Monday, August 11, 2008

Reddy or Not, Here It Comes

So, time for complete honesty. I don't very often write these types of posts. Whenever I do, I re-read them and think they sound too whiny and end up deleting them. If there's one thing that drives me crazy it's someone who whines about how bad off they are. I so don't want to come across that way. On the other hand, I don't want to be one of those people who is always putting on the facade of everything being roses until they are about as real as Dolly Parton's girls. So, here goes.

There aren't many things I really HATE about parenting, but two things spring immediately to mind. 1) Sippy cups of milk that mysteriously disappear into the unknown and then suddenly appear days, weeks, months later for you to rip out of your child's hands seconds before they try to suck down the cheese inside, spontaneously causing you to feel like the world's most negligent mother and worst housekeeper at the same time. 2) Potty-training. How can so much pressure, guilt, fear, and dread be contained in one little word? I hate potty-training. I try to laugh it off, roll my eyes and pretend like it's no big deal, but it is. I know for some potty training is a breeze, and for others it is, at worst, a slight annoyance. For me it is something like torture. I don't think any other area of parenting has caused me to shed so many tears, spend so many hours discussing, reading, and worrying. Everyone and their mother has some little tidbit of advice to share. I've probably heard them all. I've probably tried them all. Still, it lurks like a bad tooth, never knowing when it will flare-up again and what will trigger it. Nothing to me carries as much stigma and guilt as being the mother of a child with potty problems.

Some of you may be wondering, "What the heck is she talking about?" A little back story for you. We started potty training Emily when she was about 2 and 1/2. We are still potty training her. That adds up to three years of ups and downs, worry, guilt, fear and second-guesses. I won't go into all the gory details, my 20/20 hindsight, all the things we've tried. Suffice to say, we have a very stubborn, independent child, with two stubborn, inexperienced parents. It was not a good combination in this case. She will go days, weeks with perfect success, then suddenly, for no reason we can figure out, there will be accident after accident, ranging from small smears to major blowouts. And yes, we've talked to the Pediatrician about it.

I try very hard to keep these feelings to myself. Of course I talk to Christoph about it, but I don't want to put the burden of my guilt and frustration on Emily. The feelings are still there though, no matter how hard I try to hide them. I feel so sad that my beautiful little girl, who is so smart and talented and sweet cannot seem to master this basic skill. I feel guilty that somehow I caused this and I am not a capable enough mother to teach her how. I feel frustration that I can't find any helpful answers. I feel angry when some insensitive person makes some useless recommendation as if I'm just not trying hard enough and don't care. I feel alone because I don't know anyone who can really relate.

Maybe you're asking yourself why all this is suddenly coming to the forefront. Well, it's time to start potty training Katrina and I'm scared to death. I've been putting it off, making excuses, procrastinating, but I no longer can. This morning Katrina almost yelled at me, "No more diapers, I want panties!" Before you get too excited, she has still not actually gone in the potty. And she pooped three times today. It's not going to be a miraculous transition. As I cleaned poop off the toilet, the floor, her potty chair, and her, I just wanted to cry and run. Instead, I took pictures of my enemy, the potty chair. Weird, I know, but it did distract me until I could get my feelings under control.

I hope I don't sound devoid of hope. Like I said earlier, I am pretty stubborn. I don't give up easily. So, I'll stick with it, using the knowledge I've garnered in our experience with Emily, and hopefully coming out on top. I cling to Jesus' admonition not to worry. I try my best to lay my fears and burdens at his feet. Unfortunately, I seem to keep taking them back. Fortunately, each day is new and I get the chance to try again, praying His grace will cover my children, and help me conquer my nemesis.


  1. Well, I just want to verify that I have witnessed your patience and consistency on this matter, and honestly don't know what else you could do, except resort to the old fashioned 'dislocate the arm shaking while heaping a life-time of damaging words' which would require years of psychotherapy. One of my new favorite lines, "God knows"
    and I love you. :o)

  2. I also wanted to say, keep it up! You're doing such a great job with those kiddos!!

  3. Amen, girl! I HATE potty training, too! If it's any consolation, Sophia started going potty much better after Emily visited and did it on! her! own! so confidently. Sophia was amazed and wanted to be a big kid like that. But yeah, we've had trial after trial with it too. Thought we were done and then baby #2 came around and threw her off her game. Back to pull ups. Now we're pretty much out of pull ups (just wear them at night still and usually for naps -- mama's not dumb!), but we still throw away unrescueable panties weekly and wash even more. So yeah...I'm just holding onto the fact that someday (SOMEDAY!) we will all be done with this stage and then -- OH NO! -- we'll have to start dealing with the boy crazy stage. Sigh.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement Mom and Amy! The whole new baby thing is part of the reason I've been putting of starting with Katrina. =) I'm glad Emily was a motivator for Sophia.