It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The Rules say…

“Ma-ry! I peed on the floo-or!” Poppy’s voice carols down from the bathroom upstairs. Words to warm a caregiver’s heart.

Poppy sits on the toilet, her feet dangling above a sizeable puddle. She has indeed peed on the floor. Some on the seat, too, I see. This is the second time in as many days this has happened. Dry panties and tights, puddle on floor. The first time, Poppy was assured it was okay, these things happen, and we chatted companionably as I mopped the floor.

I considered the notion that it could be a bladder infection. Little kids with bladder infections often end up peeing a nano-second from the toilet. Peeing all over the house, in fact. So a previously reliable child who suddenly starts having accidents could be the innocent victim of some nuisance bacteria. I considered the possibility, and discarded it.

No, this is nothing medical. This is the natural result of an almost-four-year-old who gets immersed in her activities and doesn’t notice the cry of the bladder until seconds before lift-off. Even more critically, this is a four-year-old has just been allowed to pour herself her OWN cups of water from the Brita. When you are almost four, such things are very important. And fun!

And so she has been having approximately 40 tiny cups of water an hour. Forty tiny cups of water go pouring in, and then she ignores her innards until the last possible second.

Well, the one-after-the-last possible second, really.

So this time, she gets a small scold.

“Poppy. You have been drinking lots of water today. It’s good to drink lots of water, but it makes you need to pee more. You have to pay attention.”

“Yeah. I waited too long.” She’s a lovely girl, Poppy. Smart and, for the most part, non-contrary.

“I thought so. You waited too long and then you ended up peeing on the floor. I do not want to clean up any more pee, Poppy. Make sure you go as soon as you notice you need to pee, okay?”

I lift her down past the wet area, and set her on the floor.

“We need a sign,” she declares.

“A sign? Because the floor is wet?”

“No, a sign to say ‘No Peeing On The Floor’.”

Ah, four-year-olds and their Rules. They love to know what they are. They love to see that they’re complied with… particularly by other people. A nice, big sign will do the trick well, in Poppy’s world.

I laugh. “Poppy, you know not to pee on the floor! Do you really need a sign to tell you not to do that?”

She considers. “No, I know that already.” She’s a little disappointed, however. She liked the idea of a Sign with The Rule written on it. She is almost four, after all. Then her face brightens. “It’s okay to not have a sign, Mary! You know why??”

“No, lovie. Why’s that?”

“Because I can’t read, anyway!” She laughs gleefully, delighted with her insight.

I love this kid.

February 25, 2014 Posted by | individuality, Poppy, potty tales | 5 Comments

It was a moist day at Mary’s

Baby Josh reels by. He’s still not walking anything like steadily, that boy. The girls knock him over just by passing too quickly. They don’t even have to pass close, just whip by fast on the other side of the room. Maybe it has more to do with him looking one way — at the racing children — while attempting to continue in a different direction. Or maybe it’s just vagrant thoughts, neurons colliding in his wee head, which are knocking him over. The boy is unsteady, I’m saying.

He’s also, at this moment, foul. There’s a thick green cloud of toxic sludge wafting from his butt end, I’m sure. So nasty in the air you can practically taste it. Gah.

When I lay him down on the floor — all diaper changes happen on my hardwood floor, easy to access, easy to clean — I discover the foulness has escaped the confines of the diaper. Out the legs, up the back pretty much to his armpits. It’s gross, and it’s everywhere. Really, he needs a bath, but that’s very hard to do with four other children toodling around.

(And if you think I could just bring us all up to the bathroom, you have not been around long enough to have heard me note how very small my home is. There is not room, and I do mean that quite literally — there is not sufficient floor space in my bathroom — for four toddlers and an adult.)

So, no bath for Josh. Just diaper wipes. Lots and lots and lots of diaper wipes. Well over a dozen. Five for the butt. Three for the stomach. Six for the back. Oh! One for his left armpit. So charming. They just keep piling up on top of the diaper that lies on the floor beside me, off-gassing toxic fumes into my home.

