Monday, September 13, 2010

A Lesson in Fear


Zoey has recently transitioned from diapers to panties. To be exact, panties with Elmo on them. And in case you have never potty trained another human being before, believe me when I tell you that the initial panty wearing period is HELL. Basically, you are just waiting around for an "accident" to happen. Will it happen on the new rug in the living room? Will it happen in the car? Will it happen in isle 3 of Market Basket? And here's the thing: YOU NEVER KNOW.

So we are going about our days in terror. And one way I try to minimize that terror for myself is to get my 2 year-old child to shoulder some of it. It's only fair. So, to help along the potty training process, I have told my daughter that if she pees or poops in her Elmo panties, Elmo will get wet. Wet and, here's the clincher, scared*.

"We don't want to scare Elmo, do we?" I say. Zoey's eyes widen, she looks at me solemnly and shakes her head no. "So we don't want to pee or poo on Elmo, do we?" Again she shakes her head. "So we only pee and poo on the potty, right?" She nods, her eyes still big and, it must be said, the tiniest bit fearful. Then we go about our business. Zoey is building a tower on the living room floor. I am putting away laundry. The clink of wooden blocks slows and then stops. I hear Zoey muttering to herself. I peak around the door and see her holding out the waistband of her pink pants, gazing down at her crotch. "It OK, Elmo. It OK," she whispers. And I, temporarily (and stupidly) blinded by my own evil-genius, think, My plan is working!

A few hours, and several successful trips to the potty, later we are having dinner. Zoey has finished her meal and is playing under the table. She is talking to herself and engaging in an elaborate game that involves a tissue, a stuffed kitten, one of my shoes, and an acorn. All of a sudden Zoey says, "Mommy? Daddy? I have tummy ache." This might be a good time to point out that for the last two days, each time Zoey has said she has a tummy ache it has been followed, within minutes, by massive amounts of diarrhea. So, Zoey declares she has a tummy ache. And what do Demetri and I do? We sit there. LIKE TOTAL DUMB-ASSES.

A minute later we hear a gasp from under the table. Then a shriek, "I POOPED! I POOPED!" Then there is a high pitched wail. A long high pitched wail. "ELMO IS SCARED!!! ELMO IS SCARED!! ELMOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!" Next, there was flailing. And kicking. And general panicking. Which is not what one wants when trying to contain poop to a specific and small location. I'll save you the details and just tell you that several rugs and multiple items of clothing had to be scrubbed and then washed.

The lesson: Never ever think that your evil-genius parent plans will work. Poo gets everywhere and you have to shell out 6 more bucks to buy new panties that don't have Elmo on them.

* I swear I got this idea from another mom. So I'm not as evil as I sound. But, the thing is, I can't remember who. Which leads to some important questions. The first of which is, Am I crazy?

12 comments:

  1. I have three comments:

    1) How do I get my daughter to care about Elmo? Or TV in general?

    2) This is exactly the approach I would have taken...take advantage of my daughter's general desire to not hurt the inanimate objects she anthropomorphizes (sp?)

    3) I really like Market Basket

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  2. GUILTY! I'm pretty sure it was me who told you that I kept telling Charlotte that Dora would be sad if she peed on her Dora panties. All THAT got me was a matter-of-fact announcement of "Mommy? Dora is sad." whenever Charlotte had an accident. We're still in diapers to this day.

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  3. In your defense...my cousin used a similar tactic...and although Elmo was never peed on. It resulted in 4 days of a no go on the deuce. Which resulted in Miralax....which resulted in a blowout...in a swimmie diaper. You get the picture, right?

    We couldn't get the poop action for a while and then one day things turned around and now we can't get her off the pooper. The latest comment when she has to poop is "mommy...I need some privacy". Ooh..sorry hon, I'll shut the door.

    Good luck...

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  4. Huh. My plan had been to tell F that every time she has an accident, a kitten dies. Maybe I should rethink that one.

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  5. My little one will not poop on the potty if his life depended on it...He's already afraid so I'm just winging it. At least a pack of pull ups last over two weeks these days!!

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  6. This post is both hilarious and poignant. Great job.

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  7. So this is what I have to look forward to? Greaaat.

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  8. A great post Jos and I needed a good laugh. Love the picture too. (P.S. I am so using the Elmo trick on Lucas- well maybe Thomas the Train!)

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  9. I have about a year to wait for this, but I don't think the tactic is too bad. I will file this away as "to be used later". Thanks!

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  10. Potty training isn't as hard as we think it is:)

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