Potty Training my Strong Willed Child

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I always knew potty training a strong-willed child would be difficult. I had braced myself for unending battles of wills. I had figured it would be a lot of trying and seeing if he was up for it, and then quitting when he asserted that HE was not going along with this. He likes to assert himself…a lot…so I was braced for the idea that we would need to use all manner and method of persuasion before he would finally concede. Probably around the age of six. I was braced for that.
Imagine my surprise and delight when around the age of three, we start sticking him on the toilet…and after only a few minor skirmishes he concedes and starts peeing in a toilet. He stays dry at night! But while he no longer feels comfortable peeing in his diaper, he screams bloody murder when you put him on the toilet. Then he pees. It wasn’t perfect, but it was something. Not long after, a miracle happens. He poops in the toilet! Fairly consistently, with only a few messes in his diaper. I’m elated! But then something happens that I had never foreseen. Not in my wildest dreams. He has now taken to refusing to poop. Not in his diaper…and not in the toilet. He is so stubborn that he is trying to assert his will over Mother Nature itself. He refuses to heed the call of the wild and no mere bodily function will win over HIM. He first would go a couple days without pooping. We would stick him on the toilet and he would cry a bit, poop, and be in a much better mood. Then it was three days. Right now, I think it’s been about four days…maybe five and he’s sitting in there refusing to poop.
I’m not sure whether to laugh, cry, or be worried about his bowel health. He is literally full of you-know-what! We’ll see who wins…Mother Nature or King Toot. But my money is on King Toot.

It’s like riding a bike…

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One of the universal rights of passage is learning to ride a bike. I had decided, very early on, that bike riding would fall into daddy territory. Mainly because I realized that while I am a fairly mellow person…as a mom I envision all sorts of horrific possibilities when my kids are doing almost anything. Say we’re at the park playing. When all they’re doing is digging in sand. I worry they won’t fit in with the other kids and be made fun of. Or that they’ll get sand in their eyes. Or they’ll burn themselves on the hot sand. Or suddenly collapse and die of heat stroke. Or that they aren’t getting enough water. Or that I’m looking at my phone to read a text and ignored them for a few minutes…scarring them for life and causing irreparable emotional damage. The list goes on and on. I decided that an activity involving them careening at high speeds on two wheels down a street with cars would not go well for anyone involved, if I was there.
So Sir Smiley has taken it upon himself to work with the kids. He even tracked down one of those coasting bikes, where you don’t have pedals but instead push with your feet. Apparently, it teaches kids to balance first before making them focus on pedaling as well. Seems legit. But after working with them for a few weeks, I have a sneaking suspicion (I seriously reread this…and that word looks wrong. Suspicion. It feels like it should be suspision, or suspiscion…but autocorrect disagrees with me. Now I can’t seem to find any spelling that looks RIGHT. I guess I’ll bow to autocorrect’s expertise)..a sneaking suspicion that they will learn to ride a bike around the same time they learn how to drive.
Sasquatch is terrified of her bike. It’s reminiscent of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.

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Well…maybe not quite that bad. But you get the picture. Sir Smiley spends a good amount of time coaxing her onto the bike, then pushes her while she wails in terror. Stops to give her a break. She then proceeds to somehow fall over and never even puts her hands up to catch herself. Splat! She is suddenly face down on the ground with the bike on top of her.

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He has tried almost everything and she’s still terrified.
Then there’s Urpling. Quirky little Urpling. She loves the balance bike (I looked it up and that is the official term). Here’s a picture of it:

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She hops on that thing at the garage, gives herself a good push, and coasts all the way down the block without ever touching the ground. Her natural balance is amazing. We were thrilled! This bike is perfect! Now we just need to get her on a regular bike. Except, once we do, she transforms into Sasquatch.

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Finally, we tried King Toot. He loves the tricycle. Unlike our girls, he has immediately grasped the concept of pedaling and cruises all over the place. So we tried putting him on the balance bike. He grabs the handle bars…and shuffles himself around without ever taking his feet off the ground. He’s still impressively fast. But not quite what we’re looking for.
I’m not gonna lie and say this has been a crushing disappointment. I’m not ready to watch my kids cruising around the block on two wheels. They’re still my babies. But I have had a steady supply of amusement watching Sir Smiley’s frustration as he tries to find some way to convince just one of our kids to ride a bike. I mean, you know what they say…it’s just like riding a bike. But apparently it isn’t as easy the first time around.

