A Bloggy Sandwich

Thursday, 1 August 2013 11:11
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

When I was still taking art classes, I had a session on how to construct a portfolio. One of the tips was, of course, make sure EVERY PIECE is good. And if you’re doing sequential art, show that you actually can DO sequential art, can tell a story through art, not just have a bunch of splash pages and pin ups. But specifically, we were told to have your strongest piece as the very first one, and your second strongest one as the last one. That way, you set the tone with the first piece and then you end on a high note, so people viewing your portfolio are impressed right away and also leave with a good impression.

Then Nesko and I watched a pop sci show about how the brain works, and they just said lead with positive stuff and people gloss over the negative. First impressions super matter, apparently.

But I’m going to stick with what I was originally taught, and I’m going to sandwich some grossness between cute stories.


Niko no longer says “yes.”

When I say that, I don’t mean that he’s become suddenly and overwhelmingly negative. I mean that while he agrees to things, the word “yes” no longer passes his lips. Nor does yeah, or as he says it, “yay-uh.” No, it’s suddenly all “Sure” and “Of course.” As in, “Niko, would you like some milk?” “Oh, of course I would!” “Niko, would you please pick up your blocks?” “Oh, sure!” “Niko, would you like a hug?” “Oh, of course I do!”


It’s like he has a secret handbook on being cute.

The other day, I asked him if he would like some applesauce and he said “Of course.” And then he said “Actually, I would really appreciate it if I would have some pudding instead, please.”


I would really appreciate.


Can I have another kid who’s just, like, a copy of him? Because he’s basically perfect. Except not as the next story will reveal.


At the age of four years and 5 months, Niko has decided that it is HIGH TIME he learns to wipe his own butt. He’s been using up flushable wipes at an alarming rate and we’ve been dealing with random poo fingers here and there. But then yesterday he apparently decided it was TIME TO STOP FUCKING AROUND. He approached wiping his own butt with a grim seriousness. LET’S DO THIS THING, he resolved.

And he started going in the bathroom every half hour to squeeze out some pathetic tiny turd nugget.

He’s kind of obsessed.

And suddenly, we’re back to having pants accidents.

“Mama,” he says sternly. “I had a little bit of a poop accident.”

He is not proud of these.

So I’ve been picking up flecks of feces from the bathroom floor, doing a lot of hand washing, reminding him that he can’t use an entire package of flushable wipes in one go, etc.

And then, just after Nesko got home, I was in the dining room when I saw what looked to my weak eyes to be a a brand new knot hole in the wooden floor. Wait. There was no knothole there before… was there? I prodded it with my toe. It went squish.


I don’t have a lot of expectations out of life.

But one that I cling to is the expectation that I can walk through my house without stepping in shit.

Nesko launched into a long story about how HE was working at a house with DOGS and they had to RUN A LINE and the yard was FULL OF POOP and I’m like, ok. That’s horrible and gross. But that, at least, is outside. In nature. Nature, you know, that thing that is a toilet for wild animals. THE GREAT OUT DOORS IS ONE HUGE TOILET. My house? Not so much. My dining room floor? NOPE.




I just… no.

So then I patrolled the rest of the house, squinting at every smudge and speck, armed with a bottle of disinfectant and paper towels.

And then Nesko gathered Niko into his lap for cuddles and finger nail trimmings, and we discovered a motherlode of poo on Niko’s heel.



Niko has a baby.

His baby is named Baby.

Baby is a girl (a DWIR-OLE) except for when she’s a boy.

Baby currently lives in the bouncy seat that he used when he was an infant, that we’re holding on to until Nesko’s sister who just had a baby returns from Europe. At this point, we will have to evict Baby from her perch, her soft and cradling throne.

Niko sometimes carries Baby around, and feeds her cookies (wooden blocks, string, etc) or shares things he’s eating with her. “One little nut for me, and one for Baby. And one little nut for me, and one for Baby.” He invariably eats Baby’s portion, of course. He also brings her small toys, books, and shoes (?) for her to snuggle with so she doesn’t get lonely. And from time to time he decides that baby is taking a nap so he walks around and shushes us all because Baby is sleeping. Then he decides that Baby is fully asleep so we can be loud again. “Baby sure is sleeping hard! She’s a hard sleeper.”

Sometimes Baby needs a diaper change, or Niko decides it’s time to potty train her. He’s very encouraging. He cleans her up and cuddles her and says kind things.

It is the most adorable thing.

