They Are the Best and The Worst

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Noah's turn for bedding on the clothesline...

Needless to say, he has had a few setbacks with potty training.

It continually astounds me how these children we bring into the world are the utter, absolute BEST part of our day....

And the utter, absolute WORST.

Potty-training setbacks fall into the WORST part of my day.

I am not proud of how it makes me feel to see this kid willingly, stubbornly poop in his underwear, literally 30 minutes after I had him sit on the toilet for ten long minutes-- AMPLE opportunity to get the job done in the right place.

Since the day we brought him home from the hospital, nearly four years ago, he manages to bring me so much pure, unadulterated JOY and light. But when he ruins my day, WATCH OUT. I am at my lowest low. Lucky for him (and me), the last year of our lives together have been pretty even-leveled, and I haven't felt true despair with him in a long time. So I guess today's feelings were overdue. And gosh darn it all--- even when I want to throttle this kid for that poop fiasco... all he has to do is be his true sweet self and I am back in the euphoria of being his mama.

(Do I spy some baby legs?)

For example: one rough day a few weeks ago (unrelated to the poop fiascoes), when I was at my lowest, he asked me how my day was. I couldn't keep it in anymore and I started crying and said simply, "I'm just really really sad." He walked right over to me and said, "I can give you the biggest hug and you will feel better!"... and he did just that. The sweetest hug, and I was consumed with love for this kid.

He is my highest high, I swear it.

And this stinker:

(Dontcha love her Build-a-Bear Surgeon's Hat??)

She has been AMAZING lately. Her chubbo cheeks and that smile. Her gaspy exclamations of joy. The way she devours her bunny lovey like he was her long-lost twin... She is HAPPINESS all bottled up into one small, chubby, wiggly body.


After two weeks of being AMAZING for nap and bedtime put-downs, she decided the last couple of days to mess with the status quo. Like the Borg, she becomes hip to all my tricks and defies them, one by one. She is unstoppable. Today, especially, every trick in the book failed, one by one. And I was left to let her cry herself to sleep... helpless to do much else.

Lowest low, I tell you--- hearing your baby wail on a baby monitor that manages to AMPLIFY the ugliness of crying... Knowing that even trying to console her at this point would only make her cry harder.... The frustration and helplessness of that.

But then.... eventually.... both kids are napping. My window next to my computer is open to the lovely September breezes. I have time for a tall glass of chocolate milk and some photo editing.... Pinterest surfing... relaxing... All is quiet-- even that monstrous baby monitor...

And this photo comes up in Lightroom:

My babies. After only an hour break from them, feeling revived a bit, it is possible I MISS them? Of course it is. They are my highest high. The BEST part of my day. I live for their smiles and their love.

And that, dear friends, is why we keep going, day after day... Even when potty training threatens to kill us. Even when babies start teething or husbands have to work late. We live for the highs.... so we push through the lows. And eventually, the bad stuff fades out of memory and we get to remember mostly the good.

And if it seems the lows just keep a-coming?

My cure, what works for me, is just to find one small way to be creative in the day.... Make SOMETHING pretty to counteract the uglies in my heart.

Even if on a bad day, it's just getting clever with Ramen and hot dogs:


(Dinner for Noah and myself on one of those long days where Joe has late class.... The idea is from the Taste of Home "Fun Food" edition!)


Even one little creative thing really moves my heart back on track as a mama... Maybe it does the same for you?

Ah.... Kid #1 is up from naps.... The break is over. Gonna work on keeping the rest of this day on the happy track. Prayers appreciated!


  1. love that you are FINALLY finding a balance. ahhhhhh....FINALLY!!!!! yeah!

    And I adore that hot dog at the end w/ green ramen!!! so cute. I will NEVER be as "cool" of a mama as that! :)

  2. Turn OFF the monitor when doing CIO!!! :) Trust me, even with the monitor, you will still hear her. xoxo

  3. Oh, how I remember the ups and downs of potty training my oldest son. He was 4 1/2+ before he finally decided to do it. I really enjoy your blog.


  4. This sounds kinda like my day! I spent my morning driving all over town in the rain to drop my husband off to get a car, only to turn back around after preschool dropoff to pick him back up and take him to work because the car had ANOTHER problem. We drove for a total of about 3 hours (with a screaming babe), picked the boy up from preschool, came home, and my kids both fought naps! It was craziness, but we made it through and somewhere between it all we found a little sunshine too.

  5. love this post! love that in front of a huge pile of dumped out toys are the beautiful reasons you get out of bed every morning, smiling at you.

  6. Hi Emily! I stumbled onto your blog somewhere a few months ago and have really been enjoying your words and photos! I am in the potty training trenches right now with kid #3 and it is absolutely the worst part of parenting I've had to do so far. Ick. I will hope the days without poop incidents for both of us come very, very soon.

  7. This made me cry. You really nailed it, Emily. Highest highs and lowest lows, and magical moments in between that keep us sane. I loved this post!

    P.S. I'm pretty sure you're due for another Disneyland vacation.

  8. I love this post Emily. I love you. I am so proud of you and how strong you have real through all of this. You are amazing! What joy it is to see all these images, and get a taste of how your life is now...the good and the hard. xoxo

  9. what a cool idea for the hot dogs and something fun for you and the kids!!!

  10. You pretty much nailed it on this one girl. Story of my life. All our lives, isn't it?! Amazing.

    Just one bit of mama wisdom for you (in return for all the mama wisdom you shared just now). If anyone tells you that potty training their child was a breeze? They LIE! LIES I tell you!! The word 'training' implies that there is an end. There is no end. They are going to be peeing and pooping in the oddest of places and in the most unique predicaments you can (not) imagine...for the next ten years or so.

    Like sleep "training" (HA! Can you hear my sarcasm?) a mother's work is never done. Maybe it's a form of job security?

  11. Kids are so amazing that way. I can be SOOOO annoyed with Callum, but once he's asleep I started thinking about how much I miss him. Silly mothers. :)


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