Thursday, September 27, 2007
Progress report
Three days, no accidents. We still have to ask her to go, but she's learning to hold it so that's progress. This weekend will be a big test. We travel to Maryland again. That's a four hour trip. It will be broken up so that will help. The challenge comes from the fact that we'll be thrown entirely off our schedule so it will take careful vigilance to stay on top of the potty schedule. Wish us luck!
A test
I say: "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses."

You say:________
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The "bowling ball" gift
There is an episode of the Simpsons where it's Marge's birthday. Homer, being Homer, gives her a bowling ball for her birthday. When she opens it she points out the fact that she doesn't bowl. He then asks, "if you don't want it can I have it?"

So when I speak of a "bowling ball" gift you'll know what I mean. When your husband gives you lingerie that is horribly uncomfortable yet sexy as hell, that's for him, not you. That's a "bowling ball" gift. You may be able to think of other examples you've seen.

I've bought most everything Emma will get for her birthday. However, M goes shopping once a week for the store so I mentioned to him that if he wanted to choose something for her then he should take the opportunity to do so. Last night he came back with a Thomas the Train Trackmaster starter set. This appears to be a classic "bowling ball" gift on the surface. But honestly, he's just filling a need. Emma is constantly asking to play "train." For now that means we have to drag out our Mexican Train domino game and let her play with the little roundhouse and tiny plastic trains. I think she's going to love her new train. Go, Daddy!
"Look! A caiman!"
She said this as we were coming through our back gate. I looked at the ground and saw a few leaves. I figured she was playing a game. I asked her what she was talking about. There, there! She pointed. I looked closer. Damned if there wasn't a tiny salamander making his way across the yard. It was the first time I had ever seen one on the property. When you go deep into the woods on the mountains you see them everywhere. But not inside the back gate.

We observed him for quite a while, taking pictures and following his progress. He went to hide behind a planter and I talked Emma into leaving him alone for a while. By the time Daddy got home the little fella was long gone.

My research has revealed that he was a Eastern Newt, a Red Eft. Not quite a caiman.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
A measure of success
For two consecutive days Emma has done perfectly in her big girl panties at Mary's. However, last night she came home and had two accidents. I felt the blame went to us for not escorting her to the potty on a regular basis. So far it seems she's succeeding only because we keep her on a regular schedule of going to sit on the potty. She still will not tell us when she needs to go. Every time I try to give her a chance to be the one to tell me it's time to go, she ends up soiling her pants. All that said, today was a day with no accidents. I'm proud of her for holding it between trips, but I really really wish she'd start telling us when she needs to go. I guess we're building a positive habit.
Monday, September 24, 2007
The place where I live... so differently-abled that the Class of 2009 is raising money with a gun lotto. The prizes will be five different firearms given away on five consecutive nights. The winning numbers will be determined by the Virginia lottery's Pick 3 numbers for each night.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Back to the dark ages...
M was in the middle of fixing supper, crab legs and long grain wild rice, when the power went out. Argh! It didn't come back on within a reasonable amount of time so he had to put the crablegs back in the freezer and abandon his efforts. Instead he pulled out a jar of pot roast and warmed it on the grill outside. No chance of anyone starving around here.

We use M's rechargeable lamp during power outages and we keep four oil lamps in storage for such occasions. I pulled out two lamps tonight. M and Emma went for a long walk in the fading light while I worked on birthday invitation by lamp light. When they got back they played playdoh by the light of the rechargeable lamp. Right before bedtime I plugged my iPod into battery-powered iHome 2go and Emma was able to watch an episode of Little Einsteins. We gave her a wet wipe bath and she went down to bed in candlelight from a scented jar candle.

I switched the iPod to music and pulled out a Vanity Fair to read for a while. I was slightly worried because all of Emma's big girl underpants needed washing or she wouldn't have anything in the morning. Fortunately, around 9:30 p.m. the power came back on. Between a Palm Pilot for addresses, an iPod for video and music, and a rechargeable lamp, the dark ages ain't what they used to be.

Now the bad news...the brief brownout before the power went down appears to have toasted my new-ish DVD/VCR recorder combo unit. Dead as a doornail. Blast.

Playdoh in the dark.

The invitations are ready to go...

She's trying to surprise me with a flower behind her back. For the eleventh time in a row.

Potty training, again
(Warning: Plenty of potty talk so move along if you're not interested)

We're on day two and she's had two accidents each day. We're going with a pretty low-key reward method. If she pees in the potty she gets one candy corn. If she poops in the potty she gets three candy corns. She gets a bonus candy corn for being dry when she wakes up from nap. When she wets herself we stay casual about it. Remind her that pee goes in the potty, then make her help clean up.

I think we should have expected to have the accidents because she's really never had very many experiences of peeing on herself. She needs to go through the process of learning that it's undesirable to be wet. Unfortunately she isn't actually telling us when she has to pee. We're just taking her to the potty on a regular basis and giving her the opportunity to go. She did tell us when she was ready to poop. We waited all day yesterday for her to earn those three candy corns and she never had to go. Today I started to worry that we might be causing her to hold it with all our potty training. In the end, I don't think that was the problem. She just didn't need to go yet.

We're going to keep trudging along in hopes she'll get the hang of it. At night we still put her in a diaper and at nap we put her in plastic training pants (thanks Shawnie!). Tomorrow Mary takes over for the day. She's a seasoned pro so I imagine that will only help. Wish us luck.