What do you do all day? Part 2

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Wanna be up to speed? Here’s the introduction. This is the first part of my day. Basically, it takes up until about noon. Wanna know what I did the rest of the day? Hope so, since that is the illustrious topic of today’s post. Without further ado, I’ll pick up right after lunch.

12:15 – After lunch, the kids ran around the house a bit while I cleaned up their dishes.
12:20 – I then put King Toot in his room for “quiet rest time”. The rule…I don’t care what you do in there as long as it is quiet. They need some down time…and so do I! Some days this works and I get a bit of a break. But more often than not it is like today…where every 15 minutes I have to go in and remind him to be quiet. Then I discover that he has pooped and is happily playing in it. Now rethinking my decision to potty train just yet.
12:25 – I finally make my lunch…and consume it. I also play Candy Crush and then watch Dr. Who for a bit of a respite.
1:30 – I pick up the house, including the misc toys that have been distributed every where.
2:10 – I head out to run errands with Urpling. We go and check the mail, where I have to remind her three times that she’s not allowed to squish the bags of packing peanuts. We then go to deposit a check, during which time Urpling asks for money to play an arcade game. I refuse. We then head to Goodwill where I buy some new movies and toys (well, new to us) for our church preschool. Finally we brave Walmart to buy a few groceries. Urpling helps me scan things at the self check out. She has a blast…even if each item took about 4 tries. Did I mention we spent every moment in the car listening to “Let it Go” while Urpling belts the song out at the top of her lungs? Well, we did. It was simultaneously adorable, hilarious, and aggravating.
3:10 – We get home and I unload Urpling and the groceries.
3:20 – By this time I have put all the groceries away and I load Urpling and King Toot into the double stroller to go get Sasquatch and two of our neighbor kids.
3:30 – We make it to school just as the kids are being let out and I walk the two kids who live behind me to their home. Sasquatch tells me about her bad day where the other kids blamed her for bringing acorns into the class, even though she didn’t do it. I console and commiserate with her.
3:40 – I drop off the neighbors, and then King Toot cries because he can’t go to neighbors.
3:42 – King Toot goes onto time out because the massive disappointment of having to come home caused him to shriek in a pitch that only dogs can hear.
3:45 – I get all the kiddos settled and they have a snack…which is left over candy from Halloween. Mom win…or fail?
4:05 – I work with Sasquatch on her homework. So grateful her math homework does not require drawing pictures to demonstrate the problem…considering she is very artistic and must include great detail in each drawing. Math homework can take a really, really, really, really long time when that happens.
4:20 – Leaving Sasquatch to work on her own math problems, I go to take a shower.
4:45 – I emerge and start prepping dinner. At this time I also make all the kids lunches for tomorrow. As I cook, I watch Dr. Who. Because, well, it’s Dr. Who. (Don’t ask me how many times I’ve watched Dr. Who. Mainly because cause I’ve lost track. Also, don’t tell me about the new season. I haven’t seen it and, “Spoilers!”. Bonus points go to you if you just read that quote in Dr. River Song’s voice…)
5:45 – Dinner and lunches for tomorrow are now ready. I get everything dished up and Sir Smiley proceeds to help me get everything on the table while we summon small ones to come eat.
5:55 – All the kids actually eat most of their food. King Toot does require a mixture of pleading, cheering, and a bit of force to get him to eat his. Sir Smiley and I thoroughly enjoyed it…as dinner turned out quite good.
6:15 – Our friend joins us and also enjoys the food I made, while I proceed to chase kids around. I manage to get shoes on all children’s feet, and both girls are wearing their vests for Awana. I do have to ask Urpling to put her shoes on 3 times before she responds and actually does it. In the meantime, Sasquatch is still somehow eating a miniature candy bar. How she can manage to turn a bite-sized snickers into 5 minutes of eating…I can’t quite figure out. It is, by definition, the size of one bite.
6:25 – I leave to drop all the kids off at church. I herd them each to their prospective room and then practically skip back out to the car. I drive home…alone…for the first time that day and enjoy the three minutes of solitude.
6:35 – I arrive home to help Sir Smiley lead our bible study. We go through a few chapters of the “Screwtape Letters” and have some deep discussion about virtues and how Satan tries to render them (and us) powerless to work for God. It was some good stuff.
8:05 – Sir Smiley graciously goes to pick up the kids for me so I can stay and talk to my friend. We hang out and chat until the chaos returns. Then she heads home.
8:30 – The kids come home. Sasquatch has said all her sections…plus some extra ones…and was very proud of herself. She had been struggling to actually focus enough during AWANA to say the verses she had practiced all week, so this was a big victory for her. King Toot at this point is past his expiration date, and he has turned sour.
8:45 – King Toot, having refused to actually nap today, proceeds to have a clear and epic meltdown. Not a tantrum…but an actual meltdown (there is a difference). I dressed him for bed, and then we wrapped ourselves up in a blanket and I rocked him and sang to him until he calmed down. Then off to bed he went. In the meantime the girls helped finish off the dessert from bible study.
8:50 – Put the girls to bed, and read to them. We’re now reading slowly through chapter books, and read picture books during the day. It keeps Sasquatch’s attention better…and mine.
9:07 – I reread a letter Sir Smiley wrote to double check it for him.
9:17 – The girls, refusing to sleep, start whining at each other because Urpling is singing too loudly and Sasquatch can’t rest when she’s being so loud. Urpling is upset because she’s singing to her animal and her animal can’t sleep if she doesn’t sing to it. I do a little negotiating and eventually convinced them both, begrudgingly, to quiet down.
9:20 – Sat down to watch the newest episode of Supernatural before calling it a night…only to discover there was no new episode this week. Oh the humanity! I now have to wait an entire week before watching the 200th episode. So I console myself with some…you guessed it…Dr. Who.
10:40 – I set the alarm for 6:15 am thinking I can get a few chores done before the kids wake up.

