Wasn't it just two weeks ago that my pediatrician scolded me for giving Simon some of Sadie's antibiotics, when Simon's ailments were NOT amoxicilian-worthy? Actually, it was 13 days ago, so not quite two weeks. The wound-- it is still fresh.
So, when I ponied up my two kids today for their check-ups (Sadie for 2.5 years and Simon for 1 year), I was likely still smarting from the shame sting from mis-medicating my children. We decided that Sadie would go first for the examination. Sadie was coaxed into taking off her snow boots, which she was wearing as she stood on the examination table. Those snow boots were accompanied only by her diaper.
Speaking of diapers, the doctor said she was "surprised" to see Sadie in a diaper because "most" of her 2.5 year olds were already in panties. She looked at me. I tried to keep my face neutral and "business pleasant" while my mind beat back all the shaming thoughts. They came in roughly this order:
- Why have I not been on top of this?
- None of Sadie's friends are potty trained-- from now on Sadie can only play with the potty-capable children.
- Shit. Shit. Shit.
- Keep your face normal, Christie, don't show your panic.
- How will I be the valedictorian of mothering if Sadie is already woefully behind in the potty department?
- Shit. I just made this all about me. MUST. STOP. BEING. SO. SELF-ABSORBED.
- I have ruined Sadie's life.
- Sadie's behind? OVER MY DEAD BODY.
- What's the big deal?
- Who says you have to be potty trained by any certain time?
- This is merely information.
- Stay calm, Christie.
- Wait. I think the doctor is trying to talk to me.
- Focus. Be present.
Once I "came to" in the doctor's office, I realized she was asking me about Sadie's potty status. I told her we were doing great until Sadie had an experience with constipation (she gets that from me; you're welcome, Sadie) and has avoided the potty since then.
"That's very common," said the doctor.
Whew. I never thought I would appreciate the adjective "common" as much as I do as a parent. For the next few minutes the doctor addressed Sadie and explained to her about big girl panties and letting go of diapers. That little colloquy greatly impressed Sadie. She keeps repeating "Doctor Julie said no more diapers." I can see that Sadie is processing this and having her own internal process.
As am I.
I called a few mom friends to ask about their daughters' process around potty training. Reassurances were given. For a multitude of reasons, I am not willing to go down the M&M route to speed this up. You don't get a little chocolate disk for going in the potty; what you get is a step closer to lots of good stuff like privacy when you do your business and pretty undies.
As with all things parenting, I usually function best when I step back, gain a wee bit of perspective and then find the joy or the creativity in the process. Most of all, it works if I trust Sadie and her process.
A case in point: tonight, Sadie asked me to change her diaper. I changed her and then suggested that we spend a little time practicing the potty moves. I kid you not, within 2 minutes she sat on the potty and went pee pee. Don't take my word for it: the ocular proof is in the picture above. We invented a new potty dance (which looks suspiciously like the "Let's go to bed dance," the "Let's eat dinner dance," and "Let's get the fuck in the car before your tenth birthday dance"). After a few hours Sadie wanted to put her diaper back on, which was fine with me. I can now sleep soundly in the knowledge that Sadie will do this in her own time if I just give her some tools, some attention and some groovy dance moves.
I do want to send the picture to the pediatrician, but maybe I should sleep on it.