Potty Training: The Third Time Around

Potty training is not something I feel like an expert in, despite having three kids. The older boys were hard to train, though I tried to follow advice that suggested waiting until they were ready on their own . . . which they never were. I’m convinced that if we hadn’t had our trip to Canada to motivate the big push, they would both still be in diapers!

Dominic showed interest in the toilet around 9 months, but since he couldn’t walk yet, I didn’t do much with it. In retrospect, that was a terrible idea. Later, he was completely against it and told me he only wanted diapers. I was still contemplating how to handle this when we decided to try training in segments. Every morning, we would have him pantless and use the potty. It was hit and miss and we had more accidents than success. When work was heavy, I would forget to tell him to go every 15 minutes, which didn’t help.

Last week, Irving put pants and no diaper on the kid, which has historically resulted in 0% success. He threw a tantrum and fussed about it all morning, but after one accident, he started to calm down and get more interested. The first 100% diaper free day was a long one, with a lot of laundry, but by the end of the day, he was asking me to pause his show so he could go to the bathroom.

Fast forward 5 days and we are potty trained! Virtually no reminders are necessary and he just heads to the bathroom when he needs to. It feels so strange to reach this stage of life, where diapers are only a thing we deal with at night or if we are in the car for a long time. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. It’s a little bittersweet, but I certainly don’t miss changing stinky diapers!

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 87

Dante: “I wrote this, Mama.”
Me: “It’s a little hard to read, you need to . . . ”
Dante: “I know, use more spacebars!”
Me: “Dominic, do you need to go pee?”
Dominic: “No.”
Me: “Do you need to go poo?”
Dominic: “No.”
Me: “Do you need to go rainbows?”
Dominic: laughing “YES!”
Me: talking to myself, “Hmm, why is there something hard inside this ball of yarn?”
Dorian: “I don’t know! I don’t have any life experience yet!”
Me: “Do you want to watch a show on my computer?”
Dominic: “Yes. But NO BROTHERS!”
Dorian: “You don’t want us?”
Dominic: “No! You guys . . . . not do ANYTHING!”
Me: “Good job with the potty, Dominic! You’re really a big boy now.”
Dominic: “Yes. I go up on da bunk bed now!”
Dante: “You look stoned, Mama.”
Me: “Um, excuse me?”
Dante: “You look like you’re made of stone, not moving.”
Me: “Do you speak English?”
Dominic: “Yes.”
Me: “Do you speak Spanish?”
Dominic: “Si.”
Me: “Do you speak Arabic?”
Dominic: “Arabic? No.”
Me: “Do you speak Japanese?”
Dominic: “Apanese? No.”
Dorian: “Do you speak Chinese?”
Dominic: “Yes!”
Me: “What do you say in Chinese?!”
Dominic: “Ni hao, Kai-Lan!”
Dominic: “Mama, look at the sun!”
Me: “That’s not sun. The sun goes away at night, that’s why it’s dark.”
Dominic: “LOOK! SUN!”
Me: “It’s lightning. Remember we talked about that? Lightning in the clouds?”
Dominic: “Mama, what is lightning?”
Me: “It’s electricity in the clouds.”
Dominic: “Mama, what is electricity?”
Making a cake . . .
Dominic: “Wash your hands! Wash my hands! You can’t do ANYTHING afore you wash your hands.”

Growing Up Too Fast

Dominic is two and a half now and he never, ever shuts up. He’s such a bright, energetic little bundle of happiness in our lives, I can’t imagine not having him around. But, there is one thing that makes me sad about him. He is growing up way too fast.

Part of this is due to the fact that he has two much older brothers and is exposed to a lot through them. Part of it is that he’s just so darn eager to learn and picks up everything like a sponge. And part of it is just normal toddler stuff that hits me a little harder this time because he’s the last.

