Jul 7 2013

Three Years Old!

Davy chillin'

(Photo by Sam.)

Davy’s birthday was yesterday—we had a small party for him at Niles Canyon, and there will be a little bit of a “do” at school tomorrow. He is thrilled with his new toys and clothes and books, but the biggest present (from my perspective) is one he has recently given us: Davy is now reliably potty-trained. After all, he’s a big kid now, as he’d be quick to tell you.

Here’s a few photos from yesterday’s train excursion:





Oct 7 2012


  • Davy is potty-training himself. Just…out of nowhere, he started asking to sit on the potty. The first few times nothing happened, but we praised him for it anyway. Lately he’s been actually using the potty for its intended purpose, about once a day. I’m delighted but also baffled. Can it really be this easy?
  • The Millennial Sword is now at #45,107 in the Kindle bestseller list, which is…not very high, except that yesterday morning it was at #162,077. So that actually represents something of a meteoric rise!
  • I feel like there ought to be a third item to put here, but I can’t think of one.

Sep 26 2011

Potty Training Success

Now that Robin’s had a few weeks to settle into preschool, we’re making another big potty-training push. And, thank the angels, this time it’s working. We’re at the point where we can leave him in underwear while we’re at home (though we still diaper him up if we’re making a trip out). He’s not very good about telling me when he needs to pee (though he has done it a couple of times), but if I ask him at regular intervals if he needs to use the bathroom, he’s responsive and co-operative.

Over the past week I think he’s pooped in the potty five times, pooped in a diaper once, and pooped in his pants once. This absolutely represents progress and I’m really very happy. Of his cohorts at preschool, he is the last to be potty trained, but some of the kids not much younger than him are still having “accidents” at school. I don’t think it’ll be much longer before we start sending Robin to school in underpants.

I don’t know what I did wrong. I tried to follow the advice given in the books. I don’t know if we were too inconsistent or tried to start too early or what. All I know is that the things that never worked before (like offering him a jellybean every time he successfully uses the potty) are working now, and I’m just really happy to see it clicking for him.

Jan 20 2011


Today at the doctor’s office Davy was pronounced infection-free: you’d never know, the doctor said, that his ear had ever been infected at all. Davy also got weighed and measured: he’s seventeen and a half pounds now, but his once-astounding growth has tapered off. He’s now midrange for weight and height, and following a more normal growth curve.

Robin didn’t have an appointment today, but I did take the opportunity to ask the doc if I should be worried about Robin’s continuing resistance to potty-training. “The current advice is just to give them their space,” he said. “We used to push early potty-training and caused a lot of problems and bred oppositional behavior. There’s a wide age range in toilet readiness. The day will come when he wants to do it.” Then he gave me a little handout that says “Toilet training is not a contest. Success with toilet training does not mean that your child is more intelligent or advanced than other children. Additionally, having trouble with toilet training or starting at a later age does not mean that your child is lazy, stubborn, defiant, or a slow learner. And remember — accidents are going to happen. Girls usually complete toilet training earlier than boys. First children usually take longer than subsequent children to complete toilet training. If your child is not making progress with toilet training and is between two and four years old, it is reasonable to take a break for two to three months.” One thing the handout does suggest is encouraging Robin to change his own diapers, so I’ll probably try that before giving the whole subject a rest for a bit.

Nov 1 2010

What’s for Dinner

Okay, I love living in California. This week in our CSA box we got a pint of strawberries—fresh strawberries! In the last week of October! We also got spinach, lettuce, bok choy, green beans, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, six apples (they’re Fuji, I asked; and last week’s tomatoes were, ironically enough, Early Girl), four plums, six of what look like Red Bliss potatoes, and some more sunchokes.

Tonight we’re having skirt steak and green beans. In fact, just now Davy started crying while I was in the middle of smearing marinade on the steak. Because my hands were full of garlic-rosemary paste I went about finishing what I was doing instead of going immediately to pick up the baby. Then he abruptly stopped crying, and that did bring me running—only to find that Robin was in there with him, kissing his toes and asking “What’s wrong, baby?” What a good big brother! Robin has his weaknesses—we’re still stalled out on potty training—but his strengths are wonderful strengths to have. He’s a friendly, generous, secure and loving boy, and frankly if I were told that I could have all that in a son in exchange for delayed potty training, that’s a trade I’d be happy to make.

I almost added something there about Robin not being very verbal, but actually I’m not at all sure that’s true. Even though he’s talking a lot more now, it’s still not as much as some of the other kids his age—but at the same time he’s extremely interested in written language. He recognizes all the letters of the alphabet and initiates a lot of conversations about letters, the sounds they make, and the words that start with various letters: right now he’ll often come running up saying “C! Cat! Kitty! K!” and then follow that up by going “cuh cuh cuh.” I’m pretty sure he’s working on the problem that different words can refer to the same thing, and different letters can make the same sound, which I think actually puts him a bit ahead of the curve for reading/writing. It’s not something I’m actively working on with him—I mean, we do read books, and when he wants to stop and pay attention to the letters, we do that, but I’m not trying to push him into being an early reader or anything. I’m just making a note to myself not to be too quick to make sweeping assessments of Robin’s strengths and weaknesses, because they may be more granular than I expect, and in any case they’re obviously still developing.

