Please tell me I’m not alone…

I like to think my boys are intelligent. Certainly above average, anyway. Danny particularly. Therefore, I can only assume all the issues we’ve been having with potty training must be sight related. Please, let there be a logical excuse for the ridiculousness that has taken place inside our bathroom in the last year…

Danny has been steadfast in his resistance toward potty training… at home. At school and the WonderSitter’s house he has been, of course, accident free. We were not so lucky at home. In fact, just two weeks ago, he had gone through every pair of underpants he owned between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.

There have been lots of problems throughout the process that we’ve dealt with one at a time: his inability to run to the bathroom at will; his tendency to stand wherever he is and yell for us to come take him to the bathroom; his inability to comprehend the need to “tuck” when seated so as not to pee all over the bathroom and his pants and his severe dislike of having his rear end wiped.

Well, we finally got through most of them or at least found a work around… But the tucking issue has had me stymied. I had tried having him stand to pee but he likes to refer to all bathroom actions as “peeing” which can cause a problem if one is standing. So we had sort of given it up from all the confusion. However, last weekend, my mother-in-law somehow breached the communication gap and in a few short hours had him peeing vertically like a man is supposed to a woman wishes she could. He’s been very, very proud of himself and hasn’t had an accident since.

Until tonight.

About 30 minutes after he’d gone to bed tonight he called out, as usual. Sigh. He had to go pee. So off we trot to the bathroom across the hall. He lifts the toilet seat. I stand behind him and help him pull down his PJ bottoms and overnight diaper. Then he leans forward to rest his thighs on the toilet bowl. “And what comes next?”, I prompt, watching for the beginning trickle.

Nothing.

Grunt.

Uh-oh.

I leaned back and looked down. “Danny! You don’t poop standing up!” Too late. “Yes. I want to!”

What a mess that turned out to be. Gah!

Sticks and stones…

I witnessed Danny being made fun of for the first time yesterday. I don’t even know if “made fun of” is really the right term for it. He was called a name.

Blindy.

Sounds harsh, right? It really wasn’t such a big deal at the time. The name caller was my sister’s 7 year old stepson. He’s got older brothers that aren’t the best influences and doesn’t get to spend much time with our families. But still.

I don’t really even think he was meaning to call Danny a name. Maybe more like a nickname or something… It really didn’t seem mean-spirited. He just walked in and said, “Hey, Blindy.” In fact, he was so nonchalant about it that it took me a few beats for his words to sink in. His father had already reprimanded him by that time. But still.

Danny, being true to form, took it all in stride and asked to be taken to the kitchen. On the way he ran on in his own third-person commentary saying, “…He can’t see. You know, his eyes are broken.” But still.

Even though it wasn’t a big issue then, it feels like a big issue now. Another child took a poke at Danny’s most vulnerable spot with no thought and absolutely no consideration for his feelings.

He’s only three. What will it be like when he’s 7… or 10, or 15? Will those unthinking words from his unenlightened peers continue to roll off Danny’s back like so many water droplets? Or will he bear the scabs and scars inside where the world cannot see?

Of course, he will be carrying a big stick (cane)… perhaps others should learn to speak softly…

The Santa Visit

Yesterday I took Danny to see Santa Claus. I’ve been very nervous about the whole thing. We’ve been warned many times about the Santa issue and blind kids. Mostly a problem arises because blind children have such powerful memories for voice recognition. They know right off that this Santa is a) not the same Santa they’ve met before or b) is really Uncle John. Smarty Pants kids, ruining all the Christmas fun for the adults. And, of course, there was the worry that he would sandbag us by asking Santa for something he’s never talked about before which would, of course, be impossible to get at this late date. Ben did that one year by talking about a train set for months before Christmas then, overcome by the heady power of the having Santa’s ear, asking for a puppy instead. (Daddy-O paled visibly and I choked on my own spit.) Thankfully, Santa admitted that puppies were not overly fond of his Toy Bag and tended to get air sick in the sleigh so wasn’t there anything else he wanted??? Whew!

So, it was with some trepidation, and no small amount of priming and practice for Danny, that we ventured to the Mall for The Santa Visit.

We waited in a very small line that, much to Danny’s delight, ran parallel to an escalator (that’s where Brenden, his imaginary friend, lives in case you were unaware) and hid Santa from view. I asked him if he was going to sit on Santa’s lap and have his picture taken. That was a definite NO GO. Danny is not a big fan of the picture taking experience. For him it’s all about a bunch of sitting too still and having everyone tell him to “look up and smile. No. Not that far up…” He simply has no patience for it. So I agreed to no pictures in hopes of a favorable Santa Experience.

