Friday, May 24, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training

As if we weren't busy enough, we decided to throw potty training into the mix. Ok, it's not that we've been busy, we've been avoiding it like the plague.

Zoey has pretty much lead us by the hand through most of this parenting thing, but with this, she absolutely refused to use her potty chair. I can't imagine why - it has a crown on the lid, is pink, and when you use it, it plays a trumpet and says, "Yaaaayyy!" When she was over a year, she went in the potty and was pretty excited about it, so we were a little confused about her angst. I've asked people for tips and the big one is "just make sure they're ready." What the fuck does that mean? How will I know when a little person who has been arbitrarily peeing since conception just suddenly knows it's time to use the toilet? How will she know to tell me she has to go? Does she even know what that feels like, or how to communicate it? Oh yeah, Mom, that pressure in my lower abdomen is totally my full bladder. Can we get to a toilet asap. Thanks.

Then one night last week, Rachael and Layne came over and I picked her brain on the subject. Layne did a lot of the same things Zoey does - adamantly refuse to use the potty, we have an open bathroom-door policy - but she said one day they just went for it and Layne was pretty on-board. We bought Dora the Explorer underwear in anticipation for this very moment and that night we just dove right in.

First up, you can watch one of your shows so you can relax on the potty and go. Didn't work. She just sat there, sucked her thumb, and watched Go Diego Go like she would if she were lounging on the couch.

Second, bribing. We know the signs of Zoey having to go to the bathroom so when she went to her poop-corner - the coveted space between her dresser and changing table that's her favorite to drop a deuce - we offered up a bribe. I said, "If you use your potty, you can have......" *Looked at Jacob in silent desperation* He mouthed, "Whatever you want." I mouthed back, "What do we have?!" So he ran out that night and got a big bag of chocolate that we ended up eating most of simply because we are up way later than she is. But bribing and TV-watching still wasn't the ticket. Even after my proposition, she still didn't want to use the potty chair. Throwing caution to the wind, we decided to try a different approach and put her potty chair in her poop-corner.

BINGO! Now she goes like gang-busters! All of a sudden she's 10, asking mid-pulling-her-undies-down, "Daddy, can you please shut the door?" One day she took 5 number-twos in her potty chair (that's for you, Grandpa; she knows that's your favorite number) and has only slightly looked back. Of course, she's had a couple of accidents, but she's reached the point when she starts to go in her underwear, she feels wet immediately and cuts it off. Ahh, to have young, pre-baby control like that again.... And she's not close to being ready for diaper-less nights. She does, however, still ask us for help going on the potty chair if she has to go shortly after going to bed.

She doesn't seem to mind that the potty chair is in her room; in fact, I think she prefers it since she doesn't have to go very far from playtime to bathroom-time. Miss Independent even pulls out a wipe and "cleans up," (wiping to her means lightly touching herself with a wipe) and once tried to dump the contents of her chair into the big-person toilet.

I should mention - in the interest of bragging - that her big-girl potty-using isn't restrictive to her potty chair alone. I was afraid it would be so I brought it to daycare but should have realized there are state daycare regulations that prohibit open, easy-accessible containers filled with excrement. I guess it's good for everyone I didn't open up that daycare I considered briefly in a moment of desperation. Armed with only two other fresh pairs of underwear and daycare's small toilet seat to fit over the big one so little toddler bums won't fall in, Zoey did - you guessed it - fantastic. She seemed to have no qualms using the toilet and has spent every day at daycare this week in the same underwear she arrived in.

Next week, maybe we'll apply to a few colleges.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Everywhere Trippin'

I was going to lament on how busy (and/or lazy, possibly both) I've been, but we'll just bypass that.

At the end of March, beginning of April, we were fortunate enough to take a family vacation to Arizona, with even a few days in Mexico. We ended up picking the perfect time of year to go, it was perfect weather; it was clear and sunny and warm, but not too warm so your skin felt like it was frying off as that area is typically known for.

Unlike out last trip to Arizona, this one was considerably less stressful and our schedule was pretty perfect. Of course it wasn't without hiccups.

Our flight left on Saturday night, direct from Billings to Mesa. We were flying on a much smaller airline and I assumed incorrectly that their rules would be the same as major airlines. For starters, you paid the baggage fee when you purchased the tickets. Then, of course, there was the extremely necessary weight limit. I swear it was 50-pounds. And I *swear* it was 45-pounds on the way there and 40-pounds on the way back. And I swear you had to check in half an hour before the flight was scheduled to leave, but it was 45-minutes and we got a stern talking-to from the ticket agent about the importance of being on time and how we were lucky to still be getting on the flight.

We breathed a sigh of relief as we stood in the empty security check-point line and handed over our identification at precisely the exact moment I realized we left the car seat in the car. Jacob, not a fan of traveling by anything other than a vehicle, immediately looked at me like, well, we can't go without that! Which I immediately thought too. But then at the same time we both shrugged and thought, well, we'll figure it out.

The flight was great (thanks $7.00 drinks!) and Zoey did fantastic. She was absolutely elated with flying and everything it entailed. She LOVED the airport if only because she literally waved and said hi to every person she came in contact with. Miss America, folks! She loved everything about the plane, asked tons of questions, and as we took off said, "WE'RE (B)LASTING OFF!!" And as we landed, "WE'RE LANDING!"

She loved using her Princess roll-y suitcase that Grandma Sally wheeled into the delivery room shortly after she was born.

And so it begins....we forfeited the window seat for the first plane ride that meant anything to her. The most difficulty came when she wanted to be on her knees looking out the window instead of sitting, buckled up.

We arrived in Phoenix around 8:30pm but still had a long drive to Tucson ahead of us. After briefly considering stealing one of the car seats piled up in the corner of baggage claim, we managed to "find" a "built-in car seat" in my parent's rig and Zoey was perfectly comfortable.