This should give you a general idea of my days. A few last minute notes:
– This is NOT all inclusive. I’m unable to jot down every single moment with great detail (and I don’t want to…it’s already long enough). It doesn’t include Sasquatch making a lego church, or Urpling pushing King Toot around in bike trailer. It doesn’t include Sir Smiley and I making kid sandwich hugs. It doesn’t include my kids running at daddy full speed and jumping on him…over and over and over again. Squealing and laughing every time.
– King Toot is a strong willed kid. No doubt about it. I talk about that in other posts. Feel free to read. But I want it on the record that while he screams a lot, he is not spoiled. I deal with him as fairly and consistently as is humanly possible. Also, while he is far from compliant…he is also my most snuggly child. Whenever I need a hug or some snuggles, he is always up for it. His favorite game is to say, “Iwuvoo” to me so that I’ll grab him and shower him with hugs and kisses. I wouldn’t change him for the world.
– Some days are easier. Some days I get a miraculous nap in. Or we sit all snuggled on the couch together watching a movie. Or I get to have some “me time”.
– some days are harder. I cry, or go to my room to scream and throw things so I don’t take my frustrations out on my kids. Or I’m so tired I’m just ready to be done with kids. Where I want to walk out the front door, not forever but for a day or so.
– All moms (and I suspect dads…although I feel I’m not qualified to speak for them) have these same daily struggles. The highs and lows will look a little different but we all have them. I like being honest about it. I love being a mom. There are moments I am trying to grab and hang on to with all my might before they slip away. Others I cheer like my team made the super bowl when they finally pass. But I love my life. This was a sample of it, to give you a glance in the window. Hope you found it enlightening..or at least entertaining.

What do you do all day? Part 1

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I wrote a bit of a preface to this post yesterday, which can be read here. This ended up being quite lengthy, so I shortened it up a bit for the sake of our sound-bite style culture. So this was my day yesterday…up until about lunch. This is a pretty typical day for me. In fact, this is falling during my rest and recovery weeks so this doesn’t even include my triathlon training I usually also include during the year. Be that as it may…a sample of my day (no, I did not intend to rhyme there. But I did. Because I’m a genius.)

