And just like that he was…dare I say it…potty trained?

Yesterday, I was going over Daniel’s clothes, I came across a full pack of Pull-ups. That made me glad because that meant that I didn’t have to go to the store for new ones. Then I thought, wait…when exactly did we get these? A month ago? And it’s still full?

Then I realized, except at night, Daniel doesn’t really use his pull-ups anymore. And except for the rare occasion, he doesn’t wet his bed. And a few weeks ago, he actually started going number 2 in the bathroom now. Most of that stems from the fact that he doesn’t have a nap anymore…he’s quite happy to play quietly in his room listening to his CDs now. But for several weeks now, he has actually come up to me to say, “Mommy, I gotta go poo!” And then, he goes to the bathroom and does it. No more denials. No more dancing up and down…well, actually, he does still do that. But now, he recognizes that feeling as the need to pee.

Somehow, Daniel has become…dare I say it? Potty trained.

I’m quite impressed, considering that I did nothing really to encourage him to go number 2. I figured that once he figured out the peeing part, the going poop would come about by and by. And to my utter surprise, it did. Oh, there were times when I did blow a gasket when he’d do it in his underwear during his naptime, but really, that was my fault for leaving his underwear on instead of putting on a pull-up. And now, seeing that he doesn’t do that anymore, I don’t really worry about it (much).

Hmmm…of course, in my scant experience of three years now, I don’t want to proudly crow that he’s fully potty-trained yet. After all, we’re in the midst of preparing for a move. There’s a very good chance that a relapse will occur once we move to a new place, away from familiarity. But that’s okay too. I’m not going to knock him if suddenly, he does want to use Pull-ups again for a while. With all the logistics of this move, I’m surprised that I myself haven’t reverted back to infancy.

But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this. I have a kid who’s out of diapers, and that’s pretty extraordinary. Now if I can get him to eat his vegetables, everything will be nice and groovy.


Big boy, Big pants, Big Bed, Big Yikes!

So you’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard much about the potty training in our household. I decided to start over again around the end of May, and, aside from the human sprinkler incident, I don’t think I’ve written about it since.

To be honest, there’s really not much to talk about.

Daniel’s got the peeing part down pat. The drama I went through around this time last year just isn’t surfacing at all. Many times, he wakes up in the morning dry. I know pretty much by schedule now when he has to go (usually after lunch). Granted, he’s got the bladder of a camel, but my hubby stresses out over that more than I do (“Do you need to go potty? How bout now? Now? Okay, go potty now!).

I think I’m more relaxed about it because, well, we go through the same schedule every day. I can recognize when he really does have to go–usually when he starts running around the house, not in a ‘I’m running just to have fun’ way, but more in a compulsive, ‘Something’s wrong and if I run around, maybe it will go away’. Don’t ask me how I can tell the difference between the two. I just know. (though with the latter, occasionally he makes a whimpering noise like a puppy.)

I’ve realized that my main goal now is not to make him go potty all the time, but to get him to recognize that when he has to go, he should go to the potty. So that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s nothing special. No big tricks. No huge drama. No stresses over “Whyyyyy isn’t he getting it? WHYYYYY?!?!” I’m just taking it slow.

It’s amazing what a huge difference it is when a kid is ready to potty-train.

Now granted, I didn’t say Daniel was potty-trained. When it comes to going number 2, he just doesn’t have a handle on it yet. He’d much rather wait until I put pull-ups on him and he takes his nap. Part of the reason is that for the longest time, he slept in a crib, so he wasn’t able to get out to do his business.

Well, as of yesterday, our boy is cribless. He now sleeps in a ‘big-boy’ bed.

He’s ready for it. I can tell. Granted, it’s made his naptimes pretty much non-existent (once he started climbing out of his crib, I’ve caught him several times playing when he should be napping). I even had to stop writing this blog a couple of times to go up and yell at him to quit stomping around in his new boots and lie down. But, you know, I’m not really going to push him to nap. The boy is free, now, free to do whatever he likes in what he’s beginning to see as his room. I want to teach him that there are times to run about, and there are times to be quiet (so Mommy can do her writing). And he’s learning. Just like he’s learning how to go potty.

