Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mommy, Where's Your Wiener?

I knew this blog was coming. I knew that somehow, some way when I potty trained Colin, there was sure to be a good story, and boy was I right.

We've been gradually working towards potty training for a few months now. I knew he wasn't ready for awhile because he never woke up dry in the morning and just never had the voids that Maddie did when it was time to potty train her. I also feel like I started a little too soon with Maddie and there were more headaches than victories. There may be a slight chance she'll need therapy as a result of my aggressive potty training technique. To my defense, I trained her when Colin was only a few months old, was sleep deprived, desperately wanted to get rid of at least one set of diapers, and many times rushed her along because I was either nursing Colin on the bathroom floor waiting for her to do her duty while he was screaming at the top of his lungs because I had ditched him on the family room floor in order to rush her to the potty.
We have finally gotten to a point with Colin where he understands "Potty Training" has nothing to do with riding a train and he now refuses to wear a Pull Up. A few months, back we started by simply having him pee on the potty before he went to bed each night. This was more out of necessity since he outgrew nighttime diapers and the nighttime Pull Ups don't absorb as much. As a result he would wake up with a wet bed.
He actually had done pretty well adjusting to this routine, except he usually threatens to pee on Maddie as he aims his wiener at her. Then he goes into a soliloquy about how he is "Pee-Pee Guy" and shoots bad guys with his "pee gun." Sigh. Typical boy.
Over the last week or two, I have started putting him on the potty periodically throughout the day in an attempt to keep him as dry as possible. With each trip to the bathroom comes a new discovery. He investigates himself and asks a lot of questions. The questions started simple. "Mom, what is this?" I decided not to use any cutesy words for it, so we call it either a wiener or quite simply a penis.

I then had to make sure that his "discovery" didn't prevent him from aiming it into the toilet. He is like a contortionist and treats his stuff like Silly Putty. It even makes me uncomfortable. A few days later he moved down to his testicles and began trying to figure those guys out. "Mom, what are these?" Again, I tried to be as straight forward as possible and tell them they are his testicles or some men call them "balls." Then he asked me what they were for. A million answers popped into my head, but rather than answer him I told him to ask Daddy.
The latest inquiry came the other day. I have never really been that self-conscious or discrete with the kids since they usually bust open the bathroom door even if I do close it. It never really made much difference to me and I got used to the fact that I probably will never pee alone again. Of course, with Colin's new found curiosity came the realization that I don't have a penis. He was trying to go on his potty chair and I happened to have to go as well. Without skipping a beat, I dropped trou and went as well not realizing what his view from his potty chair was. (Side note: I can't believe I am going into great detail how I went about relieving myself as it pertains to my son. However, this is the reality we live in as parents and there is no such thing as privacy, modesty or a moment’s peace.)

But I digress, Colin caught a glimpse of what I had versus what he had. Suddenly an alarmed look came across his face. "Mom, where's your wiener!!" I explained that I am a girl and girls don't have wieners. “Boys have penises and girls have vaginas.”
He became even more perplexed and tried to get another glimpse. I feverishly pulled up my pants to avoid being the subject of his anatomy lesson any longer. He finally stopped trying to figure it out and proclaimed, "Mommy, you have a wiener but yours is broken." Oh. My. God. I don't even want to know what image in his little mind created that conclusion. Then he told me, "Mom, you better go and get one!"
I gently explained that it isn't broken and that you just can't go out and get one.  I realized that there was more to this conversation that I am sure he can learn on MTV at some point and simply restated my previous statement. "Boys have penises and girls have vaginas." According to Robert Fulghum, everything I learned, I learned in Kindergarten, in this case it was Kindergarten Cop. Then he started asking about various members of our family to take stock of who had what. "Does Daddy have a wiener?"

