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"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."— William Butler Yeats
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Friday, June 13, 2008


Why do we expect our small children to like and appreciate everything? Even things we ourselves don't like? Buddha gets upset when I give him room temperature water. I get frustrated in return because it's just water, you're not supposed to have a preference about water. If I stopped to think about it for a second, though, I would remember that I HATE room temperature water. I love it to be icy cold and refreshing. So why shouldn't my son like it that way, too? Why do I think my three-year-old shouldn't have opinions?

Whenever the UPS truck drives by our house, I always yell, "UPS!! Stop at our house!" It's always fun to receive packages, right? Anyway, the last few weeks, whenever I see that truck and yell my lungs out, I immediately ask Buddha, "What do you think the UPS man would bring us if he stopped at our house?" These are his answers. What do you make of them?

Thursday, June 5th
"A sandhill fishing pool crane bucket with a fishing thing."

Friday, June 6th
"A fishing pond bucket with a fishing thing."

Monday, June 9th
"A sandhill fishing bucket thing."

Thursday, June 12th
"I don't know. I don't know, Mom!"

Can you tell he was getting tired of me testing his memory skills?

We've been chillin' this month, how about you? I think we're storing up our energy for our much-anticipated family reunion during the 4th of July. There's not much else going on around here. We got a new bishop because our stake president was called to be a mission president and our bishop got called to the new stake presidency. So now the former 1st counselor is bishop and the former 2nd counselor is 1st counselor and the former Sunday School teacher is now 2nd counselor (it's okay if you didn't follow all that). We still don't know who will be assigned to oversee the Primary, but we hope we get to keep Gus. We like him.

We've been working on good behavior with Buddha. He tends to fall apart in fits and tantrums on a dime. We've been following a program based on the book The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child, by Alan Kazdin, that focuses on positive reinforcements, positive opposites, and praise, praise, praise. It is tiring and some days I don't do so well, but on the days that we are in line with the method, there is a HUGE difference in Buddha's behavior. Kids just need more praise and more positive direction - rather than focus on what they can't/shouldn't do, we are supposed to emphasize the things we would like them to be doing instead of the negative behavior they so often exhibit. This is Buddha's good behavior chart:

One of the behaviors we would like to see more of, listed on Buddha's good behavior chart, is going pee-pee and poo-poo in the toilet like a big boy. Well, we've made some progress. Buddha will now go pee-pee in the toilet most of the time. But he won't go poop. He says he can't, he doesn't know how, and he cries and screams and carries on. I'm at my wits end. This is the point where I usually give up. I can't understand how he's supposed to learn this if he won't even try?! Teaching someone how to poop, as opposed to how to poop on the toilet, is like trying to teach someone how to hear...you can't. It's innate, or should be, at any rate. The other problem is that he says he likes the feeling of going poop in his diaper. I would just leave him in underwear to break this attachment, but I can see the future before me, stretching out in lines and lines and baskets and baskets and weeks and weeks of poopy underwear laundry needing to be cleaned. It's so easy to get discouraged doing this. I had an epiphany the other day that I should put something on the wall in front of Buddha to distract him while he's on the toilet, but I've been racking my brain since my "ah-ha" moment and I can't come up with any ideas of what to put up. Does anyone out there have any ideas for me? A game? A portable DVD player with movies? A mirror?

Bugga wanted in on the party the first day we set about potty training Buddha...again. Before I got these pictures, he had already been through a few pair of underwear. Yeah, not fun. I love diapers. As unfriendly to our environment as they are, they are really good friends to my patience and my nerves, so for now I think I'll keep them around.

We got a little kiddie pool for the backyard. The boys loved it. I hauled the beach toys out there and they played and splashed and messed around in there for hours. I got to read. Ha! I'm brilliant! :)

Exploring the vast expanse of the jungle pool!

No more pictures, Mom!

After a yummy snack...

...and a quick squeeze...

...it was back in the water with their cheeks stuffed full of yet-to-be-chewed food.


Brooklet said...

You know, we had a real difficult time potty training claire- it boiled down to she just didn't care. She didn't want to stop playing to go potties so she would just go in her pants. She didn't mind squishy poop in her panties. IT was disgusting, we had some tough, poop all over the house situations, etc. So my advice to people is don't push the potty training if the kid just isn't into it. It will happen a lot easier when they are ready. We started when Claire was two and we finished when she was almost 3 1/2. MISERABLE.
And I wouldn't make potty time any sort of play time- I wouldn't put a dvd player or anything there- I think it is just best to make potty time strictly potty time, or else Soren might develop lingering-on-the-toilet habits that will drive you bonkers later on.

Thats my 2 cents. We had a hard, hard time, so I recognize my advice isnt' the most valid, but those are things I have learned.

And the picture of your two boys in underwear- priceless!

