Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Sitting around the Thanksgiving table, we hold hands and bow our heads to pray. My parents do a round-robin type of grace before dinner, and this time my mom decides we should all share what we’re thankful for. The ritual of grace always presents a bit of a conundrum for me, as I try to appreciate all I have without thanking a God I don’t believe in. I'm happy to be given a topic.

As the prayer train goes around the other side of the table, Muffin leans over and asks, “What y’all doing?” She turns Texan for some reason whenever she asks this question. While Miss M can recite the traditional before-dinner prayer by heart, as the child of heathens Muffin has no idea what grace even is.

“Think of something you like and that you’re happy to have,” I whisper in her ear. I am up next, so I talk about how glad I am that my sister has had her baby before her due date, giving me a chance to meet her when she was just days old. I’ve somehow met all three of my nieces and nephews within a week of their birth, as they did with Muffin. Despite living halfway across the country from my family, I don't miss as much as you'd think.

Muffin’s turn. “And what are you thankful for?” my mom asks.

“Chicken,” Muffin replies solemnly.

I’m thankful for chicken too.

Monday, November 26, 2007


You know that saying about something involving a high level of coordination being as difficult as herding cats? I propose a new expression: Trying to get three two-year-olds to smile for a Christmas photo.

Miss M could not work it without musical accompaniment.

Lil C seemed concerned that all the adults in the room are singing B-I-N-G-O, jumping up and down, and possibly losing their marbles.

Muffin tried a variety of imaginative poses. She is still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Toddler Model.

This is going so well - let's add 6-day-old Baby Jojo into the mix.

Muffin's solo session didn't go much better. Diva.

At least we got to see the big guy -- and we even mustered a nice smile.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Life of the Potty

We introduced the potty right around the time Muffin turned two. Having her actually go on the toilet seemed about as likely as monkeys flying out of her butt, but we figured we had to start some time. She seemed to enjoy the novelty, so every night at bath time we dutifully sat her down for a little quality time on the throne. We might read a book or just shoot the, um, shit about pooping and peeing, and who all does it – a topic that held endless fascination. I’m sorry, but if I know you in real life, we've probably discussed the fact that you too poop. She's suitably impressed, I promise you.

After a few weeks, Muffin peed – a thrilling development. After a few weeks, lo and behold, she made a larger deposit at the bank. We hugged her and high-fived her as if she’d pooped gold. We taped up a potty chart – flower stickers for #1 and gold stars for #2 – and she filled it up in just one weekend.

And yet, six months later, she’s still in diapers – ok, technically, she’s in the pull-ups, the ones with the Little Mermaid, Princess Jasmine and Cinderella on the front (Cars pull-ups are an acceptable substitute but if try Dora, God help you). She is perfectly capable of recognizing the need to go and holding it, but totally inconsistent in her desire to actually make it to the bathroom. I call it the Lesser of Two Evils litmus test; if she is stalling on bedtime, feeling rushed out the door for school or some other onerous activity, she’ll shout the state of her bladder from the rooftops and make a beeline for the pot. But if she’s playing or dancing or, say, eating my Chapstick, she can’t be bothered. Unless we can catch her beforehand and convince her otherwise, her preferred poop scenario is in her room, in the corner, bracing herself against the table. I’ve put the totally adorable big kid underwear on her a few times, thinking that might make my little fashionista a convert, but despite me asking her every 15 minutes if she had to go, she just casually wet herself and kept on playing.

There have been a few setbacks along the way – falling into the bowl when she forgot to put the special seat on, accidentally using her hand as a wipe (and to her credit, being suitably horrified). But I don’t think they’ve been enough to put her on the path to adult diapers. I’m not sure what the glitch is. Perhaps one day she’ll wake up and tell us she’s off the dipes for good, and we’ll know that this is it, she's finally really ready. But of course there are no traffic lights in parenting, and we'll probably have to muddle through like always. Her teachers have encouraged us to take a long weekend and just do it. They think she’s almost there, just needs a little push.

Maybe it’s that we’re not ready. I’ve walked the streets of Manhattan, weakened postpartum bladder bursting, unable to find a bathroom -- Central Park in particular is a restroom no man’s land. We do like our adventures, and really committing to full potty training means sticking close to home for a while.

But I think I’ll also miss the day when using the potty is no longer an event but just a bodily function not worth fussing over. Seeing the smile spread across her face when she hears the tinkling of pee, and watching her little butt jiggle as she runs off to tell Daddy -- well, I can take a lot of shit for that.