Saturday, September 27, 2008

The times they are a-changin'

This weekend I am not only housebound, but I am breaking my little boy's heart - and he, in turn, mine. Why? Because I'm potty training him.

As a second-time mom, I went into the process somewhat confident. I was prepared for accidents. I was prepared for obstinacy. I was prepared for a lack of interest. And I was truly, and uncharacteristically, prepared to be infinitely patient.

I was not, however, prepared for the extremely emotional response he would have to the experience. When I began first thing yesterday morning, I opted for the naked (from the waist down) approach. Upon seeing him, Clare laughed and asked why he didn't have any pants on. Once I explained what I was doing, she immediately said, "Well, he has to stay out of my room then!" Which is only humorous to me because she keeps her door closed at all times to prevent him (and the cats) from going in there in the first place. For his part, Danny seemed a tad confused, but I suppose it was also a novelty to go sans pants, so he carried on. As the day wore on, though, he grew increasingly uncomfortable and repeatedly asked to get dressed, or to put on pajamas. I think it really hit home for him when he woke up from his nap, and I removed his pull-up - without replacing it with anything. He asked me so very hopefully, "What am I going to wear today?" and was distressed when the answer was "Nothing."

We are now almost 48 hours into the ordeal, and while we have allowed him to wear underwear (we went through eight pairs today), he still cries big, sorrowful tears when I put him on the potty. When he needs to go, it's obvious, as he wanders around aimlessly, or pitifully asks to read stories on my lap, or just lays on the couch and attempts to get comfortable, usually with his face in his hands. My small consolation is that he clearly does know how to control his urge, at least until the breaking point! We knew it was bad when he begged me, at 5 p.m., to go to bed. Anything for the relief of the diaper.

While catching up on "Dancing with the Stars" on the DVR last night, Tim and I did glean an ounce of wisdom (and you people think it's just a mindless reality show). One of the "stars" remarked that when you put a person into an entirely new situation, that person just feels lost. I can tell that's exactly how Danny feels - and it makes us ache for him. However, as Tim and I have repeatedly told ourselves, this is not an optional life skill, and so we stay the course. He has at least progressed from saying, "Uh-oh - something's wrong!" when he notices he's peeing to saying (albeit too late), "Time to go potty." And so I prepare for day three, grasping at whatever straws I can find.