Thursday, March 22, 2012

Both Sides Now

Last week I came across a truly unique approach to art which I have coined "cumulus(t)". A recent exhibit has Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde create and suspend real clouds indoors. His installations are fleeting yet oh, so powerful! (Why I love that photography can capture such momentary perfection!) I've always had a hankering for clouds. Even the names of 'em: cumulonimbus, cirrus, altostratus. How musical. What whimsy!

Photo credit: Cassander Eeeftinck Schattenkerk of
Berndnaut Smilde's breathtaking exhibit

This week has seen sunshine and clouds in more ways than one. Par example: potty training (blue skies) and The Tempest (overcast with 99% chance of rain). Let's look more closely at these recent weather patterns...

First off, a shout-out to Elmo. Bless your furry, red head. Thanks for getting my Sonshine all excited about his potty. Indeed, he has become a 'potty animal'. We sing, we dance (well, I disco and he moves his arms and legs in a circular fashion while seated). I never knew how exciting pee and poop could be! (Yes, this is my life right now.) Ma wee laddie (no pun intended) has finally learned to "listen to his body". This past Sunday, he asked me no less than FIVE TIMES to go potty!!! *Trumpets blare somewhere offstage*

He is enjoying some diaper-free time now on the weekends and evenings, though he hasn't yet mastered that undies are different and will not absorb his pee. Thinking we may need to backtrack slightly: maybe so he learns to ask to go potty while still donning diapers. He certainly has mastered asking while not wearing them.  Can I say again, "me so proud!"?

Achtung! Potty Training can be dangerous. Helmet recommended.

As with every silver lining, though, a little rain must fall. (Curse you, Ink Spots!) In two months, he turns 3 and does not disappoint with respect to the temper tantrums that are rumoured to pepper this age and stage. Lately, at mommy's utterance of "no", the bottom lip juts out, the arms start flailing, the legs start kicking, the uvula starts um, uvulating. It's like looking at a tiny mirror of myself whenever someone says "Stephen Harper" to me. A mini-volcano-meets-tornado and man, can he erupt!

So this weekend, alongside the urination-defecation jubilation, I've slowly introduced this little gem of a technique known as a "timeout". Understatement of the year: it's not going over all that well. But after being punched in the head by tiny fists, kicked a number of times by flapping feet and slapped in the face by frustrated fingers, I felt it was time to maybe try something, say, a tad more proactive; what, in my book, is officially known as "nipping this in the bud".

Reactions vary: auto-toffee-flavoured smile with side of neckwrap while singing, "I love you, mommy" as I still attempt to encourage a quiet, little "let's just sit for a second and ponder just how mommy feels when you beat her up." Alternatively: beet-red complexion followed by repeated slaps and kicks to my person. For now, the standard timeout approach (one minute per age of the child) is not even feasible. It's a pendulum swing: just by uttering "timeout" and calmly moving him to the stair for a sit can result in a) an immediate apology in order to get back (just as immediately) to playtime or b) The End of the World as we know it. So the "sit and dwell" part has yet to kick in, really (again, no pun intended).

I am trying to encourage communication BEFORE the temper tantrum erupts. So if I sense he is becoming upset about something, I am often able to coax vocalization (with words and in English versus LindaBlairese). And, by jove, sometimes (just sometimes), it works! The pinnacle moment I will not soon forget is his grumpy face last weekend grumbling, "Hey you. Get offa my cloud."

I'm not sure I heard that right. I stutter, "Did you just say, um. 'Get offa my cloud'?"

"Yes, mommy. Get offa it!"

I hide my face in a pillow to pretend I am crying a bit so he won't be offended by my incontrollable outburst of giggles. On Monday morning, I learn that my daycare has a mixed CD on which The Rolling Stones feature. Cool daycare (and apparently worth the lineup)!

bows and flows of angel hair

So yeah, thank you, Elmo for the potty party atmosphere. And thanks, Mick, for making these dark days of tantrum clouds sparkle that silver edge so sweetly. And I am eternally grateful, Joni, for you.

Win or Lose, looking at clouds from both sides is an excellent practice, a comfort to parents (and toddlers) everywhere and highly recommended.

1 comment:

Brian Miller said...

woohoo on potty training....i was so glad the day we kicked was like gettting a pay raise...