To match my letter to Jack, here is the one to Alex. I promise I’ll get back to baseball tomorrow…
Let me tell you about my son, Alex. A good way to know him is to hear the story about how he became potty-trained. Most kids go through potty training for a few months. With Alex, we did it in one day.
(Alex note 1: he learns incredibly fast.)
There is a book about potty-training your kids in one day. I read that. Then one Saturday, Shani and Jack left for the day and Alex and I set up shop in the kitchen. He put on underpants and never went back.
We started by teaching a doll to use the toilet. I had to fill this doll with water and ended up frantically failing. The highlight was me taking a mouthful of water and blowing it into the doll’s mouth. Water immediately shot out the hole in the doll’s crotch, effectively peeing all over my ear. Alex burst into laughter.
(Alex note 2: Alex loves to laugh.)
So from there the method has you let the child drink as much as he wants. The idea is to have the child pee a lot. Alex loved this concept and spent the entire day at the table with a giant glass of fruit punch, a giant glass of chocolate milk, and a giant glass of apple juice. Alex cycled through the three of them, guzzling like a madman.
(Alex note 3: Alex has no control when he eats or drinks something he likes. He will often give himself a stomachache from overdoing it.)
And then there were the Cheetos. You want salty snacks around as rewards for using the potty. I set down the rule that every time Alex pees in the toilet, he can have another Cheeto. It was around 1:00 when Alex began to negotiate.
(Alex note 4: Alex is a very effective negotiator.)
(Alex note 5: He really likes junk food and sweets.)
“Can I have 2 Cheetos if I go?”
“What about 3?”
“3? That’s a lot,” I said. But I was desperate for this to work. “Fine! Fine, you can have 3.”
Alex sprang up, went to the toilet and peed out the tiniest drop of pee. He flushed, washed his hands, and ran back to the kitchen.
“3 Cheetos please.”
I handed over the Cheetos. He gobbled them down, chugged the rest of his chocolate milk, then announced:
“I have to pee.”
And he ran in and once again, peed out the tiniest squirt. He flushed, washed hands, returned, and had 3 more Cheetos.
“I have to pee again.”
That is how the next hour went. The little creep had figured out not only how to hold in his pee, but how to stop after only a little came out. He turned what should have been one bathroom trip into about 25 tiny trips and 75 Cheetos.
(Alex note 6: the boy is very, very clever.)
I am the parent. Which usually means that I am the one who is right. But with Alex, I frequently find that I am wrong.
He figured out the password to my iPhone. He taught himself to read. He built a 500+ lego set by himself. He is smart and finds ways to do things that I would never have thought of.
I told him we should not grow cabbages – but I was wrong and he was right.
I told him he couldn’t use a knife – I was wrong and he was right.
But when it comes to Alex, I will tell you one thing I am right about: he is a loving, smart, fun, wonderful boy. He is the best snuggler in the world. I’m proud of him and I love him very much.
Merry Christmas, Alex.