So let’s just jump in here and hope this one doesn’t get the ole clickly clicky delete treatment.
Life has been… well, it’s been like life is with young children. We’ve had weeks of chaos and fun and stress and too much to do but not much at all, and it all flies by in a flash. But then quite often there are these periods of pesky minutes and hours that tick by soooooo slowly, as if some great, all powerful someone has literally slowed down time, somehow grabbed a hold of the earth and stopped it from spinning, and I feel like I will be and have been playing trains/cars/Legos/puzzles/Lincoln Logs/interference between brothers FOREVER AND EVER OH MY GOD.
This weekend, for example, I’m pretty sure time stopped on multiple occasions, and that is because we basically spent four days in the house, allllll day long, helping our son learn the very important skills of knowing when he is going to pee, and then subsequently going somewhere specific to do it.
Yes. We are potty training.
And it’s gone okay. Quite well actually, but still, it has definitely been as difficult as I thought it would be. I pretty much started out the weekend resigned to the fact that we probably wouldn’t go anywhere, and diapers and pants would only come out for naps and bedtimes, and our house would probably look like a tornado had come through but that we could clean it up after the kids were tucked away in their beds at night. Like everything with parenting, I’ve found that healthy, realistic expectations are the keys to keeping one’s sanity.
So the weekend felt long. For sure. As someone who loves to keep busy and get out of the house and socialize with others daily, it was really hard. Truth.
And Day 1 of underwear was really NO JOKE. So frustrating, and I was like this panicked nagging freak with all the picking and pecking and bugging I was doing,
“Do you have to go potty?”
“Gus let’s go potty.”
“Is the pee coming?”
“Do you want to pee on the potty or the big toilet?”
“Mommy has to go potty, do you want to go with her?”
“Do you want to go outside? Then we need to go potty first.”
“Louie is not going to get you, I’ll hold him while you sit there and go Potty.”
“You just drank that big cup of milk, you need to go potty before we go downstairs.”
“Do you need me to put your potty behind the big chair in the living room so you can go poop?”
“Are you pushing out the poop?”
“Remember, if you feel the pee coming, you have to tell mommy, and I’ll help you.”
“I know buddy, I AM SO ANNOYING.”
But an unexpected thing also happened, a result unrelated to the actual potty training goal. On Sunday (day 3) I had the realization that the intense attentiveness that was required of me to help Gus be successful at using the potty had resulted in being more present with him for an extended period of time than I had been for, like, ever.
This is what it looked like: Physically and mentally I was truly THERE with the kids, on the floor, making jokes, playing, being silly, making funny voices, thinking up new games, busting out the play dough, drawing pictures, truly in the moment with them for more than just a few moments here and there.
And admittedly, that is not always the case.
But potty training means I had to be THERE. The few times I would slip away for too long, get caught up with something on my phone or momentarily distracted and derailed by the state of disaster that my house was in after all that playing and busting out of toys that hadn’t seen the light of day in months… well that’s when the accidents would happen.
So yeah, I’d like to go into more detail about the potty training process for us, but I’m still so much in the thick of it that it’s exhausting even to think about it. We have done a combo of everything, the little rewards, a sticker chart, a big reward for first time #2 and for when he filled up the sticker chart. The few times we left the house by way of car (which didn’t happen until Day 3) we put a diaper over his underwear to avoid gross car-seat clean-up situations, but other than that and for naps, NO DIAPERS. Mostly we took the approach of consistency, no going back unless it’s really not working FOR HIM because this is about him and not us, and it seems to be working.
Working being the key word here. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to actually say he’s “potty trained”. It is such a… process.
Suffice it to say, it was a HUGE break for me to go back to work on Tuesday, even after a day of no accidents on Monday. (I know!!! What what!! So much progress!! And this week with our nanny has gone really well too!!)
Finally on days five and six he has started TELLING us he has to go, which is a huge breakthrough, and it feels like we’ve come so far from all the nagging and pushing that we had to do (see above) on Day 1.
So there you have it. I wasn’t planning on doing anything more than merely mentioning potty training today, but yeah. It just came, word vomit. Clearly this is all my brain can process at the moment, because I am in that place where I can’t remember what it’s like to not be in the midst of potty training.
Next time I discuss all the other changes in our household, i.e. our new nanny and her wonderfulness! Or the fact that Gus turned 3 a few weeks ago! Or Louie’s terrible sleeping habits! Or Gus’s improving sleeping habits! Or the fact that I’m wearing boots and tights again and I love fall so much I could die but I feel like I might miss it because I’ll be at home POTTY TRAINING!!!!!
Ha. Yeah. I’m totally still in THAT place. Oh woe is me.