Archive for the ‘ Home Life ’ Category

Progress In Potty Training A Nearly 3 Year-Old Boy

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

2 year, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday afternoon as Mommy was upstairs working on laundry and as we were watching Disney’s Spooky Buddies, you announced to me:

“I go potty!”

That was my cue to jump up and chase you to the bathroom door, open it for you, and turn on the light.

From there, you did your business.

I always stand right outside the door, with it cracked, as to still give you some privacy but to also assess the situation.

This particular time, I was only half-way paying attention, I admit. I suppose I was slightly distracted about the thought of the “ghost puppy” in the movie we were in the middle of.

You so easily understood and didn’t question a “ghost puppy” that flew around like Casper. I did.

So for what happened next, I had to ask myself if I really had just seen what I thought I did:

After “going number one,” you lifted up the potty tray from your Elmo potty and held it in one hand, and with the other you lifted up the real potty lid and dumped your Elmo potty contents into it.

Then, you sat the Elmo potty tray back into the Elmo potty and flushed the real potty before running back into the living room to finish our movie.

I was stunned.

It’s a big enough deal to go potty, but to take care of all those other steps too… wow. I was probably most impressed by the fact you didn’t spill the Elmo potty tray.

On top of all that, it was probably the 5th successful time yesterday that you “went potty in the potty.” In fact, you had no accidents all day yesterday, even when we went out in public for a couple of hours.

Of course it all goes back to last weekend when your Nonna and Papa (my parents) were here.

After we all went out for some fun at the pumpkin patch, that evening Mommy and I went out on a date night (at a New Mexican restaurant and Old Navy). And Nonna and Papa helped out Mommy and I tremendously by using that time to proactively potty train you…

What was effective was having you only wear your “big boy/Thomas the Train” underwear. It worked. You did not want to get Thomas dirty.

I had heard that when it comes to potty training a boy, it’s harder than potty training a girl.

But, that it really just comes down to two things: that the boy is about three years old, and that the boy is not wearing diapers while potty training.

It’s working. I am so proud of you.





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What Happens Upstairs While Daddy’s Doing The Dishes Below

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

About a month ago (at least) our dishwasher stopped working. Even if I had the handyman skills I wish that had, I still don’t see how I could budget that time into our time-starved schedule.

I imagine it would take a whole sacred Saturday afternoon (at best) for me to fix the thing. Eventually, Papa (my dad) and I will get it taken care of while he and Nana are visiting for the holidays.

The funny thing is, neither Mommy nor I really care that we currently don’t have a running dishwasher.

One of my roles in our household is to take care of all the dishes and clean up the kitchen after dinner each night.

I’ve always washed everything by hand anyway, so by now, having to fool with loading and unloading the dishwasher, not to mention having to to pay for the water and electricity to clean them a 2nd time, it just seems like too much hassle.

Though it may seem like a simple task, it takes me about 45 minutes to wash and dry all the dishes, put them away, wipe down the counters, and vacuum the floor.

During that time, I’m missing a world of fun upstairs.

That’s when Mommy gets you ready for bed. I never knew what I was missing!

But recently there was a night where we hardly had any dishes, so I got to check out what you two do while Daddy’s doing the dishes every night.

The lights were out and I discovered Mommy using only a flashlight to read you a bedtime story…

And to teach you how to make shadow puppets!

It’s funny because I’ve always wondered what all the laughing and jumping around was going on upd there, as I listened from down below:

Our kitchen is basically directly below your bedroom.

Mommy and you get to have fun; that’s what’s going on upstairs.

Meanwhile, I have the glorious job of dish duty while listening to Imagine Dragons.

I don’t mind, though. It’s important that you and Mommy get to have that special time together.

Since I’m the one you takes you to school, I have at least two exclusive hours a day that Mommy doesn’t.

Besides, being the “kitchenware engineer” helps me feel a little bit more useful around here, since I imagine most dads would have already fixed their broken dishwasher by now.

Granted, I could get you to bed a lot sooner myself, but I bet Mommy’s a lot more fun!






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I Never Saw Myself As A Non-Spanking Parent, But…

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Back before you were of disciplining age, I was no skeptic of parents who refused to spank their child; in fact, I passionately mocked the idea of discplining without spanking.

I vehemently disagreed with Super Nanny’s approach.

“Time out? Yeah right. Like that does any good,” I would think to myself.

I believed that “non-spanking” was part of a liberal media agenda which led to uncontrollable children and even, overall, a higher crime rate for the adults who were not spanked as kids.

Then I changed my mindset. I stopped looking at opposing groups of people as “wrong” or “right,” based on their opinions. I stopped feeding into the polarization of America, based on our divided cultural leanings and preferences.

(Even to the point I now think Republicans and Democrats are equal. I realize it’s heresy to both sides to say that, though.)

