Saturday, August 6, 2011

Crappy Days - Giorni di Emme

I have had to deal with a lot of crap recently. And by crap, I don't mean the nonsense I was getting from an old boss with health problems, I don't mean my latest discoveries on Berlusconi, and I certainly don't mean my mother phoning me twenty times in a row to help her fix her computer. No. Not this kind of crap. I mean real crap, excrement, feces, stool, number two, or if you prefer, potty training, a nice way to say that I am having to teach my child how to take a s-h-i-t without making a mess. The kind of thing many people prefer to pay someone else to do.

Changing diapers, at least for me, has never been as bad in comparison. Maybe because the poop, at the beginning, did not smell as bad as I expected! Yet initially I was feeling so helpless when a diaper needed changing. I remember asking John to take over on several occasions after getting that damned Elmo on his butt and not in the front. Then what happened? I stayed at home, where most of the crap was taking place and, to my surprise, I became a pro at it. Soon enough I was able to change Tronk in parks, at the back of stores (with no restrooms), in the car, on trains, at the beach, at the pool, and, if I remember well, even in the stalls of a theater in the middle of a formal classic music concert. So yeah, I was dealing with poop but at least I was able to leave the house early in the morning and do interesting things outside the house almost  every day. All I needed was my thermos filled with mashed veggies, a kiwi, a couple of cookies and a couple of spoons for his lunch. Life was easy.

Then, one day, came the fear: how many more times will I have to hear "Sorry, bring William back once he is potty trained"? Will I have to pack his diapers with his lunch when he goes to college? I had better start the potty training NOW!

Tronk resting on his potty on a winter day
He was around 14 months when I put him on the toilet for the first time. "Success, he pooped! This potty training isn't so hard!" Tata Pina: "I have never seen a child who cannot talk, nor walk, already going to the toilet the way William does. This guy is special!" All I had to do to make it happen, was to sit him on the baby toilet (just after lunch), sit on the adult toilet in front of him, and make convincing poop sounds. Easy pee-sy! John wasn't so convinced.

As usual, he was spot on! Eight months later, even though Tronk spent time with potty trained two-year olds at daycare in Italy, we were back from Italy with a problem. "Cacca no, cacca no! Vai, vai, vai!" (meaning: I don't want to poop in the potty, no, no, no! Let me go, let me go!) Tronk no longer wanted anything to do with the potty. Then a couple of successful attempts followed but only because I was lucky to sit him on the potty at the right time. Then, what happened?

The Poop Face I was longing for
Then, he discovered that it is much more fun to stand up and walk away. I was frustrated. Tata Pina once said: "Get him the pull-ups!"  Apparently, they make diapers especially designed for potty training that can be put on and removed like underwear! They should be used with the accompanying wipes for toddlers that can be thrown in the toilet.  I said:"Ok... I'll get both!"

The pull-ups have had success but not the kind I expected. Tronk is now in love with them and keeps asking me to get new ones all the time - what do you expect from something that has Lightning McQueen printed on it?? - but only in few occasions 
he has managed to pull them up or down, with me doing most of the work. That's as far as we have got to.

Surely, I must be doing something wrong. Should I try sitting him on the pot every 15 minutes, then 20, then after 40? Should I get the Mommy's Helper Cushie Step-Up or the super attractive portable My Carry Potty in addition to the duck toilet that we already have, which is supposed to quack after each success but doesn't because we still haven't managed to put the batteries inside? All of these potties/toilets can't do shit in the following situations.

"Mamma, fato cacca! "Anamo cacca?" (Mom, I have pooped, are you taking me to the toilet?)
He then gives me his little hand and when I sit him on the toilet, I realize he has already done it.

"Tronk, hai fatto la pipi'?" (Tronk, have you peed?)
"Pipi'? Gno pipi'!"(peed? no peed!)
After 5 minutes.
"Hai fatto?" (are you done?)
"Gno' fatto!" (not done!)
"Amore, il tuo culetto si trasforma in una ciambella se continui a stare li'. Hai fatto pipi' o no?" (sweetheart, your little butt will turn into a donough if you continue to stay there. Have you peed or not?)
"Mmmm.... gno'!" (mmm..... no!)
"Allora che facciamo?" (so, what do we do now?)
He looks down in the potty, like a magician who is trying to make a miracle. He then comes with the usual question.
"Dov'e' pipi'?" (where is it?)

His latest request this morning:
"Mamma, pipi', pipi', pipi'! Aniamo pipi'?" (Mom, I have to pee! Are you taking me to pee?)
"Va bene, vieni, andiamo in bagno" (Ok, come here, let's go to the toilet)
"No, mamma. Pi-pi' fa macchina!" (No, mom. I was making the sound of the car!)

A week ago, Gisella, the babysitter who is covering tata Pina, said: "I think you should leave him alone. Give him some privacy when he is in the toilet" Ok.... Result? Potty training souvenirs all over the floor. Gisella: "Great!  You should be happy. That is how they start learning!" 

So, here I am, every morning, first trying to work out what three courses of food will go in my little guy and then... how they will come out. Now, tell me, how can I not go insane?
Yesterday I ended up handing a baby wipe to a cashier at Starbucks instead of a $5 bill to pay for a latte! To make the situation worse, I then gave a public talk on potty training.

I guess I should have seen it as an omen, but the other morning John found this poop on our roof after the previous night's vicious raccoon fight.

It is only crap. It could have been worse!

Seven Months Later
After I caused myself a fracture in one foot in November 2011, the potty training has gone completely out of the window. The number of dirty diapers filling Tronk's diapers' disposal can has gone down but the crap and its smell in Tronk's room seem to have increased. I know I have not been very good at dealing with crap until now but there is a limit to how much crap one can deal with, right? I promise I will be better at it in the warmer season.

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