Don’t Order the Parfait


They say everyone has bad days sometimes. Have you ever thought about what makes some days “bad”? It’s never just about one thing. A bad day is an accumulation of feelings and problems that build up, layer upon layer, like an ill-tasting parfait, with little disappointing nuts and irritating raisins thrown in here and there for good measure.

This was my putrid parfait of January 8th, 2007.

Layer 1: It was a Monday. Mondays start off with one strike against them already, a punishment for the unforgivable crime of putting a stopper on the weekend’s fun and frivolity.

Layer 2: It was dreary and grey and soggy outside, a weather pattern that I don’t happen to like, especially when it continues for so many days that you lose count. All the cars are wearing their filthy winter coat of mixed mud, slush, and de-icing chemicals, and the air even smells grey.

Layer 3: I had been sugar-free for eight days. I am beginning to believe my usual good mood and positive outlook is entirely a product of sugar-induced euphoria. Since going off of the sweet stuff, I have lost four pounds and developed a raging case of PMS and a hair-trigger crying reflex.

Nuts: It was the first day of our new, desperate, Finish-Potty-Training-Caleb-NOW program. In excruciating detail, the problem is this: Caleb will pee in the potty. He’s more than happy to do it anytime you remind him, but when he’s playing, he won’t usually voluntarily stop what he’s doing and go. Furthermore, the boy has some kind of personal aversion to pooping in the potty, with or without reminders. It is not uncommon for me to sit him on the potty for fifteen minutes after lunch with no result, only to have him fill his Pull-Up as soon as we put it back on him. Aggravating, to say the least. Now, his fourth birthday is coming up, and I have reached my breaking point (and the end of the Pull-Ups budget.)
In the morning, I took away the Pull-Ups. I stocked up on M&Ms for bribery purposes. I outlined a lavish reward system wherein 1 poop in the potty=giant handfuls of M&Ms and up to half of the stock on hand at Toys-R-Us. I reviewed basic potty-using technique and did an impromptu “Go, Caleb!” cheer, pulling a muscle in my back that I’m pretty sure I haven’t used since the seventh grade.

Nevertheless, despite these tempting enticements to hit the target, at some point Caleb actually pooped on the floor of his bedroom and then hid all the little turds under his bed so he wouldn’t get in trouble–and went right back to playing. I walked in and smelled the evidence, but his pants were empty. (Maybe my constant reminders to keep his pants clean are working, at least. I just need to get more specific, apparently.) I had to administer the third degree and sacrifice a large chunk of my already-diminished patience before he finally led me to the scene of the coverup, and by then we were both in tears. (I might cry again just typing this!) I had to Lysol everything, since I had no idea what he might have touched with his pestilent fingers. Ewwww!

Raisins: Due, probably, to the compounded effect of all of the above, I had an argument with Paul when I picked him up from work. It was one of those disagreements where all the way through, a little voice in your head is telling you you’re being ridiculous and unreasonable, but the big lump of tears and stress and frustration gnawing a hole in your chest just plows ahead, anyway, leaving a swath of destruction behind you. At some point, we both retreated into silence and finished the drive home that way. It was miserable. I had tears running down my face, my head ached, and I knew I had just driven the one person I wanted to talk to into hiding behind a wall of frustration.

Fortunately, such moments never last long in our marriage. As soon as we hit the door to our apartment, we were talking things out, apologizing, and clearing the air. Ten minutes later, all was forgiven, but I was worn out. When the curtains finally closed on yesterday, I felt exhausted and headache-y and defeated and weepy, and I wanted nothing more than to wipe the whole day off the books and start again.

Unfortunately, when Bad Day Parfait comes your way, often the only way through it is to hold your nose, take a deep breath, and wolf it down, hoping all the while that the next day will taste better.

Thankfully, it usually does.

13 responses »

  1. shouldn’t the pooping story be listed under “raisins”? be thankful your parfait contained no sprinkles. i hate sprinkles. (sigh)

  2. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at parfaits the same…especially now that I associate them with hidden poop.

