Friday, June 19, 2015

Potty Training

I realize I am resorting to "potty humor", but desperate times call for....
 a sense of humor.

I am in the throes of potty training for the last time. And I realize that I must find the humor or I will go undeniably crazy (up till now I have denied my craziness).

So here are my top 10 ways to know you are indeed potty training.

1. You find yourself asking everyone multiple times if they have gone potty before you leave the house, this includes spouse and adult friends.

2. You want to invite your friends to eat in your bathroom. Not to gross anyone out, but because of all the time you spend in there it is the cleanest room in your house. At least from what you remember. They would have to bring the food though, you haven't cooked all week.

3. You start buying "potty treats" you like, regardless of what your child wants.

4. You divvy out those potty treats on a "one for you, three for me basis" and after they are in bed, you make a raid on said treats.

5. You actually take the time to make a cost analysis of your child using diapers until young adulthood and try to determine how serious you are about them attending college after all.

6. You find yourself interrupting the phrase,"Mommy, I need... with  RUN, RUN, RUN!!!"

7. You are pretty sure you haven't left the house in at least a month, even though it is more like 3 days.

8. You realize that you haven't been to the bathroom yourself in 3 days, because you don't want to see that room on your "time off".

9. You hear your child telling a stranger that he has on "race car underwear, what kind do youse wear?"

10. You are LATE, LATE, LATE. No matter how on time, (or not) you usually are, you are now habitually late to everything either because they announced in the car as you were pulling away that they need to go (yes, in spite of your repeated queries of "Does anyone need to go potty?"), or you have to change clothes, or you are getting that diaper you are sure you won't need, and most likely because you realize that now you need to go.

With my first child I realized that like several other things parenting is not for the weak. It is not for those easily grossed out. But I had no idea how close to pure insanity potty training really can take you. It makes me a nut case and I am always glad when it is done. This time though, I have to laugh a bit more because it is the end of that chapter for me. And that makes me a little sad.
See, I told you it makes me a little crazy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pushy Mom

After weeks and months, okay, years of pushing my kids to do their chores, get their homework done, go to their activities, go to church, etc. I finally admit I am a pushy Mom.

And sometimes, depending on the child, I am nicer about it than others, because frankly depending on what mood they are in determines at times how I push.

I was so grateful a month ago when some men from our church were visiting with our family and one mentioned how when his son was young sometimes said he didn't want to go to church and this man told him time and again, "You don't have ta wanna, ya just hafta."

That resonated with me and I used that very phrase, (yep, said it just like that) getting my kids off to church.

I'm finding in raising my kids that in preparing them for the real world they will have to do work they don't want to do, go when they feel sick, do even when they are tired, show up when they have someplace else they would rather be and so on.

Now I also am not the mom that has my kids in a billion things!!! They do school, scouts and karate. That is it! Do I wish they would take music lessons and art lessons and play sports? Yes, sort of.

 I would love for my boys to play music, I think it is such an amazing skill, that provides beauty.
Do I wish they wanted to play sports? Yes! Being part of a team teaches invaluable lessons about working together, practicing, accountability and so on.

But I know that right now our lives are full with what we have. I could push more, but I'm not sure it would bring about the intended results. We can't all do everything. There are some kids who thrive on doing many things and some kids who would not. I am amazed by families whose kids do all those things and get everything else done too! At times I wonder if I should push more.

Then I look at my kids and evaluate where they are and their happiness and what our family can do. It is a very personal decision that is different for each family. What each family choses to do, does not make them better or worse than mine. Just different.

So for now, I keep pushing the things that I know are important for my kids and I don't worry about the rest.

Besides, that will give them something to complain about when they are all grown up and we have our Christmas get togethers and no one can play the piano sitting there.

Which is ok too, because then no one will be able to make fun of my singing!

Monday, June 1, 2015

An Open Letter to Pool Staff

OPEN LETTER TO POOL STAFF | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Dear Lifeguard, Dive Coach, Swim Teacher,

 I imagine that for you, this job is a fun way to make some good money over the summer. You get to be outside all the time, there's music, fun friends, you get a tan and it's a pretty fun environment.

As a mother of four children there are a few things I would like you to know after our first day of lessons.

Today, you taught my children, and I watched and listened.

I watched as you complimented each kid on something they did right, either with their form or their effort.

Do you know that those words may be the only compliments some of those kids get each day?

You said something good to every kid, no matter their size, shape, or ability. Some of these kids are at that yucky awkward phase in life. Your praise, as one of their peers, means a tremendous amount! You don't know which kids had a rough school year and are trying to find something, anything, to be successful at, but they do.

Thank you for helping them feel good about something they are doing right.

I watched as you took the time to point out what they need to work on so they can become better. They listened to you because you are so close in age, you are more like a friend than a teacher. For helping them to learn how to improve in a very low key way, thank you!

I didn't watch you watch my kids as we swam as a family, but I was so glad to know that you are watching!!
 I need to know you are watching and not daydreaming, or talking to friends because I don't have enough eyes for all of my kids. I know how important taking them to the pool to experience the water and learning to swim is.

I know that they learn more about swimming and holding their breath from being there a lot and experiencing it, than they do from lessons, although those are important too.

I also know that when you blow your whistle at them and tell them not to do certain things it is because you are trying to protect them or others. Thank you! They may not always be listening, or sometimes they keep running, but thank you for trying to keep them safe!

I know that your job is super important! I know how quickly a child can drown even in shallow water. As I was in the shallow end with my little ones, I was watching one jump in, only to turn back and see the other under water. It scared me to death!!! Again, I am glad to know that I have your eyes as well as mine! Thank you!

You may not realize that  you work miracles with ice and popsicles! Last summer you soothed the embarrassment and pain of a high dive belly flop and a first time bee sting with these and some kind words. Thank you!

Some days, your job may seem boring, but those of us who take our kids to the pool week after week, appreciate what you do.

Please continue to give praise to those who are learning and trying! It means so much coming from you.

Please continue to tell them how to improve, it often has more power coming from you than me.

Please continue to blow your whistle if they are doing something they shouldn't. They need to know that Mom and Dad aren't the only ones who establish rules and enforce them.

Please help them learn to love the water and the joy of swimming. It is truly a lifelong skill.

Please keep watching! I need your eyes too.

And please wear sunscreen every day, because I do worry about you and I want you to someday watch your own children at the pool.

Cheryl Merrill
A Mom, a mother of 4, and a friend