My Adventures in Potty Training

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The types of messages my best friend (Punky’s godmother) gets to read from me.

Potty training has been the single WORST part of parenting I have ever experienced. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the idea of my kid not having to wear pull ups anymore and the financial awesomeness that comes with that.

But.

This Kid.

She’s been sitting on the potty for over a year, she knows what it is, and she’s been familiar with the potty for a long time now. We started actively trying to potty train around July. I don’t really remember, we weren’t super consistent with it.

We had tried all sorts of rewards. Stickers, candy, dances, tattoos. Blah, Blah. Nothing worked.

This kid was stubborn or not ready. I’m not sure which. But really, she was completely aware of what we were doing. She knew what it meant to be potty trained. We got lots and lots of panties for her in all her favorite characters.

We finally got around to actually being consistent. Right after the new year and the holidays. We eliminated pull ups during the day and it was sort of working. We removed her panties all together and let her run around with a bare bottom. That worked the best.

She recently asked us for panties again.

We decided to take her lead and use the panties as an incentive.

So she was able to have one pair a day. She had to take care of those or she didn’t get anymore for the day. And this strategy worked for a minute.

Then, we noticed that she was starting to stay dry at night, so when she woke up she would have a dry pull up. So, we thought maybe we would start training even more.

Grammy came up with the strategy that has seemed to work the best. That has has the most longevity.

Money. My kid is motivated by money.

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Introducing our Potty Pig. We all put our change in the potty fund and she gets a “penny” when she pees and a “nickel” when she “number 2” and if she has no accidents all day she gets a “quarter”. I put quotes around the money value, because she has no idea what I’m handing her, but if I’m out of pennies, I may give her a nickel or if I’m out of nickels, she may get a dime. At the end of a period of time (this weekend) we will count up her potty money and she gets to go shopping with her own money and pick out her own stuff.

The pig stays up on the fire mantle, because I have noticed that the idea of having the potty pig in her hand is the incentive mostly. She loves to hold and play with delicate things. She likes to nurture them and kiss them and play with them. (We learned that with the Nativity around Christmas). So I don’t really think it’s the money, but it will be when we finally cash out the money for a special toy. I guess we will see.

So there’s a whole ritual thing we do, because we are all a bit of creatures of habit.

She then gets to dance around with the pig for a minute. Mommy dances and sings and we make a big spectacle about it. So far it’s worked out.

She’s had minimal accidents for about a week. And I have taken her to places for an hour at a time, or visit family member houses with hour potty breaks – with little to no issue. So, I thought, why not take her to the park. She’s started to recognize when she has the urge to go and she is pretty good about stopping and holding it before she has an accident.

Soooooo, I thought, let’s enjoy the nice weather we are having here in the midwest of the US. We have been having great weather. And while I am dealing with my own agoraphobia, it really stems from going anywhere without my kid, so the park was fine. I could take her to the park without an issue.

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We were there for a little over an hour. I would ask her frequently if she had to go potty. She would tell me no. We hit the hour and 15 minute mark and then … disaster struck.

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So that happened. And she had diarrhea for the rest of the day and it was what I thought would be the end of our successful streak. We waited it out a few days and then when her upset belly cleared up, I told her yesterday that if she had a day without an accidents we could go to bed without a pull up and wear panties instead.

She’s been asking for this for a few days and I had been reluctant to do it, because of her issues with diarrhea. But, yesterday, she did really well. She even took a little nap on the couch and had no accidents. I had to wake her up, sit her sleepy bottom on the potty and then she went back to sleep.

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So. we put some plastic down on her bed and bit the bullet. She ran around the house in this ridiculous outfit for quite some time when she realized that she wouldn’t have to wear a pull up to bed.

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She’d been waking up dry for about a week, so I wasn’t super worried about it, but you know – our streak was hindered for a minute, so I got concerned.

This morning, Kim posted this.