    Great narrative.

  3. ugh ugh and more UGH. What a day!

    Glad you took a day to get some perspective before writing about it. And glad that you and Paul made up quickly. Fighting with your sweetie is the worst.

    And sugar free??? WOW! Impressive. I’m going hydrogenated oil (a.k.a trans fat) free from now on… trying to be healthier in the new year. It’s SO hard! Big kudos to you and best of luck sticking to it.

  4. Yowza. I have said and will say again, you lose IQ points when you potty train. It’s so true. Focusing on poop and pee for days on end will just make you stupid and depressed. So blame it on that!! But!! There is hope!!! When you finally reach that accomplishment and when Caleb says, all proud of himself, “Look, Mom, I did it!” all the stupidity and depression melt away and you feel envigorated! Okay, maybe that was just me. My prayers are with you. As tough as it is, I think Caleb pooping in his room is big step, he didn’t do it in his pants!! (Next time, I’d make him clean it up…that worked for LM, no more pooping anywhere that he’d have to clean it up himself!)

  5. I had a parfait over Christmas and it wasn’t fun at all!

    We are also dealing with potty training and it can be quite frustrating. I did hear/read that Pull-ups are too similar to diapers and don’t help with training much. Bella can’t stand the thin panties they make for girls so I bought actual cotton training pants from Gerber. Here’s hoping.

    I agree about having him clean up his own poop. Isn’t like he didn’t already touch it!

  6. Katrina, So sorry for your bad day! I hate it when those come around. On the upside – you made it through and lived to tell about it 🙂

    As for the potty training, my oldest son was 4 before he was fully potty-trained, and, sadly, I can’t take the credit for it! All thanks & praise go to the teacher he was with for 1 whole day – she did it in just 1 day and I wanted to kiss her! I spent weeks (literally) cleaning up pee-pee pants, changing bed linens, scrubbing carpets and floors, and apologizing profusely to people like the hairdresser when he peed in her chair – right after I’d taken him to the bathroom! Anyway, the point is, boys just aren’t in a hurry to get out of diapers. I have friends that have tales to tell about their son’s potty-training experiences – just look at Cori at Mommy Stories 🙂 Anyway, Caleb will eventually catch on, probably very suddenly, and you’ll be able to look back on this episode and offer advice to other mommies of similarly stubborn boys. I, on the other hand, seem to be heading toward Potty-Training hell (for the 3rd time) myself. Ian is starting to show signs of interest – even peeing yesterday in his little potty to the tune of 1 whole Skittle 🙂 He’s just barely 2 so I expect this will be going on for a while, but I’ll be sure to contact you for advice when the time comes 🙂

    Hope your day is wonderful and that you & Paul feel blessed to have such a spectacular other-half in your lives!!!

  7. Oh, Katrina! That was a day. If it makes you feel better, I do not know anyone who had a great day on Monday. I was emotionally exhausted from the weekend– and not at all rejuvenated and ready to be sitting at my desk.

    For me physical exhaustion is nothing on emotional exhaustion.

  8. Oh yeah, that’s a Monday all right. Had one of those myself but I don’t think it comes close to yours. Hope Caleb turns that potty training corner soon!

    Gonna have to go to wikipedia and find out what a parfait really is…

  9. I was already skittish about eating M&M’s due to your post long ago about cannibalizing candy, but you’ve managed to push parfait avoidance to the top of my list.

    Never having potty-trained a soul, I can offer no advice (I know, so comforting, huh?) except to say that you now have major blackmail in your arsenal for some dark day in Caleb’s teens. Hang in there!

  10. Man, sorry you had such a bad day, Katrina! I applaud you that you survived Bad parfait day without indulging in sugar. Now THAT’S will power. 🙂

  11. Pingback: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back on the Blog | ▇ ▅ █ ▅ ▇ ▂ ▃ ▁ ▁ ▅ ▃ ▅ ▅ ▄ ▅ ▇

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