Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Potty for a party

My daughter.  I love her.  She is darling, adorable, and quite possibly will cause me to lose my mind. 

At the end of 2010, we began the 'journey' toward potty training.  The possibility of having several months free from diaper-changing duty brought me a great sense of joy and delight.  And essentially cursed me.

Brynn, 'being Brynn', has her own little agenda for how the world works.  More specifically, 'the' world is really 'her' world...and it revolves around her curly-haired little head.  That especially goes for potty training.  We've tried everything.  Rewards.  Joyous celebration upon 'performance'.  Bribery.  Threats (mild, of course).  Tricks that even David Copperfield would want the secrets to.  Nothing works.  Brynn's got her own little 'system' established.  A system that's beating ours. 

Yesterday I mentioned my frustration to her pediatrician at the end of her 'ear check' appointment.  I really do like our pediatrician, he has a great rapport with my kids, is approachable, knowledgeable, and genuinely adores what he does.  But yesterday, I was not his biggest fan.  In response to my questions/concerns/annoyances with Brynn's potty training (rather, lack thereof), he responded by simply saying, "I've never sent a child off to kindergarten still in diapers".  Thanks, Doc.  Here I was, desperate, seeking the wisdom of his experience, trying to find a magic key to unlock this door Brynn has closed, locked, and barricaded herself behind.  And his 'advice' doesn't quite fit into the category of 'helpful'.  *Sigh*

Fast forward to this evening.  Brynn was helping me make dinner when she announced she needed to go potty.  I immediately lowered her down from the counter she was sitting on (don't worry, I was standing right there!), and sent her on her merry way to her potty chair.  Since she's been requesting 'pwivascy', I left her alone and cleaned up the mess she made while 'helping' me cook. 

Brynn came running into the kitchen to proclaim her good news (!), and we had quite the celebration.  Not only did she succeed in meeting her 'goal', but she announced her 'goal' beforehand (again, !).  Again, during dinner, the same thing happened...annoucement, success, proclaimation of said success, celebration. 

Progress, right?!

Come on...this is Brynn we're talking about.  She's beat the 'system' we've been trying to put in place, and has crafted her own twisted little world, a world in which we're all pawns.  I knew better than to assume we were headed in a positive direction (sounds pessimistic, I know...I do always have a glimmer of hope, but I just need to keep reality in check here!)

After Brynn 'met her goal', she came running into the dining room with a giant smile on her face.  But, before I could even acknowledge her, celebrate her...she said, "Mommy, I went pee in the potty!  You are so proud of me!  Now I can have my birthday party!".  And there it is.  Her motivation revealed.  She's not wanting to make mommy and daddy proud.  She could care less about the plethora of princess stickers and M&M's I have waiting in the wings for her to earn (I told you we've tried bribery!).  She doesn't quite care about the effect that frequent pull-up purchases has on our wallets.  She wants a party.  Not just any party.  A birthday party.  A princess birthday party where she gets to be center of attention, wearing the gumball pink tafetta dress we've already found at the store and purchased.  She's already decided on her cake (Ariel, the little mermaid), she's been working on her list of friends to invite (and has requested that her Grammy, Grandma Conley, and 'aunts' Juliana and Kate fly in from Pennsylvania and Delaware).  She's working on her list of gifts she'd like to receive.  And after hearing my pleas to her pediatrician yesterday about how desperate I am to have her succeed at potty training, she's beginning to put the last part of her 'plan' into action.  Show mommy and daddy that she'll use the potty unprompted, willingly, and successfully...and get the ultimate reward for a 3 year old.  A celebration fit for a princess.

And don't you know it...she just might win.  You can begin preparing the padded room.  I'll be needing it in about 10 years.

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