Monday, July 21, 2008

nothing that a glass of wine can't heal

This hasn't been my most stellar week.

Returning from vacation always seems to derail me for a few days, but coming home from three weeks away and immediately hosting an important business meeting for almost an entire week is tough. It's also tough trying to juggle two work schedules and four small children. And a dog that is on her last legs and will probably need to be put to sleep in the next few days. And then dealing with contractors that have to come in and rip up portions of your floor because they installed it incorrectly, really stinks.

You know what else stinks?

Waking up at 5:00 AM to the overwhelming smell of poop. And a child, standing next to you in the dark - tap, tap, tapping you on the head and telling you that they had a big poop and they know that poop goes in the potty and they really want a new bicycle and they don't know why they keep pooping in their diaper but CHANGE IT, MOMMY.

At this point, I am ready to jump off a bridge when it comes to this whole potty training stuff.

I have tried everything.

If you write to me and say "Oh, yeah, I had a really stubborn child and I did THIS" I can almost guarantee that yes, I did that, too.

Stickers? Laxatives? Rewards? Punishments? Praise? Ignoring it and realizing that they just aren't ready?

Did it.

I even stopped putting them in diapers at night and instead, put them in cloth underwear with a cover because I thought for sure they would be upset if they were in their own poop. Right?


Now, they've started pooping in their underwear during the day. Or, rather big poop smudges because they try desperately to hold it in.

I've had them clean their dirty underwear and was only a little surprised that they didn't mind at all. After watching them splash in poopy water, I grabbed the dirty underwear and threw them right in the trash while yelling, "DORA IS ALL GONE!!!"

You know what else is gone?

My mind.

Who takes four children out to get their hair cut and then takes them clothes shopping and shoe shopping and then schedules an appointment to have their professional portraits taken ... all within five hours time?

I'll tell you who, me.

With very rare exception, for the past several years, I have always cut the children's hair. And usually, I make the colossal mistake of cutting their hair mere hours before we go to have their pictures taken. And if there is one thing I really cannot and should not do ... it's cut hair.

So yesterday morning we went to have the children's hair cut and I was thrilled that the stylists took the time to put adorable bows in the girls hair for their pictures. We then went to a mall that I'm not very familiar with and I spent two of the three hours that we were there - running back and forth between Charlie who was taking the children on rides on a small train - and the three stores I had wanted to shop.

But I was having a terribly difficult time trying to find the stores and could be heard yelling at the mall directory "Who is the idiot that designed this stupid thing?! It's completely upside down!! Macy's isn't there, it's over THERE. What the berrying berry!!!"

(Although I didn't use the word berry.)

Then, because the kids are of varying sizes and I've been having terrible luck with purchasing clothes only to discover that they are way too big or way too small, I herded them in to the changing room with me, yesterday.

Elizabeth is in a size 3/4.

William is in a 4/5.

Carolyn is in a size 6/7.

By the time I finally left the store, covered in sweat and stressed out that we'd never make it to the photoshoot in time, and overly frustrated that the girls had pulled their professionally placed ribbons out of their hair and in the process, turned their adorable bobs in to something that resembled a rat's nest, all it took was my unsuspecting husband to ask "What took so long?" and I spontaneously combusted.

Poor Charlie didn't know what hit him.

You know, we've been though a lot together.

Graduate school.

10 years of infertility.

The birth of four children in under three years.

The death of loved ones.

Driving almost 7,000-miles in less than a month.

But I don't recall ever being so angry or loudly vocal as I was yesterday while driving south on the Interstate. "You want to know what took me so long? I'll tell you what took me so long!!" And then for the next 37 minutes, my lucky husband got to hear ALL about it. He got to hear how I am totally overwhelmed with work and life and potty training and everything in between.

Once I paused to take a breath, Charlie convinced me to cancel the photoshoot because everyone seemed to be a little crabby. So, I begrudgingly rescheduled the photosession for later this week.

Now, I just hope that Henry's black eye will be gone by the time his one-year-shots are taken. Because we no sooner walked in the door yesterday, when he took his first unsteady steps, stumbled on one of the toys his siblings had thrown on the ground, and smacked his face on a truck.

You know what helps when you are feeling overwhelmed?

