Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I feel like a jerk.

I’ve been really really mad at Beatriz, my day care provider, for the better part of a week. She has not seemed the least bit supportive of Liana’s newly discovered interest in the potty. One day she yelled at me because Liana had gone poopies in her pull up, and then she sent Liana to the bathroom, unaware, and poopies had gotten all over everything, including the bathroom and Liana herself. I yelled back, and said that if she had been paying attention, she would have noticed that Liana had found a corner, squatted down, rolled her eyes back in her head, and had gone poopies BEFORE she sent her to the ill-fated trip to the bathroom. I was LIVID to find Liana wrapped up in diapers, after more than a week of just one single accident at home.

The next day Beatriz sat me down and gave me the “all children are different” lecture, explaining that some children are potty trained at 18 months, and others are not potty trained at 3 years. She went on to say that Liana was just not ready for pull ups, and that I had unrealistic expectations, and that the pressure that I was putting on her was not good for her. When I countered that Liana had initiated the whole series of events, and pointed out that at home she wore underpants, and I only put pull ups on while she was out on the street and at daycare, she shook her head as if I were being an obstinate toddler myself. I was furious.

And on top of the potty training resistance, I’ve been really cranky about the move. Beatriz’s daycare was a three minute walk from home. I then walked 12-13 minutes to work. This is the way I had arranged my life. In July, Beatriz moved to a new location, which is a 35-40 minute commute to her place, 35-40 minutes to work, 35-40 minutes on pick up, 35-40 minutes home. In other words, I’ve lost two hours per day of my life all summer. And where does that two hours come from? Work? Playing with Liana? Sleeping? There were not enough hours in the day before the move.

So when Beatriz would not get on board with the whole potty training stuff, I was LIVID. Drop offs and pick ups were tense. Our previously warm connection seemed to have disappeared, and I even suspected her of sabotaging our pre-school plans with her lack of support.

And then Beatriz called on Sunday. She is in the hospital. Pancreatic stones? Surgery on Tuesday. Apparently, she has been in terrible pain for more than a week. And I was so much in my self-centered mode, that I didn’t notice. Apparently the other moms knew..

I’m usually more sensitive. I feel like a jerk.

It has been a great year and a half with Beatriz. In September, Liana starts preschool. But since February 2008, Beatriz has provided a loving, structured environment for Liana. Amazingly healthy meals. She has nurtured Liana’s artistic nature, and designed projects in which Liana created amazing pieces of art that I will cherish forever. Lines and circles, Beatriz explained. Too early to start working on letters. Everything comes from lines and circles. And I have seen Liana combine those lines and circles to create animals and people and flowers and buildings and doors, and even a series of pictures of our cruise ship. Apparently they do tai chi in front of the TV. Liana can do tai chi moves that awe me, and that are too complex for me to even imitate. And ballet too. And Liana now dances a mean cumbia. Liana explains to me every night when I pour her a glass of milk, that milk builds strong muscles. She flexes her arm with pride. I didn’t teach her that. Liana could put on her own socks before turning two. I sure didn’t have the patience to teach her that. Liana has learned so much with Beatriz. It has been a good year and a half.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that our last weeks together have been tainted by sickness, and worse. By ill will.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Warning: Potty Talk Ahead

I *think* it has finally happened. And it came out of nowhere! I had really started to believe that Liana would go to her senior prom in diapers.

Liana was “sitting” happily on the potty almost a year ago. She liked it. By the time she was 2, she was going pee pee a couple of times a day in the potty. I had friends who were pushing their kids screaming onto the potty. I was smug about my approach. No hurry. Get her comfortable. Lot’s of positive reinforcement, blah blah blah.

By January/early February, I thought we were there. She sometimes asked to go to the potty on her own. She often stayed dry all night in her diapers. Just one more step, and we would be done.

But then the smugness faded. By February/March, she flat out refused to sit on the potty. At all. Ever. The mere suggestion that she use the potty sent her into a rage. In the spring we went out and bought “big girl” panties. She picked them out, and was all excited. She wore them almost exclusively for almost a full weekend, with minimal accidents. And then the refusal. No interest in panties. No interest in potties. She threw the potty training books and videos with an anger normally reserved for those moments in which she is denied ice cream cone she thought was hers, or forced to leave a party that she is enjoying in spite of being overly tired.

I set the cruise as a goal. No swimming in the pool in diapers. Even swim diapers. We talked about it. She agreed it was a reasonable goal. But she made no effort to be civil when I suggested she sit on the potty.

I took one full suitcase of diapers on the cruise.

And then, last Thursday night, she came home and said she wanted to wear big girl panties! Friday, she wanted to wear pull ups to daycare. She used the daycare potty as soon as we arrived. Out to dinner Friday night, used the restaurant potty, went to the park to play after dinner, and had an accident in the elevator on the way home, less than a minute away from her potty at home. That’s ok. Everyone has accidents.

Brunch on Saturday in Forest Hills. Potty in the restaurant again. Up and down Austin street, in and out of stores. We arrived home with a dry pull up. OOOOH. But the big event was before brunch. I had a HUGE Dora sticker on display in the bathroom, and she knew that she would get it the first time she went poopie in the potty. Which she did Saturday morning! So she proudly wore a one-foot long Dora sticker on her dress all day in Forest Hills. And told total strangers who commented on the sticker that she had “done HUGE POOPIES in the potty.”

Today we did the Queens Zoo and the Colombian Festival in Flushing Meadow Park. Potty at the zoo. Potty near Shea Stadium station. Arrived home with a dry pull up! Happily using the potty herself here at home.

Can it be? Is it true? Are our diaper days over????

Friday, July 17, 2009

We're Back!

Liana and I have returned from our wonderful cruise. She was 90% my joyous angel-girl, 5% my tired/confused/cranky girl, and 5% the exorcist child. In other words, the trip was a great success.

It was the easiest trip in the world. Cab to 55th street, and we walked on the ship. Cruised to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. The ship was VERY child-friendly. My hope was that Liana would like the daycamp enough to spend two mornings there so that I could have two spa days. Well, she wanted to go back EVERY DAY, and even asked several times to go back in the afternoon. At dinner, the waiters sang and danced, and one picked up Liana and danced with her almost every night. We had a great table at dinner... two other single moms, (with teenagers!) and a grandma with her grandson. Dinners were tough, because most days she didn't get a nap, so somewhere between 6-7:30 she got clingy and demanding. But not too bad.

Liana loved the beaches. She loved our trip to the aquarium. We did our first build-a-bear workshop on board. We had lots of lunch picnics on our balcony. She ate way too much ice cream, and way too much chocolate. She got her face painted a lot. We hung out in lounges and she sat on quite a few barstools. Oh. And she became addicted to virgin pina coladas.

I'll tell more stories later, but I've waited way too long to get these pictures up. A few now. More later.