Friday, May 16, 2008

Grandmas Are Smart

So, one thing I haven't been mentioning much lately on the blog is the, ah, issue that Barak has been having with the potty. As in, he hasn't been using it.

Let me state for the record that I had a toilet-trained child for seven glorious months. From last June until, hmm, right after Avtalyon was born, it was pretty much all good. I reminded him to go to the bathroom, but he went, and clean dry underwear at day's end was an ordinary and unremarkable occurrence.

Then, you know, Avtalyon was born.

The slide began slowly, with some wet spots here and there, then some skid marks in the underwear. The kind that show "well, I needed to go to the bathroom, but I thought I'd wait just a little bit longer." Being too busy to stop and go to the bathroom was always the sticking point for Barak, so this wasn't such a surprise. But then we started moving to "I don't need to pish" or "I don't want to poop potty," and soaking wet pants and really stinky underwear. Okay, so, he wants more attention (never mind that he is a veritable sucking black hole for attention and already gets more Imma time than Iyyar, Avtalyon, and Abba combined...) I took him on some solo trips, made a point of doing one-on-one time with him, made a point of getting him a little earlier in the morning so that he could have some focused Imma attention.

It didn't help. We broke out the potty treats again, and I even started a sticker chart for him. But by last week, things had degenerated to the point where nothing happened all afternoon because it was all one big potty catastrophe--I think the last straw was the day when we never got to go to the park AT ALL despite the 70-degree sunshine because Barak said he'd gone to the bathroom, then wet his pants, then refused to take them off because they were wet and he wanted me to do it, then screamed for an hour because I told him to change his pants himself, then finally DID change his pants and underwear and then promptly pooped in them, all this while Iyyar was screaming his head off because I'd put his coat on him HOURS ago and WHEN ARE WE GOING TO THE PARK ALREADY?!

I called MHH at work and informed him that the second he got home, I was taking the baby and going for a very long walk. Which I did. As soon as I got outside, I called Grandma E and vented all of my considerable frustrations.

"Ignore it," she said.

"I did!" I wailed.

"Ignore it more," was the sum response. Put him in a diaper, she told me, and don't say a word, for at least a week.

So that night, I put away all of Barak's underwear. When he woke up and looked for underwear, the drawer was empty. "Sweetie, I think your underwear is in the garbage," I told him. "When you poop in your underwear, it goes in the garbage, right? I don't think you have any left in your drawer." All technically true--I just neglected to mention the stash of underwear on top of the armoire.

So he wore a pullup, Wednesday and Thursday. I did not see him use the bathroom once. He just availed himself of his pullup all day long. On Wednesday, MHH gave him the desperately needed bath when he got home from work. Yesterday, as he (Barak, not my husband) got stinkier and stinkier, I called Abba to let him know to expect the same--my frustration level with all of this is such that I am just not dealing well at that point in the day. By around 4 pm, Barak seriously reeked and I was trying not to go too close to him. I noticed Barak pulling at his pants and looking a little... disturbed.

"Barak, does your tushie hurt?"


"Is it uncomfortable?"


At 6, MHH came home. We were sitting in the living room playing or doing whatever--Avtalyon had had shots that morning so had been fussing most of the day. Barak had progressed from looking unhappy to kvetching/wailing "I have poop..." I told him that I knew, and Abba was going to give him a bath when he got home.

"But Imma, I have poop!"

"I know, sweetie. Because you've been pishing and pooping in your pullup all day."

"I don't feel like I'm wearing a pullup."

"Yes, you are."

"I don't feel like I am. I don't feel like I'm wearing a pullup."

"What do you feel like you're wearing?"

"I feel like I'm just wearing pants."

He was sitting on the floor at that point and I suddenly realized a suspicious brown smear on his sock, right below a suspicious bulge IN THE BOTTOM OF HIS PANTS LEG. Ack!! Abba, B"H, was home then, and promptly changed into his oldest sweats, transferred Barak to the bathroom, and began the process of de-poopification, as I took Avtalyon with me and, um, left the house (to be fair, I had already made a date with a friend to go grocery shopping and have dinner.) The stench of poop and the wails of Barak drifted after us as we drove off. I felt a little bad for MHH, it is true, but not nearly bad enough to stick around.

A couple hours later, we got home; the house no longer stank, the kids were in bed, and MHH was looking a little tight-jawed but improved by some quiet time and the caramel yogurts I'd bought him at Trader Joe's. Avtalyon finally went to sleep; I put the groceries away and went to bed too.

This morning, after a glorious night in which Avtalyon only woke up once, I was awakened by the pitter-patter of Barak footsteps. On their way to the bathroom.

"Imma? Imma, I don't want to wear a pullup. I want to wear something else. I want to wear underwear." There were three baskets of clean laundry waiting to be put away, and he started rooting around in there--and lo, found a pair of underwear I'd missed. "Yay! Underwear!"

"Are you sure you want to wear underwear? You don't have to wear underwear. Because if you wear underwear you need to use the potty. If you don't want to use the potty you can just wear a pullup."

"No. I want to wear underwear and use the potty."

Okay then.

He's still at school, so I don't know yet how it went. Further bulletins as events warrant.


Anonymous said...

Grandmas are definitely smart. And Grandma E is the smartest of them all. Though I do wonder if MHH would have agreed with that statement as he changed into his DEFCON 5 gear to depoopify....

Deborah said...

Oh, hooray for all manner of good thing happening: the job, the tickets, the trip to Israel, the telecommuting, the food processor, and last but as we all know, not least--the boy using the potty.
Our young man is going to the prom this weekend. He has chosen to spend his earned money to rent a tuxedo(!) and a $20 corsage for his date. I have never had a $20 corsage in my life. And the tuxedo is costing a quarter of what we spent for his father to have a new suit when we got married.
Ah, well.

LC said...

Wait, are you telling me you put him in a (as in ONE) pullup for the *whole* day? I wasn't quite sure I had that right until the end - and then was still wondering if Barak had taken the Pullup off during the day, or it just couldn't handle the weight and broke in his pants.

But apparently it worked. Cool. I have a 6 YO who is still working on not being too busy to 'usually make it'. Arghhhh!