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And Then, This Happened.

And it isn’t about the time pictured here, when this little guy made himself over.  It’s WAY better than that.

Let me paint a little picture for you.  The little guy (almost 2.5) has recently been shotgun potty trained, which basically means we stopped putting diapers on him (we ran out of our Seventh Generation stash and I carry the guilt of not cloth diapering – so buying bleached cotton diapers here in China is just too much for me to handle).  Sure, there are drops (and the occasional stream) of pee here and there, but all in all, it’s been wildly successful.  As it turns out, however, all good things have their limitations.

Here’s the scene.  We’re enjoying a glass of bubbly and watching the sunset for the mister’s birthday, in the lounge at the Hyatt Kota Kinabalu.  You know the kind of place: quiet, mostly business travelers, no other children, attentive staff.  Tranquil and quiet, that is, until a  little ratbag (who just so happens to be of my blood) announces “poo!” (which actually sounds more like “pee”, just to get the story straight).  To which I’m all, there is NO way what he means is that poo has actually exited his body.  After a quick look, it’s determined that yay!, YES it has, but looks to be contained.  So I snatch the filthy monster up (Dad calls birthday immunity), quickly head for the bathroom (which requires walking through half of the lounge) but before I make it, I feel a warm gushy splash on my leg.  In absolute disbelief, I look down to see a runny mess (say, the consistency of half melted ice cream, chocolate ice cream) deposited ever so kindly onto my dress/leg.  We scurry into the bathroom to discover complete wreckage in the little man’s britches.  COMPLETE WRECKAGE.  So, here I am, trying ever-so-frantically to contain the disaster that is now covering legs, feet, ground, and toilet, when I hear a knock at the bathroom door.  When I open it, there stands the birthday mister, frantic himself.  He NEEDS wipes or paper towels or toilet paper STAT.  And here I thought I had it bad.  He proceeds to swoop in like a ninja and stealthily pick up piles of POO that apparently DIDN’T just fall onto my leg.  OMG.  I can’t stand acronyms, but OMG.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Fifteen minutes later, we had a good laugh and while I’d like to say that we ALL learned our lesson, well, I’d be lying (but we don’t need to go into the details).

Be warned potty training mamas and daddy’s out there, be warned.  Like most everything else in parenting, just when you think you have it figured out and things are under control… your kid poops on you and the universe says, SIKE.

On Weaning A Child Who Is Old Enough To Have Hair This Long

IT SUCKS.  Period.  He nurses like his life depends on it.  AND MY POOR NIPPLES HAVE HAD ENOUGH.  Seriously.

There is an array of life issues that arise through advanced/prolonged boob dependence, those are as follows:

Naps: without the boob, naps are facilitated only by 1) a car ride – which is impossible when you no longer own a car, 2) watching a show on the iPad – which has mixed results, or 3) a stroller ride – which doesn’t work when it’s raining – and it’s raining.

Public Opinion: LET ME BE CLEAR – I AM A HUGE PROPONENT OF BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC.  However, when you have a large toddler and are in a culture that is a bit baffled by the idea of it in the first place, it gets old, fast.  Come on buddy, can’t we AT LEAST keep these things private now that you’re old enough to ask for it, outright?

Mom’s Breasts: I’m honestly not one to care (or so I thought), but really guys, 4 years of collective breastfeeding renders them at least 4 decades less youthful than they would otherwise be.

And when you have an insufferably stubborn toddler, weaning feels like a lost cause.  We’ve come a long way but some days I’m fairly certain he’ll still be nursing when he’s 12, before and after school.

