Anyone who has a toddler and writes a blog will write this post. The potty post. It's because this whole insane process is astonishing. I've heard lots of potty training talk but haven't really tuned in or been able to relate when a friend tells me, with great (and deserved) pride and joy that he "peed on the potty this morning!". "Oh yay!" I say back. How exciting!" I feign enthusiasm.
So now we're asking Louie to trade his diapers for BIG BOY UNDERWEAR. I've heard many methods for how it has been done: I trained her at 6 months. Just let 'em run around naked outside. Let 'em run around anywhere naked. I did it in three days. I did it in one day. It took me a year and a half. Potty training is one of those things that I feel like everyone knows how to do except me
I recently found the frayed end of my diaper-changing rope. Suddenly, I was completely disgusted by the whole bit of it. Done! Enough with the poop! I ignorantly thought the potty training would help alleviate my exasperation. Little did I know how much more intimate I was going to get with pee and poop. All those "accidents"; such a sweet way to describe poo-poo in underwear. Try taking those off while keeping the "accident" contained. Difficult if not impossible.
Never could I imagine the excitement and thrill of a successful potty trip. "Hip Hip Hooray!" I say! Really, I shout "Hip Hip Hooray, Louie! You peed on the potty!" as I jump all around, pumping my arms in the air, doing the potty dance, singing the potty song (Yay Louie, Yay Louie, Yay Louie, YAY!). All I can say is it works, all of this Team Potty cheer leading. Today, including myself, there were four women cheering and applauding his toileting skills. He kept signing for "more"..."more" applause. "More" cheering. A potty party!
Isn't it cute, the word potty? They get to call it a potty. So when does it become a toilet? When do you graduate from "honey, go use the potty" to "DO YOU NEED TO PEE"? The word "potty" has passed from my lips no less than a thousand times over the past week. The first weekend was brutal with the number of hours our family of four logged in the downstairs half bath. There were always at least three of us in there at once. Certainly you know Ace is right there with us, without fail, every time. And I mean right there. What child wouldn't be there, what with all the bubble blowing, book reading, Old MacDonald singing, clapping and "yaying"? Are you kidding me? What could possibly be more fun?
We've had good days and bad days. Wet days, dry days, dirty days, held "it" all morning days (almost called the doctor after he held it for 4 hours!), he will never get it days and hopeful days. But now, it's obvious, there is hope. He does get it. He absolutely understands!
It was Louie's teacher's idea to start potty training. The average age for a child with William's syndrome to become successfully potty trained is age four. Louie will be four in June. Louie is lower functioning than most with WS. I therefore deduced that Louie wouldn't be ready until five. I even prepared myself for much, much later. But mostly, I didn't think about it. My expectations were low. And don't people usually live up to their expectations?
I have been protecting myself by not thinking about the future and by not believing in Louie and his capabilities. My immediate thought about potty training was there is no way he's ready but sure, we can try and fail. Then we'll try again later. I wasn't invested. Even after we started I was apprehensive.
And now, after seeing real success, I'm starting to believe. I'm not beating myself up too much about this but I feel compelled to examine how my protective reflexes have failed me. By keeping my expectations lowered, I will feel less disappointment, I will avoid the despair of failure? No. But I will in the process hold Louie back.
I realize I may be facing a serious loss of faith and the ability to believe in the intangible. Suddenly, science has taken over, my thoughts safely contained within questions such as is there any research to support that? Do we have any medical evidence to suggest need for growth hormones? Do you have the updated medical guidelines? Somewhere along the road, faith eroded itself from my body, leaving a carved out space where apathy and doubt now live.
The good thing about this realization is that it's not too late to invite faith back to live with me, to fill the spaces and holes, to take over the dark and to shed light, to start believing again. I want that. I want to believe in life again. I want to believe in miracles. But mostly, I want to believe that Louie's potential is far and wide; his life valued and boundless, mysterious and wild. And that he will wear boxer briefs. Not diapers.