Come, Mommy

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bits and Pieces of Random Craziness

Another of my famous catch-up posts. As usual this is motivated by wanting to post but having less than ideal brain power to compose something with flow, or even minimal cohesion. As usual there is no order to this post; the order of subjects is determined by what sparks my brain when...

Houdini is balding again. She started losing her hair in late May. So it's not quite a year out from surgery and she's developing disease in her remaining adrenal gland. I got her down to our vet in Philly who handles all the tricky ferret stuff, and we started her on monthly injections of Lupron. Stormy has been on Lupron for years (she developed adrenal disease at the young age of 19 months and had her right adrenal gland removed) and is just doing beautifully in terms of her remaining adrenal. Hopefully within a couple of months Houdini will be back in good health.

The catch is that Houdini has a bit of a history of aggression and biting. (Those of you who know her in real life (Hi Kevin, Mom, and Lisa!) now have permission to go find something to clean your monitors with 'cause I know you just spit out whatever it was you were drinking.) Her tumor is pumping out tons of testosterone and so you can imagine the biting issues that ensue with that. She's gotten me but good a few times in the last couple of weeks, and that is just a non- starter for me, no matter how much I love ferrets. I feel bad for her too as she's just constantly wired and she's hardly sleeping. So we put her on some Valium to calm her down, and it does seem to be helping. With any luck she won't need it for long, but it should help her comfort-wise until her hormones stabilize.

Yeah, it was kind of funny picking up a scrip at the pharmacy for a ferret who, in essence, is overdosed on steroids.


Stormy has developed a partial heart block. $300 and a cardiologist visit later, she's on theophylline, and her heart is back at a normal rate. There's nothing we can do to cure the block, so it's a matter of time now, but she is eight years old, which is a fairly advanced age for a ferret.

Honestly, I shouldn't be complaining, but stuff like this is still hard.


The other day Liam was eating a snack of whole-wheat crackers, apple slices, and cheese. Kevin came home from work, picked up a couple of sugar cookies, and walked into the the room with Liam. Says my son, who never met a cookie he didn't like, "Don't worry about me, Daddy. I'm happy here with my grow food!"

The same day he told me, "I like you and I love you and I think you're really fun" about ten times.

That same day, there were no tantrums.

I need to report this to an astronomer as clearly some celestial object is way, way out of alignment.


I bought Elizabeth Pantley's potty-learning book. It would be an exceptionally positive thing if Liam was diaper-free by the start of nursery school this fall. Also, I just can't take a big boy in diapers any more. He's shown all the signs of readiness for a long, long time, and gentle persuasion and giving him time to develop interest have failed. If anything, he's more set in the idea that, in his words, "I will never, ever use the potty." I have been impressed by other titles in her parenting series, so I thought I'd give it a read.

As a sign of my desperation, I went for one of her ideas - buy a bunch of small presents, and any time the child uses the potty, he gets a present to unwrap. I know, I know. This is a blatant example of using bribery a reward system. It goes against all the Alfie Kohn I've read, but even Elizabeth Pantley is out-and-out saying that there are times for rewards, and I'm probably overthinking this, and bottom line, So....

There is a basket of wrapped toys and trinkets in our bathroom. Any deposit in the potty earns a present. Any attempt at the potty earns a sticker, five of which can be turned in for a Popsicle. Back when Liam was a baby this was one of those parenting things I swore I would never, ever, ever in a million years do, along with, if I recall correctly, allowing him to eat junk food, watch television, and of course I would never, ever lose my temper with my firstborn.

My friends, I'm here to tell you the mighty have fallen. Mightily.

And the three-year-old still says, "But I will never, ever use the potty."

Updates to follow.

Advice appreciated.


Partly because I never, ever want to go through this mess again, and partly because it seems like such a cool and natural idea, we have started EC with Kieran. We still have him in diapers, but when we're at home, I offer him the toilet when he's fussy. We've cut our diaper use in half this way, and more importantly, he'll grow through infancy and toddlerhood using the toilet every day. Hopefully he'll just transition into full-time pottying when he's ready.

Or at least that's my theory. And I'm sticking to it since a certain measure of my sanity is depending on it.

Or, perhaps, pigs will fly.


When I started this blog I swore I would never speak of potty issues.

That thud? It's just the mighty eating dirt once again.


Kevin and Liam went to the beach today. Kieran and I are folding laundry.

We've got 12 socks here, Kate!


The boys just came back from the beach. Says Liam, "I was walking in the ocean when ZOOP up came the water to attack me and it knocked me right over!" I think they had a fun time.


The excitement for this week to come is that Liam asked for gymnastics classes. He wants to learn how to stand on his head and walk on his hands. He's really looking forward to Tuesday, which is when his first class will be.

