Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let the Games Begin!

I came in from feeding cows last weekend and, as casually as a UC Davis campus cop pepper-spraying a crowd, Regina informed me: "It's begun."

I knew exactly what she meant.  It really could only mean one thing:  Potty Training.  The thing about starting is that there's no turning back.  It's a big commitment.  Your brain pushes out all thoughts except for pee and poo and you turn into a parenting parrot, chirping, "Want to go pee-pee?"  "Polly want a poo-poo?"  It's not that we are in love with changing diapers, but to be honest, we're used to them.  I don't gag anymore and sometimes changing a diaper can be cathartic.  Plus, it's a hell of a lot cleaner than teaching a boy to crap on a toilet.

So now Grady's trucking around in his sister's old pink pull-ups and wondering why we incessantly ask if he has to go poopy.  We started off with a grand-slam.  Day 1, 1st Toilet Sitting -- Grady pooped!  I acted excited and even gave him a few M&M's ("A Candy For A Dandy"), but I'd been burned too many times by Dylan when she was potty-training to really celebrate.  Sure enough, Day 1, 2nd Toilet Sitting -- Grady peed on the floor before I could get him seated, splashed around his piss puddle with his hands, sat on the toilet and did nothing, then, when I took him off, peed more on his clothes.  Sigh.

Potty-Training is Exhausting! 
Regina and I are learning that potty-training in cold weather is no picnic.  First, there's no peeing outside, which is what all country kids do.  Dylan had a pee (and sometimes poo) tree designated for said purpose.  You can spot it, it's the one with the vibrant green leaves and dead grass around its base.  We could send Grady out in the rain and tell him to use the pee-tree, but the gale-force winds would probably topple him.  Inside, when Grady stands tall, his weinus is still 6" lower than the rim of the toilet, so everything has to be done seated.  And when little boys are seated, their little junk doesn't "dangle" down.  When I sit in front of the little man and encourage him to push like we're in lamaze class, I feel like I'm staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.  If that thing goes off, I'll take a direct pee shot to the chest.

I made the mistake today of catching Grady mid-poo, taking off his pull-up, and putting him on the toilet.  No, no, no.  Bad idea.  His legs, butt, the toilet seat, and a 3' radius around the toilet were smeared in his doody.  All I could yell was, "Help!" as Regina ran in with a pack of wipes and a hazmat suit.

There's no turning back and we look forward to the day of skid-marked chonies rather than poop-filled diapers.  With a little patience, and a whole lot of 409, we'll make it through this alive.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mia Hamm-Bone

Dylan's just completed her first ever organized sport: pee-wee soccer.  Unlike t-ball, which is slow and painful to watch, pee-wee soccer is a fast-paced, nail-biting, painful sport to watch.  At one point during the season, I thought wagering on the games would spice up the action.  Apparently, it's frowned on as we "don't keep score" and doesn't promote "good sportsmanship."  I had to be a little stealth about it, but I managed to offer Dylan five candy bars of her choosing if she scored a goal.  Sure, some would call that "bad parenting," but you should have seen her hustle.  One of the other dads heard my motivational strategy and doubled the offer for his son if he would, for once, "Just kick the damn ball."  Both kids burned off a lot of energy trying, and both dads never had to pay up, so win-win.

This season, the league had seven teams.  It seems like a lot, but consider there are only five players to a team.  Pee-wee soccer often looks like a rugby scrum, with every single player, goalies included, roiling around a ball that no one seems to be looking for.  Limit the number of players and you limit the size of the scrum -- it's good logic.  The fun thing about our league is that if you have an extra kid, say, one that's too young to play yet, no one cares if the younger sibling throws on a jersey and plays for a while. We tried to keep a short leash on Grady, but he often wandered out onto the pitch, much like a streaker or lost cat, and disrupted the games a few times.

We started the season with just one practice.  It began with no one listening to the coach's instructions and ended with everyone using the sideline cones as hats.  Christina, the coach, has the patience of a saint.  After that practice, she asked if we should try another before our first game.  "Would it matter?" I asked.  It wouldn't, so we didn't.  What the Pacific Power Blue Jets lacked in talent and skill, they made up for it in lack of concentration and goofiness.  We knew we were in for it when, upon arriving to our first game, I spied the other team running passing drills and stressing "teamwork." It was like playing against a German olympic squad.  "Klaus, why are you not running?  Stop crying!  Teamwork!"  "Nine, Dietra, stay in your zone."  Needless to say, they kicked our butts.  The Blue Jets spent the entire game picking the ball out of the back of our goal.  That team soon became known around the league as The Team That No One Liked.

The Blue Jets only could get better from there, and they did.  Dylan, as a forward, is a good player.  She's aggressive, likes to run, and got to where she could dribble and run (for a while).  The next game she even scored a goal (this was pre-candy bribe).  But, when Dylan played anywhere but forward, her attention to the game fell apart.  As a defender, she's indifferent and as a goalie, she's distracted.  "What's going on over on that other field?" seems to be her only thought.  I couldn't even offer a candy bar bribe that she'd buy into as a goalie, that's how little she liked the position.

The Blue Jets improved significantly as the season progressed.  If our games were two, instead of four, quarters long, we'd of had a winning record.  But, while other teams replenished electrolytes and talked game strategy at the breaks, our team took the cones and chased each other around the field, pretending they were unicorns.  They were so exhausted by the third quarter that no one wanted to run anymore.

The last game ended with cupcakes, candy, and trophies.  Dylan was awarded "Most Enthusiastic," which is coach-speak for The Kid Who Won't Stop Running.  Dylan still sleeps with her trophy and talks about the goal she made, so the experience was a good one.  The Blue Jets could care less what the final scores were or how they played.  They had fun, they spazzed out, and now they're ready to hone their skills in the off-season so they can collect on those candy-bar bribes.