Sorry, Kiddo.

Before Kiddo was born, I vowed that I would never put anything online about his diaper or toilet habits. I will now bend that vow slightly, but (I hope) in a way that will not embarrass him ten years down the road.

(What kind of fool am I being? Ten years from now, anything we do or will have done is going to embarrass him.)

Before Kiddo was born, before our midpoint ultrasound where all the parts were inspected and displayed, I wasn’t sure which sex I wanted our child to be. I had only two concerns about having a boy, and one of them was around toilet training.

(Oh, sorry. I’m informed by the Supermommies Of The Internet that it’s “potty learning.” Whatever.)

I am delighted that he turned out to be a boy. I am excited watching him grow and learn new things. But I’ve known that one day, we’d reach the point that I was dreading, and we’d have to start with the potty training. And it looks like that distant train is much closer than we thought.

Most of the unpleasantness of toilet training applies to both sexes – the wet and messy pants, soggy imprints on the floor and furniture, mad rushes to find public bathrooms when someone has to go “now, Mommy, right now!”

Boys, however, come with an additional challenge. Very few of them are born with perfect aim.


And that’s enough said about that.



Keeping it together

Last night after Kiddo went to bed, I was picking up his toys and tidying the living room and dining room. He’d been playing with a bunch of wooden tray puzzles in the dining room but hadn’t finished putting them all together so I took a shot at it. To my chagrin, I ended up with this.

Twenty-five letters were snugly tucked into their spaces. One was AWOL. (Well actually, four of them were A, W, O and L, but none of those four was missing.) I glanced around and didn’t find it. Picked up the rest of the toys. Looked inside things, under tables, even shook out the playmats. Nothing. And the more I didn’t find it, the greater significance it took on.

After a lot of krawling on the floor and reaching into the krevices of the kouch kushions,  I went downstairs to where my husband was watching TV. “The K is missing,” I komplained.

“OK?” he said, klearly not seeing the koncern. I was not komforted.

“You kan’t spell Kiddo without a K,” I said krabbily. At least I had the meager konsolation that it kouldn’t have left the house.

I don’t like losing things. I know it’s inevitable with a young child in the household, but we’ve made it this far with the loss of only one toy, and a few crib sheets that went in to daycare and never came home. Not one tiny-foot sock lost to the washing machine yet–or if they have been, at least they had the courtesy to run off in pairs.

And I especially don’t like losing pieces that are noticeable parts of sets. I have no doubt that scores of LEGO pieces were lost to the carpet and the vacuum cleaner while my sisters and I were growing up. But as long as their loss wasn’t obvious–a red brick here, a flower there–it didn’t bother me too much.

But a K? That’s an omission that’s obvious at a glance. I know my house will never be worthy of a magazine photo spread, but I like to have it as tidy and put-together as we can manage. Puzzles with missing pieces or trucks that have lost a wheel or two don’t feel put-together to me. It’s like a constant reminder of my inability to keep track of all the things that have been entrusted to my child (and by proxy, to me) over the years. Of course he’s going to lose things; he’s only two. But as one of the adults in the household, I’m supposed to be watching out for that sort of thing, and recovering stray items. If it’s in my power to keep things in playable condition, then I want to do it. It’s this sort of thing that led to me taking Kiddo’s carseat almost completely apart at a rest stop on our road trip after he pulled two of the little rubber wheels off his toy school bus. How could he drive his bus around without a full set of tires?

This morning, Kiddo woke up while I was still picking out my klothes. My husband went in to help Kiddo out of his krib. “Ask him about the K!” I kalled from the bedroom. Husband wisely ignored me. I finished kombing my hair and komparing kardigans, and joined them in the living room, where Kiddo was playing with his kars. I gave him a hug, then pulled out the alphabet puzzle and said, “Do you know where the K is?”

“Hah!” said Kiddo (his kurrent word for yes). He ran all the way into the kitchen and then kame back. Konfused, I followed his tracks. I looked on the floor but saw nothing. Then I looked up higher and spotted the missing puzzle piece.

In the Kitchen.

On the Kounter.

In between the Knife bloK and the miKrowave.

And farther back than Kiddo should have been able to reach. I’m still not sure how it got there. I guess it’ll remain a mystery konnundrum.

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Twenty Years After

How could it have been 20 years since high school? After all, it’s not like I graduated, went to college, went to grad school, got married, got a job, moved to Seattle, bought a house, went to my 10-year reunion, got divorced, bought a condo, got married again, sold a condo, had a kid, quit my job, and found another or anything.

I mean, I hadn’t even cured cancer yet or gotten my Nobel Prize, or, more importantly, lost the 20 extra pounds I’ve been carrying around since Kiddo came along.  I did remember to get my nails done and my eyebrows waxed, though. So that should have counted for something.

High school had its highs and lows for me. I got to develop my writing skills and was selected editor of the school paper for my senior year. I successfully auditioned for the chamber choir and the colorguard, even if I never realized my secret dream of being a cheerleader (yes, seriously) or had a date to Homecoming. I had friends in high school, but only one really close friend. I spent a lot of time convinced that the other girls were snickering at me behind my back, and maybe they were, or maybe I was just being paranoid.

But really the lows weren’t all that low; it’s just that when you’re a teenage girl living through them, it feels like your social standing is going to determine the rest of your life.  I was looking forward to the reunion in spite of, or maybe because of, those insecurities. Heck, I wanted to show everyone that I was no longer the nerd who couldn’t get a date. Yep, I’ve moved all the way up the social ladder to Software Geek. At least I had a hot date to parade around.

As the reunion got closer, though, I started getting nervous. What if no one remembered me? Worse, what if they remembered me, and didn’t want to talk to me? What if my clothes still weren’t cool enough? What if once again I tried too hard to get people to like me? I honestly did want to go, but I wanted to go as a success story.

The first part of the reunion was Friday evening family picnic. I shouldn’t have worried about not being remembered, because as soon as I walked in the door I was recognized. Someone even told me I looked just like I did in high school. I talked to a lot of people, but chickened out at approaching others. At the end of the evening, as Kiddo was starting to show signs that he’d had enough, I found myself looking forward to the next night’s adults-only dinner.

Undistracted by kids, we were able to talk to more people, and I learned a lot more about what others have done with the past 20 years. Many people still lived in our hometown, while a bunch of the rest of us had migrated west. Some people had put on weight, others had changed their hair color or lost it altogether. Some people still looked as amazing as they had back in high school.

No one had cured cancer, and there wasn’t a Nobel Prize winner among the lot of us. But there were successful business owners and employees, and happy parents and spouses, and people who’d traveled to interesting places, and people who were doing things we’d never expected twenty years ago. There were a lot of people who were happy with where they’d found themselves, and who were having a great time reconnecting with old friends.

Including me.

By the time the dinner and dancing ended, I was sorry that it was over. I wanted to talk to the Homecoming Queen and the cheerleading captain again. I wanted to make amends with a few people. I wanted to find out more about what everyone was doing, and where they had been.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. There seemed to be a lot of support for the idea of a 25th reunion, and one friend in the Seattle area has proposed a local mini-reunion.

Twenty years ago, I didn’t have a lot of close friends among my high school classmates. I came away from my reunion hoping to change that, before the next time.