6:15 – The alarm goes off. I wonder what insanity possessed me to decide I would get up this early. I decide to just lay there for a minute and “let myself wake up”.
6:50 – I wake up and realize that I had fallen back to sleep. So I play a little Candy Crush to “help me wake up”.
7:00 – I finally actually leave bed and get myself ready. Today this consists of brushing my teeth and putting on semi-clean clothes.
7:15 – I get the kids up. King Toot has a dirty diaper, and as I go to change it I realize the wipes are empty. I refill it and then get him cleaned up. Then I get him dressed while I remind the girls that they will need actual clothes to go to school. King Toot proceeds to show his displeasure with my choice for his wardrobe by screaming. Why? Because I told him he couldn’t wear his Captain America costume…which he’s worn so much it is now a bit gamey.
7:30 – I have the kids count their magnets. This is our reward system and we usually do it the night before…but I forgot.
7:35 – I start my bible study.
7:36 – Sasquatch comes out and announces that she can’t get into the office to practice her piano. I go let her in.
7:38 – I start my bible study…again.
7:40 – I get a call from my sister. We chat.
7:45 – While chatting with my sister, my neighbor shows up with her daughter who walks with us to school twice a week.
7:47 – I continue my bible study.
7:50 – Sasquatch comes out and says the keyboard won’t work. I inquire (okay…demand) why she hasn’t already finished practicing…let alone started. She shrugs. Sensing my displeasure, she finally practices her piano.
7:55 – I finish my bible study.
8:00 – I prep breakfast for all my kids, and myself.
8:01 – I put King Toot on time out for screaming at me…because I wouldn’t let him throw Urpling’s pumpkin across the room like a basketball.
8:03 – King Toot is removed from time out. Urpling proceeds to wrestle him to the ground because he has a toy she wants. I tell them both to knock it off.
8:05 – I now have breakfast ready and I call for the kids. Urpling is dragging King Toot down the hallway by the arm. She refuses to stop when I ask her to. She does not like being punished for it. So we begin breakfast with Urpling and King Toot both wailing. Score 2 for mommy.
8:09 – After fetching things for kids while they are eating I finally sit down and realize that I have no spoon and no milk for my cereal. I remedy this problem.
8:15 – King Toot has still refused to eat even one bite of his cereal. He also has handed me an empty glass. I ask him if he wants more. He says, “No!” I put the cup in the sink, he yells, “No!”. I ask him if he needs juice. He yells, “No!”. I finally tell him if he wants juice he needs to say “yes mommy”, or hold his peace. He mumbles “essommy” under his breath. I give him some juice which he promptly throws on the floor. He still refuses to eat breakfast and not wanting to be late I just let him get down. He then immediately grabs his bag of Halloween candy and hands it to me saying, “Peeeeeese???”. Then wails when I tell him he does not get to have candy in lieu of breakfast.
8:20 – I send the girls in to brush their teeth and hair while I clean up breakfast. I then realize I didn’t make Sasquatch her lunch. Guess she’ll be buying school lunch today.
8:25 – I discover Sasquatch is standing in the bathroom with her toothbrush (that has toothpaste on it)…frozen. I inquire as to what she’s been doing for 5 minutes and she stares at me blankly.
8:27 – Sasquatch has finally brushed her teeth and is now getting her shoes on, as does Urpling, while I put King Toot’s shoes on and go search for my own. While I’m trying to find my shoes, Urpling demands I find her Buzz doll. I tell her no. Meanwhile, King Toot is wailing because he wants to get going now that his shoes are on and none of his subjects…I mean family…are ready.
8:30 – Sasquatch kindly finds the Buzz doll for Urpling, I have my shoes on, and all of us head out the door with the double stroller and walk to school. We wave at the dump trucks, while our neighbor and Sasquatch come up with rhyming words together.
8:40 – We make it to school, just as the classes are heading in. Drop off neighbor and Sasquatch and then walk to visit our PTO president, who is also the crossing guard and preschool aid. I’m not sure when she has time to breathe. My kids demand snacks from her and she kindly complies. *sigh
9:00 – We walk back to the school drop off and drop Urpling off for preschool. Only then do I realize that she does not have her backpack. *facepalm moment
9:05 – I meet up with a fellow school parent and she passes her daughter off. We swap every week, so she watches King Toot every other week and I watch her daughter on opposite weeks. Doesn’t seem fair, since her daughter is a sweetheart and my son is, in the words of Rants from Mommyland, “a cupcake baked by the devil”. But I won’t complain. I walk home.
9:15 – I take a moment to surf the net and dink around on my iPad.
9:35 – I chat with hubby who is now awake.
9:45 – I feed the dogs.
9:50 – I clear off the bulletin board of the month’s worth of papers my kids have brought home or made. I leave the most recent creations up and file the others either in their memory boxes…or the recycling.
10:00 – I go through our mail and our stack of to-do papers from the mail. I pay bills, recycle the junk mail, and set aside things I need to run errands for.
10:10 – I call the animal licensing department as they claim I didn’t send in a renewal…even though I had.
10:17 – They actually answer the phone and then tell me it takes over 3 weeks to “process” my application. Whatever. At least I know they did receive it. I then go through all our paperwork and file it away in our file cabinet.
10:30 – I use the facilities. Then I chase the kiddos around the house, play with the dolls, assemble our Mrs. Potato Head, and play in the castle.
10:40 – I return various texts and phone calls. (Sir Smiley is now picking up dog poop and mowing the yard. I LOOOOOVE him.)
11:00 – Bathroom break for the kids. My visitor is potty trained and my son decided he needed to sit on the toilet too. I’m thrilled and hope this new fad actually sticks with him. I make plans to start potty training my stubborn child.
11:15 – I grab the kids a snack and then turn on Qubo for a few final moments before we go pick up Urpling from preschool and return my sweet visitor. I want to keep her as my son has not wailed this entire morning, and seems keen to impress her with his manners. I start blogging for the first time in months!
11:40 – I load up the bike trailer and head to school. Drop off sweet visitor with her mom and get Urpling. Head home.
11:55 – I didn’t get lunch ready last night. So I throw some meat on a plate, along with a cheese stick and squeezable apple sauce pouches and called it lunch. Kids eat that and some leftover Halloween candy. In the meantime, I check facebook. I used to eat lunch with them, but I found my lunch was always cold by the time I did. So now I just wait until they’re done and “put away”.

