Today I was cleaning up around the house, which mostly involves pushing piles of stuff from one part of the house to the other. Shovels would probably help. So while I was doing this cleaning/bulldozing, Addison stopped in her tracks and suddenly began concentrating really hard. You all know what that means. She was suddenly hearing the distant shrieks and howls of the wild pack of toddlers that we stole her from that roams the foothills of L.A. Also, she was trying to push all of her food from the last two days out of her body.
Me: What are you doing!?
Addison: I'm doing a poop.
Me: Crap. Wait, I mean don't! Hold it in!
There's something about potty training that makes me feel like I'm once again the anxious partner to a birthing woman. I see that Addison is trying to push out a poop and my mind gets all panicky. What do I do?! Do I pick her up and run for the bathroom? Do I make her walk there, so that she gets used to doing it by herself? Is it a false alarm? (She has a lot of false alarms -- she totally punked me with that concentrating look yesterday and Lindsay and I ended up reading stories to her on the potty for an hour and a half before she admitted she didn't think she was going to poop).
I try to get her to look me in the eyes and describe what she's feeling. Is it an overwhelming desire to push? Does she feel like she's got to bear down? How many seconds are there between contractions? I take her hand and try to get her to walk a few steps:
Me: Come on, babe, just a few more steps. Lean on me. You can do it. I'm right here with you.But when Addison starts doing her business, she's not in much of a mood to move. Her legs lock and she starts tensing all of the muscles in her body. So I start offering incentives.
We've been offering her chocolate for doing a poop in the potty, and she's gotten a small spoonful of Nutella on about five or six occasions over the past month or two. Given that she used to scream in rage at anyone who mentioned "potty" in the same sentence as "poop," that's serious progress. Ah, the joys of a chronically constipated kid.
With the help of prune juice, we've evened her out a little, and each of those spoonfuls of Nutella marks a triumph for all of us. Obviously we're taking potty training slow. Partly because Addison has a finnicky digestive system, partly because we're just take-it-slow kinds of people. Some people like to rip off the band-aid fast, in a fell swoop of just a couple days filled with potty time and plastic over all the carpeting . . . but we like to peel it slow, savoring the pain. We know she's probably gonna have to be out of diapers by the time she gets to high school, and we're pretty committed to at least hitting that deadline.
I finally coax Addison onto the potty, where I start pep-talking her.
Me: Are you gonna do a poop?
Addison: I don't know.
Me: Let's make this happen! Are you gonna do a poop?!
Addison: I think so.
Me: Come on, get excited! Are you gonna push this poop out like a boss?!
Addison (catching the energy): Yeah!
Me: Show me your poop face. Nice! Now what are you going to do to get that poop out?
Addison (grimacing and sticking two fists hard into her stomach): Push it! Aaaargggh!Addison proceeds to groan as she tries to work it out. Lindsay walks by and watches for a second.
Lindsay: Is she okay?
Me: Are you okay, Addison?
Lindsay: Why are you groaning?
Addison: Because that's the sound I make to help doing a poop!
Me (nodding sagely): It's true. It does help.For the record, while I might have been the one who introduced pirate growls to potty time, it was Lindsay who taught the kid to punch her own fists into her stomach.
She ended up punking us again. Did her poop two hours later during her quiet time. It's funny how a lot of my thought during the day revolves around how many milliliters of prune juice to give a two-year-old. I think the formula is gonna need some tweaking. Trial and error. Science at its best!