Tuesday, October 6, 2009

OVER Rated clap clap clap clap clap

My writing habit began with my father's suggestion that I write out my frustrations about potty training. It lead to a book of stories, "THE POTTY WARS." Since its inceception, I've added two more chapters revealing just how impossible this task remains for me in parenting. Two more children have made it to the point of no return but given my poor track record, I recognize I must jump when the opportunity beckons no matter how painful.

Monday, my two oldest girls have softball practice. It's already a full day with school and afterschool band, meaning I am throwing dinner together some time after 7 and homework is done in the car and anywhere I can persuade someone to sit down with a paper and pencil. Mondays are nightmares.

The plus side is I get to (while the weather is pleasant) take all my children not playing softball to a very nice playground. There are slides and rock walls and balance beams and monkey bars and everyone down to the baby (who happily pats the leaves and rolls in the grass) enjoys the break in the action.

Last week, the play time was cut short when a child needed to use the facilities which necessitated rounding up six children of varing degrees of willingness and marshalling them all to the oposite side of the field to the open school enterance and the boy and girl bathrooms. People were understandably upset.

So this week, trying to prevent such a catastrophe, I pre-emptively took everyone to the restrooms before going to the playground. Feeling like "Haha, you smart mommy you, now we can enjoy this experience," I fearlessly left the stroller in the car to be less burdened by things as we played.

Ten minutes of pure playground induced bliss and my son is dancing in his pants. I consider my options. "Use a tree." I offered. He readily complied while I winced at contributing to the crassness of my son but the memory of dragging two toddlers, one baby and two very irritated older siblings along so he could use the potty last time overrode the civility protocols.

Ten more minutes pass.

My son returns, doing a different dance.
"What's wrong?"
"I need to go." He says meaningfully.
"You just went." I'm impatient, he'd been annoying his sister by following her and her friend and I thought this was just another ploy.

"Can I use the tree for this?" and he points to his posterior.

I began collecting toddlers.

Dragging five unhappy people to satisfy one feels like bad math but by the time we get there, everyone else has decided, "Now that I'm here..." including my two year old who wears diapers. "Go potty Mom." I thought it was a command. "ME." she pointed at her chest. If this had been my first, second, even my fifth, I probably would have done a back hand spring, high fived and spent the next few minutes hearing the Halleluiah chorus.

But she's my 8th, and I'm holding my ninth. I can't help her on the potty if I'm holding a baby. "But you wear diapers." I try.

She insists that she needs to go. Steeling myself with the chide, "You can't ignore this or else you deserve another year of Huggies." I slung the baby onto one hip and one arm disrobed her. Using that same arm like a crane, I hoisted her up and onto the potty. It sounds much more seamless than it was. I waited expectantly, almost wanting praise for my part in the matter.

She sits and looks at me and after a moment narrows her eyes. "Go away Mom." she orders. "Shut the door."

I go out and wash my hands one at a time, shifting the happy squirmy baby, wondering how I'll diaper her back up. She then calls me to see that she has done nothing.

Potty training. "OVER-rated! Clap clap clap clap clap."

1 comment:

Karen said...

Your story illustrates two zen koans:

1. if a child poops in the woods and no one is there to see it, is he technically a bear?

2. if two hands make a clapping sound, then what is the sound of one hand clapping while wrestling a baby and juggling three other children in a public school restroom?

Hmmmmmmmmmm ...

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