Friday, February 23

One Week of PT Progress....,

Day 1: No More Diapers – Hello Special Panties

Ray-Ray seems to vaguely understand the concept but doesn't really get that she should get to the potty before she starts going. At this point she's not sensing the need to pee until she's leaked a bit or dribbled or just plain peed down her legs. She does try to get to the potty but she's at least a little wet by the time the thought arrives.

We also figured out that the balloons and cupcakes were a bit over the top. We've gone back to the tiny treats (skittles and Mini M&Ms) for each (progressive) success. It's a bit less overwhelming.

An additional, unforeseen problem came up today. Alex, although excited about her sister's adventure, was acting out a bit. Being the usual epicenter of our household, she didn’t adjust to well to Rachel’s big day. So tomorrow Dave and I are adopting a divide and conquer strategy.


Day 2: Divide and Conquer & Stick to the Potty Plan

With Rachel still not 'getting it', Day 2 didn't start out too promising. At about 9:00 we embarked on the Divide and Conquer strategy and Alex and I left the house looking for our own adventures. This seemed to do the trick and just before lunch Rachel 'got it' and didn't have another accident all day.

Tomorrow we're hoping for more of the same without the need for a divide and conquer strategy. We're also planning on venturing out of the house to see if this concept is really sticking.

Wish us luck!


Day 3: Success!!

I can't believe it!! SUCCESS.

Rachel was 100% today!! No accidents - not a single dribble! No Divide and Conquer strategy necessary. We went shopping at Costco, lunched at Rubio’s and went to Block Buster to rent a movie. Rachel asked when she needed the potty and was able to wait until we made it to the restroom - which admittedly was much, much faster than usual.


Wish us luck for continued success.


Day 7....,

Progress continues and Ray-Ray is doing GREAT! We've had just 3 'accidents' since Sunday and we're giving her a "A+"

And one little note: We're pretty sure the Skittles are a big part of her success.


Friday, February 16

Potty Training..., In a weekend??

Well. Surprisingly. Yes.

We were amazingly successful with Alex (just one 3 day weekend) using this 'technique.' Which is to say that it's anybody's guess as to whether or not it'll work with Rachel.

The 'trick' is to talk it up - WAY UP - for a couple weeks in advance. Making the whole process of potty training seem like a great privilege for a little girl who's becoming a big girl. So for weeks we've been asking Rachel "Where do big girls go pee pee?" and "Where do big girls go poo?"

She gets soooo excited and screeches back, "ON THE POTTY!!"

A few days ago we let her know that this would be the big weekend. If you ask her now, "What are you doing this weekend, Rachel?" She'll shriek with unbridled big girl glee, "We're gonna to potty train me!!"

Today Daddy stayed home from work and the whole family went with Rachel to pick out her very own 'big girl potty' and special 'big girl panties.' We decorated the potty with Rachel's special stickers this afternoon ...,

(The Royal Throne)

... and tomorrow she'll get balloons for her potty. Once she’s had a bit of success she knows she’ll be able to call "Elmo" (Nadine in drag) to tell him all about her triumph and her cupcake treats.

So..., wish us luck. The 'training' part begins tomorrow. Once she wakes up - no more diapers.


Tuesday, February 13

Imprinting Memories

There they are. Walking just 10 feet ahead of me, hand-in-hand, looking up into the sky, Alex's short hair bobbing along, as she and her Daddy count the stars.

It's a cloudy night and they only find three. One that might not be a star after all - but they're not quite sure...,

I try to take a mental picture. Alex in her light blue, bell bottom jeans and a purple fleece hoodie. Daddy in his work trousers and a grey dress shirt.

I try to burn this picture into my head - never wanting to lose these tiny little moments of innocence and the purity of childhood.

After dinner, I watch as Rachel walks along with her Daddy. She's teetering along in a pink plaid skirt with lace trim, a matching hoodie and a tan kitty sweater. She's holding the check and telling her Daddy she has 'the list.'

How can I hold each of these (hundreds, thousands, maybe millions) of these precious moments?

I know I can't hold them all. There are just tooo many. If we're lucky, it's the essence of those moments that will linger. An essence that will create a foundation for our girls that will carry them through the rougher, not so innocent days waiting for them somewhere, far away, in the distant (?) future.


"Alex." I say as we're driving home. "Please share your grapes with your sister."


A minute later, "Here Rachel. I sucked all the juice out. You don't want the one's with the juice. Here you go." And she hands Rachel a limp grape skin.

Rachel smiles, "Thank you" and eats the 'grape.'


"I hug you becuz its your balentines' day," Rachel says as she squeezes my neck. "There. That was for your balentines' day."


Sunday, February 11

Crazy Days & Parties

Picture this...,

10 kids all under the age of 4 decorating white paper 'cookie bags' with paint, glue-on pom-poms, and stickers...,

(Noelle, Grammy, Chris and Mike helping the little artists with the work in progress)

(Rachel, one of the proud little artists)

(With Grammy's help, Rachel's was a 2-sided project)

(The artists' completed works)

... making and decorating cookies with six different colors of frosting and a crazy array of sprinkles and colored sugars...,

(Mommy and Alex mixin' up the dough)

(Daddy cuttin' out cookies & the kids frosting & sprinkling)


... pizza and yummy 'Zoo Cake'...,

... all in one very small house.