The other day, we were in the car, waiting for some people we were meeting and Dominic repeatedly asked to get out of his car seat. I told him no, the people were coming soon and then we’d leave. “WHEN?!” he cried. Irving and I looked at each other, surprised that he even understood that word at this age. But then, he knows a lot of things that surprise us. Like:

- The letter B. He names it if he sees it and assumes any word with B at the beginning is “banana.”

- How to make coffee. He will instruct me each morning on how to make the coffee for the day, while perched on the counter with a serious expression on his face.

- How to be a zombie. He will stagger around the house, growling and groaning, like something straight out of the Walking Dead, though he’s never seen that show, of course.

- All about patterns. I gave him a kindergarten workbook the other day to keep him busy during school (he insists on doing school with his brothers) and he said, “These are patterns, Mama!” And then he did them all flawlessly. He could also match things like creatures and their shadows or two pieces of clothing that go together. I was very surprised since I’ve never worked on this with him. I blame his obsession with Umi Zoomi.

Though he’s growing fast, I love the little person that Dominic is turning into. He’s smart and funny and really lives up to the third born’s clown status. He can make anyone laugh and frequently uses his charms to calm his brothers down when they’re upset. He also is very good at getting what he wants, by offering hugs, kisses and sweetly uttered, “I love you!” (though if he’s saying it to get what he wants and you say no, he will burst into tears and yell, “But I LOVE you!”). And sometimes, he just wants to snuggle, though not for long.



Writing on 3 Hours of Sleep

I’ve been absent lately because I have been getting tons of work via Elance. Probably too much. I have a tendency to overbook myself because I hate to say no to jobs that pay well, particularly since there is often little or no work.

Last night, I worked until four am and then slept for three hours before getting up to feed children, teach and start all over again. This is only temporary, of course, but it is allowing me to get a little ahead and save up some money. Next week should be much calmer! Unless more work comes in, of course. ;)

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 86

Me: “I’m going to take a quick shower, can you make sure everyone survives for 5 minutes?”
Dorian: “Sure. If any zombies come, I’ll fight them off and make sure no one gets eaten.”
Dante: “Mama, when you’re old and you die, do we get to be the bosses?”
Me: “Yup.”
Dante: “So, when you die, I can get into the school markers?!”
The boys were playing tag outside.
Dorian: “Okay, this is a boss level. Whoever wins gets a very, very, very big trophy!”
Irving: “Here’s your banana, Dominic.”
Dominic: “No. I don’t want it. It’s dirty!”
The banana had two tiny spots.
During a thunderstorm.
Dominic: “What was that, Mama? That light?”
Me: “It was lightning. It’s electricity going between clouds or down to the ground in a flash of light.”
Dominic: “It’s a lighthouse!”
We were learning fractions.
Me: “So, draw a line to divide the circle into halves. It’s like if you had a cookie and broke it in half to give one piece to Dorian and one piece to yourself.”
Dorian: “You know, it works so perfectly on paper, but in real life, the cookie never breaks that nicely.”
Dante: “Did you know that if you can’t find something, you can eat chicken or an egg and you can find it?”
Dorian: “Can you look that up on YouTube? ‘Can eating chicken help you remember?’”
The boys were watching Dora the Explorer and a chicken got its foot stuck in a bucket.
Dorian: “Well, they could get scissors from Mochila and cut the chicken’s leg off. Then she’d be free.”
Dante: “I was just thinking that!”
Dominic: “Foots!”
Dante: “We call those toes. And for babies, we call them tootsies!”
The boys were working on their Snap Circuits.
Dorian: “HEY! We have GOT to make chest paddles!”
Dorian: “Dante, what’s 3 times 3?”
Dante: “I don’t know, I’ve never done times!”
Dorian: “Well, I’m about to teach you. And if you don’t get this, you’re going back to minus.”
Dorian: “There’s monkey spiders?!”
Me: “Spider monkeys, yes.”
Dorian: “What do they do? Jump on your face?”

Fun with Bubble Dough!

