Statistically, one of the leading triggers for child abuse is potty-training incidents, and with Maddi in full potty-training mode, I’m beginning to understand why people find this phase aggravating. Luckily for Maddi, the worst treatment she can expect is Mommy’s patented Glare of Death, or if the infraction is particularly grievous, the “What in the name of all that is good and holy happened in this room?” bellow. (Much as I hate to admit it, on a bad day I can occasionally be mistaken for Jane Kaczmarek’s character in “Malcolm in the Middle best site.”)
Despite the never-ending trips to the bathroom that culminate in nothing more productive than a small toot or, if it’s one of those days, the pulling of towels and washcloths out of the linen closet, we expect that our toils will one day be rewarded with a toddler who can excuse herself and use the bathroom independently — and consistently! In fact, things are already better in some ways. For one thing, her diaper pail stinks a lot less when most of her poops wind up in the local sewer system instead. For another, her clothes fit much better over Pull-Ups than they did over diapers. And the cost savings we anticipate when she is finished potty training will be enough to pay for swimming classes for both Maddi and James.
About a month ago, Maddi began asking to use the potty (or, as she calls it, “pobby”) multiple times a day. After about a week and a half of consistent potty use, I bought her a package of disposable “big girl” training pants. Much rejoicing on Maddi’s part ensued. She quickly dubbed her new Pull-Ups “girl pants” and insisted on wearing them at all times — even to bed. All of a sudden, she wanted to use the potty every 10 or 15 minutes. Amazingly, although the false alarms are many and there are plenty of “misses” as well, she produces something the majority of the time.
If she is feeling bored, the first words out of Maddi’s mouth are “Pobby! Pobby!” Her little potty is great, but the big potty is even better. Maddi particularly loves to visit other people’s potties. She likes to potty at the mall, and delighted in using Nana’s toilet (which has a squishy seat and embroidered moon and stars, which delighted her to no end), and was eager to let her favorite teacher at the gym daycare escort her to the loo there.
Unfortunately, this past week Maddi has developed a new potty-related behavior, which is changing her own Pull-Ups after accidents. This is vexing after a pee accident because we’d rather she didn’t race about the house bottomless considering that she’s not very consistent on the toilet just yet, but it’s downright horrifying when she’s made a poop.
The first time it happened, Maddi was standing in the middle of the living room when she started yanking down her pants as usual, frantically gasping “Pobby! Pobby!”
“Maddux, wait until you’re in the bathroom!” I said from the sofa where I was (of course!) nursing James. “Oh, crap!”
“What?” Chris asked from the office.
“Literally! There’s CRAP!” I cried, “Quick, grab the baby!” I whisked a poopy, diaperless Maddi into the bathroom, soiled Pull-Up in my other hand, to finish her No. 2, had a discussion about how it is Mommy’s job and not hers to clean up poop messes, and foolishly assumed that was the end of it.
But alas, a few days later, we opened her door after naptime to an all-too-familiar odor. If you recall Poocasso’s Brown Period, you will understand what I mean by “all too familiar.” After some 100-odd times (no exaggeration) of opening her door to that, I think I know a poop mess when I smell one. Sure enough, Maddi’s fingers and one foot were stained brown. After her bath, I surveyed the damage. There was a poopy Pull-Up on the floor, a sizable portion of crusty carpet surrounded by soiled Pampers wipes where she had tried to clean herself off, and some suspicious smears on the closet door. We had the don’t-change-your-own-diaper talk again and I vowed never to sleep during the children’s naptime again.
Then, this morning — when I shouldn’t have had to worry because she hasn’t had a morning poop in ages — Chris opened the door to yet another Poocasso masterpiece. Maddi had a thorough scrubbing and I again surveyed the catastrophe that was her room. Another diaper, with sleeper still attached and covered in filth. More carpet. More wall. Her dresser(!!!!). And in the absence of wipes (thanks to my removal of the wipes from her room because she pulls them all out of the box), she had used a bath towel and a sock.
Needless to say, we will all be very happy to see this potty-training thing over and done!
And now, for some non-potty-related cuteness: