It has been a long time since I've posted here. Too long. It has been at the top of my to-do list, but has fallen down in the midst of changes in my work schedule, wrapping up the co-op year, gearing up for all kinds of summer activities for an energetic toddler, doing the childcare scramble and then finally, with some pleading, mercy and grace of an in-home daycare provider down the street, getting everything in order.
And then, because I was under the impression that I was in a good place and my son was ready and the timing was as good as ever, we took the plunge into potty training. My husband and I researched and read, talked to parents, gathered advice, stocked up on stickers and M&Ms and DVDs and anything else that might turn the whole she-bang into a party, and we went for it. We dove into full-immersion potty training with our boy who is happy and adventurous and has independently taken many turns on the potty for over a year.
We put away our to-do lists, turned down an invitation to go out of town and another to attend a much-coveted party with plenty of booze and adult conversation with no mention of the words poop or pee or periodic dousing with carpet cleaner and baby wipes. I logged out of my email and vowed not to work, we turned off the ringer on the phone and decided only to turn on the TV when it would support our bribery efforts. We blew up balloons, decorated potty posters, wrapped little presents, put on the hype.
And then, time stopped.
I looked across the lunch table in the midst of the mayhem and asked Bruce what time it was.
"There is no time," he said. "Time has completely stopped."
I nodded. "We are caught in a pocket of the universe where there is a lot of enthusiasm and absolutely nothing happens."
We knew where we were. We were sitting with Elmo and our son, right in the middle of potty training hell. Babies were being born, old people were passing on. Seasons were changing, movies were premiering, books were being published. Time was marching on and we were in the same position, consumed with unmet anticipation, endlessly perched over an empty potty.
Perhaps it would not have been hell, perhaps it would have been just the threshold to Satan's fiery home or (if you will) the back deck where you can see the flames engulfing well-intentioned parents desperate for their child to get into preschools with the no-diaper policies, except for one small thing: Our son was not going. At all.
Sure, he'd sit on the potty, even get excited about pooping and peeing there. But really, it was just a rouse. He wasn't having accidents or near-misses or anything at all. The kid didn't go at all for 8-1/2 hours.
8-1/2 hours, people! Complete and willful dryness all day, after countless sippy cups of pink lemonade, apple juice and other high fructose-filled liquid treats. After many, many trips and many reads through the golf magazines and books of his choice while "trying." After Bruce and I, in an attempt to model, peed ten or more times each. Nothing. Noth.ing. Nothing.
No accidents, no bloops, no teensy tinkles. Nada. Zip. Zero. Nothing.
Well, nothing until it was just past his bedtime and we were in the car on the way home from a special trip to play miniature golf. Until his weary little toddler body couldn't handle the pressure anymore. Then came the wetting and the tears and the complete meltdown with screams of agony for a diaper and "pants to keep me safe." It was an agonizing end to an intense day. Thirteen hours later, and there we all were, still sitting in hell.
I know, I know. It will click. The kid will eventually decide he can and will do it. The world will spin once again. But for now, I am exhausted. I am too preoccupied to work. And I am very ready for a very cold day down here next to the potty chair.
Join Jessica for more fascinating potty talk on her personal blog, Sassafrass.