Riley had a bad day yesterday, the details of which were fuzzy but seemed related to the two accidents he had at daycare, one resulting in a pair of underwear that came home in a sealed plastic bag and went directly in the trash if you know what I’m saying and I think you do. On the occasions when he’s had an accident at home there have been a lot of frantic tears and panicky upset and most heartbreaking of all, the stuttery claim that he’s SORRY (dear god), and we’ve immediately swept in with Parental Damage Control, soothing and doling out hugs and reminding him that having accidents is okay, all kids have accidents, it’s totally no big deal, etc, and I don’t know precisely what happened at school but he confessed something to JB about how he “couldn’t stop crying for Daddy” and ohhh, it’s not often that I feel like Riley’s school situation is anything but positive, but this morning, as he leaned against me and said he wanted to stay home with Mommy today, I felt like one of the Spartan mothers from 300. You know, where they send their little boys off to fight wolves and shit, and maybe they survive to become great warriors but maybe instead they are simply devoured in one bite like toddler-shaped Slim Jims? Look, I know it’s not exactly the same, but I think we can all agree that sometimes school environments are every bit as traumatic as battling flint-eyed wolves in the snow. Especially when sometimes you have yourself a little bathroom break and whoops, the built-in toilet that’s previously been attached to your butt is no longer there.

While I was helping him get dressed this morning he kept getting his foot stuck in his pants, then putting both feet into the same leghole, then starting to walk off while I was trying to button the waistband, and I was bent over uncomfortably and the whole time Dylan was blatting endlessly from his chair in the kitchen and I finally barked in Riley’s face, “JUST! GET! YOUR! DAMN! PANTS! ON!” or something equally gentle and maternal. Because it wasn’t bad enough that he was feeling skittish about going back to school today, I had to go and yell at him for no good reason too. Go me.

(There is nothing in the world like the feeling that you have done less by your child than you should have. Even if it’s for a small thing, a blip on the radar screen that surely won’t be remembered, it settles onto your parental soul and digs in. These transgressions seem different to me than other embarrassments or regrettable actions we all accrue in life, because they can’t be buried or dismissed — they require that you look them in the eye and see your reflection for what it was in that moment, acknowledge it and vow to do better. A good thing, surely, but much better to avoid the process altogether.)

I had thought that potty training might be made easier by his part-time daycare attendance, but maybe not. Those of you who have been in similar situations, do you have any tips? He’s armed with multiple changes of clothes and diapers for naptimes, and his teachers seem patient and willing to remind him about breaks — anything else we should be doing?

I have something like 18 months’ worth of video on our camcorder, mostly because 1) it’s a pain in the butt to get it onto my Mac and 2) I’m lazy, but I managed to pull a few recent clips and string them together into a too-long-for-Flickr movie featuring some revealing shots of our shamefully messy family room, the fact that Riley often runs around with no pants on, and one of the many scintillating lyrics in that well-loved singalong, “All the Babies Go to the Mine (Lowered in Buckets)”:

Random family goofiness from Linda Lee on Vimeo.

In other news, hot dogs are apparently off the list of things I can talk about at ParentDish along with every-fucking-thing else, sheesh; JB made me watch The Bucket List with him the other night and then he begged me not to tell the internet but HA HA HA my husband made me watch a pussy suck-ass Rob Reiner movie oh wait the joke’s on me; Dylan has been sleeping like a champ in his swing but not nearly so well in the crib and I don’t know, do you think there’s anything wrong with continuing to cram him in the Nature’s Touch Baby Papasan at night or are we just creating a maaaajor problem for ourselves?

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