Monday, September 17, 2007

doing what's right

This morning started off like every other morning for the past nine days here at PTBC central. Once the children were up, I got them dressed in their underwear and pointed out where their potty chairs were neatly lined up against the wall before handing them their sippy cups full of Vitamin D fortified orange juice.

I then stepped in to the girls' room - which is located immediately next to our family room, where the children were playing - to make their bed. I could hear the children happily playing with their toy birthday cake and Weeble-Wobble Tree House.

And then, there was a moment of silence.

Around here, when the children are awake ... silence is never golden.

I quickly threw the pillows on the bed and was making my way back in to the family room when I heard someone exclaim "Wow!! Dat's a HUGE poo-poo!!"

Hoping against all hope that the poo-poo would be in the potty chair receptacle, I was only slightly dismayed that what was indeed a HUGE poo-poo, was all over the floor.

And inside the Weeble-Wobble Tree House.

And one of my helpful children, had grabbed a piece of cake from the all fabric birthday cake, and tried to "wipe" it up.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. These kids aren't ready yet. Or if they are, I'm not ready.

I'm not ready to keep cleaning up piles and puddles while they stand smiling before me with dirty hands ... not showing the slightest bit of interest in getting that pile or puddle in the pot.

I am ready, however, to put them in some kind of Pull-Up diaper that they can't just whip off like they do with their regular Pampers. Because in the past month, they have taken a keen interest in pulling the tabs on their diapers to complete a visual inspection of whatever contents are inside.

Since they are able to access their diapers so easily, I'm also ready to dress them in clothing that they, themselves, cannot remove without mechanical equipment and a full grasp of the English language.

Which would be necessary if they wanted to understand how to operate a hacksaw.

After a whole week of intensive potty training (minus wearing diapers when we go out to the park or store), I am now ready to throw in the towel. So less than 10 days in to PTBC ... as of 0800 hours, this morning ... I am now a PTBC-DO.

That would be "Potty Training Boot Camp Drop Out."

We'll revisit potty training again in a month or two. Until then, the all white potty chairs and character underwear are going to be temporarily retired.

Let's see. What else is new?

This morning I received a comment from someone, in regards to a blog posting I made back in February wherein I confessed that sometimes, I crack like an egg. The anonymous commenter wrote "Shame on you for not having the same control that you require of your children."

Indeed. Shame on me.

In this world of parenting, there are a lot of things that I could be ashamed of.

Shame on me for going through in-vitro fertilization and transferring six embryos.

Shame on me for not having "selective reduction" and hence a healthier, longer pregnancy when I found out I was expecting triplets.

Shame on me for not bringing in help when our triplets were babies and I thought I could do it all myself.

Shame on me for not getting a babysitter and going out on a date with my husband.

Shame on me for not allowing relatives to take our children away on an overnight visit.

Shame on me for going back to work.

Shame on me for not buying a bigger house where our children would have more space to run around.

Shame on me for giving our kids hot dogs for dinner last night and strawberries that weren't organic.

Shame on me for allowing our children to watch television while I cook dinner or need TEN MINUTES to get ready for an outing.

Shame on me for not using birth control, after never believing I could get pregnant without intervention, and having a baby that was completely unplanned.

Shame on me for putting Henry down in his crib today, after he'd been awake for three hours and kept falling a kept falling asleep while nursing, and listening to him cry for a solid 10 minutes.

Shame on me for picking him up and letting him fall asleep in my arms.

Shame on me for planning that very soon, I am going to "sleep train" Henry and that will probably involve listening to him SCREAM until he learns to self-soothe.

Shame on me for doing that same exact thing to our triplets.

Shame on me for giving up too easily on potty training.

Shame on me for getting SO frustrated with our toddlers, that I've wanted to wrap my hands around their necks and squeeze ... just for a second or two. Or ten. But no more than sixty.

Shame on me that once in a blue moon, I spank my children.

Shame on me that I don't spank them more often.

