Friday, August 26, 2005

Making the Bladder, Gladder

Rejoice and sing out; my son is potty trained! He now has the ability and interest to tell us when he has to relieve himself. If this seems silly to you, come talk to me after your child is three.

Truth be told, I loved diapers. Unless an odor prompted you to change the things, you could go hours without having to think about it. Naps were the perfect time to say, “Oh, I guess I should change this four pound urine sack.”

For the past three months, day care has been practicing the art of bladder control. Their timely regiments are as precise as a drum corps. When Corey was at home, his moms would follow similar practices and the instruction continued, encouraging all the proper actions.

But come to Daddy & Pop-pop’s house for the weekend and everything would be lost and revert back to the beginning. We truly were disastrous in the art of toilet-training.

First, let me just say that kiddie underwear is awesome in the fact that they have characters all over them. When he comes over, his duffle bag contains Shrek, Buzz & Woody and Nemo under shorts. The kid even has his own boxers!

The first weekend at our house, we practiced with underwear, and the adventure lasted a whole 4 minutes. I was groggy, changed him out of his night-time diaper and brought him downstairs. “Do you have to pee?” I asked.

“No,” he said. (Good enough for me.) “Okay, go ahead and play with toys while daddy gets coffee.”

(Count with me the 45 seconds it took until yells came from the living room.)

“Daddy, I go pee-pee.”

Smack dab in the middle of the living carpet, was the off-yellow circle beginning to increase in diameter. Mentally, I make note that we’ll need another set of matching leather ottomans to cover yet another spot on the rug.

Day one was awful. We’d ask him to pee but he wouldn’t want to. Then I came up with the brilliant idea that I would have him watch me go and like tom Sawyer, that would encourage him. That worked well until at one point, Larry noticed Corey was fidgeting.

“Corey, want to watch daddy go pee pee?” he offers.

I look over panicked. “Um, daddy doesn’t need to pee pee. In fact, daddy couldn’t squeeze a drop of liquid out if he tried.” Trust me when I say that passing a kidney stone would have been easier than what attempted.

Of the seven pair of underwear that were packed, we managed to use six by dinnertime. It is important to explain that ‘boy parts’ need to be aimed, not just taken for granted that they are always pointing in the ideal direction. I’ve learned to appreciate that once tiny gap between the bowl and the toilet seats. You’d be amazed how an accurate aim can soak a pair of jeans and Bob the Builder boxer/briefs.

It also seems that communication regarding the amount of beverages consumed is crucial between parents. We literally flooded this poor kid with liquid that was releasing at record speeds.

So on day two, we set kitchen timers to remind us; one hour if drinking, two if not. It was the Paul Revere of potty-training. Buzzers went off constantly. The system worked well and the kid stayed dry. Though it left others confused.

Late in the afternoon, the familiar ‘buzz’ rang through the kitchen.

“Corey, time for pottie,” announced Larry. At once, I realized how Pavlovian our lives had become.

I looked over in despair. “Sweetie, that’s actually the chicken. It’s done.”

Sunday, August 21, 2005

This past weekend, Larry and I went to go see March of the Penguins. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend the film. It’s your typical National Geographic nature movie, but it was interesting and well-done.

The movie chronicles the story of the Emperor Penguins and their rituals and hardships for starting a family each year. The penguins will literally march 70 miles to an inland location in Antarctica to begin the process of courtship and breeding. It is told that the penguins are monogamous for that year of breeding and work together over the course of 6 months to raise a chick.

Once an egg has been laid, the female penguin passes the egg to the father, who then balances it on his feet and keeps it warm under his belly… for three months. The mother returns to the ocean and feeds so that she can provide food to the baby penguin. When she returns, the baby has been born and the father then goes to feed. This process continues for the next three months. Each time, the penguins march 70 miles or more to return to the ocean.

The babies are fully dependent on the parents for both food and shelter. The winter winds and harsh terrain make it imperative for a child to have the parent guide and care for them.

As we left the theater, Larry looks over and says, “Wow. That was amazing. Penguins are dedicated parents. That reminded me a lot of how we take care of Corey.”

I look over in wonder, “Sweetie, you have to put a video on for Corey when I go to take a shower.”

Friday, August 12, 2005

Working Things Through the System

As I’ve mentioned, Larry & I are trying to eat healthier and Trader Joe’s is a huge part of that equation. Because of their organic and low-fat foods, you ask? Heck no, we like their salsa and corn chips with lime-chipotle. But while we’re there, we do try some of their other foods.

There is a TJ’s about 1 mile from my office. Their frozen dishes have become a staple and I headed over at lunch to replenish my stock at work. Unfortunately, I share the freezer with 87 of my closest work friends, so I can only buy a few items at time.

Today I bought three shredded beef burritos and a canister of Whey powder for my morning protein shakes. I used to buy Soy powder but my friend Greg told me it would enhance the estrogen in my system. Um yeah, like that’s all I need. I’m already the charter member in the Patti LuPone fan club.

