I have resurfaced! I have scribbled a thousand different ways to start this post. Mostly because I felt like I needed to take a deep dive into why I have been absent for so very long. There are handwritten pages that take that plunge- but mostly it comes to one thing- I had no idea where to start or what I wanted to say. Did I want to address the huge changes occurring? The introspection? The shear humor or frustration of raising an exceptionally strong-willed three year old?
Here’s what I have come to- I am no longer in the place that I felt stuck in for so long. I don’t loathe myself or my choices. There are some pretty big changes that brought me to that place. Maybe one day I will talk about them in detail. But today is not that day. Today, we get back to basics; the reason I started this little slice of the internet- The realities of being a mother. A parent. The good, bad, ugly, and everything funny in between. So here goes…
I research about my kid. A lot. It may border on obsessive. I can take the time to delve into having some control issues and feeling there is a reason for just about everything- more often than not, something I may or may not be doing wrong. I am sure that there is something there. But mostly- I have no idea what I am doing. I want to. I really want to do everything I can to be the best mom for my kid. To nurture his independence. A healthy emotional response to the world. Manners. Empathy. Kindness. Sleep habits. Managing meltdowns. Why his feet hurt. The list is really endless. I find the fact that children don’t come with an instruction manual really irritating. This mini-me is complicated. Most recently I have googled a lot about poop.
Motherhood is regal and elegant.
I feel no shame for the quantity of google searches that I have engaged in over the nature of toddler feces. Let me set the stage- we have been successfully eliminating urine in the potty for months now. Big boy underpants have become a thing of our present! At least 90% of the time. The other ten percent is when he sleeps- upon which he dons a pull-up. my kid poops once a day. He saves it. Like a little present for me. He reserves it for bedtime when he is comfortably snuggled in his pull-up. He’s a genius in the worst of ways.
There has been mom guilt. Fretting about why I cannot seem to get him to defecate on the royal throne versus in a pull-up in the cover of night. Admonishing- thinking that may coarse correct. Additional guilt for that approach. There have been potty standoffs- Hoping it was just a timing or a lack of patience issue. There has been thoughtful conversation. Discussion about where the poop should go. Questions of why he doesn’t wish to leave his deposits in a more sanitary manner. Conversation with the pediatrician. And as I am predicable- Google searches.
In a fateful google search, I finally assembled the correct phrases to get the holy grail of poop potty training answers. God bless the internet.
Kids that hold their stool, discharge exclusively in diapers, or say that pooping on the toilet is scary (a fact we finally nailed down with the Moose) are …drum roll please…constipated.
My first thought- my kid shits his pants daily. Willfully, even. Clearly this is not an issue. Oh, but I kept reading! Devouring an exciting grouping of literature about the healthy consistency of poop, the frequency not having a lot to do with constipation, and then what to do about it.
Turns out- my kid is in fact, constipated.
So what now? As with most of everything in this life- answers breed more questions. I had it narrowed down to the cause of the stool struggle, though found myself at a loss for discernible steps for improvement. So- you guessed it- more research! Dietary changes, behavior changes (mine, not the kiddos), and the loss of the security item (pull-ups) were the measures to be taken. I was excited to have answers- I was not prepared for the reality of the path before me.
First and foremost, I must address the obvious. When I so excitedly conceived my son, I didn’t anticipate the reality that I would one day have to use the potty- with step by step, excited narration- before a miniature audience. Thank God for my theater background. Then there was the laundry. So much laundry. Though I must say, I have gotten quite adept at sneaking a pull-up onto a comatose Moose. I am not sure where exactly that particular skill set is appropriate for my resume, but I feel like it is a remarkable skill that should be celebrated.
After weeks of epic tantrums, power struggles, and sleep deprivation I was awoken one Saturday morning by my cherub faced monster. In his sweetest, excited whisper, he leaned over to my face and pronounced
“I poo pooed on the potty. And it’s a big one”
Had you told me several years ago that such a statement would delight me to the degree that it did, I would have scoffed at you. And yet, the reality is, I leaped from bed, my face filled with a smile, while praising my little poop machine. It was a big day in our house. So much so- I hate to admit this- I documented the turd. I enthusiastically photographed it and texted it to the angel that watches my monster every day. She is an absolute saint and returned my fervor versus the more rational repulsion of a fecal matter portrait first thing in the morning.
It has now been two-ish months since the tot began to conquer the latrine. There have been ups and downs. Regressions due to some massive changes in his life. But we are progressing. I am surviving this roller coaster of parenting highs and lows. What I must say- though this shit is hard, it is so rewarding. I just have to find the humor in it all. The surprises in the mess. Literally and figuratively. Parenting is a wild ride.