If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
THINKING you can just ain’t enough!
(from The Little Blue Engine by Shel Silverstein)
Today is my second day of potty training my son using a three-day method. Today has been okay. Yesterday was dreadful. Yesterday we went through ten pair of toddler underwear before the day was done. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more tired than I did at the end of the day yesterday. Not even when he was a newborn.
So far the method seems to be going by the book (or rather, by the e-book 3DayPottyTraining.com) but I have a few minor complaints about the book. Number 1: The book says that though you will undeniably feel frustration, you are never to show this frustration, keeping at all times a positive attitude toward the process. Well, pregnancy hormones made this a nearly impossible charge. I found myself fighting back tears MANY times yesterday, from frustration, from fatigue, from my house smelling like urine… But I think it was worth it. He seems to be catching on here in day two, so maybe one day of hell is worth not giving up a year (or more!) to the roller coaster of potty training. Of course, this positive spin is completely dependent on the method working in the end, but my hopes are high.
Number 2: The book says don’t take your eyes off the child at all. All day long. Even if you have to go to the bathroom yourself. Well sure, I don’t want to miss the chance to catch him mid-accident and teach him to run to the bathroom, but the baby girl in my womb is kicking at my bladder constantly and my son gets so tired of trailing me to the bathroom every time I need to go. He’s very happy to play on his own and usually does so for lengthy bits of time. He was pretty tired of me being in his business all day long yesterday, and forcing him to be in mine. Also, he usually entertains himself while I take my daily shower. To make sure we weren’t separated for the length of a shower yesterday, I got up at 6:30am to take one and prepare myself for the day. 6:30 AM!!! My son usually gets up around 7:15, I give him a cup of yogurt and a granola bar or toaster waffle for breakfast and go back to bed until about 8:30. Like I said, he entertains himself. 6:30 is a dark and ungodly hour and it came back to bite me in the mid afternoon when I could barely hold my eyes open. It’s hard to keep your eyes focused on a toddler peeing time-bomb when your eyes want so badly to just close. Today I skipped the morning shower and just waited until a time when I was pretty sure he wouldn’t need to use the potty, planted him on a stool at the bathroom sink with some splash toys, and took a shower in the afternoon while he played. Much better.
I read a quote on Pinterest the other day that said, “The length of a minute depends on which side of the bathroom door you are.” When I called my husband yesterday before lunch and said, “This is terrible! It’s not working at all and I’m going crazy!” his response was, “Well, it’s only been four hours.” The length of four hours depends on if you are the one potty training a nearly three-year-old boy or not. I reminded him of this. He became much more sympathetic and showed up a little while later with a mocha frappaccino from Starbucks. God bless the man.
Last night, once the laundry was in the dryer (we had to have all those underwear ready for another day) and my baby was asleep (without a diaper), I collapsed into a heap of utter exhaustion and prayed for the grace, patience, resolve, and strength for another day. I couldn’t honestly imagine doing it all again. But as I lay there, I thought of how lucky I am just to have him. I thought of all the things we go through as mamas: pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, diapers, sleep training, potty training, nightmare soothing, cleaning up messes. It’s hard work, but some people would give anything they have to get to do these things. I know women who struggle with infertility, with miscarriage after miscarriage, with losing their children too soon.
It’s hard work. If today hadn’t been much better than yesterday (so far), I probably wouldn’t be writing this (because I couldn’t take my eyes off of him yesterday. Today he is actually napping!). Again, it’s hard work. It wasn’t enough just to decide to do it and pluck up my resolve, to say, “I think I can.” I needed more than that. I needed prayer. I needed that extra caffeine from Starbucks. I needed to be allowed to cry at some point. But at the end of a truly bad day as a mom, I’m still so grateful just to be one. I’m so glad I get to be his mama.