Shame on me that as a breastfeeding mother, I drink a beer every night. Or a glass of wine. Even though I've seen conflicting articles on whether or not it is harmful to the baby.

Shame on me that at some point, at least once a week, I feel my patience start to wane and I raise my voice.

Shame on me that instead of doing a load of laundry and cleaning up the toy room, I'm sitting here, updating my blog.

Shame on me that not all mornings, I get up before the children and am prepared for the day ahead. Instead, I lay in bed until the last possible minute.

Shame on me that I have stopped going to church because every time I go - our children get sick.

Shame on me that despite my imperfections, over population, global warming, the cost of college tuition, a small house and a van that is filled to capacity with car seats, I might have another baby.

Shame on me that I admit I am not perfect on my blog.

Being a good parent is the hardest job on the planet. I look at our children - once tiny, extremely vulnerable and helpless premature infants that are quickly growing in to their own. And I know that I am the first and the most important teacher that they will ever have.

That's a lot of pressure.

Although I may share in the glory of their successes (like when they were sleeping through the night as infants) ... I also look at their failures and wonder, "What could or should I have done differently?"

I'll be the first to admit that when I am refreshed and feeling good, I am much more capable of handling a child that bites their sibling, steals a toy, throws a plate of spaghetti off the table, or poops on a toy ... then when I am tired and depleted.

Even Jo Frost, the Super Nanny, I would be willing to wager has her moments of weakness. I'll bet that if they had a hidden camera set up that was taping twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, threehundredandsixtyfivedaysayear with a house full of children, you might hear her raise her voice. Maybe once. Maybe twice.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if she also doled out a smack on the bum for a child that was dead set on destroying things. Or, running away while in a park.

For the large part, our children are very well behaved and obedient.

AND - this is the most important thing - they are happy and well loved.

But they have their moments - just like me.

Although some people might be shamed in to believing that "losing your cool" is completely unacceptable ... I know that it is par for the course as a human being. And it happens a lot more when that human being becomes a parent.

Never once have I not tried to learn from my mistakes.

But I will also not beat myself up over them.

And I won't let someone else try to do it, either.

I am doing the absolute best job I can and some days, I do a whole lot better than others.

By and large, I am extremely proud of how well we are raising our children while keeping our marriage and sanity intact. I am also extremely proud that although I really would have liked to, I didn't start drinking at 8 AM, this morning.

With a Weeble-Wobble Tree House full of poop, I think there are very few people who would refuse a bottle that is smiling at them.


  1. BRAVO!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

  2. Well, I think it's a good decision to take a potty training hiatus. Not that you asked....

    As for the anonymous comment on your February post: why, why, WHY does he/she (who by the way is disparaging many of us with the comment)make the decision to remain anonymous? If you truly believe in what you are saying, even if it doesn't agree with everyone else, don't be afraid to identify yourself in some way.

    Parenting is a wonderful but difficult job and I have yet to figure out why some people get their kicks making others feel bad about themselves. Wouldn't things be nice if we could find ways to encourage each other even if we don't agree.
    A novel concept to some.....

  3. Someone left you a nasty comment from a post from months ago????????? Seriously??? @@ Gawd.

    Shame on THEM for slinging mud and not living in your world at all!

    Kudos to you for showing that youa re only human (and a smart one at that on your decision to put a stop on potty-learning for now).

  4. moellerks@yahoo.com9/17/07, 6:14 PM

    You're doing great and your blog is most enjoyable to read. Keep on keeping on!

    KarenM in NC

  5. Good for you for taking a break on the PTBC. My 2 year old has shown a great interest in the potty but, as selfish as it may be, I am not ready yet and I am not too sure that he is.

    He is constantly taking his diaper off (especially at bed time when there was a magnificent treasure to be found). I have resorted to dressing him in rompers made of crisp cotton (not stretchy fabric, too easy to get off) and overalls all summer and it has worked. At bedtime I have to keep him in the zipper sleeper jams so that I can put a safety pin around the zipper. The pin blocks the zipper and therefore he cannot get his jams off. I cannot imagine 3 of him doing this...good luck!

