22 April 2014

angels singing

Della pooped on the potty.

That is the angels and gold dust and unicorns and rainbows part of the story. The rest of the story is this:

Poop withholding is an evil bitch.
It is a sneaky stealer of heart and soul, energy, enthusiasm, hope.
It is a killer of days, an eroder of moods, a shortener of fuses.
It is a lifestyle unto itself, with its own rhythms of happy and fearful and sad and crazy.
It is like labor in the prolonged badness of sensation and the only way out is out...
It is like my experience with infertility in that it started smallish, with an acknowledgement that things might not be working as it does for "other people"--
then it was like infertility for me in that I began with a whole lot of NEVERS. I will never use a suppository on my kid, EVER. That one gave way to, ok, this once. This once. This once. As I tried, as we tried, to address this horrible thing.

Into the weeds with this side story:  When I was little I had the opposite problem-- with colitis, I had nearly no control over my bowels, and spent hours upon hours in pain and on the toilet pooping. I had horrible invasive tests before there were fiber optics that made instruments flexible. I have turned out ok, but I cannot say that did not impact me, hugely, deeply, badly, in ways that take ongoing healing.

So yes, I said NEVER to suppositories.

So, one by one, my Nevers were breached, my hope was dashed, my fear increased, anxiety up, stress up, my child in pain and in fear and inconsolable.
Potions, powders, oils, eye of newt, massage, reiki, pressure points, rewards, gold stars, ignoring, attending,

just an awful storyline that would reset to zero with a forced bowel movement, a horrible prolonged horribleness that I will not even try to describe.

then one night the suppository failed.
and then it failed again.
and I felt hope leave, in a big whoosh followed by a wave of fear and outofcontrolness, anxiety, sadness... since this was the nuclear solution. the one I held in reserve as the thing that would work no matter what.

then I read an entry by some person who called himself the poop whisperer (I cannot make this up) saying, suppositories/enemas, same time each day, until new pattern is established.

well fine kind sir, but since I could not bring myself to do the suppository thing unless Della was in acute duress, and it had failed more than once (different kinds, different failure modes)-- WTF?  So the next morning, loins girded, we tried *one more time*, and it worked, she pooped, and off we went with the time zero haze of happiness that we can hold until day 3 or 4 or... yeah..

So last night, after a day in which Della had been showing telltale discomfort, the familiar run up to the whole dramatic horribleness, we were about to take action- butt medicine (thanks to Dooce for the name)-- and Della chose to try the potty instead.

Ok-- I had not mentioned this before in this note but Della was pathologically afraid of pooping on the toilet. She regresses to diapers when she feels any belly feelings to avoid it.  All that I had read said for the love of all that is holy UNCOUPLE potty training and poop withholding since it is too complicated to do both if the poop part of potty training is not enthusiastically embraced by the kid. It was not. It was rejected so firmly and with such trauma that we decoupled.

Until last night.
Faced with imminent butt medicine, she chose the potentially lesser of the evils, the potty
and then
no kidding





I do not pretend we are out of the woods but I do know this: we won the lottery again with this happening Ever.
She is happy. We had cake. We sang and lit a candle and danced and hugged.
She is comfortable.
She is not in fear or in pain.
I felt like a weight of a bazillion pounds just rolled off my shoulders (at least for now) and I am *hopeful*.

For any of you out there with this withholding issue, hear me now: I feel your pain. I wish I could say I knew what to do, a magic pill or protocol. I can say this: soluble fiber, and magnesium, prayer, and the fear of suppositories.

And for me, at time near-zero, I can breathe. And tonight, we'll ask her to sit for a while while I read to her maybe, and then, chocolate chips... and I can be hopeful that we can create a new normal for all of us.

12 March 2014

non-linear: on eventual child-led toilet training

Oh my good god/goddess/all-that-is, just when I thought Della would never potty train in any way, ever... she did.

Backstory: Over a year ago in daycare she was using the potty there. She would occasionally use the little one here. But just occasionally.  We always celebrated appropriately, and I thought it would just be that way. Then she was pinched by a toilet seat at daycare, and that was that.
The end.

We live in a small carpeted apartment. The whole, let her go nekkid thing was never going to work. Also, while she is smart and wily, rewards (stickers) were of no interest. Not even chocolate chips...
But then...
Suddenly (and I do mean suddenly), a few weeks ago during a visit at my sister's, something clicked and she just started using their toilet.
Not that it has been linear-- a week of perfectly perfect perfection then a strong desire to be back in diapers... somehow (like her momma) taking a few steps forward and a few backwards, maybe afraid of letting go of being "little".
A few pees in pants when distracted, and then days in underwear with no issue. Then a few days in pull ups again...
wow. It is happening, finally, but non-linearly, and this is all about bending my knees and riding out the bumps without freaking out. (But why can't you use the potty today? You used it for the past week? what the heck?)-- well, it comes down to poop.

HOLY CRAP PEOPLE, this child is textbook retentive.
We're talking hours of intense crying, arched back, tiptoes, terror, holding it in with all her might. Don't touch me! MOMMA! horrible ness. She does not want to sit on the potty ever when she feels anything like anything that may mean poop is moving.... WILL NOT. Any sensation associated with it causes fear. It is horrible. HORRIBLE. I hate it. I do not use the word hate lightly.