So there it is. The first half of my day. It doesn’t include everything. Every time I had to stop and remind someone of something, or wait for them to investigate a spot on the ground, or answer the same question 80 times, or to see something completely ordinary as though it was the greatest discovery in the known universe. These are all part of my day to day life. It’s not bad. It’s not fast. It IS time consuming. And it’s my life.

One of those days…

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It has been one of those days. Well, not day…afternoon. I took my kid to running club and brought the other two with to cheer her on. Then went to get supplies for the signs our school needed for their event tomorrow with two of my kids in tow, then picked up the third kid from school, went to Costco for food and stuff, came home and fed my kids, got Sir Smiley off to work, and the other to settled down in front of a movie. I had also spent all yesterday cleaning and decorating for a party we had here last night. So needless to say, I was a bit tired. I then spent the next hour or two making several signs for the aforementioned school event. They turned out pretty good, considering my extreme lack of artistic talent. I then settled in to have a semi-relaxing afternoon.
And this is where it went downhill. First, I meandered into the kitchen only to discover the Urpling had found a marker and “helped” decorate one of the posters. Thankfully she hadn’t scribbled on it, so it’s still usable. But now my pretty bubble letters have some very amateur black tracing throughout the middle of them. I really need to work on her penmanship.
Then I heard King Toot babbling. I went to investigate as it was time for him to be up anyway. Bad idea. Ignorance definitely would have been bliss. First the smell hits me. I turned on the lights, but it was one of the energy saving dealies that takes an hour to light up. As it was still dark I reach down to pick him up and bring him to the changing table. But instead of his waist all I feel is mush. Mushy mush. Horrifying mush. Mush that sent me wailing and shrieking like a little girl to the bathroom as I puked in my mouth and scrubbed my hands a million times. Then I had to carefully peel off his soiled clothing, wipe the excess off with wipes, and then hose him down in the shower. On the plus side I won’t need to bathe him tonight before bed. Then I have to go and collect all the blankets, sheets, and clothes and wash them, and scrub down the crib. Yeah, I’m ordering a pizza and we’re watching movies tonight because I’m done with life. 😉

