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Again! I have no time to entertain you. And again, he pulls through.

My co-workers think I’m insane from all the giggling I do at my computer screen.

Unedited e-mail:

As I’m sitting in the rocking chair getting Simon wound down for bed, he’s on the floor playing with a car and grunt grunt grunting away. After some time, he’s quiet and no longer out of breath. He wipes a bead of sweat from his brow and continues playing with the car.

I say, as if I really need to ask, “Simon? You have poopies?”
Simon stands up, says, “FART!” and runs away.


Next time you’re lifting the 2-year-old into his booster seat and you notice that his diaper is a little, you know, cockeyed?


Don’t wait until he’s eaten two tacos and a pile of chips and has disappeared upstairs for a while.

Because then? Then you’ll smell him, still forgetting about the diaper situation. And you’ll take off his shorts, be grossed out by the poo smeared on his thigh, clean it off, put clean pants on him and put him down.

And you’ll find him, minutes later, stepping on what at first appears to be one of the many shiny rocks laying around your upstairs.

The smell will hit you just as you notice his toes are SQUISHING that rock.


That innocent, sing-songy call from Clare always means trouble.

I was downstairs, switching laundry. I dropped what I was doing, ran upstairs and found a bare vine from grapes, which I had stupidly left on the counter after lunch, on the piano bench. No grapes were left except a few that Simon had chewed and apparently rejected. He ate the whole bunch.

While I was cleaning up the grape mess, Clare headed to the toilet. Simon followed, as he often does. He likes to watch (and smack my bare thighs with his always freezing paws). Clare MUST! HAVE! DOOR! CLOSED! to pee. So I closed the door on the two of them. Simon was sitting on the training potty, fully clothed, when I shut the door.

A few moments later, Clare yelled, “Mooommmmm!!! Simon peed on the potty!”

I immediately started cheering, ready to scoop up my big boy and congratulate him.

Until I opened the door.

He did pee on the potty! But before that, he’d stripped off his pants and diaper, into which he’d exploded with the force of 100 grapes. And it landed business-side down.


See how content and happy she looks? It’s all an illusion.

This potty-training experience has been like having a thousand tiny stick-pins stuck into the back of my arms, one by one. For 18 months.

People are always asking for my two cents on getting their kid to crap on the toilet. My advice? If you can afford it, outsource it.

Clearly I have no idea what I’m doing in this area. And it’s not from lack of research. I have spent dozens of hours surfing parenting sites and have read several books on the subject. All I found is that there’s a lot of useless advice out there.

Both Myles and Clare wore diapers until just before their fourth birthdays. Both were maddeningly content to walk around in saggy pullups and let us scrape the toxic paste off their butts at least once a day.

By some miracle, Clare seems to have caught on over the past few weeks. I’m not even sure if it’s anything we said or did. I’m thinking she would have just done it on her own, right about now.

Maybe with number three, I’ll just skip the pain and agony, throw a potty in front of Elmo and hope for the best.