So what if he doesn’t go poop yet. So what if he still needs the occasional verbal prodding to make him go. So many books make out potty-training that’s magically over in a day, perhaps a week. I’m finding that’s so not the case, at least not with Daniel. This will probably be a long-term thing, perhaps not fully being resolved until he’s four or so. And you know what? That’s cool.

Last week, for the first time, he wore his big boy underwear all day. Not one accident. Even his daddy was impressed. It means that our little toddler is well on his way to becoming a little boy. It’s nice to think that I have a hand in that–when he’s 20 years old and says, “Hold up, I gotta use the washroom,” I’ll grin, because I taught him how to do that. Makes me feel a little proud of myself.

Of course, I’m pretty sure that the next post about Daniel will have plenty of four-letter words along with some random, obscure, nonsense that would result from me banging my head against the keyboard. But that’s in the future. Let me revel in the now.

Oh. Wait. I hear stomping upstairs. Looks like the future is now.

When it rains, it pours…all over the bathroom…

I’m thinking about renting “Daddy Day Care”.

I know it bombed at the box office, and I’m not usually one who go for stupid sitcom movies, particularly if they star A-name stars attempting to be funny (and yeah, I know Eddie Murphy starred in many comedies, but when was the last time you really had a side-ripping laugh from one?)

The reason I want to watch it because I remember in the trailer Eddie sending a kid to the bathroom, and after the kid does his thing, Eddie pokes his head in and stares aghast at what is presumably over the floor, the walls, the sink…and possibly the ceiling. Mere exaggeration to induce a comedic effect, I had thought at the time…

…until my boy became the human sprinkler last night.

Yes, toilet training has started up again in our household. Something I had pretty much been dreading, thanks to the failure we had last year. It actually started sometime last month. I didn’t say much about it, though, because I’ve learned my lesson–crowing about your kid going potty can be premature sometimes. There are days when things move swimming along; they get it, you get it, and everything stays nice and dry. Then there are yesterdays, when you hear the flat, unmistakable tinkle-tinkle on ceramic tile, and you dash like mad to the bathroom, and there you stand, pulling an Eddie Murphy face as you stare at the floor…and the walls…and the…sink…

(I didn’t look up. I just didn’t want to risk it.)

Before I started wailing on my kid, let me first tell you that Daniel’s got a better handle on the potty than the last time around. There is something to waiting until kids are around three years old to attempt potty training. First of all, Daniel actually wants to use the potty. I’ve been using the winter months to play tons of potty videos, both DVD and online, and sometime during those months, it somehow clicked in his toddler mind that going potty can be fun.

I did mention that a couple of months ago, Daniel had started asking to wear underpants out of the blue. It surprised me, because the only video that actually showed a kid wearing underpants and appreciating them was the Japanese one that’s on YouTube. He also could be interested in underpants because my daycare person is also training her son as well. Man, if there is anything to this potty-training business, it’s that it’s a lot easier if you personally know other kids going through the same thing and try to get them all to go together. Mass potty trips sounds icky, but it’s a great way to learn.

And Daniel has been learning. He can now pull down his pants, something he couldn’t do last August. Instead of me asking him constantly if he needs to go, he takes the initiative himself and goes into the bathroom, somehow backs himself onto the toilet (he’s bigger now, so he apparently he doesn’t have the fear of falling in anymore) and goes. And afterwards–and this, I think, is the big thing that helps him learn–he gets to put a sticker on the sticker chart.

I didn’t do the sticker thing before. I did fruit snacks. I had figured that if Daniel wanted a reward, then he could earn it. Trouble was, Daniel just didn’t get it. He asked for a snack, I tell him that he had to potty first, and I’d wind up with a screaming toddler and feeling pretty frustrated myself. I love the sticker chart, because this time, Daniel has a visual representation of his progress with the potty. We put a sticker on, then count all the stickers that are on the chart, and it makes Daniel happy, because it’s something he really enjoys (and it helps him in his math skills too–gotta sneak that in). Yesterday, Daniel got his 30th sticker, which meant that he got a ‘present’: a pack of Thomas the Train Engine underwear.

