Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When the Universe Conspires Against You.

I return from a week's hiatus, head hanging in shame. Beat down. Defeated. I give up. He wins. Let him wear a diaper till he goes to college. My only revenge will be the thought of him having to change my Depends some day. Maybe I'm being presumptuous about that. Knowing his nature, I'll probably be forced to do that myself too.

The latter half of the week was a rough patch, and it only went downhill from there. We took a detour through potty training hell and just for the fun of it, my laptop decided to eff me over too. The only light on the horizon was school resuming this week. Thank God.

I don't know what happened really. We had been having a great spring break with lots of adventures. The weather was beautiful, the back yard was in full bloom, everyone was healthy.

Jeff and I even managed to get out for dinner one night.

Duck at L'ecole. (K & B, it wasn't the same without you.)

I think we just got giddy from all the fresh air. Jeff and I got to talking. We decided to make the weekend an all out potty-training free for all. With Jeff taking Friday off, we thought we'd be well armed to take on our son. Let him run around naked, we said. It's warm enough, it's just about the only thing we haven't tried yet. Why not?

The face of determination.

The face of resistance.

Day 1 didn't start out too bad. We spent a lot of time in the backyard. Note the potty close at hand. Ever a reminder of what was expected of him, it sat there in all it's white plastic, pristine glory.

Oscar hasn't gotten this much exercise all winter.

Thirteen hours later, we realized we were in potty training hell.

No nap. No action. The boy was holding it in. Stubborn to the end. We put him to bed well after his bedtime as we saw him drifting off on the couch. Sure enough, the minute his body hit the crib, he produced a whopper.

It only got worse. The next day, we had one accident after another. When given the option of wearing "big boy underwear," Jordan responded with the following:

"Don't want big boy underwear. How about I pee on big boy underwear?"

I only wish I was kidding.

You see that red flush on his face? That is the burn caused by laying in one's own urine for two hours. At naptime, we had the brilliant idea to forgo the Pull-ups, thinking the discomfort of wetness would motivate him to use the potty (which we left in his room). We also thought if he did get wet, he'd shout and we'd clean him up.

Silence. We listened intently to the monitor the whole time. Nothing. As far as we knew, he was still holding it in, and sleeping.

Instead, after nap, we went in and discovered the side of his face was bright red. At first I thought it was from sleeping too hard on one a crease caused by the pillow.

Then I looked at the pillow. The tell-tale yellow mark told me all I needed to know. His underwear was dry though. As best I can tell, he pulled it out, peed on the pillow and went to sleep.

"Don't like the white pillow, mommy." He told me later that night. "How about a blue pillow?"

It's kind of funny, if pathetic is your brand of humor. The trouble is, he still had the mark on his face this Monday when I brought him into school. And it had scabbed over in a particularly appalling way.

Ms. M, the teacher: Hi Mrs. Trimarchi! How was break? Oh! What happened to Jordan's face?

Me (struggling to get Jordan out of his coat, snack put away, herding Mina into a safe place away from the toys): Oh..geesh. It's a really long story.

Ms. M: No, really. What happened to his face?

(As some of you know, I used to work in the child protective field, so I am quite familiar with the tone of the mandated reporter.) I then proceeded to explain my son's urine burn, all the while wishing the Earth would open up and swallow me right there. Alas, my misery continued as the teacher, happily reassured that I hadn't beaten my child, proceeded to share her potty training advice with me.

Back to the weekend. So, as though we weren't despairing enough, this was the weekend my laptop decided to call it quits. The timing could not be more perfect. Not only was I in tears from 48 hours of potty training misery, but it was also almost exactly past the warranty period for the computer. I love it when that happens.

Monkey Sr. made valiant effort to follow the diagnostic tutorial provided by the helpful people in Bangalore.

He was on the phone for one hour and five minutes.

The end result. Nada. Buh-bye computer. Off to the repair shop for you.

By Sunday evening, we called it quits. Roughly 72 hours later, and potty training was an abysmal failure. Not only was Jordan adamantly refusing to sit on the potty, but he was acting out in every other facet of behavior. He was refusing to eat, sit at the table, play. Everything we did or said provoked an outburst. He was sobbing, I was sobbing, and Mina looked confused by the hysterics not of her own doing.

After discussion, we decided to put a moratorium on all potty related things and try again in a month or so. He's just not ready and it has become an all-consuming power struggle.

This week, J's back to diapers and I am back to cleaning up regular messes.
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