Ok, I have to say it. We’ve been potty training. I wasn’t gonna post on it, because it’s just one of those things, right? Well, I thought so. I mean, I’ve done this SEVEN times, right? (Hence, the 107 in the title…erk) Right.
But this time is different. Not only because Gabey is a brilliant sweet charming talented child, and no I’m not biased, thank you for asking. But it’s different because, for the first time ever, it’s been a snap.
Now, I hate potty training. Because my nature is a lazy slug. And potty training, it’s messy. And inconvenient. Just contemplating it makes me want to go lie down. And there are thousands of books on “how-to” and “Secrets-of” and advice out the wazoo. I think somewhere on my shelves I own at least fifty of them.
But, little did I know…there really IS a secret to potty training. Ok, two. The first one is not so much a secret: timing. Ya gotta wait until the kid is ready. I did have a go at it once or twice w/ Gabey over the summer. Clueless. Hopeless. NOT ready. We bailed. And ya can’t wait TOOO long (that was my mistake w/ oh, most of the others – except Miss M. She did it on her own and told me after, I swear. At two. Brilliant girl.). But, it’s been cold and snowy and we’ve been hunkered down in the house and he just turned three. Plus he’s in a phase where he refuses to wear clothes. So, apparently, it’s time. Now. Whoohoo!
But here is the “new trick” for this “old dog.” And before I say it, I will point out that I realize it’s one of those ridiculous “everyone knows it but you” kind of things. And I would also like to point out that I will – evenutally – overcome my resentment towards my friends failing to let me in on this. And I might, someday, overcome the humiliation of NOT knowing this. I long ago accepted I was no “super-mom.” This confirms it. No matter how many kids I have.
So, here it is: BACKWARDS.
Backwards. DOH! You put the kid on the toilet backwards!! Why didn’t someone tell me? Ahem -Jean? Toni? All of you bloggy gals? You can’t presume I know ANYTHING. I’m a dolt. I had no idea! Forget the tiny messy potties and the slippery seats and holding them up on the seat getting a cramp in your back from lifting them….let them climb on backwards, facing the tank!
Ok, apparently, everyone! This was a light bulb moment for me.
Thank you, finally, Jean.
Maybe it’s a southern thing?
Feel free to sound off here and let me know if its regional so I don’t feel like a total dolt (tho I’ve lived in the south long enough to train a few and no one told me. Not that I”m holding a grudge, Jean……). Did you moms know about this?? Sheesh. Well, I didn’t. But it totally was a light switch for my Gabey. Ok, and me. Hey, he can climb up on his own, check everything out, feel secure. Very empowering. Done deal. He’s trained for daytime and almost for night. In less than a week. AMAZING!
So, for those of you who share my prior lack of knowledge, I”m sharing.
For those of you who presumed we all know, you’re wrong.
For me, I’m just celebrating. Whew.
So, our little Gabey Baby is now three, of course. We did the birthday post and all that fun.
But today we went to the doc for his well baby checkup (And on time, I’d like to point out! A rare occurrence.).
And, no surprise to me, the doc pointed out that he is super healthy and strong and smart and well.
And Gabriel has grown.
Not only has he grown older and faster and funnier, he has grown taller and chubbier and healthier.
Not only has he grown in his quirks and climbing ability and refusal to wear clothes….but he has grown, bodily, right off the tracks.
This is the sweet priceless benefit of home.
Of family. Of love and a warm house and plentiful food and a HOME.
Gabriel has gone from a smallish “almost 50th percentile” in height and weight, to a healthy robust thriving 75th percentile height and weight.
His trajectory has changed.
This is the benefit of a home, for an orphan.
This is the benefit of a home, for us all.
Studies have shown this happens, and it’s a gift to see it play out in person.
His trajectory was changed in so many ways, not the least of which is truly, literally physical.
And the unspoken, not so secret benefit of Gabriel being home, is our trajectory was changed, forever, too. We love this boy.
You might guess that I am referencing this morning’s craziness (which has all settled down).
Or you might guess that it was another bout of me whining about my basement flooding or my washing machine breaking down (ok, maybe just a little bit). But you’d be wrong. Mostly.
No, this post is just another short reminder of the silly fun of having a two year old.
Because Gabe’s language is exploding and we now have moved deep into the two year old world of why.
By which I mean, “why?” is the word of the week.
No, it’s not fully understood, but man, it sure sounds good and works wonders.
It can make Mom and Dad stop and grin, and the big kids laugh.
It can get him a hug most every time, especially when it is said with a coy smile and a head tilt.
Because it’s still cute.
And it will stay cute for a short while, until he learns that it is most commonly used with the big kids in a whining sulk or with a defiant stance.
But until then, it’s cute.
I don’t know, it’s just because he’s SO two.
Another aerobic Mass today, and we are stepping it up to a new level.
Because Gabriel Tariku is officially two now.
So, I’m just saying…those of you who are doing the Shred (Grace, Jess)?
Those of you who’ve made those new year’s resolutions (not this one, not me)?
