Saturday, March 8, 2008

"Good Job, Mommy!"

Here's how Thing 1 made my day the other day.

A little context first: to encourage my kids to use the potty, I often let them come into the bathroom with me when I need to use it.

Every time they have a successful potty session, I tell them, "Good job, ____" (I fill in the appropriate child's name).

So the other day, I was in the bathroom on the toilet, witnessed by my son.

When I got up, he peered into the toilet, verified that I had, in fact, successfully peed into it, and then declared emphatically, "Good job, Mommy!"

Then he flushed for me.

I am still cracking up thinking about it.

My friend Alan once told me, "The hardest thing about parenting is not to laugh."

Maybe my son is wondering what the heck I found so funny. But I really, truly, could not help myself.

Especially because I was just beating myself up over the fact that, at three and a couple of months, my kids are still wearing pull-ups and often getting them wet. While they seem fine with peeing into the potty once or twice a day, they see no reason for it to be their exclusive pee receptor. And while one kid manages to poop in the potty more and more often, the other still adamantly refuses to do that anywhere than in a diaper. It matters not how many of their peers at preschool are trained (about half), nor how many "Once Upon A Potty" or "Potty Power" video viewings I encourage. Nor how many cute pairs of underwear I've bought them. (Thing 2 likes to admire herself in them in the mirror, but takes them off the minute she feels the urge, whereas Thing 1 pees in them moments after putting them on.)

A pause to note that one day, they will see this web post and sue me for inflicting childhood embarrassment (which I have no doubt will become a litigation-worthy offense one of these days).

But back to the point: I've been hard on myself for not having the time, energy and persistence to push the potty training, even though my pediatrician is adamantly against any training at all. "They'll decide when they're ready," he says. "You don't have to train them... and problems will result if you push." I know in my gut he's right. But when you see other kids doing it, and you imagine the convenience of diaper-free days, you can't help but want to hurry things along, and get frustrated when your kids aren't there yet.

Maybe that's why I was so happy about the "Good job, Mommy" moment.
After all, when was the last time in your day somebody was nice enough to give you a pat on the back? Even if it's for something you've been doing since ... well, the day you said bye-bye diapers. Mastery is mastery, right?

It's enough to make me cut myself -- and the kids -- some slack on the potty training. They'll get there when they get there. And at the very least, my son is already one very sweet boy.

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