Yesterday, after completing our shopping, we headed back home and were driving around the neighbourhood to check out the Halloween decorations. While we were driving around, we decided that we wanted to make a home-made ghost to put in the front yard, but we realised that we didn’t have white cloth. So we headed out to the closest Home Craft store. As we were almost reaching the shop, Elan missed the 1st turn so he drove a little more to take the 2nd turn (which also takes us to the shop). As we were waiting to turn left into the small road, right in front of our eyes, a pickup truck made a right turn into that same road and we hurt a crunching sound – my heart sank. Elan quickly turned into that same road and parked a little further down. By then, we were able to see that a man who had been on his motorbike was pinned under the truck. In all fairness, we hadn’t been able to see how exactly the accident took place so we didn’t know who was at fault. Elan ran over to help and the driver of the pickup was in shock too. I guess the sudden surge of adrenaline made the man pinned under the truck quite composed and he shouted to Elan and the driver to lift the truck up. So with all their strength, that’s what they did. And the man was able to drag/pull himself out to lay down on the road. By then, I was already calling 911 and relaying the location, the situation and the condition of the man to the operator. It was terrifying. In such an incident, you never know how bad the injuries are. By then, a few other people had also arrived on the scene – 2 older women were comforting the man and one of them had draped a blanket she had over him. It was really cold and he was shivering.
Within less than 2 minutes (I’m quite sure), the paramedics, the police and fire fighters had already arrived. I have always respected what these people do, but I now have an even more respect for them. The calm and composure they exhibit. The kindness they show. The efficient way in which they assess the condition of the man to decide how to treat him before moving him into the ambulance. They really are amazing.
After giving his statement, Elan was told he could leave and we headed off to continue with our cloth shopping, still wondering, hoping and praying that the man wouldn’t sustain any injury that was terribly serious. As we reflected on it last night, we realised that there is no place we’d rather be than little ol’ Boise – where the compassion of people in a terrible situation is just heartwarming. Having come from the country we came from, where people would just drive past an accident, or slow down to copy down the number of the car to use for the lottery later, we are truly grateful for the kindness we’ve encountered here.
And as I reflected on the day we had, I wondered to myself “Is there ever really a WRONG turn” we make in life. If not for wanting to make the ghost (below) for Halloween, if not for having returned home first and then deciding to go back to the shop, if not for missing the first turn into the shop – would we have been there to help instantly, for Elan to have been there to help lift the truck up so that the man could escape further injury. I will never know. I hope and pray that the man involved in the accident is ok.
That’s what it feels like to me sometimes. Life is just bunches of tests, coming at you one after another. No time to stop, no time to breathe, no time to revise, no time to reflect. And during those times of lull, all you want to do is breathe a little, smile a little, live a little. I try to understand, even accept at times, what is thrust upon us. But sometimes, it is beyond me.
I am constantly faced with questions : “why me?”, “why her?”, “why them?”, “why us?”, “why NOW?” and yet, answers, I don’t have. I am, by nature, a patient and positive person – or at least, I used to be. Where I used to think and feel positive, I now feel angry.
The child of 2 dear friends of mine was just diagnosed with a condition that requrires surgery. She’s just a baby. A baby who holds a dear place in my heart – the reason, only her parents would know.
I don’t understand it. Why a child? I used to once think, it’s fate, God always knows best. Not this time. This time, even Karma doesn’t dare look me in the eyes.
I can’t stop thinking about all 3 of you. Even though God has unfairly chosen this path for you, I am still praying to him to give you the strength, courage and love to face all that you are about to.
That’s where I sat this morning at Divya’s school with Elan. I was now the parent attending the “Parent-Teacher” meeting. Gone were the days of me being the teacher, giving feedback to a parent, good or bad. Here I was sitting, feeling a teeny weeny bit nervous. Silly? For sure. She’s just 3! What could a teacher say that was so bad about a little one? And yet, the anticipation of a first-time judgement of your child by a stranger is slightly nerve-wrecking. Wondering if you’ve been doing a good enough job. After all, a child, at this age, is truly a reflection of what she sees, hears and learns at home. Well, that being said, it turns out Divya has been doing pretty well. Nothing huge to report about. She’s enjoying school, her friends, the activities.
