Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Independent. Determined. Fearless.

Partner Potty Training

Has he gotten you trained yet?

That is the question my mother posed when I was finished relaying the latest incident in my youngest son's potty training saga. She relishes each new tale with an evil sort of glee, nodding in remembered pain, the words, "pay back" perched deliciously on her lips. I can't argue with her. If there was ever reincarnation from mother to child - it's me and my baby. Of course I would never admit such a thing to his grandmother. But he has the same independent spirit that my mother requested my kindergarten teacher, temper but not break. The same fearless attitude that found me playing beneath a clothing rack in Walmart and had my son wandering happily through the church sanctuary this past Sunday - flipping casually through pew books and searching for his grandfather that was four hours away in St. Louis. The same determined will that allows my son - through begging and bribing - to hold his urine until his bladder damn near bursts just to mock me.

Independent. Determined. Fearless.

There are times I forget that he's just like me. This past Sunday, in fact. I was home, infused with a fresh injection of the Word. The sermon had centered around God's mercy for his children and how that should translate in our everyday lives. So after almost 30 minutes of sitting without success, I was feeling merciful(among other things)and took pity on my son's red ringed bottom. And from my merciful position a great idea was born.

Ready for this?

Me, in all my merciful ignorance figured since he didn't want to pee in anything but a diaper, letting him run around bare assed, shouldn't present a problem. Well, the ending is a lot more predictable now. No more than two minutes into his period of sweet freedom, my oldest son's eyes were rounder than saucers as a ring of wetness bridged the gap between him and his brother and it took all I had to remember my merciful stance.

Independent. Determined. Fearless.

Days later, my three year old still tugs occasionally on my sleeve to remind me that Junior peed on the rug. Of course he can't remember to keep his legos out of the toilet two minutes after I tell him, but then it's much more important to keep the spotlight of Mommy's wrath on the wrong doing's of his brother. You can ask my older sister all about that.

Now all I can do is hope that once our white carpet dries, there won't be a yellow stain to mock me and my bright idea for years to come. And I can only wish as my mother did countless times when I was growing up, that my baby has a child just like him. Interestingly enough, the traits that I fear will make me tear my hair out now, are exactly the ones I want him to have when he's older.

Independent. Determined. Fearless.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

How to become an instant hero to any child under the age of nine ......

Me and Spongebob

As part of my job as a radio personality, I am required to make certain personal appearances including grand openings like the one I did last week at a Chicagoland Lowe's store. I used to love doing these "stops" as we call them in the radio biz (they bring in extra cash and you get to meet your listeners - both very important) and used to schedule four or five a weekend. But that was BEFORE. Before, I had a husband and two boys; 3 and 2 years old. (I know: what was I thinking?) Now I reserve the majority of my weekends to spend with them. So when the station manager called me to say that I had been scheduled for a two hour stop at Lowe's with Nickelodeon's cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants on what was projected to be one of the warmest Saturdays thus far this year, I was less than pleased. Relunctantly I agreed since it was a little late in the game for them to find someone else.

Needless to say it was a LONG two hours.

While smiling, shaking hands and kissing babies, all I could think about was what I would do with my babies once I got home. Whether or not the park near our house would be too crowded or if playing in my newest project - the garden - would be better. I relunctantly allowed one picture with Mr. Bob to be snapped before I beat a hasty retreat and that was only to make the sponsors happy.

At last I was free to spend the rest of the afternoon with my family. And it was glorious.

An email was sent to me later that night containing the picture of me and Spongebob. I had obviously failed to realize the magnitude of what I had done. When I casually showed it to my son, his eyes popped open so wide his three-year-old forehead almost disappeared and I detected a little moistness in the corner of one as he wrapped an arm around me and pointed at the screen, whispering the words, "Mommy, do you know who that is? That's Spongebob Squarepants." There was such awe, wonder and raw emotion in his voice, I almost began to weep with him. At my son's insistence, I saved the picture to my hard drive and long after I was done working, he would wander over and just stare at the picture, running a finger across the screen as if he could hardly believe it was real.

He went to bed talking about Spongebob, and when he woke up instead of his usual kiss and "good morning", he rubbed his eyes and requested that I call Spongebob and invite him to church. I could just picture it - Jesus and Spongebob Squarepants.

It was then that I realized I had been elevated quite a few notches in the eyes of my eldest child. I thought I was pretty cool anyway but now it's official. And you know, I plan to use this to my advantage for at least the rest of the week ..........