If you’ve been around for long enough, you also know that Grace and Jazz are poo-vultures. The are drawn to the stuff, in an utterly morbid (and revolting) way. Usually I shoo them away before I begin with a poopy diaper, but for some reason, this time I didn’t. So there they are, peering in and chatting about it between themselves.

“Josh has a big poo!”
“Does Josh have a big poo, Mary?” (This, I ignore.)
“Look! He has poo in his bellybutton!”
“Oh, no! He stuck his foot in the poo, and now his sock gots poo on it!”

Yes, indeed. Rivetting stuff, poo. The fascination never ends. In fact, the fascination of Josh’s shit-smeared body became so engrossing for Grace that she managed to sit in the growing pile of excremented diaper wipes on top of the poo-filled diaper.

“GRACE! Don’t move!” Because there’s nothing I can do about it right now, is there? I have Toxic Boy in front of me, and if I let go, he will immediately make his speedy and shit-strewing way across my home. Immediately.

Grace, however, is capable of sitting stock-still for a couple of minutes. Bless her heart. Not so blessed is the smear of poo on the side of her tights. Urgh.

Josh de-toxified, I turn my attention to Grace. We peel the tights off, thankfully the only item of clothing befouled, and as I lift them away, she pauses, her face twitches, and she sneezes. Directly onto my shirt. A fully loaded sneeze. Yellow snot adorns the black wool.


And if I’d had time to write this post yesterday, that would be where it ended. You’d think that was enough, no? Poo in glorious abundance, with a chaser of snot? I’d say that was enough.

The Fates disagreed.

Later that same day:

Baby Josh discovers the potty. (Poppy is being potty-trained; more on that another day.) There is not much in the potty. With two dogs, three toddlers and couple of 14-month-old babies in the house, I’m careful about these things. But the last pee has not been dispensed with yet.

The last pee was, thank GOODNESS, a small one. (Most of them are. Poppy very quickly registered that if you dispense your pee in many small increments, you get MORE SMARTIES!!!) THANK GOODNESS, I say, because Josh has not only discovered the potty, which he has never really noticed before, but he discovered that “HEY! This inside part LIFTS RIGHT OUT!” Whee!

So he whips out the pee-laced bowl and waves it about a bit. With predictable results. Waves it and, because he’s sitting right there, his kicking feet smear the small puddle around a bit. It is my sudden dart across the room that catches Jazz’s attention, and I’m sure that’s why she had to run in the same direction. Only, starting from a different angle, and a little closer, she got there first.

And soaked one foot of her tights. Happily, Jazz does not have a cold. So I managed to change her without getting further besmirched.

Pee, poo, and snot. All over bodies, all over clothing, all over my living room floor. Guess I should be grateful no one added vomit to the day, huh?

December 4, 2012 Posted by | eeewww, Grace, Jazz, Joshua, potty tales, the dark side | , , | 9 Comments

My Little Optimist

Grace asked for a nap today.

She doesn’t nap any more, but she did look tired, so when she said she was and asked for a nap, well, she took a nap. Because she looked genuinely tired, I opted to put her in a room, on a bed, with real curtains that could be drawn. So she could have a nap in a quiet, dim environment.

She peed in the potty right before she went up.
I woke her after 45 minutes. She may be tired, but I don’t want to mess up her bedtime, if possible.

And in 45 minutes, starting with an empty bladder …

she managed to pee the bed.

My son’s bed.

Thank goodness I’d pulled his upper sheet, blanket and comforter aside so as to cover Grace with a daycare flannelette sheet.

But the lower sheet and the mattress? Big soggy spot. Ick.

I admit I emitted a dismayed, “Oh, Gra-aace!” when I realized the damage. I may also have muttered rather darkly to myself as I stripped the sheet off, pressed a towel into the wet spot on the mattress, and sprinkled it with baking powder. (When it dries, I’ll vacuum it off. Then the Febreeze.)

Grace stood to one side, watching the sopping-up and the sprinkling-on.