It really does start at this age, doesn’t it? The guidance, the worrying and wondering if you’re doing right by your child. I guess the reason I’ve been obsessing thinking about this so much for the last couple of days is because I read this article written by the mother of one of the shooters in the Columbine High School shooting which took place 10 years ago. When I read this type of article, I tend to want to read more about what happened and look at pictures of the criminals - I always wonder if I’d be able to identify a person on the street who had such thoughts. This article also reminded me about the challenges of parenthood - inculcating the right values, guiding your child and then finally trusting your child to do the right thing and praying that your child comes to you if they are ever in trouble. I’m sure you can tell that the article deeply disturbed me.
And Day 1 was actually yesterday. The potty train is chugging along at a decent speed. No tears, no smears, looking good! So I decided that I shall share the method I’m using – I know what a nightmare it can be to embark on this journey with the joy of your life.
Let me start from the beginning. My initial aim was to start potty-training Divya when she turned 30 months old. The date came and went and I still was not mentally prepared.
Attempt No. 1
After about a month from the initially designated date, I decided to give it a go – starting with the pull-up diapers – FAILURE! In the hubby’s words, Divya and I looked “beaten up” when he came home from work – tempers flared, lots of tears were shed and Divya and I were not exactly on talking terms. So I decided (with the advise from the Internet) to postpone it for a couple of weeks. Maybe she just wasn’t ready.
Attempt No. 2
This time, I read online that pull-up diapers just feel the same as normal diapers to kids so it was advised that training pants should be used – almost like normal underwear but with a little extra absorbency. So I rushed out excitedly and stocked up with a bunch of these miracle undies. The next day, I made the new undies seem so exciting and special to Divya that even I was tempted to get some for myself! She put them on, and within 10 minutes, she had wet herself and even pointed me in the direction, proudly remorsefully, of the puddle she had left on the floor. This was just her first attempt, I thought – patience after all was my middle name. But when her 7th pair of undies had been rinsed and tossed into the washing machine before noon that day, my middle name had been changed to “pure frustration”. It wasn’t just the cleanups that got to me – it was Divya laughing each time she did it, and proudly may I add! Enough was enough - I threw in the undies towel for the day at 3pm and decided that she just wasn’t ready. Call it mother’s intuition. Did I mention that even a little bribery (with sweets) was involved?
Following Attempts 1 and 2 came a whole lot of travelling – so potty-training was definitely out of the question. Then about 2 weeks ago, we signed her up for preschool – what I like about this preschool is that there is no compulsion for the child to be potty-trained. That’s the way I think it should be! But I decided anyway that it would be good if she could at least use the potty – less supplies to be carried every time we go out and lots of $$$$ to be saved. So here came……
…..which started yesterday. And Miracle of Miracles, Divya is doing exceptionally well! She only had 1 “accident” yesterday and none, so far, today! Which leads me to believe, that waiting for a child to be “ready” is extremely important AND it makes it SO MUCH easier on the potty trainer and trainee! As cliche as it may sound, parents have to always keep in mind that every child is different. So the method and timing may differ for different children. But here’s my story of what I did (you never know, it may help someone).
1. If your house doesn’t have any carpet, then lucky you. If it does, try to line it with some waterproof cloth as much as you can. The only thing I did was to line my couch with a plastic tablecloth (you can buy it at the dollar store). And I also folded a towel and placed it on top of the plastic cloth – told Divya that it was a magic mat and that she had to sit on it if she wanted to watch TV (yes, she indulged in a lot of TV so that the training went smoothly).
2. I put another plastic mat down on the floor in the bathroom and placed the potty on it (makes for an easier cleanup). And I obviously chose the bathroom that was closest to the living room/kitchen. You can’t expect a child to run a marathon to reach the bathroom. If you are comfortable placing the potty even closer, that’s even better. But it was easier for me to be able to flush down the pee & poop and wash the potty each time in the bathroom.
