Two Rhymes with Poo

An unexpected perk of having my children 20 months apart was recently my 4-year-old, taught my 2-year-old how to use the potty. In fact, they both taught each other something new. Let me start from the beginning.

I fully intended, in my life before kids, that I would be a research-based parent. I’d join support groups, read self-help books with titles like “Harmonizing with your Child through Love and Understanding”. I’d pull lessons from Free Range Parenting, Helicopter, and whatever magical pressure/love combo that turns so many Asian children into concert violinists and mathematicians. Turns out I’m so busy being a parent every minute of every day that I don’t have the energy to research theories on child-rearing. I simply show them love and teach compassion and cross my fingers that no body asks me to fly to Mexico for a Spring Break wedding on their high school Senior trip. 

Several months ago, I tried 2 days of undies-only for Maddie, and during that time she demonstrated her non-readiness by upping my laundry loads by 200%. That was my one-and-only-potty-training move I used with Charlotte—so I decided to turn to my 4-year-old for guidance. During the next few weeks my girls became fascinating by the bathroom.

What are you doing in there, Mom? Are you pooping? Can I see? Can I sit on your lap?

Sigh. I look forward to the day where I can instill a closed-door bathroom policy, with assurance that my kids won’t use that time to baby powder the dogs.  

On the plus side, Maddie was gaining interest and so I capitalized on this by overly rewarding and praising Charlotte. Charlotte at this point still struggled to consistently go #2 in the potty. Then one day, Maddie went #2 in the potty and my excitement was shockingly close to how I felt at my college graduation. Except I had done nothing. Then this happened: 

               “Look Mommy, I showed Maddie how to pee in the potty!”

               “Look Mommy, now Charlotte does poopy like me!”

               Somehow, in a weekend, they solved each other’s bathroom dilemmas all while I did very little besides cheerlead and provided toilet paper from the sidelines. Not that it isn’t work—I’ve never "mommied" harder than the 5am wakeup call, to my pantless children each carrying their full potties, while I feigned Disneyland excitement levels, as they present me with their morning duties.

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Four Fish Funerals

One of my vivid memories as a child was bury our fish in the backyard and then continually going to dig him back up to see what would happen. I assumed death was like some sort of magic trick and Gilly’s body would simply disappear and then reappear in the clouds, in heaven. It is because of this experience we are a flushing family, through and through. As I shared last week, we took the plunge into purchasing goldfish for the girls. I am going to spoil the ending and reveal that we’ve had 4 fish funerals in exactly one week.  

It began when I went upstairs to drop off a load of clean laundry and then happened upon my youngest sitting around a puddle of water and stroking Grandpa Fish ever so tenderly in her hands. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to catch a fish, but those suckers are slippery. If I wasn’t so completely horrified, I might be a little impressed by her fishing abilities. The next morning my husband noticed Peggy Fish was starting to float awfully suspiciously and so he primed the kids that she might be going on a vacation very soon, and likely out of solidarity/being cuddled by my 2-year-old, Grandpa Fish, also went belly up within an hour.

The girls went off to Nana and Papa’s house and I replaced the fish with Peggy 2.0 and Grandpa 2.0 and my children were none the wiser. The very same manager sold me two more at full price because while I will do most anything for my kids, carrying a bag of dead fish in my Kate Spade purse is not one of them. Meanwhile I have got to hand it to Mr. Petco Manger for knowing his sh** because I did have to replace the water everyday due to an abundance of feces, which between my children and my dogs, I need more poop in my life, like I need more judgement from the employees at Petco.

Within 2 days we had lots more hands-inside-the-water-incidents and one more unexplained death. The final straw was, well, I do not want to call it murder, but let’s just say two-year-olds don’t understand that fish don’t drink orange juice. We gave them proper goodbyes down the porcelain expressway and my children learned about bigger life lessons and I learned I simply do not need any more non-human responsibilities. I’ve retired our fish bowl safely away in the closet because while my kids easily accept that all fishies go to heaven, this is simply 4 flushes too many for this Mama.

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A Fishing Expedition

As you already know we have two dogs that are insanely loved by our girls and barely tolerated by my husband and me. After scoring all the necessary items on Buy Nothing Davis for a goldfish, I decided to surprise the girls with a trip to Petco after preschool. I was beyond thrilled that of all the sparkly, glow-in-the-dark fish at the pet store, they chose the 19-cent feeder fish. It took one store employee and the manager to consult with me on our 41-cent purchase.

Here is our unedited conversation:

“What type of living environment do you have for them at home?”

“Like their tank? I have a small fish bowl for them.”

Petco employees exchange a judgey look.

“We recommend for goldfish you get a larger tank because they expel a lot of waste and so you will be changing the water constantly and it’s not an optimal environment for them.”

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen. I’m sure we can change the water daily.”

“Well, I mean we can’t stop you from getting them, but you will officially be going against doctor’s orders.”

Pause for sarcastic laughter since we are talking about fish that have the word "feeder" in their name. There is none. 

“I think I can live with that. Can you put them in two separate bags please?”

“They would probably be more comfortable in the same bag.”

“Yes, but it would make for a much more comfortable car ride home if each of my daughters is holding one bag.”

“Are you going straight home with them?”

“We are stopping at Jamba Juice first.”

“I recommend going straight home and keeping them out of direct sunlight.”

At this point I decided to pay for the fish just to end the most ridiculous conversation I’d had that day and that included the one with my two-year-old about why we must wear pants in Target.

Finally my girls are holding their individual fish bags, grinning like they’ve just found Nemo.

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We proceed to walk around the store and admire all the smelly rodents we won’t be purchasing this side of 5th grade, introducing our fish, which we have affectionately named Grandpa and Peggy (after my Dad and his girlfriend), to each of the store’s 9 hamsters and 5 Guinea pigs. We did our best to avoid turning into Darla, with only one dropping incident. 

The manager who fished out our fish stopped us at the door to ensure that we paid the 41-cents and weren’t the mother-and-daughter-fish-stealing-masterminds you watched on CSPAN. Just to seal his fate as the star of my next blog he told me that if I brought the dead fish carcasses back to the store, we would get a replacement free of charge for the next 30 days with our receipt.

All of this may sounds a bit fishy, but I assure you it's all true. We are back home now and my children are currently taking turns holding the bowl with Grandpa and Peggy on their laps, while the other one snacks on Goldfish crackers.

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