why I do that

My allergies are still giving me grief, so I’ve been skipping out on running and doing the 30 Day Shred instead. That whole “holy crap I can’t breathe” feeling isn’t quite as awful during the Shred, I guess because the exercises are constantly changing and hurting you in different ways, as opposed to running where you’re just doing the same painful thing for 25 minutes.

And it’s weird, I like them both for different reasons. With running, I get this weird sort of endorphin head rush of, “f*ck yeah, I’m a RUNNER, man. I’m strong! I’m empowered! I can conquer ANYTHING in the WORLD!” So, apparently running gives me delusions of grandeur, because seriously, all I did was run barely 2 miles. We’re hardly talking Marathon Woman over here. But whatever, it’s fun.

Meanwhile, with the Shred, I don’t necessarily get the same rush, but I feel sore all over afterward, which I like because then I feel like, “ooh, I’m toning up these muscles, and these, and these…” So they each have their own perks.

Last night, I did the Shred after Catie got home from daycare, but before dinner. Catie said she wanted to work out with me, so she grabbed my 1-pound weights and jumped in (I’ve upgraded to the 5-pound weights, which make the workout infinitely harder). It’s hilarious because she doesn’t really do any of the moves correctly, but she was so excited that she was doing it with me, and she kept saying, “Mommy, look at me! Look at me!” It actually made the workout harder because I couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s funny, she’s done the Shred with me a few times, but she doesn’t really have the attention span to do the whole video. She does the warm-up, then she wanders off to play with her toys, then she sees me doing something that she thinks looks like fun (i.e., what Jillian calls “squat thrusts” and what Catie calls “frog jumps” – I think Catie’s term is probably more accurate), and she’ll run back over and join in again for a couple of minutes, then she’s off and playing again. Lather rinse repeat.

But last night, when she first got home from daycare & I was putting on my workout clothes, I told her I was going to work out, and she said, “Why you do that?” I have been VERY careful about not saying anything disparaging about my body in front of her, because I don’t want her to take on any of my body image issues as her own. In fact, when she’s jumping around doing the Shred with me, I get really annoyed with Jillian Michaels for talking about burning fat and losing weight – like, SHUT UP, I don’t want those thoughts getting into her head.

So when she asked me, “Why you do that?” I paused for a second to think about it. And I said, “Well, you know how we eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables so we’ll be healthy and strong? I exercise for the same reason. I need to be strong, so that I can still pick you up and carry you, even now that you’re a big girl.”

She seemed to like that answer. She said, “Yeah, and I am getting sooo big! Right, Mommy?” I agreed with her, and I was feeling all proud of myself and sort of smug, like haha, take THAT, stupid American standards that beauty = thinness! Boo-yah!

Then Catie continued: “Yeah, Mommy. And you getting HUGE!”

Nice. Thanks a lot, kid. Jeez.

stuff swirling around in my head, none of which is enough to make a single coherent post

We saw “Toy Story 3” on Saturday. I cried. And Dave didn’t even make fun of me that much (which means he must’ve thought it was sad too, because normally he mocks me when I cry during movies). Catie is obsessed with the first and second Toy Story movies, and she loved this one, but we had to talk about it a lot afterward. I think some parts of the movie might be upsetting for little kids. But otherwise, the three of us gave it a combined total of six thumbs up.

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I noticed a lot of people did Father’s Day posts, and I felt bad that it didn’t even occur to me. So, happy late Father’s Day to Dave. Catie and I love you to pieces.

I have to say, Sunday was a pretty great day. To celebrate Father’s Day, we went out for breakfast (IHOP, yum), then Dave went home to chill out and have some downtime while I took Catie out to run errands with me. We went to Best Buy to buy Dave’s Father’s Day gift, then we hit Toys R Us to look for a “Slinky Dog” toy from Toy Story. Catie had filled up her reward chart and she said that was the thing she wanted (actually, no, she said she “needed” a Slinky Dog). Of course, Toys R Us was sold out, and I worried she’d have a huge meltdown, so I said, “Hey, they’re out of Slinky Dog here, so let’s go see if another store has it. Come on!” And she… my child… left Toys R Us willingly and without a meltdown. I couldn’t believe it. Reward charts FTW!