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I was reluctant to announce it to the world. Potty training really has been the single worst job of my parenting so far. And you know how it goes, you brag about your kid doing something awesome and then the kid proves you wrong and there’s some crazy setback. It’s like the, for real, law of toddler successes. Don’t post it or brag about it, because it is just a fleeting moment! Haha.

Anyway, I’m thrilled with our success, thus far. I am hoping this isn’t a fluke and we can soon announce that she is POTTY TRAINED. We are so close I can feel it, but then, here I am posting about it and bragging about it, so we will see what tomorrow holds in store!

In other happy news, my sister had her fourth baby this week. A beautiful baby girl named Aurora. I will be calling her “Rory”. She’s beautiful and healthy and hopefully her last one, cause my goodness she has her hands full with the four of her kids in her beautiful and very active family!

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And these are the Days of Our Lives…..

I feel like we are constantly in some wackadoodle damn soap opera. The roller coaster of our life just never had a moment to slow down and stop. There are never any breaks along the way, it’s just UP and DOWN. UP and DOWN.

Jeez, life, throw me a damn bone.

I’m super frustrated right now because Kim and I got Punky all dressed up and paraded her around the court house in Kansas to get our application for a marriage license. Literally, just last week, this was a done deal and we found out about it on Wednesday. We were excited, we were so relieved. It wasn’t Missouri, but just the few days prior, Missouri did rule that they would recognize gay marriages performed legally in states that do allow that sort of thing.

So, why not, we said?

We only live 30 minutes away from the court house doing it and we could go up there before I went to work the very next day. So, Thursday, we got ready, we all three got up super early. This was a momentous occasion and one we called all our parents about and pumped up our Facebook friends and family with this adorable video from Punky!

It was pouring down rain when we got in the car, by the time we got on the highway, I couldn’t even really see the cars in front of us. The rain was sheets of water, buckets being dumped on our car. Kim looked at me and said, “You must really want to do this.” And if anyone knows me, I don’t drive in the best conditions, let alone these types of conditions, unless I want to get somewhere. I held it together and kept my cool.

Punky got to press the walk button on the crosswalk and go through the metal detector, all while charming the pants off anybody we passed with her ridiculously adorable pea coat and umbrella.

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We finally found our way to the marriage license window and got the application; after swearing to god that our statements were all true. We got the application and they hadn’t even had time to change the pronouns on the application yet, it’s that new. So we had to cross out groom and we had to change he to she. Normally, this kind of thing might bug me, but not at that moment. I didn’t care. I just wanted to do it right.

11 years we have waited. 11 years we have been patiently watching and silently hoping that we will be married in our own state, or at least close. (Kansas is literally right around the corner from us!)  Who cares if the forms are updated. That time will come. I just wanted it to be right.

We signed some stuff, took our application and went home to wait the three day waiting period for Kansas marriage licenses.

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We were going to make a trip back there on Tuesday. We were going to get married and get our marriage license on Tuesday. The long wait for marriage (and tax benefits and rights and equality) was finally over.

Until tonight.

When we read that the Kansas State Attorney General petitioned a block on all gay marriage licenses. There will be a hearing. Sometime in November. And yes, I know – we will get married eventually. With the way the momentum of gay marriage is sweeping the country – it’s going to happen.

But.

It won’t be Tuesday.

And we are all pretty bummed about it.

SAD

And in other news, we are going to visit my family tomorrow – so that will likely brighten my spirits a bit.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Everything Smells Like Pee…..

And the joys of potty training. Round one, week one has been a touch and go success around here. With Punky asking for two days straight if she could “go potty training Mommy?” we got out the panties and tried again. This time, we are in a much more stable environment, a routine we are used to and she is pretty well adjusted to the move. With three floors, we have three potty chairs. Thank goodness for Grammy’s Craigslist habit. LOL.

So there’s a potty chair on the upstairs bathroom by her bedroom, one in the livingroom, and one in the basement of our room. No matter what floor she’s on, we got her potty needs covered.

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So, one week ago today – Miss Punky was cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs (who lost) while exercising her potty skills.