Psychological Terror and the Dreadful Thought of Parenting Advice

I was recently confronted with what I perceived as judgement of my parenting.  To which I responded:  Don’t mess with me, YOU HAVE NO IDEA.  And then, I reflected on my defensive reaction.  Why is it that parents are less than open to what is most likely meant as constructive criticism?  After this experience, I thought about this question; why was I so quick to jump on the defense? And then I came to my answer:  BECAUSE BEING A PARENT IS HARD, and the last thing you want is someone diagnosing yours.  Sure, there are times when my mind is checked out and I don’t constructively redirect my 2 year old (rather, I say NO or DON’T DO THAT or throw my arms up in defeat) BUT FOR F$&%’S SAKE (and as studies can back up),  I HAVE A FINITE AMOUNT OF “COPING” ENERGY GIVEN TO ME PER DAY, AND GOD HELP ME, YOU BOY (said 2 year old), JUST CROSSED THAT THRESHOLD.  We all have a different threshold and while I’d like to believe that mine is particularly resilient, well, if you saw me by 7pm, I’m afraid the jury would be in that I was full of shit.  I’M TERRIBLY IMPATIENT.  There, I said it.  My buttons are pushed to their limit nearly every day.  Did I mention the phrase Psychological Terror?  I’m fairly certain that it justifies the impatience.  Most of the time.

In discussing the situation with my husband, he so eloquently gave me the term “psychological terror”.  Cause that’s what it feels like sometimes.  Right?  The screeching on top of the whining on top of the needing on top of the bickering, multiplied by what’s going on years, and some days, I feel like the victim of torture.  AS IN when the headstrong 2 year old, fresh off a night of whimpering for the boob multiple times (AFTER HE HASN’T BREASTFED DURING THE NIGHT FOR 6 MONTHS), wakes up at the crack of dawn and drags you out of bed screeching, just so he can whine at you about the birthday balloon that has somehow managed to stay perky for what feels like a century.  AND BY 6:45 AM, YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN PSYCHOLOGICALLY TERRORIZED.  6:45.  And then you hope that, by the grace of the universe, today is the day you’ll be allowed to call UNCLE, and go back to bed in peace.  Though to be quite honest, as of late, this is usually my better half who has to endure the morning torture, because that’s just how wonderful he is.  But you get the picture.

This leads to one of those days where you desperately need a RESET button.  Or, a recalibration to CRAZY, where your new zero is ten (zero as in cool, calm, and collected.. ten as in heading-for-the-hills).  Because if you’re at least recalibrated, balance can be restored and sanity can be attained.  Seriously though, do you not wish you could press a magical button that would RESET your psyche for the day?  One where you could forget the frustration derived from your toddler nursing for 20 minutes until he was dead asleep, only to wake up hollering when you pull the nipple out of his mangy little mouth (YES, I have a two year old that still nurses down for his nap, don’t judge me)- thus totally screwing over what chance you had to naturally decompress?  SERENITY NOW, I say, RESET.  I want to be patient and loving and compassionate, BUT MY THRESHOLD HAS BEEN CROSSED, what power have I over the situation?  RESET.

And when it is finally accepted that no magical RESET button actually exists and patience is not restored, the GUILT kicks in.  Why can’t I be more patient?  Why do I need a reset button?  Is my child’s tantrum a result of said impatience?  Am I emotionally damaging them for life?  Which I guess they had coming, I AM berated with psychological terror on a daily basis.  Tit for tat?  After the barrage of negative self-affirmations has passed and my daily bottom has been reached, what usually happens is that I get an unprovoked kiss (preferably without a tongue) from one of the littles, perspective is found, and I let go of the guilt and remember to just let things be.  IT’S ALL GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, the kiss told me so.  The kids’ll be fine, I’ll (most likely) come out of their childhood sane, and we’ll go off into the night hand in hand.

IN CONCLUSION, do I deserve the much dreaded parenting advice?  Perhaps some days I do.  BUT, I think I have it taken care of, really, I’M FULLY AWARE OF THE TIMES WHEN I SUCK.  YOU’RE NOT TELLING ME ANYTHING THAT I DON’T ALREADY KNOW.  Throw me a bone, yea?  Aren’t I allowed to fall apart sometimes too?