Also? Thank the heavens above for Wal-Mart (something I never thought I’d say), because we got the LAST Slinky Dog on the shelf. Catie was so happy that she was an angel for the rest of the day.

We got groceries, brought them home, and then since Catie was too hyper to nap, she came back out with me again to shop for new workout clothes. She sat patiently in the dressing room and told me if she did or didn’t like the clothes I had tried on. (I was only supposed to be looking for workout clothes, but I actually thought this dress looked kind of cute on me and I was thinking about getting it for BlogHer, but Catie said, “No, Mommy. Try something else.” Thanks, kiddo! Way to keep me focused on the task at hand.) It was awesome. We wandered all over the mall and she was the best shopping buddy I could’ve asked for.

And Dave got to play video games all day and take a nap, so I think it was a pretty great Father’s Day for him too.

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In the category of exercise/fitness stuff: A little over a week ago, I ran 20 minutes without stopping for the first time in my life. And it was awesome. But since then, my workouts have been feeling progressively more difficult. On Saturday I tried to run 25 minutes without stopping (which, yeah, that’s hard, but I ran 20 minutes, right? So not THAT much harder!) and I had to stop to catch my breath around minute 15. Ok, no big deal. Then I tried to do that 25-minute run again yesterday and I had to stop to catch my breath 4 different times. WTF? Then this morning I woke up with a nasty cough. Ah, allergies, you evil b*tch. That probably explains my diminished lung capacity. I guess I should maybe pop an extra antihistamine an hour or so before my workout.

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I made these brownies (thanks, Grace!), which sound horrifying, but are actually pretty good. Only, um, the combination of ingredients does lead to some, *ahem*, digestive issues. Let’s just leave it at that, ok? But they ARE yummy and a lot healthier than regular brownies, so… ? Judge for yourself, I suppose. They really taste nothing like the ingredients would have you think.

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I signed Catie up for swimming lessons at the YMCA (our gym), and the classes start in mid-July. But every time we talk about it, she says, “Noooooo! I can’t want to go swimming!” She won’t go to the neighborhood pool with me on the weekends, she won’t wear her swimsuit to daycare on “Water Play Day” (which is basically just playing in the sprinklers, they don’t have a pool). She is terrified of all things water-related, except the bathtub, and she’s not even a big fan of that.

So, I was thinking about withdrawing her from swimming lessons this year. There’s a bunch of kids on the wait list who I know would be happy to take her place, and I haven’t paid for it yet so I won’t lose any money. I’m just not sure if it’s worth putting her through it when she’s clearly so scared and unwilling to try it. Maybe we could try it next year and it’d be easier for her. I do think that learning to swim is one of those basic survival skills that everyone needs. I’m just not sure if she needs it at 3 years old. If any of y’all have any opinions on this, I’d love to hear them. I honestly don’t know what to do.

random stories about my kid

I’m writing this down for future reference. I forget a lot of these little moments, and these are a few I want to remember.

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File under “It Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later”: About two weeks ago, Catie decided that she was done with Pull-Ups at bedtime. She wanted to wear her big-girl panties all the time. She always woke up dry, so I didn’t worry much about ditching the Pull-Ups.

Sometimes, though, she worries me because she refuses to pee before bedtime. I try insisting that she needs to use the potty, but she screams and cries in protest and I finally give up.

Last night happened to be one of those nights. Flash-forward to 4 a.m. when I’m awakened by hysterical shrieking. I hop out of bed and bolt down to her room. She was crying so hard I could barely understand her, but she was screaming, “I peed my paaaaaaanties!!!” Poor kid was totally distraught. So off we went to the bathroom so she could finish her business, then new pj’s were obtained, and sheets were changed. (I can’t even remember the last time I had to change her sheets in the middle of the night. I think it was when she had a diaper malfunction as a tiny baby.)

The good news is that I made it a Learning Moment, and said, “See, this is why we always need to pee before bedtime, so this won’t ever happen again.” I’m hoping that she won’t fight me so much about it next time.

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Catie’s in a phase of hating my camera right now, so I haven’t been taking too many pictures. When I try, either she turns her head or covers her eyes, or I end up with pictures like this.

who, me?

