Tuesday, August 11 2020

more knex, tibetan food, and practice poops

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. I hope the caffeine is hitting you just right this morning.

Yesterday while waiting for a batch of bread dough to bench rest, I began fiddling with Rodney's box of K'nex that was left out on the table. I started snapping together a rigid base for something that was at first a car, then a boat, and finally some kind of airplane.

knex plane

This morning, I was planning on adding more pieces to it while waiting for coffee - perhaps a bigger tail wing, or maybe a sleek cockpit and hull for storage, but I've decided instead to just leave it as is. I left plenty of open pieces that will hopefully tempt Rodney into making some modifications.

We got some new k'nex pieces in the mail. The first box we opened was from ebay, and inside were two little k'nex figurines. Unlike your more classic LEGO figurine, the k'nex ones are much lankier. They have these long jointed arms and legs and they can snap into place with their legs or feet.

"Dada," said Rodney. "This one is Red robot. Now say how's it going red robot."

"Oh, hey there. How's it going, red robot?" I asked obediently. Rodney pursed his lips together.

"FEES GOOD", said Rodney on behalf of Robot. He used his finger tips to swivel the figurine's head so I would meet his beady black eyes.

"And this one?" I asked. "Is this green robot?"

Rodney stopped, like I had just offended him. "No dada," he said shaking his head. "That is blue robot."

I put my hands up. "Oh, how dare I? My apologies, blue robot. Though you have to admit, that robot is teal at best."

We also opened up a k'nex power pack. It's a little battery powered device that turns an empty gear shaft. Snapping in your own axle, you can make a slow moving cart or an automated pulley. I demonstrated it by throwing together a silly little car that moved on long, crooked spoked wheels.

I flipped the little black switch. The car whirred to life, lurching forward on its mechanical arms. Rodney cackled as the car spilled off the end of the kitchen table.

We're waiting on one more set in the mail. One late night, I found the original k'nex roller coaster on ebay for an absolute steal of a price.

"I'm kind of stressed about where we're going to keep it," said Marissa. "It's like six feet long, right? How big is it?"

I stared down at the rug in the living room play corner. "I'd say about... eightish feet." Marissa laughed nervously.

"Don't worry," I said consoling her. "It will take us a while to put together. We'll find space for it as it grows. We'll be in constant communication throughout the construction project, like you're in charge of zoning."

Sip. We had a good day yesterday. Ziggy thanks everyone for the birthday wishes. Ziggy gets a reputation for being a bit of a party girl, but truth be told, I think all she wanted for her birthday was a sliver of grilled cheese and a nap. We still doted on her the rest of the day whenever we had the opportunity. By the end of the day, she fell asleep in front of the TV flat out on her back with a grin on her face that was so wide, her pink tongue fell out of her mouth.

Apart from making Ziggy feel special, we really didn't have too many responsibilities yesterday. Rodney and Marissa took a trip to the dump and I made some sandwiches for lunch. Rodney also helped me take the garabages out and wipe down the dining room table and chairs.

Marissa had an art lesson scheduled around dinner, so we planned to order food. "I'll just get a pizza from Sal's," I said. Marissa nodded contently before disappearing into the studio.

"Sal's is closed on Monday" I read off the screen. Rodney pulled up a chair beside me, and the two of us looked for new restaurants to try.

"Tibetan food?" I mused. "That sounds interesting."

"Yeah," echoed Rodney. "Inter-string." We ordered a full flight of new Tibetan food to try - dumplings, curry, and samosas. Rodney helped me set the table as Marissa was wrapping up her lesson. He snuck a few slivers of pickled plum.

"Pretty spicy, dad," said Rodney. Rodney finished his entire apple juice before we even sat down.

The food was delicious. I had some rice and pork belly cooked with spicy chili peppers and scallions. Marissa raved about the curry. We passed around the dumplings.

Rodney needed extra encouragement to eat the rest of his food. After commandeering the entire ramiken of dark brown dipping sauce for his own plate, Marissa and I watched in wonder as he finished nearly the entire container.

"It kinda tastes like... dirty sauce," said Rodney, swiping it with his finger. "Tasty."

As we were finishing, Rodney stood on his chair, then doubled over in pain. "My stomach kinda pretty hurts," he said, wincing.

Marissa and I stared at Rodney in suspense, then all of the sudden he was fine.

"OPE. Went away," he said.

"Maybe he ate too much dirty sauce," I said.

Bedtime with Rodney took a lot longer than usual. His head was spinning with thoughts, and admittedly I found it amusing and let him ramble through our regular evening questions. He started to ramble about using the toilet, using our invented term "practice poop".

A "practice poop" was something we invented to broach the subject of sitting on the toilet without all the associated pressure. A practice poop is just a dry run - a tabletop exercise in which we run through a pooping scenario. Rodney scampers over to the plastic toilet in his room, and he even enjoys making a growling sound in lieu of pushing.

"How does practice pooping make you feel?" I asked.

"Hmmm," said Rodney, scratching his chin. "Feels like... nothing!"

"Nothing?" I repeated.

"Yeah." Rodney took a swig out of his water sippie cup. "It's nothing special."

"It doesn't make you sad anymore?" I asked. Rodney shook his head.

I was eager to tell Marissa the news. We had been feeling discouraged over the lack of progress in the potty training front. We have been stuck in a rut where any new idea outside of the pull-ups comfort zone makes him anxious. The "practice poops" were a small, but important breakthrough. I think the secret is that it leverages Rodney's tendency to want to explain things. As shown in the "practice poop" where he gets to run the show and demonstrate how it works, that can be a powerful motivator.

"He said it's nothing special," I laughed.

"Where did he learn that phrase?" asked Marissa. "Probably New Sky Kids or something. He watched a lot of them today."

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you have a wonderful day today.