Monday, August 15, 2016

Potty training, part the ∞

It's probably no secret that I have been in tears—multiple times—over the difficulties we've had with potty training Benjamin. Sometimes I feel like we're almost over that hurdle and other times I feel like we keep tripping and landing flat on our faces. It's been a long, hard road, but I can honestly say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Soon I won't have to stress over it anymore, but for now, although things have been pretty great lately, I will continue to sprout grey hairs, worrying about whether he's going to make it to the toilet or not.

He's only four. I know some kids struggle a lot longer than that.

But at the same time he's four. He is three years older than Zoë, who today communicated quite clearly to me that she wished to do her business on the potty. So I took her to the potty and she did her business and we all sang glory hallelujah. Because I will sing glory hallelujah on practically any day that I don't have to change a poopy diaper.

There are exceptions to that rule. For example, if the lack of poopage is due to extreme constipation or if the poopage happens outside of the diaper and outside of the toilet (like on the carpet). I probably wouldn't be singing glory hallelujah then. But otherwise, I probably would be.

My babies have always been excellent poopers. I'm not going to lie. Like, I seriously have friends who tell such outlandish tales as, "My baby doesn't spit up and only poops once a week." Meanwhile, I was always dripping with spit up or runny, golden newborn poop. My kids would poop upwards of five eight times a day, when they were brand new. And before I switched to cloth it would always go straight up the back (or would start dripping through their leg holes).

Every. Single. Time.

Our ward always knew when Rachel was pooping in sacrament meeting because we had this routine of hearing her tummy rumble and then hurriedly unsnapping the onesie she was inevitably wearing under her dress (so many layers!) so that we could lift the whole outfit over her head, out of harm's way, while we booked it out of the chapel.

Poop. Everywhere. Every. Single. Time.

That's why I switched to cloth. Because I was like, "If I have to be scrubbing baby poop out of everything anyway I may as well just use cloth diapers."

Believe it or not, cloth diapering cut down on the amount of laundering I had to do.

My kids weren't only poopers, either, they were all spitters. Rachel was a pretty bad spitter. Miriam was only a moderate spitter. Benjamin really takes the prize in this category. Zoë is pretty much disqualified because she only ever spit up a handful of times.

When Benjamin was little, I was in the mother's lounge at church with another woman in the ward whose baby was about the same age. She finished nursing and said, "Time to burp," in that sing-song voice that mothers use on their infants. I saw that she didn't have a burp cloth so I quickly grabbed one of mine ("one" because I always packed, like, five (or more) for church (oh, and by "burp cloth" I really mean "receiving blanket" because that little tiny cloth you put over your shoulder isn't going to do diddly squat when you've got a chronic spitter-upper on your hands)) and was like, "Did you want to use one of my burp cloths?"

"What for?" she asked.

I explained that it was to catch the inevitable waterfall of vomit that was about to spew forth from her precious angel's mouth. Duh. And that's when I heard the line, "Oh, my baby doesn't spit up."

I thought she was taking a real risk by not covering every inch of herself in a burp cloth before lifting that baby to burp, but she just patted her on the back like it was the easiest thing in the world and her baby let out a delicate little *urp* and that was that.

I was like, "Huh."

In my world babyhood was a non-stop feeding frenzy. Feed the baby. Baby vomits. Feed the baby. Baby poops. Feed the baby. Baby vomits. Feed the baby. Baby vomits. Baby vomits. Feed the baby. Baby poops. It never stopped. The baby was always hungry and always overflowing.

In her world things seemed a lot calmer. Feed the baby. Baby stays full (what a novelty). Wait before feeding baby again. Feed the baby. Baby stays full. After one week, baby poops.

I honestly probably would not have even believed that a baby could actually hold food in their stomach if I hadn't had Zoë. She was still a mighty fine pooping machine, but she rarely ever spat up. And that part was amazing.

I'm not sure how many poopy diapers I've changed, since I practiced elimination communication with my first three, which meant that they were often pooping on the potty instead of in their diapers. (Still, sometimes when I think about poopy diapers in the first year of life and I think of this friend, I think to myself, "She's changed approximately 52 poopy diapers this year. I have changed well over a thousand.") Rachel and Miriam were both mostly potty trained by 18 months. Benjamin got an early start but, let's face it, potty training simply didn't click with that boy and we're still struggling a bit. I had high hopes that I would never have to deal with a newborn and an un-potty trained child, but I broke my clean record with Benjamin and Zoë, even though those two are the farthest apart in age.

I didn't really do elimination communication with Zoë, at least not the elimination part. I was too exhausted trying to keep tabs on Benjamin's elimination needs to worry much about hers, but we've certainly talked about the potty a lot (and it's safe to say she's not afraid of the potty, like, at all). More recently I've been offering it to her when she wakes up in the morning and after her afternoon nap (if she takes one, that is). So when she grunted at me, pointed to her diaper, and then started waving at the bathroom, I took her up on her offer.

Here's hoping she gets the hang of things as easily as her sisters!

1 comment:

  1. I hope you don't mind that I laughed a little at this post. I promise it was in solidarity and empathy. My girls were SUCH spitter-uppers (the technical term). I suspected it wasn't normal because of what I observed in the mothers' room at church (like you noted), but it wasn't until I had Sterling that I realized it was possible for a baby to wear the same outfit, like, ALL DAY. Amazing!

    All my kids were poopers like yours, though. Sigh. Difficult babies grow up to be easy teenagers, or something. Right???