Saturday, May 11, 2013

Re-Training and Potty Training

Illness and other disturbances in routine can throw the careful ecosystem of family order and discipline out the window. This was certainly the case this week for Miss Analise.

I am fairly certain the culprit for her unprecedented crankiness Tuesday and Wednesday was a sinus infection. UTI was completely ruled out by the urine test and culture, and after 24 hours on the antibiotic, the ear-piercing scream had vanished and what was clogging her poor sinuses had started draining out her nose (pretty picture, huh?). I know I get cranky when my sinuses are full with tons of pressure and pain, and I can only imagine how it feels when you don't really understand why you feel so yucky. 

However, the couple of days of not being able to enforce our usual expectations has taken its toll. Analise is challenging every boundary we have, which means simple, consistent responses to our darling little tyrant.

This morning she did not want to change into clothing, but preferred to keep her jammies on. "That's fine, but you will have to stay inside when your brother goes out to play," was our response. Analise insisted she didn't want to go outside.

She had done a great job of going in the pot during the night. Yes, a literal pot. This has been our compromise since she has decided she does not like the potty, plus we can leave one in her room if she wakes at night! However, since she refused the potty all morning and has been dead set on wearing underwear, I have had the great joy of cleaning up two of her delightful puddles on my carpet today. It will be such a joy when she is finished and we can FINALLY clean the carpet of the pee-pee stains once and for all! (I know I totally jinxed myself there ... you can remind me of it later.)

So, the jammies and unders had to come off. Of course she wanted nothing back on. "That's fine, but little girls without clothes stay in their rooms," was my response. As much as I'd love to indulge this naked phase, we have two little boys in the house who don't appreciate it, and we have places we need to go. Clothing is required for community areas. Analise held out for an entire hour, playing in her room on her own. I let her know I would be serving lunch downstairs and that I'm happy to have little girls wearing clothing at my table to eat. Minutes later she called down to ask Mommy to help her put her clothes on. 

So we lunched, and she and big brother "played" board games, each with their own game to move the pieces around. This delightful time lasted until Analise insisted on taking her brother's pieces and would not give them back, earning herself some stair time. However, she did not care for the stairs, so back to her room she went.

When she calmed down, I bribed her onto the potty with a sucker (I really can't handle changing and washing her sheets again today). She happily climbed up and went. I wondered to myself how many suckers in a day one child can eat before it's neglectful parenting? We've already been through the "smaller"  treats and she has lost interest, and not letting her have the whole sucker didn't fly. I may decide I don't care if it means not having to clean up pee-pee puddles.

Then the dear girl needed a nap. I had her room all prepped while she was sitting on the potty finishing her sucker. She begged me to turn her light back on when we returned to her room, and I informed her it was nap time. She did not receive the news well. So, we resumed our battle-of-wills dance as she climbed out of bed and I laid her back down over and over again. My chiropracter is seeing dollar signs! After fifteen minutes of shouting, crying, climbing and being laid back down she curled up and closed her eyes. In minutes she was fast asleep, her tight fist slowly relaxed as her fingers uncurled.

This striving to identify ones self as distinct and separate from Mommy and Daddy is one of my least favorite stages. I remember so clearly our nightly battles with Nicolas screaming that he did not want to go to sleep. We certainly do our best to give our kids as many choices and as much control over themselves as possible. Unfortunately, they are smart little people. They often choose to not like either choice, and Mommy and Daddy have to choose for them, resulting in very unhappy little people. Times like these feel like breaking wild horses as they resist any and all boundaries and limits.

So, if you have been in the neighborhood or will be in the next few weeks, please know my children are safe and they are loved. They may not sound like it at any given moment, but this too shall pass, and we'll all be the better for it.