I woke up Wednesday morning around four am when Eowyn crawled into bed with me completely naked after going to the big potty on her own. She told me she pee peed, and I wanted to sleep so I didn't question it. Two hours later, Wren woke me up by saying there was "a huge amount of poop" in the front toilet. I turned my head to see Eowyn's bare, unwiped butt on my pillow.
And that was a relatively good start to the day.
The details and daily ins and outs of parenting can be tedious beatdowns. That's not to say that the every day components aren't great. It's just that on a daily basis as a mom, I don't always see the progress I'd like to, especially when my expectation is that we will hit a developmental milestone by a certain time, like knowing the difference between pee and poop and communicating that, then we don't.
But I've found lately that our progress may not be the problem. The issue seems to be in the way I am measuring things.
Just like you don't see someone change if they are in your life daily, it's actually pretty hard to see children's leaps and bounds if you watch them creep through them over time. That's why people from the outside can tell you "It goes so fast!" and you want to tell them, "That's because you're not in it!"
This summer has given us a great way to measure by season instead of by days, and I'm noticing that when I take that approach, the progress we've made is pretty monumental, especially with the twins. Here are some areas of development:
Last year at this time I was banging my head against the wall because my guy Sam was potty trained by 20 months-old. His sisters? They showed mild interest in the potty last year at this time, someone peed in one by accident, then they basically made a pact to treat the potty like it was the spawn of satan and never go near it again. There was absolutely no changing their minds, even though D and I were so over paying for diapers times two.
This year diapers are gone. In fact, those disgusting cesspools called training potties are also on the way out since they will both use the big potty now. Though we still have some night time accidents, we are way further down this road than we were last year. Except, of course, for the occasional dingleberry.
Last year, after joyfully attending Sunday school for six easy months, Asher and Eowyn just stopped at the age of two. They wailed so loud and for so long that someone from the children's building had to come get us from the service so we could calm them before they vomited. Thus began the year of D and I sitting in the lobby trying to catch snippets of the church service between chasing two toddlers.
Two weeks ago on their birthday, I called straight BS on this arrangement. D and I had not sat in a service with other church goers in 12 months. We get a date night about once every 18 months, and church was the only guaranteed time we had without our children on a weekly basis. We had no idea what our fellow believers were studying, and we were tired. So I dropped them in their class and told the teacher to let me know if things went south. And they did, but she had enough helpers to figure it out without us having to step in.
To be fair, they have been saying, "No go to church!" for the last two days, so I know they are not pleased by this arrangement. However, they are at least doing it without hyperventilating, so I'm calling this a win.
I remember when going to the pool was a fun relaxing adventure, back when D and I lived in an apartment, my BMI was less than 50, and the two of us would just back float across the pool in between making out.
Since having four children, going to the pool is an adventure in counting heads to make sure everyone is bobbing properly and trying to keep skin from burning in the Texas heat. My kids being part Hispanic helps with the latter issue, but pool days are not the carefree times they used to be.
However, this year's pool adventures are moving back to the more fun days since Wren can swim, Sammy doesn't punch people who accidentally splash him with water, and Eowyn and Asher like their pool floaties. Last weekend, D and I found oursleves in a pool surrounded by four children who were actually managing on their own. All children's heads were visible, our hands were free, and we had a second to make out a bit like in the old days until we remembered that's what led to all these children in the first place and there's no way we could monitor five or, based on our past record, six at a time in a pool.
A few other achievements:
Wren's Celiac issues seem to be self correcting a bit more often. It's a pretty big jump from the mess we were just entering into last year. It's not perfect and never will be, but it's amazingly manageable considering where we've been.
Sammy is so much better at expressing his feelings in a constructive way than he was at the age of four. It's sometimes difficult for him to express himself at all, but he's made big progress since last year.
When I start wondering when a particular phase will be over, I'm going to start thinking about seasons and where we were three months, six months, or a year ago. Honestly, nothing feels like it changes that much in the day-to-day, but things obviously are even if I don't see them. And I don't want to wish the seasons away, though I told D if I had a proper bat I would take those germ-infested training potties and go to town on them the way Ron Livingston tore up that printer in Office Space. Or I'd just set them on fire, though I'm not sure if residual poo would be an explosive risk, so to speak.
No, I don't want the days to go by too fast. I guess I just want to see that we're moving, and sometimes in the middle of a wonky week when I see regression and distress as the norm, it helps to think about where we've been and how far we've come. Everyone is where they need to be, doing the best they can. Even me.