Captain Adventure has finally started using the potty again. I know, I know. HOW NICE, THANK YOU FOR SHARING GEEZ WHAT IS IT WITH PARENTS AND WANTING TO TELL US ALL ABOUT THEIR KIDS’ TOILET HABITS?!?!?!?!
But what makes this exciting is that, well, first of all, he’s four, for Pete’s sake. FOUR. 1-2-3-4. Almost halfway through four, actually, and he has steadfastly refused to even admit a potty exists since a brief flirtation/fascination with it a year ago.
I was beginning to wonder if I would be packing the Pull-Ups in his briefcase when he headed off to work.
But what makes this extremely exciting to me is that he has started not only using the potty, but insisting on using it, RIGHT NOW because he has finally, finally, finally begun to understand the if-then statement.
One of his developmental delays has been around this ability to grasp things like, FIRST we do this, THEN we do that.
IF you do this, THEN you get that.
IF you do that again, THEN I will scream until my voice gives out, you little @*^&@.
He had trouble even with very immediate, very direct things. FIRST sit at the table, THEN I will give you juice.
Honey, sit down. Sit down, and I will get you juice. No, don’t start crying, I’m getting you juice – but I want you to sit down first. Sit down. See? I’ve got the cup. I’ve got the juice. You sit down, right there, at the table, and I will hand you the…sit down. Sit down first. If you sit down, I will hand this to you.
And he stands there reaching out imploringly, screaming like someone is driving bamboo under his toenails. Why won’t the woman just give me the juice?!
So the other night, he was skipping around and around and around the coffee table…and then he suddenly stopped and assumed an expression most parents of toddlers recognize immediately. A look of extreme concentration.
Definitely there is some action going on.
“Hey, Captain Adventure, do you need to go potty?” I asked. He shook his head no and grunted. Uh-huh.
“Hey, buddy, I think you need to go potty,” I suggested. This is a delicate thing. Push too hard and he’ll go into meltdown…but at the same time…COME ON, KID!!! I’ve been changing diapers non-stop for more than ten years, cut me a break, will ya?!?!
“No,” he gasped. Not gonna do it. No way, no how, I like me m’Pull-Ups…
“Hey. Captain Adventure? If you use the potty, then you can pick a treat from the bas-” ZOOM! He was in the bathroom with his pants down working mightily toward getting a treat. “-ket.”
Whoa. Behold the power of the Reward Basket, people! He did it twice yesterday, and this morning flat out refused to come out of the bathroom until he had done some business…and collected a reward. He was within moment of having to get on the bus without any breakfast, but by God, he went in the potty and got a bag of fruit snacks.
I almost sprained my wrist giving Daddy a high five.
These are the things that you just never think you will get all swoon-y about, when you envision raising children. I mean, sure. There’s a definite thrill involved as a child graduates from diapers to potty for the parents. Each time, I was relieved that there was one more little bottom I didn’t have to wipe five-six-ten times a day, ya know?
But Captain Adventure adds a unique kind of joy to these mundane domestic moments. Things that our typically-developing daughters achieved to little more than a sigh of relief, or an absent-minded, “Wow, smart kid, huh?”, from him bring tears to our eyes.
Each time we can talk him away from a meltdown, each time we can use reason when he’s heading for a hissy fit, each time he thinks something is cool and wants us to see it, too…little things I frankly took for granted with my other children.
Each time he hurts himself and comes to me for cuddles and kisses…each time he asks for a favorite show by name…each time he uses specific words to tell me what he wants…each time I understand him…each time he understands me…it’s a thrill of victory.
He understands that if he uses the potty, then he can select a reward from the basket. And he understood it without me having to get the basket and lead him to the potty, and hold the basket in front of him saying, “IF you use the potty, THEN you can have something from this…” and physically leading him through what I was trying to say…with him just not getting it and going hysterical because he doesn’t want that potty-thing, he wants the reward, he wants the reward, he wants the reward, why are you not giving me the reward, it’s right there, RIGHT THERE IN YOUR HANDS…!!!!! NO, NOT THE POTTY-THING, THE REWARD! ARGH!!!!
He could see the basket in his mind’s eye, and understood what I was saying without having to be physically taken there. He got it, and he acted on it.
My God, it’s exciting, heady stuff.
Or what passes for it, around these parts.
Tune in next time, when I’ll get all dewy-eyed because Danger Mouse remembered something she was only told 7,176 times to do.
Leonardo da Vinci
2 days ago