Hide and Seek

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So two out of three kids are sick this morning. Sasquatch is fine, but Urpling has a mild case of croup and King Toot has a fairly severe case of croup. I was up much of the night with the two sickos and am a little tired so it’s a pajama day. I want to keep the small ones calm so they don’t get out of breath, but also keep Sasquatch entertained. She suggests playing Hide and Seek. Sounds good to me.
Have you ever played hide and seek with a five and three year old? Entertaining doesn’t begin to cover it. Sasquatch requests to hide first. So I cover my eyes and count to ten. When I finish I instantly hear shrieks and giggles coming from behind the couch. Hmmm….I wonder where she is? I pretend to hunt around a little bit and find her…which delights her. So now it’s my time to hide so I hide behind the door of the laundry room. But before she starts looking, the dogs come up to me, licking me and wagging their tails. So she found me right away (thanks dogs…now I can add that to my list of grievances in this post). Sasquatch goes to hide behind one of the chairs before I even start counting. Then she tells me, from her hiding to place, to go count somewhere else. I go to count and Sir Smiley tells Sasquatch to hide somewhere else and keep quiet. So she hides behind the other chair, and is quiet. I come in and announce grandly, “Where’s (Sasquatch?)?!” To which Urpling yells out, “She’s behind the chair!”. I find her, and then Sasquatch tells me I have to hide in the living room. So I pile some pillows on me and she finds me. I start counting and Sasquatch announces loudly that she’s going to hide under the table. I come in and hear her giggling…and then see one if the table chairs move on its own. I pretend I can’t see her and finally “find her”. I then go hide in a closet…with the door open. Both girls check the room multiple times but never even glance towards the closet. I finally have to start whistling. Urpling, who is carrying a bike pump, slowly enters the room with the pump drawn like a weapon…looking around cautiously. I have my head hanging out the closet by this time and she still doesn’t see me. So I finally whistle again and she slowly looks up…and squeals. So now both Urpling and Sasquatch go to hide. Sasquatch hides in a kitchen cabinet..and then proceeds to yell out commands at me from her hiding place. She tells me that she is hiding in the cabinet, so I’m supposed to go find Urpling and then check every place in the house EXCEPT the cabinet. Obviously. So I go in search of Urpling who is pumping her little air pump furiously so I hear a steady stream of *pfft *pfft *pfft. Then she starts giggling and sticks her head out and looks at me. I pretend not to see her and keep looking. Urpling can’t take the tension and yells out, “I’m right here!” so I oblige and “find” her. We go and eventually “find” Sasquatch after searching the house.
All in all it was the perfect sick day activity. Lots of fun without too much exertion.

Diaper Mystery

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It’s hot…really hot. So no deep or motivational thoughts today. Just a quick post is all I have energy for.

Changing diapers are a part of life for any parent of small children. I have often heard the joke that a baby has left you a “present” when they’ve pooped. But sometimes there is an added surprise in there when you go to change a diaper. So for kicks and giggles and because I love potty humor (or in this case diaper humor) here is a list of some of the odd things I’ve found in my kids diaper. (note: These are not objects found IN the poop. My kids seem to go through a phase were a diaper is as great a place to store things as a pocket. They did not swallow these things! So stop freaking out!)

– Cheerios – Cheerios (and goldfish) are a staple in our home as far as snacks go. But they get everywhere. They stick to their pants, fall on the floor, and get tracked around. Luckily my dogs love Cheerios and do a decent job of cleaning them up. But often these little bits of yumminess somehow work their way into a kids diaper. Even when they’re wearing a onesie. It’s a mystery I have yet to figure out.
– Legos: including a Lego man once.
– sand and small rocks.
– puzzle pieces
– crayons
– bits of paper
– dog food

Yet they never seem to be uncomfortable. Go figure. For you parents, what’s the strangest thing you’ve found in a kids diaper?