I’ve been wearing the same bra for four days. I haven’t been for a run either. I can’t remember the last vegetable I ate, unless you count olives on a slice of pizza. Translation: I’m four days into potty training a 3-year-old and I’m a mess.
I’d figured we’d wrap this up during a three-day naked boot camp and come out the other side ready to blog about it. It’d be funny and informative and encouraging and most importantly, in the past tense. HAH!
Wade and I still have a ways to go. To put it bluntly, we are masters of the pee, but the poop is a work in progress. (A consultant I’ve reached out to tells me this is pretty normal, that I need to be patient.)
The author of “Oh Crap! Potty Training” Jamie Glowacki had warned it might take longer than three days, especially for kids past the window of 20-30 months. (I procrastinated, and we are well past!) I was hoping we would be the exception.
I had cleared my schedule like she recommended. Wade was out of pre-school for spring break and Easter, so the timing made sense. I was looking forward to some rare 1-on-1 time with Wade, who usually has to share my attention with 18-month old twin brothers.
I was going to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. I told my pastor after church on Palm Sunday it was going to be “holy crap week” for us and why. (He laughed, because he’s awesome, and also, no doubt, because he’s a father of four.)
Two days into this, things were going well, and I got cocky. I e-mailed family and friends, and my pastor, all excited after we got Poop No. 1 in the potty. Little did I know Poop No. 2 would be such a challenge. My son is a pretty well freaked out by the whole process.
Granted, he’s made such great progress in a lot of ways. Mama is the one who gets impatient and fixated and stressed out – all while trying to play it so cool. I’ve struggled to keep a level-head, missed teaching opportunities, lost focus, or been overly focused.
Potty training is starting to feel like one of those mom rides you go on that is unlike anything you ever imagined, like the first weeks after the birth of a baby. It feels like you’re in final exams in college – no sleep, no nutrition, no life – and you think you’ve prepared yourself, but you had no idea.
I guess it’s about time I get used to going on wild rides. Maybe these past few days are really about training me to get used to the idea that parenting is rarely seamless or predictable.
Everybody says I’ll look back on potty training and it will be a blur. Wade will become a pooping champion, and I’ll go on to do great things, like laundry and exercise.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to focus on what I want to remember about this period of time: the look on Wade’s face the first time he told himself in the mirror, “I pooped in the potty!” The day he spent wearing a “super hero cape” because I thought it would help him feel brave. The smiles he got wearing it to Starbucks for our first trial run out of the house, sans diaper.
I want to remember all the fun things we found to do around the house, just the two of us, when it was too cold to play outside with a bare behind. I want to remember the dance party in the playroom, indoor batting practice with plastic bat, ball and tee, and snuggles on the couch watching “The Lion Guard” – him watching the TV and me watching him.
I want to remember how incredibly close we feel right this minute, Wade because he’s scared and looking to me to guide him through this, and me, because I’m so desperate to help him.
I know one day, when he’s off to college and heading out on his own, I will ache for one day – much less four – of his undivided attention, when neither of us has anywhere we are supposed to be or anything else we are supposed to be doing. And the rest of it won’t mean crap.