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Potty brain

I know important things are going on in the big world today, but major things are happening in my little world: Zippy is on day two of wearing underpants to preschool. Oh. My. Heart. Big boy underpants! I'm giddy with excitement. 

He told us Monday “When it’s a new calendar, I’m going to wear big boy pants.” So yesterday, May 1, was the start of the new calendar, and Honey put him in his Batman undies (with a bag full of clothes for preschool). He made it to 4:00 without any incidents…then well, accidents happen and I’ll spare you the details. But the point is, he did it. And even better: The accident at the end of the day didn't upset him. My little trooper will not be deterred! This morning he got out of bed, peed in the pot, and put on his Ninjago undies. He also shook his tushy for each of his family members, giggling about the red ninja on his butt.

Friends, I'll be honest: Potty training has brought me to the brink. Right up to the edge of my tolerance, my temper, and my confidence as a parent. It was hard with Happy, but the process with Zippy has been excruciating. I naively thought that having an older brother to model would make him an early pottier. Not so much. Then I thought maybe some of the peer pressure at school would help. Nope. Zippy is his own man. The doctor assures me that's a good thing, that it means he won't be as susceptible to peer pressure as a teen; I think this is akin to telling a bride that the torrential rain on her wedding day is actually good luck. Malarkey, I say, malarkey.

We let Zippy set the pace because we knew with Happy it happened when it happened. Well. No. That's not really how it goes with every child, despite what all the friends and pediatricians and online parenting sites will have you believe. Some children are stubborn. Some children hit and scream when you try to put them on the toilet. Some children cry huge crocodile tears and shriek about how terrified they are when you mention the P word. Some children have no idea that you have to use the toilet every single time. Some children show progress for a few days, then have major set-backs that make their mommies holler and rant from frustration...then those children know exactly what buttons to push and push them often. My child was all of these children. In turns defiant, sad, willful, confused, and downright scared. 

And some mommies are pretty laid back in their parenting, mostly, and realize that if potty training is the biggest problem, then life is good. But even those laid back mommies reach their breaking point when the preschool starts putting deadlines on (but does nothing to really support the process). Or when the preschool teacher suggests that perhaps the child has a neurological problem that prevents him from realizing he's wet. WHUCK? Even laid-back mommies start to lose it when they are in year four of buying diapers; sometimes they even choke up at the Rite Aid counter when the clerk says "How old is your son, now? He's getting so big." 

I'm ashamed to think of the times I've yelled at Zippy in the last few months. I have yelled at my sweet baby about pooping. For goodness sake. Pooping! The threatening, bribing, countdowns, all-out pleading that I've done. He looks at me with those big blue eyes -- as I'm wiping his bottom and asking him why, oh, why didn't you sit on the potty when I asked you to? -- and he says things like, "I know you're not really mad, mommy, just 'suppointed." Oh, my lovebug, I'm not disappointed in you. Not ever. I'm just stressed out and angry at myself for being so damn inept at this particular aspect of parenting! I'm sure I have other true talents. Potty training is not on that list. 

But all that, I hope, is in the past. A memory bank that he'll tap in therapy when he's a fully pottying adult. And I know this is probably the easiest of the challenges ahead with my smart, headstrong boy. And sure, we're only on day two of underpants and probably have a long way ahead still. I don't really care if he pees all over himself today. I'm just so damn happy that he's wearing undies! I’m taking a deep breath this morning, drinking a celebratory latte in the bright spring sunshine. And praying for a successful potty day again today, because the good Lord knows how important this is, even with all the other big things going on in the world.


  1. No way shut up. The preschool actually said he might have a neurological problem??!!! Wow. It makes me want to give them a Glasgow smile.


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