Now I Lay Him Down to Sleep.

I have a new favorite time of the day.

A friend of mine posted on Twitter recently that he thinks his son runs a 5K every day.  And given that LB is only sitting down when he is eating (and that is by no means a guarantee), I’d agree that my son also puts some serious mileage on those little legs.  I’d wager he runs a quarter-mile per day in bare feet.  That’s not even counting once I can catch him to put on shoes.

Our new back yard has a fairly substantial hill (for this part of the state) with a wooden privacy fence at the bottom of it.  Yesterday LB probably ran up and down the hill (averaging about two falls and one roll–all intentional– per trip) at least 15 times.  I’m thinking of lining the inside of the fence with bubble wrap, spare pillows, and Styrofoam (which, according to spell-check, needs to be capitalized.  Is that a brand name?  This warrants googling.) The little guy loves to run.

But after all the running, the temper tantrums, the frolicking in the yard with the dog, and the unnecessarily long trips up and down the stairs at the new house, there’s my new favorite time of the day.  Though he (literally) kicks and screams at the thought of bed time, once I get him in the room, with the lights off, sitting in the rocking chair, something magical happens.  We’ll sing a song (Amazing Grace is his favorite this week) and pray.

With his little head on my shoulder, I say two prayers.  One from his perspective, and one from mine.  Then, I ask him if he wants to pray.  Most days he says “not yet” and then mumbles something about Elmo.  Where his treasure is, his heart goes.

I love being a dad.

Potty Training in a Public Restroom.

When I first saw that positive pregnancy test roughly 2 years and 9 months ago, a lot of thoughts filled my head.  Throwing ball in a park with my son.  Teaching him how to ride a bike.  Tender moments before bed praying to Elmo.

Here’s a bit that didn’t make the mental brochure: Trying to get your toddler to simultaneously urinate into a public toilet without touching every portion of the bathroom.

We’re in the midst of what I’ve begun calling “our first attempt at potty training.”  We watched all the videos and read some books about training your child to use the potty in 45 minutes, or 2 days, or before they are 15.  The plan was to start last Monday (exactly a week ago) and be done by the weekend.  That’s now become the plan for boy #2.  Because LB decided he’d rather unload the bladder indiscriminately every now and then just to keep us on our toes.

Don’t get me wrong, we are learning his clues, and are able to keep him relatively dry during the day, nap time excluded.  It’s just been nowhere near the cake-walk the promo materials would have you believe.

But that brings us to the public restroom.  Jacq asked LB last night at the end of dinner (out with my parents) if he needed to potty.  He gave the semi-pout that means yes, and that meant I was up.  We trooped down the hall to the men’s room.

A quaint one-seater, we’ll call it.  LB walked in first, and I closed the door, turning to lock it behind us.  I turned back to see him curiously meandering toward the toilet.  I got there just in time to keep him from sticking his head into the bowl to get a closer look.

Next goal: get the pants and shoes and pull-up off.  Sub-goals:

  1. Don’t get peed on.
  2. Keep LB from lifting the lid on the toilet and letting it slam down (for the third time).
  3. Don’t lose balance and face-plant in the damp area behind the toilet i’ll call “every-man’s land.”

Having successfully removed the clothing (including correctly executing sub-goals 1 and 3), it was time to expect a miracle.  I wanted my son, known for strong-willed tantrums and excessive use of noise, to sit calmly on a toilet seat unlike any he’d ever seen (and easily large enough for him to fall through) without so much as rubbing his hands underneath the toilet seat.  And I wanted him to do all of this confidently, despite my facial expression of near-exasperation from holding him steady with one hand while keeping him from putting “toilet hand” in his mouth with the other.

But then came the moment.  He was working up from moderately-uncomfortable grumbling heading toward full-body screaming when he noticed something.  He needed to potty.  He leaned forward to see his junk over his belly, and slowly peed into the potty.

Waves of relief rushed over me (from not having any other types of waves rushing over me), until I realized that I wasn’t out of the woods just yet.  We had to sanitize the situation, get the pants/shoes/pull-up back on, and get out to the car.

To make a long story short, let’s just say the folks sitting near the door to the restroom were mildly shocked to see the child walk past the table wearing just his pull-up and a shirt.  But he didn’t notice.  He’d just peed like a big boy.

