Sunday, August 23, 2009

Progress, not perfection

Last night, I spied on my son through the crack of our bedroom door. I heard the creaking sound of his door opening, kind of a kid-escape alarm, and got out of bed to see what he was up to.

He walked into the kids' bathroom, went to the toilet and proceeded to actually use it. When he was done, he walked back to his room, stopping for about 10 seconds or so to shuffle and stare at his feet and then went back to bed. I was astounded and a little surprised - astounded that he would leave his bed to use the bathroom and surprised because he'd had accidents during the day.

Like I've said, it's two steps forward, one step back around here these days. From naked to training pants to underwear, from little potty to big potty, we are starting to see clear progress and very little backsliding as each day passes. The neat thing about being so present for this entire process is that I can tailor it to his needs and his needs only. There's no place we need to be, there's no deadline like entering preschool that we need to meet, there's no limit on how long we can stay in one phase of potty training. It's not a race, it's a skill he's learning and everyone learns in their own time.

I am getting a new window into his personality. He's a kid who is motivated by the idea of doing something, anything on his own, and we're leveraging that trait for training purposes. We made the big potty accessible and his clothes easy to get on and off; he does the rest and usually with little fanfare. This afternoon, he actually pooped in the potty unbeknownst to us until we found the unflushed evidence. He didn't even ask for a gummy worm (the current poop reward), although if I'm around he'll tell me that he pooped a gummy worm. I have to resist the urge to stay with him while he's in the bathroom lest he feel managed and handled. He can be trusted to use the potty, but his fascination with the toilet paper, the plunger and the flusher are hazardous. Maybe I can get him interested in the toilet bowl scrub brush? I actually had my bare hands in the toilet pulling out wads of toilet paper last week. Ugh.

He has been having accidents in his cloth training pants. ("I got wet mommy," he tells me.) He also sometimes asks to have a diaper back on, but we tell him no, he accepts and eventually does his business in the potty. I'm not taking these as setbacks or a sign that we're moving too fast, though. He's capable and ready for this and we just have to stay positive and encouraging. I had been reluctant to put him in underpants because of the laundry factor. Now that he's going on his own so often, we're just going to have a wet-undies week until he learns that wet equals uncomfortable. It's a good thing that a friend passed on about a dozen pair of undies that will actually fit him. (Thanks Jen!) Either way, I'm expecting to do a lot more laundry this week.

The tree fort in our yard

Over the past two weekends, Jim has been working on a backyard playground for the kids. We didn't want one of those build-it-yourself playsets - not unique enough, too expensive and it takes up a large footprint in the yard. So instead Jim built a swing set and a slide with a ladder and platform around three towering trees close to the house. I can sit on the screened in porch (also a Jimmy project) and watch Danny play. Danny loves the "lide" that daddy "builded" and waves and says "dank you" when he goes down the slide. He's having an absolute blast! He goes up the ladder and even up the slide with ease and rolls balls and cars up and down the slide. There's something for everyone - a swing for Fiona (that we already had), a swing for Danny, a second swing for a friend, and even a hookup for the hammock swing (where mommy can sit while she pushes the baby!). It was built with about $300 worth of supplies and about 12 hours of labor. Here are some photos.
The tree fort in our yard

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