Look, I started by reading into that Potty Train Your Kid in Three Days thing, but that didn’t really seem to work out. We didn’t really have a plan. We just started. Luckily, we have a lot of support in the house. The first day went not so great, all accidents – no real success. The second day she got into the groove, she got the hang of things. We got her on a schedule and she would sit on the potty no questions asked.

By the third day, we struggled with desire to sit on the potty. Lots of asserting of willpower and headstrong NO resounded through our house. It was frustrating and not just a little annoying. We have been using pull-ups at night, and we still get periodical resistance from her to sit on the potty. We have resorted to bribery with candy and toys and new Batman shirts. Yes, we are not above bribery.

So, we have had a few rough patches, it’s been a real roller coaster and by far the most unfortunate part of parenting. I feel like someone needs to invent a way to engineer already potty trained toddlers, so parents don’t have to chase their kids around. So, for now, we are doing alright, hanging in there – really, it’ pretty damn tough.

And … everything smells like pee!

Today was the first day without an accident, minimal resistance, though she still protested. We even went out to our friend “Button’s” house and had a little play date. We took her potty chair with us and set it up in my friend’s bathroom and it worked like a charm. A potty break every hour and smore’s cupcakes wasn’t a bad bribery tactic.

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Punky and Button are about a year apart in age, and it is so cute to see them get together recently and play together. Button is at the stage where he is playing side by side – so it really confuses Punky. She keeps asking him to play with her and asking me why he won’t play with her. It’s actually pretty darn cute really, her confusion. His mom and I talk about how they are going to get married someday and be able to talk about how they grew up with each other and were best friends. You know the stories. Those love stories of the people who get married to their childhood friends, the ones they have known forever.

Or at least – they will date at some point. Haha!

So, it’s been quiet around here. I’m working til midnight now, so I have a busy day and a tired night – uber sleepy mornings with the little one. I have been reading all the joys, heartache, and stories. I have just been too tired to write our own stories. Miss Punky has been doing lots of fun things and we have had a great many moments around here, besides the potty dances and songs.

My little one has been increasingly full of more attitude, spontaneous whining and outbursts. And then she turns around and asks to hold my hand.

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We also had our first Sunday Movie Night tonight. So it was a great time the three of us just hanging out and watching Rise of the Guardians. It was a cute movie, and we took some potty breaks in between the hours, but overall, as long as I could wrangle her attentions to cuddling with me, it was a great night!

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And it’s moments like this that will help her make it to three!

Speaking of three, we had a half birthday last week as well. We celebrate those things around here. Miss Punky is half way to three, can you believe it?! I know I can’t! Half birthdays are always full of a sweet treat and maybe a little toy or something, nothing fancy, blow out a candle and remind Mommy it’s almost time to start planning YET ANOTHER birthday party.

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The same night, we spent some time with two of her cousins, the older and the younger. Mommy went through all her clothes and gave them away to her younger cousin.

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The joys of growing bigger and growing out of your clothes. In shirts and dresses, this kid is wearing anywhere from a 3T to a 4/5 in girls. Size 8 in shoes! And yet her pants are still 24 months-2T, but mostly for the length, but anything bigger is too big in the waist. It’s just nuts how much she has grown and every time we sit around and have a conversation – a real conversation, I just find myself staring at this little person, this tiny human in awe.

Like I still can’t believe she’s mine. I can’t believe I’m her Mommy and damnit, I can’t believe how incredibly lucky we are!

The end of this catch-up is the wedding of Kim’s brother. It was a beautiful and long awaited affair. It made me cry tears of joy and made me so happy for them. It also gave me an excuse to get Miss Punky all dressed up and have a place to go!

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And we got a new family picture, which is always the highlight of my week.

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Now … if I could stop smelling pee….

Can I Borrow Your Backyard?

Holy smokes, people. I didn’t really think about how much is costs to have a stupid wedding ceremony. See, I know earlier I was all “Yay Wedding!” “Yay walking down the aisle!” That was before I went to price venues for an affair such as our wedding. Are you kidding me? $2000 for like three hours? Honestly, I have the food taken care of, I don’t need a dance floor or anything fancy. I just need a place to walk down the aisle in a pretty dress and say I DO to the love of my life.