Terrific Twos: An Adventure in Parenthood.

Yeah, he’s got a terrible streak.  He’s impossible to discipline.  He will frequently “go boneless” in a parking lot to avoid being put in his car seat.

But there are times like Saturday that make it all worth it.

We went to “Monkey Joe’s” — which in the original Greek translates more closely to “How did they fit this many screaming kids in this room” — for LB’s birthday.  I had been told it’s a great place to relax in leather recliners while your kid plays.

Which is true, if your kid is 8.

If your kid is exactly 2 years and 9 hours old, and not quite big enough to climb up the inflatables by himself, the only relaxing you’ll be doing is during the free-fall from the top of the inflatable as you hurtle toward your adorable son grinning from ear to ear at the bottom of the slide.

If they gave out awards for sweatiest parent, I would have come home with a trophy.  And my son definitely deserved a reward for least-afraid of the slides.  And these were really big slides. Here’s a shot to show perspective.

Several other kids his age were up there with their parents, but the parents were having to convince the kid to go down the slide.  I was having to convince LB to slow down long enough at the top of the slide to not injure himself.

I had an absolute blast, and I have a sneaking suspicion that a certain two-year-old did as well.  Happy Birthday, sweet boy.  I can’t believe it’s been that long.

The Adventure of the Swimmie Diapers. (scatological humor involved)

I have a long, awkward, complicated relationship with swimmie diapers.  When I was in college, I was a security guard at a Holiday Inn in Florida for one summer.  One of my primary jobs was to ensure that children of diapered age were properly adorned.  I’d carry around a pink/purple stack of swimmies and approach parents and ask if they needed any diapers.  The primary problem with this assignment is that a 20-year-old single guy with no younger siblings has quite literally no idea how old kids are when they stop wearing diapers.  I probably offended three sets of parents per week, all summer.

Yesterday I developed a brand new reason to detest swimmies. We are at my wife’s parents’ house, and the pool out in the yard is, to put it mildly, a hit with the grandkids.  LB has developed a pretty good tan, despite the fact that we have slathered him with SPF 3500 baby sunscreen.

Given that we are between attempt #1 and attempt #2 of potty training, LB is rocking the swimmie diaper.  And, though I don’t think he tried, he could not have timed his first poop in the diaper any better, if his goal was to get a funny blog post about it.

After a morning of MPD, I came back to the house and changed into my swimsuit.  I had planned on playing with the whole family, but it ended up being just me and LB splashing around the pool, and having a blast.  He had a routine of climbing up the ladder into the pool, being carried screaming and splashing around it, then running across the yard to the porch, then running to the kiddie pool, and then starting the routine over.  I was in the “big pool.”  On one of his trips, I noted a new and distinct odor.  Having just dipped him into the water, I immediately scrambled to carry him out of the pool.

By the time I got him to the edge of the porch, he was screaming at the thought of no longer playing in the pool.  I, on the other hand, was doing some mental gymnastics to figure out how I was going to get his diaper off, clean the trail of sludge now running down his leg, get a new diaper, and properly sanitize the situation, all without touching him.  The dog was curiously sniffing LB’s backside, and (I’d like to think) laughing at me.

After a futile attempt at yelling for help, I decided to take the diaper off to more properly assess the situation.  It was far worse than I could have imagined, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I gagged a little bit.  I wadded the squishy mess into a ball and looked around for a suitable place to stash it.  None was apparent, so I put it on the ground beside the porch, and prayed (out loud) that the dog wouldn’t eat it.

Bad decision #1 so far was carrying LB to the porch to do all of this.  Now I had poop on the front porch, poop on both of my hands, poop on absolutely every article of clothing on LB’s body, and nothing to wipe any of it down with, whatsoever.  And did I mention I was by myself?  As I surveyed my next round of decisions, I had the sinking suspicion that there was no such thing as a good one.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think James Dobson has written a chapter on preventing the dog from eating a soggy poop-filled diaper while you hose your squealing, naked child off in the in-laws front yard.  If he has, I’ve yet to read it, and it’s too late now.

Let’s put it this way:  I am SO looking forward to the day the scrawny, clueless college kid asks me if my six-year-old needs a diaper in the hotel pool.