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Tales from Purgatory

My purgatory = trying to potty-train a boy

It has been six weeks now since I launched Operation End Diapers Now. (Granted, we took a 2-week hiatus to travel… you simply cannot stop fast enough for a potty-training child when traveling by car. Then Little Boy got terrible diarrhea, poor guy.) So I guess it’s been four weeks.

Sadly, we are no further along today than we were when we started. Which means that I’ve racked up enough points to spend all of next summer on a cruise ship.


Exhibit A.
Yesterday. In the space of thirty minutes…

  • Little Boy “tried” to pee at the Target restroom but decided he couldn’t.
  • he wet himself in the car just ten minutes later…. though he did tell me he needed to go instead of just silently soaking his car seat.
  • he traipsed into a nearby gas station restroom where he finished the job. He had quite a lot left to eliminate, much to my surprise. Sadly, he’d leaked enough that he needed dry shorts and underwear.
  • he peed quite a lot more in a puddle on the floor of The Children’s Place…without warning. Not one twitch of an attempt to tell me he needed to go.

    I am pretty sure I hissed when I told him to stay put and stop splashing the pee around.

    Oh how I love running to business employees, informing them of the damage or mess my children have made, and offering to clean it up. Fortunately, their shorts were on sale for $2.99 so I easily justified the new pair of shorts since all my back-up pairs were now in a plastic bag soaked with pee.

So, let’s do the math, shall we? Thirty minutes, two trips to the bathroom, three outfits worn, three outfits soaked, one brand-new pair of shorts, one publicly-made mess, one mop clean-up = one grumpy momma.

Exhibit B.
The location: our public library.

The mission: turn in summer reading program progress reports for the older two kids.

The perpetrator: this blissfully-unaware cutie 

Apparently, there’s some sort of sea theme at the library this summer. I don’t know… I’m too busy trying not to lose the toddler in the stacks. Little Boy’s favorite thing, other than randomly pulling DVDs and books off shelves, is to putter around inside this submarine made from a really large cardboard box and some old radio parts. It’s a true work of genius and very popular. While the big kids looked at books, I sat near the submarine’s front window, peeking-a-booing with my dear sweet adorable little tow-head. (He is truly unforgettable… when you talk to him you realize that this 35-month-old speaks as fluently as his 5-year-old sister.)

When the other two joined him, life was all nostalgic and dreamy… until Big Boy pointed out the Stream. Of. Urine. Running down Little Boy’s legs and soaking into the cardboard floor.

Have I mentioned how much I love informing business employees of my kids’ messes? Because it’s especially joyous to tell them your child not only made a disgusting mess but may also have ruined a toy for everyone else. Love. It.

He walked out of the library wearing a pull-up, apparently unphased by my tears in the bathroom.

Exhibit C.

While the kids were keeping cool in our tacky inflatable “pool” on our deck (don’t knock it — it eliminates whining and we all know what a sanity-saver that is), they suddenly yelled, “Hey! That’s smells! Did you poop?!?!” I sat bolt upright in the hammock, nearly tumbling out, as he strenuously denied pooping, then said, “I don’t know”, then admitted, “I peed” and tried to laugh it off. They all started giggling.

I didn’t giggle. Didn’t even crack a smile. But… I didn’t yell at him either.

When I calmly informed him that he must get out of the pool to finish peeing inside, and he threw the biggest, loudest tantrum in my ten+ years experience as a mother, I remained calm. No hissing, no tears.

It’s a really good thing I’d taken ibuprofen for a headache about half an hour prior, or my head would have split open on the spot.

Exhibit D.
After dinner, the boy deposited such a load of toxic waste into his fifth pair of underwear for the day that my husband ran them to the outside trash can faster than you can say “Buy another pack of underwear.”

So basically, it boils down to this: I will pay good money to send my adorable, charming, unreasonably-attached-to-his-excrement toddler to sleep-away Potty-Training Boot Camp for a money-back guarantee that he will return to us at least day-trained. Forward your references and rates to my admin. Because I quit! (Hey, I know it’s a dreamworld. But in my dream world, I have an administrative assistant.)

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