I’ve got a whole new workout for you!
It’s got it all: weight lifting, aerobic conditioning, stretching, squats, lunges, pushing that envelope past where you think can keep it…hold it hold it, hold him…..
Yup, take my Gabey to Mass.
Keep him quiet and out of trouble in the vestibule.
If I could only figure out how to package this, I’d have a gold mine.
Aerobic Mass, the toddler IS the workout!
Whew. Again. (I should be buff by the time he’s three!)
His words have really started clicking. It’s great fun to listen to him. He can even put a few two word bits together: “bye bye mom” and “get down” (yes, he might have heard this one a few times…it’s a busy house, ok?). But this weekend, he finally claimed the biggy: “no.” But he does “no” with his own style, by which I mean, with volume and force and the cute mispronunciation: “Doh.”
To get the full effect, you have to imagine this at full throttle, full shout and repeated a minimum of four times, face stern or furious before he bursts into tears. He sounds like a cross between a Simpson character and a kid with a very stuffy nose. He hauls this show out every time you tell him “no Gabey, uh-uh” and he doesn’t want to be told no. So he just yells it back and then comes to me to be held as he starts to cry. Because it’s scary to try to grab such power for a little guy! We try not to laugh, but it’s hard not to. So it doesn’t have quite the effect he’s hoping for, not yet. Now of course we have to work on teaching him, “no, please.” We’ll get there.
And, yeah, he’s almost two. Perfect timing!
He is also, Mr. Fussy.
Mr. Cracks us Up Funny
Mr. Poor Sleeper
Mr. Loves to Wrestle
Mr. Speed Racer
And my personal favorite: Mr. Cuddle Bunny
In other words, he is a toddler! And even now, we still see Gabriel adjusting to life here in this country, with us, with a family and a mom and a dad. The adjustment is more nuanced now. The bonding, while it is the ongoing work of a lifetime, it seems to be well on it’s way to firm cementing – in both directions. He seems crazy for us and we are surely crazy for him.
The big, first pass adjusting things are settled. Gabe is no longer afraid of the dog, instead he races to her, pats her, leans on her, it is one of his almost-words: “Dah.” He eats many things now instead of almost nothing and only milk in a bottle. He doesn’t panic if I leave the room, though he often will follow me as fast as his little bowlegs will carry him. He knows the lay of the house and careens around with abandon, confidently manuevering the tables and corners instead of bumping his head. He goes to any and all of his siblings, letting them cart and carry him and only fussing mildly if one of the girls changes his diaper instead of me. He is very assertive at making his wants known, pointing and pulling us to get him something, insistent.
It’s the nuanced things now we notice; the little things that remind us, he’s still adjusting. It’s so easy to take for granted that he’s ours, he’s just part of us now…it feels in a way like he’s been here forever. But now and again, we are reminded.
When he falls asleep now, better in my arms than anyone else’s, I remember that he used to fall asleep alone, and prefer it. Now when he wakes, he often wants, demands, to be brought into our bed to sleep between us with a contented sigh. A small thing, yes, but really: huge. Before he would only really sleep, even, alone, in his portacrib…secure and similar to his old orphanage crib (though softer and right next to me).
He is a smoocher now. While his reports from the updates reported him as “a little aggressive” he is actually a super affectionate, assertive, cuddler. He smooches and fish kisses and hugs and when he does he gives a humming sigh. Which makes my heart melt, every time. Not much better in the world than a humming melty hug from a smiling toddler.
Gabriel still has almost no words. He almost has a few words: “mama,” but only in distress, “Daa” for Dad, sometimes, and “Dah, for dog. He almost, almost says “hi” and he waves with abandon. But that is it. He relies on grunts and screeches and pushes and pulls. However, it’s coming, it’s subtle but I think it’s coming (and yes, I am no speech therapist so one of you might beg to differ) because I hear him sing. Now, yes, it’s singing, baby singing babble and not quite a tune and yet, clearly a happy tune. He didn’t sing before. He babbles and talks now, just not in our words but he’s clearly telling us stuff. Before he just watched the world and only made noise for fairly big need.
Now, he comes to me, me the mom, for the magic kiss: the owie kiss. And that might seem like a no-brainer, all kids do that, right? Well, no. Not Gabriel, not until recently. Before he would bump his head, sit up, rub the noggin and blink, get up and go on. And his brother would say “wow, he’s tough!” And I would agree with a “yeah” but inside I would wince “oh”…because that resilience came at a cost. He had to grow it when he couldn’t get a mom kiss on the booboo. And it made me have an ‘owie’ on his behalf, in my heart. But now…now he gets the most minor bump and he looks to me or runs over to me and I scoop him up and kiss it. Make it better.
So, how are we doing at three months home? I’d say pretty well. If you don’t look, you’ll miss the adjusting, you might presume it’s done. But if you pay attention, you’ll see great, important progress.
And when I kiss that owie, again, my boys say, “Oh, he’s not as tough, you’re making him soft!” And I say, “No, I am making him ours.”