And as it's getting late, I'm out of here for now. More to come soon!

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  • Oh ho! I never thought I'd resort to bribery in the potty training department either. My first two kids did it effortlessly but the third, oh the third. He would not, WOULD NOT poop on the potty. We tried marshmallows, m&ms, and even a really nice toy firetruck, to no avail. Finally it happened that we were at my parents' house and we didn't have any diapers with us. It was either go on the potty or go home. He chose the potty. :)

    What I really regret is how complacent I was after the success of my first two, and how I secretly disdained the other moms whose kids balked at the potty. Served me SO right!

    By Blogger Julie, at Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:19:00 PM  

  • Hey, I think I've finally gotten blogger to accept me again! Anyway, I wanted to mention that I've read that even Alfie Kohn is okay with potty training rewards to get over that initial hump. Don't have a reference for that, but, hey, it's something for you to cling to, right? :)

    By Blogger Lisa, at Monday, June 25, 2007 12:06:00 AM  

  • Not too much advice, beyond if you haven't just pulled the diapers, do it. And I have to say, I wasn't above a bit of stern talking when the bodily fluids went on the rug instead of in the potty.

    Bribery didn't do much for us either, but for some reason, making a puddle on the floor and having to change clothes did. Of course we didn't leave the house for almost a week either, but well worth it at the end...

    By Blogger chichimama, at Monday, June 25, 2007 7:19:00 AM  

  • lol you'd think after five kids i'd have some advice, right???
    i have tried different things with different kids, mostly relying on m&ms and praise and occasionally losing my temper.
    M5 was one of the easiest, totally dry day and night before he was three. dunno how that happened.
    well, of course i do know: each kiddo will do it in their own time and way and you'll look back in a year's time and be glad.

    i have a friend who successfully EC'd her seventh baby... but she went back to nappies (diapers lol) for her eighth. i must ask her why...

    in the meantime, i'm wishing you peace and love and moments of sanity X

    By Blogger kate5kiwis, at Monday, June 25, 2007 8:09:00 PM  

  • My entire parenting career is filled with things I thought I'd "never" do. Yeah, right.


    By Blogger Jennifer, at Tuesday, June 26, 2007 11:29:00 PM  

  • With M, we started with a reward chart, gifts at incrementally longer periods. This stopped working after a while. We got rid of the diapers for a while, which also worked somewhat. Finally in the end, we put a little decorated tupperware "bank" in the bathroom which she got to put a nickel in each time she went. I think this is the one that finally worked for her. She was stubborn though, and wasn't 100% trained until about 3y9mo. J has been mostly doing it on her own, when she feels like it. If I'd followed her lead, I swear she would have been trained close to a year ago. Now that we're back from our trip, I am thinking that we will be going the no more diapers route (except at night!) and see what happens. I've also heard of great success with the m&m's reward method. We might go with that too :)

    Hope that the ferrets get better soon! Or, rather that you can find a way to at least make them comfortable.

    By Blogger Steph, at Wednesday, June 27, 2007 9:42:00 AM  

  • I completely detest potty training! With Lilly we have tried stickers and smarties. We have taken away the diapers, and I had pee everywhere for days! I finally gave up, and just not had the strength to go back. She completely flips out if you try to sit her on the big potty, so we got her a little one that sits on the floor same things! We tried the whole 'big girls get to go to the playground and go swimming, and big girls go on the potty', but all she says is 'nope I'm a baby and I still go swimming'.

    Let me know how that books works, please!

    By Blogger Christy, at Wednesday, June 27, 2007 1:41:00 PM  

  • I found you by accident whilst I was looking to see if there were any stuffed "P.B. Bears" online. My daughter LOVES P.B. Bear. Then while reading one of your P.B. posts I noticed that you live in New Jersey! Me too! My husband is the professor (schooled in Texas as a Longhorn) and I stay home. I don't know if we share any other commonalities, but I thought I would say "hello!" I'm on cafemom, handle lalamama in case you're curious who this stranger is... we don't know a lot of people in NJ so I'm always open to new friends.
    : )

    By Blogger Paula, at Wednesday, June 27, 2007 2:24:00 PM  

  • Hmm, the little wrapped presents and stickers plan sounds good. Maybe I'll try that, too. I did an hour of no diapers a few weeks ago and he FREAKED when he peed in the playroom. It didn't make him want to go on the potty. It made him make sure he had on diapers from then on, not pull-ups, not underpants, diapers. We decided to do the payment plan for nursery school instead of full tuition up front in case he won't be able to start in early fall.

    By Blogger Camille, at Friday, June 29, 2007 12:43:00 AM  

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