“Yes, love?” I glance up. Grace is smiling, and, very obviously trying to comfort and reassure, she presents me with my silver lining:

“Mary, I didn’t pee on the pillow!”

It made me laugh. I wonder if it’ll work on my son, who has to sleep in that bed tonight?

September 21, 2012 Posted by | eeewww, Grace, potty tales, sleep | 3 Comments

Dodge and weave for the win!

“Grace is TALKING to me!” Jazz’s voice soars in indignation. Talking to her? How DARE she!? We are walking to the park, the little girls trotting side by side on the grass. I have no idea what preceded this. They seemed to be getting on just fine.

“Grace is TALKING to me!!”

If you have more than one child, or have been responsible for more than one child, you’ve heard this sort of thing before. You’ve probably joined right in the dance. Even though you hate it. Even though it’s silly and petty beyond belief, and ooooooooooh, sooooooooo tedious. Because there’s a pattern here, a tried-and-true, oh-so-familiar call-and-response, and it’s hard to avoid it. But tedious? Lordy.

Boring. I know people told me about the sleep deprivation of parenting an infant, the lack of privacy, the conflict and power struggles of parenting, but I don’t know that anyone ever warned me that great tracts of it are so UTTERLY BORING.

Different parents will be bored by different things. Some parents hate reading the same book over and over and over again. Hearing the same song, watching certain television shows, changing diapers, the constant battle against clutter, cooking meals, soothing a not-quite-sick, not-entirely-well child, helping with homework … Maybe your particular tedium thing is on that list, maybe you’re bored to tears by something else.

For me?

Squabbling. Some parents find squabbling enraging. It drives them INSANE. Me, I find it boring. Boring, boring, boring beyond belief.

Not a real conflict, mind you, where honest-to-goodness problems are being addressed — more or less constructively, perhaps, but a genuine issue is being addressed directly. That’s necessary, and necessary conflict doesn’t bore me. Done properly, necessary conflict is interesting, and, ultimately, constructive. No, it’s the petty, frivolous, pointless, MORONIC bickering that is really just jockeying for power, control, and/or attention.

So, the automatic, obvious response to:

“She’s TALKING to me!” can go a few ways, depending on the personality of the adult involved.

1. Annoyance.
“For heaven’s sakes. Why shouldn’t she?”
“Oh, don’t be silly!”
“What’s wrong with that?”

2. Coaxing.
“But Grace would like to talk with you. Grace is your friend. You can talk with Grace, honey!”

3. Sweet Reason.
“Is Grace saying anything mean? No? Then you can talk to her. You’re friends, remember?”
“If you don’t feel like talking, just tell Grace, politely.”

4. Arbitrator
“If you can’t even talk together, then you can’t walk together. You come here, you stay there, and not another word till we get to the park.”

5. Mockery.
“NO! Really? How DARE she???”
“TALKING to you? How will you ever survive?”
“So, what? You want me to tape her mouth shut, now?”

So what do I do? Well, not 1 or 2. Because I find the mindless squabbling so mind-numbingly boring, I don’t want to do anything to prolong it. If I respond in annoyance, I’m not discouraging the squabble, I’m joining in. Yawn. Coaxing? Coaxing is almost as boring as squabbling. Besides, it puts you in the place of supplicant for your child’s good behaviour, a truly bad parenting strategy.

Sweet Reason is laudable, and were I a more worthy human being, I would do it most of the time, but, oh, the brain-bleeding boredom.

I have been known to indulge in some gleeful mockery. Self-indulgent, I know, but it amuses me. And divide and conquer? Certainly.

Today, though, I simply deviated entirely from the script. Any of those scripts.

“Grace is TALKING to me!!!”

The indignation is profound, the expectation that I DO something about it clear. And imperious. Jazz does ‘imperious’ extremely well. I know what my role is … and I refuse to perform. Instead, today I pretend that Jazz is a normal human being instead of a toddler. A normal human being, interacting with her best friend.

