Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Long Journey

My son is a genius. He’s always been ahead of the curve. He walked early, talked young (and hasn’t stopped), he could kick a ball and throw with accuracy as a toddler. So when he, as a fourteen-month-old, started wanting to sit on his little Froggy potty, and even pooped in it once, I was secretly fist pumping and practicing my sympathetic looks for all the mommies of the boys his age in our playgroup.
frog

Then it stopped. With his sudden halt in toilet interest, came a corresponding spike in my desperation. Meanwhile, one mom I ran into at Target (buying new underwear for her boy), told me all about how she had trained him at not-quite-eighteen-months, by filling him with water and juice and letting him run around the house naked all day with multiple potties set up in different areas of the house. That seemed pretty crazy. I wasn’t quite there at that point. My little monkey was only eighteen months old. There was no reason to panic, yet.

Months passed. He turned two. I started suggesting he use the potty. At first it was just a quick, “Hey, ya wanna try the potty?” every once in a while. He never wanted to. When he turned three, it turned into “WHY don’t you want to go in the potty?” His answer, “I just want to go in my diaper, Mom.”  Well, never let it be said that he doesn’t know what he wants.

I started trying to bribe him. I got him a packet of cool underwear. He agreed we should try wearing them. I didn’t even have pants on him, and he went in the potty! Once. Then he discovered that 1) peeing out your underwear feels funny enough to stand there and laugh hysterically while you do it, and 2) Mom freaking out only lasts for thirty seconds until she realizes that she doesn’t want this to be a fight, or about control, or a negative experience, and gets a hold of herself enough to just put a diaper on you and clean up the puddle. In. The. Carpet.  Back to the status quo.

My little boy’s butt’s best friend

Three and a half years old. My sweet boy has had sensitive skin in his nether regions for his whole life. What changed is that he became extremely articulate in describing just how bad his diaper rashes hurt. At the same time, he started thinking it was funny to lie about if he had a wet diaper. At first, I was hypervigilant, making him come get a change even if he said he wasn’t wet. Then, something snapped, and I told him, “Fine. Don’t get changed, but you’ll get a rash because you’re lying.” I choked down my tears at his terrible, sometimes bleeding, rashes, hoping he would learn to either let me change him, or just GO TO THE POTTY! Nope. He won. I went back to changing him at the slightest hint of poo or pee, because I couldn’t handle seeing his pain. Our whole family learned the chant, “You wouldn’t get a rash if you’d go in the potty,” whenever his sensitive skin presented him with diaper rash despite our best efforts.

I kept hearing from people who wanted to give me potty-training advice. All the nifty methods just seemed either silly, or cruel, or somewhere between. The one thing that stuck with me was the statement my sister-in-law said made about “forcing it” with her children, and how sometimes her children still wet. She suspects it’s in response to the way they were potty trained.  I just wanted my boy to learn to go in the potty. I was okay with waiting for him to want it, as long as he wanted it before preschool started, because I didn’t want diapers to hold him back. I started pointing out his friends in underwear. We went on a field trip with the preschool his older best friend attended, and I made sure to remind my guy that he couldn’t go to preschool like his buddy without being potty trained. He said, “Well, I guess I can’t go, because I don’t want to go in the potty.” Again, he knew the consequences, and just didn’t want to make that leap.

Then, one magical day, my husband just randomly asked our almost-four-year-old, “Hey buddy, do you wanna wear underwear today?” and he said, “Yes! I would like to!” He wore cool Spiderman underwear, and had one small accident. I put him in little tightie-whities for the rest of the day (so cute, by the way). The next day, I pulled out one pair of Superman underwear, and a huge pile of white briefs.  “You can wear the cool ones until you have an accident. Then it’s the white ones.” He agreed, and to my surprise, he hasn’t had to wear white underwear in the month since we made that arrangement.

Angels singing, sun shining in magical rays around our home, it’s a miracle! Once my sweet, smart boy decided it was time for the underpants, he took care of business. We’ve since been on short outings to the store, and recently, a long outing to the zoo. The two accidents he’s had have been the result of either a bad tummy from medicine, or a locked gate blocking the bathroom. We spent the month keeping him in diapers for sleeping, but he never wet the diapers. He climbs in bed with us sometimes, and I haven’t been ready to risk being peed on during the night—but that’s all changing. We told him if he had a month of dry diapers in the morning, he would get to wear underwear at night. Tonight will be his first night in Superman underwear. My fingers will be crossed all night long.

Praying for dry desert dreams for my little boy.

Or maybe not. After all, my son is a genius.

Anxiety and the Things I Know to be True

The world seems to be floundering in anxiety these days.  Weather is weird, there are earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, mudslides, droughts, floods, wars, looming threats of war, citizens of our country taking up arms against their own government, widespread mistrust not just of the government, but of each other. All motives are in question; civil discourse is all but absent in most avenues. It seems as though people are afraid to hear points of view that they don’t agree with. The vibe is just…… icky.

That vibe has infiltrated its way into my psyche, as well. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still love a good philosophical discussion, but I have fears for the future. For my family–what do we do if things start falling apart around us? Will we be prepared? We’ve been doing the ol’ food storage, gardening, trying to be frugal, get our flashlights ready stuff–but people are changing, and I fear what they are capable of if their usual comforts run dry.  I worry about my family’s economic future. I worry about the world my kids are growing up in. I worry that I won’t be able to make it as an author. I worry…..

Underneath all this anxiety, there is always a mooring that I anchor myself to. There is always the THING I know. It’s really thingS plural, but it comes down to that. God is my Father. Literally. He loves me. He only wants good for me–and He is the only one that ultimately knows what that good is. Jesus Christ is my Savior and He lived and died for ME, and was resurrected on the third day, so that I (and all the world) will be resurrected and brought home to God one day. I know that Christ paid for my sins, so that if I just do what I am supposed to by following Him and working my darnedest to be better every single day, I WILL be able to be with God, and my family, forever. I KNOW that because God loves me, and Jesus atoned for me, that in the end, I WILL BE HAPPY. Everything will work out how it should, and I will be happy with the final results.

It’s the real Easter message. It’s the message of every day when I get up and start again. I cannot say that I still don’t feel fear for all of the details of life, but the equation is like this: to the degree that I REMEMBER these things, and practice trust and faith in them, I feel peace. This gives me hope that I will be able to be strong enough, capable enough, that with God’s help, I and my family will be able to valiantly stand, faithful and true to our God and our beliefs.  I KNOW.

Everything else is just details.