Saturday, October 16, 2010

Whistle--DON'T ROAR--While You Work

Well, the house is clean. So is Ender. I'm not. >:(

This morning, I've had to force myself to think kind thoughts. I've had pretty good success, but I've also created my own inventive string of russafrussaprofanity.

Since Saturday is one of the two mornings we can sleep in, it just feels so unfair when we can't sleep in. We were drowsily aware of Ender playing around us when he alerted us with "I need to go potty!" Michael jumped up. I meant to, honestly, but my brain moves so slowly in the mornings that my body didn't get the memo fast enough. In the bathroom, Michael was so tired that he didn't think straight and therefore didn't help Ender aim...and boy, Ender really had to go. So he didn't pee straight. At all. The entire bathroom floor was slick with pee. Michael got cranky about this (quite understandably), so I sent him back to bed now that my body was realizing it ought to move. I tossed Ender into the bathtub and got to work.
But I had some grumbles of my own, and it was really hard to suppress the urge to holler and roar every time I stepped right into the pee or got it all over my hands or had to switch robes for dipping the edge into the pee. I kept trying to remind myself that I should be kind. That it wasn't that big of a deal (except that it really seemed like it was) and that it was no one's fault, really. And I had to keep reminding myself that I had sent Michael back to bed and didn't want him to have to get up and help me...right? Ohhh, it was a struggle. Terrible strain on a groggy, cranky brain.
Once the mess was cleaned up, Ender pooped in the tub. Of course. Just a little encore to the whole performance. I just rolled my eyes and took care of it. Sheesh.

In a small lull of peace when I got to study my scriptures (during which I was obliged to clean the bathroom yet again and take care of THREE incidents when Ender pooped his pants--my sanity was really frail, I tell you), I tidied all the rooms and cleaned up breakfast. As I was putting away a book, I saw an ENORMOUS BLACK SPIDER. Out of my reach at the edge of the ceiling and wall. Why is it I always encounter ENORMOUS spiders when I'm naked? It's like some cruelly warped Murphy's Law! So, shivering and squeaking, I seized the vacuum. But then, there's a problem: the spider's not squished if I vacuum him up, so how can I be sure he's dead? Oh no. :| No time to look it up online.

[Now that I have, I've learned that it's unlikely a spider will live through the experience. The dust and suction suffocate the spider, and if the vacuum has good suction, the impact may also kill the spider.'s not a 100% sure thing]

I came to the conclusion that I could burry the spider in all the house debris if I kept the vacuum going. So I vacuumed like a mad woman, spazzing every time I notice the string poking out from the shoulder of my robe and being excruciatingly thorough. When I encountered yet more spiders in the corners of my house, I watched sadistically as they struggled away from the tube only to succumb to its power. I felt like Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride: "THERE WILL BE NO SURVIVORS!"
Partway through, Ender pooped his pants. Yes, again. And peed on the bathroom floor. Yes, yes, again.
I deep-cleaned the bathroom again. Ender had another bath.
Also partway through, Ender came to me with a dandelion...uh oh. That means he remembered how to open the front door. Lovely: I'm still in my robe. I zoomed over to the door, slammed and locked it, and resumed vacuuming only to discover a shredded dandelion waiting on the armchair, which was one of the first things I vacuumed.
Another finale to the escapade: Ender pooped his pants. Mm-hm, that's FIVE times. Have you ever heard the phrase "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"? Ender and I had some impressive moments of silence. I slapped my legs and roared once but quickly apologized and zipped my lips once more.

And now I just remembered I forgot to empty the vacuum. Plus, I don't feel good. Plus, it's past lunch time and Ender's nap time. Ender is trying to make LEGO stairs, and it's not working, and he's mad. Am I mad, too? *sigh*

I feel like the fight has gone out of me. I mean, that's good, but I feel very bedraggled. What a difficult morning to plow through. It takes so much effort to maintain Good Mommy Vibes while coming back for more and more and more and more and more poo-nasty tasks --what a record, Ender! SIX poops! FIVE in your pants!-- (and ENORMOUS SPIDERS--that really frayed my nerves).

