I Can’t.

I cannot roll my R’s. This didn’t matter in America. But in Africa, where just about every language requires a rolled R, I’m a minority. (I already was, of course, but this magnifies that.) I have walked around my house for weeks practicing, “bitter butter” and such variations. I now can “flip” my R, but I still cannot rooooooll with freedom.

So for all you R-rollers out there, you probably cannot relate at all to the immense frustration it is to have tried to learn and still not be able to do it! Then when the inevitable moment of forced confession comes out, an R-roller says, “Oh, it’s easy. Just do this: rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Come on, try it.”

At that moment, I really want to stick my tongue out or throw a book at them or something. Phbt. Don’t you think if it were that easy I would have done it by now?!?

90% of me has come to the conclusion that I am physically incapable of achieving that tongue-fluttering feat. 10% of me still rises to the occasion once in a while and in a fit of blind optimism walks around the house practicing, “Bitter butter, bitter butter, d-ree, d-r-ree….”

That’s about where I am right now with toilet training. I am failing in training my third child this important ability this week, after having had a really rough time with children #1 and 2. This is highly discouraging to a young mom who’s read “how-to’s” and “magic” methods, and it seems magical for everyone else but my kids!

So I’m admitting, in a semi-state of depression, that possibly I just am not able to do this. Or my kids aren’t. But I am going to go on with as much willpower as I can summon in the attempt to transform my daughter from soiled baby to civilized person.

My trial this week was made worse this time because I have another mobile baby under my (our—Callie’s) feet all day, and I’m homeschooling. My patience was not so severely tried with the first two. I found myself daily, sometimes hourly, begging God to help me to not LOSE MY TEMPER!

But she can’t keep this up interminably, right?

(There’s that blind optimism kicking in again.)

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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9 Responses to I Can’t.

  1. kkkjk5 says:

    Kiley didn’t get it either–and she’s older than Callie, so I just gave up (for now) It’s not worth me wasting all my energy and time on it if she’s not getting it. (It scares her right now.) I have enough money to buy diapers, so we will continue to buy diapers. Probably in a couple of months–around June, when she is close to 2 and a half, I will have to get serious. But all my kids got potty-trained before three, so she will too, and I just didn’t want to ruin my days now. It saved my sanity. I know it would be nice for your trip if she was potty trained, but if It’s going to be a struggle, and you have to take her all the time, etc., maybe it would be easier on you in the long run just to wait. When you get back to South Africa, she will be just getting to 2 1/2, so that is fine too! Anyway, if you continue to try, I’ll pray that she gets it; and if you put up the white flag for now–that’s okay too! And I can’t roll my r’s either!

  2. zebranay says:

    Do not even fret about toliet training dear. It will come. Brit wasn’t fully trained until 3! As for R’s yes I can roll them but rather than bitter butter (which I cannot possibly see how that would teach you) try gargling. if you can make the gargling sound without water (point your chin in the air) or start with using water and then go to “gargling” without water. After you can make the gargling without water in your mouth, make the gargling sound with your lips almost completely closed. It sounds surprisingly close to rolling an r and uses the same tongue muscle to do so. It may help you. Love you, Mom

    • Amy says:

      Interesting! I’ve never heard that tip. Oh no, don’t get my hopes up! 😉 I’ve also heard of trying “rubber ladder.”

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  4. Christie says:

    Cheer up, dear friend (even though this is a few days late). You can’t say “I can’t” until you’re literally in the grave and CAN’T. Or at least that’s how my version of blind optimism looks at it. = ) I think my “I can’t” would be going to bed at a reasonable time. = )

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