Is that really so much to ask for?

We are parents of a small child and I don’t have the cash to have even a small affair. I mean, sure we could save it up for a while, but then the wedding would never happen, because we really are the worst savers on the planet! LOL.  And, anyone who knows me personally just laughed out loud for real, hopefully you aren’t drinking anything. Sorry about your nose ….

Anyway, so I am thinking about just crashing someone’s backyard. You know, put some lawn chairs out and pay homage to my redneck roots. Here I am rolling my eyes right now. Seriously, that just won’t ever happen.

But, I suppose, eventually I will make this work. There’s got to be a nice place I can have a decent wedding ceremony and not have to give my imaginary second born child as payment. (We can’t give up the first one, they’d give her back, and we aren’t having a second one, now we’re screwed!) Heh, but really, planning a wedding is expensive!

We have a date though, in May, hopefully. I am really shooting for that, regardless of what we do. And, we will technically be getting married before that, legally, with the paper and all that signed in a month – maybe less, as soon as we get some information from Iowa on how we have to proceed. I don’t want to be driving all the way to Iowa (I know, I know it’s only 2 hours) and find out that we weren’t fully prepared.

I sent an email to the county recorder’s office there on Labor Day and haven’t heard anything yet. I figure they are busy with a lot of midwesterners with the same questions I have about same-sex marriage, since the IRS ruling that just came out. I’m sure I’m not the only one with the questions on how to do this properly. And, Iowa is the closest state we can do it when we are smack dab in the middle of the country. I swear, the midwest needs to get with the program for crying out loud.

So, we have a semi-plan for the trip to Iowa, now we just need to figure out how to make the ceremony nice and still keep it reasonable  for our pockets. It’s really going to be a frivolous expense anyway, but I am set that I will have my day to walk down the aisle. Our mothers will be able to see us stand in front of our friends and family and proclaim our love to the person we have shared the last decade with. Our fathers will have the chance to walk us down the aisle, give us away and dance at our wedding. It will happen. It will.

In other news, I’m still working the night shift, getting off at midnight. I’m still doing a fill in supervisor job in the hopes of making it permanent. Keep your fingers crossed for me, it’s a great opportunity and it’s definitely what I want to do.

And, as always, it allows me to do great things with Punky that I wouldn’t normally be able to do. K and I decided that for pictures that aren’t ‘creeper worthy’ or nude pictures and stuff that I don’t actually ever post, I am not going to password protect, because damnit, I hate doing it. So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s what we have been doing!

Over the last holiday weekend, Punky helped me cook spaghetti. She really just stirred her own pot of cold, salty noodle water and nibbled on the uncooked noodles.

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We also spent some time at Barnes and Noble for the first time with Punky. She had a nice time with their Lego display thing.

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Tuesday we went to story time at the library. I didn’t get a chance to get any pictures of her there, because the story time was too little for her and she was too busy. We may try storytime for toddlers next time.

Then today we went for a little outing to the store this morning. I am just loving the fact that she walks to the car by herself and she can hold my hand, even if she doesn’t really want to.

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She climbs up the stairs, she takes a little break and then of course, becomes distracted by things on the way, but we get there eventually. I know I have more patience than K does in this department, but we are working on it! Our little girl is getting bigger and bigger. Her half birthday is on Saturday! We will likely have a little celebration for her 18 months. I’m sure I will have pictures for you then too!

Hope everyone had a great week and has a great weekend!

 

My Family Is Just Like Yours

**Posted for Blogging About LGBT Families Day (June 3rd)**

At the end of the day, that’s the simple truth. It doesn’t matter what parents head a family. In the end, my family is the same as yours. While your husband may go to work and provide for the family, that is my job in my family. You may stay home with your child and care for the needs of their everyday, we have a stay at home mom too, and it’s my daughter’s Mama, my partner.