But I did it, I think. And now that it's about 2:00pm, I'm really, really hoping that either the biggest part of the day is behind me or I'm too worn out to be upset by any new adventures.
:( boohoo
I had a thought that came to me quite authoritatively...the principle that if you do a service begrudgingly, it's as good as if you never did it. All that work for nothing? Better whistle while you work!
I really tried. I did, I tried so hard to be calm and kind. I tried again and again and again...that's what counts, isn't it? I have to hope so.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ode to Potty Training

Sometimes it's hard to feel very sane while cleaning up potty messes. It was especially hard for me when poo-water would splash up in my face. That's very insulting, somehow. I once thought sarcastically, aren't I such the princess, having to dip into this disgusting mess. But because of my mother's example, I feel like I was able to prevent my attitude from getting to the very worst end of the sanity spectrum.
My mother didn't have the option of disposable diapers for most of her 7 children. And she has told us how one day, while swirling a very poopy cloth diaper in a toilet, she felt so degraded and depressed. It was just so nasty, such a low thing to find herself doing. But because my mother is sensitive to the Spirit, she learned a lesson right then. The Holy Ghost taught her that she was doing the Lord's work. And she knew it was true.
She even laughed aloud at the thought of poopy diapers being part of the Lord's work, but it's true.
Babies depend on us. They cannot take care of themselves. We learn to be like the Savior by providing that care. But there's another thing that makes it such a Christ-like thing to do: the disgustingness of it. Yep. The insulting, nasty part. That's what makes it such a sacrifice.
Caring for babies is a sacrifice, but most of it is incredibly rewarding. It's when we do something that seems so below us, so not worth our attention, and SO NOT REWARDING that we are making a real sacrifice of love.

You know, in the end, I think it IS rewarding. To prove it, I have felt driven to share some feelings of gratitude through potty training my son.

  1. My bathroom is cleaner than it has ever been (after cleaning up all the messes that made it dirtier than it had ever been).
  2. I have spent more time with Ender.
  3. Ender and I are learning to communicate better.
  4. Ender is proud of himself for his accomplishments.
  5. I have found yet another reason to be proud of him!
  6. We can say goodbye to the expense of diapers, wipes, and the occasional diaper genie refills.
  7. No more carrying that hulking diaper bag!
  8. Ender has cute underwear.
  9. The potty is faster than diapers.
  10. No more stinky diapers to gag at! HALLELUIAH!
  11. The accidents have gotten me to do the laundry I'd procrastinated. Phewf!
  12. I learned better self-control by not giving in to losing my temper.
  13. I learned that pee is not as scary as it seems...sure the smell lingers, but it IS cleanable.
  14. I'm even less afraid of getting my hands dirty and just digging in (ew, pardon the phrase) when there's poo to be dealt with. Man, if I can deal with poo like that, I'm Superwoman.
  15. I have an excuse to give Ender chocolate once in a while (before I just had to feel guilty, I guess).
  16. I take a little chocolate for myself when I feel the need. It's a very nice reward.
  17. Ender is very, very, very well-bathed. He smells good.
  18. I had a reason to keep as few things as possible in the bathroom, so now it's not as crowded as it used to be! And now I have an empty little drawers-bin-thing that can hold our winter hats and gloves when the time comes! Yay, organization and space!
  19. I've learned (or relearned) to get up immediately and help Ender as he needs me.
  20. Please don't think I'm wicked, that Ender doesn't have a diaper to muffle his toots, he's noisy. And it makes me laugh. And I like laughing,, I'm glad to hear his toots??? He laughs, too, and I really like laughing with him...oh dear...
ODE TO POTTY TRAINING! We are happy to be doing it! Ender is making such incredible progress! He is so good at holding it in, actually, that sometimes the hard thing is going at all. He hasn't wet himself for at least two days (and he did well the days before), and he is always dry for naps and bedtime. I won't go into details since I respect his privacy, but basically, my son is awesome. :) And so is potty training.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recapturing Beauty

Stephanie Nielson spoke at an event for a project at BYU called "Recapturing Beauty."

When I got there, parking was a mess. I arrived at the WSC Ballroom late, and people were still arriving. They kept coming till at least half an hour after it was to start. People were crammed into every space possible! They crowded in the back until the booths had to relocate. They filled up the stage on the side. They extended out to the "lobby" and the hallways. They had to be asked multiple times to get out of the aisle for fire safety codes.
I was so excited! I was so glad that so many people had come to hear Stephanie speak.

Listening to her tell her story (with more details than I've heard before--I loved it), I was impressed with how very sweet she is. She has a darling sense of humor, and she's just as honest as she seems on her blog. We didn't have time to talk with her individually.

Stephanie talked about how her life had seemed ideal, fairytale-like, before the accident. She talked about how love can help you navigate through any and all trials. I believe that. I also believe that in a way, her life is ideal again. For her. We'd never want the same trials, but countless people are strengthened by her strength, uplifted by her example. I'm sure she is fulfilling every bit of potential Heavenly Father has planned for her life. And I want to be like that, too.

When I was pregnant with Ender, there were handfuls of complications. Michael gave me a priesthood blessing. And in the blessing, I was told that the birth would be ideal. I pondered on that for the remaining months of the pregnancy. When we got to that point, I kept it in my thoughts. There were even some problems during the labor and birth, but I never felt scared because I knew it would be according to Heavenly Father's plan--which doesn't often mean our definition of perfect. I think that Heavenly Father's ideal plans for us include all the experiences we could possibly need to make us the best version of ourselves. Ideal can mean trials because we can grow in trials. And growth is good.

