It’s been a big weekend for Sam, for a number of reasons.
The first reason is the most exciting for me: he actually has started running to the potty when he recognizes that he needs to pee!
This is a HUGE milestone in potty training. For weeks now, he’s been reluctant to go, even when he needs to use the potty, and as a result, we’ve seen tons of accidents. Today, though, several times, he dropped what he was doing and RAN to the potty, doing a little dance as he did. You know the dance. That little panicked potty dance that toddlers do.
And holy crap, I was out of my mind with joy about it! This is potty training! This is success! He still doesn’t like to use the potty when he’s pooping (he’s super constipated because of it, which is SO MUCH FUN let me tell you), but he recognizes that he needs to go and he goes. That is potty training. I’m so pleased.
So that’s my celebratory thing. The second reason this was a big weekend for Sam was that he had his first ever birthday party at a friend’s house.
The friend was his best friend Hunter; the two of them are absolutely inseparable at all times. Hunter’s mom said several times today, “They’re meant to be best friends,” and it’s so true. They just will not go anywhere without each other, and I’m so glad. I love that he has a best friend from such a young age, and I’m hoping that neither of us ever move away from each other so that he and Hunter can go to kindergarten and first grade and every grade of school together forever.
So it was Hunter’s birthday today, and Sam had an absolute blast. Hunter’s family live on a wonderful plot with acres and acres of green land, apple trees, barns, the works. They pulled out all the stops for the party–they had a bouncy house and a piñata and music and everything. Sam had a fantastic time, he really did.
A couple of things stood out in particular, though: the pool incident and the Power Wheels incident.
The Power Wheels incident first, because that one doesn’t make me look like as bad of a parent. As toddlers do, Sam and Hunter have a hard time sharing things. At school, this isn’t a huge deal because nothing “belongs” to them–it’s just the school’s stuff that everyone has to share. At Hunter’s house, though, all the toys were Hunter’s, and it was harder to talk to either of them about sharing (I let Hunter’s mom take charge of that, because I’m not going to tell someone else’s kid to share with my kid).
So the Power Wheels incident began at the sandbox. Hunter had a cool front-end-loader type of gadget that he was using to “dig for treasure.” Sammy thought this was the coolest thing in history and wanted a turn, but Hunter was, of course, uninterested in sharing. Sam sulked and refused to play with much besides a large shovel until the managed to trick Hunter off the front end loader and steal it for himself. You could almost hear his little victorious thoughts. “Ha ha! You thought the front end loader was yours but IT IS MINE! Ha ha ha ha!”
Hunter didn’t seem too bothered at this trickery, though, and a moment later, we saw why: Hunter came rolling out of the family garage on a Power Wheels John Deere tractor. He and Sammy met each other’s eyes, and he looked utterly smug as they passed; Sammy, by contrast, was immediately awash in envy. Hunter had a tractor? That he drove? By himself?
Thus began Sammy’s quest to acquire a tractor of his own. In a shed next to the sandbox, he found a tractor, but it definitely didn’t drive on its own–it required foot power to go, like a Flintstones car. Sam discovered this the hard way by putting his feet on the footrests of the little tractor and not moving forward.
A beat or so later, Hunter abandoned the tractor for a four wheeler version of a Power Wheels that he maneuvered expertly around the apple tree and the sandbox and the shed and everything. Sammy was once again envious because although he’d snagged the tractor, he couldn’t get it to go forward. He wasn’t keeping his foot pressed down on the pedal, and the tractor was stopping and starting like an old jalopy driven by someone who’s never even seen a stick shift before. He thought the issue was with the tractor itself and watched sadly as Hunter zipped around without a care in the world.
Eventually, Sammy was so sad overall that he wasn’t running around playing. He stuck close to me and held my hand with a crestfallen expression. Hunter’s mom had to come over and convince Hunter to let Sammy have a turn on his four wheeler, and after that, they tag teamed–whatever it was they were doing. Zipping around, jumping in the bounce house, eating cake together. They had the best time.
