And so it begins…

No Telling

The indoctrination is complete. After a quick trip for supplies, The Perfect Grandson has his first notebook. He wrapped his chubby two-year-old fist around a blue crayon and moseyed from room to room waving both the instrument and his 3×5 notebook, stopping occasionally to add this or that to the pages. Just like…well, everyone else in this house. We’re a notebook-waving, scribbling family, and he’s officially joined the ranks.

Clearly, his genre is fiction. There was a great deal of plot that didn’t make it to the page, but I was fortunate enough to hear it all. Trust me, it’s an action/adventure piece thick with tension and twists. There’s also something about a bug with spots, but I don’t want to give it all away.

I burst with pride.

The Perfect Grandson Turns This Many

No Telling

And what a party it was. The fun began at Jump Zone, where most of us were blinded by bright, enormous, inflated dinosaurs and superheroes – seriously, these things were easily two stories high. The Perfect Grandson, however, was not intimidated and ran like a boy possessed from one giant thing to another, jumping, sliding, throwing beach balls, screaming. A good fall and a bloody lip didn’t slow him down at all. The minimum age for this kind of kid-stravaganza is two, and he was only just.

But keep that to yourself. If you so much as whisper “birthday party” in that joint the $8 entry blossoms into a cool $200. We were on the down-low for this one. It was a family play date.

Afterwards it was off to the great-grandparents for chicken and Spiderman cake and the real birthday shindig. After eating everything that wasn’t nailed down, The Perfect Grandson opened all his presents, shot some hoops on his new basketball goal, and splashed around in the wading pool until he practically fell asleep in it. It was a Very Happy Birthday.

The whole party was the work of one single mama. She tripped the light fantastic on this one, baking and hand-decorating the Spidey-web cake and slinging herself down all those impossible blow-up slides at Jump Zone. She even mustered the energy to invite her father to the festivities, and made him behave. He’s divorcing again, so that was no small feat.

The Perfect Grandson is two. He got Spiderman glow-in-the-dark Big Boy Underpants to mark the day and what comes next will be no small feat, either.

What comes next is three and four and ten and cars and girls and “don’t tell me what to do, I’m a man.” But keep that to yourself. She had bouts of mama-tears three or four times yesterday alone and it might be best to keep the rest of what’s coming on the down-low as well.

Baby steps.

Seven Things I’ll Miss About Spring Break

No Telling

1. See picture above.

2. Lounging around in unattractive sweats all day.

3. Reading whatever I want, whenever I want.

4. Leisurely coffee in the morning from a pot I made myself.

5. Unhurried, inspired scribbling at odd hours.

6. Extended, guiltless Ebay searching.

7. Snuggling up on the couch, watching the Backyardigans with that boy in the picture.

Potty Training Little Boys: A View From the Cheap Seats

No Telling

The Perfect Grandson won’t keep his pants on. This is a male phenomenon I’ve got little to no experience with, although everyone tells me it’s What Boys Do. Interesting.

I raised a daughter. My parents raised two girls, and most of my experience with small children is braiding hair and sitting with books and picking flowers and hugging stuffed animals and incessant talking. Little boys are different. The Perfect Grandson is a running, jumping dervish. Every waking moment he’s on the prowl, fixing things with plastic tools and throwing them with deadly-accurate aim. These are boy-things I expected, and it’s a great fun to watch him scamper everywhere to do everything Right Now.

It’s the naked-from-the-waist-down business that’s a challenge, though. A few minutes of quiet at naptime usually means a semi-naked boy peeing between the crib slats and onto the floor. He likes to point, then, at his little parts and growl “Heeeaaah!” proudly. I’m not allowed to laugh.

And that’s if we’re lucky. A tossed diaper full of poop is, well, exactly what it sounds like. Yikes.

So even though he’s only a year-and-a-half old, my daughter has begun potty training The Perfect Grandson. She bought a lot of books, scanned the internet, then introduced him to a convincing plastic potty that he immediately took apart and reassembled half a dozen times. So far his gnat-like attention span allows him to sit on it for two, maybe three seconds before running across the room and grabbing a soccer ball instead. Again, no laughing.

I’m not much help. My potty-training expertise is nil. A million years ago I bought the potty, my daughter sat on it, we read books and sang potty songs until – voila – the child was trained. I don’t think it took a week. There was a Sitting Still component to that experience that doesn’t look promising this go-round.

There’s also the lack of a Visual Aid in this manless house, if you don’t count the dog. Boner (don’t ask) our little black daschund is also a boy, but he’s constantly lifting his leg on bushes in the yard. He’s no help at all and has other bad habits that make him more of a cautionary tale than an example.

The word out there is that boys take a long time to potty train. Sometimes forever, they say. A friend of mine raised boys and tells me with a straight face there’s a trick with floating Cheerios and aiming and such. What? In the meantime we’re keeping an eye out for his lightning-fast Pants Off maneuver, my daughter is giving me stern looks, and I’m not supposed to laugh.

“Heeeaaah!”