*The labor and birth have become such a beautiful, sacred experience to me. I wholeheartedly agree that it was ideal.*

When we hurt ourselves by denying our beauty, it blocks growth.
A shallow example: when you look grungy and someone knocks on your door, it's likely that the only thing on your mind while you talk to them is a great big zit on your chin, your obviously greasy hair, your disgusting sweats and your morning breath. After they've left, the opportunity is gone for you to have been a spot of light in their day. When you dress nicely, it's easy to forget about your image when you answer that door. You'll probably smile and feel gracious towards your visitor...which would surely brighten their day.
A deeper example: when you give in to angry feelings, when you abuse yourself with unkindness, you are far from the Holy Ghost, and your own spirit is hurt. In the weak and captive state brought on by sin (which does indeed include anger and self abuse), your progress is seriously maimed.

During Stephanie's talk, I felt reminded of all the times it's been said in General Conferences that women have angelic qualities. They really do. And I felt impressed that beauty is as much a part of our divine nature as motherhood and godhood. I believe that inner beauty can translate itself into outer beauty.

Did you know Stephanie is really, really beautiful? Two pictures were shown in the slideshow, depicting Stephanie before and after the accident, side by side. And I found myself preferring the picture of the current Stephanie. I felt drawn to that one...I sincerely thought it was prettier. More beautiful--in every way! She is a woman whose inner beauty cannot be held back by scars from burns or any other limitation her body has given her.

She's not the only one who can be like that! Inner beauty can prove itself in outer beauty. Sometimes, perhaps, you have to look with different eyes to see it. But in the great cases of undeniable inner beauty, everyone sees it.

Inner beauty comes from living close to the Spirit, obeying the promptings received in such a lifestyle and being a person of charity in all things.

I have some work to do!

Thank you, Stephanie Nielson, for the life you live!

ps: if she feels bad for crying the whole time, she shouldn't...because I was fanning my eyes with my yellow notepad and chewing my flavorless gum rather furiously the entire time (trying not to cry--because as soon as I let loose, I knew I'd be sobbing like a dying seal somewhere in the back of the Ballroom. I had the warning signs of the knot in my throat and the snot threatening to break the dam)(the event was filmed, but let's hope I stayed anonymous in the massive crowd).

Old Men in Hot Tubs

The gross thing is...
sometimes the old men really look like this.

Once in a while, I'm awkward.
This morning I decided to relax at the gym and sit in the hot tub. There were two old men in the hot tub. It's only a little weird to share the water with them...there's rarely a time the hot tub doesn't have old men in it. When I got in, I focused on the bubbles in front of me and tried to daydream about owning a beautiful house. I finally succeeded when one the of the men's voices broke into my reverie and asked "What's your general take on the world?"
I said "Oh, you're talking to me?" to kind of save myself in case they thought I was shyly eavesdropping. I faltered a bit.
" the world." (oh dear).
"Yeah. I love life. That's about as general as I can get." (Did I really just say that?)
Then the other old man said "Well, as I always say, it's better to see than to view! chuckle chuckle Otherwise it's too permanent! chuckle chuckle."
The other man chuckled, too.
I'm sorry, I must have missed something. I just smiled and looked back at the bubbles. In my defense, I'd thought in my half-listening-trying-not-to that they were talking about riding horses, not politics (or whatever it was). Although it was hard to imagine them on horses. Especially the first man because his stomach was so expansive it got enormous before it reached his belly button. And it was so round and smooth, like he was pregnant. It was both hard to look away and hard to look at it.
I felt very young and weird.
After they left, I did a couple lazy laps in the pool, keeping my hair dry. When I got back into the hot tub, the bubbles were gone, but so were any old men, so I readied myself for some pleasant dreamhouse decorating when an old man came up, turned on the bubbles and got in. There goes my dreamhouse! We small-talked...I don't like small talk. I'd rather be quiet. But I obliged, and we talked about how it can be nice to have family in town or something like that. He guessed my age too, which was kind of weird.
Finally he left. I lazed through more laps and then really enjoyed some lonely minutes in the sauna.

In and Out of the Dog House

i spanked ender.
dumb reason (any reason is).
he pooped a second time in his undies.
potty training is hateable.

But guess what?
My day got better.
My husband gently comforted me...
And reminded me how much I hate spanking.
He loves me.
And Ender told me he loves me.
And I believe him.

And guess what else!
She is sweet.
And I need to organize my thoughts before I write about it, but write I will.
It was very healing to go to that after a potty-training-day.