Sunday, August 31, 2014

Potty training. Not for the faint of heart.

So after postponing the inevitable I decided this past Monday that the next day would be day one of potty training Clara.  I had done a bunch of research about the "signs" that your toddler is ready to be potty trained and Clara's behaviors neatly checked all the boxes.  

I had asked my mother for advice but her response was: "I have no idea, I had my mother potty train all of you.  It had something to do with pretty underpants."

After some research I decided to go with the three-day pants free potty training model.  If you're not familiar with this system, it involves being trapped with a naked, stir crazy toddler for three days in your New York City apartment.  You will also be stir crazy (though hopefully not naked) and will quickly develop an eagle eye instinct for impending pee or poop disasters.

Tuesday.  Day One.

Clara woke up and I took off her diaper.  She was interested in the fact that another diaper was not put on.  "I naked." she exclaimed.  

Three day potty training suggests you wait for the pee to start streaming down their legs and then quickly deposit them on the potty.  I was not ready for this kind of constant mess so I started placing Clara on the potty in 30-minute intervals to see what would happen.  The first three sit downs yielded nothing.  Clara would sit for a few minutes, playing with a toy or an app on her tablet and then would get up and say: "I done" even though nothing had happened.

Sit down four yielded results.  Clara heard the pee whizzing into the potty and her face lit up.  "I did it!  I did it" she shrieked and stood up.  We looked at the pee in the potty and took our first, ceremonial visit to the toilet.  We poured the pee out, Clara got to take some toilet paper, wipe herself, then throw the paper in the toilet.  She flushed the toilet and Clara and I did a Pee Pee victory dance with a lot of added High Fives."

The day marched on doggedly.  Dry potty, dry potty, Pee Potty - Pee Pee Dance - repeat.  Clara found a new passion for climbing all over me with her naked self whenever I sat down, occasionally asking plaintively: "Outside?" or "Playground?"  All day long I kept my eye on her - watching for any accidents to happen.  They didn't.  Gerald worked late that night, so I put Clara to bed and celebrated my well-earned respite from thinking about pee by falling asleep early.

Wednesday. Day Two.

After a low point where naked Clara snuck behind the Barca lounger and peed while standing up, it was getting better.  Each time I asked Clara to sit on the potty, she did it and after a few hard-thinking minutes, she would pee.

A new iteration in the routine, Clara decided that after she went she would shout: "I did it - I POOPED!"  Never mind the fact that it was pee, everything was now 'poop' to naked Clara.

Gerald came home that afternoon to a zoned out wife and manic naked child.  But it felt successful. It felt like it might work.  I made the mistake of chatting with my husband in the kitchen while Clara darted into the living room.  A few minutes later I heard her say: "Poop!  There's POOP." I walk into the living room to find Clara standing on the leather Barca lounger pointing down at a pile of poop that is...also on the Barca lounger. 

Clara invented a game of supermarket shopping to alleviate the monotony.

Thursday. Day Three.

Everything has clicked into place for Clara. She no longer needs to be told to go on the potty, instead loudly exclaims: "I'M POOPING." as her signal for me to help her to the potty.  

All went well until the afternoon. Clara was standing on a step stool, playing in the bathroom sink with cups and washcloths.  I walked out of the bathroom for a moment - maybe to actually get something done - and came back to - Clara, standing on the step stool with a neat pile of poop also on the stepstool. "I POOPED!"

I go out that night with a friend.  Gerald is left alone with Clara.  She immediately pees on the floor twice.  Gerald is discouraged.

Later Clara impresses him with an unsolicited pee in the potty.

Friday. Day Four.

I feel comfortable enough to take Clara to the playground for a few hours.  We are both relieved to be outside and running around.  Clara dutifully asks for the potty and goes pee, then runs back to playing.  It's great.
Clara is reunited with her favorite patch of dirt.

No poop all day.  This isn't going to end well.

Saturday. Day Five.

I leave for work early in the morning after surviving a four a.m. wake up call from Clara who insisted on using the potty.  Gerald is on his own.  Excellent use of the potty - no pee accidents.

And then it happened.  Clara was playing happily in the living room.  She got up, presumably to get another toy from her room.  Instead, it was an elaborate subterfuge in order to enable pooping in private. Gerald suddenly heard the ominous: "I'M POOPING!"

Poop on the rug - all over the rug.  Almost two days worth of poop.  Clara was very excited and wanted to help clean it all up.

We are into Day Six now, and despite Clara preferring to poop while walking, reminding me of the famous film of Bigfoot walking into the woods (except with poop) she seems to be totally potty trained. (please.)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Conversations with Clara. Episode Four.

Clara is officially a two year old, and by that I mean she has decided that she is totally self sufficient and independent (thank you,very much), unless of course she has a boo-boo or needs help, which she asks for by saying: "Help you?  Help you?"

Here are some recent interactions:

Clara (doing anything she has asked help with and deciding suddenly and without warning that she no longer needs help)
"I DO it.  Don't touch me! Stop touching me."

Or this: 

After a protracted bartering session where we were discussing a long walk to visit friends.  She wanted to walk the whole way herself, I countered with walking part of the way and being in the stroller part of the way.  Clara ran to the front door - turned and looked at me - arms wrapped defiantly around her chest and said:

"I don't like it, Mama. I'm NOT kidding!"

Or this:

She only gets a binky at nap time or at night.  It used to be any old binky would do.  Now Clara has her favorites, and if I try to slip in a new one she says:

"Not that binky, old binky."

And she is no longer content to let me choose a binky but instead asks permission to look through the binky bowl.  

"Mama, let me pick one. I pick one."

Or the other day - she held out her hand to me, clearly expecting me to do something.  So I took her hand.  Clara nodded her head and said:

"Nice to meet you."

She is so sure of herself and most of the time Gerald and I manage to keep the smiles off our faces and take our independent little girl's suggestions...very seriously.