Monday, April 13, 2015

Welcome to the Potty, Pal

Spring Break! I don't know if it's the teachers or the students who get more excited. and since my school is a religious one, we generally take Spring Break the week after Easter, which gives us the Good Friday off as well, and results in an extended vacation. And what did I do with my week off? Disney? Nope. Camping? Nope. Sand and surf and bikinis? Nope. I never even put mine on. Instead, I spent the entire week trying to potty train the two year old. 

So, as a Spring Break experience, this one was definitely sub-par. I mean, there was a lot of nakedness and running around, just not the fun kind. Some of the highlights were staring at timers all morning and afternoon, washing soiled panties all evening, studying up on all of the different and conflicting methods before bed, and then running through the entire thing the next day, like some kind of Groundhog Day torture.

This was definitely one of those Roger Murtaugh moments, where I find myself standing over a pile of toddler poop that fell out of a pair of double-ply panties that I had just removed as gingerly as an explosives expert defusing a bomb, only to have the entire contents fall out onto the bathroom tile anyway. As if I didn't feel too-old-for-this-____ enough, my wife asked me if training the two teens was as difficult. I gave her some kind of answer, the best I could come up with, but the truth is, I really don't remember. I don't recall how that happened at all. I may be repressing it. I definitely remember changing my share of diapers, and I'm pretty sure they're using the toilet properly now, but I don't remember what came in between. I know I was involved in the process, and I remember vaguely that it involved a chunk of my summer vacation at the time, but I can't for the life of me remember how this is supposed to work.

It just seems like the easiest thing in the world. You have to go, there's a toilet/potty/latrine nearby - you figure it out. The game is hers to win, but this kid just doesn't seem to want it badly enough. And she seems to feel so badly every time she fails that I just don't have the heart to shame her as much or as hard as some of the methods call for. I give her the look and the subtle "Aw, man. Pee goes in the potty," but she seems so upset with herself that I can't go mush farther than that.

Still, I want to shout at her, "You were just sitting on the potty literally seconds ago." Really, how can you sit there for a full two minutes, and then less than a minute later, wet yourself, and everything around you, like you've been on a transatlantic flight, and holding it in since Paris? How many panties do you think I have in this drawer anyway? 

At one point we were both tired from the constant getting up and moving to the potty every five or ten minutes that I just gave up for the rest of the morning and decided to play my video game and just keep asking her if she had to go, which I knew was lazy, but proved to be exactly as effective as the previous two days of vigilance. Around eleven, with snack and nap about a half hour away, she sneaks up between my feet with that humble look and wants to sit on my lap and play games with me. I hand her the other controller (which is turned off, but she doesn't know this). She curls up with it in my lap like a cat and promptly falls asleep. I wake her up and tell her, there's no sleeping in Daddy's lap during potty training with no diaper on. She falls asleep again. I shake her gently and tell her that if she falls asleep, she will invariably pee, and I don't want pee all over me - again. That was Thursday, and the end of potty training for the week. I didn't get peed on that time, thank goodness, but I had enough sense to slap a diaper on her, feed her, nap her, and then just enjoy the day and a half we had left in Spring Break without worrying about her bodily functions. 

So at the end of the week, I had literally nothing to show for all my effort, maybe one ounce of pee in the special Elmo potty, with the video, the stickers, the chart, and the Elmo doll that has its own little potty. By the way, she likes the doll. The doll has it figured out, swishes it every time it goes to the line. 

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