Thursday, July 23, 2009

Zen and the Art of Pottytraining

Zen and the Art of Pottytraining - Report from Weeks 2 and 3

It's a sham calling what I am doing "pottytraining." It's more like my raising the issue with Arlo and him rejecting it outright. Our discussion goes like this:

Me (hopeful, smile plastered on my face): "So, Arlo, are you ready to pee and poop in the potty like Mommy and Daddy?"

Arlo (with furrow in his brow): "I want to poop in my diaper!"

Me (giving it one more try): "How about pooping in the potty, like big kids?"

Arlo: "No, diapers...can I have some apple juice?"

Discussion over.

Also, it's really hard and not that fun to be stuck at home all day every day while attempting to pottytrain.

Meanwhile, a girlfriend with a son a few months younger than Arlo announced to her that he was ready to use toilets now. I'm happy for her (I really am) but jealous, too. I want Arlo to tell me he's finished using diapers. And I want it to happen, without any work on my part. We already worked our butts off to get him in his own bed and sleeping through the night and on a good schedule and eating lots of veggies and playing nice with other kids and I'm tired and wanting to coast through pottytraining.

Believe it or not, you can outsource pottytraining. For half a second last week I considered hiring someone to come do this for us. I also considered bribing Arlo with M&Ms when he delivered No.1 and No.2's in the toilet.

They say that nobody goes to kindergarten in diapers, meaning that all kids eventually potty train. They also say that kids do it on their own time schedule. I refuse to over-research this issue (like I did for infant sleep) so this is all IO know about what the so-called experts say about pottytraining. I also refuse to flip out and make this a battle between Arlo and me.

So what's left? Why am I writing this if I am so "zen" about it? Two reasons. You know how you have rock solid beliefs about parenting before you actually become a parent? Well, before I had kids, one of the beliefs I had was that all kids should be potty-trained by age two. So a part of me feels like I missed some stupid deadline. This I feel, despite the fact that I made up this stupid rule before I had a clue what being a parent was all about. I also fear I am being judged by other people - parents and those without kids - who see Arlo's diaper sticking out of his pants and know that he's two and a half and judge me to be a bad mom because I haven't potty trained my kid.

In the end, I can only control what I think. So I told my inner critic to shut the *f* up. Yes, I missed an arbitrary deadline set by my former self, the self that had oodles and oodles of free time and that got all the sleep needed. Oh well.

I just finished a great book called "Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood" by Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller. In it, she states: "Don't push the river. Let the future come to you." Soon enough this headstrong little toddler will be a headstrong, know-everything teenage boy whom I have to constantly remind to pick up the boxers from his bedroom floor. Such is life.

Right now, today, I will celebrate my friend's son's development in the world of pottytraining. I will continue to discuss, but not push, Arlo in the same direction.

And yes, there will probably be M&Ms bribery involved.

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