Last night I talked to my good friend Lorie, who informed me that her little girl, Shayna ... aged 2 ... is potty trained. She is also doing long division and knows all the capitals of foreign states, but I was expecially interested to hear that she has made the cross over from Pampers to Charmin. Following this call - I did something that I know I shouldn't have done.
I told Charlie.
This morning, I decided to work out of the house. So while Charlie was on "baby-duty" I was set up in the dining room with my laptop. It's always a pleasure working from home because I love hearing Charlie interact with the children and eavesdrop on how he does things when it's just him and the kids. At one point, I heard him corral everyone in to the bathroom.
What made me snort hot tea out my nose is when I heard him say "OK kids! I'm going to potty train you today!!"
Charlie doesn't read my blog so he is not aware of my plan to let the kids remain in diapers until they are old enough to tell me that no one else on the school bus wears them. Unlike Charlie, I'm in NO rush. Even if my slothful strategy for potty training means that we'll have four children wearing diapers one year from now ... I'm not afraid.
While I tried to suppress my laughter - because the absolute last thing I want to do is discourage a man with good intentions - I could hear Charlie talking each of the children through what they were about to do. "Daddy puts your potty seat on the toilet and now, you will sit up here and go pee-pee. OK? Ready to try? Who wants to go first? William?"
After enjoying this dialogue for five minutes or so, I was eventually pulled back in to work and wasn't paying attention to Charlie coaching our three 26-month old children the art of voiding in the toilet.
Several minutes later, I heard a particularly loud raucous emanating from the den. I could hear our gardner's lawnmower in the backyard, but I could also hear two of our three children screaming in glee. I decided to get up from my workstation to investigate. The sight that met my eyes coming around the corner, were William and Carolyn ... without their diapers ... jumping off the couch.
Charlie was no where to be seen.
As I ran over to grab them before they ran to our sliding glass door and played exhibitionists for our gardner and his crew, I noticed that not one ... but BOTH of the kids were standing above soggy spots on the rug. Charlie had taken their diapers off before giving everyone a chance to sit on the potty and had not moved fast enough to get the diapers back on (or close the door), before the kids heard the lawnmower in the back yard and ran away to see the "mowa". Afraid to leave Elizabeth unattended in the bathroom, perched on the potty, Charlie weighed the risk and figured two naked toddlers could do less damage to themselves or the house.
He clearly wasn't thinking about our rugs.
I helped to clean the kids up and put them down for a nap. As I went back to work, I could hear Charlie folding laundry at the back our our house. The kids were not settling down as quickly as they usually do, so at one point, I heard him walk in to the nursery to see what was going on. Seconds later, I looked up from my computer to see Charlie standing above me with a terrified look on his face.
I slowly asked "What's wrong?"
He replied "Oh God, Jen. When I went in to the nursery, Elizabeth was IN Carolyn's crib. I didn't put her there. Did YOU put her there?!"
I looked at him incredulously and responded "Why would I do that?! What did YOU do?!"
"Well ... I put her BACK in her own crib. Maybe it was a fluke, you know - a one time event."
Yeah. And maybe we can potty train our two-year old triplets in a day.
A couple minutes pass and the two of us are standing in stunned silence outside the nursery, listening to laughter and kids frolicking. I quietly pull back the curtains and immediately spot Elizabeth in Carolyn's crib.
As I walk in to the nursery, she looks like a kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She gives me a sly smile and then reaching down, picks up bunny and waves her lovey in the air. Oh, of course! Why, I'll bet she was just going in to Carolyn's crib to retrieve her bunny. Surely she had no intention to stay there...
I change three dirty diapers and exit to the kitchen. Minutes pass. Again, I hear frolicking and kids laughing. I pop my head in to the nursery and see Elizabeth running free, just as Carolyn is hoisting herself up and over the side of her crib. William is standing in awe, watching his sisters easily escape from the bars that have contained them for the past two years.
My legs go numb and I suddenly forget my own name. This day wasn't suppose to happen for at least another 12-months. Maybe 18.
While we were in South Carolina, the kids became escape artists from their pack-n-plays. I still fall in to a fit of laughter thinking about the night Charlie and I went out on a date and came home to my mother sitting in a pitch black house. The kids had all climbed out of their PNP's and mom thought if she turned off all the lights, and made Jim stay in his room, the kids wouldn't come out. She was sorely mistaken. Instead, there were three children running around, three hours past their bedtime, wild and free in a dark house. It was the best time of their lives!
Fortunately, since we've been home, they haven't once attempted to climb out of their cribs. I honestly didn't think they could, without hurting themselves. But to see them today, the way they carefully eased themselves over the side ... you'd think they've been practicing for months.
I rounded the girls up - put them back in their cribs - gave them my sternest look and told them that they had to stay put. For a while, the house was silent. After another 30 minutes or so, Charlie peeked in the nursery to see Elizabeth, once again standing outside of her crib, and attempting to brush her sleeping brother's hair through his crib slats. Since a 2-year old doesn't have the most finesse when it comes to brushing hair - within seconds, William was wide awake and howling.
Nap time, like potty training, was a complete bust, which makes me certain that we've reached the next Hurricane Level.
With no time to clean the rug, or get himself mentally prepared for the second half of the day, I could hear Charlie's exasperated sighs as our over-tired children wreaked havoc. At one point, I got up to get a drink of water and noticed that the house was unusually quiet. As I walked around looking for everyone, I found Charlie sitting on the floor outside of our laundry room
My husband gave me a sly smile, similar to a kid getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar - or a toddler climbing out of her crib - and said "How funny. Who would have ever guessed that they like playing in the laundry room with the door closed?!"
Well, I suppose that's one way to contain them. And maybe if we put a potty chair in there, they'll train themselves.