We have had to take action (aka "butt medicine"/suppository intervention) once to avoid a trip to the ER one late evening when I thought they might actually need to go in there and get it out.

This has never been easy for her, but lately it has been just increasingly dramatic in terms of withholding and fear.
So she will only poop in her diaper (fine, I just want her to poop)-- and we are now supplementing with some good soluble fiber after an epic fail with
-all things food (prunes, plums, pears)
-all things gummy (fiber)
-all things that are miralax-ish (thick, slippery, salty, eww)
-all things small and chocolately and bear shaped, and magnesiumy (she ate them but not happily, but they did nothing)....
-all things small and fake-watermelony (HA one lick and it was over, salty badness)

we are doing what we can with our camel of a non-drinking child.
No juice passes her lips.
So water, yes, and yes we are still nursing but let's leave that alone for now, shall we?

We hide the fiber in a few bites of chocolate pudding, feel like heros, and spend time in prayer that she will poop before it becomes too painful and just reinforces the horrible cycle of badness.

So today, I celebrate the good: she is at daycare in underwear. Wow.
and today I celebrate that she pooped yesterday, so we can all just relax.

10 February 2014

4 years ago (aka winning the lottery)

4 years ago tonight, I was at home, wondering what might be happening with the two little embryos that had been transferred that morning... I was feeling oddly happy. Optimistic even.

Right now, one of those two little cell clusters is sitting on Doug, saying Again, Daddy-- I am bringing the baby to the doctor for a shot, but not an ouchy shot, a gentle shot...you be the doctor.

A billion and a half shots later, here we are.
holy moly.
How amazing is that.

09 February 2014

dirty little secret

Hear me, those who are still trying to make it to this heaven called parenthood. I am not forgetting That loneliness. That hell. This is not that.

With that said.
Mothering is at once truly consuming and profoundly lonely.
In my particular and perhaps peculiar mosaic of working at home and parenting, my ambient human interaction happens mostly at the grocery.
I spend days when I see Doug and Della and few if any others. I spend days in the summer seeing Della and no others at all.
I keep wondering how/when/where the energy could come from, the energy needed to foster possibilities of connecting, of meeting, of imagining friendship, of conversation, of even knowing if there is a fit beyond the knowing shared look of fatigue as we pass, cart by cart, in the aisles.

I don't know, exactly, how to remedy my situation. I've reached out today, the first time in a long while, to friends already made, local friends, people I love... but schedules are hard, complex, how do we do this?
It is a logistical tangle. No, not tuesday, a week from sunday, no... and then.... I peter out, not pressing on to three weeks hence because who knows?

I miss funny things, sustained effort of any kind... painting, writing, editing, reading... aimlessness....hiking. My little one's idea of sustained attention is about 15 minutes and that is if the show is of her choosing. Confessing, right there, the role of video in our parenting style.

We can walk, sure, but 15 minute loops...

I forget to lean on Doug, forget that I don't have to shoulder this all my self in the off season, when he is in town... I forget I can ask.
Tonight I went out to switch laundry over, and noticed the light, twilight, and noticed I was alone.
Upstairs quick quick to get into a jacket to walk around the "block" which is to say the parking lot behind our section of buildings, and back across the snowy field between us and the road, under some pines that feel like magic to me.
Back and forth I walked, because the first time I was not paying attention... so the second time I did. And the third.
And I came back reconnected to Me which, I guess, is the first step to all of this connecting anyway, isn't it?

08 January 2014

rose colored glasses

Hello world.
here we are in January, and I am sitting at my desk having just cleaned the living room as much as I could in one hour.
One hour to take the tree down and vacuum the billion needles from the carpet, to push back, pile up, drag, dust, and make a dent in the squalor that just happens, magically, when I am not constantly tending.

It is rather horrifying how fast things turn to shit, and also just what "clean" looks like now-- proving, truly, that everything is relative.

I was so wanting to "finish" the job, but the job, I think (I know), is unfinishable.

This is about progress, and then holding it or returning to it, or something. But this is not, apparently, about truly cleaning or truly finishing.

So, fueled by warmed up tea and honeyed up toast, here I am. Needing to return to workwork but after a truly aggravating day yesterday work-wise where I discovered that the website I am working on looks like shit too, not even in a living room way, well.
today will be about starting over.
But. Not quite yet.

I wanted to say that
Little miss Della is a fierce companion, and she is every bit the mini teenager with stubborn righteousness that is both fabulous and maddening and
she is so tender.

I know my tenderness and am surprised by my fierceness.
I know her fierceness and am surprised by her tenderness.

this is about staying open to what is, not what I think I know, or what I want or wanted for me or for anyone... this is about this moment. this joy. this fierce tenderness and tender fierceness. this is about a million kinds of love. this is about taking notice of what is working with such intense gratitude. this is about taking notice of the ordinary moments that are truly extraordinary.  this is about reveling, it really is.

