Potty-training hasn't come easily for me. Well, not me, personally. Obviously. That is obvious, isn't it?
Round one: Captain Picklepants showed interest at 20 months old, so we bought him a potty and started down the road. The loooooong road. Survey says: WROOOOONG!!! You started too early--he wasn't ready yet. Points added for being a first-time parent, points deducted for transitioning all the way into size 6 diapers. The next size up? Depends.
Eventually, he taught himself. He'd had some success, but it was inconsistent. When we brought Sassy home, C.P. was a newly-minted three-year-old. We decided to take a break from the potty-talk (swearing still fully allowed and encouraged) so he wouldn't equate the loss of his babyhood with the arrival of his sister, thereby setting the stage for bitterness later in life. Or something. Also, we were exhausted. However, he took it upon himself to ditch the Huggies and do it on his own, and didn't look back. By the time Sassy was three weeks old, he was fully capable of using the potty on his own. Which was awesome, because changing two kids' diapers would surely have driven me over the edge. Despite the fact that one of them was practically fastening his own clean diapers. "It's okay, Mom. I've got this one. You relax."
Fast forward to Sassy's Journey on the Road to Independent Toileting. Everyone says girls are easier. I say, it's easier to try to thread a needle with a down comforter, dredged in peanut butter. She has opinions. Strong opinions. About when, where, and how she chooses to relieve herself. She's had some success, and for the most part, tinkles like Tinkerbell, with very little effort and in the right place, keeping her Dora undies dry and clean.
But the poo? It eludes her.
She'll actually run up to me after she's soiled her diaper and in some last-ditch attempt at denial, assert, "Mommy. I DIDN'T poop in my diaper!" Move along. Nothing to see here, folks.
So during the day, she gets to wear underpants, and she does very well going to the potty. She wears elastic-waist pants, does everything herself, washes admirably and comes out to get a sticker.
Earlier today I was in the kitchen, as all women should be (duh!), and I hear her come around the corner from the direction of the bathroom, with sort of a shuffling gait. Just as she's almost in the kitchen, she starts crying and yells out, "Mommy! The poopy! It's in my pants it's on my leg it's on the floooooooorrrrrrrrr!!!"
I run out to help her, and she's standing there, in the unmistakable pose of someone who's just had an unfortunate incident occur in her pants, slightly bent over, bum sticking out, legs apart. Arms straight out. Crying.
I scoop her up, and as I'm heading to the bathroom, I have to hop and sideswipe the line of teeny weeny poopies, which are still popping out the bottom of her pants like she's got a candy dispenser full of peanut m&ms in there. Just as I reach the bathroom, out pops the payoff: the Baby Ruth.
It's a good thing I find this type of thing amusing, because seriously? This is what new mothers dread. The ones who are debating staying home vs. going back to a paying gig are imagining themselves in just my very situation. Cleaning up barf one day and poop the next. Got pets? Poof! I'm an orderly!
I laugh because I can, and because I have to. Truly, there's no place else I'd rather be and I'm so thankful I have this opportunity. Just like a paying job, there are good days and bad days. Some days, everything goes great, you're productive, projects come out beautifully, you get a glowing review, and at the end of the day, you think, "Damn. I'm really very good at this."
Other days, you're on your hands and knees, washing crap off the floor.
Once she was cleaned up, we settled on the living room rug for a rousing game of Chutes and Ladders: Dora Style. Sassy went through her monologue of positive thinking, her potty plan, as it were. "Next time I have to go poopy I'm going to run to the bathroom and say Mommy I have to go poopy and I'm going to FLUSH it down and say bye bye pee bye bye poops! Won't that be so GREAT??? And then NO more poopies on the floor."
She reaches across the game board to give me a hug. "You're the best mommy EVER, Mommy."
Some days you get the glowing review anyway. It all evens out, in the end.