Makes for crazy days and happy birthday parties.

(OK - Not sure why Rachel decided today was the day to dress up like a bumble bee - but there she is. BZZZZ)


Friday, February 9

Signs of Things to Come....,

Oh - I should have seen this coming. I've had glimpses but either didn't pay attention or refused to believe that I have an incredibly strong willed child with more stamina that I have. But after 2 and 1/2 years I've come to realize that we have, in Rachel, a very bright, very sweet, soft spoken, stubborn, boundary testing, independent little girl.

Rachel's personality is a lot like my own. By way of example, think of personality types as falling along a spectrum and invision most people with personalities that span just a small portion of that spectrum. Others, like myself and Rachel, have personalities that span a wide swath along the spectrum. Kind, thoughtful, caring, warm - but stubborn, hotheaded, quick to anger and quick to forgive. It's a tough personality type. It's tough for anyone with it and sometimes can be tough on people around us. We can be demanding - but also very giving. We are quick to anger, but forgive easily and are intensely loyal.

I'm really describing myself and it's definitely too early to ascribe all of these traits to my 2nd child.

But I am a little worried that she and I are butting heads and that I haven't dealt with it very well over the past few days. My job as her mom is to figure out the best way to parent her - to motivate her to want to do what she should and not fight authority. If I can do my job well I'll raise a daughter who doesn't challenge the world in a way that makes life harder than it needs to be. I don't want to think of the consequences of not doing my job well. I believe this is the biggest and most important parenting challenge I've faced.

If it's true and she really is alot like me, then I have to remember back to the things that I needed most growing up. Maybe just a little extra love, some firm understanding, encouragement, wiggle room, guidance and acceptance. I didn't do well with the punitive parenting style employed in my home. No child would.

Fun with Black & White...,

Alex has been enjoying a prolonged birthday celebration. This is a picture of her on February 3rd at her birthday brunch with my family. Her birthday party is on Sunday.

And Rachel - just being oh so very cute.

In the many faces of Alex series, this is her soft, sweet pose.

This interesting photo was taken at Sea World's play structure.

Thursday, February 8

Chipping away at innocence

Thanks Disney. Thank you for introducing the scariest concepts imaginable to a young child. Alex and I watched Tarzan over the weekend. It's Disney - rated G. How bad could it be. It's a 'classic.'


In the first scene Tarzan (not his given name) and his parents are the only survivors of a horrific shipwreck. They wash up on the beach of a deserted island and decide to build a tree house and live happily in paradise.

In the second scene an Ape gives birth to the cutest little bundle you can imagine only to have her babe stolen and (the viewer is left to assume) eaten by the local, menacing, jungle tiger.

Momma morns her little baby until she hears a far off cry of another baby. She runs to investigate - up the tree and into the tree house only to find bloody paw prints, no parents (again, you assume they've been eaten), and poor little Tarzan all alone. So, Momma Ape decides to raise the cute, little hairless creature herself but not before barely escaping the apparently still hungry tiger.

Why does Disney feel the need to kill off the parents in EVERY G-rated classic??


Two days later while driving in the car, Alex asks, "Mommy. What happened to her baby?"


"What happened to the Momma Ape's baby?"

"Tarzan?" I say. Hoping.

"No Mommy. HER baby. What happened to HER baby?"

"Well, hmmmm." I can't tell her he was snatched by a mean hungry tiger, mauled and then eaten.

"Hmmm. Well, the mommy ape needed to take care of Tarzan."

"But what happened to HER baby?"

I was NOT prepared, panicked a bit and in the end I chickened out.

"Honey can I answer that question later?"


"Because I'm not sure how I'm going to answer that question. Is that OK? Later?"


Thanks a lot Disney!!

Thursday, February 1

Monumental Occasions

The day you find out you're pregnant is a day that I don't think anyone ever forgets. We've experienced two of these monumental occasions. Both were extremely different. Almost as different as our two girls!

Baby #1 we new the instant of conception and were just waiting (begging, hoping, praying, making deals with God) that the fertility clinic would call and say the embryo had latched on and that we were in fact pregnant. When we got the call, "You're pregnant." I didn't trust it. "What are my numbers?" I asked with a fear that you can't know unless you've gone through previous unsuccessful fertility treatments. Well my numbers were off the charts and it was REAL this time. We were going to have a baby!

#2 was a SHOCKER! After an egg donor, IVF-child nothing prepared us for a natural conception. When my period was late we just assumed I was getting peri-menopausal and my cycle was a bit screwy. But after 3 weeks and just a week before going on vacation we decided to take a PG test. OK, admittedly so that I could drink while we were vacationing and “just to be sure.” But in our hearts we were sure. There was just NO WAY I could be PG. Not with my fertility history.

Well, we got the digital tests – none of that wondering if the color was blue enough for us (too many ovulation kit mysteries in our past). When the word ‘PREGNANT’ appeared in that little window neither DH or I could speak. Breathing was a little difficult too. We looked at the test, then at each other, then at the test, and again at each other. Overjoyed doesn't begin to describe it.