I posted the following images on facebook but realize that my incremental updates have been there of late... but I am pulling back from that particular soul sucking vortex, not completely because apparently I am addicted to seeing other people's lives through rose colored glasses... but pulling back, yes, to better appreciate and revel in my own fabulous imperfect reality.
So I will leave with you a few things that make me very very very very very happy-- no rose colored glasses necessary.

Best. dad. ever.

11 December 2013


Della, somehow you are 3.
Magnificent, magical, astonishingly 3.
You have been a miracle since those two cells decided to join up and create a possibility, where, statistically, there was none.
You make me laugh every day. Drive me wild with my impatience and your own. Challenge me to be the best of myself, and to be compassionate when I am the worst of myself.
You are tender and fierce, and have taught me so much about my own tenderness and the surprising depth of my fierceness.

You are so smart
when you act like a 3 year old, it is shocking.
and I catch myself over and over and over again feeling shocked at things that are so completely typical of 3.

You are so eloquent, that I am lost when your fears or sadness cannot find words.
You are so kinetic, and want so badly to share every moment of your movement.
You love to dance and sing, and dance and dance and dance. You climb on daddy like he is a jungle gym. You love to be carried "like a baby", but at 50 lbs, I cannot carry you as easily as I once could.
You negotiate like a diplomat.
You state your needs like a pro when you know what they are.
You come apart when you are tired.
(so do I, so do I...)

You sing your own words so our lullabye now goes
Lullabye, go tonight
sleepy dreams to you
sleepy dreams
sleepy dreams
sleepy dreams come true

You are losing your baby-speak, so I find I am not wanting to correct the ones that are left-- vanilla is something else, like, vallina.  Banana just graduated from buyana. Granola is still something like grallona. Coloring or drawing is Drullering. You know coloring. you know drawing. but you also know you most often do both. hence drullering.
we could all do a little more of that.

You are starting to play a little more on your own, for moments at a time. But always want to engage us, and want us to be on your level. When you sit on the floor, you want us to sit on the floor too. When you dance, you want us to dance with you too. You are flooded with instantaneous sadness when we say no.
We say no.
There is sadness.
We are all learning how to surf this.
It is so not easy.

You are complex and beautiful. You are so smart and strong,
We may never wean, you exclaim that you LOVE NURSING, LOVE MY BOOBS (oy), and while we have cut way back, and want to cut back more, it is so not easy.
We may never potty train. An event at daycare with a scary toilet that caused pain once has set us back years it seems. you are too big for success on the small potty. You will NOT sit on the big potty even with a special small seat... oy, it is hard.  But we are working on it, by offering opportunities, quiet rewards, support.  You do not poop for days at a time, worried about the discomfort, so you hold it, and create discomfort that then causes more concern. So, Miralax. but that is not so easy or magical either. Except yesterday when I took it by accident thinking it was water.
That was easy. And magical. In a sarcastic pooptastic sort of way.
We may never sleep apart. You sleep crazy-- sitting up, talking, lying down in random directions. I have lots of retroactive wishes that were not possible at the time. Like, say, CRIB.  But there we are. Here we are.

You count to 20, know the alphabet, recognize all numbers and some letters. Are starting to see the connection between letters and words, words and reading... I can see the circuits starting to form.

Your language skills are insane, nuanced, complex, sophisticated.  So are your facial expressions, and your mannerisms. You get jokes-- and have cultivated a spooky fake laugh.
I love making you laugh more than almost anything, the real laugh, the one that causes dimples.

You love toast and peas and cucumbers. You love apples. You look at carrots with suspicion and have stopped eating sweet potatoes outright. I am not sure what you think they are, except, perhaps, carrots in disguise.  I wish you would eat food that I remember loving. But you are you.

you are you.

you are you.

Every day is a miracle with you.
I get lost, sometimes, in the logistics-- getting you dressed and out the door, getting you down the stairs and into the car, getting you to do anything that is not motivated by you or chocolate bits...
I get impatient and I am sorry. I do not like my own voice then, my own face, my own impatient body. I want to soften into the moments, since hardening does not create ease, or make things happen faster or more efficiently.

You are friends right now with Lucy, whom you idolize (since she is 4 and has princess dresses). Your best days are at her house.

I cannot imagine life without you except when I do, say, 20 minutes into a crying jag, when I feel  my edges fraying, and I remember that I always wanted to drive cross country alone.

But even a few hours apart when we would normally be together and I feel a pull like gravity, and feel so grateful to walk back in, and see you, hear you say Momma. You are now calling me MOM with a teenage lilt. And Mommy, sometimes. But I want you to call me Momma forever.

with my mom, sharing a scarf

3!!! just. like. that.

15 November 2013

fever week

A week of fever finally over, and Della is three, and we are surfacing, slowly, back into a semblance of normalcy.

Della's fever and cough meant nights were long and interrupted, and days were long and interrupted, and I was home too much, too long, too much time indoors.
Yesterday I had child care, and ran out for a morning of errands with a nearly giddy heart. Giddy that the fever was gone, and giddy that I was about to get out of the house.

Della is now 3, I owe you a 3 post and I will.
I wanted to just stop in and say hi, and say we are surfacing at last.