Friday, June 22, 2007

Zoe's on the Phone

There are many things that, before having kids, I could never have imagined myself doing. Today I found myself gravely telling my three-year-old that Zoe [much-loved character from Sesame Street] really, really wants Julia to keep her Pull-Up dry, and instead use the potty chair. For all its intended purposes. Every time. And that Zoe is so, so sad that Julia still has not done this, and that therefore Zoe will not be able to come live with us [in the form of a stuffed doll Julia gets as a potty training reward. When she finally gets trained. You know, at age 16 or so, at the rate we're going here]. And I told her that Zoe keeps calling the house to check. And we have to keep telling her, Sorry, no go. And that the preschool keeps calling to check too. And that we have to keep telling them, Sorry, doesn't look promising on our end. And Julia listens to us solemnly, eyes wide, dead serious, appropriately concerned, promising her cooperation from that moment on.

Yup. Lying to our child. That's what it's come to. We've got a serious deadline, people!

Oh, one more thing. It's not working.

14 comments:

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

I needed to correct my spelling of bribe....I did it with a "d" instead of the second "b" and we don't need to be talking about that yet. Anyway I think lying will get you nowhere except to teach the child that lying will be ok when she is 13. I feel that increasing the size of the bribe to at least one half cup of MMs plus an ice cream cone might do it!

Shan said...

Since absolutely NO ONE'S ideas of what will do it--and believe me, we've tried MANY--have worked so far, I'm going to have to go ahead and say, I doubt it.

As for the lying, since she will have no memory of these instances, I consider myself safe in employing immoral social practices in my attempts to potty train the Most Stubborn Child to Ever Wear Diapers Until She's Grown Out of All Diaper Sizes in Existence.

And you've got that from a psychologist.

cathy said...

The only thing, the ONLY thing, that worked for us was going cold turkey. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't relaxing, it required a lot of carpet cleaner and lysol, but after five days Anya's progress was remarkable. If your weather is as nice as ours is these days, maybe simply being bare-bottomed while at home is an option (for Julia, at least). The only drawback now that Anya is a very confident, fully toilet-trained 4 year-old (potty was officially thrown away at Christmas) is that she still prefers being bare bottomed on nice days. But then again, who doesn't?

Shan said...

And Cathy just nailed the ONLY strategy we have not yet tried. I think it may be time.

Donna said...

We told our son they didn't make diapers any more so he had to save the only package that existed for nighttime.

Stock up on carpet cleaner!

Shan said...

We've thought about that tack, but I honestly don't think it will work with Julia. And of course, once you've said it, you have to stick to it. No matter what happens!

Anonymous said...

Try training pants first. I don't think she will like the soggy feeling they provide. One kid I know is almost 4 and only now seeing success. For the last year he has done his duties, run to his room and changed his own underwear...

Shan said...

Ooof--the idea of just starting to see success at almost 4 years old is very, very depressing (and would mean "goodbye preschool" until 2008!).

It is very ironic to me that I have a child who is probably more intellectually prepared for preschool than most children in town--I mean, she's just begging for school; she knows her ABCs and numbers and how to spell her name and appropriately use vocabulary like "concerned" and "available"--and yet, she very likely won't be able to go because she won't be fully potty trained (no Pull-Ups!) by August.

Heidi said...

"the Most Stubborn Child to Ever Wear Diapers Until She's Grown Out of All Diaper Sizes in Existence"? No, you forgot that Logan wasn't fully trained util almost 4 either. And he didn't really even *start* until after turning 3. I think Pull-Ups are one of the most useless modern inventions. They defeat the purpose of teaching kids *why* to go potty--that is, sot hey don't have to *feel* wet.

Jordan said...

She'll do it, she will. But if your anxiety is rising, so will hers. Does she start soon? I thought she had a couple months - ? I wouldn't associate school with her success, though, (in front of her) because if there's any very small part of her that's nervous about school (and it's rare that there isn't, even when the child is ready) she could hold back in order to stay a baby longer, or to be with you more.

I'm figuring we'll go cold turkey. I told Lyle that the box of diapers in his room is the last one we'll buy and after that he'll be in underwear. Just matter-of-fact, that's how it'll be. "You'll be three soon and going to nursery school. In nursery school, there are no more diapers." (Not "if you wear underwear, you can go" just "you'll be going and you'll be wearing underwear") His eyes got very wide and he was totally impressed. "Just like Baxter's school!"