It almost makes me forget that I stepped in poop in the dining room.

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Monday, 24 September 2012 16:28
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We went to a wedding on Saturday and Niko got to play with some other kids who were at the wedding. One of them, Evan, became his special running around like a wild thing friend and they chased each other up and down a (empty, unused, carpeted) hallway, crashed into each other, fell down dramatically, tried to use the water fountain together, etc. Good times! We went to the library today for story time. The kids’ librarian at the Independence Library Branch is really dedicated and involved and story time with her is pretty awesome. The social aspect – sitting on his bottom, being quiet, taking turns, not interrupting, interacting with other kids, sharing – is great for Niko. But as far as he’s concerned the best part of the library story time is running around the story time room in laps for fifteen minutes with the handful of other kids who’ve also stayed after the program.

One of the kids he played with is named Eddie. They had a fun time, chasing each other around and being lions and dinosaurs and trains, and crawling under chairs because they were caves, and playing freeze tag (poorly). Niko referred to Eddie as “Evan” once and after I corrected him he commented wistfully that it’d be nice if his name were Evan. Yeah, kiddo, it WOULD be convenient if all your friends had the same name. How easy would that be? You’d never have to learn a name again! But, alas.

Niko and I and Eddie and his mom shared a table in the library together and the boys looked at books and played with Lincoln Logs and worked out a toy-sharing deal until my MIL came to pick us up and we hustled out of there… to McDonald’s where Niko peed “in the special pee potty” and shuffled out of the bathroom with this pants and underpants around his ankles like the class act he is. (YES, I let my 3 1/2 year old go into the empty, clean, men’s room alone as I stood outside the door)

Then he went to Baba’s house and I crashed at home reading a library book instead of cleaning the bathroom or living room or doing any laundry because I feel like I have a cold or the flu coming on and hurt in all my joints. Do you know how many joints the human body has? A lot. I know, I can feel them all.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I want you to imagine that you have 100 year old wooden floors, and a two-cup measuring cup. Perhaps a lovely glass pyrex measuring cup, heat proof and heavy and wonderfully balanced.

Now imagine that someone has taken that measuring cup and filled it with urine.

And now they’ve dumped it all over your hundred year old hard wood floors.

And when you said “HEY! WHAT THE HELLLLL! DON’T DO THAT DUDE WHAT ARE YOU DOING AHHHHHH STOP IT AHHHHHHHHHHH!” they, instead of stopping it, wigged the fuck out and so, instead of cleaning up the urine which is EVEN NOW EATING ITS WAY THROUGH THE WOOD you had to calm them down and help them put the rest of the pee in the potty NO NOT THAT ONE THE BIG POTTY and then reassure them that you aren’t MAD, you’re just cross, and you’re still a happy person and you love them.

And then you had to clean up all that pee.

And throw away the cheese crackers that also got peed on.

And explain that nobody in your household is allowed to eat food that’s had pee on it, sorry, that’s just a rule. That’s an ALWAYS rule.

Imagine that.

That is my day.

And that sudden onrush of pee obviously took Niko by surprise because he peed all over the snack he’d been lobbying heavily for and he wanted to eat that snack, that was no “I’m a dog and I hate your new boyfriend so I’m going to make eye contact and pee on your bed to show my disdain” move. That was no “I’m a cat and I’m going to show my revulsion for you by vomiting in your shoe every morning JUST BECAUSE.” This was an accident, a big accident, in a kid who’s been a totally successful potty user for a really long time now. I do not remind him to potty anymore because most of the time he does a great job by himself. Dude stays dry while asleep 99% of the time.

So what happened here?

I have no idea. Zero. None. Accidents happen. I’m just… I’m so happy it happened not on the (hundred year old, wool, hand tufted, incredibly worn and super absorbent) wool rug. Small favors, I guess.

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Monday, 6 August 2012 23:55
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I was cutting up some cherries today and Niko objected. He could just eat them whole! The way he eats grapes! And carrots! No no, I said. They have pits, I said.

He looked at me like I was full of shit.

He actually gives me this look a lot, because I say all kinds of crazy shit like “you can’t eat a box of granola bars for breakfast” and “don’t paint the rug” and “your fingers don’t belong up your butt.”

“MAMA,” he said, “a pit is something YOU FALL IN. It is IN THE GROUND. It is a BIG HOLE that you fall in and get lost in.”

So we had a conversation about cherry pits (and peach pits), and pits that are holes in the ground, and arm pits.

