Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 11: Life is a Roller Coaster

I will choose to find a positive perspective under even the most negative circumstances.
I will choose acceptance over resistance.
I will choose to focus on the things I value about my children, not the things that drive me nuts.
I will choose to extend the same grace, love and forgiveness to myself that I try to lavish on my husband and children each day.

Today's post will be short. It's the end of another long day and my options are putting my energy into hashing over a less than successful day or spending time with Max and my husband. I think it's a no-brainer. 

Let's just say Jackson spent the day marking his territory around the house. He peed in his chair at breakfast, on a pillow he was sitting on in his playroom, in his pants while we were both standing right by the bathroom. He's going much more frequently recently, so I'm not prompting him often enough. And I can't for the life of me figure out if he's also getting surprised by how often he needs to go or if he's just choosing not to tell me because he doesn't want to stop eating or playing to go to the bathroom. When I asked him why he didn't go to the potty he said, "Because you didn't ask me." 

I was able to respond patiently at first, but the more times it happened, the more irritated I got. So much for do-overs and a fresh perspective at each interaction! Part of my inner monologue is usually: "You're the adult!" Today, I would have done well to remember that one. He's 2 and he needs help. Instead of help, I gave him unrealistic expectations and frustration. At one point I even yelled, "I told you to go to the potty when you needed to! Why are you peeing on everything?!" 

When it comes down to it, I think he just needs help. He doesn't have the impulse control or cognitive skills to reason through leaving his toys or his meal for something he doesn't want to do. I'm convinced we only made it through dry meals and playtime the past six months because he didn't have to go so often and the times I was prompting were enough. So it's not his abilities that have changed, it's my ability to see his need and help him. I'm ashamed to say I was angry with him when it was my own fault, but that's the truth. 

The slate is washed clean with acknowledgment, apology and forgiveness and the positive spin is that I can move forward with this new understanding of his needs and my responsibility to make sure we don't have another day like today.


  1. Meredith, one advice here, from a mom who potty-trained (what awful expression !) two children :
    - go shopping and come back with 20 undies and 10 pairs of pants, 2yo size.

    When they are not ready, they are not ready. They pee everywhere. I think you cloth diaper Max ? Just throw the soiled clothes / pillows... in the cd pail, and maybe wash a little more often.

    That worked so well for me. I used to get frustrated when baby#1 would "forget himself". I discovered it was because I had to organize the laundry to always have clean dry undies and pants for him, and it was causing so much stress. With lots of undies/pants, that tension went away !

    Also, if I ever have a 4th baby, I'll try EC this time. I think I'm ready for it.

  2. I feel you! =) I have in no way figured this out. I did figure out that Truman is capable of pulling down his own pants. What I will do with that I haven't decided.

    What I always try to remember when I get frustrated is that they are working on so many things at this age, they are apt to have ebbs and flows in every area, including the potty.

    If he is responsive to you offering often (or even physically stopping his play and taking him to the bathroom), then perhaps you could just set a time limit. After x time has elapsed, he must try to use the potty.

    This actually worked really well for us for a long time.

    Oh, one more thing I usually suggest with younger kids (this could be good for Max when he is walking or able to pull himself on the potty) is to have a potty out in the play space. You have to decide your comfort level on having that potty out there and transitioning it later, but sometimes they are more willing to stop play if they can constantly see the potty. This is common in the EC community.

  3. Murielle, that's a great idea. It might ease the frustration some. Although honestly I think the frustration for me comes from him not meeting my expectations. I'm used to him exceeding them. Plus, he's been "potty trained" (awful expression indeed!) for 6 months, so it feels like he "shouldn't" be struggling with this right now.

    But as you pointed out Brooke, development comes with lots of ebbs and flows. Potty in the play space is a wonderful suggestion. We'll be trying that out! I hate the idea of a timed potty schedule because I want him to tune into his body and go when he needs to go. But since that's not happening right now, a schedule will keep the peace and reduce the laundry for now. The rest will come with time, I suppose.

  4. In my experience with Carl, it's a back-and-forth thing.... *we* are the ones who really 'potty trained' and it's called EC when you do it with a little one. ;-)
    I do the same thing at Murielle, lots of training undies and lots of laundry. No biggie, if I didn't wash pants I'd be washing diapers.
    I think kids do have a time when they realize the toilet is 'work' and they just don't feel like dealing with it. But they get there!
    I can probably only be so lighthearted about the whole thing because we have wood floors and rugs I don't care about.

  5. We started some EC with Jackson at 6 months which is probably why it seems like we've been doing this potty thing forever and he shouldn't "miss" any more. I can already tell that starting EC from birth with Max is going to make it a totally different experience for us, thankfully! We've not had issues since I started requiring potty breaks more frequently. And once I did some reading, it looks like frequent urination is a symptom of candida, so the poor kid was probably just as surprised and/or put off by it as I was since it was out of his norm. And I'm with you on the hardwood floors. If I had carpet, I think he'd still be in diapers! :P