(In response to Heidi, I always thought pull-ups were the world's lamest things, too, but now I can see the one up-side: Lyle can get them on and off himself which he can't do with the diapers. We still use them very rarely, but I appreciate that part.)

Shan said...

I think it's too late to take back any voiced associations between preschool and potty training. For a long time I avoided linking the two for the very reasons you (Jordan) mention; but I finally did because it was the only thing she seemed excited about when it came to potty training and plus, everyone else was talking about it (she knows several kids who are signed up for her class, and who are trained or seriously working on it so it is a major topic of discussion around town these days). So now, it's blatant and she knows it: if you aren't using the potty all the time, you can't go to preschool because those are the preschool rules. She does not seem scared (although like you say, naturally all kids are ambivalent about a milestone like this), but mainly wails, "But I waaaaant to go to preschool!" every time we mention it.

As for the time issue, school starts in Sept. but tuition is due Aug. 1. So yes, technically we have 2 more months, but we can't easily afford to throw away a tuition payment if it does not work out. The main reason we're concerned about the timeline is that her progress has been excruciatingly slow so far. It has taken her almost a month to get to the dubious point we're at now. There doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that suddenly things will move quickly. Although of course--who knows?

Jim said...

This post and subsequent comments seem to have become in part a discussion to indicate that Julia must be potty trained not just for the sake of being potty trained but for potty training being so necessary for admittance into "preschool" whatever that is beside glorified babysitting. No one has brought up the question that I feel is of some importance here. Why do three year olds have to go to school in the first place? Can't we just let them be babies? Good grief, she faces 10 or so years of mandatory education and probably faces 20 or more years of voluntary education if she starts at age five. Isn't that enough? Also, regarding the tuition, if you pay it and she is able to go it is money out the door. If you pay it and she is not able to go it is money out the door!

Shan said...

Normally I would agree that too many small children are put into all sorts of activities--including preschool--too early, and that babies should be babies longer than we often allow them to be in today's rush-rush society.

HOWEVER. Julia is by no means a typical kid. OK, I know everyone thinks that of her child, but I think pretty much everyone who knows her can see that this is true of her, objectively speaking. She is very advanced verbally and intellectually, and if there were ever a toddler who was more than ready for preschool by age 3 (except for potty training!), it's Julia. I am home with her every single day, and I just cannot provide her with as much structured, new, stimulating, educational activity as she would like, and as she needs to not be bored much of the time. Twice-monthly playgroup and library storytime just is not enough for her anymore. She is hungry for activities that involve letters, numbers, exciting art materials, and sensory exploration. Of course I try to expose her to these things on my own, through at-home play (and playgroup, etc.), but it's really not the same as a twice-weekly, all-morning program.

I know already that Julia is going to be one of those kids who is always a step ahead at school, always ready for new challenges before other children her age. No matter how I feel about that fact, I believe it is our duty as her parents to respond to that need of hers, just like parents of a child who is developmentally delayed or disabled has a duty to explore and provide whatever resources they can to address that child's needs.

As for the money issue, I don't see your point. If we pay it and she does not go, it is money down the drain. If we pay it and she goes, we've just received a month of preschool instruction from educated early-childhood experts who will not only teach her, but will also provide Mama with a break from mentally-exhausting Julia, and Julia a break from impatient-and-thus-crabby Mama! (Not to mention a month of twice-weekly free mornings for Mama and Genevieve to have some quality alone time.) I'm not too big on money for nothing, so naturally I'd prefer not to waste a tuition payment if she does not get trained by September. In fact, I can't afford to be blase about it, given our current financial constraints.

I do agree that it won't be the end of the world is she does not go to preschool until age 4, like several of her buddies are going to do. If that happens, I will put her in ECFE for another year, and I will step up my efforts to find and plan more structured, educational activities for her, somehow. I would never wish away these years I have with her before "real", formal school begins (meaning, kindergarten). Sure, I wish she could stay a baby forever--Genevieve too--,and another full-time year with her and Genevieve both home together every day would have its own sweetness. But it would likely also drive both Julia and me a little bit crazy.