Week Three

So we’re nearing the end of the third week of toilet training and Astrid hasn’t had an accident in almost two weeks. I can’t help but think we have it relatively easy, but I don’t want to jinx things.

For one, night training is supposed to be a pain, but I can count on one hand the number of times she’s wet her diapers at night or during a nap over the past year and a half. So do we still make her wear a diaper at night or assume she’s already trained herself? And if the latter, are we just asking for trouble?


That’s the plus side. On the “minus side,” she’s still not completely self-reliant. While she’s walked to the toilet a few times on her own, she mostly just tells us first (in her way, not with words other than “ouch?”) and has us walk over with her. She also can’t manipulate her own clothing. She’ll sit on the toilet with her pants on, like a crazy person. And she definitely can’t do a very good job of wiping herself. According to the book, that’s going to take at least another year before she’s half-way decent at it.

All of this takes a lot longer than just changing her diaper whenever she uses it. We have to repeatedly prompt her, sit with her while convincing her to go, wipe, dump potty contents, get her to wash her hands, and clean the potty. Every. Single. Time. And I end up washing my hands at least twice each time because I am so damn squeamish. I almost regret potty training this early.

Also, when we’ve gone out over the weekend, she’s held it in until we got home. Last Saturday, after her music class, David took her to the toilet at the school, in the bookstore, and in the pizza place where we had lunch. She just sat–didn’t freak out on the “strange” grown-up toilets, but also didn’t do anything. If she were still in diapers, this would have been a lot less trouble.

So I guess the next steps would be to get her to use the toilet instead of the potty chair, convince her to use public restrooms, take her from commando to wearing underwear, and dare to have her go diaper-free at night. We bedshare though, so this could very well be a disaster.

Second weekend

Days 7 and 8

I should probably stop referring to days. I’m going to get pretty depressed if I end up seeing “Day 154” of toilet training.

2016-01-24 13.25.03

This is the first commando weekend and we cheated. We put a diaper on Astrid before taking her out to play in the snow on Sunday. I thought it’d be harder to deal with getting all her snow gear off in time for her to make it to a toilet, so we agreed to the path of least resistance. Fortunately, after a long walk to the deli, a quick brunch, and some play time before we got home, she still kept her diaper dry.

This weekend, she’s been learning to get herself to the toilet mostly without prompting. I think it’s because there were a couple of times when she did warn us, but not far enough in advance, and she ended up making a mess on the floor. One of those times, she was in the kitchen, stuck behind the baby gate. So while it’s a little sad that she’s learning that she can’t always rely on Mom and Dad, it’s at least teaching her to be more proactive about getting herself to the toilet.

Unfortunately, she always forgets to push her pants down. I don’t know how to get that to sink in and I’m just waiting for the day when she pees through her pants while sitting on the toilet because I wasn’t following her around.

Also, she’s still not using any word other than “ow” to tell us it’s about to happen. We need to do something about that.



Who likes to rock the potty?

I’m back! Sort of. I assume no one on my Facebook friends list wants to read about our adventures in toilet training the spawn (and I don’t exactly want advice from everyone I know), so I thought I should take that business here. Don’t read this if you really don’t care about this stuff. It’s tedious and TMI at times. I’m just putting it here in case any mom friends are curious.

2016-01-22 22.41.35

Note the towel, there for possible leakage.


So here we are, almost a week into what I thought was a 3-day process and it’s . . . well, it’s not a raging success yet. We’re using the method described in the book Oh Crap! Potty Training, which is recommended in every online moms group that I’ve been in. Unfortunately, it seems like it’d be a lot easier for a stay-at-home parent who lives in the suburbs to follow, so we’re adjusting it to our double-income, subway-taking lifestyle and hoping that doesn’t screw things up too much. Here’s how it’s going so far.


