Friday, September 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Potty Training Hell

1.  We have started a new school year!  Well, technically, we started three weeks ago, which is why you haven't seen any posts from me for at least that long.  I'm planning on doing a whole post about what curriculum we're doing, because I know other homeschoolers out there are always fascinated to know what stuff other people are doing.  In fact, this is where I get some of my best ideas (as opposed to going to a homeschool convention, which I would love to do, but frankly my summers are super busy and I never seem to be able to schedule stuff for myself during that time period).

2.  Mostly, the hard thing about starting a new year is getting the time schedule down pat.  You know, the "getting everyone up, fed and dressed" at an early enough hour to get the schooling stuff done.  Then figuring out the best time for who to be doing what.  Most of my kids (and myself) are fresher in the morning, so they need to be doing their more challenging schoolwork then.  A few of them are more "afternoon" people, so I save their hardest work for after lunch.  And then there's the two year old , who seems to be full of energy at any time of the day!

3.  We tend to slowly work into our schedule and add subjects in for the first few weeks.  Sometimes this is necessary because we don't always have all the books here when the school year starts.  I usually have an idea of what curriculum we want to start in the fall at the end of the previous school year.  But then I spend the summer praying about it and researching before pulling the trigger and buying the books.  We don't purchase a prepackaged curriculum for every subject.  We did do that the first couple of years but it ended up wasting resources because some stuff would work great and other stuff wouldn't work at all.  I would end up purchasing something separate for that subject or doing it on my own.  Oddly enough, it tends to save money when I just purchase what we will actually use in our school.

4.  In the middle of all of this, the 2 year old decided that he was no longer going to be wearing a diaper and insisted on potty training.  If there is a path to sainthood for mothers, then potty training is definitely on the list.  I think I should get bonus points for combining the first weeks of the homeschool year and potty training AT THE SAME TIME.  This disaster is running a close second to potty training a toddler and housetraining a new puppy at the same time (don't ask me how I know this).  For the record, this was not my idea.  I knew the two year old was in a season of potty training "readiness" but frankly, we are going to be going on vacation soon and I was trying to hold him off until after that.  Had I known he was going to insist on it I would have worked harder over the summer to get it done then.  But no, I should have known that fate would not be that kind to me.  I am weirdly grateful that Grace over at Camp Patton is going thru a potty training season herself right now.  Misery loves company and all that.  Her hilarious posts on her first go round with potty training have helped me keep my sense of humor and balance in this often fun (and blessedly short) season of motherhood.

So, if you were wondering why you have not seen any blog posts from me for the last month, wonder no longer!  The sheer amount of time it takes to potty train is unbelievable, you are trapped in the bathroom at least once every hour (maybe more) with a toddler who knows he has your undivided attention and it becomes a hostage situation.  Then there is the process you have to go through, go potty, flush toilet, wash hands, turn off bathroom lights, potty treats...and if one of these steps are hurried along or skipped then you have a toddler meltdown on your hands.  Then there are the accidents to clean up on a daily basis (multiple times).  After three weeks of this we have finally gotten to the point where we don't have to make this trip every hour.  Now he will come and get me when he has to go or occasionally he will go by himself (but since he can't get his clothes back on he will trot up butt naked so I know he went and must go search out his clothing).  I am hoping all this naked baby skin is not scarring his sister for life, time will tell.

5.  I was just going to type how we hadn't had a potty training accident in about three days, so I thought we had crossed some sort of threshold...but then my precious two year old walked up beside me and (you guessed it).  [Does blogger not have emotion icons or something?  I would have put some sort of frowny face or something].  This is my life right now...

6.  Ok, so two takes are probably enough for the potty training saga, even if this is a mommy blog and all.  I could write much, much more but on to better stuff....

Labor Day was the last day our beloved pool was opened!  Last day pics...
Toddler Boy at the baby pool sans swim diaper
Testing fate much?  Maybe, but no accidents to report!
Firstborn off the board

Soccer Boy perfected his front flip!

Princess practicing swimming too

I achieved one of my "mommy goals" in that Game Boy finally, finally learned to swim!  I have been working with him for three summers (three)!  He's eight, and I decided that THIS was the year he was going to finally learn, especially since we're vacationing at a house with a pool and I only wanted to worry about two non-swimmers in the family.  I worked tirelessly with him treading water, swimming back and forth to me, etc.  Then Doug took over one day while I took the little ones to the baby pool.  Within 30 minutes, he had Game Boy going off the diving board!  I kid you not, I was amazed at what he did with him in 30 minutes that took me three summers to accomplish.  When I watched what he was doing, it dawned on me the difference was Doug wasn't rescuing him.  He was allowing him to go off the board and flail a little bit in the water and dog paddle back to him at the side.  As the mom, I was helping him too much and he needed to flounder a bit in order to get it.  I think dads have that market cornered.  Doug is all about letting the kids help and allowing them to do it on their own, mess it up, and then redo it.  He says "how else are they going to learn unless you just let them do it."  Well played, swimming instruction...Dad 1, Mom 0 (although I'm sure all those practice sessions with me didn't amount to nothing)!  Now we just need to teach him how to not hold his nose underwater.
Game Boy's underwater shot!
7.  We attended our Boy Scout troop's second to last Court of Honor a few weeks ago.  I say second to last because our troop is one that is going to be officially dissolving at year end and crossing over to the new "On My Honor" scouting group.  It's in quotes because the group is announcing their official name at their first convention this weekend.  We've only been active in the Boy Scouts for one year, but the effect it has had on my boys is beyond words.  As a homeschooling mom, there are so many things that I just cannot teach them.  I cannot teach them how to be young men, they really need to learn that primarily from their Dad, but also from other godly young men and adults.  This Boy Scout troop (which is chartered with our homeschool group) has met that need.  It has allowed them to form close friendships and receive mentoring from other godly men to journey with them on that path.  It has been a privilege getting to know these families and their sons.
Firstborn pinning me
parent pin, tenderfoot rank
Soccer Boy receiving merit badges
Rifle shooting and Fishing

That's it for this week.  Hopefully next week will see me in a slightly more positive, less soul sucking potty training mood.  Did I mention we started a new soccer season too?  Princess is old enough to join a team, so we currently have four kids playing and Doug is coaching two of their teams!  Lucky for us the two oldest can play on the same team, but it still amounts to a very busy season in our lives.  I just keep thinking "vacation is coming, vacation is coming" to hold onto my sanity!

Have a great weekend and go check out more Quick Takes and see Jen's new blog design at Conversion Diary!