Thursday, June 08, 2006
The crux of the matter is this: The Boy has leaky pipes. Very, very leaky, often 5 pants a day, pipes that have been the bane of my existence for nigh on a year now.
On August 3rd of last year, just shy of his 3rd birthday, I embarked upon a cold-turkey potty training regimen that rocked his little world right to its tender core. He wasn't ready. However, I had little choice but to plow forward as he was set to start a pre-school program that required its students to be out of diapers. Deposits had been paid, school clothes had been bought, the time had come anyway--he was going to start school, goddammit!
The first two and a half months were the worst. He was sent home daily with 3 or 4 bags of soiled clothing. I had meeting after meeting with his teachers who eventually backed down from their threats of expulsion after I made it clear just how loudly and publicly I'd complain if they didn't shut the fuck up and just deal with it. Turns out I had excellent grounds for my hard-assedness as none of the literature or by-laws for the pre-school said anything anywhere about a zero tolerance policy towards accidents. Plus I had some inside information about ongoing behavioral and toileting troubles that several other students were having, and I was fully prepared to use it. Why they were singling out my barely 3 year old son's inability to stay dry as freakishly abnormal, I do not know. But it pissed me off, stressed me out, and (I blush to admit) embarrassed me every single day.
Sometime in October he stopped shitting his pants, and life became marginally more bearable. I don't know how or why, but one day he decided that poop was vile and belonged in the toilet. Thereafter, he started taking care of it on his own without any prompting or urging from me or his teachers. Not so the urine.
The number of bags coming home to me went from 3 or 4 soiled and wet ones, to 1 or 2 just wet ones, but this pattern went on unaltered for months on end. It wasn't until after Christmas that he'd manage the odd perfect day at school. But then he'd invariably piss through 6 pairs of pants the following day when he was home with me.
I cannot even begin to calculate the number of hours I've spent over the past 10 months dithering and worrying, justifying and speculating, arguing and rationalizing with Mister and friends the why's and wherefore's of his stubborn refusal to even try to stay dry. He clearly knew what needed to be done, because he was able to pull it off on the odd day or two. Back in January, there was even a near fortnight where he stayed dry, but then he had a bad day and it all went to hell all over again.
Whether it was physiological, psycological, or just plain laziness, none of it ever made any sense to me. And I had long since resigned myself to another 3 or 4 years of this bullshit.
Then--maybe 3 or 4 weeks ago, he started peeing standing up. I guess he had had enough of just watching the big boys at school pee this way, and he decided he had to have a go at it himself. I'd further speculate that his first attempt was successful, because folks, it made all the difference in the world.
Mind you, he still had his fair share of accidents. Mostly in the evenings when he was tired or busy playing with his sisters. But for the first time I saw signs of embarrassment and remorse at having wet himself or the floor. For the first time he seemed eager to get to the toilet on his own to try this new trick of his. For the first time in months, I had real hope.
And now for the miracle. Since we got here....not one.....not one single drop of pee anywhere but the toilet. No damp undies. No piles of wet clothes kicked furtively under the bed so I wouldn't find them and scold him. No puddles around the toilet because he couldn't get his pants down in time (this type of accident, by the way, I'm okay with, and fully expect to see again....I'm just sayin', it hasn't happened yet...)
As the title of this rather lengthy entry suggests, I realize I may be crowing a bit too soon on this one. After all, we have been here before. Hell, it hasn't even been a full week yet. But somehow, this feels like the real deal. I've even seen him get up from playing with his trucks saying, "I have to pee," and scurry off to the toilet. And today, he got off the trampoline because he had to pee. Two months ago he wouldn't even have bothered to acknowledge the sensation of a full bladder, let alone taken steps to relieve it.
It took 10 months, but by George, I think he's got it!