Day 1

According to the book, we were supposed to have Astrid run around naked all day and watch her like hawks. One of the main points was to see if she has any “tells” when she’s about to go. Some kids are very subtle about it. As it turned out, Astrid’s tell was to come up to us and cry. While she did have a few accidents and we used up a lot of paper towels and Clorox wipes that day, she used the potty five times, including #2 (which happened directly where it was supposed to). Granted, she cried the entire time and seemed afraid of what was happening, often standing up at the wrong moment, begging us to hold her. So, yes, we did have our doubts that this was the right time to toilet train. But I still considered Day 1 to be a success; she used the potty, pooped (described as a potential problem area in the book, which has several suggestions for handling it), and warned us ahead of time.


Day 2

Astrid was to go commando for a few weeks–clothes, but no underpants. This first day was sort of fine. She wet two pairs of pants before deciding that she was done with peeing and tried to hold it in as much as possible. She didn’t go #2 at all. Basically, she’d tell us when she needed to go, sit on the toilet, cry, and then nothing would happen for a very long time. I was beginning to think this wouldn’t fly with her daycare. It’s a lot to ask them to sit with her and coax her “leavings” out of her when they have other kids to watch.

The book recommended that we take her out for a short outing at this point. But since the weather was terrible, we stayed in.


Day 3

Since Day 2 wasn’t great, I figured we were still in stage 2 of the book’s process, so it was more of the same today. She finally went #2 in the morning at the same time as her morning pee. (I should note that she almost always wakes up with a dry diaper, but takes a voluminous pee in the morning. It’s insane. The overflow! Oh god, the overflow . . . ) That was the only time she pooped on Day 3 though. And she didn’t pee again until her post-nap accident.

In the middle of the day, she sat on the toilet for more than an hour. She went from being a little afraid of it to camping out on it. And she didn’t use it once in that entire time. I kept trying to help her off of it, but she’d cry or get angry. And I didn’t want to risk her creating a mess (in case she did need to use it). At one point, I offered her chocolate chips if she got off the toilet, but she just wouldn’t budge.

David asked the daycare some questions about how they handle kids going through toilet-training. They said they were open to our process and would work with us. But despite my best efforts to prepare her for doing this at daycare, she wasn’t picking up any words to tell us she needed to use the toilet. Months ago, she’d say “poo” if she was about to use her diaper (for both #1 and #2). But on Day 3, when the time came, all she did was panic and cry. She also wasn’t great at remembering to push her pants down before sitting on the toilet. But there was no turning back, we had to keep at it.


Days 4, 5, and 6 – Daycare

I wasn’t consistently able to get her to use the toilet before taking her to daycare. She avoided it on Day 4, wet her pajama pants on Day 5, and started peeing before I got her night diaper off on Day 6 (though some of it still ended up in the toilet).

At daycare, she went #1 once on Day 4 (no accidents), twice on Day 5 (one accident), and not at all on Day 6. She’s definitely holding it in again, and I’m not sure if this is going to be bad for her and possibly give her a UTI.

Today is Day 6, and she at least used the toilet three times this evening. The amazing thing is that she’s finally walking to the toilet herself, and she isn’t crying about it. She says “Ow!” when she feels she’s ready to go, which is kind of confusing.



We had planned to go out this weekend to see how she does, but there’s a big snowstorm keeping us indoors. The book recommends that people keep a small potty in their cars for emergencies, but we’re not car people and we take the subway everywhere. Traveling from Point A to Point B in this area can take a very long time, and I’m not confident that Astrid will be able to control herself. But seeing as how she managed not to use the toilet at all today at daycare, maybe I’m wrong.

I just got this small toilet seat for travel and will replace the diapers in her diaper bag with a bunch of plastic bags for accidents.

The tyranny of diapers is almost at an end! Bring on the tyranny of inadequate ass-wiping!

Addendum: Note that in this blog entry from 2010, I complain about people sharing “all that toilet-training nonsense.” And that is exactly why I’m continuing to write in this blog instead of starting a new “mommy blog.” The differences between now and six years ago crack me up!

It’s not his nose that grows!