“She IS? Well, isn’t that nice? What a good friend she is!”

The look Jazz shoots at me can only be described as nonplussed (definition 1, obviously). (Victory! Keep ’em off-balance, that’s my motto.)

Nonplussed, confused, off-balance, bewildered … it’s all there. I keep smiling. “You’re a good friend, Grace, talking to Jazz. It’s fun to talk with our friends, isn’t it?” I beam at both of them.

Jazz looks at Grace, who beams along with me. Grace has no idea what’s really going on here, but she loves all the smiles and happiness!

And Jazz … talks to Grace.

We continue our walk to the park.

September 7, 2012 Posted by | Grace, Jazz, Mischief, potty tales, whining | | 7 Comments

You only think I’m patient

It is Quiet Time at Mary’s house. Daniel and Poppy are tucked into their cots for an actual, closed-eyes sleeping-type nap, while Grace and Jazz, big girls now that they’re three, are placed on mats with books and toys, where they play quietly.

Now, Daisy has been making a pest of herself during Quiet Time, hopping onto their mats, chewing their toys, even pulling their socks right off their feet. (On a day like today, when Grace is wearing tights, sock-tugging creates even greater than normal levels of consternation …)

I decide that the simplest measure is to put Grace’s cot in the kitchen and close the big wooden gate between kitchen and dining room. Jazz will be in the living room, where I can supervise from my desk in the dining room. In truth, Jazz needs less supervision: she’s feisty and resilient, and overall pretty adept at dealing with Daisy.  It’s Grace who wilts and wails, so it’s Grace who gets the firm protection of the gate.

However. I have two diaper-free girls. I have one potty. It is in the dining room. Jazz has easy access, but Grace will be on the other side of the gate in the kitchen. This will require preparation.

“Grace, you are going to have Quiet Time in the kitchen today.” Grace gazes wide-eyed into my face. “You’ll be in the kitchen, so Daisy can’t bother you.  Now,”  I walk over to the baby gate and rest my hand on top of it, “the gate is shut. If you need to go pee, you can just come over here, and push it open, like this.” I push with two hands, as Grace will need to. “Don’t touch the latch.” I indicate the latch, so she knows what I mean, then shake my hands in a ‘no’ movement in front of it. “You don’t need to move the latch. The gate is not locked. If you need to use the potty, you just push the gate open, and away you go. Okay?”

She nods, hesitantly. Hm. I’m not sure she gets this.

“Grace, come here.” She trots over. “The gate is shut, right?” She nods. “If you need to go pee, you can push it open.” I take her two hands and help her shove the gate. It swings open. The potty is in clear view. “That’s right. You push it open, and then you can go to the potty. Understand?”

She nods with greater confidence. Okay. I think she’s got it. One more thing to double-check. “Grace, do you have to go pee or poo right now?”


Right, then. All details seen to, I send her back to her cot with her books and her puzzles, and retire to my desk. (And why do I not put the potty in with Grace? Because Jazz would have to pull the door open, a much harder task than pushing it, when there is no handle, and the top of the gate is above her head.)

It is not fifteen minutes later that I hear the wailing from the kitchen. I investigate.

“I have to go peeeeeeee!”

It should not matter, but this child is the world’s ugliest cryer, and when I’m already exasperated, it’s the last straw on this camel’s back.

“You have to pee?”

“I have to peeeeeee!”

“So why don’t you?” Yes, I confess, there is some irritation showing in my voice.

“The gate is yocked!”

“No, Grace, it’s not. Remember what I said? Remember what I just showed you?”

“The gate is yocked!”

“Grace, come here. Come on, we’ll do this again. Come to the gate, and push it open.” And she’s through. “That’s my girl. Now go have a pee, and when you’re done come here so we can wash your hands.”

Two minutes later, she’s back on her cot, playing happily. I do my best to shake off the annoyance. I’ve yet to decide whether she’s just exceedingly passive, or not too bright. Either way, I find these sorts of episodes tedious in the extreme, but what can you do? She’s not setting out to annoy. She was genuinely distressed. All is quiet once more. I take a deeeeep breath, relax my shoulders, and go back to my bill-paying.

