Tuesday, April 20, 2010

potty training

well, today i have a HILARIOUS story to tell you about gracie. which made me want to expand on it and tell you all about potty training her in general...

so let's back up to the very beginning.

ever since gracie's first day at her montessori preschool (around 18 months old) she's been very interested in the potty. when we lived in holland, i remember buying her a little potje for her to sit on and get familiar with. she never really used it, but we did have some success with her just sitting on it, bare butt, for a few moments at a time before we ended up moving and leaving the potje behind in hengelo.

once we got settled (enough) here in texas, i went out to target to find another potty for gracie. but all the ones they had were just way too fancy and expensive. i wanted another little potje like what i found at the HEMA in hengelo: cheap (like 3 euros), durable, and simple. good luck here in texas, where EVERYTHING is bigger!

we settled for a "dora the explorer" toilet seat cover, which essentially makes the size of the toilet seat smaller, so she could sit on it comfortably without fear of falling through and into the toilet bowl beneath her. and it was cheap. bonus!

this worked for several months, but the problem started around the time gracie turned 2 (omg, a LOT of problems began around the time gracie turned 2). it was around then that she became, besides very very bossy, very very independent. and this whole needing-to-be-lifted-onto-the-potty-by-a-grownup thing was NOT cool with her. we tried a step-stool next to the toilet, but no luck.

well, the weather finally turned nice. so gracie got to run around "naked butt time" as she calls it. we'd be out in the yard, and if she had pants or shorts on, she'd run over to one of us asking frantically if she could "be naked butt time." so we'd strip her down, and she'd run away, and crouch down, and pee. with her head between her knees so she could watch the peepee coming out! hilarious! (and a cheap way to water the lawn, too!)

it wasn't too long before our little genius figured out a way to improve on this. she'd insist on running around naked even INSIDE the house. which i was happy to do -- if my hippie child wants to be naked and barefoot, who am i to stop her? but the next thing i know, she's starting to let herself out to pee, like a dog! ha! i'd hear the back door open, and there would be gracie, one hand holding the door open, the other hand on her knee, crouching down with her head between her knees again, watching the peepee splash on the back step. like, she couldn't even take another couple of steps into the yard! noooo! she has to peepee right on the back step! (so now i have another mess to clean up!) then she runs back inside, all proud of herself, saying, "mama mama! i go peepee OUW-SIDE, mama! gwacie peepee OUW-SIDE, mama! yay!"

and of course, i'm proud of her too. way to solve your problem and be independent, doodlebug! now let's go clean up that pee puddle...

this couldn't last. it's gonna get hot, and that pee is gonna start to smell. so we better get her a real potty that she can use on her own.

we went to target, and finally settled on a relatively inexpensive froggy potty. and AS SOON AS WE GOT HOME she went peepee in it! now that's all she wants to do! no more peepee ouw-side anymore. she's even attempted (unsuccessfully thus far -- but attempted nonetheless) going #2 on the froggy potty. woohoo! we've put the froggy potty in a busy part of the house, so she doesn't feel like she needs to miss out on any of the action if she needs to use it (another downside of going to use the dora-seat on the big potty. nothing's happening in the bathroom, so it's boring to go in there. but with the froggy potty, we can put it in the living room, or outside when we're riding our bikes, or in the backyard if we're working in the garden, etc. she loves her froggy potty!)

yesterday was sunday. we went to a coffee shop with some friends and left the house at about 10:30 in the morning. in panties. and we didn't get back until nearly 2:00 pm -- we had even gone out for brunch. in panties. and came home in time for a nap, and she didn't have ANY accidents the whole time! what a big girl! she tells us when she needs to go peepee on the potty, and though she still won't go #2 on the potty, she will at least tell us when she needs to put on a diaper so she can do it. (i wonder if she needs to learn how to poop sitting down? she only seems to know how to do it when she's standing up, bracing against something like the coffee table or a chair or something.)

so she's virtually potty trained. she still wears a diaper at naptime and at bedtime, and when i take her to the gym (cuz there's 30 kids there, and 3 adults, and no way anyone would notice if mg was doing the peepee dance). she even wears panties to school, and MOST of the time doesn't have an accident. she's getting so big!

but now, here's the funniest story of all: this just happened today...

so, i'm going into her room to wake her up from her nap. but when i walk in, i see that she's sitting up quietly in her crib, and the whole room smells of diaper cream. "oh no, gracie! did you get into the diaper cream?"