We finally reached the front of the line and I got my first look at Santa. Oooh, he was perfect for the role. I don’t know how this Mall does it but every year they find The. Best. Santas. Our Santa was heavy set in his own right but not slovenly or obese like so many of the wannabes I’ve seen over the years. What I really noticed right off the bat was that the portion of his real face that I could see immediately brought to mind Santa’s description from “Twas The Night Before Christmas”.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

He wasn’t sitting on any sort of throne like so many Mall Santas I’ve seen. Instead, he was relaxed in a comfy-looking, green velvet upholstered chair. But when he spoke… oh, when he spoke I fell in love with Santa Claus all over again. His voice was deep timbred and quiet. Smooth and rich like a Hot Buttered Rum. The. Perfect. Santa. Voice.

I mouthed above Danny head that he couldn’t see and his name. (Yet another blind boy perk like buying his Christmas gifts while he’s there with me knowing he can’t see what I’m doing.) As a result, Santa called Danny by name in that deep, buttery voice, and followed it up with a soft ho, ho, chuckle. My heart melted for my son. Danny stood directly in front of Santa’s knees holding his big gloved hands with a giant smile on his face and said very clearly, “Merry Christmas, Santa!”

Thankfully, I wasn’t sandbagged this year – though Santa was a bit perplexed by Danny’s request. He asked for a MOON, and a MICROWAVE, and a BALLOON. Oh, and a BIG BOY BIKE WITH TWO WHEELS. Then he reached up and gave Santa the biggest, hardest hug a little boy has ever given. Every elf in the vacinity gasped out a quiet little “awww.” And my heart melted all over again.

I spent the rest of the afternoon kicking myself for the no photos promise. I’m not sure the sweet image will ever leave my memory. I hope it doesn’t. And I hope most of all that Danny holds that two minutes of Christmas perfection in his heart to share with his own kids someday.

"A Capella"

is Danny’s newest word. I’m not sure where he heard it but he was very frustrated for a full day because the sitter didn’t realize what he was saying. Of course he was pronouncing it “a cambella”. And at first he thought it was the name of a song so he kept saying, “I want to sing A Cambella.”

The sitter thought he was just making up words but the tempo of the word was to familiar. When I asked if he meant “a capella” he just about spun himself into the ground in excitement. Finally, someone understood him!

Now all we do is sing a capella, which he’ll tell you is songs without music. His current a capella favorite is Skidamarink, only he gives it a little Danny twist.

I love you in the morning
and in the afternoon.
I love you in the evening
And under the balloon.

Oh, skidamarinky dinky dink
skidamarinky doo
I love you.
‘Deed I do. Yes, I do.


Is he not just the cutest little guy? Sometimes I just want to squish him because I can’t stand the cuteness another minute!

In other news…

I attempted to get Danny’s baseline hearing test done today. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but there is almost 100% certainty that he will suffer mild to profound hearing loss at some point due to his Norrie’s Disease. At any rate, I took him in to get his hearing tested but he was far too enamoured with listening to the new sounds through the little ear buds in his ears to bother with putting the lego blocks into the fireman hat. No results there. We were able to get results from one test that esentially measures the amount of sound which escapes from his ear after he hears it. That test he passed with flying colors. Which means he could only have the mildest of hearing loss if any at all.

So… Yeah!

Say, say, oh, Playmate

Danny had his first play date Wednesday. And he actually played! Our sitter said he pretty much interacted like any normal child. I wish I’d been there. I’ve never really seen him play with anyone but Ben before.

It was a full day. They had ice cream.

They climbed on a tree stump. Danny heard his new friend jump to the ground… and he jumped too. Amazing.


Danny also took his friend to visit his favorite climbing tree.

They may just be the future terrors of 2nd Street.

Imaginary friends, clinical trials and the joys of poop

I’ve had a bunch of things to share with you, none of which seemed worthy of a whole post in and of themselves. So today will be a Tapas Topic day, in that the subjects will be small and plentiful yet not enough to make a post.

Tapa numero uno
First there is this new site called BreastCancerTrials.Org that lets you enter your health history, then matches you up with any clinical trials you might qualify for. All for free. How cool is that? Well, not cooler than not actually having cancer… but still pretty nifty.

I entered my information. Since I am currently cancer-free, am not undergoing any treatments and do not take Herceptin or any other receptor-positive treatments (praise God for all that), I only qualify for two trials, neither of which I am interested in at the moment. The first, categorized as Supportive, was on treating vaginal dryness for women with breast cancer. Um, yeah. No thanks. The second is Preventative in nature and one I would be interested in if it were closer to me. It is on diet and exercise to prevent breast cancer or a recurrence. So interested in that. Unfortunately, the nearest research site is Houston, TX. But that doesn’t mean YOU won’t have better luck so go fill out your own health history and see what pops up.

