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Monday, April 13, 2009

So, you want to know how the potty trainingis going?

I'll tell you how it's going. Not that great. But not that bad, either. At the beginning of last week, when we informed the Tank that his diapers were too small (except for at night, when they miraculously fit), he avoided wetting his pants about ten percent of the time. Score: Potty 1, The Tank 9. The next day, Team Potty did a little better, scoring about 2 to the Tank's 8. A week later, they've really grown as a team, with plenty of coaching. Team Potty is winning, usually around 7 to 3. Team Potty still has yet to score the elusive 3-pointer, poop. In a valiant attempt to seal the deal for a three, a fine pair of Bob the Builder briefs was sacrificed. That's okay. We can shake it off (Um. The loss. Not the poop. Never shake a poop.) The team is still young. By next season, they'll be hitting them out of the park and right into the toilet bowl. And the coaches of Team Potty are working hard to recruit the Tank. POTTY! POTTY! GOOOOOOOOO, POTTY! And the crowd goes wild! So does the Tank.

Seriously? I don't care if he wants to be on the team or not, we're making him play. I know some parents disagree. They believe that some things shouldn't be forced. I even believe that, sort of. I mean, if your kid is great at soccer but hates the uniforms, wouldn't you consider making him do it? Am I the only parent that ever signed a kid up for something I knew he would enjoy in the end without telling him? For the reluctant child, anticipation is the worst.

My mother knew my sisters should take piano. They did not agree, so she told them they could quit at the end of the year, which they did. One crisp fall afternoon, she called them downstairs,

"Get in the car, girls!" she chirped. "We're going for ice cream!"

Now, if my gluttonous sisters had any sense, they would have hidden somewhere good. In what alternate universe did my mother ever take us for ice cream just for the heck of it? Well, now that I think about it, I do remember trips to Baskin Robbins, Hooligan's and occasionally Rossini's. And Zesto. And McDonald's for soft serve. So I guess we did eat a lot of ice cream. Why didn't I remember this until now? We also always had some in the freezer. What was it with my family and ice cream? Dammit. Now I want ice cream, like a scoop of Swiss Orange Chip from Swenson's. Do they still have that? Spectacular. But I digress.

They piled into the car, so excited about ice cream they didn't notice the ominous pile of last year's piano books on the front seat. This all happened back in the eighties, when kids could sit wherever they liked in air-bagless cars, so one of them might have been sitting on the books. They didn't notice as mom passed the closest ice cream shop and headed in the opposite direction from several others. They were completely at ease, trusting, as mom pulled onto beautiful, tree-lined Saluda Avenue. They continued to dream of ice cream, carefully considering what single flavor they might choose. We did get ice cream often, but only one scoop. Their short-lived hopes were dashed in a moment when the car stopped. Right in front of Mrs. Tucker's house.

"Get out," my mother said.

"WHAT? Nooooooo! You said we could get IIIIIIICE CREAM!"

"I lied. Get out."

"But...but...but, SAID..."

"I don't care what I said. Get out. Mrs. Tucker is waiting."

"But..." Their complaints slowed to soft whimpers. They knew they couldn't win. Back in the eighties, children's victories over their parents were as rare as airbags.

"You are being rude. Mrs. Tucker is expecting you and her feelings will be hurt. She's looking out the window and she can see you."

Whether they like piano or not, everybody likes Mrs. Tucker. Although I seriously doubt she was staring piteously out the window waiting on my unmusical sisters as my mother claimed, it was a good argument, because nobody in their right minds would want to disappoint the divine and charming Mrs. Tucker. Which is why I started taking my own children to her for lessons when they entered first grade. For the most part, they like it.

So, I know some parents disagree with our method, if you can call it that. One such parent has mentioned on at least two occasions that we should let him go back to diapers. I disagree and told him he needed to criticize our parenting behind our backs and only to his wife, like we criticize his and everyone else's. Yup, that's right. We talk about you behind your back. The reason we don't tell you to your face is we know we're probably wrong. It just makes us feel better about our own lame parenting skills to disparage yours. Got a problem with it? Maybe our method sucks, but it's working. Ish. So there.

And the Tank isn't mad at us. He's kind of mad at his underpants, but I can live with that. He's still cute as a button. The other morning at the beach, he was sleeping on a futon a few feet from our bed. he woke up and the first thing he said was,

"I know that smell! That's my mommy!"

I'm going to assume it was a good smell. Maybe not. He also pointed to me the other day and smiled.

"That's my mommy! I loves her!"

Are these the utterances of a child suffering irreparable psychological damage from bad potty training? I think not. He also continues to refer to his brothers as "my boys," even though they, too, have encouraged him to join Team Potty. He loves us all and we believe in him. Gooooooo, Potty! And the crowd goes wild...

Namasté, y'all!


Anonymous said...

My boy has those same Bob the Builder briefs, which are now stained a dark shade...
I have been bribing my son with candy to use the potty.

Tracie Broom said...

Dood, I took piano from Ms. Tucker, too! On Saluda Avenue! You are FREAKING ME OUT! I officially HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT Ms. Tucker for, oh, I don't know, THE LAST 25 YEARS?

The main thing I recall is that she had pretty good stickers. Not GREAT stickers, but, you know, pretty good.

If you're wondering, yes, that's me SHOUTING IN CAPS!!!!

Libby said...

My sister is going through similar potty-training hijinx with her daughter, and they pulled out the secret weapon and took away her diapers during vacation last week, mostly letting her run commando around the house, except for at night. And at the pool. Ahem. It went pretty well, and on the drive home my sister called to list their successful potty poops and pee pees. I could hear my niece in the backseat correcting my sister: "No Mommy, I poo pooed 4 times in the potty, not just 3!" so I guess that's a good sign.
Great post, as always.