I’m currently compiling my old newspaper columns, which I plan to sell in an e-book format. For those of you who don’t know, I wrote a slice-of-life parenting column for the Daily News Leader in Staunton for years. I’m enjoying going through them and reliving some of these moments. Thought I’d give you a sample today.
We have a mysterious pee-er in our house. I am hoping that it is Tess, but I can’t be sure.
She is just 22-months-old and many of the manuals on potty-training say not to even try until a child is two, but I noticed that she began to be interested in all things potty about a month ago and so I dug out the old Elmo potty chair and she promptly urinated in it. I made a big fuss over it and let her go around in undies (a big deal) and she peed right through them. Okay, I thought, it must have just been a fluke that she actually went once in the potty.
Against my better judgment, I called my mother, who swears that I was potty-trained by the time I was a year old, which I find hard to believe. She said, “Keep after her. Let her go around without a diaper for awhile and sit on the potty so she can see what it feels like. Talk to her about it, like she is an adult.”
OK. That was worth a shot. Oh, to have two children completely out of diapers, what heaven, what utter and complete joy that would be. (Emma was a slow toileter—she was just over 3. And according to my mother, we had missed out “window of opportunity” with her. Though doctors would tend to disagree.) So, I have been letting Tess go around buck naked. She loves it, revels in being naked, as all toddlers seem to. She spends most of her time in the living room while her sister is in preschool. And I am in and out of the room, picking up, checking my emails, getting her juice, cleaning up spills, and so on. I ask her if she needs to pee. “No pee, Mommy.”
“Okay, but if you need to, sit on the potty, okay?”
Of course, I have cleaned up various accidents—of both varieties in the past few weeks. But last week, I moved the potty chair while I was cleaning and noticed some urine in it. What????? Evidently Tess had used it while I was out of the room! A breakthrough, I thought, wishing I had been there to cheer her on.
When I told my husband about it, he brought up another possibility.
“Maybe Emma did it.”
Mmmmm. Interesting possibility. But I don’t think so. She takes great pleasure and joy in using the “big girl” toilet and announce it to us almost every time she does. But, she is becoming a kind of prankster and likes to tell stories—so it’s hard to get the truth out of her. I asked her about it she denies using the potty chair. “It’s for babies,” she says. In the mean time, Tess is still having accidents through the house.
A couple of days ago, she went on Emma’s bed. I have gotten to the point where I put a diaper on her after she has an accident. She hates diapers. Essentially, I had almost given up again. There is just no point to forcing the issue. And when my husband is home, he just can’t take it. He just can’t take the unknown quantity to this method. Where will she go? When? And will he be the one to discover it by stepping in it? Or will she pee on him again, as she did last week? So, since he has been home for a few days, I have been slacking off and shortening her naked time.
This morning, though, I noticed urine in the potty again. Obviously, it was from yesterday. We were doing a major cleaning in the living room and the potty chair had gotten relegated to a corner. I can’t figure out when Tess (or Emma) would have actually used it. But there you have it. Pee in the potty—and yet no pee-er to speak of. It’s looking like I will have to keep a closer eye on that potty chair.
Don’t forget, you can pre-order Scrapbook of Secrets. If you do, let me know and I’ll send recipes from Cumberland Creek to you.