When I was a very small kid, my parents inadvertently took us to a drive-in theater to see a porno. It was the 70s. This was back when you had to call a hotline to find out what movies were playing at a given cinema, and the recorded voice would read each movie title followed by the show times. They probably also read the MPAA rating, but it’s pretty obvious that, if they did, my parents ignored that part. So off we all went to see a double feature of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Pinocchio.” Unfortunately, they were quite possibly these movies: “Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy” and “Pinocchio” (the tagline of which is the title of this post). I’d like to say that our family left immediately after my parents discovered the mistake. But nope. We lingered a little too long and I saw a little too much.

Later, as we were driving away, I remember seeing a policeman standing outside the concession building, enjoying the movie. Not averting his eyes or arresting people for watching something dirty and sinful. (I was being raised Catholic. And American. That’s two strikes against a healthy attitude toward sex.) I remember pointing and saying, “Ooooo! The policeman is watching!” But in my attempt to “tell on him” to someone, I found that no one in the car actually cared. Back then, I was under the impression that cops were like priests–agents of god who were there to tell you when you were doing something wrong. In my naivete, I thought all role-model-type adults were like that: teachers, fire fighters, military men and women, and the President. All were agents of god. And possibly celibate.

It would be years before I outgrew this notion. Not many years, mind you. But still, it took more than just a glimpse of a policeman at a porn screening for it to hit me: people are human, sex isn’t dirty, and no one should be “told on” if they’re simply doing something that adults enjoy doing. With experience and a tiny bit of maturity, that particular brand of naivete disappeared.

Other brands still linger, however, and I find myself wondering why, for example, the media cares so much about Anthony Weiner’s junk shot. David tells me it’s a political game, and yet here I am, still hoping that people will focus their energies on things that really matter and that the media will start treating its audience like intelligent people. So, nope, I haven’t come that far after all. I’ve only gone from expecting everyone to behave like angels to expecting everyone to behave like grown-ups. And as we all know, that’s just ludicrous.

The Cleanse

Today is the second to last day of a cleanse that David and I are doing. I can’t remember why we decided to do this. When our yoga teacher mentioned it the first time, I thought nothing of it. “Remove toxins from your body blah blah blah. Weight loss blah blah.” Whatever. But I am highly suggestible, so it was only a matter of time before I’d agree to do something stupid.

At the end of our last class (it was a four-week beginner’s course), David and I were suddenly agreeing that we’d do it. Not only do we both have a lot of weight to lose (having gained about 20 to 30 pounds each since moving here), we’ve been consuming nothing but crap for the past few months. Ever since I started my job, I’ve been snacking on junk food all day at my desk and drinking three or four cups of coffee a day. I seriously needed to detox.

Unfortunately, this cleanse is actually run as a multi-level marketing business, so it’s hard to find any information about it online that wasn’t written by someone trying to sell you something.  So I want to be careful about sounding just like the beginning of a crazy testimonial. I’m honestly not trying to sell it to anyone. I’m writing about it now because I want to remember this later.

The company calls it a “healthy cleanse” because, unlike the Master Cleanse, you do get to eat one meal a day. But on most days you take organic meal-replacement shakes and supplements so that your body still gets the necessary nutrients. Honestly, I’m not sure how it’s all that different from a Slim Fast diet made better with vitamin/mineral supplements.  After five days of shakes and solid food, you do a fast for two days. They give you this gnarly liquid to drink every four hours. It tastes like overly sweet apple juice with cough medicine, and it makes my lips a little numb. In the hours between the drinks, you’re allowed one snack. There are “official” snacks that you can buy from the company and they are chalky and gross. But you could replace them with an organic apple or six almonds (total for the day). Since I read that the creator of the program didn’t really account for people eating more than the official snacks, that’s pretty much all we eat on cleanse days. If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it “right,” even though we don’t completely believe their claims. Might as well throw ourselves into it so that we can criticize it fairly when it all goes south.

