The other day I was at the library with my kids, Laura and Joe. As they browsed in the “medium-kid” section, I took a nostalgic peek at the board books. There was our pal Maisy. Next to her were some familiar titles about Max and Ruby. Then I spotted it. Bright red with a circle of flowers around the middle. In the bulls-eye a little girl is seated on what looks vaguely like an egg. Who was this but our friend Prudence from that seminal tale Once Upon a Potty!
With a quick glance over my shoulder to make sure the kids were still occupied I grabbed Once Upon… off the shelf and flipped through it. Oh the memories! Let me share with you some of the memories…
My almost-three-year-old is doing great on the “pee pee” part of potty training. Not so great on, er, the other end. When she has to go, she brings me a pull-up and instructs me in no uncertain terms to put it on her. This is getting old. Really, really old. In fact, I am starting to panic. In a couple of months, a baby brother will arrive. A few months after that, Laura will be starting preschool. Scratch that. Will be staring preschool IF she is potty trained! If not, I will be trapped. At home! With two kids in diapers! One of the reasons I timed my kids three years apart was because I did not want to have the proverbial “two in diapers.” Laura is not keeping her part of the bargain!
So as I crouch down to change her pull-up (“Do NOT sit down until I change you, Laura!”), I reflect on all her dad and I have already done on our thus-far unsuccessful quest to get her fully potty trained. Cute “big girl panties”? Check. Books and videos procured and read/viewed (over and over and over again)? Check. Promises of special treats (M&M’s) once success is attained? Check. In fact we’ve gone well beyond M&M’s in our attempts to bribe young Laura. Her dad has promised her an aquarium. With real fish! That she can pick out! Yes, when she poops on the potty she will experience the thrill of fish ownership!
But nothing works. I read toilet-themed books to her, including Once Upon a Potty, as she sits on the toilet, swinging her fat little feet and humming a tune. Her dad reads even more books to her, for up to nearly an hour at a time. Still, we all wait in vain. Until…one day (a good 45 minutes into a reading marathon courtesy of daddy)…the stars aligned and our girl Does Her Business on the Toilet! We all scream for joy, Laura loudest of all. In the heat of the moment, she even grabs up all her pull-ups and stuffs them into the trash!*
I put Prudence back on the shelf. Sometimes I miss the days when Laura and Joe were little. But potty training? Not so much!
*Which I later retrieved and saved for Joe. Stay tuned for next month’s installment: Riding the Potty Train with My Boy.