Thursday, February 02, 2006

Battle Wounds

I am war-weary. I am fighting the battle of potty training and I am just barely winning at the moment. The "experts" would say that I should not think of potty training as a battle, but rather a shared activity that will bring my daughter and me closer together, bonding over the little toilet and the cute soap. Whatever. I don't think the "experts" have seen life inside the trenches with an almost three year old and a six month old (happy half birthday, Sam), mounds of diapers in our wake, big girl "underwears" lying pee-ridden by the side of the potty, waiting for the medic to come and take them to the big washing machine in the basement.

Just as I had relinquished fighting the toilet fight, my daughter woke up the next morning, looked me in the eye and told me she wanted to wear big girl "underwears." We had tried this venture once before; she put on a pair after I suggested it but then refused to sit on the potty. Messiness ensued and I gave up when she cried and wailed and screamed "but I want to wear diapers." For some reason, the kid enjoys sitting in her own sh*t. Go figure.

This time, when she herself asked for the change, I looked at her and said, "now, you know what this means, right?" And she said "Yes, I have to sit on the potty." Well done, right answer, and we were off.

I went a little overboard the first day (Tuesday, Jan 31, a red-letter day when I could actually see a decrease in the weekly grocery bill looming in my midst), setting a kitchen timer and putting her on the potty every 15 minutes. Through story time, lunch out a restaurant, and a trip to Target to increase our underwear munitions, the timer accompanied us and we dutifully trotted off to the potty when it rang. Around nap time, she was ready to kill me. Even with her reduced-sized plumbing, no one has to go every 15 minutes.

I put a pullup on her for her nap, and intended to go to trying every 30 minutes when she awoke. When I showed her her big girl "underwears" she immediately burst into tears and again repeated the request to go back to diapers.

I am of the opinion that once you enter into this battle, you don't retreat. So I told her that diapers were not an option, other than for naps and overnight. I reminded her of the purple hearts awaiting her after her bout with the potty (bits of chocolate and cookies, depending on the seriousness of the campaign), and that seemed to motivate her to give it a go. We got through the entire first day with a single casualty, when I forgot to set the timer after her nap.

Day two of the battle was easy for me--I had reinforcements in the ranks thanks to her teachers at school. She got through the day without casualty and returned home in the same clothes and underwear I sent her to school in. Yee-hah.

Day three (today) proved to be much more of a challenge. And I now feel I am losing the battle. It started off well enough for the first few hours, but she resisted the timer once again, and I forgot to remind her to go, resulting in our first underwear casualty of the day. I was careful not to make a big deal of her leak, and just put her in another pair and reminded her that we need to use the potty, not go in underwears. We fought the good fight until after naptime.

Once again, she did not want to go back into the trenches after nap. She again requested diapers, and I again told her no. The logical thing to do here would be to axe the diapers completely during the day, but I really don't relish casualties of war that include bedsheets and waterproof pads as well as tiny underwear. So pullups it will be.

Much kicking and screaming ensued. With lots of bribery (more purple heart promises), she again sat and we read lots of stories, passing the time in the trenches together, keeping each other company. All seemed back on track.

The next time it was time, she refused. I decided not to push, thinking that maybe she did know when she needed to go. Nope. More casualties. And then she didn't want to put a new pair on. I'm running out already, since I sent five pair to school with her yesterday. Fisticuffs ensued, with my face on the losing end of the battle. I am now sporting tiny teeth marks on the right side of my temple thanks to our struggle. I don't think she broke the skin, but damn, it hurts like hell.

So I resorted to stealth tactics. I ignored her. She got mad. She wanted me to talk to her, to read a book, to watch TV--anything to spend time with me. I refused, and point blank delivered the final blow, reminding her what she needed to do to once again gain favor. After a few minutes of resistence, she gave in and I heard a wail. "I hurt the door," she screamed. I questioned the logic of her tactics. "I was trying to get into the bathroom."

She relented and I at last had a small victory.

I could only savor the glory for a few hours. After dinner, we went back into the trenches once again. And waited. And waited. No action from below. Then a small stream of fire. Finishing up, we hiked the stairs to the bathtub. She played in the baby's room while I filled the tub, stopping only to call my attention to the last casualty of the day.

I am so glad this day is over. Tomorrow--once more my friends, into the breach!

1 comment:

trAcy said...

more battle wounds, please!
well, just stories of, and only if you already have the scabs.
good to hear from you during southern "vacation."
lots of bloggable fun there, i'm sure. . .
t.