Jazz sets down her train game and trots over to the potty. She pulls up her skirt, turns … and pauses.

“Mary? The potty is all wet.”

It’s wet?

It is. Grace has managed to pee on, over, and around the potty. In the potty? I don’t think so. Just on, over, and around. The seat is well-sprinkled, the flood liberally puddled. My recently-relaxed shoulders resume their climb ear-ward.

I smile as I clean it up, though, because it’s none of Jazz’s doing, and at least she had the sense not to sit in it. This is NOT to be taken for granted, and I am suitably appreciative. So I’m cheery with Jazz. I say nothing at all to Grace, oblivious and happy in the other room. (I may be missing a Teachable Moment, but I’m just not sure I can do it without undue ferocity. The idea is to teach, not scare the crap out of them…)

I may have ground some enamel off my rear teeth, and my shoulders are pretty much adhered to my ears, but I’m smiling and outwardly calm.

Maybe I am patient, after all…


May 3, 2012 Posted by | Grace, Jazz, Peeve me, potty tales | , , | 4 Comments

Poppy’s Poonami


We have the ick. Rory went home early yesterday, complaining of a sore tummy. A sore tummy which eventually, and energetically, emptied itself. Repeatedly. All night long. Poor Rory. (Poor Rory’s poor parents…)

Today was Poppy’s turn.

No vomitting for Poppy, though. No, in Poppy the bug manifest itself a little lower down the digestive tract. Now, bear in mind that I have years and years of dealing with poopy diapers. If you start with my own children, I have over a quarter-century of dealing with shit. (And as I type that I wonder: should I be proud of my staying power, or just depressed?) In 25+ years, I’ve seen some doozies.

But today? A record. Today Poppy produced the vilest poo I have ever seen.

Not that I had any idea there was anything wrong. She was cheery, she was energetic, she was pink-cheeked (her face, I mean), she had a good appetite. There was absolutely nothing external to warn me of the tsunami within. Until it happened. Until Poppy, standing by a bench in the living room, filled her diaper.

Audibly. Audibly from across the room. And by the sound, I knew that sucker wasn’t normal. Normal poos don’t … gurgle. But I had no idea how very not normal it was until I lay the girl down on the floor in front of the diaper shelves, and opened her diaper.


It was not a matter of stench nor of quantity. The stench was vile, yes, but no worse than many I’ve suffered in my years in this job. The quantity was indeed vast, but again, no more bountiful than many I’ve scraped off a tiny butt in my time. Anyway, sheer quantity, in and of itself, does not qualify a poop as “vile”. (Though I always wonder, when faced with a truckload of poo under a tiny pink bottom, just how something so small could produce so very, very much. It’s a Wonder of Science, I tell you.)

(Warning for the squeamish: If you’re not already gagging, you may want to avert your eyes from the following paragraph.)

Nope. Neither stench nor abundance made it vile, though lord only knows it excelled at both. No, what put it into the category of “Diaper things Mary has never seen before” — a very small category — was the consistency. This stuff was the consistency of cream. The cream you’d put in your coffee, I mean, not the stuff you’d put on your skin. There was a splooshing, sloshing cup or two of very, very pale beige cream in that diaper. The colour you’d get if you put a tablespoon of coffee in a cup of cream.

Only it smelled much, much, much worse.

And the question was, how to get this liquid — there was not a speck of solid in it — from the child to the garbage without sloshing it all over me, all over her, all over my house? I peered in astonishment for a second, considering my options. Diaper wipes were not going to cut it. The diaper could clearly not absorb this amount with anything like the necessary speed.

I closed the diaper back on the child. “Poppy? Don’t move. Understand? DON’T. MOVE. I’ll be right back.”

She gazes at me solemnly, but doesn’t shift an inch. Good girl! I race into the back porch and grab one of the shabby, ragged towels we use to dry the dogs after their wet and muddy walks by the river. Grab the towel and rip it in half. Race back to the living room, where Poppy, bless her noisome self, is still lying right where I put her.