Later on I tucked him into bed for a nap and then took a shower. As I was drying off I heard a big thump and then sad noises. He made his way into the bathroom, sniveling.

“Oh, Niko, did you fall out of bed?”

“No. I tumbled.”

Well there you go.

He also had a freak out when I wouldn’t let him eat an entire bag of dried cherries. When I wouldn’t open the bag, he reassured me that it was ok, he’d open it himself. I put it on a shelf. He flipped his shit. Among the insults he slung at me? “YOU ARE NOT A PERSON!” I… do not know where that came from.

He is, in general, in a “I’ll do it MY! SELF!” mood where everything but pulling up his own pants is concerned. He’s pretty much toilet trained except for sometimes he pees on his bed when he wants a bath (RAGE METER FILLED. WHY WOULD YOU DOOOOOOO THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT) and he’s wet the bed twice overnight possibly because he’s had a nightmare. So we’re back to pullups while sleeping, even though he’s totally dry 99% of the time. He also likes to get himself “a nice cool fresh glass of water.” AWWW ADORBS. I FORGIVE YOUR URINE ANTICS.

IN OTHER NEWS, I was all on top of things and ahead of the game, and took Niko in for his dental exam and check up/physical and got his school forms filled out so I’d be all ready to enroll him… and I’ve lost those forms. CRI CRI. No idea where they are. I guess I put them someplace safe? So safe they’re safe EVEN FROM ME. Good job, me. Good job.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We achieved poop in the potty. Tear-free poop in the potty. We’ve been talking up potty poop for… a month now? Making wide sweeping promises of toys and candy bars and various delightful treats to Niko. And he’s been responding with “well, not today. Tomorrow. I cannot poop in the potty today. I will poop in the potty tomorrow.” Poop tomorrow and poop yesterday but never ever poop today? Ok, whatever. He was running around the house sans-pants the other day when he suddenly piped up “I pooped!” Nesko came running, panicked that Niko has pooped on the floor or something. Nope! He had gone to his little potty, lifted the lid, and pooped in it. Nesko wiped his bottom and said “There, done. Wasn’t that fast? Faster than changing a diaper or cleaning up poopy underpants?” “That WAS fast!” Niko marveled. He pooped again in the potty later that day, too. He hasn’t pooped since but when he does, I’m hoping it’s right in the potty. He’s been consistently dry (including overnights) for the past few days so… maybe we’re done? God, I hope so.

Anyway,I’m now That Parent, talking about my kid’s poop in public, bragging to everyone. Argh.

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The Poop Talk

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 22:12
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

If you’re anything like me… well. You really should be in bed right now. You’re pretty low on sleep and stressed out from this whole “part time job somehow magically equals almost 40 hours a week” thing you’re going through. Or is that too specific? That’s too specific. If you’re anything like me, you have a bunch of friends with kids about your own kid’s age, and those kids simply woke up one morning around 18 months and said “Mother, if it pleases you, from this moment forward I shall delight in voiding my bladder and bowels in the big potty. No more shall I soil my diaper or underpants! Never again shall you resort to scraping feces from beneath my testicles! No, darling mother, from this moment hence I am fully potty trained except possibly if you take me to Target and the autoflush toilets traumatize me and I have a few accidents. Now. What shall I fetch you for breakfast?” Meanwhile, your own kid is 3 and still retreats beneath the dining room table while pulling chairs in around him and screaming “DON’T LOOK AT ME! I’M POOPING! DON’T LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

It’s a little bit frustrating is all.

We’ve got the bribes going. I’m trying to avoid threats and shame. He keeps promising that he’ll poop in the potty “tomorrow,” to the point where we’ve got a jam tomorrow, jam yesterday thing going on, perhaps. Meanwhile, have I mentioned how very tired I am of changing diapers and cleaning up poop? I am very tired of it! Very. The tiredest.

Meanwhile, we’ve tried talking to him about where pee and poop come from. Dude thinks I am full of it. Apparently he thinks pee is stored in his penis and poop is stored in his butt. I tried to explain that he eats food and swallows it and it goes in his stomach (his “tummy tummy,” if you will) and then his body takes out the vitamins and energy it needs and turns the rest into poop and he corrected me. “Mama, I don’t eat poop! Silly mama. Poop is not for eating!”

I’m glad we’re clear on that last bit.

I tried explaining again about drinking things and peeing, eating things and pooping. He laughed.

“So I pee in a cup and put my shirt in the cup and I eat my shirt and then it goes in my tummy tummy and I poop it out?”

