April 12, 2021

More of my strengths: being bossy, laughing at us, & loading the dishwasher

Recently I posted about my strengths, I forgot to include my most obvious:  I'm a rock-star at potty training. I trained Wilhelm, technically speaking. Well, speaking is the issue, in fact. 

He struggles to speak when he has to go. At his house he says POTTY in order to alert people that he needs to go (or so his mother claims, Mini has babysat in their house and never heard him say potty). He can say the word here too . . . just not when necessary. 

Welcome to my daily frustrations. Pour yourself a Mike's Hard Lemonade, it makes things easier.

I leave the light on in the bathroom. I've taught him to take off his pants, climb on the toilet, and straddle it backwards when he has to go. He resisted this skill-set of independence, but I persisted. Score one for me.

Typically, he holds on to himself or slaps his butt and dances around at the border between the family room and kitchen while whimpering. He requires eye contact, an inquiry (DO YOU HAVE TO GO?), and then an invitation:  GO, combined with hand motions, pointing, waving, nudging. 

I prefer:  "I have to go potty" spoken by a kid racing to the toilet. Apparently that's asking too much from this kid who CAN speak. I'm still working on convincing him that he can cross the kitchen/family room border (just call me Biden) enter the previously off-limits kitchen and dash into the bathroom without my blessing. When you gotta go, just go! (for the love of all things holy). 

Wilhelm must have a craving for Taco Bell, he 's all about making a run to the border. (Just not crossing it).

*I thought I cracked the code - showing him this video after the fact and INSISTING that he doesn't need to wait for my go-ahead. "Silly Wilhelm, tell him JUST GO TO THE POTTY." 10 minutes after my tutorial, he started pacing again.

In the meantime, I've started training the other 2 year old. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. Truly, I dislike chasing 2.5 year olds around when they stink and they deny it.

He doesn't have the same communication refusals difficulties as Wilhelm, so I anticipate once he starts to figure it out - he'll alert me of his need to go while he not only makes a run for the border, but crosses it.

At pick up today, his mom admitted that he won't go on the potty for her. Um. I guess you can say I'm bossy.

Let's pause a moment to consider my retirement party:  "Let's honor Ernie, she potty trained my kid," - it'll be a short speech. 

At the risk that this theme is starting to sound like a screwy resume . . . Finding humor in things that run amuck here is another of my strengths.

I mentioned recently that Coach was teaching an online class. It was only like 4 weeks or so. By the time we were all on our best 'shh - he's teaching' behavior, the class had wrapped up. Prior to our evolved best behavior stretch, things happened.

Coach set up a child's table for his laptop in our master bedroom. It had the best blank wall with minimal clutter for his background.

Oh, and let's be clear . . . he DID turn on his camera this time, and volume, and everything else that was necessary to, you know, teach. 

The night of the first class, Mini got out of the shower, wrapped herself in a towel, and walked downstairs. I think she was retrieving something from her laundry pile on the couch (sorted by me while changing diapers, making dinner, and sweeping the floor, because as I've established I'm a super hero laundry sorter).

Tank: (yelling) SHE'S NAKED! SHE'S NAKED!

I think Tank was startled to see her 'almost' naked in the family room, so he decided to be an ass. I was in the study and when it dawned on me that Coach was teaching, I bolted. From where I was, I couldn't decipher where the shouting came from. Was this happening upstairs right outside my bedroom? I was relieved to find a dripping Mini and a hysterical Tank in the family room. I doubted Coach's students heard about our 'nakedness'. 


Another night, someone stunk up the kids' bathroom upstairs. Steps away from the master bedroom where Coach was teaching. There were some accusations along the lines of 'WHO TOOK A BIG DUMP IN HERE AND DIDN'T TURN ON THE FAN?' 

I don't recall the wording, but this time Coach had to apologize to his class for the 'disruption.' This time the students were chuckling. 

Gotta wonder if maybe Coach wishes he had left the camera/sound off again. 

I'm also a super-star dishwasher loader. My people, who aren't tuned into how to conserve space when loading, roll their eyes at my obsessiveness efforts. 

Both dishwashers filled. Reg sitting in the background at the snack bar between the kitchen and family room. My kids are good at leaving their dishes on the snack bar. They assume the dishwasher maniac will clean it up for them.

It's amazing when all the bowls are in the same place how
 much more space there is for EVERYTHING else. Weird, right?

Note how close the island (blue, top right of photo) is to the open dishwashers. A constant source of shin bruising. A mistake by our dumb contractor's dumb daughter. The crack in the quartz is just across from the dishwashers and we've talked about shortening the island to make it easier to walk, and to eliminate the crack.

What skill-set do you have that might look odd on a resume? Also, 17 years ago today we welcomed a baby GIRL to our otherwise male-dominated family. I've been happily shopping for girl clothes ever since. Happy birthday, Mini!


Nicole MacPherson said...

