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The Promised Land

All good things come to those who wait. I’m starting to believe that. After a few challenging months, life again seems good and easy and natural. I feel, in all honesty, that we have arrived at a domestic promised land.

For one, Simon has at last made great progress on the second phase of potty training. I am sure many reading this would be shocked that he was not finished six months or even a year ago. I, however, have not been at all shocked by the delay: Simon is slow to change, and he has consistently run late with physical developments. I expected potty training to be late and hard, and I was right on at least the first count. What kept things from being hard was, frankly, my not doing much.

Everything I read about all kids, but especially boys and doubly especially kids who struggle with change, is that it has to be the kid’s choice; the parents just have to wait it out. We can offer opportunities, do preparation work, and praise effort (all of which we did), but we can’t make them ready before they are or push too hard. So while Simon began training in May and has been pishing independently for several months now, I’ve been dealing with poopy laundry for the same amount of time. Undies created work, but pull-ups might have resulted in a set-back or discouraged him. So undies (and laundry) it was! For five long months.

I am so, so very happy to have that (mostly) behind me. And it’s not just about me. Simon himself is bursting at the seams with pride at his accomplishment. He is, in the professional parlance, owning this accomplishment. He is so proud, in fact, that he has plans to share the joy:

“Mommy? Can I take my potty to my birthday party and show all my friends how I can poop in it?”

Consider yourself warned, children in Miss Shana and Miss Tammy’s Threes! (No worries; the potty stays at home.)

Then there is Agotich. My little two-day a week extra kid continues to grow comfortable with me and our house. The last three times her dad dropped her off, she reached for me and did not cry at all. Better still, she doesn’t need entertaining. She is happy to follow me around while I grab clothes, pack back-packs, and make tea; to “help” me in the way that only a 21-month-old can; and to chat away in some combination of Dinka, Arabic, and her own idiolect.

This lack of crying has helped Simon turn a corner. Whereas we were firmly Balkanized in previous weeks (Simon upstairs; Agotich down), now Agotich will toddle upstairs with me and Simon will come down without complaint. They have shared a seat, a show, and a cereal bar. The biggest breakthrough of all came Tuesday, when Simon looked at her as he climbed into the car and said:

“Agotich is my friend. I’m going to teach her how to be a big kid. Like how to walk up stairs.”

This last bit is hilarious, by the way. Little Agotich has superb gross motor skills; she can already (unsteadily) go down stairs using the banister. If we hardly needed baby gates for Simon because he was too scared to attempt stairs alone, we hardly need them for Agotich because she’s so competent on them.  (Though I of course watch her like a hawk.)

And then there’s the final piece of my domestic puzzle. After Percy and Tristan died, Matt and I agreed that we would wait until November and then bring home a pair of older kittens. Therefore, it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me to hear that as of Monday I have a scared-but-purring little two-and-a-half-year-old Siamese/Tonkinese mix squired away in my bedroom.

I’ll properly introduce him shortly. For now, let me just say that reminiscing about Percy and Tristan has been much more enjoyable with a purring friend in the making to keep me company. And although five and a half weeks isn’t long, it was long enough for me separate my missing Percival and Tristan as individuals from my missing having a pet to take care of.

For five weeks, I’ve been wearing black clothes with nary an orange or brown hair on them. I packed for my trip with no one hopping in my luggage. And I have had no paws underfoot to watch out for. Whereas Wednesday I left the house with a nice thicket of gray stuck at the hem of my brushed twill trousers, yesterday I had a cat sitting on my laundry, and I’ve already nearly tripped down the stairs due to his being underfoot. That’s more like it!

One Response to “The Promised Land”

  1. blg says:

    Glad to hear you have achieved homostasis…
    I appreciate your skill as a writer in that you can make even a calm happy life seem interesting.
    You touch my heart.

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