On our first shake day, I bombarded David with text messages about how freakishly hungry I was, and how the shakes and snacks were shitty. He wasn’t faring much better. I read online that people grow to love the shakes when their bodies become less toxic, but concluded that their reaction was a little like Stockholm Syndrome. When you’re starving and the only thing that relieves the pain is a bland shake, you start to associate that shake with happiness, and thus come to convince yourself that you actually like it. But, uh, yeah, after two weeks of this, I’ve been brainwashed into liking the shakes. I’m still not sold on the “snacks” and the cleanse liquid. But yum, shakes. When this is all over (tomorrow’s the last day), I’d actually like to incorporate the shakes into my regular diet. They’re more filling and versatile than any number of crappy foods I usually have for breakfast. Plus I love not having to think about putting together three nutritious meals a day when I’m trying to lose weight. Yes, I’m that lazy.

I haven’t weighed myself since Monday, so I have no idea if this is really an effective weight-loss plan, but I do feel a lot better. I don’t feel the need to eat all the time, and I don’t feel like I’m starving all the time, like I did when I tried Weight Watchers. I think my face looks less bloated. And it doesn’t feel anything like deprivation to me, though David may tell you different. On the other hand, I’ve heard a lot of testimonials in which people claimed to have more energy, and I can’t say I feel the same. Besides yoga once or twice a week and the occasional lunchtime walk, I haven’t found it in me to do any exercise even though the plan specifies 20 minutes a day. (I’m normally a fast walker though, so does the trip to and from the train station count? Fifteen minutes each? No? Okay.)

Really, the only days I feel hungry are these cleanse/fasting days. But this weekend is a lot easier than last weekend, when I forced myself to take naps in between cleanse drinks so that I wouldn’t think about food. Today? Meh. You know how sometimes you feel like you could eat, but you’re not craving anything so you just don’t bother? That’s me today. Tomorrow may be another story.

Anyway, that’s my cleanse tale. On Monday, we will undo some of our good work when we go to the last day of City Bakery’s Hot Chocolate Festival. And then we will undo the rest of our good work on Saturday when we celebrate our sixth anniversary by stuffing our faces at Trattoria l’incontro. But until then, I want to freeze this point in time when I’m actually feeling good and planning to continue mostly healthy habits. It may not last, but this is the difference I was aiming for when I decided to spend time each week trying new things.

Old Man Winter Can Suck It

Yeah, no one reads this anymore…possibly because there’s nothing to read. But I felt an urge to update today because, well, I have a day off from work and nothing but housework to do. I spit on housework.

I got a job. Hurray! It was an awkward situation because, when they made me the offer, I was waiting for a second interview for another job that I wanted more. It was in California, and it was for a smallish Internet company that I think still has great potential. But, of course, I didn’t get that job. I got the one in New York. And the whole mess left me feeling less excited about my new prospect than I would have if the CA job had never reared its tempting head. But the job I have now? It’s awesome. The people are great–very smart, very friendly, and very good at what they do. They’re inspiring. The company has been around for centuries, based in the UK, and there may be opportunities for me to travel there and to South and Central America every once in a while. What’s more, if this is the path I want to go with my career, I could have a long relationship with this company, or, even if I don’t, they’d still look great on my resume. Almost no one I told about the California company had heard of it.

So why was my new job a mere second choice? Winter in New York. Every winter we spend here is one that I hope will be our last. I can’t take the snow and the freezing-fucking-cold every year. The walk to and from the subway station is fraught with dangers, be they slippery sidewalks or walls of snow yellowed with dog pee. Once so far, we’ve had freezing rain, and it felt like it took twenty minutes to walk the block from our apartment to the main road…where we missed the bus. So we had to slide slowly toward the subway station, passing about ten blocks in our inadequate snow boots, and managing not to break any bones. Since not all of the ice had melted away, we had to do the same thing the next day.

On Friday, we had nice, sunny weather, and I spent my lunch hour walking along the Hudson river, catching a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, and getting some Vitamin D with lunchtime joggers. But today? More snow. On my day off. Kill me.

So while I should be thrilled to be working in a great place with wonderful people, there’s still some bitterness in here at that Pasadena job that never happened. Life could be so much easier in the sunshine. But instead, I’m stuck here with thundersnow in the winter, gigantic roaches in the summer, and the potential for a bedbug infestation should we decide to move to a warmer apartment. Damn you, Pasadena. Damn you to New York.