Saturday, February 25, 2012

Learning From the Past: Potty Training Re-Visited.

I realize now that although many things become easier and simpler as my kids get older, other things become more complicated, because we are always at the mercy of time.  My first 2 kids were potty-trained before or by age 2, and although I like to think it is in part because of the mature capabilities and genius of my little ones, it probably also had a lot to do with the fact that we spent about 3 weeks mostly at home preventing accidents and learning how everything works.  

With kid #3, everything is different. I don't have 3 weeks to stay home and sit with him and clean up messes, so I keep putting it off.  We have to take Griffin to school and pick him up in the afternoon. We have errands to run and church and there is never a day when we can just sit at home.  Potty training has definitely been on the back-burner, even though I despise diapers and I think he is ready.

Last week we finally found time to make some progress in this area, and I remembered the following blog that I wrote several years ago while potty-training my daughter.  Hopefully nothing like this has happened to you before and we haven't had anything this nasty happen around here since.  Even the neatest housekeeper and most organized mommy has to clean up a BIG mess every now and then. Hopefully you don't ever feel alone! Enjoy :)

When you run poopy pants through the washing machine, none of the clothes get clean.
(From January 14, 2009)
So, if you opened this hoping to find a political metaphor or a symbolic story, then you might want to stop reading now. Unfortunately, the title of this blog is a very literal statement about what just happened to a small load of laundry that is currently enjoying a 3rd soak and rinse in extremely hot water.

As a stay at home mom to two active toddlers, my life is rarely dull. Just when things start slipping into some sort of routine, I like to shake in a dash of something or other to keep us from getting bored. When Christmas ended and we rang in the New Year, I thought it would be the best time to introduce my 22 month old to a lovely diaper-free world. A world of cotton, toilets, rewards and being a “big girl.” It was all very exciting.

I started out using many of the same methods that had worked with my son when he was about her age, and everything was progressing beautifully. New Princess underwear? Yippee! A Pez in my Sleeping Beauty Pez dispenser whenever I go on the Potty? Hooray! Flushing the big potty all by myself? Oh, the joy. With only a few minor setbacks in the first 4 days, I began feeling confident. I could hear the extra cash already coming in from the money we would save from diapers. We would be able to pay for college. We could cut back to only eating 2 meals a week off the dollar menu instead of 3. I might be able to afford a drink from Starbucks. I was free of the bondage of changing tables and diaper rash, and my daughter was walking around with a new diaper-free swagger.

Just when I thought I would be receiving my award for “Best Potty-Trainer 2009,” we began to hit a series of set-backs that involved wet pants, mysterious spots on the floor and couch, and little things that fall on the floor that nobody wants to touch with their bare hands. I did a lot of laundry and used some SPOT SHOT--which I should really advertise for them, because that stuff is amazing—and we were learning from our mistakes.

After several great days in a row, we were on track and moving forward again. Then yesterday she had a tough little accident; we were both disappointed as I dumped the mess in the big potty and threw the dirty underwear in the laundry. Since I had just done two loads earlier in the day, I left them in there, waiting until there was a full load; I have two toddlers and typically need a Sherpa and supplemental oxygen to reach the top of my clean laundry pile.

Now my story gets ugly and confusing. When I passed through the laundry room on my way out with the kids this morning, I noticed the laundry room smelled rather raunchy, but I knew there was messy stuff in there and hoped the Spray-N-Wash was working. When I returned this afternoon, I decided it was time to run the wash, whether or not the load was full, so I put in a few random dirty things and turned it on.

I finally got the kids down for a nap and heard the washing machine beep that it was done, so I went out and opened the lid. Let's just say the lovely “Tide” aroma that I was expecting was not there, and I couldn't believe what was scattered all over the bottom of my washing machine and mixed in with my clean laundry. As I quickly grabbed an old bag and some wipes and did my best to get rid of everything that wasn't an article of clothing from the wet wash, I realized that I had not only kissed my “Best Potty-Trainer” award goodbye, but I must be a horrible housewife and mother. Who runs a load of laundry with poopy pants???

So, as I sit here reflecting on all that has happened this afternoon, wondering how many times I will have to wash the clothes before they are truly clean, if they are in fact ever really clean, 
I can assure you I will be checking multiple times before casually throwing anything into washing machine from now on, and laughing at myself for thinking that something like Potty-training could ever be simple and sanitary.

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