Tapa numero dos
And did I tell you that Danny has an imaginary friend. Yep. It’s official. Absolutely no one knows who Brenden is – ergo, he must only exist in D’s imagination – unless he suddenly grew a social life I don’t know about. (And how unfair would that be since I don’t have one?) I guess Brenden has been hanging around in conversation for about 5 or 6 weeks now. I actually thought he was a real kid. Danny talks about him the same way he talks about everyone else, in the third person, in question format, as if he interacts with them on a daily basis. (i.e. “Does Alayna clap at the soccer game?”) I just assumed Brenden was one of the boys in his new preschool class. When I finally got around to asking, turns out he’s not.

I’ve never known anyone that actually had an imaginary friend. Intellectually I know there is nothing wrong with it but I guess I’ve still always thought there was just a little something off about those kids. And that’s not to say there isn’t something a just a little off about Danny either… However, this article I found from the Seattle Post – Intelligencer Reporter was comforting nonetheless.

Tapa numero tres
For those of you sick to death of politics, please skip this tapa. Actually, this might fall more under the confession category than anything else. I voted “yes” on Proposition 8 – the ban on gay marriage. Weeks ago, actually. And now I wish I could take back my vote. I have never had an issue with civil unions or any of the other rights or privileges that come along with such a legal status. My single objection has always been with calling a same-sex partnership a marriage. How hypocritical of me. Who am I to deny equality to any segment of society? The worst of it is that I knew it was hypocritical and discriminatory when I cast the vote. And still I did it! I voted with my emotions and not my intellect. Gah! I hope it is overturned – again.

Tapa numero quatro
I promise this one is lighter by far. We’ve been seeing an ADD specialist for Ben, Dr. Flaton. I really, really like working with her. She’s already given me great insight into what it must be like to be ADHD… helped me see things from Ben’s viewpoint. At any rate, she gave Ben a bunch of questions to answer before our next appointment. They are haaard questions. At least I thought so. I guess they could be perfectly simple also. The few that Ben completed I thought were answered very well. (spelling has been corrected because I couldn’t stand it.)

  1. Tomorrow I will “go to the beach and play.”
  2. I wish that I “was rich and famous.”
  3. I worry about “my little brother.”
  4. I hope “I will never die in a 100 years.”
  5. My father “is going fishing today.”
  6. In school I “learn about science.”
  7. It isn’t nice to “be a bully to other kids.”
  8. My teacher “is nice and kind.”

Tapa numero cinco
Yesterday was our last soccer obligation for the season. It was an entire tournament day. We love soccer and have had a wonderful season – even though we haven’t won a single game. Well, before yesterday. We actually won the very last game of the season. 4-0. Woohoo! The boys were thrilled! Here is a picture of Ben celebrating with Coach Daddy-O.

Sweet, huh? Oh course, that’s not the real story here. Danny and I sat on the sidelines the whole day. We had a great time cheering an clapping for Ben’s team.

Unfortunately, Danny had an accident in his pants because the port-a-potties were so far away.

Fortunately, I had thought ahead and put him in a pull-up before we left the house.

Unfortunately, I had already removed all kid stuff from my van in preparation for Daddy-O’s fishing trip so I didn’t have any wipes or other pull-ups. Yikes! It was only 10 AM.

Fortunately, one of the other mom’s had everything I needed. Day saved. After lunch there was another small accident before we made it to the outhouse.

Unfortunately, this time there was diarrhea involved. Ack! Still no supplies and now day-saving mom had taken her diaper bag to lunch.

Fortunately, Danny doesn’t mind going commando.

Unfortunately, the diarrhea wasn’t an isolated incident.

Fortunately, he was wearing very dark, thick pants and there wasn’t very much of it… that second time.

Unfortunately, there was also a third time.

All I can say is that my youngest son is such a trooper. He was swooped up, rushed home, stripped, thrown in a bath, scrubbed within an inch of his life, brusquely dried & redressed then back at the soccer fields within 30 minutes. Surely a record.

Portions cross posted to Mothers With Cancer

Of Childhood Rituals…

I got Danny’s pony pictures back from the preschool today. They are adorable. Is there ever a bad Pony Picture, though? Of course, I had to pull out Ben’s pony pictures from when he was 3 years old. They look nothing alike.

Ben was a smiling and blond – the quintessential Good Guy. Danny is solemn and dark. Not so much the Bad Guy as the Bad Boy. The cloudiness in his eyes gives them a smoldering, smokey look… if you can overlook the one that’s looking the wrong way, that is.

Ben on Nugget 2003 / Danny on Cupcake 2008

Hopalong Cassidy / Black Bart

I’m also struck by how sad Danny looks. And also, how good looking both my boys are (not that I’m biased or anything) even though they look completely different.

Am I the only Mom who sees a good picture of her kid and loves them that much more for it? Maybe I love them more in pictures than in person? I kid, of course. But they sure are quieter in photos…