I’m not saying that using the snacks was wrong–I just think that last year, he simply wasn’t ready. I can admit that now without feeling any guilt. I think that he’s a lot more ready now. And though the potty training last year was like doing a root canal on my son’s tooth all by myself, blindfolded, at midnight, I think that last year’s attempt had some benefit: it helped me prepare for this round and gave me a measure to compare against. And though I still have from time to time the occasional urge to rip the locks from my head whenever my son looks down at the puddle at his feet, I don’t have the urge to burst into tears and scream that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Because now, instead of blithely going on his merry way, Daniel will look at the puddle and say, “Oh, no! Wet! Let’s clean it, mommy. Let’s clean it!”

He ain’t trained yet. But we’re getting there. We got all summer to do so.

Adventures in Potty Training, Prelude (or Thoughts of the “Chair” again…)

So a few weeks ago, my hubby says to me, “Looks like it’s getting warmer.”
I says, “Yep.”
He says, “Nice days again. Sunshine. Washing the car. Going to the park…”
I says, “Yep.”
He looks at me. “You know what that means, right?”
I look at him. “Nope.”
At this point, his mouth goes into super slo-mo, and I can see his lips coming together, then stretching out in a horrible rictus of revelation:


Okay, I’m exaggerating. What I meant to write was that he said, “Potty training,” and a chorus of red devils rose up behind him, shrieking and pointing their pitchforks at me. “Potty training! Potty training! Potty training! Bleahhhh!!!” Then they wrapped me up in toilet paper and took me to a place where the Potty Song played over and over 25 hours a day and tiny naked urchins stomped and hooted and threw their body leavings on the floor and the walls and the ceiling, but never, never, the clean, pristine potty chair sitting in the middle of the floor…

You see? This is what happens when a writer gets upset. I only have to think about putting Daniel on the chair again and I start to hyperventilate and my hands start to shake. After the humiliating setback last year, I don’t even want to consider potty training again. They make size 6 diapers anyway. I can go on blissfully changing Daniel until the day he starts kindergarten and all the kids point and laugh at him because he’s still wearing a diaper, then he runs home, crying, and I will stand, pointing my finger at him, and say, “Well, that’s what you get for not learning to use the potty like I told you to when you were 2. Did you listen? Noooo…”

Yeah. Okay. Forget that last paragraph.

Truth is, the thought of trying to potty train Daniel again makes me cringe. My head says that I’m reluctant to do so only because I’m afraid of it failing again. I don’t want to get my hopes up for a week, then go into a major relapse. I don’t want to force Daniel into potty training if he doesn’t want to. It’s not like I have a magic button that automatically makes Daniel say, “Mommy, I have to go potty.” If I did, I could put that button to far better use (“I want a book contract.” Bzzz! “Done!”)

Granted, Daniel is a little older now than the last time we tried. He knows how to pull his pants down and up, which he didn’t do so well last time. And just yesterday, he completely surprised me by coming up to me and saying, “Mommy, change my diaper.” It seems that he’s no longer content to let his diaper fill up anymore. According to all the ‘books’, that indicates a certain ‘readiness’ for ‘clean underwear’.

I guess the only reason why I’m writing this entry is to psyche me up into doing it again. ‘Cause, after all, I will be the one doing the training. I’m the one who will have to patiently tell Daniel, “Let’s go to the potty!” And I need to realize that if he’s still not ready, then it’s okay. I haven’t failed. It just means that I’ll have to wait a little longer…

So I guess I’ll have to dig up the Over the Rhine’s “The Poopsmith Song” again…

Potty Training in Japanese!

On my anime list, somebody posted a link to what they thought was a hilarious video on YouTube. Intrigued, I clicked on the the link and got this:

Anime for toilet training! Who’ve thunk it?

