I took my little men up to Long Island to see the family this past week. It was an adventure full of love and laughter, as expected and hoped for! I must admit, there were a few unexpected happenings, thanks to the introduction of potty training.
I have not been super proactive about potty training because I haven’t felt a strong sensation that LM1 is truly ready for it. He’s not very interested in the potty, and we’ve tried underpants without much success. So, I left it alone for a few weeks because I’ve read that it is fairly damaging to force potty training on a kid who isn’t ready.
While on Long Island, one of LM1’s relatives introduced a new toy that “he could have when he pooped on the potty.”
I tried this tactic myself with a different toy a few weeks ago. My son pooped on the potty once, received the toy and had not pooped successfully on the potty since. I guess you could say he saw a means to an end and called it a day.
Well, the new toy was especially alluring, so he set his goal and planned to poop at some point during the week.
It took him a few days though. Every time he pooped his pants, he cried and cried, shouting, “Now I can’t have my toy!!!”
This was horrifying and made me question my parenting strategy. Which, I suppose is a good thing: I should be questioning at all times, working to make better and better decisions. But, how could I take the toy out of the equation after it had already been introduced?
Anyway, after a weekend of tears, he finally pooped on the potty and earned his treat. He was thrilled! He kept peeing on the potty, and all was well.
Then came time for the ride home….
My son asked to stop at “The Green Wawa,” which I finally realized was the Woodrow Wilson rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. They serve breakfast sandwiches (at the Starbucks) and convenience snacks, so he thought it was a Wawa. We stopped on the way out to Long Island to get gas, and he remembered.
The only challenge of traveling as a solo mommy is that kids have a tendency to fall asleep in the car (which is great! Kids need sleep!). But, if you’ve got one turtle-heading LM1 screaming and LM2 fast asleep in his car seat, you’ve got some decisions to make.
I opted to carry LM2 in his bucket car seat contraption into the handicapped stall. This was gross because I had to put it on the floor….and the germs and dirt and whatever else in there is skeevy, but I told myself it’s all a natural part of life, and my neuroses needed a weekend off anyway.
LM1 proudly mounted the bowl and started his business. Unfortunately, I forgot that public restrooms have automated flushers, so every time LM1 wiggled or shifted, the toilet flushed, which nearly soaked the back of his shirt. This led to crying and the need for a change of clothes, which I conveniently left in the car.
“Why is it splashing me?!” LM1 shouted.
“It’s automatic,” I said, “and it thinks you’re done pooping every time you wiggle or move.”
But an LM1 like mine doesn’t know how to sit still. So the thing kept going off, which led to more crying, which threatened to wake LM2.
So I stood behind LM1 and held my finger over the sensor. Which struck me after the fact as fairly unhygienic as well, but hey, I was already knee-deep in there. At least the thing stopped flushing. LM1 sat for ten minutes, sang songs and delivered rhymes, but failed to poop.
We got back into the truck, loaded up, and started again.
The complaints started twenty minutes later….when LM1 announced he needed to poop again. So, perhaps it was a bad idea, but I stopped again. It took a while to find another rest stop….because I didn’t want to get off the highway. All poor decisions, maybe. But by the time I stopped, LM1 had fallen asleep. LM2 was up and crying with a wet diaper. So I changed him, settled him down, gave him some food, and then considered waking LM1 so I could go to the bathroom. In the midst of our previous stop’s mayhem, I forgot to go. Which was a super realization. How did I not feel it before?
But I didn’t want to wake the dragon.
So, I made a snap decision… I peed in a diaper. I used some of my favorite yoga squat muscles and made it work.
Who knew potty training my son would lead to peeing in a diaper myself? Why is this the mystical way that parenting works?
ALSO…..here is the super cool new potty seat we bought LM1, which I think will help make him feel confident. Sure, it looks a little geriatric and there’s no Tickle-Me-Elmo to tickle his hinee, but I think THIS seat is gong to be the winner!