(written late Friday night -- 1-19-07)
After a delicious and overfilling meal at Macaroni Grill tonight -- thanks to our kind friends, David and Desiree (LOVED the meal you guys! Thanks!) -- we came home.
Now, there's nothing unusual about coming home after you're done being gone, I'll admit that right now. But when a sudden ailment, disease, plague and tempest strikes both of your children as soon as you cross the homey and familiar threshold into your warm house, you may naturally assume that crossing the barrier of the outside world into your comfortable four walls, can at times cause unusual and unplanned tragedies -- not that any tragedies are ever planned but you know what I mean.
Unfortunately, that was our fate tonight.
Everything was normal until we walked through that door. The entire evening out, the trip home and even the entertaining walk from the van to the house with my two-year old was normal and safe. ("Are the guys gonna put more snow on the yard again, Mom?" Who the guys are, I have no idea but I think Landon has figured out in his own little head where snow comes from and that 'the guys' send it and put it on our yard.)
As soon as I pulled the wet shoes off my son, he walked to the couch and snuggled under a blanket. I knew something wasn't right with him then. Normally a two-year old with the energy and creativity of my little boy, will not be found under a blanket smothering away all of his energetic potential and plans the last few minutes before bedtime. But this little guy was obviously ailing silently as he cuddled himself under the blanket.
He didn't seem in too much discomfort and considering the fact that he voiced his preference to just be left alone, I took it as a good opportunity to wrap up a few things before bed.
I got Janae's milk ready and was making my way to finish up another thing before attending to the rest of her bedtime needs when I noticed her peculiar behaviour.
She had bee-lined it to the kitchen, got her cup of milk and was heading down the hall, glancing over her shoulder to make sure I was coming with as she made her way to her room.
Snatching the rare opportunity to put a child to bed that actually wanted to go there more than I wanted them to, I quickly changed my previous plans and assisted her in her bedtime routine. Toby came in shortly to tuck her in and shut her light off.
Mistakenly, I mentally crossed "Janae" off my list of things to do today before heading to the next project. I just assumed she was done for the day but little did I know of the rest of her plans.
Then it was Landon's bedtime. He obediently and happily went to bed, seeming almost relieved to end his day. Toby tucked him in and thinking I had already changed Landon's diaper, he didn't attend to those needs. That worked fine though because I hadn't kissed Landon goodnight yet anyway.
Now, a little background history here...
Today was Landon's first Potty On The Train Studies. POTTS is a course in potty training that most (and hopefully all) toddlers his age go through.
Why we call it "potty on the train" is simply because somehow our friendly little potty chair has been affectionately dubbed, "potty train" so we seem to refer to the thing as such. I understand the literal translation of those words can seem rather disturbing so thus the clarification.
As for Landon's achievements, I am so happy to say that he passed his classes very well and seems to be doing superb for only one day of training. I'm hoping that the rest of homeschooling goes this way, everyday, forever until he's 18.
Not ironically, the reward upon graduation from POTTS is a new engine to his Thomas Train and Landon has made it very clear that he is definitely planning on the Toby Engine. Understandably, we are thrilled with his choice of engines and are looking forward to presenting him with his reward upon his achievement of forever relieving his dear father of all diaper duties on Landon.
History aside, reality hit when I realized that this aspiring son of mine was making obvious signs that the legendary "number 2" was wishing to present itself. Not only that but when I proceeded to change the diaper that had been worn all evening, I found it to be mostly dry and showed good signs that the wearer was indeed learning the concept of "holding" until facilities are available.
So, I made those facilities available.
Had I been in that predicament, I would've gladly taken the kind mother up on her offer to continue my POTTS education but that wasn't so with Landon. Assuming he needed his bladder made flatter, I quickly sent the child to his classroom for one final lecture on his POTTS education. But, wails and cries were heard instead of the normal grunts and pushes while the little man fought to avoid his final lesson on the little potty train.
At long last, I realized either he didn't have to go at all OR if he did, he was too shook up to go in the potty train now. With the admonishment from my husband to just let him go to bed, I finally gave in.
As soon as Landon was diapered and tucked back in bed, that other child of mine was practicing her inflections on the name/sound, "Mom." Every tone and combination of sound you could conjure from "mom" was hailing out her door and down the hall.
She wasn't giving up nor was she getting discouraged or despondent. Her pleas for "mom" were not being met by anything but empty air and she continued on in a happy attitude. I went in before that attitude changed to see what I could do to help her. I didn't want to encourage despondent behaviour by showing up after she grew frustrated with the lack of response she was getting as she practiced saying "mom."
I went to her side and tucked her blanket around her and put it by her chin just the way she likes it. She seemed pleased and content. I kissed her again and told her to go na-night and then headed out the door. But, before I walked away from her bed, I grabbed her empty milk cup and snuck it out with me. I knew is she saw me do that, she'd assume she was getting more milk. Tonight, she wasn't getting more than what she already had and I didn't want to make it any harder for her to give that up. Thankfully, she didn't see me.