Once at my parent's house, we went to bed pretty late but thanks to Zoey we were up to see Mr. Sun come up. She must have been just uber-excited about the impeding vacation.

 Glamour Girl, workin' it by the pool in a dazzling one piece, accessorizing with Floaties, daisy shades, and Swimming Elmo (who is complete with life vest).

 Yeah, we were pretty ready for vacation ourselves. We needed sunglasses just to look at each other.

Grandpa showed off for Zoey by jumping in the pool. When he jokingly said, "help me, Zoey!" She said, "Do you need help, Grandpa? I'll get the rescue rope," and ran (no, not ran, because we know you're never supposed to run around a pool) to grab the life preserver. With Daddy's help, she threw it out into the pool and "rescued" Grandpa. And here we thought Go Diego Go was just irritating hogwash.

 I told Grandma that we really didn't have any summer clothes since we grew out of last year's, and that was the best thing I could have ever asked of her. Going through what Grandma got, Zoey spotted this dress and exclaimed, "Ohh, I wanna wear that one!!"

 Takin' Grandma's convertible for a spin. That's right, Grandma has a convertible (in the $20 car seat Grandpa Jeff managed to miraculously find. Sometimes craigslist aint all bad...).

Zoey pointing out the scenery (more specifically, asking what every, little thing was. That's ok; incessant questions is one of the things on the Is Your Child Gifted list.).

 Going to dinner at North in Tucson. Oh, and the ladybug purse is mine. There's just something about looking at it that always makes me smile.

 Queen of the Hams.

The group.

Catching the sunset on the way back to the condo.

After we spent a few days in Arizona, we packed up the car with our beach gear and made the 5-6-hour drive to Bahia Kino in Sonora, Mexico. Zoey was the most excited, having never actually been to a beach or knowing anything about it.

 Greenhouses galore!

 One of the many little towns we drove through/passed.

 Virgin Mary shrines galore!

 When you stop at lights, people bum-rush your car to either wash the windows for a few cents or sell you something they're carrying on a stick a la the carnival. I wish I had a picture of Jacob's face as this was happening, eye as big as saucers.

 Another shrine built into the side of a mountain.

 After several relatively unexciting hours, we were at the beach!

 Zoey and I couldn't wait, so while everyone else unpacked the car, we grabbed out suits and made a run for it.

Our beach babe.

 Gettin' right to work.

 Yup, we did that.

When she wasn't playing on the beach, she was coloring on the vast expanse of tile on the patio.

 For dinner the first night, my parents took us to Old Kino to a restaurant I quickly dubbed The Potato Place.

 Because it served this: a colossal baked potato stuffed with beef, radishes, sour cream, and a lot of other yummy things.

Right across the street from the potato place is where my dad went to get dental work done. Seriously.

 Could not be more excited to hit the beach, we're catchin' air.

 Just ignore the giant ball of raw bread dough coming down the stairs behind the ball of cuteness.

 Daddy and Zoey gettin' to work.

 Walking into the water for the first time.

 Then with Daddy.

 Even Swim Time Elmo came too!

We even spotted some jellyfish!

And Grandpa found a starfish that was struggling in the surf, so we studied it.

She clearly got very comfortable with the water.

 Burying Daddy.

 Gettin' to work with Grandma.

 This was one of Daddy's major beach duties. And then she got more comfortable being around the water and wanted to come too.

 Another of our activities was taking the RAZR around town.

 We used one such trip to look for some diapers.

Trying to determine which ones would be the right size. We decided it was best to go with Jumbo.

 Jacob's certainly not hating things right now.

 I consider myself fortunate to have been able to do this a lot of the vacation. That is, after all, what I consider to be an integral part of vacation. I finished this book (Gone Girl, horrifyingly amazing) and started a new one.

 Watching Grandpa prepare lobster.

Never wanted to leave the beach.

 One of our last nights in Mexico, we went to another restaurant. Even in other countries, she attracts friends like flies to fruit. There's just something that draws people to her, then she's always very nice and friendly. She loves saying hi to everyone in any sort of public situation.

 Still supplying great vacations after all these years...

 On the drive back to Arizona, organ cactus.

 The infamous wall.

 We spent a couple more days in Arizona before we had to head home so one morning Jacob and I had a breakfast date at The Good Egg.

Nothing racist about this at all. *snicker*

 We of course needed to squeeze in every last possible second of pool-time.

 Just chillin'. With my floaties.

Moments after she was told we had to leave the pool.

 At dinner for our last night in Arizona.

For as inconvenient as I thought our trip there was, our flight back was considerably more so.

Our flight wasn't until 3pm Sunday afternoon so we were able to take our time getting all of our stuff together, and we had collected quite a bit. We drove up to Mesa with just enough time for lunch at your favorite neighborhood bar and grill, Applebee's, where, "I'm in a bit of a hurry, I have to get to the airport," apparently means, "please take absolutely as long as humanly possible."

We still got to the airport with enough time, just enough time, in fact, to open the car doors and hear, "...flight to Billings has been delayed." The flight coming in was going to be an hour late, then once we finally got on the plane, we sat for another hour while they tried to troubleshoot an electrical problem that wound up being complicated enough to warrant an entirely different airplane. Two hours later, we had finally started our two-hour flight.

We got in a little after nine, with still an hour-drive to Columbus to pick up our fur-babies who had been with the other Grandparents. Fortunately, Rachael did us a huge favor and loaded the dogs in her car and drove them down to our house. We were up way too late and completely unprepared for the coming week, but the trip was totally worth it.

So worth it that one of the reasons it has taken me so long to post about our vacation is because it has taken me this long to weed through and decide which of the 611 pictures to use.