This letter is about six weeks late. I started it a while ago, but then got distracted by... life.
This is the story of your first poopy on the potty... and how we got there.
We started attempting to potty train you months ago. You were very interested in this thing called the potty and after a couple of months of prodding, managed to tinkle a little bit in it. The celebration that took place in the aftermath was only missing a ticker-tape parade. Luckily, we had toilet paper nearby and were able to make do. In our minds we expected the volumes of positive energy and happiness to be enough incentive for you to keep doing it.
We. Were. So. Wrong.
So, being the tenacious, patient parents that we are, we pretty much turned over the whole thing to day care. I've honestly got enough going on with working, popping my zits, changing diapers, cooking dinner, paying attention to the genius that is Jon Stewart and making sure that I remember to bathe you and your sissy BEFORE you start to stink and end up with a strange rash, that I just couldn't fit it into my routine.
You actually did really well with the potty training during the week at day care. For about two months, you stayed dry all day at school during the week. Pooping... well, that was another animal. You, my dear, could not and would not poop in the potty. I've heard that this is a common thing for kiddos, though. So, I wasn't too worried.
What I did end up feeling bad about was the fact that your teacher spent all week training you and keeping you dry, and then on the weekends, we were so busy go-go-going (to the zoo, to the aquarium, to the play-date, to The Center of the Universe) that we didn't have time to mess with such things as taking you to potty every hour. So, long story short. We broke you every weekend. And every Monday, teacher had to start again.
And, then there was the issue of the poop. Let's face facts:
1 - You at two, are the size of a normal child at four.
2 - Size four poopies are adult-sized poopies.
3 - The teachers at day care made it a point to emphasize to me that you are pretty "regular".
4 - And since you're the size of a four year old, they also have to lift you up on the changing table that you no longer fit on to take care of... that.
But, most importantly, we were starting to react negatively to a poopy in your diaper. Not that we belittled you or made you feel bad about it. (Unless you count gagging and then weeping openly when we opened up the diaper). And as we would change you, we were also fighting the good fight to keep your hands from finding the poop.... and keep the poop from falling onto the ground. That, my sweet girl, is some no-joke mothering skillz. That's right, with a Z.
Anyway, we just couldn't take it anymore. It was time. Everyone always wonders when they should start training their kids. My best advice would be this:
The timing of when to train your child to poop in the potty, is much the same as falling in love with your spouse. YOU JUST KNOW.
Helpful? Anyway, we knew it was time. We needed to make this happen. So, I downloaded Potty Training in a Day onto my tablet and read it. Well, most of it. Because before I could finish it, I dropped my tablet on the ground and shattered it.
Regardless, I felt like I had the basics of the book down, and was ready to try it. Based on our busy schedules and the fact that we didn't feel like potty training on vacation at the beach, I decided that Sunday, July 8 was to be the big day. The plan was set for your Daddy to take sissy to the zoo and then you and I would spend the day drinking high sugar drinks and eating high salt snacks, while having you teach a dolly how to go potty and clean up any potty messes along the way. And when you emerged at the end of the day fully potty trained, we would have a big potty party and would invite some friends and all go out for ice cream and I WOULD BE THE BEST MOMMY IN THE WORLD.
So, when you got home from school on July 3 and took off your pants and diaper - which you have decided is what one must do upon entering one's home after a long day of being 2 - I sighed and said something to the effect of:
"Hazel, put on your pull-up please."
But it was met with deaf ears... or ears that were no longer in the same room. Because about a minute later we heard a refrain that we'd heard before but had learned not to get our hopes up over, because you had shown that you didn't know the difference between pooping and peeing....or pooping and just sitting on the potty talking about how you had pooped:
Your Daddy was busy cooking dinner, so I rolled my eyes at him, picked up your clothes and headed to the bathroom saying: "No, sweetie. You didn't poop. Put on your clothes ple...."
"Hazel!!! You pooped!!! YOU POOPED!! DADDY, HAZEL WENT POOPY!!! GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW AND LOOK AT THE POOPY!!! HOORRAAAYYYYY!!!"
Yes, love. It was exactly like that. I am prone to exaggeration from time to time. But this? It cannot be overstated the absolute party that was thrown in that tiny little bathroom. You, me... then Daddy (with spatula still in hand), and Millie. It was amazing.
Even more amazing? It didn't take you long to figure out the rewards system. Pee = 1 M&M; Poop = 2 M&M's; Staying dry overnight = 3 M&M's.
The next day was the 4th of July. We knew that it was pretty common for kids to regress and that pooping once in the potty meant exactly zero in the world of potty training a toddler. So, it didn't really come as a surprise to us when during a BBQ with our friends, you came over to me and presented your little diaper full of poop for me to change. The crazy thing about it was... you've never done that. It was like you'd done it, and then realized that you REALLY didn't like that feeling. Because that poop on the 4th of July? The last poopy I've changed for you. It was Independence Day for me and Daddy.
And you. Because since that last poopy? You've changed. You've gotten so... grown up. You're learning new words every day. You're a big girl who doesn't need anyone to do anything for her anymore. (With the notable exception of taking care of the dinosaurs each night.) And what it's done to your self-esteem is absolutely amazing.
You now have your own big girl underwear that you picked out with me on July 5th. You were SO excited to put them on that you insisted on wearing them before we paid... (and definitely before we washed them at home). I was able to hold you off until got to the car. But then I had to be that mom and put them on as you stood in the parking lot of Target. And oh, my... you were so happy and sooooo proud of yourself. I wish I had captured that moment on film so that one day you could see what pure joy looks like. I'll just have to replay the memory in my head for the rest of my life. Because right there? That moment? Made all those sleepless nights with you screaming in my ear totally worth it. I could actually feel my heart swell Grinch-style.
To date, we have not had any accidents other than three times where you've woken up from wetting the bed. This upsets you greatly even though I reassure you that it's no big deal. At first I thought it was because you knew you weren't going to be able to get your morning sugar kick, but since we stopped rewarding expected behavior a few weeks ago (by, um, telling you that they don't make M&M's anymore and... I KNOW!! HOW DARE THEY???) I really believe it's because you genuinely feel bad about it. Sweet girl.
Your sissy loves to watch you potty. She's very interested and lets me know whenever she goes "pope". So, new game plan to have both of you out of diapers and an extra $40 in my pocket each month: They have started making M&M's again. I'll pick some up for you if you can teach Millie how to use the potty. The reward system for a successful pee/poop/dry overnight will be the same for you as it is for her.
Sound like a plan?