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Post #5: Potty Training Denial
Anyone ever wake up to a conversation like this:
Toddler: Mama, diaper off?
Me: *eyes still closed, praying for a few more minutes of sleep* No, sweetie, diaper stays on.
Toddler: No, mama. Diaper off.
Me: *reaches over to attempt to comfort toddler back to sleep only to get a handful of naked baby butt* Crap, yes, diaper is off….
Cue the desperate search for the wet diaper and getting a new one on the child before he has a chance to pee my bed. That was the last time he had the pleasure of not sleeping in pants! It also started the process of potty training. If he can take his diaper off and know what he’s doing then he must be ready, right!? I don’t know. That’s what I thought, but there I sat, 2 months later, facing his second birthday down like I’m in a Old West duel and I having nothing to show for it but a whole lot of frustration.
Every article I read, every checklist I’ve seen, said he was ready. I have four kids, damn it, I should know how and when to potty train a child. I should be an old pro at this. I’ve offered so much advice to people over the years. “Oh, you’re potty training? Do this!” But all that practice was pointless, and my advice is obviously a load of crap, because I was completely lost with this kid.
I distinctly remember my past potty-training attempts and successes; I used a reward method with small chocolates and matchbox cars; I remember it being easy and great. But, was it? I mean, I don’t remember it being this difficult. I don’t remember my older kids staring at me blankly from their potty chairs trying to convince me they were done and deserved a chocolate by making a ‘psssssssss’ sound; which is what this kid did. He still thinks I’m really dumb. However, the more I failed at this, the more I am convinced that maybe it wasn’t so easy before. Maybe, like childbirth itself, we block out all the super crappy stuff so we are willing to do it again. Of course, there is the possibility it’s just me; maybe I bumped my head a little harder than I thought and the memory that took a hit was “potty training”. Or, better yet, maybe it’s this kid. I mean, I’m not the same kind of parent to him that I was to my older kids. At this point in my life, I’m tired. He gets a very tired mom. With the older kids, I was young and vibrant and my knees didn’t tell me when it was about to rain. Now, a decade later, things have changed; and maybe on the list is my patience for menial tasks.
They say every kid is different and I know that’s true, but what they don’t say quite as often is that the way we parent every child is different. It can’t be helped. I’m not the person I was two years ago. I’m not the person I was ten years ago. We can’t help but change with the passing of time and, while we may remember how things once were, we can’t get that back. Now that I’ve started writing this I think I finally understand why potty-training took so long this time around. It isn’t that I was doing it differently than I did ten years ago, it’s that I was trying to conjure a version of myself that hasn’t existed in ten years.
In order for me to be successful, when I buckled down to truly accomplish this task, the current version of me had to step up to the challenge!
I am proud to say that my 2.5 year old is fully potty-trained and rocking it like an old pro. Yay for him, but much bigger yay for current me!