Sunday, June 28, 2015

Double Diaper Trouble

If I've been a little absent lately, it's because I've been cleaning up poop. Not even kidding. I should warn you that this post will include a lot of talk about poop and other unpleasant bodily functions. Not mine, thankfully, but disgusting none the less.

I don't know what kind of a special affinity my children have for pooping on me, but they've had it since they were newborn. All three of them. And I'm not just talking blowouts or diaper explosions, I mean like pooping all over my leg in the middle of a diaper change, or pooping on me when I pick them up to put them in the tub. I've been pooped on more times than I can count. But little exclusively-breastfed-baby-poop isn't so bad. It cleans up pretty easily and doesn't smell awful. But the bigger they get, the worse it gets.

The twins were about 15 months old when they (and by they, I mean Caroline) learned how to take off their diapers. That's the way it works around here. One figures out how to do it and does it over and over again until the other learns how. So when they say "double trouble" for twins, they really should say quadruple trouble. Because not only are there two children with their own ideas of how to get into trouble, but they are each learning from and copying the other's trouble-making skills. Learning to un-diaper themselves was one of those nasty, awful, no good trouble-making skills. And they both mastered it very early on. I think it's payback for laughing about one of my besties' babies learning to un-diaper before her mom was ready to go through potty training. I had no idea.

When they started un-diapering, I was pretty big pregnant with Juliet. I wanted to potty train, but I knew it was a bit early and frankly I just didn't have the energy to do it. So I opted for duct tape instead. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. I got to where I would go around the entire circumference of the diaper around their waist two times with a strip of duct tape. But even then they would somehow weasel themselves out of it.

They got into a really awful habit of taking their diapers off in the middle of the night. So then they would wake up sopping wet. And on some very unfortunate mornings, I would walk in to the awful stench of tiny human poop spread all over their sheets. And their hair. And their crib slats. And under their fingernails. And sometimes (I shudder even to think it) even smeared around their mouths. Gag. Cut to me rinsing out pajamas and sheets in the toilet, wiping my babies down with wet wipes and spraying them off (from a distance) in the shower. I seriously think I deserve a medal for the amount of poop I've had to clean up in my less than two year stint as a mother.

After Juliet arrived, I decided it was time to potty train. I committed myself to three entire days and nights diaper-free. Day 1 was awful. I think we maybe had one success. The entire day. Potty training two little bums at the same time is a lot harder than I expected. It seemed like each time one was sitting on the potty, the other had an accident. And trying to put two little bums on the potty every 20 minutes while also breastfeeding a newborn and trying to maintain peace and cleanliness in our home is no small task.

Day 2 was better. After I caught her mid-pee and stuck her on the potty to finish, Caroline seemed to get the hang of it. Charlie would pee on the potty but had a hard time going #2. By day 3 Caroline had it down and rarely had accidents after that. Charlie, not so much. He went back into diapers on day 4. That was about 2 months ago when the twins were 20 months old. Caroline still does really well for the most part. I still take extra undies and pants with us everywhere we go, and I still wash her sheets nearly every morning because she wets the bed, but I consider here successfully potty trained.

Charlie still rips his diaper off nearly every night. I've given up on duct tape because it's a pain in the rear and it doesn't work half the time anyway. So every morning when I go into their room I cross my fingers that it's only a wet diaper I have to deal with. The finger crossing works exactly 67% of the time. The other 33% of the time I'm not so lucky. And each time, the award that I think I deserve gets bigger and bigger.

I'm almost out of size 4 diapers. When I run out, I have sworn that I will never put another diaper on that boy. I figure I'm cleaning up his poop anyway, so I may as well be doing it in the name of potty training. Heaven help me!

And with that, I hereby promise I will never talk about poop this much ever again. The end.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Stepping Up

Lately I've been feeling like I'm in survival mode (again. See my previous experience here). Though I guess when you have three kids under two, the only mode is survival mode. We're lucky if any of us are dressed before 10 AM. I finally gave the baby a bath today after a week and a half of baby grime started to smell. I have however nearly completed a 1000 piece puzzle and watched far too many episodes of MASH. Survival at it's finest.

So here I was going along thinking life was hard. And then I was looking through my journal and I came across a talk I had written for church 10+ years ago about my paternal grandparents. They were absolutely incredible people. And if I thought my life was hard - wow. My grandmother was absolutely stunning. Just gorgeous. I'm sure she had scores of boys chasing after her, but she fell for my grandpa, who was pretty good-looking himself. They married young, and at age 16 my grandmother was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. I can't imagine getting that diagnoses at all, let alone at such a young age. Despite her crippled hands, she faithfully raised six children (5 of whom were boys, and after my brief experience raising a boy, I have some major respect for her). When my grandpa was 52, he broke his neck in a tragic accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. I hadn't been born yet, and so I never knew my grandpa without his wheelchair. Even so, he was the strongest man I have ever known. I vividly remember his hands. As worn and crippled as my grandmother's were, his were large and strong. When my grandma struggled to open cans or brush her hair, grandpa's hands were there to fill in the gaps.

Grandpa loved to garden. They planted their rows of fruits and vegetables far apart so that grandpa's wheelchair could fit in between. I remember going out with him and he'd let me pick fresh strawberries and eat them right there. That was heaven to little four-year-old me. Even as a very little girl, I was awed and amazed by my grandparents. There was never anything they couldn't do together. Grandpa was particularly fond of a story told by Elder Boyd K. Packer, titled "Equally Yoked Together." It's a story of two small, skinny looking oxen defeating a pair of much larger and much stronger oxen in a pulling contest. While the large, strong animals lacked coordination, the smaller team had great teamwork and pulled together at the same time. My grandparents' legacy has become being equally yoked and pulling together. When I think of their lives and trials, it is clear that it would have been much simpler for them to just survive. To forget going to church or gardening or hosting big family get-togethers. But they didn't just survive. Despite their incredible challenges, they thrived. And they were able to do it because they were equally yoked.

Recently I attended a graduation where the speaker re-told a familiar story of a mule who falls into the well. The farmer, instead of trying to lift the mule out, decides to bury him inside of the well. The mule becomes determined to conquer his challenge by telling himself that with every shovel full of dirt that falls, he will shake it off and step up. Eventually, by moving the dirt underneath himself instead of letting it remain on top of him, he finds his way to freedom. What could have buried and killed him ended up liberating him instead, all because of his attitude and determination to keep going.

The story of the mule and my memories of my grandparents have made me determined to do more than just survive. Sure, life is hard. Sure I have three very young children that require a lot (ok, ALL) of my time and attention. But that doesn't mean I have to let the rest of my life fall to shambles. Life is what we make of it. It will never be perfect or easy or trial-free. I don't want to spend every single day waiting for it to end. Life is good and we have so much to LIVE for! Not just to survive for.

So my goal is no more survival mode. Living life to it's fullest every day. Laughing instead of crying, and finding joy in the journey.