Friday, October 19, 2007

Say, "cheese!"

After my first baby was born I began to understand a little bit better why God requires us to go through things that are painful even though to us in our finite minds it seems totally pointless. Every couple of months up until the time they are eighteen to twenty-four months old babies receive numerous vaccinations. It hurts and they cry, but it could be so much worse in the long run for them to be spared the momentary discomfort.

During our last visit to the doctor I inquired about a shot that my son had not received yet. My husband was not expecting this, so when the doctor offered to give it during this visit the husband started to look a bit queasy. Dear old Daddy informed me that our son had been told he was not getting any shots that day and that we could not in good conscience allow him to be stuck. In other words, Daddy had not mentally prepared himself for both babies to get stuck in the same day: needles make him excessively uneasy. Truth be told, my brave little man hardly cried at all; it has been about seven months since he was last vaccinated and I believe he forgot to be scared and upset.

This happened to be the same day that my four-month-old daughter decided to roll over. Being a stay-at-home mom is great because it enables me to be present to watch my children learn new skills. Usually. I totally missed the first, and second, and third, and fourth back-to-stomach maneuvers. If I sat and stared at her so as not to miss it again she would just stare back and start to talk at me, totally disinterested in showing me her new trick.

Speaking of new tricks, my two year old has successfully utilized the potty three whole times in the last week. It is not an easy task to convince a little boy to sit still for any length of time. Especially when it involves something as un-fun as going to the bathroom. However, I have managed to bribe him with string cheese. After sitting on the toilet, pee or no pee, he triumphantly declares that he would like some, “cheese?” Whatever works.

I have found that what doesn’t work is to talk on the phone while potty training. The person on the other end of the line may not want to hear things like, “don’t touch that!” or “put that toilet paper back in the toilet!” Of course if one wants to be discreet there is always the alternate non-verbal method to communicate these things to the child: flailing, head-shaking, eye signals, etc. Bear in mind that to effectively continue the phone conversation while implementing the non-verbal method requires one to be skilled in the art of multi-tasking. For all involved it is probably best to keep the telephone out of the bathroom and simply focus on generating some excitement about the forthcoming cheese.

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