"Yes, Colin. Daddy is a boy so he has one."
"Does Maddie have a wiener?"
"No, Colin. Maddie is a girl like me. She doesn't have one."
The list continued to grandparents and close friends.
Later that evening I was helping Colin get his bike out of the garage. He looked up at me and proclaimed, "Mom, I think you're gettin' a wiener."
Hmm. Was it my extraordinary man-like strength lifting his bike that brought him to that conclusion or just wishful thinking that maybe I would just sprout one so we could be alike? Whatever the case may be, all I could do was chuckle and shake my head. My neighbor was watching this exchange from afar and inquired why I was laughing and shaking my head. All I could tell her was that Colin was writing my next blog for me.
The next day, Colin continued his inventory of who had one and who doesn't even outside of bathroom time. "Dad, you know Jimmy right? (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

"Yes, Colin. I know your friend Jimmy."
"Do you know his daddy?"
"Yes, I know his daddy. What about him?"
"Does he have a wiener?"
"Yes, Colin. Jimmy's dad is a man so he has a wiener."
Then Colin proceeded to list off everyone he knows. Let's put it this way, if Colin has ever met you, chances are he has inquired whether or not you have a penis or not. And if he isn't sure, he'll come right out and ask you. Case in point, the girl who lives across the street got caught in Colin's crosshairs as they were doing sidewalk chalk the other day. "Hey G, do you have a wiener?" This poor 8 year old didn't know what hit her. She hadn't been informed of Colin's most recent phase and was completely mortified.

Yesterday the kids were at a friend's house for a playdate and he interrupted playing with his toy to turned very nonchalantly and asked my friend, "Hey, do you guys have wieners?" Luckily I was able to explain why my son asked if she and her 6 year old daughter had penises. My fear is that he will start doing this out in public. I can just picture him asking a server at a restaurant or shouting it through the grocery store at an innocent bystander.
In addition to his curiosity about parts of the body, he is interested in all things poop. I can't say I'm surprised since it is his favorite word. He told me a little story the other day about his poop. I asked if he had to go while he was sitting on the potty and he told me that the poops were still in his butt watching a movie about shooting guns made out of poop. Hmm. Very creative.
The next time he told me there was a mommy poop, daddy poop and two poop kids inside his butt watching a movie. He went on to tell another story about what they were doing, where they were going, etc. etc. Honestly, I just wanted his poop family to come out and join us in the toilet so I didn't have to sit in the bathroom any longer. Unfortunately, most times his new friends end up having a party in his Lighting McQueen underpants instead of where they belong in the potty.

Then there is the eternal question--what is poop? I tried to be as honest and intelligent as possible since most of his future conversations on the subject won't be, and told him it is all the food he eats after his body takes the good stuff out of it. I also told him it is called "waste." That stressed him out and he cried, "I don't want to waste!" I further explained that if he didn't poop, he would explode. Turns out he'd rather waste than explode, and he accepted that answer.

As of right now, Colin has mastered the pee thing. He even tells me when he had to go as opposed to peeing under his train table. The poop thing is a work in progress and we are working on bribing him with Matchbox cars to go tell us before he goes in his pants instead of after-the-fact.

I do have to say that Maddie is paying back her debt to Colin for all the times her potty training left him lying helpless and hungry on the floor while I sat with her. Now she sits with Colin in the bathroom and reads him books. It gives me a chance to actually write this entry as opposed to sitting on the bathroom floor discovering how many parts of my toilet I missed when cleaning. I guess it the silver lining to having two kids 23 months apart and all those diapers I've changed over the last five years.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sh!t, Damn, Motherboard

E.L. James says she wrote Fifty Shades of Grey on her Blackberry, so I guess there's no reason I can't write blog posts on my iPhone, right?

I know that my posts ping-pong between uplifting, positive and motivational life events and the really ridiculous things that happen to me and the things my kids and husband do to make me contemplate picking up and becoming an aerobics instructor at a resort in the Caribbean. Today's post is most definitely the latter of the two.

Let's start of on a positive note, though. Tom and I were fortunate to go on another trip that he won through work. Tom actually came in a very close second in the sales competition, but the winner's wife was having a baby the week of the trip. So, by the grace of God, we were off to the Cayman Islands. Of course, when we arrived the weather report said it would rain for the next 5 days. I said a prayer to my Pa, who usually comes through and delivers great weather for various events. As luck would have it, the weather held up with only a few spotty showered here and there until the day we left and a tropical depression rolled in. The rain was so bad planes were not landing at the airport, jeopardizing our flight home.