I lift her butt, put the towel on the floor under both girl and diaper. Open the diaper. Lift her butt by the ankles, give it a quick wipe. (Quick, because really? NOTHING is stuck there. NOTHING. Because it’s LIQUID, people, pure liquid. Her butt only glistens a bit with the wet.) I drop the wipe into the pool inside her diaper and pivot Poppy so that her bare bottom now lies on the hardwood floor. I’ll finish with her when I’ve finished with this ghastly diaper.

Then close the diaper. But not too tight! Heaven knows I don’t want to squeeze it and have it squirt liquid manure around my living room. Close it up, wrap the towel around it all.

“Poppy? Don’t move again. Understand, lovie? DON’T.MOVE.” Because the child who just produced liquid manure is now lying bare and totally diaper-free on my living room floor. Is there more where that came from? Is there?

I run to the kitchen. Drop towel, diaper, and poo-cream in the garbage, and immediately lift out the garbage bag, tie it securely, and toss it into the back porch.

I really, really, reeeeallllly want to wash my hands now, but butt-naked Poppy’s naked butt still needs my attention. We clean her up, tuck her securely into a fresh diaper, and then I scrub my hands. For the full 30 seconds. Rinse. And do it again. Because, bleah.

Poppy’s mother came to collect her shortly after. Because, bleah. (And also, because it’s in my contract: can’t come to daycare for 24 hours following vomitting or diarrhea.)

It was not the worst shit story ever. But it was close.

First Rory, then Poppy. Who’s next?

Tick, tick, tick…

April 24, 2012 Posted by | eeewww, health and safety, Poppy, potty tales | , , | 9 Comments

The new model’s detachable

“Hey, Grace! Hey, Jazz! Wanna see my uh-yer-wears?” Rory, our last hold-out, is potty trained!

“Wanna see?”

“Okay!” The girls are loud in their enthusiasm. Big Boy (and Girl) Underwear is THE topic of conversation these days. Well, THE topic, challenged only by pee, and, perhaps even more fascinating, poo. Potties and their contents. Good times.

We are all very, very proud of our underwear around here. Generally, we show it to each other, unworn, folded neatly in their backpacks or their storage bin, but it’s not at all uncommon, however, for one child to flash their panties to the group.

It is, however, much, much easier to flash your panties if you are wearing a dress. When one is wearing elastic-waisted jeans, it is much more likely that —

“Rory! Dat is not your panties!” Jazz is indignant. “Dat is your penis!” Indignant and disparaging. Who wants to see that stupid thing when there are underwear in the offing?

Oops. As Rory struggles to disentangle underwear from jeans (no, I’m not helping; this is way too entertaining), the girls continue to chat.

“My daddy has a peanuts,” Grace informs Jazz.

“Hey! My daddy has one, too!” Jazz is delighted by this remarkable coincidence.

“My daddy has one,” Grace expands, and then, giving Rory a meaningful look, “but he keeps his at home.”

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Grace, Jazz, potty tales, Rory, the things they say! | , | 5 Comments

A new one for Mary

A new experience for Mary! Doesn’t happen all that often any more. But this week? I have had a Brand New Work Experience.

As you recall, at the end of our Great Potty Adventure Week, we had one trained, one not trained, and one half-baked trained.

The parents’ response is predictable. Well, almost.

Grace’s parents continue with the potty training and home, and are eagerly awaiting my willingness to begin round two here. That’s predictable. Rory’s parents, sweet, deluded people that they are, went out and bought some Smarties, thinking that might magically tip the scales in a pro-potty direction at home. That’s also pretty predictable.

And Jazz’s parents? Parents of the ONE CHILD who is totally and completely potty trained? The child who takes herself to the potty, needs no reminders, who stays clean and dry ALL DAY LONG, EVERY DAY. (And who, as of the end of last week, had woken from her naps dry?)

