WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart…or stomach.
Everyone tells you that with hard work & consistency, your child will eventually be potty trained. Everyone says that one day it will just click. Everyone suggests that you utilize awards and M&M’s as incentives. Everyone reminds you that potty training & poop training are two different things. Everyone points out that boys are tricky. And everyone assures you that you’ll survive.
I believe everyone…almost. We are about four months into potty training Peter, and my wonderful intelligent beloved son still hasn’t had a fully successful twosie.
I keep questioning if I’m doing something wrong. Maybe I’ve missed the key inspirational speech that will suddenly motivate my child to put his crap where it belongs. Maybe my kid is just textbook stubborn and can’t be bothered. Maybe he just doesn’t understand the proper order in which these things are supposed to go; he always tells me immediately after he’s done his duty.
Whatever it is, I found myself in another out-of-body parenting experience just a few days ago. It was the kind where you wonder how it’s possible that you ever thought parenthood was this glowing and glamorous lifestyle. The kind where you know God must be watching you from above and giggling.
It was the kind where I found myself furiously scrubbing Lightning McQueen underwear out in a bathroom sink at Target. Naturally, it would be the only sink in a long row of sinks that wouldn’t drain. But I refused to be that woman who left floating remnants of her child’s fecal matter swirling there for the delight of the cleaning crew later. In my desperation, the thought did cross my mind to “dump & dash.” But dignity and determination won out in the end, and I paced the floor waiting for the drain to function properly again.
Then I turned to the real task: my son, who had somehow wiped the toilet down with his excretions and smeared it liberally on the back of his shirt. All the while, he yelled, “This is disgusting, Mommy! It’s really gross” as if I had somehow forgotten the level of nasty we had rapidly descended to.
The good news is that the sink did drain and was wiped clean. Also, we were shopping at Target, so a new shirt was purchased for my stained son. I’d really love to tell you, though, that this was the one and only instance that week of a spoiled (or soiled..haha) outing. But Peter is becoming my unwelcome Golden Ticket out of social functions. (Instead of limitless access to chocolate at Willy Wonka’s Factory, I have a different kind of fudge on my hands.) This whole miserable process happened again the following night, when we had to make a swift exit from a wedding we were attending. And it happened again the next morning when we were out running errands at Office Max.
Needless to say, I called my mom crying, and Peter went in a diaper for awhile. Sometimes you need to know your limits. This week, I reached mine.
Thankfully, my mom in her wisdom reminded me that every season of parenting has its seemingly insuperable challenges. I have survived “terrible twos” with Peter, and for the most part, he’s now a pretty pleasant and polite little human. There is hope! The conversation also reminded me that nothing can steal my joy except my own heart’s unwillingness to see beyond my circumstances to God’s greater good.
Admittedly, I’m not fully sure what the greater good is in floating feces in a Target sink, but I trust in a few weeks, months, or years, I’ll have a story of grace to tell about it.
Stay tuned, faithful readers, stay tuned.
P.S. Peter, this is going to embarrass the crap out of you someday (see what I did there?) Sorry, not sorry. 🙂