Lovely, right? Hopefully she’ll get over it fast.
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One of Catie’s favorite jokes right now: she goes to her play kitchen, gets a plastic lemon and a teacup. She puts the lemon in the cup and then says, “Hey, want some lemonade?” Then she cracks up.

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Another potty-related anecdote: Catie has now decided that she wants privacy when she poops. She needs one of us to go into the bathroom with her, to turn on the light and help her get her pants down, then it’s “Mommy, you go ‘way.” I leave the room and she yells for me when she’s done. I think that’s hilarious. Also, how nice for her that she gets privacy when she poops, but nobody else gets the same courtesy from her!

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The other night Dave gave Catie her bath and got her into her PJ’s. Later that night, she and I were in her room and we noticed a spot of blood on the carpet. I knew immediately that it must be Dave’s; he’s covered in mosquito bites and he picks at them, so I was sure that’s what it was. I told Catie this, and she ran out of the room and screamed down the stairs, “Daddy! You left a blood in my bedroom!”

I know, it’s kind of gross, but I laughed.
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I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I really love Catie’s daycare. I love that the teachers are nice and that Catie adores them, I love that they “get” her, and that they’re getting her to try all kinds of cool new things. They do so much cool stuff there. The kids are learning sign language and Spanish. She has a weekly music class, a soccer class (called Sweet Feet, which is so adorable I could die), and a gymnastics class (called Tumblin’ Tots). And I love that Catie has several friends in her class, both boys and girls. I really couldn’t have asked for a better set up.

Also? I love the projects that she brings home. She brings home little art creations all the time. For Mother’s Day, I got a whole little basket full of crafty things she had made, and I’ve seen a preview of what they’re making for Father’s Day, and it’s pretty awesome. Apparently this is part of it, but it’s not so much a surprise because it’s on the bulletin board outside their classroom:

Catie's star

Each kid has their own star. I love it. (I especially love how they cut out the picture around her pigtails.) And hey, at least she’ll smile for the daycare teacher’s camera, right?

this is where I have to thank Supernanny

I mentioned earlier that we’ve been having some behavior issues with Catie. I don’t really know how to explain it, other than to call it the Terrible Threes. She’s argumentative about everything. Anything I suggest, she wants nothing to do with it. Time to take a bath? No, no bath! So I force her into the tub, then it’s another fight to get her OUT of the bathtub. Mealtime, bedtime, all of the parts of our day that are things we have to do, she puts up a huge stinking fight about it.

Catie at Mother's Day brunch, trying on Tracy's sunglasses
Who, me?

On Sunday, I had tickets to take Catie and her cousin Elizabeth to see Nick Jr. Storytime Live. Just me and two three year-olds. Don’t be jealous. When we had talked about it earlier, Catie was SO excited, and couldn’t wait for the show. Then Sunday morning rolled around, and she was in another bad mood. I told her that we needed to get dressed, so we could go to the concert, and it was going to be so! much! FUN! Her response? “NO! I can’t want to have fun!” I finally dragged her upstairs and forced her to get dressed, and as soon as I pulled her shirt over her head, she cut me off before I could say anything and said, “I’m NOT pretty!” Like, don’t even try to compliment me, lady. Don’t waste your breath.

Once we got out the door & headed to my cousin’s house to pick up Elizabeth, everything was fine. Catie and Elizabeth take a lot of cues from each other, and they were both amazingly well-behaved. They held hands as we walked the two blocks from the parking lot to the theater, they stayed in their seats, they were fantastically easy. Of course, I bought them some popcorn and they each got a giant cookie, so that probably helped.

After the show, we took Elizabeth home. The girls played in the backyard for a while, and Cat and I talked about how difficult this age can be sometimes. It’s so nice to be able to commiserate with someone who’s going through the exact same thing. But it also got me thinking that there has to be a way to change this behavior. My parents (well, mostly my dad) insist that we need to spank Catie when she acts out, and I don’t necessarily have any knee-jerk reaction against spanking, it’s just something I prefer not to do. I was spanked as a kid and I don’t harbor any major emotional trauma because of it. But I generally think that if there’s a way to get the desired behavior without spanking, that’s the better route to choose.