This morning, Jazz comes to me. “I needa pee.”

I look at her, a bit blankly. “Well, away you go, sweetie. You don’t have to ask me.” She doesn’t have to because she doesn’t need to. All day, every day, for two weeks now, she has taken herself to the potty. She goes, she sits, she produces, she calls me while she’s there so I can help clean up. But she doesn’t ask to pee. What’s with that?

She trots over to the potty, and struggles to remove her jeans. It’s taking quite a bit more struggle than usual, I note, and when I come over to investigate, I discover…

she’s wearing a diaper.

I should have known, because, even though their child is 100% reliably toilet trained, totally independent and hasn’t had a single accident in two weeks, they keep sending her in diapers.

“You don’t need to send her in diapers,” I tell them. “Oh, no?” they say. No, really, I assure them. “She’s TOTALLY trained. Well and truly DONE with diapers!” “Well, isn’t that terrific!” they say.

And then she comes wearing diapers.

Day after day.

Do you know, in all the years I’ve been doing this, I have never before had parents who weren’t TOTALLY THRILLED to be done with diapers. I’ve had lots and lots and lots of parents who wanted potty training to begin before I felt there was much point. I’ve had lots who continued with it at home after our week trial convinced me a child wasn’t ready. I’ve had a few parents get outright annoyed with me for not continuing with pointless pottying at my home, too. In short, I’m not unused to being pushed by over-eager parents.

But I’ve never, not once, ever had a parent who needed pushing.

However, having told them a couple of times, making sure I spoke directly to each parent… I’m leaving it. Really. Does it matter to me that they’re keeping her in diapers at home?

Nope. Not at all. Given that I resent it when parents try to strong-arm me into doing things in my home that I don’t feel necessary or appropriate, I’m not about to go doing it to parents. The only environment I control is my own, and that’s fine. I just have to remember that she’s going to be wearing a diaper when she arrives, and peel it off first thing.

But people?

This is weird.

Just weird.

October 24, 2011 Posted by | Grace, Jazz, parents, potty tales, Rory | 8 Comments

Potty Update

How did the Great Potty Adventure go, someone asked? A reasonable question. It’s All Potty, All The Time for a solid week, and then I drift off and leave you all hanging. Hardly nice, Mary. Tsk, tsk. I’m sure the suspense is keeping you up at nights.

So, the results:

One total potty success!!! Jazz is trained. Totally out of wake-time diapers!!! She knows when she needs to go, she takes herself to the potty, she sits herself down, she does her business, she pulls herself back together. She needs help only with the hygiene aspects.

THAT is trained.

One total potty not-yet!!! Rory is not trained. In fact, Rory finds the whole thing so anxiety-raising that we are dropping the whole subject for a few weeks again. He never really did understand what we were after, so his days were one accident after another… which, despite my calm and upbeat reassurances, he found distressing. It was the day he approached me, awash in weariness, his big brown eyes wide and his voice quivering, “Can I has my diaper back, please?” I decided that was it for Rory. Poor little guy. And really, a baby sister at home is probably enough stress and change for one small boy.

And Grace? Grace is a half-baked pottier. If you recall, I wondered if her extreme passivity would be a problem. And yes, yes it was. (I also thought she was the most likely to be trained. Ha! Called that wrong.) If she’s reminded every 20 minutes, she can stay dry all day. If she’s not reminded, or if reminders are spaced 30 minutes or more… she wets. Every time. She’s had at least two accidents a day since I dispensed with the timer last week.

So Grace is back in diapers, at least at my home. Her parents are keeping up with the pottying at home. Me, I don’t have that kind of patience. Besides, my day can be fragmented enough, what with the five toddlers charging around, I don’t need another every-20-minute disruption.

Okay, I admit: If I really wanted to, I could put up with every 20 minutes for… well, that’s just it. For how long? She’ll get trained, in the end. But there is no law that says I have to be ON HER, every twenty minutes, for weeks on end until she does get it. That’s nuts. Why not just relax through those weeks, and try again later?

