Monday, September 1, 2008
On his own time, or, the perils of poop
*While I want to write about our trip to the North Channel, and I will, I have been stuck in bed (for a week!!) with the crud, and so this is more along the lines of what I've been feeling:)
I have this reoccurring dream, where I am sitting on the floor between two enormously pooped-in diapers. It’s graphic: one has a tennis ball size poo, the other is oozing onto the carpet, a sweet orange breast milk river that toppled over its banks. I am trying to change both, fighting two sets of failing legs, attempting not to gag or get dung of either variety all over me. It’s a nightmare of, well, poopy proportions.
I’m not sleeping.
I have declared my house a full on poop wasteland folks. And I’m waving the white flag of defeat.
Once upon a time, Max was almost potty trained. And then came Lizzie. When we said hello to baby sister, we summarily said goodbye to the toilet. At first, I assumed it was just a phase.
“Leave him be,” became my mantra to all who antagonized my weeping puddle of a three year-old. With every, “Max, do you have to go pee-pee?” or “Max, why are you grunting? Let’s go potty,” came a shriek and banshee-worthy cry from the child who was already walking around yelling “I been dethroned! I been de-th-th-th-roooooooned!” It made sense to me, to Dr. Sears, to Peggy O’Mara, to just about everyone who knows anything about child rearing, that this was simply a little glitch in the giddy-up, an expression of a little boy who was searching for his new role in the family.
Of, course, Dr. Sears does not know Max.
Ah, Max. He is an incredible force of energy. His smile (that oh so devious and disarming smile) is enough to make every female from age three to 100 melt, myself included. I could write forever about the Maxism’s that I get to hear each day:
“Mama, I need my cape. You’re never fully dressed without a cape” (or Viking hat, or owl mask, or knight shield, depending on the day….and yes, we went through a watch Annie ten times a week phase, if the above phrase sounded vaguely familiar).
Me: “Max, come over here please.
Max: “Can’t mama. I’m heading to South America.
Me: “South America? What for?
Max: good tacos.
“I’m just saying mom, (palms held up in the air in that ‘well duh’ fashion) if I were an elephant, I would totally pick stuff up with my nose to eat it.”
Where Noah is my thinker, and Lizzie is my appendage, Max is this concoction of a shaken up pop bottle, a shot of nitrous, and a dose of radiant life rolled into one little toddler body. But he also has a huge helping of holy hell stubbornness in him ( I have no idea where that comes from) that adds the following phrases to his favorite vocabulary choices:
“Nope. I don’t think so. Well, thing is…. Not a good idea. I choose no way. Nuh-uh. NO. I don’t waaaaaaant to.”
And my personal favorite, “You can’t make me go!”
He grunts this, obviously, as he is squatting in some corner, butt high in the air, face red.
The anti-potty has become a sticking point. No negotiations (Max, if you go potty on the potty, you can buy all the glow in the dark underwear you want); no reward system (we tried that, and after five times and one Playmobile airplane, he looked at me and said, “I got my prize. Pull-ups, please”); or even sad reality checks (Max, you cannot go to preschool with Josie and Cal next week if you don’t pee and poop on the pot) have made a dent in our need to stock size 3-4 T training pants.
In fact, the more he hears anyone say “go on the potty,” the more he resists. We now are literally on the enema-a-week plan, which inevitably produces terds that have been known to require the toilet be plunged for over an hour. Okay, too much information. But still. For anyone who has been this road before, you know how hard it is to hear your child wake up and say, “uh-oh, it isn’t enema day, is it?”
Through a blur of tears, I looked at my pediatrician desperately a few weeks ago, recounting how “he doesn’t even care if he’s got dookie in his pants. How do you train someone to go on the toilet that looks at you with something that resembles a rabbit tail sticking out of his rear, and says with a smile, “oh, I’m fine.” I went on to blubber about how this whole thing must be my fault, “I should have given him more attention. When Liz was born, I went into the abyss of nursing and didn’t come out…I pushed him. He’s constantly constipating because I pushed or I didn’t protect him enough when everyone else pushed...”
“I’m a horrible mother and my son will never have a normal bowel movement because of me,” I found myself wailing.
My doctor responded with a chuckle and a shrug. “Do you see lots of kids in middle school or high school wearing diapers?”
I said, “well, no,” although I was secretly picturing Max at 16, coming home from soccer practice in a gigantic pull-up. Oh, God.
“He’ll go when he’s ready. On his own time. Don’t push and don’t fret, because after all, you can’t make him.”
Hmmm. I never thought pooping in your pants could become a source of parental zen-like philosophy. And I’ll be honest folks, when I’m elbow deep in two dirty diapers all I can think is, no matter how you slice it, this just stinks.
**let it be noted, I had to stop to change diapers four times while writing this post!