Thursday, April 14, 2011

Zsa Zsa, Tell Me it's Not True!

Zsazsa Gabor's husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, has announced his plans to have a baby with his 94 year old wife.

Don't panic, folks. The Prince is only 67 himself, a spry retiree who has the "time to take care of it". IT. Yes, he really said it.

Since Zsazsa lost her leg last year, injured her hip, and hasn't walked since a car accident several years ago (and, I'm thinking, since she's nearly a centenarian!) the couple plan to employ a surrogate and egg donor in order to fulfill their baby plans.

The Prince worries that, once his ailing wife passes on, he might get lonely - and creating a baby is a logical solution for the retiree. They also fear the end of the Gabor family name, and are racing time to produce a child before Zsazsa passes on.

I typically don't comment on individual families' plans to add children through birth, adoption, or surrogacy. But when the intended mother is nearly 100, and their baby plans are inspired by the threat of boredom or loneliness, I have to speak up.

My grandmother is in her 90s. She had her last baby later in life, but that child is now grown and in her 40's. It was so late, in fact, that my grandmother and my aunt (mother and daughter) were pregnant at the same time.

But even that's not possible for Gabor. Her only daughter Francesca Hilton is 64 herself, and would be - many would argue - a little old to be parenting a newborn.

My ninety something grandmother loves babies, but when her great-grand babies come to visit, it's for a few hours at most. After all, grandma is 92. She lived through the Great Depression, survived World War II, crossed the ocean on a ship to build a life in Canada, and is now enjoying her golden years in peace and quiet. 

Shouldn't Zsazsa be afforded the same serenity at this stage in her life?

If her royal husband is feeling lonely or despondent, I have a few suggestions for the chap - now that he's retired and has time to "take care of" things.

1) Become a volunteer grandparent. That way, he won't have to buy diapers for himself and the new baby at the same time. 

2) Adopt an older teen. Let the child decide if he or she would like to take on the Gabor name, and have a 90 something mom and 60 something Dad. I promise, adopting a teen will leave you VERY entertained and busy as you face the remainder of your life on earth! 

3) Adopt me! I have parents. Very loving ones. But I'm in the age range you could be looking at for kids. True, Mom Zsazsa will still be 65 years older than me, but Dad and I will be close enough in age to get along well.

The one condition, of course, is that I get to keep my biological parents. I'll even take on the name Gabor, particularly if I get to be a Princess, and if it makes you think twice about creating a baby just to keep you entertained.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Generations of Toilet Training

Before I became a parent, I had grandiose plans to have my child toilet trained by two, reading at three, and filing my taxes on his fourth birthday.

Perhaps it's the relaxed attitude of my generation, but we're into year three already and I'm still lining up for Pull Ups at the grocery store. Noah knows every word of "Once Upon a Potty", yet he's not reading, he's merely reciting the words from memory. And my taxes?? I can't even file them, so there's no hope for Noah completing this year's return.

(Noah, if you read this post years later, I'm sorry for "outing" you as a mostly trained 3 year old. But remember, I did NOT include pictures of you sitting on the toilet... whereas your grandmother has framed pictures of ME snacking on a purple popsicle while chilling on the commode when I was your age...)

I digress.

Back to YOUR toilet training. A generation ago, if your child was 2 and not trained, there was something wrong with both parent and child. One generation further back, my grandmother gained fame and posterity for "training" her children at 6 months. I suspect she may have spent a lot of time hanging her babies over the toilet, but she swears they were "cured of diapers" well before their first birthday.

Today, it's anyone's guess. We know more about the human body and how little bladders really ARE little and we shouldn't rush or shame our kids into producing ONLY on the toilet.

Even the way we train has changed a lot. This weekend we bought a whole stack of "big boy underwear". Some had cars and trucks on them, others had monsters or blue stripes. We bought a package of mini marshmallows to reward him every time he peed on the toilet.

After we got home, we called one of Noah's grandmothers to share the excitement. After the phone call, Noah proudly annouced, "I can't pee on my monsters or they will bite my bum!"

I was momentarily stunned, but Noah was delighted. The idea of inciting a biting frenzy on his bum filled him with giggles - not fear... although the giggles didn't work and he ended up peeing on the monsters before the end of the weekend.

We're getting there, though - slow and steady. And I'm happy to annouce I'm paying less attention to the calendar and MORE attention to my son's cues.

A co-worker gave me the best advice, and I'm taking this to heart "How many adults do YOU know who aren't toilet trained?" It's true - he'll get there when he's ready. And we can giggle about monsters until that day.