"yeah!" (she says this like it's a good thing.)

"oh, gracie, we don't play with the diaper cream. that's not a toy, honey! come on, let's get you out of the crib and clean you up!"

at the foot of her crib is a shelf where we keep her diapers and diaper supplies. i think we must have left the tubes of diaper rash cream on the top of the shelf, where she could reach it, instead of inside one of the cubbies. so i take the cream out of her hands, put it in the shelf cubby, and start cleaning up the top of the shelf in general. i notice there's this old, poopy diaper sitting on the top of the shelf. and i think to myself, "dammit, adam," (cuz of course it's his fault, right?!) "you need to put dirty diapers in the trash! what if she would have gotten into the poopy diaper instead of the diaper cream? then what kind of mess would i have to clean up?!" i was totally irritated with adam (cuz again, it MUST be his fault, right?!). and irritated with gracie for playing with the cream, when we've told her time and again that it's not a toy. sigh.

so i'm taking her out of her crib, to strip the sheets and put her blankies and stuffed animals in the wash (since she was kind enough to put cream on the bottoms of all her friends too). then i notice, as she's walking away, that she's not wearing a diaper. and i KNOW i put a diaper on her at naptime.

and then i notice she's got diaper cream all down her legs and on her butt, too.

>and then it clicks for me:

"gracie, did you change your diaper?"

"yeah!" she replies proudly.

HAHAHAHAAAHAHAAA! gracie, big girl that she is, took off her poopy diaper, folded it nicely, put it on top of the diaper shelf, got the cream, and started to put it on her bottom! had she been able to reach the wipes, i have no doubt that she would have wiped herself too. what a big girl! i felt so bad for scolding her, when all she was doing was just solving her own problem and being the independent girl that i love and adore!

but still, we had to take a bath to wash off all the cream. and i had to run an extra load of laundry today. in spite all of that... it was totally worth it. she's such a big girl! and so FUNNY!

i was talking to my mom-in-law today, and told her this story, and after we both stopped laughing we thought that maybe instead of potty training gracie, we should just teach her how to change her own diapers instead. that way she can keep wearing the diapers (which she prefers to do anyway) and i won't have to bother changing any more poops! and then when she gets tired of changing all those smelly diapers, she'll be more motivated to use the potty... brilliant!

isn't that FUNNY?! omg, i love her. what a great girl she is!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"i heart denton!" or: "how i learned to stop freaking out and just go for it"

i don't know if i've mentioned this to you before, but i really do heart my town. seriously.

i think one of the things i love most about denton is how SURPRISING it is. you really wouldn't think that a north-texas town would be so full of crunchy earth-loving hippies riding bikes and voting for obama, but there really are a LOT of us here. denton is progressive, optimistic, creative, dynamic, somewhat liberal, and full of people with big hearts and good ideas. here's yet another example:

my cool friend, kati, had this great idea about how to bring the best of denton together once a month, to really showcase all that we are and all that we create. so she and a bunch of really amazing people got together, held fundraisers, got local businesses involved, advertised, set up a website, and made it happen.

yesterday was the first day ever of the extremely awesome and very inspiring denton community market. (note: the market will be held every 2nd saturday, april through november, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm in the parking lot where the farmers' market is currently located: the corner of carroll and sycamore.) two dozen very diverse vendors met in a parking lot at 7:30 on a gorgeous april morning, and set up shop. there was a woman next to me who made these really cool headbands (she said she started out making sculptures, then thought smaller...) and she was totally cleaning up. i wouldn't be surprised if i saw a hundred people this week wearing her stuff... the woman behind me melted wine bottles and turned them into serving plates, and made earrings out of beer bottle caps. she also sold out of her homemade jams, jellies, and pickles (and her art was featured in this morning's sunday paper)! the two booths across from me were all-natural pest control (the dude there seemed pretty intense -- he knows just about everything you could know about bugs!) and an edible, organic landscaping business (the dude there mostly jammed on his guitar all day and then answered questions of folks stopped by). there was a booth selling bracelets to raise money to stop human trafficking, and another booth for education/fun for the kids, teaching them about bugs and worms and dirt and solar power with all sorts of activities and games. there were live musicians (not just the guy with his guitar at the landscaping booth), and people dancing, and people selling and playing cool drums and bells, and a local organic farm sold out of their chard and kale and beets within an hour (good thing i was there to set up early or i would have missed out too! i think most of the vendors bought their stuff before the locals could even get there to shop! ha!).