On our way home from my cousin’s house, I remembered an episode of Supernanny that I saw ages ago, and I got inspired. After I got Catie settled down for her nap, I left her with Dave and set off for Wal-Mart. (Note: I generally prefer Target over Wal-Mart, but we just got a brand new Super Wal-Mart and it’s surprisingly nice. And cheap.)

I came home with a small dry-erase board. I hung it up on the wall in the living room where Catie sits for her time-outs, and I wrote on it: CATIE’S REWARD CHART. I drew in 10 squares underneath it. Here’s the rules: when she does something that she needs to do (i.e., taking a bath, getting dressed in the morning, etc.) without complaining or throwing a tantrum, I fill in one of the squares. (She can choose if she wants a smiley face, a star, or a heart – she knows that Mommy’s artistic ability is pretty limited!) When all 10 squares are filled in, she gets a prize. Nothing major, probably just something from the $1 bin at Target, but still, it’s the idea. Here’s the catch: when she’s naughty and has to sit in time-out, one of her squares gets erased, and she has to earn it back. So the premise is established: rewards for good behavior, consequences for bad behavior.

We set this up on Sunday evening, and I cannot begin to tell you the turnaround I’ve seen in this kid within 48 hours. She’s back to being sweet and agreeable most of the time – sure, she still throws the occasional tantrum, but they’ve decreased so much, so quickly, that it almost makes me think this must be a fluke. We’ll have to give it a test run for a while longer to see if it really works, but so far I’m cautiously optimistic.

me & Catie
I’ve missed this sweet version of my kid. I hope she sticks around a while.

and yes, we're getting a baby-sitter on Saturday night

Stuff from this week:

1. Mother’s Day was almost a week ago, and I sort of completely forgot to mention anything about it. But it was lovely. We went to Charlotte to hang out with my sister, and had a great time. We took Catie to a Children’s Museum on Saturday, which was a lot of fun, then went out for a fantastic dinner.

Catie playing at the kids' museum in Charlotte

And my sister, who is awesome, got me roses for Mother’s Day. It would’ve been nice if I’d remembered to take them with me when we left her apartment, but I forgot them at her place. Oh well. They were lovely.

On Sunday, we went out for brunch, then walked around downtown Charlotte for a while.

Tracy & Catie walking down the street in Charlotte

one of my favorite pics from our weekend

me & Catie on my fourth Mother's Day

It was a great weekend.

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2. My stupid elbow still hurts from where I fell on it, and the scab on it is absolutely revolting, but I’m still working out almost every day. I’m just being careful not to do things (like certain yoga poses) that involve putting pressure on my elbow. I’ll be fine. It’s really the food part of the whole diet/exercise thing that I need to work on. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to tackle that. I have a lot of ideas and I’m still trying to sort them out. I’ll write more about it when I figure out what the heck I’m doing.

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3. Catie is in this phase where she goes back and forth between being absolutely fun and delightful and amazing and wonderful, and a 37-inch tall hellbeast demon. And you never know which kid you’re going to get at any point in the day. I don’t really know what to do about that, other than just ride out the bad moments, implement discipline when necessary, and try not to lose my temper (that last part is the hardest one). It’s just difficult when she’ll go for like a week without needing to be put in time out at all, then all of a sudden we’ll have to do four time-outs in a single day. Which may be average for a toddler at this phase, but it feels like a lot to me.

But, you know, then she’ll say something that’ll have Dave and me doubled over laughing, because she’s an absolute riot. So I guess we’ll keep her, in spite of the occasional tantrums.

Catie next to (yet another) fountain in downtown Charlotte
She’s kinda cute too.

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4. I had a little moment of panic there on Monday, when Teenie wouldn’t stop barfing. Everything she ate came right back up (and this was after she coughed up a big hairball). I called the vet’s office, they said to bring her in immediately. They gave her a shot of some anti-nausea meds and an injection of fluids under her skin so she wouldn’t get dehydrated, and they ran some bloodwork. She’s borderline hyperthyroid (she’s also dropped over 4 pounds since we left Washington in 2008, which seems like a lot for a small cat – she went from 14 pounds to 9.8), so we’ll keep an eye on that and address it as necessary.