    By the way, the people who choose to judge your mothering techniques don't deserve to be acknowledged. They probably have their own issues and it makes them feel better at finding fault with others...Being a Mom is far more difficult than I ever imagined and I was a toddle teacher for 5 years!

  6. Grr. This post made the Mama Bear in me rise up and want to do battle on your behalf.

    You are my hero. I TOTALLY love you (in a totally not-creepy, not-stalker'ish bloggy-love sort of way).

    I can only wish i had had the patience you have to persevere after what you went through to bring these beautiful children into the world.

    Keep it up, Jen. There are many of us out there who see what you do and marvel at your strength.

  7. The reason I love your blog so much is your complete honesty and humor. Keep it coming, even if some people don't appreciate it (they probably aren't even a parent of ONE, much less FOUR)

  8. Bless you for being honest

    I read your blog to help me keep sane with 2 active active boys that are 20 months apart.

    You are amazing

    Potty training hiatus is ok.......really

  9. Jen...You doing a great job. Just don't put them on the top of your car some day. They are beautiful and so are you. Keep up the good work, potty can wait.

  10. One of the reasons I read blogs is because I am constantly fascinated at how bloggers TRUTHFULLY share their lives and their not-so-perfectness. Shame on me for not ALWAYS getting my youngest daughter in the bed on time every night. Shame on me for feeding my kids peanut butter and jelly when I don't feel like cooking,shame on me for forgetting to give the girls their lunch money, shame on me for sometimes enjoying time away from my kids, shame on me for stomping through the house buck naked in a fit of anger one morning when my body wash turned up missing.....etc. I constantly wonder how in the world you manage to have even the slightest bit of sanity with THREE two year olds. I could barely keep up with one. The potty training, don't sweat it. I have a nephew who just turned three and is not potty trained. My oldest daughter threatened to kill me when I told her she had to wear big girl underwear. Then she pitched a fit like I have never seen. You are doing a great job!!!!

  11. I loved this post. And I feel like losing a little control on your anonymous commenter. It seems as if he or she should sign his or her name, so we can all go learn at his or her feet, since he or she has clearly learned the secret to Absolutely Perfect Parenting.

  12. Man.....I just don't understand some people....I wonder what that person was thinking? Just yesterday I saw on the news a man that was being charged in the death of his daughter b/c she was shaken to death....and though most of me is just sick at the thought, there is a part of me that feels so bad for the dad, because I know how hard it can be if you are exhuasted, have had no sleep, and the child just won't ______ (you fill in the blank, for me it was eat- my son had major feeding problems and for months know one could tell me why- there were times I felt so defeated and so terrible, or angry, that I had to put him in his crib and walk away....) And frankly, I think I am a good mom, not perfect....Anyways, I think you are AMAZING!!! JUST LIKE YOUR TRIPS!!! KEEP up the GREAT WORK!!!!

  13. I confess I didn' couldn't read that post. If I could do what you are doing for fifteen minutes I would EXPECT millions of dollars. You are my hero of parenting. I saw some of those 6mths to potty train comments, a. hecka. no. Pampers are the bombdiggity! Something I learned when my baby was two weeks late. Things truly happen in time and sometimes there is NOTHING you can do about it.

  14. I have seen you and Charlie, first hand, with these children and I for one have to say that you are right! These kids are LOVED!
    Shame on parents who do not show their kids love!

  15. I bet that person will not say "Shame" on you again. I have heard you defend yourself before. (Ha Ha)
    Good take a break from the POT. The children are telling you something---that you are not in control of their bodily functions. They are---so listen!
    No shame in that.

  16. I can join the motherhood wall of shame, and so probably can EVERY other mother.

    You are doing a great job and your kids are darling!

