Thursday, January 29, 2015

An Ode to Poop . . .

Okay, so this isn't really an ode in the traditional sense, but it’s just too good a story not to share. Let me first put this disclaimer out there (in case it wasn't made obvious by the brazen title. Hehe) that this is a post about poop. So, if you get a little uncomfortable with this topic, or if you still have yet to be exposed to the less glittery parts that come with having children, then this post may not be for you. I know, I know . . . children are beautiful, wonderful angels, sent from our Heavenly Father to bless our lives and bring us immense joy - and I am so grateful to have four of my own - but let’s be real for a second . . . being a parent is messy. I am sorry to dampen the illusion here, but any new parent will come to this realization the very first time a newborn poops on them. lol. 

I know that this is still somewhat of a tabu topic, but come on, Dinosaur Train has an entire song dedicated to the subject, and I think it’s time we all get a little more comfortable talking about poop. That being said, can I just state the fact that I am not a fan of potty training! I will even go so far as to say that I LOATHE the topic completely, and I have plenty of logic to justify my rationale here, but this experience takes the cake . . . or should I say, the poo! 

My two-year-old has been potty training for a month now, and for the last few weeks, I have had to leave her completely “butt-nakey” while at home because she’s gotten to the point where she will go pee pee in the potty when she doesn’t have any clothes on (from the waist down), but will pee in her pants if you put the even slightest piece of clothing on her (even a pair of panties). 

So yeah, we’ve had a little nudest in our midst for the past few weeks, and she has been doing really well during the day in the potty area. Still, she refuses to sit on the toilet and go poop, so I’ve been a little nervous to take away the Easy-Ups at nap time and bed time, or any time when we happen to be out and about running errands - for fear that she might have an accident when a clean bathroom and/or shower are not readily available. Then, she started doing something super naughty. She would continuously tell me that she did not have to go poop (in order to avoid a trip to the toilet under my supervision), but then would sneak an Easy-Up out of the nursery, put it on all by herself, then proceed to poop in said Easy-Up.

I finally got to the point where I felt like her over-all progress was at a stand-still, and if she was becoming aware of her need to poo to the point that she could put an Easy-Up on to relieve herself, then she was definitely just as capable of telling me she had to use to restroom so I could take her to the potty. 

Anyway, at this point, I was completely fed up with the whole process, and I suddenly had an epiphany: I had been allowing her to use the Easy-Ups at nap time/bedtime, etc. to avoid an accident, but what I was really doing was enabling her to use them as a crutch to avoid any real accountability in the #2 department, and It was stalling her progression. As long as I made the Easy-Ups available, she knew that she had them as an option.

So, a few nights ago, I decided to take away the Easy-Ups (altogether) cold-turkey. The first night, she did really well and actually slept through the entire night without a single accident. She woke up the next morning completely dry, so I took her right into the bathroom and she went potty (Yay!). I was feeling so proud and even posted about our victory on Facebook. 

She stayed dry pretty much all day - even when we were out and about running errands. I thought to myself, “Yay! Maybe taking the Easy-Ups away finally did the trick. Maybe, since she no longer has them to lean on (or pee in), she has realized that she HAS to go in the potty . . . all she has to do now is figure out the poop part." Right?

Then came the night. It all started when she wet the bed (in MY bed, mind you) in the wee hours of the morning. I was lying there one minute, all cozy under the covers, having a nice, comforting dream, I am sure, about something warm and dry . . . and then I rolled over onto the pee-soaked sheets. Now, those of you with children have probably encountered something delightfully similar to the pleasurable experience of being ripped from your sleep only to realize that you are suddenly lying in someone else’s urine, so I am sure you can totally relate to the gaggle of thoughts that raced through my only-partially coherent mind. It was only pee; though (I  can assure you that as a parent, I have come into contact with much worse), so after my initially annoyed reaction of, “REALLY?!?” I just got a towel and laid it down underneath her. Don’t judge. lol. I figured that if she could sleep through lying in her own pee, then there was no point in waking her up to change the sheets. Besides, the baby was also in the bed, and I didn’t even dare risk waking THAT beast. There’d be no getting back to sleep for sure. 

