Sunday, February 3, 2008
He'll go when he is ready
Those of you who live locally, know that Andrew has held a very strong negative opinion about using the potty. You may remember the time I tried to buy underwear for him several months ago, right after his second birthday. He carried it around the store until we reached the check out. There he looked up at me, handed me the Thomas Underpants and said firmly, "I am not ready to go in the potty. I do not want to buy them." I thought to myself "Any kid who can tell me in a complete sentence that he did not want to go, really could with a slight attitude adjustment." I could not accept the advice I received from many of my friends, family, and his doctor, "He'll go when HE is ready." He was ready. I knew it. He just needed the right motivation.
I set out to be his biggest cheerleader. I read every parenting book on toilet training in our library, (there are 10), read Andrew books, watched potty movies, made charts, used various bribes, and listened to opinions from friends, family, and strangers. Their expert opinions varied so much, ranging from helpful to downright absurd. My favorite was from a lady in the grocery store right before Andrew's very first birthday. She looked to be in her eighties. I was carrying Andrew in a Snugli.
Stranger-How cute, how old is he?
Me-(beaming with motherly pride) He is 11 months.
Stranger-Is he potty-trained yet?
Me-(flustered, wondering if she misheard me) Oh....um...no...but he is almost walking
Stranger-(all in one breath while holding my arm) All mine were potty trained at nine months. You know how I did it? I got a big metal pail and told 'em to pee in it and they liked the noise so much that they did. It makes a great noise. That's what you need to get your boy, a big metal pail. Now my boy is a preacher. Do you go to church? Have you been saved? You have to raise your boy in the Lord's way. He is a preacher. I am proud of him. He takes care of his Mama. You need to get yourself a metal pail and get him potty trained before it is too late.
Then she walked away leaving me confused, trying to picture a baby who couldn't walk yet standing up long enough to pee in a pan, in awe of her ability to turn this conversation into an opportunity to bear witness, and feeling more than a little inadequate that my baby wasn't potty trained yet and therefore may not take care of me when I am old.
For those of you still reading this, the big news is, that despite the absence of a metal pail, Andrew has decided he is ready. He let me know on Wednesday this week that diapers give him a rash and that he doesn't wear them anymore. And he hasn't since. It happened that quickly and uneventfully. We went to the store this week and he carried Thomas underwear straight to the counter and bought it! Hooray! I can't take any credit. He made the choice, in spite of me.
One of the books we read to Andrew about potty training says to listen to your body. Andrew has really taken this to heart and has given his body a voice. Andrew's body talks to him out loud in a high pitched sing songy voice. We were sitting at breakfast this week when Andrew's body started talking to him.
Andrew's Body-"Androooo... I need to eat strawberry cereaaaal. It will feel me betterrrrr."
Andrew the boy-(In his normal voice)-I am listening to my body. My tummy says it needs to eat.
Later that same day...
Andrew's Body (in that fake high pitched voice)-Androoo, I need to go potty to feel my tummy betterrrrrrrrrrr.
Andrew the boy (in his normal voice)-Oh...wait...that's my body. I better go fast! (off he runs to the bathroom)
And my favorite...Yesterday in the car from the back seat...
Andrew's body (again high pitched girl voice) Androoo, I need to not take a naaaaaaap. I need to play outsiiiiiiiiiiide. It is a beautiful daaaaaaaaaay. Would that be a good ideaaaaaaa?
Andrew the boy (in his normal voice) Mommy, I am doing a good job listening to my body and it isn't tired. My body wants to play.