  17. I needed this tonight girl! I had been sitting here beating myself up because I too had lost my patience more than once over the last few days at Kyle and yelled at Gator tonight. We are all human, but when you upset your child, or they you, you lose yourself for a moment. Thanks for realing me back into reality and letting me know that we all try our best even though we fall short sometimes. Thanks for letting me know that in a time where I am feeling insane, that I am really sane. Love ya! B

  18. Here's the key phrase: "Shame on me that I admit I am not perfect on my blog." You admitted. Most people keep mum or deny their own faults. The person who wrote the comment is completely justified in doing so... if s/he is Jesus himself. Otherwise, s/he is throwing stones in glass houses. There is no human who is perfect--especially not the human who claims or behaves as if s/he is. The human journey is about trying to better ourselves by learning from our mistakes. And we will make them.

    The person who left that comment clearly felt the need to speak up. (I'll let THAT go "uncommented" on.) Um, pardon me, Person, but can you take it as well as dish it up? Put kindly, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it. Or perhaps say it nicely? Your comment could have been better put as "And have you learned from those mistakes?" Now isn't that more helpful? Hello? Are you paying attention, Person? That's your kindergarten lesson for today. Shame on you for lacking tact. Ten minutes in Time Out.

    And gold star for me for not calling names.

    -Deb,a human who just "cracked" in a blog comment. Shame on me.

  19. You are my hero - thanks for being so honest, and frankly, it sounds to me like you're doing very well. You probably don't get the chance to test this theory much, but my twins are SO much better behaved when apart than together now that they're two. Multiples feed off of each other, and I can't imagine how hard that must be sometimes with three. It's not your fault. Sometimes my boys make me LIVID for a bit, and afterwards, I feel like I had the tantrum. I hope you get the chance to enjoy that wine anytime after 12:01 (a "decent hour", according to my family of origin.

  20. Why is it, that as mothers or even as humans, we feel the need to make others feel badly for what they have or havent done? This is always beyond me. Everyone loses patience. Everyone. I think its horrible that a nameless person felt the need to make you feel badly for no other reason than to get personal satisfaction from it. That is shamefull.

    You are doing a great job. A wonderful job. And if I delete this and re-write it again my husband will kill me, so I am hitting submit.

    Oh and good for you for knowing your limits and the kids limits. Ok submiting.

  21. Jen,

    I find the humor and honesty in ALL of your posts to be inspiring. Mostly, because I am reminded that I am not alone by having very similar feelings and experiences with my own toddlers. You are an awesome mother and do a hands down fantastic job:) I am still giggling about the "squeezing their necks for no longer than 60 seconds" have to find the humor somewhere right? Blessings to you and yours!

  22. Clothing the kids can't remove so they have to leave diaper/pull-up and contents intact? Oh honey, that doesn't exist. Not without putting clothes and pjs on backwards (but with your crew, they'd just strip each other) or duct tape.

    Think I jest? I've seen it. From several different parents. Desperate times.....

  23. Sounds like a great time to ease off of the potty training. If they are not ready, then they are not ready. It's not something that can be forced. We're in the same predicament and they LOVE the pull-ups. We started bribing with one tootsie roll for pee pee and two for poo poo. It seems to help Cade but not Jace (Cade is my sweet eater).

    As far as your commentor...they need to get a life. You're doing a great job. I don't see how you do it.

  24. Amen! I agree with everything you said and shame on the poster who left you that comment! You spelt out motherhood so perfectly. I can really relate to you.

    Thank you!

  25. Rotfl...TY!!! Atleast you are not just providing Henry straight beer in a bottle, geeez! One of my Mom's friends did this on a daily basis!? Breastfeeding is a whole 'nother ballpark. Yay! For the crate and newspaper training. Why didn't I ever think that one up!!!

    My youngest trip, who's 8, still goes in his pants. Yuk! He knows everything there is to know. He just prefers it that way. Keep your chin up! As long as they don't get married still wearing diapers...all is good!!!