But it’s true that I use to totally stereotype parents who didn’t spank their children.

I assumed that if a parent didn’t spank their child, they definitely didn’t effectively discipline them. Or it meant, in theory, they didn’t really discipline them at all.

Something that always kept me close-minded to the concept of discipline without spanking is a Bible verse (Proverbs 13:24) that I had always interpreted in a preconceived way:

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

I always took that to mean “the rod” (or the paddle, etc.) exclusively equalled discipline. In other words, I thought it would be impossible to properly discipline a child without ultimately resorting to spanking. But now, I read that verse differently:

My interpretation is, “It’s better to spank your child in an effort to discipline them, than to not discipline your child at all. But the main thing is, that you do discipline your child- not necessarily how you discipline them.”

Therefore, I totally don’t care how other parents discipline their children. I used to, but I’m way over that.

What I do care about is how I discipline you. And for Mommy and I, that means not resorting to spanking. For us, that’s what we feel is right for our family.

Again, I have completely neutral feelings about how other parents discipline their kids. I have no time to think or care about that. None of my business or concern. Complete Libertarian approach.

What got me thinking about this is that a couple of days ago another blogger on wrote an article and posted a video that I totally agree with:

The video explains 5 alternatives to spanking that Mommy and I apply:

1. Ignore attention-seeking behavior.

2. Pay attention to good behavior.

3. Redirect your child.

4. Teach consequences that make sense.

5. Use time-outs for serious offenses.

I love you, therefore I discipline you. I just happen to be one the parents who believes spanking is not the most effective long-term way to carry out that discipline for my own child.

That doesn’t make me a better parent in any way, but it does make me a version of myself I had never seen myself becoming, before actually becoming a parent.





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Step 1: Obtain New Toy, Step 2: Cover It In Play-Doh

Monday, October 21st, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

When you were much younger, you would break in a new toy (or any random object) by putting it in your mouth.

These days, you instead cover the new toy or object in Play-Doh.

It’s the initation process, in your world.

While I napped for 20 minutes in the Kroger parking lot, like a rock, you were inside the grocery store helping Mommy.

When the two of you came back to the car, you had a new Hot Wheels ’67 Camaro in your hands:

“Look, Daddy! I got a new race car!”

We were home within 10 minutes and the first thing you did was to have me set up your play table and get out your red Play-Doh.


To cover your brand-new car in slime, or mud, or whatever it is you pretend that Play-Doh is.

It wasn’t until hours later that I actually got to see your new toy, because it was consumed by a red blob for its first waking hours.

Sure, Play-Doh can be used to make dinosaurs and animals and balls to roll around.

But ultimately, it’s used as an element of nature.

You get a quirky sense of pleasure out of swallowing your new toys in Play-Doh. Like I said, it’s the initiation process.

Mommy and I actually got to quietly eat dinner in the living room Saturday night, as you were quite self-contained in the kitchen with your Play-Doh torture center, I mean, activity play area.

After the new toy survives at least 90 minutes of conditioning to the extremes of Play-Doh, it must then endure, and conquer, the Play-Doh worms that unravel as the car finally breaks through the stronghold of the Play-Doh encasing.

It’s hilarious to me.

I don’t even mind picking up all the little red dots of Play-Doh before they get a chance to get ground into our light gray carpet.










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It’s Lovely Weather For a HAYRIDE Together With You!

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

This is a picture of you on your very first hayride, at least that I’m aware of.

(You were obviously happy about it.)

The way I see it, going on a hayride is one of the most American things you can do in Autumn.

It starts getting too cold to enjoy being outside in October, so you show up to a farm (more marketably called a “pumpkin patch”) where enough other people want to have fun, despite it being too cold to be outside for an hour and a half compared to if they were simply in their own yard.

How it seems to go for most new experiences in your life, like the train ride at the zoo last weekend, you typically are quiet as you process what’s going on- to figure out whether or not you like it.

Typically, it’s not until at least the next day that you refer to the experience as a positive event.

But with the hayride, it was barely finished before you announced to Mommy and me, “I liked the hayride.”

After all, we got pulled by a tractor! That’s not something we get to do everyday.

Soon after, we made our way to the play area, where you had no trouble finding a toy tractor to reenact our adventure.

I was uncertain how you’d react to the Halloween decorations that were placed all along the ride, but you actually thought they were pretty cool- like the giant spider made out of hay.

So what are our plans for next weekend?

You guessed it. We’re headed back to the pumpkin patch to go on the hayride again.

I’m becoming more aware of the fact that I really get to have more fun with you these days. I’m especially looking forward to the holidays coming up for the rest of the year.

Now you are really starting to remember the activities and adventures we do together as a family.

That’s not to say you’re ready for Disney World, but I’d say you’re definitely approved for that 2nd visit to the pumpkin patch next weekend.




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