Actually, what intrigued me was all the comments of people mocking it. Maybe at one time, I would’ve done the same, but as a mother of a stubborn two-year-old, this stuff is gold! If it works to get kids on the potty, then you do whatever it takes. Besides, I think it’s extremely cute. Well, okay, the anime is cute. That bit about the giggling poo about to be flushed is a bit demented. And the live action is…uh…hmm…quite instructive.

With the limited Japanese I know, the song is basically “Pee coming out, swish, swish, swish. Swiiiiish, swish, swish. Swish, swish. Swish, swish. Peeing is coming out!” The pooping one is a little harder to explain. “Poop is coming out, grunt, grunt, grunt. Gruuuuuunt, grunt, grunt. Grunt, grunt. Grunt, grunt. Pooping is coming out!”

Anything that works, folks. Anything that works. I think I’ll teach it to Daniel in Japanese. It sounds…cuter that way. There’s more toilet training in Japanese at Japan Probe. If you want to see the actual toy that’s used in the video, you can see it at his entry: Shimajiro Toilet Training Device. Ah, if only it came in English.

Letting Potty Training go for now…

So, in a sense, it has happened.

I’ve actually read a lot of Mommy blogs where they throw up their hands and cry, “I give up!” It’s too hard!” “He won’t do what I say!” “We’re putting her back in diapers!” “I’m such a failure!”

Okay, I’ve rarely read that last one, but I’m pretty sure that’s the gist of all the lamenting.

Well…I’m joining the ranks, but I think for a different reason. After giving this much thought, I have a theory on why Daniel’s not going potty anymore. You see, it has to do with how much new stuff his little mind can hold.

Last week, Daniel learned a new skill. In his brain, a new dendritic branch grew, firing a synapse left instead of right, relaying signals to his left wrist that conveyed the instructions: instead of rattling the handle, why not grasp it, turn it to the right, and see what happens? He obeyed, and to his utter delight he opened his bedroom door. So thrilled was he of his new skill, he proudly showed it off, again and again and again, much to the dismay of his father. (I believe my hubby’s reaction was, “Oh, crap. Now we’ll have to start locking our bedroom door so he won’t get in…”)

Fast forward to this week. Daniel’s crying. He’s on the other side of the bathroom door and he wants his Mommy. So I call out, “Daniel, open the door.” The door remains inexplicably closed. Finally, I turn the knob and Daniel’s tears instantly vanish. “Mommy!”

“Hey kiddo,” I jiggle the knob. “What happened to opening the door?”

He looks at me as if I asked him what the Capital of Spain was, in Swahili. I put his hand on the knob and he jiggles it, then is distracted by his Thomas the train engine and wanders off. Just like that, his new sense of freedom is already forgotten. I call him back over, put his hand on the knob, and turn it with him, and his eyes light up. “Oh yeah! I can open doors now! I’m invincible!”

It takes a while for a toddler to make sense of his world around him. Skills are constantly being learned, then put on the back burner to simmer while new skills are explored. I’ve been always afraid that if we stop teaching Daniel potty training, he’ll completely forget it and we’ll have to start all over again. But so far, it hasn’t been true. We still put him on it when he wakes up, before he takes a nap and before he goes to bed so we can establish the habit of him sitting on it. Sometimes he goes. Sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he’ll actually come up to me and go “Pee-pee?” and really does go. Other times (mostly during Elmo), he could care less. But I think that potty-training skill is sitting on the back of his mind, growing, maturing, turning into something that makes more sense to him, and one day, it will click and he’ll finally understand what it’s for.

All toilet training is really an evergoing process. I don’t know why I was hyper about it earlier, but I think because I’ve been duped by all these books and programs that toilet training should take place in a day, or at least a week. If it doesn’t then, YOU PUSHED HIM TOO SOON, YOU STUPID MORON OF A MOTHER! AND NOW SINCE HE FAILED, YOU HAVE FAILED AS WELL!!! SCORPION WINS!!! BABALITY!!!