Wow, August has flown by! I apologize for not writing more often. It literally feels like my last post was a few days ago, but I guess it was more like a few weeks.

The other day, Irving was gone for a couple of days and the boys were going bonkers while I was trying to write an ebook, so I decided to make some bubble dough. I found the recipe on Creative Playhouse and it’s a nice twist on ordinary playdough. All three boys had a great time with it.

bubble dough

This stuff is weird, but fun. It’s solid and almost liquid at the same time, like ooblek, but you can mold it! If you pull hard, it breaks, but let it stretch out and it will turn almost gooey. Leave a well formed ball on the table and it will “melt” into a puddle looking gloop that firms up as soon as you scoop it up. I had as much fun playing with it as the kids!

bubble dough

To make Bubble Dough, you need:

1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup liquid soap (apparently DAWN does not work!)
2 teaspoons oil

I added the oil to the cornstarch and mixed it well, then slowly added the soap, a bit at a time, mixing it well with each addition. It does take a bit to come together, but it’s worth it! Get the kids to help you knead it.

We also found that it dried out rather quickly, so we just added a little more soap when that happened and it was fine. It does leave a powdery residue if you let it dry on a surface, but since it has soap in it, the whole thing washes up super fast.

The best part of this recipe is that it doesn’t require borax, which I have never been able to find here. Often, we can’t find the ingredients for the fun activities I see on Pinterest, but this is one that we could do.

Spiders in Guatemala

I am really, really not a fan of spiders. I am perfectly aware that they eat mosquitoes and all that good stuff, but they really need to stay away from me. Unfortunately, I live in a country where spiders multiply like rabbits.

The huge, 3-4 inch brown spiders that flatten themselves to get through gaps in the windows are the worst. They freak me out and they jump so you need something long to get them with. Also, they don’t seem to build webs, they’re hunters. Which means they end up in my bed sometimes and that is just not cool.

The big black ones are smaller than the brown spiders, but they’re creepy, too, because they have thick hairy legs and bulbous bodies. They remind me of the spider in The Hobbit. Ew. Fortunately, they tend to find holes in the wall and they stay there for the most part. I have an understanding with the ones in my rafters. If they stay in their holes, we don’t have a problem. If they start moving toward my bed, eviction is imminent.

And finally, we have these interesting critters, which I always assumed were poisonous because of their colors.

orchard spider

Turns out they are venusta orchard spiders and are perfectly harmless! Except, they build webs right at face level, which is never fun. And they’re very pretty when you don’t have to worry about venom!

orchard spider

Yup, Still Alive!

I’m still here and still kicking, even though I haven’t written recently. Every time I start to write something, I get distracted and forget to do it. Oops.

So, what has been going on here? Mostly work. We took a couple of weeks off of school, which the boys have really enjoyed. During this time, I’ve been really pushing the workload, applying for new jobs and just generally trying to make enough money to do more than survive (that’s always nice, right?).

I’ve been getting more and more gigs doing ebooks rather than articles, which is nice. Irving has a ten day “tour” coming up in the middle of the month though, so I won’t be doing a lot of writing at that point. On top of that, we are working on a couple of new projects (no, none of them is a baby, in case you are one of the many people who thinks we’re going for a fourth!) that I’ll write about in the near future.

The kids are growing like weeds and enjoying their vacation. Dominic has really been coming into his own lately and is turning into quite the little clown! He cracks jokes and teases a lot, which is pretty funny coming from a 2 year old.

While we’re starting back to school tomorrow and I have another set of books to write, I need to get my bedroom organized so I can put my fabric away and start sewing again. I’m doing some things for one of our upcoming projects and also some NICU gowns for Pishamitas con Amor, a group in the capital that provides clothing and blankets for new moms in the public hospitals who have little for their babies. Some blog readers and friends have brought or sent down some flannel fabric and assorted items to make these gowns with, plus I had my sister bring me some when she came in April.

So, plenty going on around here! What are you doing these days?