He thought that statement was HILARIOUS and laughed about it. I don’t know where his SHIRT came into the equation, other than perhaps he was trying to feed me a line as ridiculous as the one I had just fed him. WE DON’T EAT POOP, MAMA! But we pretty much dropped the topic for the time being.

Until we happened to be out in public eating something and he loudly announced “Mama, I am eating this chicken nugget and turning it into poop!”

If only he’d put that poop in the potty.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Life has been kind of kicking my ass lately. Fun! I’ve been job hunting, there’s been car trouble, Nesko’s still working full time plus some over time plus working with his dad plus trying to fix his car. It turns out that you can’t jam extra hours into the day or extra days into the week, and staying up two hours later than you should just so you have a chance to sit next to and talk with your spouse is a bad idea for both of you because talking doesn’t replace sleep even if said spouse IS really cute.

In more fun news, Niko and I made cookies the other day. It worked out pretty well. We don’t have a table in the kitchen, and we don’t really have counter space, and I can’t really move my enormous heavy stand mixer, so we wound up doing that thing where he stands on a step ladder and I hand him a measuring cup of dry ingredient and he dumps it into he mixer bowl and I remind him not to touch the beater because I like him with both hands thank you very much. And then I turn the mixer on and do all the rest of the work myself and don’t give him the beater to lick because oh god raw egg god no. Then he piles all his toys in front of the oven because that’s the most helpful thing to do when I’m baking. Then we eat all the cookies. ALL OF THEM. I want to do it again, but we’re out of eggs, and the car wouldn’t start Sunday so… grocery trip postponed. (lack of eggs forced me– FORCED I SAY– to eat cold pizza for breakfast. Oh no!)

Niko’s been resisting naps lately, which is a foolish move on his part, because he needs a nap or he… uh. Does not cope well. After several days of nap refusal, he spent most of this morning draped over me on the couch, and is now sleeping in his bed cuddled up with a butterfly hand puppet.

I… should probably tell you about the butterfly hand puppet.

There’s this hand puppet. It’s a butterfly, with a big lipsticked mouth. It’s kind of creepy. Niko is enamored of it, possibly because it looks vaguely like a muppet? There are times when he will not listen to me or respond to me unless I’m talking in a silly voice through the butterfly hand puppet.

“Talk like a butterfly mama! Mama! TALK LIKE A BUTTERFLY! No, mama, no! No singing. Only butterfly can sing. Talk like a butterfly!”

Sometimes he calls me butterfly mama.

I sing the Reading Rainbow theme song in a goofy voice and he sings along.

All this butterfly talking makes my throat hurt. I mean, it literally causes me pain.

But I can’t stop because it’s so adorable and hilarious. Niko brings Butterfly things to eat… rocks and trains, but also flowers he makes out of round tinker toy pieces stuck onto straight tinker toy pieces. He says “I love you butterfly!” and gives the hand puppet a hug and a kiss and I try to eat his face and he laughs and says “naughty butterfly! Oh, I’m not mad at you!” Then he sings a song about butterflies while jumping in a circle.

Is this the best age, or what? Toddlers, man. Toddlers.

Anyway, nap time today, Butterfly coaxed Niko into bed (I only had to scoot him across the floor with my foot A LITTLE BIT) and then read 2 stories to him. I asked Niko if he wanted to sleep with Butterfly. His eyes got big and he laughed nervously. “SURE. YES. SURE.” Butterfly wished him good night and lay down on his pillow and I pulled my hand out. I wished Niko good night and told him to sleep tight. “WE WILL” he promised. Daww. And then he fell asleep in like 30 seconds because holy Christ is he running on empty lately.

DID YOU KNOW: if you read books too often they get broken? It’s true. The words just get worn out. At least that’s what Niko claims. We couldn’t read “Time To Pee” or “I Am A Bunny” because “we read those too much, mama, they’re broken. We broke them. The words are broken. We can’t read those too much.”