    You're doing great!!!!!


  26. Shame, guilt AND public confession?! Jenna- you really are a Catholic ;)

    I remember that Feb post- is that the one where you made the eggs three times? I actually think it was that post that made me feel like we could be friends, because you had imperfect times too. I had read the "How we cope" post and felt woefully inadequate compared with you. The Feb post made it so clear, that just like the rest of us, you have bad days.
    I love your honesty- takes real guts to show yourself warts and all to us internets. Keep writing.

    And I am so relieved about you ditching the PT for a while. Give yourself a break! Get some sleep (and that goes for you too Mr Henry)

    Rebecca D

  27. See? You already have lots of comments. I think that you're doing a great job with those precious children. I have bad days and I only have ONE! I don't know how you get by day by day with 4 kids to worry about and care for. You are a fantastic mother. Also, the PT can take a break. You know what's best for your kids. If they aren't ready yet, then they aren't ready. No harm done.

  28. Shame on that person for commenting anonymously.

    I have only one baby, and I love reading your blog. Your writing is interesting and honest.

    P.S. Sometimes I lose my cool too. I think it is a natural part of being a parent.

  29. One of the reasons I love your blog is because you are honest. I only have one boy your triplet's age. I read and nod my head going YEP - same things going on here. Just not times 3! I loved your truly honest post. It was very inspiring. Anyway, you did 10 days of potty training. I lasted one day about two weeks ago. I also decided that I didn't want to walk around cleaning up messes all day. I decided to try again in a month too. Thanks for all the encouragement your blog provides!

  30. Anonymous needs to live ONE Day in your shoes ... she'd change her tune. Rotten person.

    Good idea giving PTBC a break - try again later and invest in some clothespins for you nose for a few more weeks :(

    I LOVE reading your blog - I have a hyper 5yo boy, rotten 3yo girl and am due with my 3rd in February. You keep me sane ... and make me laugh when I'm wanting to cry myself to sleep.

    KEEP IT UP!!! You're an excellent mother!

  31. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people are able to jump in and criticize or condemn. Yikes. Shame on you for having four sweet, precocious and secure children? hmmmm. Shame on you for being human?

    I say, keep up the good work. you are amazing.

  32. Jen~

    I have always thought you are giving your children an incredible gift by blogging the way you do. That they have a written history of significant parts of their childhood is wonderful,and stands as a testament to the deepth of your love for them.

    They will learn so much not just from reading your writings, but that of others who have left comments. In this instance I think they will learn that no matter hom wonderful, devoted, and special their mom is, there will always be someone who thinks it's not good enough.

    Jen, your desire and ability to be honest and open about your "humaness", makes us all a little more comfortable in our skin.

    With love and respect~
    PGRAD (Karen)

  33. The fact that the poster was anonymous should tell you everything you want to know about this cowardly, passes judgment on others and probably doesn't even have children person.

    I don't know how you keep your cool most of the time. I have two kids and have been known to raise my voice from time to time. It is hard not to. Good for you for sticking up for yourself!

    On the PTBCDO note: It took me 9 months to potty train my daughter. I stopped for a while when she lost interest and went all over the living room (I had her naked from the waist down with the potty in the living room for a couple of hours each day). We used a pull-up, instead of underwear for the longest time. One day, she just decided she didn't want to wear the pull-up any longer and hasn't looked back since. Some kids will just do it when they are ready.

  34. Anonymous needs to get a life. I think that people who don't have multiples don't understand exactly what you go through. (I have 4-year-old identical girls.) So do what works for you! That one took me a long time to learn. =) I'm amazed by what you do.... and, to maybe provide you some perspective, it took us almost a year to potty-train!

