Friday, November 30, 2012


Shortly after Eli turned three, we decided that he was ready to be potty trained. He decided otherwise. After 24 hours in underwear, he'd had exactly 12 accidents and 0 successes. Rarely one to throw tantrums, Eli kicked and screamed each time I placed him on the pot. Before long, I realized that I was on the short road to insanity and acknowledged defeat.

We dropped the subject completely for a time, then started inquiring when he finally started showing more readiness signs. Each time we asked if he wanted to try the toilet, however, he always responded with "Not now. Later. No. Later."

Apparently "later" finally arrived. Early this morning Eli came upstairs and told me, "I'm ready!" "Ready for what?" I asked. "Ready to go pee pee and poo poo in the potty."

Alrighty! I'm ready too. So far we've had three joyous successes with number one. I know that's still a long way from fully trained, but at least there's hope.


Speaking of ready, our Talia Lily has some remarkable news. After four long years of continuous finger sucking, she is finally ready to quit for good. (You may all cheer wildly now.) Last spring, we were really concerned about Talia's finger sucking as kindergarten approached. In a 24 hour period, she probably spent a good 18 hours with a finger in her mouth, sucking away furiously both day and night. She'd already been pegged as the "finger sucker" by her preschool teachers; we were anxious for her kindergarten teachers to get to know the beautiful girl behind the habit. Worst of all, the finger sucking was really damaging our mother-daughter relationship. She was constantly receiving negative feedback from me as I grew more and more frustrated by this habit that seemed to be getting worse, not better.

We tried everything. Special books. Nasty-tasting nail polish. Motivational speeches. Lectures. Reward systems. Outrageous bribery. Yet when we offered to purchase her absolutely any toy she wanted if she would quit, Talia responded, "But what I really want is to suck my finger." Finally, I pulled out the biggest weapon I could think of: an ultimatum. If she didn't quit the finger sucking, she couldn't go to kindergarten.

This may seem overly severe, and perhaps it was. Yet every situation is different, and to really comprehend our dilemma, you've got to understand that this habit was really serious. The finger sucking was connected with a second negative habit of sticking her hand down her shirt--the "Napoleon." I worried constantly that this habit would draw unhealthy attention to Talia and make her vulnerable. It made others, particularly myself, uncomfortable. We simply weren't going to be able to progress in our relationship without tackling this roadblock.

Yet as kindergarten drew closer and the habit continued, I started to get nervous. Was I really willing to homeschool over the issue? In desperation, I finally contacted our dentist. In late July, he put a "cage" in Talia's mouth that prevented her from getting a finger in far enough to suck. I was skeptical at first--after all, this was more of an obsession than a habit. Yet out of other options, we shelled out the money and prayed.
It was worth it. Talia named the device "Juliette." Admittedly ugly, this quasi-permanent device made it challenging for Talia to speak clearly and got clogged with food. Yet just as Talia learned to reform her sounds, she likewise adjusted to life beyond thumb-sucking. Her hands were now free to color, dance, draw, and create. She no longer had to endure the endless pleading, redirection, and reprimands for finger sucking. She emerged from behind the screen of her habit as the intelligent, imaginative, and insightful young child she has always been.

And yet, a tiny piece of me still worried. What would happen when "Juliette" came out? Would she revert to her old ways? Was finger sucking too firmly entrenched to ever fully be rid of the habit?

Well, the dentist removed Juliette three days ago, and so far, so good. We've held onto the device just in case the habit should resurface. But at the moment, we all feel quite optimistic. Congratulations, Talia!


Brooklyn's greatest "readiness" success is linked to piano. A couple of years ago, we enrolled Brooklyn in a few lessons before realizing that the timing was wrong. She was generally disinterested and related poorly to her teacher. Practicing was a constant struggle.

At the beginning of this year, Brooklyn started piano once again with a new teacher. Definitely ready this time, she's made remarkable progress in just a few months. Motivated and appropriately challenged, she often wakes up early and practices on her own before school. As for me, I absolutely love being able to play duets together and look forward to the day when she outpaces me. If she keeps up the hard work, that day may come relatively soon.


Jason is ready to become a licensed architect! (Okay, well, almost.) A couple of days ago he received official notification that he passed the last of seven licensing exams--a huge accomplishment. He still has quite a few IDP hours left to complete (internship development program), but he is much closer to being able to officially call himself an architect. Needless to say, we're so proud!


Kara is admittedly ready to be done with pregnancy. At thirty weeks, her belly is quite pendulous and her back hurts often. As much as she wants to keep running, it's becoming quite absurd. She sighs when well-meaning inquirers ask if the baby is due before Christmas. Yet she knows that while she may be ready, this little girl is not. And thus, the lesson in patience. I suppose they call it "waiting" for a reason.


So with the holidays quickly approaching, are you ready?


Crys said...

Wow, my family needs to really step it up! You wheelers are on a roll!

Brittney Richards said...

That's cool!! It's awesome when things finally click in the child's head and they realize that they are ready. I'm proud of Eli, Talia, and Brooklyn. I'm also proud of Jason - seriously, what an accomplishment. Even though you have to quit running for the time being, I'm proud of you too. Way to hang in there - 10 weeks to go, you can do it.
Lucky for me, my baby is due right after Christmas, so I only have to suffer through the next 4 weeks. I am ready for that though!

Our Family said...

Love your updates. You say things in such a fun and imaginative way. Wishing you the fastest 10 weeks as your sweet baby comes ....