3. I placed a toilet roll, wipes, plastic bags and spare clothes within reach of the bathroom.
4. I started off the day by letting her go bottomless – YUP – nothing at all except a T-shirt – I thought that maybe she would not like the feeling of being wet.
5. I set the reminder on my cellphone at 30-minute intervals. I tried to make it sound exciting that whenever the alarm went off, it was “peeing time”. After about 3 hours, she was telling me when she had to pee – so we didn’t always keep to the alarm but we tried to as much as possible. She even did her poop in the potty (although, I must say that she was rather traumatised when she looked at it because she hasn’t really seen it much before). I even reminded her and asked her between the intervals whether she needed to use the potty – I think kids tend to forget when they are busy playing.
6. And since she was able to tell me when she had to go to the toilet, I started letting her wear undies/shorts – after all, she needs to start getting used to wearing clothes without a diaper. It isn’t always appropriate to go bottomless.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not as easy as it seems. I must have cleaned out the potty at least 30 times yesterday. I think bladder control is still an issue!
Here are some conclusions I came to.
1. TIMING – if you are not in a rush to potty or toilet train your child, wait until your child is ready. Look out for signs such as the child telling you that she/he has done a pee or poop in the diaper, interest in wanting to use a potty. Leave the potty in clear sight and every now and then, ask your child if he/she wants to use it. I think that bladder control becomes better as a child gets older and she is able to know when she needs to use the bathroom. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses – everytime another parent shows off that their kid is trained, throw a poop-filled diaper in their face.
2. If possible, don’t take the route of “bribery”. You won’t always be able to give your child a sweet/treat everytime he/she pees or poops. So that is going to give them the wrong message. Resort to it, ONLY, if your child is peeing around the house, laughing in your face and refusing to even try using the potty.
3. Set aside, at least, 2 days to fully focus on potty-training your child. If both parents work, perhaps, sacrifice one weekend for this adventure. If one parent is a stay-at-home parent, then BAD LUCK, you’re on your own! It definitely helps if there are 2 people taking turns dumping the pee/poop. Consistency really is the key – so be serious about it and try not to leave the house for those few days.
6. As soon as the child is able to tell you when she/he needs to pee/poop, start getting them to wear either shorts or undies (something that they are able to easily remove and put on again). It is important to do this as soon as possible since they won’t always be able to go bottomless.
So in summary, let your child go bottomless if necessary, and stick to this timing method.
7. Most importantly, don’t forget to praise your child everytime their attempt in the potty is successful. DO NOT, however, jump up and down and shout out at the top of your lungs – you may just scare your child back into diapers.
I think I have covered all that I wanted to say – if you have questions, just ask – my mind isn’t quite working right, after all, I have had nothing but pee and poop on the brain for the last 2 days!
Good luck to all aboard the potty train!
We’ve hopped back onto the potty train-ing. So that’s where I am right now. I tried it a couple of months ago – not me myself (I’ve been trained for awhile!), but with Divya and it was just miserable for both of us. So I decided to give it a LONG break – especially since we have been travelling quite a bit. But the time has come again – and the potty has to be faced. It’s been 2 hours and it’s going well so far. She is on 30-minute alarm cues now. Since she was born, whenever I am about to teach her something or train her in a particular skill, I believe in arming myself with ample research, millions of “experience” stories and a big bundle of patience.
I know – I know you’re just dying to hear such details and I shall not disappoint as I feed you with detailed descriptions of our journey.
That’s what I’ve been doing – sleeping at times, but mostly peeping at the world through the holes of a laundry basket.
Or if you look closely, is that my cheeky little monkey playing “hide-UM-seek” with me?
I am at a loss for words. Here are some of my UN-lost words – the way I was feeling and behaving while watching the Academy Awards!
- Academy Awards
- Thrilled to the moon and back
- A.R. Rahman – 2!!! 2 awards
- Slumdog Millionaire
- A clean sweep
- Woo-hooing at top volume
- Tearing with such strong emotion and pride
- Change is here, isn’t it?