We got Robin on the waiting list for a preschool, by the way, and we’re signed up to take a tour of another preschool (the one that we could walk to) in February. Both schools say they will likely have openings next fall. I would like to get him more opportunities to socialize with kids his own age a little sooner, so we might look into signing him up for a Saturday toddler dance class or something like that. We watched Hello, Dolly! the other night and Robin loved the dance sequences. It was hilarious to watch him doing his best to follow along, twirling and kicking all over the living room.

Anyway, meal planning. Tomorrow night I’m roasting another chicken, along with the potatoes and maybe the sunchokes (unless I decide to just compost them instead). Wednesday night I’ll make a homemade spinach-and-ricotta pizza with whole wheat crust, and Thursday we’ll have grilled sausages, onions, and peppers, with a salad on the side to use up the remaining veggies. Friday will be for leftovers.

Bonus picture: Davy and Nonna!

Davy and Nonna

Jun 25 2010

Ongoing Projects

1. Still pregnant. Last night I had about three hours of mild contractions, and I was so psyched, but they never went anywhere. I was pretty bummed when I figured out it was only Braxton-Hicks contractions (“false labor”), which is something I never had with Robin. I’m still a week away from my due date but I feel just impossibly huge and awkward and achy and ungainly and exhausted—and, if you couldn’t tell, whiny.

I’m remembering, now, an interaction I had with a nurse last week when I told her I felt certain the baby would be born closer to 38 weeks than to 40. She just smiled and told me kindly, “They all say that.”

2. Potty training continues. Robin’s happy to sit on the potty and be read to for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, but he has yet to make the crucial breakthrough about what he’s supposed to be doing there. Today I’m pretty sure he was holding a bowel movement while he was sitting on the pot, because as soon as I put him back in diapers he dropped a big load in his pants. I tried to tell him that he could have pooped in the potty, but he shook his head and told me “no!” So, I dunno.

I’m aware, by the way, that whenever people complain about parents blogging, it’s always the potty posts that bother them most. The thing is though, potty training is a pretty big deal when you’re in the middle of it! Anyway, let’s just say that I certainly don’t hold it against anybody who chooses to skip over these particular posts.

3. Robin’s bed is working really well so far. Yesterday and tonight he fell asleep cuddled up in our bed, and then we moved him into his own bed, where he slept until the early morning. Both mornings he climbed back in with us to snooze for a few hours before getting up to face the day. But he doesn’t seem upset to wake up and find himself in his own bed, and we’ve gotten our bed to ourselves for the majority of the night. It’s been really nice! I like snuggling with Robin, but I also like sleeping in my own bed without getting kicked in the ribs, or having to balance on the very edge of the mattress while a little boy pretends he’s a starfish in the middle of the bed. So we’re enjoying having our bed back, at least for now.

4. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a vocabulary update? I am proudest of teaching Robin to say “please” and “thank you”—or “pease” and “tank you!”, as he actually says them—and I think Sam is proudest of teaching him to say “cookie” and “dude”! Robin also asks for “nums?” when he’s hungry, which is pretty cute. Or he requests specific foods, although his vocabulary on this front is limited to “noodles,” “orange,” “bee-yeah” (banana, an evolution from the original “mmm-yeah!”) or, again, “cookie.” He pronounces orange very well, although this is a very context-dependent word: he does like to eat oranges, but sometimes he’s requesting orange juice, or even talking about something that happens to be orange. It’s easier to tell when he wants milk (“nolk”). He’s also started talking about the bath (“baf”), which he now quite enjoys so long as nobody is trying to wash his face or hair. He will even scrub himself with the washcloth!

Other than that, it’s pretty much all Thomas all the time. Robin frequently tries to initiate conversations with us, other family members, or complete strangers at the grocery store about Thomas (“Dass”), James (he pronounces this pretty much spot-on), and Emily (“Ah-me”), and I think just today he was talking about Harold and Toby as well. The problem is that once he’s initiated the topic, he can’t tell you much about them other than the fact they go choo-choo. It does get repetitive, but the attraction of the topic is, for Robin, apparently inexhaustible.

Although he continues to add new words to his vocabulary, Robin still doesn’t often make longer sentences. We’ve heard a few two- and three-word sentences, but mostly it’s baby babble with the pertinent word stuck in at the end. I think what Robin really needs to stimulate his language development is to spend more time with other kids, and adults who don’t already know (as Sam and I do) what he’s likely to be talking about.

There’s a local preschool, the Peter Pan Cooperative Nursery School, that I would like to sign Robin up for: they’re full now, but I’m going to try and get him in for the fall. They’re right next to our local park, and they take the kids to the park every day, so I’ve started timing our visits to coincide with theirs. It’s a nice group of kids and adults: I like that they mix kids of different ages together, which seems more natural to me than strictly age-segregated groups, and I also like that their focus is on socialization and play. And because they’re a coop school (meaning that parents also volunteer as teachers) the costs are insanely low. $255 a month for three mornings a week is very, very reasonable by Bay Area standards. I’m not entirely sure how I would fulfill my teaching commitment with a baby on hand too, but assuming I could work that out, I really like the idea of being fully engaged with Robin’s school in that way. And every time I take Robin to the park at the same time the Peter Pan kids are there, he tries to leave with them when they all line up to go back inside! So I think he’s itching for a larger social environment.