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Domestic Notes & One Other Thing

May 5th, 2008 - 9:13 am

We spent the last three days housebreaking the baby, and I probably don’t have to tell you Melissa hates it when I call it that. So we’ve been potty training — which doesn’t exactly mix with blogging.

OK, it doesn’t mix with anything.

Tiring work, too, although I couldn’t tell you why. Although it might have something to do with spending half your day, three days running, in a tiny little room talking about potty and playing with stickers. When your life revolves around a kitchen timer set to go off every twenty minutes (I think we’re training Pavlov’s penis) and the near-constant washing of Spiderman undies… well, we’ve got some dark circles under eyes around here.

But the training is going surprisingly well. By Day Two he was already telling us when he had to go, and by Day Three he was pretty good at it. I think we had to do only one load of pants and underwear yesterday. Saturday we must’ve done three. That’s progress.

What technique are we using? Bribes and distractions. Stickers and colored construction paper to keep him on the potty chair as long as necessary, and toys to reward him for going. So far, so good — and no fights, either. Although it did get a little rocky yesterday, by which point everybody, including the boy, had had enough stickers.

So we’re doing crayons now and washable markers. “Washable” is more like a theory, however.

Anyway, I’m proud of the kid. He’s made remarkable progress, and all without the parentals going too crazy. Tired, yes, but not crazy. Not any crazier, that is.

This, though, is truly nuts:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is seeking the suspension of Eight Belles’ jockey after the filly had to be euthanized following her second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Gabriel Saez was riding Eight Belles when she broke both front ankles while galloping out a quarter of a mile past the wire. She was euthanized on the track.

PETA faxed a letter Sunday to Kentucky’s racing authority claiming the filly was “doubtlessly injured before the finish” and asked that Saez be suspended while Eight Belles’ death is investigated.

“What we really want to know, did he feel anything along the way?” PETA spokeswoman Kathy Guillermo said. “If he didn’t then we can probably blame the fact that they’re allowed to whip the horses mercilessly.”

Dig that formulation: “Did he feel anything along the way?” In other words, Eight Belles’ death was, depending on the jockey’s state of mind, a hate crime. I guess if Saez whipped less than he needed to, then what happened was just a dreadful accident.

Are the PETA folks misguided, nuts, or just stupid? My vote: All three.

Maybe for next year’s race — if President Obama and the Democratic Congress haven’t banned horse racing by then — the jockeys should bribe the horses into running fast, with stickers and crayons. It works for us, even if a two-year-old doesn’t exactly pee like a racehorse.

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