Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Poop: Not Again

I stomped into the TV room and glared at my husband, "There's poop all over A's bedroom." He grumbled, got out of his chair, and came to help me. We've been through this before, with our first son. We were lucky enough to skip it with number two. At roughly the same age, 2 1/2, our oldest and youngest decided that they no longer liked the feel of poop or pee in their diapers, but instead of seeking us for help, they tried to solve the problem themselves.

This means that last night when A pooped in his diaper, he attempted to changed and clean himself with wipes that were in his bedroom. He also attempted to get himself in a set of new pajamas. (The top ended up twisted around his chest, the arm holes not utilized.) I'm sure you can picture how this went. I'm very irritated because the house we were in with B had hardwood and our current house has carpet.....white carpet that my mom picked out when she no longer had children. I hate this carpet so much and poop stains don't help my loathing. I have big plans to rip the carpet out and put in something one can actually keep clean. Although carpet keeps your feet warm, it is a dirt trap! I'd rather just invest in some nice slippers.

So, in salute of my latest parenting adventure, I decided to post an old column I wrote about Potty Training. Enjoy.

To potty train or not to potty train, not only the ultimate dilemma, but the ultimate parenting adventure. An adventure to me includes new horizons and exploration, forging the unknown with great expectation, and all of these certainly reflect my mental state during the era of potty preparedness/awareness, as we have not dubbed it.

I remember feeling panic rise up in me as my son became acutely aware of his inner workings. Should I gently guide his developmental milestones, vigorously demand skills, or act like nothing is really happening and proceed with the status quo, diapers.

This was like nothing I had encountered in the first two years of my oldest son’s life. Rolling over, jabbering, sitting up, crawling, walking, and scoring soccer goals in our backyard had just happened! It was beautiful. His little self just figured it out, but somehow I knew this would not be the case with potty awareness. Sure, he was letting me know he got the concept of wet and poopy, he’s remove his diapers himself the second either one of these occurred and stash them random corners of his bedroom.

He’s ready. This was the mantra other, experienced mother’s explained. But, isn’t 2 and then a few a bit young for a boy? Right? I was explaining this baffling juxtaposition to a fellow mommy in the local library. Her eyes got big as she noticed the title to a DVD on the shelf, “Here, have him watch this!” She triumphantly handed me a DVD titled Potty Power.

Awesome, a video! I just plop him down in front of the television, place him on the potty, and in no time he’ll be a big boy with his big boy potty. We raced home; I was getting the adrenaline rush, a true symptom of an exciting adventure. We got ourselves comfortable in front of the T.V. and I pushed play. Surely this informative movie would help my son get to the porcelain throne, mesmerizing him into big boy pants. The results: a toddler running naked through the house shouting, “Potty Power” as he sings the lines, “no more diapers for me, no more diapers for me.” The propensity for diaper freedom was only exasperated by his newest DVD loyalty. Major mommy mistake.

I guess new adventures in life lead to making a few mistakes; they are par for the course. However, I think I like the mistakes I make on fun, exotic vacations. You know the kind, where you sign up for a snorkeling tour that should only take the morning, but the tour you’re on takes the whole day, which turns out to be amazing as you end up swimming with dolphins. Yeah, that is the kind of adventure I find myself yearning for during these days of the toddler doldrums.

But instead I had ventured out in uncharted waters with my oldest being the guinea pig. I now know to skip the Potty Power video with any subsequent children.

This was actually just the first of three attempts to toilet train my son. I really shouldn’t have given into the peer pressure to potty train. The diaper flinging was just a phase and was not a true indicator of potty preparedness. It was more of a two-year-old reaction to new-baby-brother.

During the craziness of the power struggle that soon ensued between mother and son, I kept having to remind myself that this all-encompassing activity, potty training, would soon pass, and my child wouldn’t be a young man (someday) and still in diapers. I had to calm myself down, quit comparing my child to other boys who seemed to respond well to parental potty instruction, and just wait.

That is why I did. I waited. I told myself, Christmas. I would wait until he was a few months shy of his 3rd birthday and try again. So I did. And it worked! It didn’t seem nearly as complicated by round three. I sort of knew what to expect and how to react. What rewards would work and which ones wouldn’t. I wasn’t a novice anymore. After all I had attempted this before. By Christmas it was slightly familiar, like a family cabin one returns to for comfort and retreat.

Before the New Year he was wearing big boy underwear and telling us when he had to go, no longer us telling him. It was a beautiful thing. I was relieved. My son would not go to kindergarten in pull ups. Most of all, I was OK. I survived.

Now I’m not quite as scared about training the next one, however as any mother knows, not one child is like other, so I know all my tricks, bells, and whistled won’t necessarily work with number two, and that is why I still claim that potty training is my least favorite developmental marker. Even when I try and remind myself that being a mom is one huge adventure, and potty training just a bigger bump in the road, I guess I’d really just rather swim with the dolphins to get my thrills.


Tree said...

Oh my! Are you ever preaching to the crowd. We've tried everything with L, but nothing seems to stick. He will go on the toilet if the reward is big enough ;/, but is otherwise satisfied with being dirty and wet. Ugh. Not a fun milestone!

Jessica said...

"Potty Awareness." I love it. :) Great post.

Michelle said...

My sister is potty training her three year old son right now, so this is the talk of all our family get togethers! I honestly told her it was my least favorite time of motherhood. It's frustrating and everyone is crying and even though you know he won't go off to college in diapers, it sure doesn't feel that way!