Potty training. A mental and physical challenge that requires uber-human degrees of patience and endurance. Tested to the limits, it demands a seismic shift in perspective, and a complete overhaul of the world as it’s been known. It necessitates tireless concentration, methodical application, and in fairness, it’s quite tough on the toddler too.
I have never been so mentally exhausted since, well, probably I learnt to use the loo myself. But the worst of it is, that the tiny strain of independence my child and I had taken from each other, has now been catapulted back so we are suctioned together like unlikely peas in a pod. From having to hold her as a newborn, to having her sit clinging desperately to my leg as a wobbler, to tentative crawls around me, to exuberant walks away from me, to actually staying in the playroom while I make a cup of tea in the kitchen (such little but such enormous milestones!) we are now back to square one. We are now constantly only a potty distance apart as I chase her round the house like a demented Desperate Housewife asking manically “Do you want to use the potty????” every time she moves. “Step away from the carpet” is my only other speech these days.
I cannot leave the room. Not for a second. The minute I do she wees on the floor. The actual minute. I cannot leave the house. Despite setting her on the loo before leaving, the minute we leave and get into the car she does a wee. The actual minute.
Every time she successfully deposits a wee or a poo in a myriad of receptacles dotted strategically around the house and garden I jump up and down whooping like a hyena, hugging and kissing her, shouting Hooray as if she’d in fact laid a Golden Egg. The Golden Egg of my independence. One less nappy change I surmise … I have a baby with a fully functioning toilet system so some days between the two of them it’s just a constant stream of reeking and rancid wiping. However, now nappies seem so sanitary compared to the steaming puddles on the floor and smelly squidgy pant packages.
We’re 5 days in and are both low on enthusiasm. My Potty Chart is a depressing reminder that there are still more misses than hits. The house reeks of Dettol and wee. But as the man of the great challenge program proclaimed, “I’ve started so I’ll finish.” We shall continue our quest, my daughter and I. And until our independence is reached we shall travel this epic journey together and just hope a Smartie at the end of each success is enough to keep us both going!
Copyright Alana Kirk-Gillham 2008