The one thing I can never wrap my head around is that simple fact.

It doesn’t matter if the family is headed by two moms or a mom and a dad. It doesn’t matter if the family is headed by two dads or a single mom. When it comes down to the nitty gritty all we should really care about is whether or not the children in the family are being cared for, whether or not they are loved. I can say that I am sure your children are loved and well cared for and you do it in your own way.

The same courtesy is all I am asking for. This isn’t just about being a two mom house hold, it’s about being a family who parents differently than someone else. It’s about the “Mommy Wars” and judging other people’s decisions. Just because you didn’t allow your child to cry it out, doesn’t make my child a future sociopath. Just because we didn’t allow our daughter to co-sleep, doesn’t mean yours will grow up to be a clingy co-dependent adult.

See what I did there? I changed the way things look.

Imagine if you were me and your children were told that their father was not really their father because your marriage wasn’t legal and it wasn’t allowed because of some archaic rules from who knows where. Imagine for a moment if your husband passed away and your marriage was not fully recognized and your relationship to your child was not legally binding, thus, the moment he passed away, your child could be ripped from your arms. Imagine for a moment, you are sitting at a bench at the park with your daughter and you are sharing a nice little chicken nugget meal and someone were to come up and give you a judging look for feeding your child fast food. Now, imagine that you didn’t have time to cook a meal for your daughter because you just got off work, but your main priority was to take her out to play at the park and bond with her for a few hours.

Instead of judging the dynamic of another family, put yourself in their shoes. Feel what they feel. Regardless of what it is you are “being helpful” about. You aren’t being helpful. In the end, your comments and judgments are unfounded, because my family is just as normal as yours.

Does your daughter like to play at the park? Mine does.

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Do you come up with new ways to entertain your kid or spend time with them? We do!

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Do you have a specific bedtime routine for your little one? We do.

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Do you read stories to your kid at night or during nap time? We do.

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Does your toddler eat things they shouldn’t? Mine does.

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Do you require your kid to eat their veggies? We do.

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Does your daughter go to your spouse for comfort over you? Mine does.

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And, let’s not forget, that because my family is not recognized as ‘legal’ and my partner is not considered my daughter’s mother, if I were to get a car accident tomorrow, my daughter would be ripped away from the person she seeks comfort from. Is that better for her? I doubt it. Does that cause damaging affects on a child’s psyche? I believe so.

If you have the same experiences that we do with our children, then as you can see, we are just like you. Our families are no different; our children are neither better nor worse off. In the end, it doesn’t matter who heads the family – what matters are the loves that comes with the family you have.

Celebrate the differences of the families around you. Remember that just because my daughter has two moms, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have male role models in her life. Just because my daughter has two moms, doesn’t mean she will lack for a male figure in her life.

And, frankly, how to single moms do it without a male figure in the children’s lives? Do we condemn them for not having a mom and a dad household? We sure don’t stigmatize them or say those moms are punishing their children for depriving them from having a male role model.

If you get anything out of this, just remember, my family is just like yours. Full of love and laughter, tears and fears. We all have the same common goal. Love our children and raise them to be good people in the world.

Check out more awesome blog posts about this:

Master List at Mobian

Real families on Equally Family

Happy Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day I got a migraine and ‘the finger’. Oh, yes, my daughter gave me the INDEX finger. 

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I said, “Punky, don’t touch the flowers, they are not yours.” She proceeded to bend down and attempt to touch the pretties. I said, “No Ma’am. We don’t touch the flowers.” She whipped around and gave me this face. Accompanied by the finger.

We always say she’s a carbon copy of me, in fact, it’s been said on numerous occasions that I may or may not have impregnated myself. (As a side note: We really lucked out in the donor department and I am immensely grateful to him for making yesterday possible for us.) 

In the end, Mother’s Day was full of screaming, crying, a black eye, the discovery of all FOUR molars coming in and an early bedtime. Mommy is officially over Mother’s Day. At least for this year. 

Hope everyone else had a much better time than I did!!