(Now how did a Mortal Kombat reference get in there….?)

It’s pretty stupid when you think about it. All of us mothers trying to force kids to do something within a few days, instead of giving them time to explore this new skill at their own pace. Geez, I don’t want Daniel to be four years old and in diapers, but on the flip side, I don’t to weep and wail and gnash my teeth whenever Daniel gets another accident. I did that for a week and it gets old fast.

So I’m going to unstress myself and leave Daniel in diapers. We’ll still do the potty songs, we’ll still put him on. When he does go, I’ll give him lots of hugs and kisses. But I think I’ll stop the reward system, because, frankly, I think it’s useless. When Daniel wants to go, he goes, and ain’t no M&M, sticker, or Cheerio target will convince him otherwise. And anyway, the M&Ms we have in the clear pickle jar, well, they smell a lot like candy-coated pickles.

And just like that, he was Un-potty Trained….

I knew it was too good to be true…

After a week of “Pee pee? Potty?” Daniel has decided, “Wait a second…these pull-ups Mommy’s having me wear? They’re really just diapers! Why should I stop what I’m doing and run to the potty when I can just go right here? Forget the potty. I’m going right here.”

On the one hand, I expected this. The rational side of me stands with the experts and say, “that kids will do a lot of back-sliding and not worry about it. Just keep casually reminding them to go and don’t lose your cool over it. Don’t worry.”

But the emotional side of me kick the experts into orbit and scream “Dang it! I took him to the store today, and he said he had to go, so I ran him to the washroom, got him ready to do his business, and not a drop came out. Didn’t go at all. 20 minutes later, when we got home, I checked, and his pull-up is wet! And it’s been that way all yesterday, too! Is he freaking testing me?! WHY WON’T HE USE THE POTTY!?!?!” It then goes on to smash several rooms in a huff, while the rational side of me sighs and follows behind with the vacuum.

Yes. I realize I’m rapidly becoming one of those mothers who blogs are filled with, “My kid’s a moron! What’s wrong with meeeeeee?!?!?!” But honestly, if we women didn’t have an outlet for these feelings…well…hmm….

Hey, the mailman just pulled up with the new FullMetal Alchemist movie we bought off of Amazon. I think I’ll go soothe my brain with some anime…

And just like that he was potty trained…

Okay…I don’t know how I did it, but it appears Daniel is potty trained.

Yesterday, he finally learned how to do #2 in the potty. I wasn’t actually there when it happened. Looks like my hubby had the pleasure of teaching him. That’s good, because I sure didn’t know how I was going to teach him that.

So let’s see. I got the potty at the beginning of August. Started the real training around September 20. So roughly a month of preparation and about a week of actual training.

Dude. That’s not bad…I’m not really calling him completely potty trained though. He still needs to learn how to go to the bathroom on his own. So we’re still in process…I’m just being really casual about it.

I’m still trying to figure out how, exactly, he figured it out. What were his mental processes?

Wait a minute–Mommy is saying pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty. That yellow stuff is pee-pee. She wants me to pee-pee in the potty. Therefore, instead of peeing into a diaper, I can now pee into the potty. What is she–nuts? Don’t she realizes that the universe will explode if I did that?

She’s making me sit down…I don’t want to…ack! Pee is coming out! The world is coming to an ENNNDDDDD!!!

Hold on. The world’s still here. Mommy’s still here. And pee-pee is in the potty. Hmmm….

Let’s try it again.

Now she’s making me wipe it off the floor. What does the woman want? Oh. Put it in the potty. Hmmm…pee-pee. Potty. Pee-pee. Potty. Pee-pee goes in the potty. Oh boy! Snackies!

So…if I say ‘pee-pee’, she’ll take me to the potty and I’ll pee in the potty. Does that happen all the time? Let’s experiment. “Pee-pee, Mommy!” Not that I have to go or anything. I just want to see what happens…

“All done potty?” Hmmm…she doesn’t look happy. It must be that when I have to pee-pee, instead of going directly in the diaper, I must hold it until we get to the potty. Hey. I can do that. I was holding it all day when she didn’t put any diapers on me, and when they wanted me to pee that time in that hospital in California. But I didn’t do it, no sir. So they had to stick that cath–TELETUBBIES! THOMAS THE TRAIN ENGINE! HAPPY THOUGHTS! HAPPY THOUGHTS!