In the end, see, you do a cost-benefit analysis — well, I sure do — and you determine — well, I sure did — that the effort and CONSTANT DILIGENCE required to keep her dry is far, far greater than the effort of changing two diapers a day. I mean, seriously? Every twenty minutes vs two diapers?

There is no contest, people. None.

In another month or six weeks, we’ll try again with both Rory and Grace. In the meantime?


Thanks to you, I only have FOUR children in diapers. (Yes, “only”. It’s all in your perspective.)


October 20, 2011 Posted by | Grace, Jazz, potty tales, Rory | 5 Comments

Potty Training, Day 3

Okay, so maybe Grace isn’t so much with the program as I thought…

Two accident-free days for Grace encouraged me to raise the bar a bit. We’d go a full half-hour between mandatory pee breaks. Since that might be just a smidge longer than she can actually go, it will give her an opportunity to take herself to the potty. (Because, as you recall, one of my concerns is that Grace’s extreme passivity will have her relying too much on reminders. AUTONOMY is what we’re after here!)

AND, as a reward for being such a BIG GIRL, she would wear the panties her mother had sent.

Because we all know how HIGHLY MOTIVATING Big Girls Panties are!!!

Well, maybe. They love to wear them. Does that prevent them from letting fly while wearing them? Do they hesitate in the slightest to gross them up? Um, no. Not so’s I’ve noticed. Still! Big girl panties are an important part of the process. And Grace’s mother sent a whole whack of big girl panties.

Day three was the day.

We make much of them. She shows them off to all her friends. (Side note: Is there anything cuter than a toddler hauling up on dress or shirt, rounded belly bulging, so that their friends can gather round and admire the underwear? Not much, I say. Hee.) She skips around the house, pausing at intervals to pull the hem of her skirt to her chin so she can take in the wonders of the panties.

And then she pees in them. Standing in the middle of the living room, not two feet from the potty. The potty which she does not even glance at as the pee splashes around her feet.

First accident in two days.

Well, boo.

But that’s okay! She has LOTS more big girl panties! And the next pair? It has BUTTERFLIES on it. That is even MORE EXCITING than the FLOWERS on the last pair. Whee!!!

And twenty minutes later, she poos on the butterflies.

Well, damn.

A third pair (teddybears) get soaked, not that I found that out right away. Jazz had just done a pee. We were all celebrating her accomplishment, and Jazz had been given her Smartie. Grace trots up, hand out for her Smartie.

“Well, no, lovie. Jazz gets a Smartie because she did a pee. You didn’t do a pee.”

“Yes, I did!”

“No, love, you didn’t. Jazz did.” I indicate the potty with its centimetre of pale yellow liquid. “Jazz had a pee, so Jazz gets a Smartie. When you do a pee, you will get one, too.”

“I did a pee!” She smiles and turns, pointing. “I did a pee onna couch!!!”

The couch? Yes, indeed. There on the couch is a dismayingly large dark splotch. She has indeed peed on the couch. Moreover, she is very proud. She peed on the couch, and she is proud. Seems Grace has decided that as long as the pee was conscious and volitional, THAT COUNTS FOR A SMARTIE! And her teddybear panties? Soaked. SOAKED.

Well, damn again. (In fact, “damn” isn’t nearly strong enough for this creative new twist in the proceedings, but that’s as strong as I get on this blog.) The hell with the Big Girl Panties. They are not helping us in our endeavor, that’s clear. Back to bare. And…

for the next two hours, Grace performs flawlessly. In the potty, every time.

Huh. So I put the panties back on, and…

she soaks ’em.

Yup. In Grace’s mind, panties = diapers. Nuts. That’s an annoying hiccup.

On the bright side, so long as she’s bare, she’s very reliable. Though I normally have them back in pants by the end of the first week, we’ll try another few days to consolidate things for Grace, see if that does the trick.

But… Smarties for peeing on the couch? Yeesh…

October 6, 2011 Posted by | Grace, potty tales | , , , , | 11 Comments