Happy birthday Mini!

Potty training is the absolute worst, I commend you for going through it so many times! Ugh ugh ugh did I hate that stage. Hahaha I came home the other day and was talking loudly to the kids, didn't realize my husband was on a conference call. Whoops! At least I wasn't talking about poop or naked people! Lol. That is one impressive dishwasher, my hat is off to you.

Kathy said...

I am going to have to get a new dishwasher, and I love the top rack silverware rack on yours. How do you like it versus the holders that just go in the bottom rack?

Ernie said...

Nicole - Potty training is the worst, but I do like a challenge. Also, it totally beats the alternative. With the weather warming up, our garage smells like a port-a-potty. Ugh.

So many times my kids have scolded me for being loud with the tots. Mini will yell "I'm going to be unmuted in a minute because I have to contribute so BE QUIET." My response is I WAS HERE FIRST. So happy that my high school kids are back 5 days on a regular schedule since last week - just in time for Mini to have a birthday at school. The kids are coming home from school saying THAT WAS SO FUN. Who knew?

I love my dishwashers - there are two in that photo BTW. We usually only use one, unless we've entertained or I've made a buttload of food. I'm very glad we decided to put in two. We use them more than I thought we would.

Ernie said...

Kathy - I love, love, love my dishwashers. One is Thermadoor and one is Bosch. They are both made by the same company (Bosch maybe makes dishwashers for both brands, I forget). I thought the silverware drawer was going to drive me crazy because it takes an extra minute to load, but I do love it. It opens up the bottom drawer for more dishes and pans. When I load the silverware, I cluster the spoons to one area and forks, etc. Then no sorting when unloading. But like I said, that's me being a super organized dishwasher person. When my kids load they don't do that. ;)

Kara said...

Happy Birthday to Mini!
My oldest turns 18 on Wednesday.

We were supposed to get a new dishwasher with our tax returns. But I took it apart one weekend and cleaned it out, got it working again, so my husband doesn't see the need to replace it just yet. I guess that's maybe my super skill- I can take apart appliances and put them back together again so they work. I love that you have a double dishwasher. It makes so much sense with the size of your family.

Ernie said...

Kara - Happy b-day to your oldest. My nephew's bday was yesterday and Mini's BFF was on Friday. She has tutoring for college entrance exams tonight that got bumped from yesterday so we will be eating crazy early. Plus this in one of Coach's late nights. I made cinnamon rolls this morning though.

Yes, the double dishwasher is a Godsend. We were on the fence about it. Coach was opposed. But then I was remembering how horrible it is when a dishwasher dies - hello, backup. Plus, Coach is a kitchen-nazi. He hates when the kids use multiple cups a day. He had a particularly irritating episode of 'whose cup is this' right before we finalized the kitchen plan and I called the dumb daughter who designed the kitchen and told her DO IT. PUT IN TWO DISHWASHERS. Never looked back. Totally impressed that you take appliances apart. I haven't even learned to use the robot that cleans the floors.

Gigi said...

Happy birthday, Mini!!

Loading a dishwasher is a skill that many don't wish to cultivate because then they might be asked to do it more often. I can't tell you how many times I've had to re-arrange the dishwasher that The Husband just filled.

Ally Bean said...

You rock at loading the dishwasher, no doubt. I am about the exact opposite tossing things in willy-nilly, but you could teach a master class in it. We all have our skills, but at this moment I'm unsure that any of mine could compete with yours.

Ernie said...

Gigi - My people HATE when I re-load. Sometimes the way they load the actual real dishes, I fear that they will break. It's like a challenge though - a giant puzzle . . . what else can I fit in here?

Ernie said...

Ally - Don't kid yourself - I saw the video you took of the rotating Christmas dragon. Talent! Also note, the dishwasher does the work for me, so it makes sense for me to get as much work out of it as possible. ;)

Charlie said...

Happy birthday Mini! I don’t have any of your superpowers sadly, and I definitely don’t have the ability to stack the dishwasher, much to my husband‘s annoyance. He basically takes everything out that I’ve put in and re-does it so I’ve just about given up trying! Good job it’s my job to cook and his to wash up!

Cheryl said...

Happy Birthday Mini! So glad your mom was finally able to buy frilly pink girly clothes! :)

Awww...I feel sorry for that little boy who needs permission to go you think he has to ask permission to go when he's home? That's kinda not normal behavior..or am I out of the loop?

I can imagine what the garbage cans start to smell like as the weather warms up, with dirty diapers and pull ups. We had that issue with cat littler. So glad we got a litter genie...kinda like the diaper genie. No more smells!

Growing up with all nine of us in the house,, wish we had had two dishwashers. Honestly, one dishwasher would have been

My dad was a cookware salesman and we had multiple sets of china and crystal and flatware as well as pots and pans. A lot of hand washing and drying happened on the daily.

Martha said...