and there was me! yay, me! i had my very own chair massage booth, complete with a canopy and an information table and a poster and everything. (i was also the only person there with a canopy who thought to tie it down to cinder blocks. and there were several gusts of wind yesterday which knocked over people's stands! and so folks were all like, "that's so smart to tie yours down to cinder blocks! what made you think of that?" and i was all, "um... it's common sense?" lol! i fully expect everyone to run to lowe's and buy up all the cinder blocks and rope -- so if anyone out there has a home-improvement project where you need cinder blocks and rope, you better get down there soon cuz they'll be selling out before may's market!)

i was totally and utterly nervous for this market. (those of you who follow me on facebook are well aware of this! status update: "freaking out! market tomorrow! wtf?!") several reasons for my nerves: 1. adam is out of town and i had to find a sitter for gracie. and literally EVERYONE i know was going to the market and so couldn't watch her. i finally found someone, the neighbor across the street who's been bugging me for MONTHS to watch gracie, so i approached her and said "here's your chance!" 2. how was gracie going to handle a new babysitter? i had to leave very early to set up for the market, so mom wouldn't even be there when she woke up, and dad has been out of town for several days now. is she going to freak, or will she be okay? 3. how the hell do i set up my canopy by myself? (ps: i did a practice run in my driveway a few days before and it was a good thing i did, too: the first canopy i bought was completely busted so i had to exchange it. and our good neighbor, cal, came over and taught me how to tie a knot so i could securely tie my canopy to the cinder blocks. that was something i actually DIDN'T learn in girl scouts!) 4. where was i going to set up? 5. where was i going to park? 6. what happens if i need to leave the market cuz gracie is freaking out with the babysitter? and perhaps scariest of all: 7. i am at the market to represent ME and MY BUSINESS. not a spa that i work for. not a health club that i'm promoting. not a chiropractic clinic that i'm associated with. ME. so if i screw it up somehow, or don't come across as being professional, it's MY name and MY reputation which will suffer. and it's a small enough town that people will remember. ugh...



i showed up at 7:30, completely nervous but open-minded and adventurous about it all... and several people offered their help immediately. (including my dear friend, pauline, who got up early and drove down there to help me set up, and then even went to the fancy bakery in town and got me a croissant since i didn't have any breakfast yet! thanks, p!) and by 8:00 or so, i was ready to go.

the market started out slowly, with a few people trickling in here and there, but by 10:00 it was in full swing. and it stayed busy for the rest of the day! and *I* stayed busy for the rest of the day! i was talking with adam the other day about how i would define "success" for me at the market. i said, if i could make $100, get 10 people to sign up for my mailing list, hand out 50 cards, and get someone to sign up for an appointment in my home office, i will consider it a huge success.

well. i met or surpassed ALL those goals! and even more exciting, i learned that i CAN do it! i CAN set a goal, i CAN get it done, and i CAN do it well!

i've also been thinking about how i can improve on this for next time. for example, tying my framed poster to my canopy so it doesn't blow away/fall down regularly. put my clock on the ground where i can see it and where the wind won't knock it down. get bricks to hold my signs in place. and, more importantly, team up with the other chair-massage lady (emily, who is awesome, by the way) so that we can support each other. cuz let's face it, 6 hours of chair massage in a hot parking lot in the texas summer is NOT good for you. i have a canopy (she doesn't), she has a great massage chair (mine is crap), and we're not trying to be competitive about this. so i think next time, and going forward in general, we'll share a booth: one person do the morning and one the afternoon, and we'll BOTH promote our businesses, and it'll be great.

i totally totally totally and utterly heart my new town. it's so inspiring to see so many amazing people showcasing their passions and the fruits of their labors. it's so inspiring to see a small group of people and a good idea have so much success on their very first try. it's so inspiring to feel so much love for my town (especially since we're going to be here a while...). i heart denton!

(thanks to joe for taking all these candid photos at the market -- i was too busy to walk around so it was good to be able to see what was going on! you're the best, joe!)