Hello again – it’s been awhile.
Several of you have been asking where I’ve been these last two months and the short answer to that question is; on another adventure.
Generally, a response like this would conjure up images of travel, education, or some epic and emotional learning curve. Perhaps building a new house or travelling the lecture circuit or rising to some level of fame. Discovering some long-lost relative who admires my pluck and has decided to leave us a vast fortune.
Those are all lovely thoughts which, for me, would have to begin with “Once upon a time…”. The truth behind my absence is this:
Rather anti-climactic, isn’t it?
My son turned 5 in May and previous attempts (and there have been many) to train have led to nothing but frustration and tears. All mine. He couldn’t have cared less about it, hence the frustration.
I’ve talked to his therapists, I’ve read every blog and case study I could get my hands on. I bribed him with everything I could think of and nothing worked. I put the potty in front of the TV and played an endless loop of YouTube potty training videos. It never worked. He just didn’t care.
If one more person told me that “No one ever graduated high school in diapers!” I was going to snap. The truth was that I didn’t believe that this statement would necessarily hold true for him.
Then, approximately 6 weeks ago, I woke up one morning with the realization that we were out of Pull-Ups and the determination to NOT BUY MORE!
His currency is the iPad, so that’s what I used. You want the iPad? You sit on the toilet. The first couple of weeks we got some incidental successes, but still plenty of accidents. At this point, my 2-year-old decided that she wanted to play the iPad too so she also wanted to sit on the potty. I didn’t expect much from her, but hey – who am I to argue???
It was around this 2 week mark that I had my first major breakdown…at church. Yes, it was embarrassing, but I was just so exhausted by this whole process with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that my exact words were, “Potty training is kicking my butt!”. Not my highest point. However, it was a turning point!
I know that those who witnessed my tantrum prayed for us. I know my Mom was praying too. She was my cheerleader through this all. If you’re reading this, mom, you already trained 3 daughters, and now you had to train one of them to train – thanks for sticking it out with me!
It was around then that the successes became more intentional and frequent. My son now just goes to the bathroom himself when he needs to and my daughter is able to come tell us when she needs to go! Two weeks ago, tomorrow, I brought the last diapers from my house to our church nursery. I may or may not have done a happy dance the whole way!
So what has this whole process taught me? Besides the fact that I loathe potty training – wait, I already knew that from my first child – that some of the best things in life are hard-fought for. There were so many days that I was tempted to quit. The only reason I hung in there was because I knew that giving up now only meant that I had to start starting over again.
I have other mountains in my life to climb; many of them I have started and stopped before. Some of them more than once. That second (and subsequent) start is always more difficult and the defeat seems to come faster and more easily each time.
I determine to persevere. I determine to let God have control over each circumstance. Yes, God cares about potty training too! There were times when I felt disrespectful talking to Him about something so, so, uncivilized…but He cares about EVERY detail of our lives.
I will enlist more cheerleaders and I will be a cheerleader to those who need one.
What mountain are you facing? Have you faced it before? Don’t be afraid to tell people what you need from them as you climb.
“Honey, I know you love chips but while I’m trying to get healthier, I need you to not bring them into the house for a while.”
“I need you to remind my why I started.”
“I need a hug.”
“I need you to just be positive.”
You’ll be surprised how appreciative people will be of your honesty. We all want to help each other, but we don’t all know how. I’d be devastated if my well-intentioned but counter-productive words tripped up someones progress.
Face that mountain and take the first step. Just one. Don’t worry about the next step until you’re upon it. You’ve got this!