  35. WELL SAID! ! Kudos to you!

  36. I have been reading your blog, found it through a friend's. I just have to say whoever wrote that comment is crazy!! I have four kids...all different ages...two are step kids who get go home at the end of the day, and two are ours. My 2.5 year old is my best friend, he is there to talk to during the day when the others are at school and he just keeps me sane. At the same time, he makes me insane!! He pulls the same potty training tricks as yours do and he whines like no other! Last night, I really had a headache after listening to him all day!

    I'm just saying that while my kids are everything to me, that doesn't mean I don't yell and scream at them...oh believe me, I do!! I even spank my two year old when he needs it. My parents spanked me when I needed it and the older I get, the more I wonder why they didn't spank me more.

    My point is, when you live with someone, day in and day out, they're going to get on your nerves, no matter who they are. No I don't scream at the person sacking my groceries, but then again, I don't have to listen to him all day either. There are numerous times when I have wanted to slap my Husband for being a complete idiot but have stopped myself, not because of self control, but because if he decided to hit me back...he's much stronger!!

    Once again, that person is crazy for writing that comment.

  37. Shame on you for only one thing - NOT TELLING THAT PERSON TO MIND HER OWN BUSINESS. I don't know you but I read your blog EVERY day like a favorite soap opera. I too have 4 children although ours range from 16 to 6 so although my hands are extremely full I am not trying to potty train 3 at a time. Although you will be happy to know that all 4 started preschool because they were potty trained by the time they were 4 - you'll be fine - they'll get it when they're ready - until then IT'S OKAY TO DROP OUT!!!!! I can tell just from reading your blog that I would love you. Keep up the good work. By the way, I lose it too - often. But it's okay!!

  38. Yup, Shame on you. Shame on you for having 4 children under 3 all in diapers. Shame on you for trying to let them be kids and understanding their and your limitations. Shame on you for getting up every day and loving, caring for and playing with your beautiful children. Shame on you for not being perfect, but for writing a perfect response.

    Or shame on anonymous for being such a Stoo-pid asshat. :)

    FYI- I taught at a preschool for two years. Your kids are right on for their age. Try pull-ups for a while and give them a few months and I bet they'll potty train themselves. They'll let you know when they're ready.

  39. AMEN!!!!!!! You rock girl!

  40. i'm sorry the anonymous poster said something that is so totally off the mark when it comes to you. i've never met you in person, but i've "known" you since the early resolve days way before your pregnancy with the trips.. and i know that you're an awesome parent (so is charlie) and that you're like the rest of us... a real person. you're not preaching with your blog.. you're sharing very personal details of your life and of your children's life.. probably something that helps keep family (and friends you don't even know you have) up to date on your family's progress and because it's cathartic to sit and write it all out.

    my 2 cents.. the kids won't go to the prom in pull ups. my mom has had a daycare for 20 years and potty training is one of those touchy subjects.. you get almost as much advice about what the "correct" way to potty train a child is as you get scolded if you don't breastfeed.. even if the reason you didn't breastfeed was because you had no mammary function and made no milk (that was my story).

    breathe in and out.. you're awesome.. and have a beer for me. i'm on meds for post-partum depression still and so i'm limited to my diet coke obsession.. :)

    btw.. we brought ben to his first red sox game last monday night.. we lasted 5 innings, which i thought was awesome for an almost 9 month old!

    -jen (fourjmh)

  41. Jen- you are doing a great job. I think you should totally back off on the potty training too. Shame on me for taking my kids nap away because I was sick of getting them down! I made a mistake!!! It's all good now!

    Shame on that stupid poster for trying to make you look like less than the super MOM that you are. We all get mad and frustrated at our kids. Wait until they are really three years old and you'll know what true madness is, I promise!!!! Keep the smiley wine available and plentiful!

    Hugs to you, Jen. You are doing a great job!

  42. Way to go, Jen!!!! You are a wonderful mother so don't you let anyone get you down! You are doing a great job. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for taking the time to post daily updates on the potty training. :)

  43. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! This post was very encouraging to me. You are so honest and that is refreshing. It is nice to know we are not alone. God bless you!!