Gimme a “P!”

Tonight I sat down in my black computer chair with a little more “ompf!” than usual. I am tired — more tired than I’ve been in a while. So tired, in fact, I almost took a nap when the girls were down for their own afternoon siestas. But, instead, I decided to teak-oil the deck furniture so that it can be stored in the basement before the next bout of rain comes through. Oh, well. There’s always time for extra sleep, right?

So, why is the usual spring in my step missing this evening? Two words: Potty training. For the last several months, Clara has been showing the signs of potty training readiness. I’ll spare you the gory details and just ask you to take my word for it. The signs were there, I was sick of changing diapers times two everyday and by some stroke of luck, we actually had a weekend where we would be home for about 80% of the time. I bought two giant boxes of pull-ups at BJs and got my stash of chocolate bribery — er, positive reinforcement — ready to go.

Taylor was on his own for a large chunk of Saturday afternoon while I had my hair cut and ran some errands. He assured me that Clara sat on the potty several times and had eaten her weight in mini chocolate bars and M&Ms. But, no dice. On Sunday, we took the girls to a local farm for a hay ride and pumpkin picking. Clara proudly wore her pull-ups (a.k.a. her princess undies) and selected the largest pumpkin in the patch to bring home. (I kid you not — this thing weighed 36

Clara and her giant pumpkin!

pounds — more than her! I guess when she said she wanted a “big one,” she really meant it.) Sunday’s progress matched that of Saturday’s — lots of potty sitting, but no actual action. Hmpf. Monday I was left to fend for myself. I had enough of the pull-ups and decided to let Clara run around free as a bird. I figured that I’d cut out the middle man, catch Clara in the act and rush her over to the potty. Once she saw how it worked, she’d be good to go on her own. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Monday came and went without any success. I was so sure that by Tuesday, something would have clicked. Armed with positive energy and more chocolate, I dressed Clara in an undershirt, long-sleeved t-shirt and socks and let her go to town. Well, she didn’t go to town, but she did go on the floor and the futon. I was flabbergasted. The potty was sitting right next to her latest puddle dry as a bone. At one point after sitting on the potty for over 20 minutes and insisting that she didn’t have to go (I know a pee pee dance when I see it), she went into the dining room and peed behind the wall. Sigh.

Pumpkin baby!

While she was napping on Tuesday afternoon and I was pedaling away my latest bout of stressors on the exercise bike, I decided that it was time to reevaluate Potty Training 101. After some soul-searching I realized that, although she is smart enough to understand what she should be doing, she’s just not ready to do it. I can’t begrudge her of that — she’s been using a diaper for almost three years and now we’re asking her to step WAY outside of her comfort zone. So, although I felt defeated, I needed to regroup. When she got up from her nap, back on went the pull-ups, along with her pants. The potty was only mentioned in passing and not the focus of every conversation. Wednesday dawned bright and sunny. We headed out to Spanish class — pull-ups on — and came home to a leisurely lunch. After lunch, I sat Clara down at the computer and asked her to choose a new potty. The previous afternoon’s internet research (of course I turned to the internet!) suggested that perhaps Clara didn’t like the potty chosen for her and wanted to have some input on where she did her business. We narrowed it down to two — Elmo and the Snowman (not really a snowman, he just looks like one) — and she made her choice. The snowman arrived yesterday and

Clara’s new “snowman” potty.

Clara was more than happy to help me assemble him before she paraded him around the house and let her dolls try him out. He’s actually pretty cool for a potty. He sings, has a fake flusher and even a toilet paper holder. I’d use him if he could support my weight. :0)

So what’s my new approach? Well, it’s pretty difficult running Potty Boot Camp while still nursing Elyse full-time. I decided to just take things slowly for now and try again in a few weeks. We’ll still use the pull-ups and encourage Clara to use her snowman (she’s assured me that she will), but will let her take things at her own pace for a bit before gearing up for training again. I actually am pretty relieved that we’re going to take things slowly, as Clara coincidentally had most of her accidents while I was nursing her little sister. Since I plan on weaning Elyse in about a month, I feel that the timing may be better for Clara, as well.

Free from potty pressure, Clara and I spent some time outside during this lovely fall afternoon. We practiced our new Spanish vocabulary and sang a tune from today’s music class. As the sun sank behind the trees awash with crimson and gold, I pushed her back and forth, back and forth. Her trademark smile graced her lovely face. If this is what happiness means, I can certainly tolerate double diaper duty for another few months.

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