Tuesday, March 30, 2010

IKEA Potty-Trained Our Boy

The first attempt at potty training did not go well because Scott got deathly ill at the end of the first day. This despite the best of preparations -- R had amassed all kinds of instructional information, gallons of juice, some Lightning McQueen underpants and a Little Tikes potty. She had stickers and a container of jelly beans to use as prizes, plus a few Thomas Trains held in reserve for big milestones. She cleared her schedule and braced herself for several days of soaking him in juice and sitting him on the potty at regular intervals until he HAD to succeed.

Then he got something feverish ailment akin to Swine Flu and nearly coughed out a lung, so he was not in the mood to participate.

The whole thing was a fairly negative experience for him (and us) so nothing more happened on that front for several months. With a new baby sister on the way, we knew he had plenty to cope with already.

About a month ago we went to IKEA to get a few things and we told Scott about all the fun he would have playing in the balls with the other kids. When we approached the counter the attendant asked, "Does he wear diapers? Has he been potty trained? Children in diapers cannot come in the play area."

One look at his face and my heart broke for him. I led him a few steps away from the counter and crouched down to confirm what he had already suspected: diaper-wearers are second-class citizens in Sweden. Through some nearby windows he watched children with elevated bladder control running to and fro in the play area. He asked, "I can't play in the balls because I have a diaper?" It was more than I could take, so I led him away to get an ice cream cone. We discussed it a little more, and it was quite clear to him that if he could get free of his diaper habit, he would be eligible to play in the balls.

He finished his ice cream and the conversation ended there (I ate a cinnamon bun, for the record).

Suddenly, on Wednesday morning last week, I got a call from home. It was Scotty and R on the speaker phone. "Scotty has something to tell you" said R. Then Scotty came on the line with his trademark falsetto telephone voice. "Dad, I went pee in the potty and now I have big boy underwear on and I can go in the balls at the big blue store!" I was shocked. I wasn't sure what was going on or how to respond. Then R came on the line and explained what had happened.

That morning Scott had come to R and had said, "I want to wear big boy underwear and play in the balls at the big blue store." R told him that he would have to be able to use the potty and keep his underwear dry if he was going to do that. Scott immediately agreed to her terms and she immediately panicked. Her mind started racing, thinking of the implications for the day's schedule, wondering if she had all the necessary supplies -- including the requisite patience.

So it began. Fortunately, R had a carton of juice on hand and Scott was delighted to get an extra ration (we have a standing breakfast-only policy on juice in our house). They set a timer for 5 minute intervals when he had to try sitting on the potty.

And then it happened. He peed in the potty. And then he did it again.

That first one wasn't perfect, but it was enough to get him started and he never looked back. He has been pretty much 100% since that morning, which puts him at nearly a week. It's crazy. With one exception, he hasn't even wet his pull-ups at night or at nap time. It's like he wasn't ready to do it until he could do it perfectly. Early on, R had been reading a strategy for a 3-day potty training campaign. When the time came, he was potty trained in about 3 hours.

It's funny, even though several months had passed from the first attempt, he remembered all the details. He remembered the trains, the stickers, the jelly beans, the juice, the underpants, the pull-ups for night time. All of this information had been accumulating in his mind, and the IKEA incident must have been the tipping point.

So, thank you IKEA. Thank you for helping to potty train our boy.

Monday, March 29, 2010


First bike wipeout in years

1. My left elbow

2. My left hip

I was wearing my biking jacket and a spandex sleeve on my arm, and it tore a hole through the jacket. I had spandex shorts on under a pair of cotton shorts and it tore through the pocket of my shorts. It also tore a hole in the palm of my left glove but didn't really take any skin.

Edge of the handlebar got a bit roughed up but the bike came away almost unscathed. I have a steady, dull ache down my left side and a pair of bandaids on my elbow.

I was coming off of a pathway onto a road where I needed to make an immediate left turn, and there was a pretty big patch of gravel. I made this same turn without incident 3 times last week, but this time I hit it a lot faster and needed a much wider arc, which pushed me out into the gravel. It all seemed like slow motion and I remember saying, "aw, shoot" as I was skidding sideways through the gravel and reaching out to break my fall.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Not just a regular Buffalo...

Saw this today when I went curling for a work activity. I guess the name "buffalos" was already taken so they chose the next best thing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Wuv Pocsiples

Since my previous post about nuances of Scott's speech, we have noticed several more trademark words and sayings:

Pocsiple = popsicle
Hootball = football
Bakseball = basketball
Gollum = Goblin

His current method of counting:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 12, 13, 9, 12 ... (if he needs a large number, he uses 50, because that's the number of forests burned up by the dragon in The Paperbag Princess)

"Big Pants"
The other day we were driving into downtown to drop my bike off at the shop. He knows that I work "downtown at the big buildings", so I pointed them out to him. He said, "When I grow big I can work at the big buildings like you Dad... and wear big pants." At least he knows what it takes to find a job in this day and age -- big pants.

