It's not really that bad. Or is it that bad? I can't decide. My head is in a cloud. I'm in the throws of the battle... day two. I can't see the forest for the trees. Or the big boy for the puddles of pee.
I had several moms tell me "Oh, this is the worst part of parenting," and so I was well prepared to do a tailspin. Maybe that's why I've put this off with excuses much longer than I should have. The kid has been telling me for months when he is about to go #2, and it should stand to reason that if you claim it, you figure out how to dispose of it.
But here we are. I went in with nary a plan nor a book read. Before W was born, I read a book on how to schedule his eating and sleeping and I got angry or fearful or anxious every time he didn't fit into one of their boxes, so I've realized that parenting books are not for the OCD patients.
Me: Good morning everyone. I am going to take an hour to get ready, so good luck Andrew with the first hour of potty training! I have no words of advice for you. Cheers!
(Three minutes in)
Andrew: We have our first accident!
Off goes Andrew with vinegar and a rag.
(Ten minutes later)
Wilson: Mommy! Wipe it up! I want to wipe it!
Me: Andrew! You left Wilson on our upholstered bench with an untrained bladder?! Angry words!
Andrew: I told you I didn't know what I was doing! I'm off to work... have fun!
(This exchange may have been a little more heated than what I am willing to reveal.)
I pull out a towel in front of the TV. Sit W in front of Super Why. Set my timer for 30 minutes to take him to the potty. Peyton comes over for our weekly discipleship appointment. I warn her this morning might be a little abnormal but I'm thinking it won't really be that much of a distraction.
(Five minutes into time with Peyton)
Wilson: Uh oh! (Accident #3)
I clean up and apologize to Peyton. Towel #2.Is it too late to read some books on potty training?
Somewhere mid-conversation with Peyton, he starts in his Thomas undies and finishes in the potty. Score! Halvsies! I'm counting any progress at this point. It must be noted that I am making W sit down and pee because I'm convinced (from my superior potty-assumptions with no book reading) that he should get the basics down before he stands up. This decision results in not so fond flashbacks of dodging geysers in his newborn days. And lots of vinegar and rags.
Peyton leaves and wishes us well and is probably hoping she has at least five years of married bliss with her future hubby before any little ones enter into the picture. I call this life on life discipleship, folks.
We have one FULL on-potty pee pee (not a half-sy) and I celebrate HARD with him. I mean, we dance and high five and he rides around the house on my shoulders and we call Daddy and he gets to flush the toilet. I'm thinking... this thing is DONE. We did it.
And then the rest of the day is full of wet undies, and washing undies (because he only has six pair... why does he only have six pair?!) and some victories and lots of defeats, and a lot, a LOT of time sitting in that little half bath. This has been the hardest part of potty training for me. I am not the master of my schedule. The bladder is the master of my schedule. And I had no idea how much this little guy needs to relieve himself all day. Where is all this coming from?!
Around 5:00 Andrew gets home to his wife who looks like she has aged ten years. He tells me I'm off duty and I snicker and can't wait for him to experience the heartaches and life-sucking properties of potty training (Because, let's be honest, his morning duty consisted of handing W the ipad and letting him tinkle where ever he pleased.)
In 30 minutes, Andrew had him peeing STANDING UP twice. ???? No accidents. Nothing to wipe up. The rest of the night it was like we had an 8 year old on our hands. Listen, I'm convinced that if you have a boy you just need to send him off on a week vacation with your husband for potty training. It is obviously a man's job.
I've got my game-face on. Andrew already took care of this for me, right? Also, Andrew added Gummy Bears to the equation. I was set on no candy incentives but my husband stooped real low and there was no turning back. But if we are being honest, I was glad he did the dirty work because candy really does solve everything.
Andrew hugged us and gave W a pep talk and left his smiling, happy, starry-eyed family behind. He closed the door and there we stood staring into day two.
W: I'm gonna go pee-pee and get two gummy bears.
Nice. Bargaining. Okay kid... Let's drop all basic parenting rules and do this thing.
We made it to lunch with no accidents but spent our whole life in the bathroom as he tried to force out every last ounce of liquid in his body so that he could get another precious gummy bear. He was willing himself to pee. Begging his body to produce more. I was banging my head against the linoleum.
We spent most of the morning outside, him with a bare bottom and a t-shirt... getting in touch with his manly side.
After lunch, he said he had to go #2 but he demanded to do it standing up. No, Little Man, this is not going to work. Oh, the horror of sitting down when he had discovered the manliness of standing to do your business! (I'm assuming if you have read this far that you are okay with this literal potty-talk.) I basically had to wrestle him down on the toilet.
After starting his #2 endeavor, but clearly not finishing the job, I applauded him but told him we've got to see this one through. He was not having it. He screamed through tears "Maybe later! Maybe later!" Do you want three gummy bears? A sucker? A house in the Hamptons? "No! No! Maybe later!"
He won me over. I just wanted to lay face down on the couch and transport myself to my junior year in college studying for finals in the library... because what cares did I have then? That Honors Civ exam seemed like a vacation to me now. But there is no rest for the weary because not five minutes later he is running and screaming down the hall, "I need to go potty! Hurry, hurry!" It's our new song.
I pull his undies down for the umpteenth time and hold his hand because that's the need he has at the moment. He does his thing again for the 100th time today. Again, where is all this water coming from? He tells me he's not done. I sit down and stare at Facebook with my eyes glazed over (Thankfully the half bath is in the room with my computer), and I hear the toilet flush.
I am so thankful I hear the toilet flush because what I hear next (brace yourself) is someone blowing bubbles in water.
No, I think, it couldn't be. I slowly turn to see a little someone's head FACE DOWN in the toilet. Making motor boat noises.
"IS YOUR HEAD IN THE TOILET?!", I say in my loudest voice ever. He is clearly alarmed. I've never spoken this loudly to him... His head jerks up sending his long, wavy, WET locks cascading back. Water dripping from his chin.
This is it, I think right then. This is my clearest picture of potty training. Pure insansity. We are animals. I just need to send him out into the forest and let a bobcat teach him the proper disposal of his waste. A bobcat can clearly do a better job that I can.
I put a diaper on him. Put him down for nap 15 minutes early. Close all the blinds and sink into my leather couch. If I can't leave my house physically, then I am going to have to leave it mentally.
He wakes up, goes straight to the potty and does his thing. We wait for Daddy to come home... He goes outside for the rest of the day and takes a potty break when he needs to. Daddy is obviously the missing link here.
When everyone tells me that this is the worst part of parenting a little one, I think there is no way that this could be true. Because I very clearly remember our first night at home. There was this red, screaming, baby who didn't want to nurse but would not survive without nursing... and I was this aching, delirious, sleep-deprived woman who just wanted someone to fix it. That was the worst. And we all survived. If God can give us the grace to get through that... he can surely give us the grace (and some gummy bears) to get our child out of diapers.
Onto day three!