The whole thing was pretty upsetting and scary, and it reminded me of this post I wrote a while back, and oh god, if something is really wrong with the cat, how on earth am I going to explain it to Catie? I had a pretty big freak-out about that. But it seems that Teenie is ok. She stopped barfing, so either the meds worked or she got it out of her system. And her bloodwork is otherwise normal. So I’m thankful that I get to postpone that particular horrible (and yes, inevitable, I realize) conversation for a while.

Of course, if the damn cat doesn’t stop pooping in random corners of our living room, she may not be long for this world anyway. Argh.

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5. Dave and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary on Saturday. Five years. I can’t even wrap my head around that. It’s not that much time in the grand scheme of things, is it? It’s almost like, “Really? That’s it? Only five years?” Because in a lot of ways, it feels like we’ve been together forever. (In a good way. I promise.) So, I’m a little early, but happy anniversary, babe. Love you.

P.S. Apparently this is the “wood” anniversary. I swear I’m not making that up. And yes, I giggled when I read that, because I’m a 12 year-old boy.

where I've been

I haven’t blogged in a week, which is practically unheard of for me, so y’all will have to indulge me here and let me do one of these recappy things to cover what’s going on here at Chez PooBou.

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* Catie hasn’t had a single potty accident since last Friday (as in, April 23rd). That’s 9 days ago. I think, I mean I’m reasonably certain, that this means she’s… potty-trained? Like, we’re done? Quick, somebody knock on some wood for me!

She still wears a Pull-Up to bed, but she wakes up dry every morning, so we could probably ditch that as well. But she asks for the Pull-Up at bedtime, I think it makes her feel more secure. And that’s fine. We made a BIG DEAL out of putting her diaper pail in storage the other day (no more putting stinky poops in here! All your poops go in the potty now, right? Right! YAAYY!), and she was pretty excited about that.

And on the one hand, I feel like, wait, that’s it? We’re all done now? That was too easy! But then I have to slap myself and remember that we started this process a full freaking YEAR ago. So, no. It has not been easy. At all. But I think she’s got it down now. Finally. Praise the lord.

Future's so bright...

Also? She is so proud of herself, y’all. Last night we went to TGI Friday’s for dinner, and she introduced herself to the waitress. “Hi! I’m Catie W[last name]! I poop in the potty!” Dave and I almost died laughing. (And thankfully, the waitress seemed to think it was funny too, she didn’t look horrified.)

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* I’ve been exercising like a maniac lately. It’s bizarre because I’ve always hated working out, but now I’m finding that I actually look forward to it. The exercises for my knee that the sports medicine doctor gave me have really helped, and I’ve been able to really push myself to work out hard, which feels great. I’m doing the couch-to-5K (although I’m stuck on week three because no matter how hard I try, I cannot run for longer than 3 minutes without feeling like I’m going to fall over and die; I’ve tried to move up to week 4 on a few different occasions, and nope, sorry, my body cannot run for 5 minutes; hopefully I’ll get there someday?) and I’m doing “The 30-Day Shred” in there on alternate days.

Yesterday, just to mix it up, I did my “Weight Loss Yoga” DVD, which I haven’t done in ages (btw, that’s another “Biggest Loser” by-product, and I do not understand why I’m suckered into buying these things when I don’t actually watch the show!). And it was a great workout, so I definitely need to start working that one in more frequently.

So, yeah. I’m apparently becoming a workout nut. Bizarre. The diet part is trickier. I’ve lost about 5 pounds and I’m holding steady there. I know the foods I need to change in order to amp it up. I’m just having a hard time making myself walk away from the junk food. As usual.

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* My job is busy. Trying to balance working full-time along with taking care of the house and the kid and all of that? It’s kind of kicking my butt. I think there are probably a lot of areas in which I’m failing right now – like, say, in the housekeeping division. But hopefully I’m going to be getting some help on that front very soon, because there is just no way I can keep this whole house clean on top of parenting my kid and working 40 hours a week. And Dave works even longer hours than I do. So I think a housekeeper is definitely in our immediate future.

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* Spring means getting to hang outside more often, which probably accounts at least partially for my lack of blogging. Catie wants to spend every available moment playing outside with the neighborhood kids. And she’s too little to play outside by herself, so that’s where I am too.

Spring also means the return of Drum Night. The last Friday of every month, we go to see a band called Rhythmicity that plays at an outdoor mall near us. The kids love it.

