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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Riding the Unicycle while on Stilts

As much as I swore to myself about not jotting down potty training woes with Og, I am here now.

Watching me sitting at the sewing table swearing to myself in my mother tongue, not sewing, but generally on the verge of bawling, The Other Adult casually asked, "What are you mad about?".

That's all it took for the floodgates to be thrown open, spewing forth an honest answer of "I am mad at the Universe! I mean, if the kids are expected to use the potty by the time they can sit up or walk, why hasn't Evolution taken care of programming this in by now?"

Because it is supposed to be an acquired skill, and not innate as it has nothing much to do with survival. Much like riding a unicycle or walking on stilts has nothing much to do with survival, but comes with diligent practice.

All the well-meaning 'no kid has gone to college in diapers', 'it's not the end of the world' etc., while rational and sensible, don't do much by way of alleviating the exasperation that sometimes sets in.

Sure, in the light of genocide, poverty, and the general depravity of Human Soul, this issue is obscenely trivial and I have no business mentioning it.

However, as this article suggests, albeit in a totally different context, sometimes venting is just that - a release.

Not a complaint, not a search for some quick solution, not an invitation to be scrutinized under a microscope, not a petition to be patronized, but just a plain and simple disclosure to purge the mounting negativity, take a deep breath, and brace oneself for summiting the next peak in Life's endless mountain range.

Each kid is different.
What works for one won't necessarily work for another.
Some take longer and that's OK.
I am not a bad person because my kid didn't get out of diapers at age one or younger.
Parents have a hand in the matter, but, kids train themselves as soon as they feel ready. Parents like to take credit for it at times, though.
Ana got trained when she was ready, not before. I was at the end of the tether then, just like I feel now. (Thanks for your timely help, Mom!)
It's OK to shake a fist and scream silently at having to clean the carpet and floor, not to mention soiled undies, several times each day.
Books and "advice" are much like throwing darts on an invisible dartboard while blindfolded - one of them might actually hit the bulls-eye purely randomly, but, it might take a zillion tries.
Stock up on Patience and Encouragement. Especially Patience. Loads of it.

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At 2:30 PM, Anonymous utbtkids said...

Oh Sheela....
In the order listed.

Hugs to you.

Pat on the back? Just a pat? You deserve an award. One day I hope I am half as good as you.

As the person potty conditioning children, it is a perfectly valid feeling to want to slap any one who says about kid going to college in diapers.

Hope you are feeling better :)

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

Gosh, utbtkids, you made me cry. But in a good way! Thank you!

p.s: I love the fact that you went with 'conditioning' rather than 'training'!

I am still evaluating the merits of each... Training involves quite a bit of self-discipline and is an educational process... which seems like too much to ask of a toddler. Conditioning in the Pavlovian sense to respond the right way to a stimulus, with rewards (no punishments!), seems to make more sense...

But, for some 2 year olds, I bet using the potty seems like acquiring a new skill - much like walking - to be able to recognize the urge to eliminate, rush to the special place, pull down the clothing, do the deed, clean up after themselves...

Gosh, my head is ringing with potty related minutiae, none of which are practical and useful.

But, thanks so much for helping my frustrated bawl turn into a mild sniffle. You are such a dear!

At 10:08 PM, Blogger B o o said...

Hugs, Sheela. Something tells me that I would need hugs too in a couple of months time. The toddler at home has a mind of her own!

Btw, if evolution cant take care of potty training, it can at least make us evolve into a more patient species, no? ;)

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Gayatri said...

Hello Sheela,

You will get there eventually and the little one. Your post has come at a time when i'm struggling with mine about the same. The other kids seem to have mastered the technique and mine wants to have some fun at my expense. Thats what i feel at this point.

If I could do even a percentage of what you do with your kids, I would have given myself a plaque. Vent out the frustration. Hopefully, things will fall into place soon. I too liked the word "conditioning". That word is like a balm to my heart right now.

Thanks for sharing your trouble. It feels good to know there's someone else facing the same (that does not mean I would wish that for anyone) but it makes me feel that i'm not the only one or that I am a failure parent.

I also wanted to thank you once again for writing about various books you share with your kids. They pointed me in the right direction and I feel very happy to see that my child enjoys the books that i get for him and some of them which i was not certain about. Especially the art ones. I dont have much creative bones but I take notes of what you write about various books and try to incorporate them. and its a delight for both of us to look at the pictures or the words. I think those books helped turn him into the chatterbox he is now. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sorry for such a long comment. But i had been meaning to thank you for the posts on your blog.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Simran said...

I couldn't agree more Sheela! Am going through the same phase and end up being frustrated more than successful! I wrote abt it too - .
Am on a break from potty training right now. Will wait till N gives me some green signal to start again :)

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Boo:: You said it girl! Yes, moms should be programmed with extra patience and cheer - just look at the way we feel right after birthing! Is that any way to welcome a new one when we ourselves are close to death?! And that is just the start... Thanks, and return hugs are coming your way starting now!

Gayatri:: I am so glad you took the time to leave me the long comment! A big hugs to you! And I hear you about the feeling of being alone in this... and then realizing there are others in the same boat - it helps us deal with the frustration and inadequacy we moms feel most of the time, raising kids practically alone in today's world, when it truly takes a village to raise the kids.

Simran:: Kudos to you for taking charge and letting go of the guilt! Loved reading your post on this issue, and am glad to see you are taking a break. After all, *you* have to be ready too, as much or more than your baby, to make this work.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

Hi Sheela,

We all have our parenting things - for me it's always been sleep.

From a different perspective - and you might shoot me for this - why are you in a hurry. My oldest was out of day nappies at 2 and I realised a few weeks later how sad it was. She had to be independent - she couldn't just play - she had to listen to her body and interupt her play to go to the toilet and remember all those steps. It's kind of an ending of a stage of innocence.

Our society has deemed it as some kind of milestone but why?

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Kristine, thanks for those honest words - I feel the same way about milestones and pressure on kids... but, coming from a different background, kids are potty-ready by one usually - my mom claims I was too - and it takes a whole extended family and community to make that happen, whereas I was trying to do it all by myself...

But, true to its purpose, after I posted this to vent, I breathe better, I smile more when I wipe up those "accidents" - even enlist Oggie to help, which he does so sweetly... He will be ready when he is, and that is just fine.

I so hear you about the sleep thing - I've just hinted at it my posts as I know many parents face the same thing - Oggie has not been a good sleeper from 9 months on - when he started being more active, walking etc. and to this day barely gets 6 hrs in a 24 hr cycle which his doctor seems to think needs to change but is not sure how as we've tried all the standard and non-standard approaches... That's a whole other story I don't even have the strength to write about...


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