At that point I was missing my kids, had done enough damage to my liver and just wanted to get home. I said one more a silent prayer to Pa and within 2 minutes our plane landed. Luckily we weren't delayed for too long and still made our connecting flight in Charlotte and got home right on schedule.

Of course divine intervention came to a screeching halt shortly after we returned home. It took me a few days to get back in the swing of things and regain tolerance for all the whining, crying, complaining and general shenanigans. Maddie graduated from preschool and I had to make sure I had gifts for her teachers since buying them rum from the Cayman's called "Big Black Dick" seemed inappropriate nor was buying them a case of beer like we did for our neighbors who watched our pets.

Of course returning home also meant returning to the reality of all the drama that comes with our children, including the fact that prior to our trip Colin was suspended from the childcare center at they gym for 3 months for biting again.  We were fortunate to get his sentenced reduced to one month as long as when we return we go later in the day to avoid the busy time in the morning when we normally go.  I could go into a tirade about this issue in an of itself, but let's just say after taking him to the child psychologist, it turns out the problem isn't him. 

The day I took him to the psychologist,  I was nearing the end of a 3-day laundry marathon and moving on to all the housework. Unfortunately the maid service I enjoyed at the Ritz-Carlton was a distant memory. Despite the fact I cleaned the entire house before we left, I came home to enough dog hair to create another husky.

Maddie asked if she could play games om while I vacuumed.  Let me start by saying we have two other laptops in the house that Maddie can use, but she is a computer snob and insists on using mine.  Of course, being the pushover that I am, have given her permission to do so.  Now, typically if the kids are going to play on my computer I make sure there are no liquids anywhere near where they are playing since it is a brand new Mac Book Pro that Tom got me for Christmas.

Within ten minutes into vacuuming, Colin had already unplugged the vacuum five times. Between vacuuming, yelling at him and putting him on time out, I didn't notice that Maddie had helped herself to a glass of water and managed to spill it all over my laptop.  She was yelling something at me, which she typically does while I am vacuuming despite the fact she knows full well I can't hear her and it took me a few seconds to realize what she was actually telling me.  I screamed at the top of my lungs, grabbed the computer and did my best to drain the water off and out of it.  It was still operating and I simply shut it and put it aside.

Later that day, I opened it up hoping it would still work, but it was dead.  I promptly packed it in rice for the next 4 days.  On Tuesday morning I set it on the table, said an Our Father and attempted to turn it on.  Nothing.  I called to make an appointment at the Mac Store until Tom told me it would actually be better to take it to CDW (where Tom works and where we purchased it) since repair would be cheaper.  I had to drive 45 minutes each way only to find out the next day that it would cost us a cool $1,100 to repair the mother board assuming there wasn't any other damage.  They did determine the hard drive was still Okay, which means at least all my files aren't lost.  I think the proper reaction to this stituation, besides crying, is to use my favorite list of explitives, Shit, Damn, Motherf*%#r! or in this case, Shit, Damn, Motherboard.

Tom said that he wouldn't pay repair the computer.  For that amount we could pretty much buy a new one since there was no guarantee that spending the money to replace the motherboard would be the end of our expense to fix it.  My heart sank. I know that it is just a machine, but everything I do from writing this blog, to preparing music for my cycle classes revolves around that computer.  All my life's passions and goals for the coming year involving my writing, fizzled along with the motherboard. Guess precipitation we were spared in the Cayman's decided to land squarely on the keyboard of my laptop.  And it was so nice and pretty and shiny and only six months OLD!!!  Of course, I then started on the second emotion--self-loathing.  If Tom used the "Love and Logic" method of parenting with me, he would say "too bad, so-sad.  No new computer for you. You weren't paying attention to what our kid was doing, therefore you suffer the consequences."  And that was basically what he was doing and I can't say that I blame him.  I suck.

