There are moments in parenting when one can sit back with their chosen relaxation tool (wine for me) and really appreciate what they have accomplished. They can indulge in memories of the long hard road in which they toiled with to get to this current pleasing point and can let out a little laugh commemorating the struggle, but knowing all too well in the back of their mind that it was done for a purpose.
And at this end point, they can find comfort in the knowledge that the task was done to an satisfactory level.
….Well, so I’ve heard at least.
Unfortunately I have not had the good fortune to come to this euphoric final conclusion when it comes to my daughter and potty training…Yes I’m still potty training her. And if that is not enough, I have began to feel that ‘regression’ is my middle name and poop in the tub is the awful game.
The problem is me, not her. I have let things fall by the wayside, while I was in my home renovation spree, and naive me decided that paying little to no attention to the teetering 2 year old who is still a little eerie of the pot would be a fine idea.
So yesterday I decided it was finally time to clean up the children’s playroom in the basement as this had been their sanctuary for the last week while Mama was painting the house. Going in, I knew it was a bit messy. Sophie had ground up some crackers and they lay gingerly across the foam mats I had put down in front of the TV. Toys were everywhere, markers and crayons shoved in strange places, it was reminiscent of the morning after a really good night.
But it wasn’t until I got down there and started putting up everything that I began to smell the urine.
Oh no! How long has this been down here I thought in a mad dash. I hadn’t even thought of the notion that Sophie would have peed in this area without me knowledge of it. Lars has become a stickler for this kind of thing and indulges in the tattling card any chance he gets. So surely he would have came and got me, if the girl had been relieving herself on the cold concrete floor…Right?!
Whether it was her brothers vacancy or he simply had not noticed, she indeed did relieve herself in the basement. Not once or twice but 7 little pee pee spots did I find in the area, and the more I uprooted the more pungent the smell became.
By the end of my fix I was gagging in an over-enunciated kind of way, crying a little, and wondering where in the past 6 months I had failed so drastically in the potty training endeavour.
The answer finally came to me, when I was bathing the child.
I am in the kitchen preparing something or other, while the children bathe gaily in the tepid water. It wasn’t very long after getting them into the thing before Lars comes barreling out, sopping wet and dripping everywhere yelling, “Sophie pooped in the bath! There’s just so much poop in the bath MOM!”
And this was no exaggeration on my sons part. There was TONS of poop in the bath. A horrific amount to be totally accurate. It amazed me that this much fecal matter could come out of the small body of my daughter.
If I have ever believed in the saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ it was this next exact moment. Life seemed to slow down, as I watched it happen, and all too soon everything became repulsively clear…As clear and the shit on my freshly painted walls.
I didn’t notice the clump of poop in her had that she was trying to wash off before I madly yanked her out of the tub. I didn’t realize how close I was carrying her to the nice new white wall of our bathroom…And as she wiped the poo across the flat paint my heart gave way just a tiny bit. A single tear trailed down my cheek in memory of the wall that seconds ago had never felt to balmy pong of poop upon its surface.
I am sorry wall. I am so sorry.
I looked at the girl in disbelief, as if expecting her to understand the magnitude of what she had just done. Then I realized what I had done…
She clearly was not finished training when I picked up the paintbrush and decided to redo my home. She wasn’t ready to be left unaccompanied for periods of time without being reminded to go to the washroom. And now she had regressed. And NOW I had feces smudged into my new paint. AND NOW I could not even get that angry because the onus had rapidly been placed on little ol’ me.
Of course I gave her the usual, “The walls aren’t where your poop belongs!” spiel. And I reprimanded her for shitting in the bathtub and frightening her clean freak brother, but I made a promise to myself to spend more time with her and put a little more effort into the training thing. I have faith that the end of our schooling in this area is just around the corner.
But like all things educational; the solid effort put in by the pupil, must always be matched by the coach.