Friday, April 3, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This

I'm done praying for things to write about. It seems like every time I think I have writer's cramp and don't have anything to say, disaster strikes in some way or another. Sometimes it's in the form of fighting children; sometimes it involves some type of clothing catastrophe; and often times it includes some form of embarrassment or frustration. This time, once again, it has to do with poop.

My two-year-old was doing so well--finally. The road to potty training had been long and rough, but we had cleared the mountain and were coasting down the other side. NOT! That darn kid seems to know every time I start to relax and think the task is behind me, and then he slaps me with a 2x4 upside the head, just to remind me who's really in control. It's like he has an internal monitor that forces a message into his head to revert to pooping in his pants if I ever get past the point of frustration and dismay. I mean, does he like to see my teeth grind, my shoulders sag, and my body temperature rise 10 degrees in a matter of seconds?

Apparently, he does. Either that or he just really still prefers pooping in his pants. And it's not just the pooping. He was staying dry most nights, too--until he wasn't. After six days in a row of washing wet bedding, I finally went against my firmest code of ethics and put a diaper back on him to go to bed at night. I had been monitoring his drinking habits, squelching the poor boy to death by not allowing hardly anything to drink after 2:00 p.m. Then, I shove a diaper on him and throw all caution to the wind with regards to how much he drinks in a day, and he stays dry every night! Explain this to me.

I'm telling you, there is some evil alliance in the Universe somewhere that is out to get mothers! Every time we think we are doing something right and making great progress with a child, BAM! It all goes to pot. I have no other explanation. It's either that, or I just need to be humbled on a more-than-regular basis. I prefer the former explanation.

I haphazardly draped a repeatedly-used diaper on Boston the other night and tucked him into bed with a sly smile. This diaper idea was working like a charm. Every night as I kissed him goodnight, Boston would repeat, "Don't pee in my diaper, huh, Mom?"

"That's right, son. Don't pee in your diaper. You're a big boy and you only pee in the potty."

"Yea," he would say, feeling proud of himself.

I couldn't help feeling proud of myself, too. I was conquering the giant; I had outsmarted my two-year-old and was teaching him to stay dry at night when he didn't even know it. I was one sly mother.

Famous last thoughts.

I went upstairs to watch a show with my husband, and as I shut Boston's door, the thought occurred to me that I would probably not be able to hear him from clear upstairs if he needed anything. As quickly as the thought entered my mind, I immediately pushed it aside, sure he would be fine. I was eager to have him down for the night and enjoy some relaxation.

You know that little mommy voice that rings in your head sometimes and tells you to act? Like when your toddler has been a little too quiet for a little too long, and this internal voice tells you to check on him, but you ignore it, deciding you're just paranoid? Then, by the time you actually listen to the internal nagging, you find he has found the aphgan you've been furiously crocheting for the past month to give as a gift at a baby shower the nex day, and he's unraveled it down to your first row. When you're potty training, it's the voice that tells you to check on your trainee because you have the distinct feeling he is hiding in a closet somewhere peeing in his pants. I can't number the amount of times I've heard that little voice in the past four months.

The great thing about the little voice is that sometimes, if you listen and act immediately, you save yourself and your child from disaster. You may arrive just in time to save a favorite vase from falling, or you may check on your kids outside at just the moment they were lighting a match to see how quickly your leaf pile can burn (kids come up with some good ones), or if you are potty training and you heed the voice without delay, you may even save an accident. Those are the moments of pure joy and satisfaction as a mother--when that wonderful intuition has kicked in just in time to save the day (or at least a mess).

The downside to the little voice is that if you don't listen, you may find yourself wishing you had. Such was my case the other night when I ignored the voice, sure Boston would fall right to sleep as usual, and I hurried upstairs and away from my mothering responsibilities for a while. It was three hours later that I opened the door to his bedroom and knew right away that I should have listened to the voice. I'm sure you can guess what the acrid smell was that greeted me as I pushed my way inside. It was obvious the diaper had lost its magic, and Boston had not only peed in his diaper, but pooped as well.

Berating myself for not checking on him sooner, or at least leaving his bedroom door open so I could have heard him tell me he needed to go potty, I took a deep breath, found the wet wipes and began cleaning up the sleeping child. I just kept wiping and wiping away the poop, which was up his back and down his legs. It seemed all too familiar as I examined his fingernails and found them filled with poop. I was not happy (Am I the only one with a child who likes to touch his poop?) But being the patient, take-everything-in-stride kind of mother I am (LOL), I cleaned him up without so much as a grumble, kissed him soundly, sprayed some air freshener and shut the door, wondering if this saga would really ever end.

It was then I remembered a phone call I had had with my younger brother on one of those days when the potty training hadn't been going real well. I had found Boston had pooped his pants again and had groaned in anguish and frustration. All of a sudden, I heard from the other end of the line a familiar song,

"You're gonna miss this. You're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast. These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you're gonna miss this."

Smart alec. I wanted to reach through the phone and slap him, but I couldn't help nodding in agreement instead. Although his singing was meant to be sarcastic, I knew he was right. I was going to miss this, even these long, hard, unsuccessful potty training days.

I allowed myself one more sigh. Then I took a good look around, smiled with contentment, and cleaned up the poop.


The Martinez Fam said...

You have been such a trooper with the whole potty training thing. I have wanted to cry for you when I've been around for the accidents. You're amazing.