If I squint real hard I can almost see the light at the end of the pee-pee tunnel. Yesterday Henry entered POTTY TRAINING BOOT CAMP, and so far it's been urinatingly difficult. Parenthood does not come replete with instructions or manual. Heck! Parenthood doesn't even come with an operator's number to dial when needed. If it did, I'm sure I'd be on hold for the next available operator to tell me what to do right now.
There are many moments in my journey as an E.M. (Evolving Mama) when advice was needed and guidance longed for. Potty training is one such moment. I've read through several potty training books for the golden answer, and I've picked the brains of fellow mothers. When it comes down to it, though, I have found that oftentimes I must follow my instincts no matter how blind I feel. Each child is different, I know, and right now Henry and I are feeling our way through, trying to find a method that works best.
After a crappy day yesterday (the score was 5 accidents, 0 successes), I felt down about Henry's lack of progress. I tried to remain optimistic and enthusiastic, but I could tell that Henry was getting frustrated as well. This morning I felt revived and I sent Hank and the girls to my parents' for the day so that Henry would have no distractions from either of his sisters. It would be just Henry, me, and many, many juice boxes.
Here's how our schedule went today:
9:35 a.m. - Accident in the kitchen
10:00 a.m. - We drink juice. I bring out Alison's doll that wets itself. We feed her, take her to the potty. Henry is AMAZED and intruigued by "Dolly," and he praises her by giving her treats and juice. He tells her, "Good job, Dolly. You're a big girl!"
10:30 a.m. - Juice in cup. Juice in a box. Juice here. There. Everywhere. We play "cheers!" by clinking our juice boxes together and taking long swigs. I feel confident that we're going to succeed today. I just know it. Henry is pumped full of liquids. He has to pee in the potty soon, right? (BTW, we run to the potty every ten minutes and wait. And wait. And wait. It's almost like watching paint dry).
10:35 a.m. - I go pee. Henry sits on the potty. Nada.
11:30 a.m. -
Mama: "Henry I'm so proud of you. You're a big----"
Henry: "---Pee pee, Mama! Pee pee!" (pee is dripping down Henry's legs)
We clean up, and Henry puts on clean underwear.
11:40 a.m. - (yes folks, that's TEN MINUTES LATER)
Mama: "Okay Henry, when you feel the ---- "
Henry: "----Mama.....pee pee. I go pee pee....."
Lather. Rinse. And yes, repeat.
11:50 a.m.: (Unbelievable, I know. A mere ten minutes later)
Mama: (feeling defeated, but trying to remain upbeat and enthusiastic) "Okay Henry, who do you want to call when--"
drip.....drip...drip (I look down to see a puddle of pee under Henry's chair).
At this point I feel so utterly defeated. Henry's frustration grows and he asks me, "Am I a bad boy Mama?" My heart breaks, and I gingerly reply, "No Henry. You're not a bad boy. You just need to practice going pee pee in the potty." I am on the verge of tears. I hug my son.
After lunch, Henry and I take a nap. Henry wakes up dry! Yay Henry!
Around 5:45 p.m. we visit our old porcelain pal. Henry sits and waits. And suddenly I see it! That long awaited thin stream of pee! I jump up and squeal with happiness! Henry's face brightens into a huge smile. We hug and dance and laugh! I give Henry his prize (a bottle of bubbles). He is so proud. I am so proud. Henry is a super hero.
"I'm a big boy, Mama! I wear underwear just like Daddy!" Henry says over and over.
Henry and I run outside to blow bubbles, and we giggle as we watch them float high into the air like tiny o's before disappearing into nothing.
Today has been one of the longest, most trying days of my life. And yet twenty years from now when I reflect on Henry's childhood, this day will be one of the happiest. The happiest. I just know it.
Read Hank's story about Alison's potty training HERE.