So let’s see. Wait…there’s this sensation…in my pee-pee area. It doesn’t exactly hurt…it feels like, like I need to pee! Yes! I feel the need for pee. Don’t go in the diaper, Mommy said. I’ll hold it, and tell Mommy I need to pee. “Mommy! Pee-pee?” She must believe me because she’s moving my hand away from my pee-pee area. Hmmm…I don’t remember doing that. It must be an automatic response. She’s taking me in. We’re pulling the pants down….she’s pointing me to the potty…so that must be my cue not to hold pee in anymore.

Eureka! Pee-pee goes in the potty! It makes sense, now! Mommy’s so happy! And I’m happy, too! This is easy! I no longer have to wear a diaper! I can be just like Daddy now! Hey, if I can accomplish this, then the whole world can be for my taking! I can dominate the entire continent. Entire cities will fall to my brilliance! I will be the KING OF THE WORLD!!!

Ooo! Elmo’s on!

Actually, I suspect his process is more like:

Diggle diggle DIAPER blahbythomas digglepwane PEE PEE dadadadad POTTY mmamamdiggle blah blah weese POTTY dadad PEE PEE? POTTY digle mommyelmo tv GO PEE PEE backdiggle aheeego awldun cookiedaughter eh socks? socks? tocks? POTTY, oh okay WORLD DOMINATION diglge uhoh takeeena takeena diggle ELMO.

It’s gonna be a brave new world….

That’s Supposed to be Elmo?!?!

Yesterday was pretty rough for Daniel’s first day of potty training. To give you an idea of what it’s like, I want you to go ahead and pee in your pants. Go ahead. Do it. It’s all right. You’ll be fine. Just pee in your pants. Go on.

Won’t do it, huh? Going to the toilet is ingrained in us (unless you’re drunk and stumbling about at two in the morning and can’t find a bathroom. I sure hope no one reading this had that experience–and before you ask, no I didn’t either.) But that’s tantamount to what I’m teaching Daniel to do. For two and a half years, we’ve taught him not to pee on the floor, or in the bath, or on your uncle’s lap, but in a diaper. And now, I’m suddenly telling him to pee in this tiny little potty, or in this huge toilet. The rules have changed and Daniel doesn’t like it one bit (although today, he’s no longer freaking out whenever pee pours out of him. Now he views it with a growing fascination)

Regardless, yesterday afternoon, both of us was fried and frustrated. But then I learned that Kevin Clash was coming to Barbara’s Bookstore in Oak Park to promote his new book My Life as a Furry Red Monster, and he was bringing Elmo with him. For those of you who don’t have children, Kevin Clash is the voice of Elmo. He’s also a 6 foot black guy with a deep voice. The blurb in the Tribune’s book section said that he was coming to read passages from his book and do a signing. I’ve always been curious on what made Clash decide to create Elmo, and because Daniel’s a toddler, he automatically loves Elmo. So I figured I drive down and give Daniel a little treat.

Well, I wasn’t the only one to think this. When we got there at 7:30pm, the store was packed. Everybody and their mama came down to see Elmo and a long line snaked all through the store, filled with babbling, sobbing children. There had to be at least 200 people there. I had to wrestle through to see Clash, manipulating an Elmo puppet on his hand, in the center of the store. They decided not to have Clash read and just have Elmo greet the children, one at a time. I looked at the crowd and thought, “Naw…it isn’t worth this. Daniel can see Elmo on TV anytime.”