She-She said...

Hi Liz! I just found your blog thru Tiff... and guess what! I'm going to add you to mine --- hope that's OK?!
I just can't get enough of your boys... they are so adorable!!

Bell said...

Although I'm no authority on the subject (Ems was ready and finished potty training by 2), She always loved when I would read her books or sing her songs (popcorn, spider, etc.)while she worked on getting all the waste out of her body. We still sing songs in the bathroom if she's having a tough day--it cheers her up.

bethy said...

I'll have to look into that behavior method. Gracie has a gift for knowing how to push our buttons. Not really a tantrum thrower just a pusher.

Good luck with the potty training. I guess some parents might be able to claim bragging rights for early potty training but I'm waiting until three and then trying. Again, what's so bad about diapers? Sounds like you guys are on the right track. And hey, why not get 'em both trained while you're at it. ;-)

LeAnn said...

Cute pictures!
I don't know any supper tricks to convincing them to go on the potty other than... I think they really just have to decide that it's what they want.
Roman was 3 and The first poop on the potty was a little traumatic, but he really wanted to be able to wear the big boy pants so he was willing to try again.
I think you just have to wait...and when they are ready, it's SO much easier.
I'm not against bribery though. Say "when you decide to go poop on the potty, i've got a ____ (fill in the blank with something good) for you!"
Roman got a whole bag of lightning mcqueen snacks. :)

Mom and Dad said...

Hey Lizzie, if it's any consolation, memory is good to us. Twenty-two years ago we last dealt with the potty scene, and now I don't even remember how we did it. It's a long-ago part of our life. We tend to quickly forget the unpleasant stuff, so if you do invent some extraordinary remedy for the dilemma-on-the-bottom, WRITE IT DOWN for posterity! Come to think of it, we do have some pretty amazing/amusing episodes and methodologies recorded in my journals. If you want some entertainment, look up the years when each of you four children was between 2-4 years old. Bet it will be exciting reading! Love, Dad

Mom and Dad said...

Ha ha, Dad doesn't remember because he wasn't the one doing most of the potty training. I still remember.

For the most part it wasn't a big deal. You all liked the praise. So put up a chart and pour on the praise and stickers and rewards when it happens. Say nothing about the accidents, ignore them.

I would bet that Soren would learn in a few days and not the weeks and weeks you envision of poopie pants. Don't let it scare you.

You could do as the Iraqi mothers do and just let him run around with the seam cut open in his pants. Daniel says it works :) They don't have disposable diapers over there.

Lisa said...

I feel your pain!!Mckenna is a very independent girl. We sometimes are bewildered on what to do with her. The book you are reading sounds great. We could focus more on the positive. It is hard to be positive when your child is being negative. The potty chart for Soren looks awesome. Parker is earning a point everytime he goes poo in the toilet. He is trying to earn "the king" car. It really helps motivate him. I read him stories, sing songs, and let him play a portable computer game to distract him while he is on the potty.

Daniel said...

Don't change his diaper until he gets a rash on his little backside. That should do the trick. :) Leave it there for a week if you have to. Huh, if I had kids someone could report this comment as child abuse.

Barbara & Morris said...

I think the whole "potty" thing is a CONTROL issue!
Therefore it must be Soren's idea to go on the potty.
Just back away and act disinterested...don't talk about it anymore and see if he comes around to his own decision about it.
I have never known a kindergartener who came to school in a diaper.
Or you could tell me to mind my own business!!
Anyway you handle it will be but a short BLIP on the window screen of life.
Even though it seems to not be so right now;) (I love your Dad’s comment.)
AND by the way your photo’s are incredible!! You are truly a natural.
Fondly, B.

Marilee said...

I wish I had some good advice for you! We are starting to look into the potty training for Megan but I figure we had better wait until she can actually tell me that she has to use the potty. First things first.
However, I will pass on some advice from my aunt that she sent when I told her we were thinking about potty training Megan. I'll just copy and paste part of her email -

"let me recommend my all time favorite potty training book--"Potty training in less than a Day". In my humble opinion, this is the ONLY way to train a child. My kids ranged in their accomplishing using the potty from 4 hours to one week. That is with day time pottying, but night time pottying followed shorty thereafter. It takes total concentration for 1 day and then big focusing on it for the next week or two, but it is pretty incredible how it works!!"

Just a note, my aunt has nine children and the child that took the longest amount of time, a week, has Downs. It may be worth checking out.

Liz said...

Thanks for all the good potty-training advice, my friends. I will take it all into consideration...when I decide to try again. :) Soren is now going pee pee most of the time on the toilet, but he's still wearing diapers for the poop...and probably will be until be decides otherwise. I'm with the "not-pushing-it" party on this one...it's easier for me that way. :) Yes, I'm lazy.