I made a promise on day one of this blog never to tell any stories about baby poo. I’d planned to stick to that promise, too, but Ethan sure isn’t making it easy. And I suppose technically speaking this is a story about toddler poo, so I’m still true to my word.
Anyway, we’ve slowly begun the process of potty training. It was actually Ethan’s suggestion. He kept asking for his own potty, and who are we to refuse such a request? So about a week or two ago Penny bought a standalone little toilet for him, and for that first day he was so excited that he tried to use it maybe seven or eight times.
Now, however, the magic is already gone. Ethan shows absolutely no interest in it anymore, and it sits alone in the bathroom like just another discarded toy whose time has passed.
We’re not going to force him to use it, figuring eventually his love affair with having his own toilet will rekindle on its own. But we’ve decided to keep giving him the option to use it just so he gets comfortable with the idea. That leaves me having conversations like this one from earlier today.
Me: “Ethan, do you need to use your toilet?”
Ethan: “No, thank you.” (He’s very polite.)
Me: “You sure?”
Ethan: “Don’t need to.”
Ethan: “Already have a diaper!”
How do I argue with bulletproof logic like that? Foiled by my two-year-old.
Recently Ethan has started exhibiting a passion for headbutts. He seems to think they’re incredibly fun. And, judging from the giggles that ensue, incredibly funny, too.
(Side note: I no idea how he discovered the art of headbutting. It’s not like this is a behavior we’ve modeled for him.)
Obviously, we’ve been trying to steer him away from the headbutting. So today, Ethan unveiled his compromise solution: the “hug-butt.” This is something he’s apparently invented himself, and it’s a vast improvement over the alternative. It basically consists of him running toward you at full speed, colliding into your legs, and wrapping his arms around you while giggling wildly and yelling, “HUG-BUTT!”
What can I say? At least he’s showing creativity and a knack for problem solving. Also, it doesn’t hurt as much.
Ethan’s favorite place in the whole world right now is, and I quote, “on the MommyDad bed.” It’s like this mystical forbidden playland for him. He just loves being on our bed. This is where he gets his night-night stories, where daddy launches him like a rocketship onto a pile of pillows, and where he usually manages to get us to sing a few songs to him before bed. In fact pretty much the only thing he’s not allowed to do on the MommyDaddy bed is actually sleep in it. Which is too bad, because this is what he truly wants most in the world.
Last night around 3:00 a.m., because he wasn’t feeling well and because he kept crying out from his crib, I caved and he finally got his wish. This sometimes happens when he’s sick, and last night his cold had turned into shallow breathing and a cough. He had similar symptoms last year and it turned into pneumonia, so I wanted him in bed with us anyway so I could make sure his breathing stayed OK through the night.
Well, Ethan thought this was the Best Thing Ever.
In the pitch black silence of half past three in the morning, he started belting out ”Twinkle, twinkle, litte star…”
I shushed him.
Later, the singing started again, this time ”Row, row, row your boat…”
Again I shushed him.
Later, he began pinching us and giggling. Very naughty.
But eventually he finally fell asleep. Or so I thought. Very quietly, I whispered to Penny that maybe we should take him to the pediatrician in the morning, just to be safe.
Suddenly, in a perfectly nonchalant little voice, Ethan added: ”And get a lollipop there!”
Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep last night. But I think Ethan had one of the best nights of his life… on the MommyDaddy bed.
Ethan turned two this week. Hard to believe, since in some ways it feels like he was just born. But in other ways—in entirely good ways—it also feels like he’s been with us forever. Since his birthday fell on a Thursday this year, and since Thursdays are my day at home with him, I planned a special father-son day to celebrate.
First we went to the bank—you have to understand this is one of his favorite activities because it involves getting a lollipop from the teller—and then it was off to iParty to pick up a coveted “Monkey Balloon,” a.k.a. the Curious George balloon he’s wanted for some time now. Balloons are Ethan’s second favorite thing at the moment, behind only Curious George himself, so combining those two items equals one happy toddler.
Speaking of monkeys, we spent the bulk of the day at Monkey Joe’s, a sort of indoor playground comprised largely of inflatable bouncy things. Ethan had a blast sliding and jumping and bouncing and just playing with other kids.
After a few hours at Monkey Joe’s we moved on to Ben & Jerry’s in Salem, where I ordered his ice cream cake for tomorrow’s family party. We had hot dogs for lunch at the Boston Hot Dog Company right next door to the Ben & Jerry’s, and then headed home for nap time. (We both needed it, but only he really got one.)
All in all, a great day with a great kid. I’m a lucky dad.
Lately I’ve been feeling like I need a crash course in parenting. Ethan is a very “spirited” child. Even at 18 months he has all kinds of qualities I think are wonderful—he’s affectionate, clever, creative, funny, musical, energetic, and sweet—but he’s also very, very stubborn. He likes to test limits and push my buttons. Currently, he hits when he’s frustrated. He thinks my attempts at discipline are a game. I’m afraid that if I don’t get my act together soon I’ll fail him as a parent.
Don’t get me wrong: I love the fact that he’s a strong-willed child. So was I. I think it’s a quality that has helped me as an adult to reach whatever level of success I have achieved in my life. It’s a great quality in a child and I don’t want to stamp it out of him. I just want to learn the best way to effectively parent him so he can harness that willfulness in a positive way.
I think parenting is tremendously rewarding—the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, really—but it’s so hard, too. Always in the back of my mind is the fear that I’m doing something that’ll screw him up. He’s such a good, sweet boy and he has so much potential, and I know he just needs the right kind of parenting to help him become everything he can be. But what kind of parenting is it? That’s what I don’t know.
So, I went to Amazon to try to find the “right” book to help. Now I’m even more confused. They all claim to be the one-stop-shop for parents, and they all sound great… until you read the reviews. Some people say Book X is great; others say it’s all wishy-washy New Age crap. Some people like Book Y; others think it just “enables” the kids in a bad way. Book Z sounds good until you read the review that says using its techniques will create emotionally stunted little Hitlers.
What’s a dad to do?