Catie rocking the tambourine at drum night

Elizabeth boogies down with the belly dancer
(Catie & her cousin Elizabeth both liked the belly dancer, and I have to admit that she was pretty awesome. I admire anyone who can get up in front of a crowd and shake their stuff the way that she did.)

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So, yeah. If you don’t hear from me as much on the blog here, don’t worry about me. We’re all good.

t-shirt headdress

In fact, I think we’re better than good.

The most exciting Saturday night I've had in ages

Yesterday, I needed to run to a few different stores, and Catie had said she wanted to go “play wif’ kids” at the drop-in daycare down the street. They’re open on Saturday afternoons/evenings for parents to have date nights, which is pretty cool. I don’t mind shopping with Catie because she’s generally pretty easy, but I have to admit that the idea of shopping alone sounded awesomely self-indulgent. The thought that I might be able to take a few extra minutes to actually try on clothes, instead of my usual “grab/dash/return it later if it doesn’t fit” method? Yeah. That sounded nice.

So I dropped her off and went shopping. I’m a big fan of the Kohl’s Cares for Kids program, and this month they’re doing a Dr. Seuss theme. I bought Catie a copy of “The Lorax” a few weeks ago, and it’s quickly become her favorite book. We read it almost every night. I saw that they also had a Lorax plush doll, and I knew Catie would love it, and for only $5, well, what the heck.

While I was finishing up the rest of my errands, I had a lightbulb go off over my head, and I thought this might be worth a shot.

So I picked Catie up from daycare, and when I got her all situated in the car, and I told her that we needed to have a talk. I told her that I had a surprise for her, but she could only have it if she promised that the next time she needed to poop, she would at least try to sit on the potty.

Catie: No potty. I just poop in Pull-Ups.
Me: Huh. Ok then, I guess I don’t get to give you this surprise then. Too bad, I’ll just have to take it back to the store.
Catie: I see the surprise?
Me: Ok, I’ll show it to you, but you don’t get to hold it until you promise that you’ll at least try to poop on the potty. Deal?
Catie: Deal.

So I showed her the Lorax, and oh man, she flipped. She wanted it so bad. I reminded her that she could only keep it if she tried to poop on the potty, otherwise I’d have to return it to the store. (And no, I’m not that cruel, I wasn’t actually going to take it away from her. But she didn’t know that.)

A few times last night, she asked to sit on the potty to try to poop, but nothing happened. I wasn’t really expecting it, I was just happy that she was at least willing to try.

Then right around bedtime, she said that she needed to try to poop on the potty again. I said ok, helped her up onto the potty, and sat on the floor next to her. She asked me to hug her, so I did. She said she was scared, and I told her that there was nothing to be scared of. I started babbling about how it’s ok if she doesn’t go, I’m proud of her just for trying, because all these things take practice. After all, there once was a time when she couldn’t sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and now she sings it beautifully, because she practiced a lot and she got really good at it.

While I was hugging her and just talking-talking-talking to try to distract her, I suddenly heard a very distinct “plop!” sound.

It is a little embarrassing to admit just how much I flipped out over this. I seriously jumped up and down and clapped and screamed “YAAAAYYYY CATIE!!! WOOOOOO-HOOOOO!!!!!” I think I scared her a little bit with my over-reaction, but she laughed too, and joined in with applauding herself and doing a little happy dance with me.

Then we had to call everybody (my parents, my sister, Cat, everybody) and tell them how she pooped in the potty. She got lots of big reactions on the phone too. I think everybody knows how big a deal it was for both of us.

Then, because this kid has a memory like a steel trap, she said, “I have cupcakes now?” Because I once told her ages ago that if she pooped on the potty, we’d have cupcakes to celebrate. I told her that it was bedtime and I didn’t have any cupcakes right now, but that we’d get some in the morning.

Today, Catie’s friend (and our former neighbor) Morgan and her mom came over for a playdate, and just as I promised, we made cupcakes. They were pretty delicious, if I do say so myself.

Today I’m still riding a weird sort of high. It’s a “wow, I think my kid might actually be potty-trained” high. I can’t even begin to explain how great it feels.

I can get her to smile for the camera, but not look at it

And it only took 39 months. Sigh.