"Wipe my eyes"
Scott's gone through some emotional times lately. He often wants to be first to go somewhere (even walking down the hall) or he wants things done in a certain way, and if that doesn't work out, he breaks down into tears. Then, even if issues have resolved themselves, he can't continue until the tears are completely cleared from his eyes. He's much better now about just wiping his own eyes, but there was a period there when he would burst into tears because he wanted to be the one who would close the front door, but he wouldn't actually close the door until someone helped wipe his eyes. This problem with tears in his eyes would cause him to cry all over again. Let me tell you, it is tough to get all the tears from your eyes if having tears in your eyes makes you cry. Like I said, he's getting better about it now (he wipes his own tears quite thoroughly).

"Does that make you happy?"
When he was quite young, we would try to show a distinction between social and antisocial behaviour by pointing out when things made us sad or when things helped make us happy. That concept really caught on, and now he will occasionally do something very innocuous and inquire in his most chipper of voices, "Does that make you happy?" He usually comes striding up quite close and cocks his head nearly sideways when he asks.

"The Scotty on the bus says..."
Scotty and I were out for a walk and we started to sing the Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round song. He likes to do some of the actions and he sings along a little bit. To help him participate a bit more, I would ask him to tell what came next in each verse, and he would say, "Driver", "Baby", "Mommy", etc. So I would sing, "The Driver on the bus says... what?" and Scott would tell me what to fill there. Finally, we ran out of the standard verses and I added a new one: "The Scotty on the bus says... what?" Scott grinned and said, "Beagh!", which is pretty much his favourite exclamation to make, and therefore entirely appropriate.
The Scott on the bus says Beagh! Beagh! Beagh, all through the town.

Bad Guys Have Beards
I have to apologize to all those men with beards out there, because I have set my son against you, possibly forever. He was doing some water-painting in a Pinoccio book this week and I pointed out the Bad Guys in the book, including black-bearded puppetmaster Stromboli/Mangiafuoco. I told him that the bad guy had a beard, and then I exaggerated a bit and said something about lots of bad guys having beards. Things got a bit confused for while there while we clarified that the Green Goblin did not have a beard. Scott wondered if Spiderman (his ultimate hero) had a beard. No, he wears a mask. It was a bit unclear to him what a beard really was, even though I tried to explain that it was hair that grows on your face. He listened quite intently and asked a few questions, but I'm still not sure what he took away from the conversation. It is quite possible that he will mistrust people with masks (which is usually OK), but he may also mistrust anyone with hair on their face. My apologies to all three of my brothers, since they all have beards of one sort or another. You are all supervillains now.

What the Hulk Does
Scotty has dubbed himself "Spiderman Boy" and any sidekick is invariably called the Hulk, because (as everyone knows) the Hulk is Spiderman's friend and they are both Good Guys. The other day Scott was talking about the Hulk and he said, "The Hulk rides a green bike to work at the green buildings. Then he goes to the green doctor." You would be surprised that he has this kind of inside information about the Hulk, but you have to realize that he is Spiderman Boy and a close friend of the Hulk. and the details make even better sense if you know that I often get to play the role of the Hulk, largely because I own a green shirt. I ride a bike to work. I work downtown where there are big buildings. I am not so sure about the doctor part. I have been to the doctor before, not that frequently. Maybe that's where the Hulk and I are different -- the Hulk has to see the doctor every day after work, whereas I just do the whole apple-a-day thing.

Chasing the Turtle
Recently he told us a story that went something like this: "I was Spiderman and I was in a boat and a pirate ship and my big bakseball went in the water and got wet and then I went and chased the turtle really fast and I caught the turtle...
...And I hit it."
He has several versions of this tale with some variation in the details but the same basic formula.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Katie Blessing Day

On Sunday at church we put Katie in a cute little white dress and she was given a name and a blessing (somewhat similar to a christening). It was tons of fun to have my parents come up and visit for the occasion. Everything went wonderfully except that R's grandparents got a flat tire, but my brothers-in-law had that spare swapped on in a matter of minutes, so that was no big deal.

We just think Katie is the cutest little thing.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Nodding Off

Scott has really taken to those paint-with-water books for kids. He will sit at the table for an hour and methodically paint a stack of them if you'll keep him supplied. However, if he hasn't had a nap (like yesterday), then his creative energy may fade and leave him awfully drowsy. I was delighted that I was able to catch some of it with the camera.

Later on in the evening, I noticed a similar wobble in Katie's struggle with the sandman. She has much less control of her neck and head, but it's cute all the same.