By this time, Landon was becoming more uncomfortable with the nature wanting to take it's course in his diaper. I comforted him and patted him but he preferred to just be left alone.
I went back out and headed to the last of my tasks needing to be done while it was still called today.
Janae started crying then.
This time, her father attended to her and told her to go to sleep. She calmed down for the moments he was in her room but then let out the pent up wail as soon as her door was emptied of her guest.
Landon continued his sporadic wails and I simply ignored or comforted, depending on the needs at hand.
Janae's wailing turned into hiccup-styled sobs and seemed to only increase for the next several minutes. Toby checked her again and calmed her down but the fact that he continued to shut the door and leave made all her symptoms of heart broken syndrome to only keep flaring up.
After a period of time, I went in and gave her a hug and tucked her back under the fluffy blankets. I got one of her babies to snuggle with and she immediately calmed down and seemed pleased with the company of another little one in her bed. Thinking I had done the trick, I left the room over confident. As soon as the door shut, her wails resumed.
By now, Landon was obviously needing some relief and I tried talking him into trying the potty train again. But, the fact that neither my husband nor my first born son seemed very cooperative with my idea of late-night potty training, I didn't push my agenda too much.
As I left Landon's room, I noticed Janae's sobs had only increased. This time I decided to be serious about motherhood and take my responsibility to all ends. The word "comfort" struck my desperate brain and I suddenly decided that I indeed needed to comfort this child of mine. After all, isn't "comfort" a main characteristic of all good mothers?
I went in and rocked and sang quietly to her in the darkened room. Her sobs had been so deep apparently that her hiccup-styled breaths had evaded her normal paced breathing. After struggling against my arms for the first few minutes, she finally snuggled in and nestled her head into my chest. Her breaths evened out and she started relaxing enough to let her eyes close.
Here again I misunderstood these signs to actually be signs of sleep. Instead, they were deceiving and false because as soon as I laid that little girl down in her cozy bed and tucked her baby next to her as I pulled her blankets up around her face, she frantically pulled her arms out and made a very desperate sign in sign language: "more."
She needed more milk.
Needing and wanting more milk are two different things though. She thought she needed it; I knew she merely wanted it.
As I told her the milk was "all done" and signed that information to her in universal sign language fashion, she made one more desperate attempt to make herself clear to me: she reached for that empty milk cup. But, it wasn't there.
I think the whole scenario was very confusing to her and sent her even further on her emotional wreck. I comforted her again and stole aways from her, wishing I could help her give up the milk she wanted so bad. Unfortunately, that was her choice to make and not mine.
I didn't have long to feel sorry for her because that brother of hers was definitely needing someone to take him to his little potty train. Being the wise and observant mother that I am, I took the responsibility on myself and carried the wailing child all the way out to his little plastic throne.
Seeing this situation as a vital opportunity to teach my first born son that all diaper duties should actually take place in a potty chair or toilet and NOT a diaper, I set the ultimate goal for him. I explained that if he did a "diaper shape" (his word for #2) in the potty train and not his diaper, tomorrow he would get the Toby Train Engine.
Apparently, we had a deal.
Here, I will spare the reader the remainder of the events that took place. I'll just say that the coaxing on the pot for my boy and the comfort in the bed of my girl, were events that continued close to midnight.
But, miracles do still happen and this tired mother witnessed the happening of TWO miraculous events in one evening. I haven't been so relieved at that end of a day in a long time... my little girl was contentedly sleeping in her warm bed and that little boy of mine had succeeded in all his attempts on his potty chair.
Yeah, I suppose I am rather jubilant in their successes that I made sure happened but seeing the look of peace and rest on Janae's face and listening to Landon marvel over the fact that he actually did a "diaper shape" on the potty chair, meant more to me than the fact that at last I could go to bed myself and call it a day.
It was an obvious revelation to contemplate the fact that they both had to choose to do the task before them and accomplish it on their own. I could coach and coax but in the end, it was their choice. Now they are both reaping the joy of a job well done.
Deep in my heart, I kept thinking to myself all along that I knew they could do it. That thought alone compelled me to not give in to Janae's wishes to not go to sleep and it definitely helped me keep my focus when Landon was tragically fighting what obviously needed to take place. I knew Janae could go to sleep and I knew Landon could do the job in his potty chair. But, like the rest of us children of God, kids just don't get it when you tell them: you can do it. They have to try everything else before resorting to the plan that will get them to the end of their task.
You may think the kids were the ones that learned a lesson. I think we all hope that is the case, considering the sooner a lesson is learned, the easier life becomes in those situations.
But, even more than the kids, what a lesson tonight was for me: watch out for the front door.