Today was blessedly uneventful. The girls and I met two of my sisters and most of my nieces and nephews at a park, where they all ran around and played and got out some energy. My mom called to tell us that one of our favorite stores had just marked down their summer and a lot of "non-seasonal" toys 75%. Shortly after that, my sisters decided it was time for them to leave, so I took advantage of the time left before lunch to head over and check things out. Shockingly, my sisters and all of the hoodlums who had just been with them at the park were there too. Let me tell you, I cleaned up. I bought birthday presents and Christmas presents to last for a while. My daughters even got "right now" toys, which thrilled them! Several weeks ago, they found a book that my husband's grandmother had left at our house in March when she was visiting. I mailed it to her, and in return she sent $20 for shipping "and then some." I interpreted this as being for the girls, so when Ellen saw a Sleeping Beauty Barbie (she can quote parts of the movie), I explained that we would get it because G.G. had sent money for them for finding her book. This was the only thing I paid full price for (it was roughly $10). So then we set out to find something for Sarah. Her pick was a baby doll that has motion-activated sounds. AAAALLLLLLLL the way through the store, AAAAALLLLLLL the way home, and AAAAALLLLLL the time that I was getting lunch ready, this blasted doll laughed and made some kind of crazy gibberish sound (which Sarah now imitates)--even when no one was playing with it. As soon as Sarah was in her high chair, I found the "off" switch. :)
Naptime went smoothly, except that Ellen didn't sleep. However, she played very quietly with her Sleeping Beauty, so Sarah was able to get her full nap, which always makes the day brighter! The weather was good, so we were off to swimming lessons. For a while, Ellen had a little anxiety about lessons, which presented itself through nasty, nasty bowel movements right before she got into the pool (and sometimes once she was in the pool). Because of insurance reasons, the students cannot go inside the instructor's house, so I bring along that famous Dora potty for Elise to use. When she makes a deposit of some sort, I dump it into a Ziploc bag and dispose of it as soon as I find an appropriate place. A couple of times, she pooped in her potty right before her lessons, sitting in the minivan in front of the instructor's house. She hasn't had this problem in a week or so. The last two lessons we've had this week, I've been in the pool with her so the instructor could show me some things to do to help her use the skills she's learned. Ellen was so excited when she found out I'd be getting in with her! Today, though, it was back to the usual lessons--only Ellen and the instructor in the pool. As usual, I had her sit on the potty before we even left the van. She did nothing, which was fine, since she had peed before we left home. But while she was playing, waiting for her sister's turn, she told me she had to go potty. So I grabbed Sarah, and we all ran out to the potty. She said she had to poop, but sat and sat, and did almost nothing. We've done this before, and what usually happens is she goes in her bathing suit either as soon as we get back in the pool area, or in the pool, which means the pool is shut down for the rest of the day. Ellen insisted she no longer had to go, even though she had only produced a little squirt. I explained to her that I did not want her to go poop in her bathing suit, or in Miss (Instructor's) pool, and that I would be very upset if she did, because she was sitting on the potty already. She was adamant that she was finished, and didn't have to do anything else. So we went back by the pool, and a minute or two later, when it's her sister's turn, and I'm technically supposed to stay by the pool when one of my children is in it, she tells me she has to poop again. My response? "Ellen, this is ridiculous!" After I finished getting Sarah ready for the water and handed her off to the instructor, we ran back out to the van. By this time, of course, she had produced something in her bathing suit. I didn't yell at her, but I let her know how upset I was about what she had done. I mean, I was really upset. We could hear Sarah crying, and I told her I was upset that I wasn't by the pool with Sarah, since she was scared, and I was upset that she had pooped in her bathing suit after we had just been at the potty. And I was a jerk. What was so ridiculous about a 3 year-old being nervous about getting back into the pool without her mom, which she had become accustomed to? What was ridiculous about her not having complete and total control over her bowels at 3 years old? What was ridiculous is how I reacted to the situation. No "Thanks for telling me you had to go poop." No "I'm sorry I didn't have Sarah ready for the pool yet, and you had to wait while I got her ready." Just me saying a bunch of things I shouldn't have said. I want to wake her up right now and hug her.
There's a song I've heard a lot recently that gets me choked up every single time I hear it. I finally looked on YouTube today, and found not only a video for it, but the story behind its writing. The song is Cinderella (click the word to get to the video), and it's by Steven Curtis Chapman. The date on the interview is significant. The very next month, one of the little girls who inspired the song was killed in the family's driveway. Their 16 year-old son was backing out in an SUV, and she ran behind it. Anyone who drives any vehicle can imagine how difficult it is to see small children behind you. From news stories I read, the whole family was outside, and witnessed it. Knowing that she was still alive when the song was written, and hearing how he speaks about needing to slow down and savor every moment just made me sob, and also makes me think about how sometimes, I just need to shut up, remember my kids are kids, and enjoy them.