We’ve started doing some incredibly lazy and half assed potty training. Nesko released Niko into the wild yesterday wearing a shirt and socks and no pants at all. Nothing. Just his business flapping in the breeze. I set a timer and every 20 minutes Niko sat on the toilet and produced a minute amount of urine and then received a chocolate chip. It was a pretty sweet deal. Eventually it was nap time so I diapered him and put him down and then a friend came over… and it turned out he was faking the nap the entire time and he wanted to party, and since it was his favorite person in the whole entire world I said fuck it and let him. He did the foulest poop known to man, resulting in an emergency load of laundry and bath and the living room smelled really bad for like 20 minutes even though no poop got on the floor or anything, it just funked up the air. He was rashy from it (HE IS A DELICATE FLOWER and terrorpoops give him a bright but passing rash) so I put him in underpants. HE WAS THRILLED. Thrilled I say!  Dude, I have been trying to get him into underpants for months now. Literally months! And he would respond each time as though I were offering to mangle a limb! He was good as gold all evening until I put his bed time diaper and jammies on him. And, I mean, he was still good as gold then, he just wasn’t being manhandled into the bathroom every 20 minutes.

Lulled into a false sense of cocky over confidence, we did the underwear thing again today and after two pee pants in 45 minutes (and this was WITH two toilet visits!)  and a shy request for a diaper, I put a diaper and pants on him. Is he too tired to hold it? Was he only trying to impress our friend? I don’t know. We’ll try again this afternoon, maybe. MAYBE.

Another exciting result of potty training? Niko learned the word “penis” which he pronounces “Pee-Nuss.” It may sound odd that he never used that word before, but we usually use the Serbian word for his penis, which I don’t know how to spell. I think “Pee-Nuss” is hilarious, though. We’ve also hit the milestone that butts are funny, which I don’t know, I guess asses are just inherently funny? Because we don’t have verboten body parts or body labels in our house, and we talk about bottoms and butts and rectums and body parts and nakedness is no big deal. But the other day I told Niko to pull his sagging britches up over his bottom and he said “You mean my… GUZA?!?” (guza is the Serbian word for butt) and then he literally fell over laughing the way that toddlers do. WHATEVER, MAN. Just please wipe your Pee-Nuss after you pee, we don’t need dribbles all over the place.


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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Today has been filled with rather more urine than I was expecting.

Apparently I live in a fantasy world where naked toddlers instinctively know how to use a toilet, I don’t even know. Niko is very willing to sit on his little potty, and even stand in front of it and hold his penis… or stand ON IT (it has a lid and makes a little step stool) and stand in front of the toilet while holding his penis, his back slightly arched to point his penis more carefully into the bowl (he has good form). But… nothing happens.

And then he’s running around the kitchen naked and peeing on his feet and saying “oh no!” and running away before I can usher him into the bathroom and the plethora of toilets in there. Yes, perhaps we should move his potty OUT of the bathroom and into the kitchen so it’s more available, but when he has free access to the potty he uses it as a small toy chest. This is behavior I wish to discourage. I’m sure you can imagine why.

The problem with peeing on a tile floor when one is a naked toddler, is that one will then step into the puddle of urine, slip, and fall. Into the urine. Sending it splashing around. This is not comfortable, and it also makes a mess.

Niko very gamely helped me clean up the urine with paper towels, and then I mopped up the floor with a damp rag. And then he peed again. On the floor. “OH NO! PEEPEE!”

Urine, unlike vomit, doesn’t phase me. Heck, I’m not even that wigged out by poop. It’s not the pleasantest thing in the world, but I grew up owning dogs and I spent a summer mucking out horse stalls as part of community service. It’s not that big a deal.

But I still wasn’t prepared for just how much urine there would be.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko doesn’t take his clothing off, which is one of the potty training readiness signs. I mean, he assists in getting dressed and undressed (or strenuously refuses, if he firmly feels that a particular day should be a no-pants day), but he gets tangled up when trying to take off a shirt and when he tries to pull his pants down he loops his thumbs into the waistbands of both his pants and his diaper and then he can only scoot his diaper down so far, no matter how much he grunts and says “eesh! ish! EEEEESH!”

But he HAS started coming up to me after he soils himself and either grabbing his crotch or touching his butt and saying “baht.” He also says “baht” after he farts or belches. Anyway, he’s started indicating when he’s dirty and wants a diaper change. I’m torn between going out and obtaining underpants for him NOW and diving right into diaper-less (during the daytime at least) potty training, or waiting until he gives the alert BEFORE he soils himself.

He doesn’t poop while he’s sleeping, and he mostly pees in sudden bursts instead of little dribbles throughout the day. So he’s got some holding capacity.

I’ve never potty trained anyone before and I’m not really looking forward to cleaning up extra urine. But maybe the unpleasant wetness of peed pants will prompt him to use the toilet?

What say you?

Give me your best potty training advice. Also: give me the worst potty training advice you’ve gotten so we can laugh at it together.

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