But then, Daniel caught sight of Elmo and his eyes lit up. “Elmo!” And at that particular moment, the next child coming up to Clash completely freaked, grabbing his mother and sobbing on her arms. Clash, who had been speaking in a normal voice, cried out as Elmo, “Oh, no! Don’t cry!” And he made the puppet wrap his red furry arms around the boy, laid Elmo’s head on the boy’s head, and cry in sympathy. This caused the boy to stop and stare at Elmo in surprise.

That impressed me. Hey, he really is good with kids, I thought. So I stayed.

The good thing about a kids’ signing is that unlike adults, some kids don’t have the patience to wait and wait until they meet their hero. They get tired, hungry, whiny and what not. When they do, the parents shrug and finally leave, towing their screaming kid behind them. So the crowd slowly thinned out over time, making the line shorter. And the bookstaff did a good job in scattering Elmo books around the store, so the rest of us who had restless toddlers could snag a book and read it to them while we wait. And as I watched Clash, a strange, freaky thing happened. Clash slowly disappeared–oh, he was still there, but it was like he didn’t register anymore. All I could see was Elmo: laughing, hugging, waving to a camera. As he broke off from meeting people to come up to the little girl crying behind us and telling her to, “Don’t cry–you’ll see Elmo soon? Okay? Kiss, kiss!” The girl stared at Elmo in wonder. She wasn’t disconcerted that he had no feet and appeared attached to a guy. For a moment, I had a taste of what she felt: Elmo touched me. Elmo just gave me a kiss. He really does care about me. Elmo is real.

Now that’s a good actor.

Around 9pm, Daniel finally got to meet Elmo. He walked up to him and reached a curious hand out to feel his fur. Clash asked me for his name, and Elmo said, “Hi Daniel!” Delighted, Daniel honked his nose. “Hi, Elmo!” One of the staff took his picture (seeing that I stupidly left my camera at home), then Elmo asked for a hug, and Daniel obliged. I then thanked Clash for all he has done and he replied, normally, “Oh no problem. It’s what I do.”

I don’t know if Daniel will ever remember that he met Elmo. I don’t know if he even remembers what happened last night. Today, I turned on Elmo and just like any other morning, Daniel sat, glued to the TV, and joyously called out, “Elmo!” He doesn’t care who voices Elmo, or that Elmo is just a puppet. All he knows is he cares a lot about Elmo.

And that’s the mark of a true artist.

I think I will read Clash’s book after all…

Edit: You know, I completely forgot that I had a picture of Daniel taken with Keven Clash and Elmo. So here it is for all posterity.

Early Morning Musing before I head to the Festival

Bees circle around my boy.

He knows about bees because he sees them a lot in our Dr. Seuss books. But this is the first time he is confronted with their lumbering, yellow striped bodies as they hover around him and his fire engine pushcar. Daniel’s amazed and delighted. “Bee!” He calls out to me.

“Yes, bee,” I reply, frozen in midlunge to grab him away.

But Daniel doesn’t know how to fear bees. But he also doesn’t blindly grab at one. He stands perfectly still, watching as the bees hover close, their feelers waving, inspecting. Then, they give a collective shrug and fly off to cluster on the white starbursts of my Chinese Chives.

My son says, “Bye-bye, bees!” Then, he runs and actually leaps off our patio onto our sea of grass. Hardly a cause for concern, because our patio is at ground level, but the fact that my son treats our lawn as his own swimming pool gives me another reason to marvel him. First, this kid shows me how to behave around bees, not by screaming and flailing my arms, making a stinging imminent, but remaining still to showing them: no, I’m not a flower. Move along…move along. And then, to leap into our lawn, putting all his childish joy in his legs and hurling himself into the last bit of summer, taking advantage of the sun and blue sky and the warm air scented with a grassy onions.

I want to leap through life like that. I think God commands us to leap into life like that.

Daniel, who still has trouble with the mechanics of straight jumping up-and-down, squeals and runs to the patio again to try out his newfound skill. But our neighbor then chooses to come out on his own patio (much higher than ours). Daniel spies him and decides to greet him by lifting up his shirt and showing off his diaperless bottom. “Hi!”

A son and a moon on a warm summer’s day. Ah, life is too full of bliss.