The pool incident makes me look like a bad parent. Hunter’s family has an in-ground pool, and it’s pretty nice. We’ve been looking forward to it for ages. I got Sam some puddle jumpers and a new swimsuit, and I imagined hanging onto him and letting him get used to the water–after all, he’s never been in a big pool before.
He took a while to warm up to the idea of the pool–after all, there was a bounce house and a sandbox and Power Wheels–but eventually he decided that it would be fun. He’d been watching the other kids bellyflop into the water all day, and they were having a blast, so he was ready to give it a try.
We brought him back to the car and changed him into his swimsuit and puddle jumpers. Kyle then started stripping down to his swimsuit (I was feeling crappy; I swear to god, if there’s not at least one gestational sac and heartbeat when we go in for the ultrasound on Thursday with how awful I feel this pregnancy, I will burn something down), and we both figured that Sam would take his time getting into the pool.
See, Sam is kind of… not the bravest child. He’s skittish about a lot of things, including being barefoot, petting cats OR dogs, eating new foods, sand, fried pizza, rain, and oh, ten billion other things that I could list that he has no reason to fear but does. When in a new situation, he usually sticks to me or Kyle like a barnacle until he’s feeling more comfortable. At the beginning of the party, even though he knows Hunter and Hunter’s entire family, he still would not leave us alone until Hunter finally wheedled him into coming into the bounce house.
So we figured the pool would be the same way. Even as he started to take the first step, we thought it would be the same way–the water was deep enough that he’d have felt that buoyancy right away, and considering that he’s scared of LITERALLY EVERYTHING, I figured the buoyancy would give him at least pause long enough for Kyle to get his shorts on.
Not so. In slow motion (from my perspective), Sam took the next step and the next, not pausing. His puddle jumpers lifted him up so he was floating. In the moment of confusion about “wtf is going on I’ve never floated before” he panicked. He flailed and sputtered. Never for a second did he go underwater (thank GOD, and thank you to everyone who suggested puddle jumpers), but his face went down for less than a second and came back up again in time for him to wail in terror.
He did an impressive doggy paddle for a kid who’s never swum before (thank you, puddle jumpers) as Kyle (also in slow motion, so it seemed) finished stripping down and got into the pool. He and Sam caught each other and Sam screamed and sobbed until Kyle put him back on the concrete.
I was frozen the entire time. From the instant I realized “that child is not stopping” right until he was back in my arms and wrapped in a towel, it was like I couldn’t move (which bodes REALLY WELL for future Situations). The other moms chuckled understandingly. “Ohh, is it his first time in a big pool?” they asked and chuckled knowingly when I nodded. They probably weren’t thinking anything beyond, “poor kid, oh well, now he knows,” but my guilt definitely projected into them thinking, “what terrible parents to let him just jump in like that.”
(my expectations for the rest of the party)
We were watching him and right there the whole time. It was maybe three seconds between Sam stepping off the bottom step and Kyle getting to him. Logically, I know that he’s fine and we didn’t do anything wrong, but I’ve still been thinking that GOD, I should’ve been holding him, I should have yelled at him to wait for Kyle, I should have done anything to prevent that moment.
Anyway, despite his (understandable) fear, Sam tried the pool again with Kyle, but once he got a taste of buoyancy again, he shrieked and panicked and that was the end. He sat on my lap shivering and sniffling until he’d dried off and then mostly told us about the pool, “I was really scared until you got me, Daddy.” He didn’t have anything even remotely resembling a breathing problem, so we know he didn’t inhale any pool water, and his energy level was high until we got home after the party and he absolutely (and understandably) crashed.
And, of course, I’m now in a frantic search for well priced swim lessons near us because Sam thinks floating is the enemy.
But in the end, his memories of the party were good ones, and he had a grand time. He and Hunter remain inseparable, and he’s begging for both his own Power Wheels and a bounce house for his next birthday party (I told him “we’ll see” by which I mean I’ll be depending on Kyle and Kat and everyone I know to help me make Pinterest-worthy Star Wars stuff for said birthday party so that Sam doesn’t feel sad about the lack of bounce house). He fell asleep with a smile on his face. So overall: a win? Maybe?
T-minus four days until the ultrasound.