Happy birthday to Mini! I really enjoyed reading here but so jealous that you are living my old dream - two dishwashers!

Ernie said...

Charlie - YOU'RE ONE OF THEM! Ha, I kid. That is a good system to have . . . I cook, you clean up. Unfortunately I cook most of the time, but he works till 9 pm 2 days a week and he isn't about to walk in the door and clean up a kitchen. We have a fairly good system right now with kids having assigned days to do kitchen duty. It mostly works. I pitch in when I know that one of them is especially busy (or when I fear they will not load properly).

Ernie said...

Cheryl - Oh, the shopping. I was so excited to dress a baby in things without a truck or a power tool or a sports theme.

Wilhelm is ALLOWED to go potty whenever he wants, but he won't leave the room. It is bazaar. I've tried everything. I wonder if he has a processing disorder or something. Things are not clear to him. Today I "tsk tsk'd" him every time he swatted at his groin. I told him no more of that, just WALK to the potty. I kid you not 5 minutes later, he DID IT. Left the family room without being nudged and marched to the bathroom. It's a small miracle. Let's hope by tomorrow that he remembers to do that again.

I don't sit in the summer, but still May and September are still warm weather months. Oh, the stench in the garage. I am not about to start over with a diaper genie. That would really push me over the edge.

That is a ton of people. Coach would have lost him mind yelling at people not to get out a clean cup when they had one on the counter from earlier in the day. Dishwashers are TOTALLY essential in my book, one at the very least. Tank recently was upset that something in the dishwasher was dirty. I pointed out to him that things CAN be washed by hand. I suggested he grab it out and wash it by hand. He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

Ernie said...

Martha - Glad you stopped by. Yes, two dishwashers are dreamy. Imagine what I could do with laundry pile if I had two washing machines. It's too hard to grasp.

Suz said...

Happy birthday to your Mini. Can you imagine a life without the addition of your girlies? You might have needed TWO fart fans if you had more boys instead.
Laughing at Coach trying to conduct life as 'a normal' when in reality, ya'll are nothing close to it. And that's why we love you.
I wish you could have potty trained Linds...goodness, I almost gave up.
The video is funny and goodness, he's gonna make you earn your money, honey.

Special skills...I know I've talked about how good I am at lice removal. There's gotta be a calling for that somewhere.
I'm also pretty darn proficient at loading the dishwasher, but you, you get the crown for that one with TWO to keep going.

Kari said...

Happy Birthday to Mini!

My dishwasher died last week, a moment of silence, please. So I've been washing my dishes like Caroline Ingalls. How did our parents do this? Actually, I lived in a house for four years without a dishwasher. With a baby/toddler for two of those years. And here I am complaining.

Your dishwasher skills are epic. Calling That's Incredible. Oh crap. Never mind.

Anonymous said...

I am also the only competent dishwasher loader in my house... at least in my own opinion. On the rare occasion, a couple of times a year when someone else is guilted or begged to help, I always end up re-loading and can somehow make twice as many things fit and still be cleaned. And funny enough I actually currently have a dishwasher shin bruise/cut, although that’s very rare because we do have walking room around ours.
Your kitchen is so pretty, even if it’s been a total pain, hopefully it was worth it for you!

Anonymous said...

Oh and Happy Birthday to Mini!

Ernie said...

Suz - I was convinced Reg was a girl. I thought, how nice this will be for Mini. About a month before he was born I realized that I was way too gi-normous for it to be a girl. So, yes - getting two girls when I really thought my last name combined with my ability to produce male babies meant I'd always have boys and all the smells that come with them.

Honestly, there is always something HAPPENING here. Dang pandemic is exposing all of our nonsense with all these not-so-hidden cameras everywhere. What the teachers must think.

Like I said, I do love a challenge. I would've gladly gotten that girl 'going.' :) OMG, this boy. My friend Becky babysat for a kid who she was sure was delayed - till he was about 4 and then bam. He started talking and getting stuff. She likes to remind me, but I do wonder if maybe there is something that isn't quite right there. He is headed your way - family is going to Florida for 3 weeks. I am SO ready to embrace my 3 week break from him.

Fingers crossed that I never need your lice removal skills.

Ernie said...

Kari - Oh no!!! Life without a dishwasher is way too retro to be doable. So sorry. Before our Bosch all we did was struggle to get a dishwasher that would last more than 14 months - the minute the warranty was up, they would die. Go paper, sister.

Ernie said...

AM - It is a life skill. They should teach a class on it at the high school. They could hire me. It's an art. Coach is more of the rinse before you load type, and I prefer to just load - but I end up rinsing, because I worry it won't all get clean. I should've polled everyone on their rinse or not-rinse tendencies.

The stupid woman who helped 'design' my kitchen - well, she sucks. I do SO love my kitchen. Hard to imagine what life was like back when it was smaller and I'd store all my Costco stuff in the dining room. Yes, worth it.