With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on us, we were fully prepared to lose our electricity. Longtime readers of this blog know that I am understandably not a fan of Pepco and their reliability when it comes to both keeping our power on and restoring it when it goes out.
I will admit that I was cautiously optimistic this time around. The optimism was due to a few factors: The storm would supposedly only hit our area with a glancing blow; there was ample warning, allowing supplemental utility contractors to be called in ahead of time; and after the immense criticism that the company received following the June derecho, Pepco would probably be as on top of their game as they possibly could be.
My optimism proved to be well founded. On Monday, I kept looking outside and thinking that it didn’t look much worse than a normal rainy day. I even briefly drove to my office and the grocery store, and if I didn’t know any better I wouldn’t have known that there was a hurricane.
As for our power, we had a couple of brief flickers on Monday night. I’ll admit that when they happened, I assumed that power loss was imminent. But to my surprise, I woke up on Tuesday morning, and all of our electrical devices were still running.
Even though we were barely affected, the threat of the storm had caused my office to close, as well as Mrs. Cutter’s office and the Cutlet’s daycare. This meant that we would all be stuck inside together for two whole days. How would we pass the time? Potty training!
Yes, the Cutlet has reached the age where she should be transitioning from diapers to underwear. She has given several indication that she is ready for potty training: When she does her business in her diaper, she will attempt to seclude herself. She recognizes when she needs to go, and will usually ask to be changed immediately afterwards. And supposedly, she has actually successfully used the toilet while at daycare.
At home, she has a very special potty that her Grammy and Grampy got her. It’s pink, shaped like a princess throne, and when the bowl gets wet, it plays music. She has sat on it several times before, sometimes of her own volition. She likes reading the various potty books we have bought for her (especially Elmo’s Potty Book) and says that she does indeed want to go “pee pee on the potty.”
And yet, so far, we have had no success in getting her to actually go. It’s gotten a little frustrating, but we figured that with two days to work with her, we’d be getting her to make sissy like a big girl.
On Monday, after she woke up with a full diaper, we asked if she wanted to sit on her potty. We told her that every time she sat on the potty, she’d be rewarded with an M&M. And if she successfully went, she’d get more M&Ms as well as chocolate Goldfish and other treats.
Side note: Having a big bag of M&Ms around is dangerous as it is the one substance on Earth that I can not resist. Unfortunately, the Cutlet has spotted me sneaking some, so I had to assure her that I was only eating them because I too had just gone to the potty.
Since she had just gotten up, we weren’t that shocked that her first trip did not result in any potty urination. Once she was done, we let her pick out some special Disney Princess underwear (“Underwear for big girls!”) and plopped her down on a protective sheet on the couch.
We gave her plenty of liquids to drink such as fruit juice and chocolate milk, and every so often, asked her if she was “keeping the princess underwear dry.” All morning, she successfully kept them dry. Unfortunately, this was only because she wasn’t going at all. We don’t know if she was holding it in or what, but this kid was bone dry all morning.
Finally, we had to put her down for her nap. Mrs. Cutter said that to be consistent, we should put her down without a diaper. That plan promptly ended when Mrs. Cutter looked in on her to find her happily sitting in a puddle. The disturbing part was that she didn’t seem to be at all upset by the wetness.
The sheets were promptly washed, and we decided that potty training would be limited to awake time. When she was in her bed, she would be wearing a diaper.
In the afternoon, she had to go several times. But we found one major obstacle in our quest: The Cutlet is not always completely forthcoming with us.
“Will you tell us when you have to use the potty?”
“Do you think you want to use the potty now?”
“Are you keeping your princess underwear dry?”
All three answers turned out to be incorrect. We rushed her over to the potty and tried to explain the situation to her, but it didn’t seem to sink in.
After the first day, we were a little discouraged, but we figured that she would soon get it. After all, she’s proven to be a very smart child.
We tried again on Tuesday. On the bright side, she managed to keep her underwear dry all day. On the negative side, that was because she didn’t pee at all aside from her nap time. I don’t know if she just doesn’t feel comfortable going unless she has a diaper on or what. Well, I know that she’s fine with pooping sans diaper, so I don’t know what her deal is.
We finally admitted defeat, and vowed to try again soon. All kids eventually get the hang of it, right?
Wednesday was a much more fun experience, as it was Halloween. Halloween is one of the best days to be a parent. Kids are generally happy, you get to dress them up in fun costumes, you get to go trick-or-treating again, and if they’re young enough, you get to eat most of their candy!
The rainy weather had cleared up, so we had an excellent night to go out in search of candy. Last year, the Cutlet went out dressed as Snow White. This year, she chose a different Disney Princess: Cinderella.
We bought her a fancy Cinderella dress this past summer, and ever since, she has been a bit obsessed. She often asks for us to read the Cinderella story, and she has watched the movie a few times. Grandma has completely fed into her obsession by purchasing every Cinderella accessory she could find. This included: A doll, a piggy bank in the shape of Cinderella’s coach, as well as “glass” slippers made of plastic.
Many nights, she’ll ask to put on her Cinderella dress and slippers and admire herself in the mirror. It is slightly frightening to see how adept she is at walking in the high-heeled slippers.
Naturally, she wanted to put on the dress on Tuesday, but we weren’t about to take the chance that she’d keep it dry without a diaper on. We explained to her that she had to wait until Halloween, and by some miracle, she accepted that logic.
We met up with two other families from the neighborhood and hit the streets. Some of the houses really went all out in their decorations with fake spiders, cobwebs, smoke machines, and sound machines. It helps that many of the houses were built with a gothic architecture, so it doesn’t take much work to make them look “spooky.”
The Cutlet had some difficulties in walking up steps with her dress, but she certainly got the hang of taking the candy out of the bucket. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I didn’t steer her towards some of the candy I prefer. “No, take the yellow one. Daddy likes peanut M&Ms!” When prodded, she even said a few “Trick or Treats” and “Thank yous.”
We visited a bunch of houses, but after almost two hours, the Cutlet was clearly worn out. We had to put her in her stroller for the walk home, and she nearly fell asleep before we got there.
Upon reaching home, I read her the most frightening book we had on hand: Green Eggs and Ham! Actually, the most frightening book we have is probably Seven Little Rabbits, but that’s only because of how much Mrs. Cutter and I hate to read it. Really, any book can seem at least a little bit scary when you read it in a creepy voice while cackling.
Once the Cutlet was asleep, Mrs. Cutter and I were left with a bucket full of candy. Obviously, we couldn’t give too much candy to a two-year old. That would just be neglectful. We solved the problem by having a few pieces ourselves, and I’ll give us credit for the restraint we showed. We figure that by next year, she will be much more possessive of her candy, so we’d better take advantage while we can.
Speaking of next year, The Cutlet is already talking about her costume. She’s tentatively planning to stick with the Disney Princess theme and dress as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I’m sure she might change her mind between now and then.
The good news is that we’ll most likely be trick-or-treating in a different neighborhood next year. But that’s another blog post for another day.