Celebrations! (The Best/Worst Idea)

At the end of last week and over last weekend, Harrison experienced some regression on potty training. That’s as far as I’ll go into the details, though, in hopes of sparing you the fun and hilarity that Ben and I got to experience in regards to cleaning up that regression. We had no idea what brought on the sudden relapse, but we knew we needed something to get HD back on track. Because really, he’s been doing so well, especially considering how long we waited to start and how little time we had between the end of daytime diapers and the start of school.

We are what, seven weeks into preschool now? Not once has Harrison come home in different clothes than what he wore to school. Call me crazy, but I celebrate that every time I go to pick him up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Not out loud, mind you….but in my head, I do a little proud mama happy dance because that’s exactly what I am.

So when it came time to devise Motivation, we picked two “prizes” if Harrison could go all day with no accidents. The first was listening to his No.1 favorite music which is currently a CD from VBS that Grandma Deb gave him last year; he hasn’t listened to it in a long time but recently rediscovered it and he wants to hear track one on that CD all. the. time. So, that one was easy peasy; no accidents equals listening to Pandamania before supper.

The second reward also came pretty naturally, thanks to Project 137. One of our recent prompts was to always carry birthday candles with us, for one never knows when one might need to celebrate. Fair enough, right? Well, I must confess, I didn’t exactly toss a package of candles into my already full diaper bag or purse when I first read this prompt. But I did dig them out of the cupboard Monday night just before supper because I thought that Harrison would love the idea of lighting and blowing out a blue candle stuck in a muffin as part of a dinner celebration of no accidents that day. Side note: if you don’t already know this, my son is a huge fan of muffins (and the color blue). Pretty much any day we have muffins is a good day, as far as he is concerned.

Turns out, if you combine muffins and a birthday candle, Harrison is one happy, happy boy! His face was glowing and he clapped and wiggled in his seat while we cheered him on and congratulated him on being accident free for the day. He was so excited that we were celebrating him. And his success. With a muffin! AND a candle!! Best prompt/inspiration ever.

So flash forward to tonight. We’ve had a good week, especially in terms of potty training. Harrison has made it through every day this week, including through Quiet Time (which is notoriously dangerous territory) and a playdate at our house (which is usually when he gets so distracted with play that he forgets to remember the bathroom in time) with no accidents. Fantastic! Another accident-free day in the books meant our fifth dinner celebration tonight via the candle in the muffin trick. And, because it’s been a while since my last post, I decided I wanted to write about Harrison’s celebrations and illustrate it with pictures, of course. So I grabbed the camera and got ready to document.

Here is his celebration:

Fun, right?

Well, I also thought it would be fun to get a picture of him with his celebration. So I helped him get into his seat at the table and then set this in front of him. Then I started to fiddle fart with the camera, trying to change the setting so I could get a good shot, all the while telling him to, “Wait, Honey! Just wait. Don’t blow it out yet! Waaaaiiiiiiit!”

Hello. The kid is three. Three-year-olds are not well known for their patience or attention spans. So while I was still messing with my camera (why did I change the function to macro to take the dang picture of the muffin?!), he leaned in to investigate the celebration burning brightly in front of him, and before I knew it (or got the ‘effin picture that was so darn pressing), he starts hollering, grabbing his face, and crying.

Yep, just when I thought I was going to get my nomination for Mama of the Year (or at least Clever Mama Moment of the Week), I was demoted to Mama Reject (or at least Mama Ditz) for putting a burning candle in front of my preschooler and then expecting him to sit and wait patiently with the ignited flame while I took his picture with said fire. Brilliant, huh?

Thankfully, Harrison was not seriously hurt or burnt. Ben swooped in to grab and blow out the candle and I got an ice pack to help cool off HD’s face. I think he just got too close, realized how dang hot the thing was, and freaked out. Now that I think about it, the reaction might have had something to do with their preschool field trip from yesterday to the fire station…but that’s OK; I would like my son to be fearful of some things and fire is definitely one thing to be cautious around.

Besides completely failing and freaking out my child, I thought I probably just ruined half of my potty reward program. As he was trying to calm down, Harrison was wiping tears from his face and saying, “I don’t want to blow out the candle. I don’t want the candle!” almost as if he thought we were going to force him to try it again. Poor kid!

No, Honey….Mama will not stick any more flaming celebrations in your face against your will and then demand you sit with it for a photo opp.

But, the beauty of a three-year-old’s attention span may be my saving grace here. In a classic moment of preschooler flip-flop, Harrison then said he wanted the candle again for his celebration. So we lit it one more time, and instead of setting it directly in front of Little Man, Ben held it up and away from him; then, together, the three of us did our best Big Bad Wolf impression and blew it out from a nice, safe distance.



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