Friday, July 5, 2013

Baby, you're a firework

How was your 4th? Good, I hope?

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So that third child of ours -- let's get all cliched mommyblog up in here and talk potty training. He wasn't having it. Not for encouragement or motivation or bribery or cajoling was that boy going to give up his pull-ups.  It's fine that he's this ginormous beast of a child, that I was buying his size 5 pants because they had to fit over his 43-lb tushie and a pull-up, that he was dropping man-turds like a frat boy gone wild. If there is sanctuary in being the third child, it's that by now your mama has learned to give a body time. All kids do things at their own pace. She reminded herself of that daily while crying about wiping up the man-turds.

And then, two weeks ago, after three-and-a-third years of feeling 100% unremorseful over his mama's tears, one of his sisters just had to say once, Hey, G! I need to get dressed. I'm going to run upstairs and get new underpants. Do you want underpants, too? And he did, not because of concern for his mama, but because he wanted to join in on an underpants dance fest, and since that day he's been an underpants kind of boy, and no accidents, and that was that.

And I'm not saying that this mama thought that all those other mamas who told stories of their kids who potty trained themselves with a flip of some emotional-intellectual switch were lying liar-heads prone to exaggeration, but here I stand, two weeks, no accidents, and already $30 in not-purchased pull-ups and wipes richer, fairly flabbergasted at the whole unbelievable thing.

Which just goes to show that third children will go to ridiculous lengths to lay claim to their own bags of tricks.

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This past Sunday the lovely husband played the last softball game of the season and I was in charge of the three small people.  The eldest had a 10am birthday party and so the other two and I dropped her off, ran some errands, and then decided to spend our last half hour before party pickup at a not-so-far-away playground. L was 20 feet in the air in some crazy spider bungee-cord climbing thing when G screams urgently in his booming-yell voice: I NEED TO PEE! This is what he does now. He is alarmed at the knowledge that it's coming, every time. He is so novitiate to underpants-wearing society that he is not yet unbothered by its signals. He boom-yells because he wants someone to walk him to the bathroom, having also not yet learned that he may just go there without fanfare or proclamation. We've thrown in some lessons like "being in charge of your body means you can just go, love, you don't have to announce it, and just let us know if you need help" and repeated them and repeated them and repeated them. The boom-yell, it's not easy on the eardrums.

In this moment, though, the boom-yell was fairly warranted, because he couldn't see a bathroom to go to. And I would have been happy to walk him if only there was a nearby bathroom. So instead I got to text the lovely husband this:

UM. GUESS WHAT I JUST TAUGHT YOUR SON TO DO.

Actually, I texted him the photo from three seconds later than this one, and you're welcome for the preshow-only restricted access. Truth in blogging, y'all. But this is the convenience of boys! Walk to the edge of the grass! There is yet novelty to be had with third-child parenting! And the day continued as planned.

By the way, the Topic of the Week in our house has been, unequivocally, The Wonder And Mystery of Boy Underpants Plackets. The girls are just astonished. The boy likes to play jack-in-the-box (although not for actual peeing -- that still seems to call for a Full Monty situation as often as not). And they say that kids don't learn anything in the summertime.

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We spent the day together yesterday, a quiet morning, an animated movie matinee, dinner and up to our favorite park for fireworks. We get there around 7:30 every year, and although the fireworks themselves don't go up until almost 9:30, the clamshell has a live band and the space behind the field boasts a fabulous playground. We spread out blankets and folding chairs and bring beachballs and a soccer ball and books and snacks and relax, play, enjoy the anticipation.

We were settling into our favorite spot, the kids and I, as the lovely husband returned to the car for a few more things. The sun was setting over the lake, the girls were running around with some other kids they'd just met, and the trombone was introducing The Star Spangled Banner.

From one family-picnic-space to my right I heard a small kid yell "that boy is SHOWING HIS BUM, MOMMY!" and I looked up to see him pointing directly at me, or rather at G, who was right next to me, pants and unders down (so much for that damn placket), peeing on the grass right next to my foot. Of course there was nothing to do but let him finish. The family to our left was singing along, hands over their hearts, "...what so proudly we hailed / at the twilight's last gleaming..." and I realized that while I may have walked G to the edge of the grass on Sunday, I never explained to him explicitly: "go away from people and your mama's foot when you pee in a park, okay, kid?"

The kid to the right was giggling, which got the attention of his siblings, who were the kids my girl was playing with, and soon all the kids in the universe at the soccer plex were enjoying G's peeing next to my foot, so G did the only thing he could do: finish up with a grand performance of what he calls the nakey tushie dance. The applause at the end of our national anthem might have been for him or for the band, we'll never really know, but I did the only thing I could do: pull up his pants, keep my eyes down, try to scootch our blanket a few inches back, and wait most impatiently for the rest of darkness to fall and the second show to start.



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