I flashed back to my childhood and how I was always messing up.  Spilling nail polish remover on the linoleum floor leaving a huge yellow spot, losing things, forgetting books in my locker when I needed them for homework, losing library books, and the list goes on and on.  Even as an adult I am notorious for losing things (like wedding bands and ruby and diamond earrings), to ruining electronics like my last iPod Nano that I trashed when my water bottle spilled in my purse and fried it.  I am surprised my iPhone has lasted this long!  Even Tom has an under-over on how long it will take me to destroy it.  Too bad we didn't invest in Apple Care on the laptop like we did my phone.

Sometimes I wish I could just give it all up--all the phones, computers, iPods, Apple TV, Kindle and all the electronics that we are slaves to and become Amish.  Of course, I'm not sure Tom would make it since he can't grow a beard. 

The jury is still out on whether or not we will replace my laptop.  Tom tried to take advantage of a promotion at work that had special pricing on Mac's, but he would have had to place the order by May 26th and that was the day the computer met it's maker.  He tried to work his magic with his contact at work explaining the situation, but it was a no-go.  Instead we would have to pay an extra $300 for the same computer. Just our luck.

So, here I sit going between typing this entry on my iPhone and my old laptop that is slow as molasses, and the "i" and "x" keys are popped off thanks to Colin. Clearly Maddie takes after me when it comes to her high standards when it comes to technology. Still, I feel like might be better off chiseling this on stone. For this reason, I apologize for any typos above and beyond my usual amount. 

My biggest frustration is with my iTunes.  I have collected so much music over the last several years especially more recently for my cycle classes.  I take a lot of pride in my play lists for class and feel lost without my library.  I tried getting a subscription to iCloud to see if I can retrieve my music, but for some reason it won't let me even purchase the subscription to see if will work.

I've thought about ways to raise money to replace my computer and a few ideas have cropped up--some good, some not so good.  I've decided pole dancing and selling organs are among the bad ideas.  I'd have to teach an awful lot of cycle and Pilates classes at the gym to make over $1,000 especially since I have just about exhausted my free babysitting resources seeing as how I can't bring Colin to the free daycare at the gym.  I suppose I could hold a 5k, but something tells me a race to benefit my technology addiction and snobbery isn't as compelling as Cancer or sick kids.  That thought alone puts me back into "I hate myself" mode. Unless any of you have some sort of job or task you want to hire me to do, my neighbor and I are going to hold a garage sale in a few weeks and we are going to have Maddie set up a lemonade stand and see if we can have a "I spilled water on my mommy's laptop and she's making me buy her a new one" sign to see if we can get any sympathy donations.  I truly am shameless.

Instead I might take a picture of all the Apple products I've bought with the exception of my IIgs that is now in the Smithsonian and send it along with a compelling letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.  I'd tell him how loyal I am to Apple, how I was trying to nuture a future Apple-user by letting my daughter use my computer and beg and plead for them to fix my Mac Book.  Since I don't have my computer to download the pictures, I guess that isn't possible. I suppose I can make a list, or maybe make it even more compelling by having Maddie draw a picture and mail it to him! That would really tug at his heartstrings!!  If that fails all I have left to do is say a prayer to Steve Jobs and hope that he and my Pa have become friends in heaven and he can pull some strings for me.

Dear Mr. Cook,

Recently my 4-year old daughter spillled a cup of water on my Mac Book Pro and it seems it will cost a minimum of $1,100 to repair the motherboard.  Over my lifetime, I have owned at least a dozen Apple products including, but not limited to:

1) Apple IIgs
2) 5 iPods of various generations
3) 2 iPhones
4) 1 Mac Mini
5) 1 iPad 
6) Nike + Pod for running
7) 1, now deceased Mac Book Pro

I also grew up using Apple products  in school, designed my high school and college newspapers on Mac's and wanted to pass on my love of Apple products to my daughter by allowing her to use my laptop when she spilled the water on it.

I am sure you are a busy man, but as a loyal customer, I am asking for you to consider my request to repair my computer or replace it since I know your new model will be coming out soon.  I will tell everyone I know of your kindness should you choose to accomidate my request.


Michelle Stien

P.S. I am a blogger and write a column for a local magazine that I can utilize to mention Apple Computers and your kindness.