Potty Training with President Carter


Charlie showed early promise as a potty-training prodigy. At maybe 18 months, he used the potty twice in one weekend, of his own volition, with precise aim and everything. I was so excited that I think it freaked him out, and he refused to pee pee in the potty for months to come.

At Charlie’s parent-teacher conference (a thing they do for 2-year-olds! Who knew?) his teacher stated that he didn’t seem that interested in potty training. She recommended bribery. With candy.

Somehow, we’ve so far managed to convince Charlie that candy isn’t something that exists in the world. For a while, this could be said of sugar generally, but the kid wants to eat Nutri-Grain bars for breakfast. Who am I to stand in the way of his dreams? More importantly, once he knew a sweet morning meal was a possibility that life afforded him, I couldn’t unring that bell.

I got Charlie a snowman Pez dispenser for Christmas, because I’m not a monster. At first, it was one Pez for a solid pee-pee attempt, but Miss Ann said that won’t do it. No participation awards in potty training. Pez is for closers. Now we’re at two Pezzes per pee-based victory.

When the snowman dispenser ran out of Pez, we obviously needed to purchase a set of four presidential Pez dispensers (for the candy).

Now, when Charlie needs to pee, he’ll usually just pee in his diaper so he can keep playing with his trains uninterrupted. But he sometimes asks if we can go find President Carter and have some Pez. I’ll tell him that yes, he can have Pez the next time he goes pee-pee in the potty. A moment of reflection. Then:

He’ll pee-pee in the potty, fight me about how many thousands of times he can flush the toilet, stand on his stool to wash his hands at the sink, start to freak out that he just wants bigger soap, refuse to dry his hands, have feelings about putting his diaper and/or pants back on, receive two Pez candies, and conclude the transaction with an appreciative “Thank you, President Carter.”

While he may not be the potty-training prodigy I’d initially hoped for, he can tell the difference between a Jimmy Carter Pez dispenser and a Gerald Ford Pez dispenser, so I’m calling this a win.

The Robot Ghost of William Henry Harrison & Your Unborn Child

I’ve read in several places that as pregnancy progresses, it’s very common to have a steady stream of sometimes bizarre, baby-related dreams. I have my standard dreams that come up every once in a while (and have since before Andy and I were even considering having kids). It usually involves me becoming aware of the fact that I gave birth to a baby several days, weeks, or months earlier, and then further becoming aware that I have misplaced said baby, as I realize that I haven’t seen him or her since we got back from the hospital. Sometimes, instead of having misplaced the baby, I’ll become aware of the fact that the baby is about 11 months old and I don’t have any recollection of ever having fed him. I will say something to Andy like, “Have either of us been feeding this baby that we apparently have?,” and Andy will respond with something like, “Yeah, I left him a bowl of split pea soup like a week ago. I didn’t see him eat it, but the soup is gone so I’m sure he’s fine.” I’ve actually had fewer of these dreams since becoming knocked up, which I suppose is a good sign. I guess I’m no longer concerned that I’ll be caught off guard by the arrival of a baby, since I’ve peed on a stick and seen pictures of his skull and feel him kicking me in the ribs right this second.

As my own pregnancy has progressed, I’ve mostly had a stream of bizarre, work-related stress dreams, but occasionally the fact that I’m pregnant will factor in. Last night’s finally tipped the scale to be pregnancy-related with a dash of work, and I’ll share it with you, because you look like the kind of person who wants to get a better view of the inner-workings of my brain.

Actual Representation of President William Henry Harrison by James Reid Lambdin, 1835.

Actual Representation of President William Henry Harrison by James Reid Lambdin, 1835.

My place of employment had acquired Walt Disney World’s “Hall of Presidents” for the summer, which I was of course quite excited about. As I was shutting down the attraction for the day, Animatronic William Henry Harrison calls me over to his robot death bed, and puts his hands on my belly. He says, “I want you to know that my child is going to be healthy. . . Actually, I don’t know if he’s going to make it, but you’ll survive the birth, and that’s the important thing.” It’s worth noting that, since I don’t know what William Henry Harrison looks like off the top of my head, he instead looked like Caesar Rodney, Continental Congressman from Delaware and signer of the Declaration of Independence. You’re probably wondering: What kind of nerd knows off the top of their head what Caesar Rodney looks like, but not President William Henry Harrison? I don’t know the answer to this question, but it’s been plaguing me all morning. The robot ghost of President Harrison went on to give me some other words of wisdom, but I wasn’t really listening. He was definitely trying to tell me that I should name the child after him, and while I like both the names William and Henry, I don’t particularly want to name the baby after a man who died because he refused to wear a coat while giving the longest inaugural address in American history. I was also busy trying to decide whether or not he needed to be told that the child wasn’t actually his.  (I decided against it; why cause him grief on his robot death bed?) As the attraction shut down and his candle went out, and the work lights came on, Animatronic William Henry Harrison was swallowed back into the floor from whence he came. And Animatronic George Washington briefly hit on me on my way out the door.

So that’s what my brain’s up to these days. How’s your brain? Wait, I just noticed a new “Add Poll” feature on this blog template. Please vote below.

"I am the ghost of William Henry Harrison." "Then why do you look like Caesar Rodney?" "Because you don't know what William Henry Harrison looks like."

“I am the ghost of William Henry Harrison.”
“Then why do you look like Caesar Rodney?”
“Because you don’t know what William Henry Harrison looks like.”