Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A hundred little daily rituals

I think my husband and I are giving the kiddo a reasonably rich and varied life - considering that, for our community, we are not rich and have only one car and we've both been utterly exhausted lately. But small children have a way of necessitating - and contributing - a lot of repetition.

The routine of diaper changing is slowly giving way to potty training rituals. Elaborate negotiations for stickers. Careful selection of toys to play with while sitting on the potty. Today Cloud asked for an open cup of water and then plunged his hand into it - apparently a trick Daddy taught him.

I think the crying spells are mostly over (the potty-related ones, that is). The accidents are not. I'm trying to be all Zen about it, but sometimes I fail. All these drama scenes and accidents can be frustrating. He now knows what the purpose of the potty is, and what he has to do to earn a sticker, but he needs to do a lot of work on timing his efforts. Asking to go to the potty voluntarily seems like it's a long way away. He tried that this morning, but it was immediately after he went in his diaper. It probably occurred to him, seconds too late, that he could've used that peepee to get a sticker instead of wasting it.

The thought of saving money on diapers, and releasing fewer diapers into the environment, keeps me motivated. I pulled out the cloth diapers again - at least he feels a little discomfort when they're wet, even if he never acknowledges it - but they're not really designed to prevent a three-year-old from making a mess. They were great when he was two.

Everything else in life has routines and rituals, too. Some of them are funny. When I want him to sit on a chair, or next to me on the couch, he says, "Up cat! Up cat! Up cat!" Until I say "Up, cat," and then he jumps up. Sadly, he's not as graceful as a cat.

This evening we were taking a walk to the horse barn (the only place he ever wants to walk to these days) and he announced, "No roof!" A convertible had just driven by. The last few times we'd seen convertibles, like, last week, I'd said, "Look! That car has no roof!" Apparently if I'm too slow to say it, now he'll say it for me.

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