Now, before you get too concerned about our lovely, new-ish, EXPENSIVE mattress, please take comfort in the fact that the mattress protector WAS on the mattress when all of this went down. So, at least I can praise the heavens for that little saving grace. That mattress protector, my friends, is seriously one of the best purchases we have made to date. You cannot survive parenthood without one. 

So, after all of that was said and done, I had nothing but hope for a more productive day on the potty-training front. B-Boo slept for a few more hours, then woke up dry and went straight to the potty. She even did really well throughout the morning, notifying me when she had to go, and she didn’t have any accidents - but then came the terrible, awful . . . 

Not long after lunch, she started to complain that her bum was hurting, and from past experience, I had come to realize that this usually meant she was cooking up a nice #2. I asked her several times if she needed to go “poopy", but she kept assuring me that she didn’t. I even tried to get her to sit on the potty at one point, and she absolutely refused, so I figured maybe her bum WAS just hurting. After all, she had been a little constipated, so I thought maybe she had a mild case of hemorrhoids, poor thing.

I should have just followed my instincts and MADE her sit on the potty; though, for just as I allowed myself to get preoccupied with putting away some laundry (heaven forbid I try to be productive while my child is potty-training), she walked into the room with a look of discomfort on her face, stopped a few feet away from where I stood, distracted, and sort of bent her knees awkwardly, reaching down between her legs. I thought at first that she was just trying to convey that her bum was hurting again, but instead, her expression turned to one of repugnance as she stood upright and held out a handful of poop. 

She then stood there wailing, “Ew ew ew ew ew ew,” as if she hadn't realized previously that pooping in her hand would be so repulsively grotesque. After my initial exclamations of shock and horror, I marched her to the bathroom and made her dispose of the abomination in the toilet, then proceeded to wash her hands profusely and made her sit on the toilet until I was absolutely certain that she had vanquished the stuff completely. 
Afterward, when the reality of it all sunk in, I just sat shaking my head, thinking, “WHY?!? Why does this have to be so hard?” I hear all these stories about how easy it was for some parents to potty-train their kids. Why can’t I have ONE child that just gets with the program without a long, drawn out procession of potty-training drama?

Maybe someone with a background in child psychology can apprise me of what it is that I'm doing wrong, or can at least give me some tips on how to make the process less painful? In the meantime, heaven have mercy . . .  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thoughts on Repentance . . .

I recently started reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis for a book club in which I participate, and I have to say, my mind is blown. I have always loved C.S. Lewis for his deep, thought-provoking insight on Christianity - ever since I first read about the Lion/deity figure who sacrifices himself on an "altar" to redeem the sin of another. It left me in awe over the brilliant, beautiful parallels between Aslan's sacrifice, and that of the Savior, and Lewis continues to inspire and amaze me in this book:
"I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists of being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it can not 'develop' into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, 'with backward mutters of dissevering power'--or else not. It is still 'either-or'. If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell. I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) has not been lost . . . "
What a beautiful illustration of the importance and simplicity of repentance. It's all about "The Mighty Change of Heart (an excellent talk by President Ezra Taft Benson, by the way)". There is so much to ponder on in those few, short sentences, and that's just a snippet I took from the beginning of the preface. Haha. 

Seriously, though - for someone who was not a member of The Church, I feel like C.S. Lewis really had a solid testimony of our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness, and truly understood the purpose of our time here on the Earth. After reading something so simple, yet so acute, I can't help but feel affected by his depth and creativity. 

His writing has inspired me to reflect lately about the kind of writer I aspire to be. I want to write things that move people; things that provoke deep, stimulating contemplation. But how do you get past the fluff in your writing and write about stuff that matters? That is the question, my friends. That is the question . . .