Tuesday, July 28, 2009

the potty training necklace

parenting, like life, sometimes feels like one long string of humbling experiences. ok, that's way too pessimistic. it feels like a necklace (stay with me), one where most of the beads are humbling experience beads and like every other bead is a joyful or a frustrating or a pure love or a funny bead. that's more like it. makes me want to run to the bead store. anyhow. potty training has been one giant string of humbling and frustrating beads with a few joyful beads thrown in, you know, so i can wear the necklace with more than one outfit? right. so f started showing signs of being interested in using the potty around 18 months. we did what all the books said to do - we bought a potty chair, put it in the bathroom, and acted all casual about it. oh that? that's a potty chair. what? you want to sit on it? sure! whatever. oh, you want to try to pee in it? right on. whatevvvvvver works. and so she did, pee in it, from the get-go she peed in it almost every night right before we put her in the bath. we praised her but tried not to make too big of a deal about it. and then the books and the websites - i'm a research junkie, always feeling like THE ANSWER! IT HAS TO BE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE! I JUST NEED TO FIND IT AND EVERYTHING WILL BE OK - i looked everywhere and read everything and decided that this is our window! her window! if we don't jump on the potty training train right now, she'll be in diapers until kindergarten! so, we borrowed "everyone poops" and netflixed "elmo's potty time" and got the pamphlet from daycare and spent 3 weekends driving ourselves batty with the diaperless - run her to the bathroom as soon as she starts to go - set the timer for every 20 minutes - think we are going to lose our minds with this, kids wear diapers to kindergarten all the time, don't they? - method. and here we are, 10 months later, and she still doesn't tell us when she needs to go.

and see, the pamphlet, the one with the "3 day potty training" method we had to go through before daycare would include her in the potty training group? why did it do that? it lied to us. 3 days? THREE DAYS. three days would have been awesome. three days would have been totally cool. three days would have rocked. 10 months? the pamphlet lied.

and now we're back to the humbling part. because one of the things i'm realizing as we grow up together here, which may seem obvious to everyone else and rationally, makes sense to me but in practice it kinda threw me for a loop is that every kid is totally different and, those answers? they aren't necessarily out there in any book or on any website. so rude of them, those answers! to not be out there for me! but as i let go more and more of my quest to figure it - her - out and just give in to the journey (anyone smell patchouli?) i am humbled by how "her own person" she is, and how we're doing this on her time table, and how she actually is doing pretty well with it - going potty on the potty most of the time, having accidents less and less. i'm the one who needs to just relax and go with the flow, pun intended. even if we have to always instigate the trips to the bathroom, she usually doesn't have any issues going once we get there. and i need to remember that that is pretty good for a 2.5 year old. right?

so. we're still in the extremely encouraging phase, trying to reinforce the good stuff. you know, potty prizes, lots of high fives, bragging about her potty prowess while she's in earshot, buying her a pony. well, a plastic one. and the praise and high fives, those are huge in our house. so last sunday when we were out to lunch and she pooped in the restaurant's bathroom, i told her "YES! AWESOME! i can't wait to tell daddy! he's going to be SO proud of you too!! GOOD JOB! dad's going to love to hear about this!" not taking into account the happy pressure i was building up in her proud little soul: YES! CAN'T WAIT TO TELL DADDY! MUST TELL DADDY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! which led to this: we stepped out of the bathroom, started walking toward the table j had found for us in the very crowded restaurant, and f, bursting with the news, yelled to j - across many tables full of people enjoying their sunday lunches - as loud as she possibly could: "DADDY! I JUST MADE A GIANT POOP IN THE POTTY! A GIANT POOP!!" she was beaming. BEAMING. she was so proud! that's our girl.

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