and feelings.

But, we really need to start taking those belly pictures.

Some of my more keen readers may have noticed the word “his” while referring to Version2 a few paragraphs up. No, we do not know the sex of Version2. I find it highly impersonal referring to the baby as “it”, and I only use “Version2” here on the site, so we refer to the baby as a unknown-gendered “he”.

Toddler Tubing

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The plan for last week was to simply have fun with our friends at their cottage, just off the lake. We had no itinerary to follow, except to feed the boys on a somewhat regular schedule. I hoped to get Tyler excited about tubing and to have A- drag him around the lake with his boat. We succeeded in getting Ty excited about the idea of tubing, but not so much on the action of tubing.

While B- (the son of A- and M-) enjoyed his kid-safe low-speed tubing ride, we asked Ty if he would like to go tubing after B-.

“Ohhh yes. Tyler turn next.”

However, as we lifted Ty and lowered him in the tube, now held firmly at the side of the boat by M-, he had a change of heart.

“I all done.”

Against his wishes, I placed Ty into the tube anyway. We all preached our oooohs and ahhhs for three or four seconds, then pulled Ty back into the boat. After telling him that I’d keep him safe and that he did a great job, I hopped into the tube. A- whipped me around the lake, and eventually the laws of physics caught up, throwing me into the water. A- took his turn then the kiddos went again. Ty never built up the courage to actually go tubing, and we didn’t pressure him.

Two days later, while playing at the beach area, I placed Ty in the tube and walked next to him with it, in the waist high water. We ventured out a little further – to the boat docks – where we saw M- and B- in a paddleboat. I hopped in the back and held onto the rope so they could tow the tube a few feet from the boat.

Ty loved it.

The next day, we all took the paddleboat out again (sans A-, because he had to work that morning). Two adults sat up front paddling and one sat in the back to make sure the tubing was going fine. Ty and B- really had a great time. We weren’t quite at the speed B- was accustomed to, but he certainly seemed to enjoy himself. While Ty was in the tube, I slowly let the rope out until he was fifteen to twenty feet out.

I won’t mention that Sarah and M- spent way more time paddling than I did. However, I will mention that this outing was one of the very few times that I didn’t take my camera with me. It’s a good thing though, because the paddleboat took on water. The camera wouldn’t have survived. But, you need not worry, because I took over two thousand pictures last week. I’ve whittled them down to just over seven hundred, so as to not overwhelm everyone with frame-by-frame shots of me awkwardly slalom skiing.

Hopefully we can get Ty to do some tubing behind A-‘s boat next time.