So with luck, the Whey will keep me breast-free. I tried Wheat Germ once and that went right through me. Seriously, I didn’t even finish the shake before I had to go. But the subject of today’s thoughts is the burrito rather than my overactive colon.

The burrito was the healthy substitution to the chimichanga, my first frozen love at TJ’s. In recent months, I have recommended the chimichanga to family and friends. I personally, have increased the market share on this product in the DC metro area by 6%, (2% nationally).

A few weeks back, as I was microwaving the chimi, I fatefully decided to read the nutritional chart. God, I hate these things. Why must they tell how bad things are for you? Was there a nutritional chart for Cop Rock or Manimal? I watched those and look what I turned into.

Thus my need to pay greater attention to the dietary information.

I make the switch from chimis to burritos, mainly because the chimi has 930 grams of sodium and the burritos had 510. Another of my loves, tragically cast aside for logic and reason. What kind of world is this?

So today as I ride the elevator, reflecting on my good health and bowel functions, I validate myself in the 510 grams for each of the four servings. FOUR SERVINGS? Wait… there are only two burritos in the package. I look again. Sure enough, each serving is half the burrito.

How can anyone take a package of products and subdivide them? That’s like taking the package of eight hotdogs and giving nutritional information for 24 servings. I mean who (besides all children under four) eats half a 5-inch burrito? If I wanted to be healthy by limiting my intake, I’d sing with Wilson-Phillips and have my freaking stomach stapled.

And my god, 510g of sodium in 2.5 inches? I’d be better off with my Velveeta & Shells.

As the elevator doors opens, I hold the three packages in my hand. Realizing that my frugalness trumps my dietary needs, I place 6120g of salt into the 8th floor freezer. I wonder how I will ever purge my body of this toxin.

Perhaps I was too hard on the wheat germ.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A "Hole" Lot of Love

Today I returned to Mecca. DSW? Nah! The theaters of Broadway? Nope! The bedroom of Chris Evans, hottie from Fantastic Four? I only wish. I dropped by the Container Store.

This is my heaven, my oasis. When I die, I want my ashes scattered through the store; then swept up using the dust mop in aisle 6 and placed in the various plastic bottles suitable for travel (aisle 10).

This store was created for me. Things to put inside of things… that already have things. We have an Alfa closet in our hallway. All our pills are in the weekly dispenser. (Technically, mine just has 7 Advil resting comfortably inside as if inhabitating aspirin-sized studio condos.) Even the dish soap on our sink relocated from a boring plastic jug to a beautiful ribbed glass dispenser with a non-drip spout.

Today I was meeting my friend Emily for dinner. I arrived at our designated pick-up spot, which was conveniently located near the Tenleytown Metro. There resides DC’s only Container Store. Being 30 minutes early, I decided that I should go in and browse. Okay truthfully, I had to pee pretty bad and they have nice bathrooms. (You learn about nice bathrooms when your son is potty-training, but that’s an entirely new blog waiting to be written.)

I peed and that left 29 minutes of browsing and avoiding each clerk who wanted to assist me. For the record, Container Store has some of the gayest men working for them. So here I am walking through the store, picking up items that I need and then convincing myself that I already have enough magnetic soap holders made from a combination of burlap and recycled coat hangers.

But then in aisle 19, it called out and I decided it must come home with me. I rescued it much like the green parakeet in the Arlington shelter. A $15 plastic grocery bag dispenser, which could sit on a shelf right beside the cereal boxes (the label said). It would be the perfect fit in our designer kitchen. I mean the device was made of faux stainless steel and could be the illegitimate cousin of the other appliances.

“I shall call you Beatrice,” I say. I find that naming my purchases makes it harder for Larry to convince me to return them. “They are like family,” I protest.
As Bea and I make our way to the cashier, I begin reading the box and something stands out. Something I hadn’t seen before:

This product has a 10-year warranty.

What?!? That makes no sense. It holds fucking plastic grocery bags. I mean like what would I need to exchange it for? My iPod has a 6-8 hour warranty at best and twice I’ve nearly thrown it in the washing machine. What lack of functioning could nullify the warranty? And why only 10 years? It’s a hole for God’s sake. That’s it. It’s a hole in an aluminum by-product. I need a warranty for a hole?

I look at Beatrice in disgust as if discovering her family had been in prison or she’d cheated on me with the matching napkin dispenser. (Wait! I didn’t see the napkin dispenser before. Maybe I should….focus. Disgust. Anger. Resentment.)

It’s hard to realize that once you see first love in a new light, we have little, if any future. How can you feel love for a $15 hole? We said our goodbyes and never looked back.

And as I walked past the door to leave, I met Candice, my new, brushed nickel toothbrush holder. We are the perfect soul mates.