Wine and an early bed time for your children. Honestly. I am sipping on a glass of wine while sitting next to my husband who is watching "The Best Damn Sports Show" and I feel like the world is my oyster.

Even though I sometimes choke on the pearls.


  1. Next playdate you grace, I'll tell you what worked for both Samia and me in getting our hold-outs to finally poop in the potty instead of insisting on a diaper for that sacred act. We both reached our wits ends with diapers a couple of weeks ago and took action. Maybe you've tried it, maybe not. I'd tell you here, but it sounds like you don't want any suggestions right now. And I don't want a virtual black eye.

    Missed ya.

  2. Oh Jen, YOU are the one who is AMAZING. I don't know how you do it? But I so enjoy reading about how you do it.

    I am sorry to hear about your fur baby. He will be at peace when you help him find his way to the rainbow bridge.

    When life slows down, we really should try & get together again.


  3. Now Jen, what I am about to say (type?) is probably the last thing you are expecting to hear (read?) in your blog comments.

    Suck it up. Because I'm counting on YOU to figure out how to magically toilet train stubborn children. I'm counting on YOUR advice.

    Just joking! I can't handle my one child (and pregnant belly) today, so the fact you haven't strangled any of your four today gives me hope. Maybe I can make it through without strangling mine either.

    I want wine too.

  4. I am sorry about your dog. and I hope your meetings go well this week. hang in there!

  5. Oh my are my inspiration! I am in the midst of scheduling my triplet's one year old pictures as well as planning their party all while trying to get my 5 year old ready for 1st grade in a month and a 4 year old ready for preschool. Oh, and I have a house...a husband...and IN LAWS!!!

    Thanks for the reminder that wine makes it all good...and laughter makes it all so much better!

  6. In all honesty-I know it sucks and probably isn't what want to hear-but your kids are not going to poop on the potty until they're ready. Your best bet is to just tell yourself they won't still be doing it in Kindergarten :) and let them do it in their own time. It's nasty and a total pain, but it's much less stressful than making yourself nuts about trying to get them to poop on the potty. And then you'll look back when they've done it on their own time and probably wish you hadn't stressed as much about it as you did. Granted, I don't have 4 kids under 4, but I do have three kids, two of which resisted pooping on the potty. Good luck!

    Sorry to hear about your dog :(.

    I hate taking my kids for professional pictures! There's always one that won't cooperate. Hope you're able to get some good shots though!

  7. We're having the same potty issues. I have no suggestions, no words of advice, just can I join you in that sinking boat? I hope tomorrow is a brighter day!

  8. I have yet to figure it out, but if I do I'll let you know (and vice versa please)!! We've got the pooping part down, it's the other we can't get past. I keep telling myself that I have yet to have a first grader come to me not potty-trained (well, there was one, but we won't go into that). So SURELY my child will get potty-trained, right?? Let's just tell ourselves that and smile until we believe it!

    Hang in there, I hope the rest of the week goes better for you! Ya'll have an awful lot going on lately, I would have had a meltdown long, long ago!

  9. Hi...I stumbled on your blog while voting for Heather on the double-stroller contest. My kids are nearly grown, ages 20, 17 and 14. But my heart goes out to you about the potty thing. My 3rd child and only girl, did not poop consistently on the toilet until after age 10. I know---it's hard to believe and even harder to imagine. Just in the past 2 years, we've pretty much discontinued having to plunge after every BM. To this day I don't know why she resisted going #2 so badly. And I can't tell you how many pair of undies we threw away due to the tar-like substance that was always there. All I can say is to hang in there and I hope it gets better for you very soon. My thoughts are with you!

  10. Hang in there. You know we're all behind you.
    And if Henry's black eye is shining for his picture- all the better! You'll love it further down the road.

  11. Hi Jen. I absolutely LOVE your blog. I have been reading now for a little over a year. Anyway, I felt compelled to have my first comment be "Try Arnica for Henry's bruised eye." It works wonders on bruises and scrapes. I have two boys who are only 11 months apart. Oldest is 5 and youngest is 4. I have had my fair share of "fixing" bumps and bruises. This ointment really helps bumps go down faster and bruises dissapear quicker as well. You can find it at Henry's Market, or if there is not one nearby, they do sell it at GNC, I think.

    Hang in there!

  12. so sorry about the dog, it's a tough thing to lose a pet that you've had for years.