Friday, January 25, 2008

the princess bike and the superhero

Back in November, we promised the children that when they said "bye-bye" to diapers and were going pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty, Santa would bring them all brand new bicycles. Elizabeth heard the word "bicycle", whipped off her diaper and hasn't looked back since.

Up until Christmas, every time she would go to the potty, she would jump up, throw her arms victoriously in to the air and shout "PWINCESS BIKE!!" Because Elizabeth, as it turns out, has an infatuation with bicycles. And princesses.

While we were at Costco the week before Christmas, what to our wondering eyes did appear, but a hot pink bicycle with training wheels that was covered in princesses. It was a bona fide princess bike. I'd never seen one before. I didn't even know something like this existed. But Elizabeth obviously did and as soon as she saw it, she yelled "DAT MY PWINCESS BIKE!!"

Of course we didn't buy the bicycle as soon as we saw it, because that would have been much too organized and prepared. Instead, we discussed that either Charlie or I would swing by Costco one night when we didn't have all the children in tow and get the bike squared away for Santa to pick up on Christmas Eve. Of course that didn't happen either. Because we are much too tired to go shopping at night once the kids go to bed.

Two days before Christmas we went back to Costco and all the princess bikes were gone. We drove all over San Diego County looking for another princess bike. We couldn't find a single one. Not a sparkling white tire. Not a tasseled handlebar. Not a pink basket. Not a shiny bell.

Just as we were about to throw in the towel and print up an IOU for our three-year-old daughter's stocking, we found a princess bike at a store 40-miles from our house. It was the floor model. It was a little scuffed. It's tires weren't sparkling white. But it was pink and it was slathered in princesses - so as far as our child would be concerned - it was perfect. We made the purchase and stealthily slipped the bicycle in to the back of our van, where we hid it under several Mexican blankets.

Elizabeth was to be the recipient of a bicycle because she was the only one who has mastered the potty, between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM. William and Carolyn had been informed that it was highly likely their sister - and only their sister - would be receiving a bike on Christmas morning because of her potty training prowess and they, up until the day before Christmas, were completely unfazed.

They didn't need a bicycle.

They didn't want a bicycle.

Even though I promised them one too ... if they would go pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty, they were perfectly content with their diapers and their tricycles.

So, Elizabeth received her princess bike for Christmas and it was highly coveted by her siblings.

You've never seen a happier child.

She sat on the bicycle for the better part December 25th with her feet just barely able to reach the pedals, every so often looking at the fireplace and shouting "Your welcome, Santa!!"

Because try as I might, she doesn't understand that when expressing gratitude, the correct phrase is "Thank you!"

Fast forward.

For the past week, Elizabeth has had a major regression in the potty training department. I think this regression can be traced directly to her brother, who last week, hijacked a bag of prunes out of our cupboard and had a number of very messy diapers, which have required several impromptu baths in the kitchen sink.

Every time William was lifted up to take a quick rinse, Elizabeth would say "But Mommy, I want a bath in the swink, too!!" And usually because we were in a rush to go somewhere, I'd tell her, "No love bug, you don't need a bath in the sink right now, because you go poo-poo on the potty."

Any person with an ounce of sense could tell you what happened next.

After changing my eighth ... or what seemed like one hundred and eighth ... pair of dirty princess underwear, I decided that I needed to up the anty. So earlier this week, I told Elizabeth that if she went poo-poo in her underwear again, Santa was going to take her princess bike back to the North Pole.

She didn't believe me. Of course Santa wouldn't come back. Santa only comes at Christmas time. Every fool knows that.

But guess what?

Santa did come back and he traded the princess bike for a new box of diapers. He also left her a message to the effect that when she goes poo-poo in the potty again, Santa will bring her bicycle back. Because bicycles with training wheels are for big girls and big girls go poo-poo in the potty.

When Elizabeth saw that the princess bike was missing, she was shocked. But when her brother, the enforcer himself, saw what had happened, he was absolutely furious.

It has taken a few days for the severity of the situation to sink in, but tonight over dinner, William - whose verbal skills have taken off in the past month - exclaimed, "Dat Santa is very, very naughty. I, I, I am going to go to da North Pole and I am going to GET Santa. I am going to get him and Rude-off. I am going to say 'HEY SANTA. YOU GIVE BACK DAT BIKE TO MY EWIZABETH. DAT NOT YOUR BIKE!!! And den, den, I am going to THROW HIM IN DA OCEAN!!'"

In case you missed it, that's what we do around here with things that are giving us trouble, we throw them right in to the ocean.

(Really. It's no wonder why the kids don't like the guy. This maneuver certainly isn't winning him any brownie points.)

Oh, what a temper my first born child has!

I wonder where on earth he gets it?

I'm starting to see that having children is a lot like holding a mirror up against yourself. Or Charlie, as the case may be. This has got to be his genes.

William is determined to make things right for his sister. With his cape and sunglasses and red-painted toenails, Santa better watch out.


  1. He is quite the enforcer!

    That is too funny, but hopefully it works well!

  2. Too funny, Jen! We have the same two Princess bikes. Those are big heavy bikes, aren't they? When we traded up to those at Christmas from the 12 inch ones, I took the kids to the park and Sarah couldn't even control hers and ended up flying over the handle bars and landed on the sidewalk.

    So be careful! Sarah is a tall girl too. I wanted to hurl that bike into the ocean. So if you need another one let me know!

    William can come here and get it when we trade off the bike for the dog!

    I'm KIDDING!

  3. Jenna-
    You should've told Elizabeth that was her bike at the park the other day... naw, just kidden! LOL! Come over to the Blog and check out my brother's video of the Trips!

  4. This post is Priceless! Watch out Santa! I hope the potty situation gets better soon!


  5. oooooo....I LIKE the confiscating santa idea...;)

  6. I love it!

    My little guy (4.5) has to have his toenails painted, too... about a year ago I went and bought him some "boy colors" (yellow, green, and blue). Glad it isn't just at my house!

  7. Dude!!! That's all I'm saying.

  8. Lol cute. I love taht princess bike too!


  9. Remember this moment when Elizabeth and William can't stand each other!

    I read an article in the paper last weekend that said the best way for kids to get potty trained is for parents to stop asking/pleading/cajoling them and tell them.
    Example being the technique one set of parents were told to do. 1) 3 year old boy, just underwear in the bathroom. 2) parents shut the door all but a crack, telling him the doctor said he needs to go in the potty and can't come out to play until he does 3) ten minutes, mission accomplished next day it only took five, etc

    Idea was you "blame" the doctor for the absolute smackdown in the rules, limit distractions (while still being able to keep an ear out for safety!), and act like you're taking it for granted that thing1 or thing2 will be doing as you expect.

    Interesting theory, and of course I thought immediately of you and your two holdouts. There was more to it of course - but maybe it has some truth? You take the control back rather than giving the them the control over you.

    Whatever happens, today was one for the memory books, eh?

    Of course, 3 of those bikes would be much heavier and harder to drag home of the last 1/3 of your walks!

  10. This is too funny. As I looked at the picture of your boy in his cape, I noticed his red toe nails long before I read it in your post. I about died laughing. He's going to hate this picture someday.

  11. As always, it is such a delight to read about your amazing trips.

    Great pictures!!!