Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's potty time!

Cloud had his first successful potty use today. Usually he just sits on it and says, "Pee pee pee" and then pretends to flush. But today he actually did it right.

I didn't have my stickers ready. I searched around and the best I could find was a yellow circle that said "$.50." I gave it to him and he stuck it on his hand like they do with the stickers at kung fu.

And then we had an incident with pee pee on the floor. Cloud began to say no to the potty and became more vehement each time I asked, although I was very careful to not be pushy. What I did do was switch him back to the cloth diapers, which don't hold very much of a three-year-old's urine. They were fine when he was two, and the disposables gave him certain problems that I will not discuss here. But lately, the disposables have been fine, and their extra absorbency makes it possible to think of other things for most of the day. Cloth diapers have to be changed once an hour. It really is a pain. But I'm trying to use their inconvenience to my advantage.

It worked once today. I feel like we can manage this potty training thing, with maybe a few bumps and hills in the process.

Maybe once I get some real stickers, Cloud's resistance will break down a bit. He really wasn't excited about the fifty cents sticker. But then, I gave it to him apologetically. He can tell by my tone of voice when I'm not entirely pleased about stuff.

Following the pee pee accident, and amidst the potty resistance, Cloud also:
1) Tried to run across the busy road while cars were coming
2) Fell to his knees when I finally did allow him to cross, which forced me to drag/carry him
3) Fell off the kitchen chair while I was making lunch, because he was jumping around on it
4) Asked me twenty million times for mac'n'cheese after throwing his lunch in the trash (this is becoming a pattern)

At that point, Mama needed a time out. In fact I wasn't very easy to engage today. Sometimes I was too busy cleaning, and sometimes I was just too emotionally distant. There are a million games and crafts and life lessons I could be practicing with my son throughout the day. And yet I spend more time sitting in a lawn chair, or on the couch, muttering half-hearted, "That's nice" phrases, than actually playing with him. I know that if many mothers with their multiple kids with difficult personalities traded places with me, it would feel to them like a vacation. But I'm just out of energy a lot of the time. I'm lonely, distracted, in a rut, and discouraged. My To-Do list makes me cry, and I haven't even finished adding to it yet. I'm wasting a beautiful spring being unproductive and unengaged.

Also, this stupid spotty internet connection drives me batty. Stay connected, you dumb computer! The tech came by and looked at it, and his diagnosis was, "You're just too far away from the main server." Well, that's real helpful.

What got me down today, I think, was the incident about crossing the road. I was taking him for a walk, which was awfully nice of me to do considering how tired and run-down I've been feeling. I was trying to sing with him and point out interesting things we passed. When he started acting like a little brat, I thought, okay, I can roll with this. But then when he pulled up his feet just as I was leading him through a break in traffic, it seemed to me that if he were willing to risk his life to spite me, that was a little too much bad behavior. Of course, he didn't see it that way.

But I don't think like a toddler, and maybe what happened was that I needed some time to figure out how to think like a toddler. The fact that every kid engages in this behavior doesn't help me.

So I told him to play by himself quietly and leave me alone. That lasted a respectable five minutes, and then he was hanging on my knees, meowing and asking for cat food, or, more sincerely, mac'n'cheese.

I dunno. I wish I were better able to feign playfulness. I wish I could do a mental 180 like he can and forget a difficult moment that has just happened.

Also, geez, how is he still falling off chairs? I told him that I could keep him safe by strapping him into his orange chair from now on, but that news only made him cry harder. I'm not sure what he expects me to do. I don't think there's really any right answer. I want a right answer, because if I were confident in my own actions, these little things wouldn't weigh so heavily. I could say, "I screwed up; of course I can do better." But then I don't do better, and it's also worth noting that there are worse ways of handling 3-year-old behavior than my way.

I may also be in the throes of a midlife crisis. Having a small child is traditionally the domain of younger people, and the things I'm learning to do at my ripe age are things that twenty-somethings do too. I'm not unusual as an older mom in modern times. But historically, I'm going against the social grain. I feel like I should have a whole lotta life ahead of me. But I really only have half a life.

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