Seems I had spoken too soon about Gabriel and Zeke’s headway with potty training. After my positive update on 3/13, I am sad to report that the twins regressed. It was an occasional accident here and there, but major mishaps were becoming the norm.
And then at our playgroup at Miss Amy’s on Friday, both Gabriel and Zeke went doo-doo in their undies. All the Moms Club gals were supportive and consoling, but that was just the last straw for me. So, Stephen (who was also at his wit’s end) and I decided to give up on trying to win this dirty, discontenting battle.
Instead, Gabe and Zeke are now commanding their own ships. Each is at the helm and can steer his boat toward the bathroom or back into diapers. Whatever works for him as captain, but we’re done with the exhausting prodding, the ineffective rewards, and the tireless timed potty breaks.
The boys hesitantly pose with their finally completed Word Wall. (Click to see the January gallery.)
I figure this is a control issue, plain and simple. And the more I try to exert my authority and my rules, the more the twins are going to resist. Let’s face it, the twins know what to do and how to do it; the choice just has to be theirs.
Over the few days that we’ve been more hands-off, the pirate ships of Captain Jack Sparrow (Zeke) and Will Turner (Gabriel) have been sailing on much smoother waters. Maybe it’s due to the cool “Pirates Of the Caribbean” references, but whatever the case, I think this new approach may be just the motivation needed to help each of our stubborn boys charter his own route on these stormy seas. It also serves as a nice break for the rest of us.
Comportment: Beyond the potty
I started keeping better track of the kids’ chores. Instead of saying, “Hey, who’s gonna help me with laundry?” and having all three gleefully volunteer for the task or none (I’m not sure which was worse), I decided to have one at a time help me with what I’m calling teamwork, as opposed to the less inspirational housework.
Daddy talks snow globes w/ Zeke on New Year’s Day.
This method offers me a conducive environment to instruct said child in the chore at hand (better focus on his part and greater patience on mine), while also helping me more fairly delegate whose turn it is to assist. It’s just a much better use of our time and energy and, so far, seems to me both more effective and enjoyable for everyone.
Keeping the boys on a structured sleep schedule is always a feat. Whether it’s coping with Daddy sometimes traveling for work, tweaking our days to fit with Miss Jessie’s college schedule, or getting Miss Karen to babysit for whatever reason, it’s so darn easy for things to get out of whack.
For instance, we used to let the kids stay up late the night when Daddy would arrive home from a biz trip. But we soon realized that this homecoming treat was just asking for trouble, i.e. fatigue-induced meltdowns, lengthy whining spells and pterodactyl boy: when Gabriel or Zeke uses a high-pitch, screeching form of communication, even while saying, “Mommy, I’m being good now. Can I please have some water?”
Moreover, the dudes all intermittently have what Dr. Gay classifies as night terrors, of which a main cause is being overtired. Luckily, these bad dreams are rare, but still, it’s just another reason to remain vigilant in keeping the 3 Amigos on tight nap/nighttime schedule and as rested as possible.
The dudes feast on frozen yogurt during Zeke’s kicking-his-thumb-sucking-habit celebration.
An additional hill on which I’m willing to die is the battle for the boys to have good table manners. It has drastically improved from the days of food-throwing and constant drink-spilling, but we still have a long way to go to achieve genteel.
Case in point: the twins often consume at break-neck speed while gulping down huge bites, and this resulted in my having to give Zeke the Heimlich on 3/7. Scary! Then again, I had to use the maneuver on Houston once or twice long ago. And these days, he is pretty dignified during mealtime.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, however you wanna look at it), all the kids exhibit pretty polite behavior while eating out, as recently exhibited at Red Robin and Fuji Sushi, where the dudes ate their first-ever California rolls — a big hit with Houston, but not so much with his cheeky bros. Point is, I suppose progress is being made, however slowly and painstakingly it might be.
Early March saw both Gabriel and Houston regaled with their fancy-dinner rewards. Each dining experience treated the guest of honor to a candlelit meal on a non-plastic plate while drinking from a wine glass or champagne flute. Zeke also recently earned his final signature on the scroll, but we still own him his hoity-toity dinner.
Steve Martin, Chevy Chase & Martin Short: The original 3 Amigos.
For all you “sons of a motherless goat”
I tagged Houston, Gabriel and Zeke as The 3 Amigos after the 1986 movie of that name. Being that the slapstick motion picture (a la Blazing Saddles) had such an impact on me back then and starred some of the day’s best comedic actors, I just assumed that everyone else knew about the classic flick.
But not so. Miss Jessie hadn’t heard of it or any of its stars, but then again, she’s half my age. So I wrote that off as a generational thing.
Yet, only one of my MOPS gals, who range in age from early 30s to mid-40s, was familiar with the funny film. Oh, the injustice!
I’ll leave you with the immortal words of the 3 Amigos themselves from the Singing Bush scene: Ned Nederlander, “Chip, chip, chip, chip, chip. Nanny!” Lucky Day, “Faaaaaaaarley, farley, farley, faaaarley!” Dusty Bottoms, “Hfurhrmrgurny.” Nuff said.