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Two tales of bodily fluids

The first. Bun Bun is toilet trained! My Magical Parenting Instinct had been telling me it was TIME. But when I read the signs of readiness lists, it was like no, yes, kinda, yes, no, no, so I kept holding off, but also kept feeling like it was TIME. As always, I refused to read about it, or buy books, or any of that time wasting nonsense. Then Sarah wrote a brilliant post about her experience which appealed to me for several reasons.

1. She suggests that one might make this decision in the absence of signs of readiness lists. HOORAY!
2. For example, she suggests that having a child who resists diaper changes with every fiber of her being could be a pretty valid cue.
3. She used the three day method, which is the only method I’d heard of, so it constitutes my entire knowledge base for toilet training and is therefore the best method.
4. She notes that sooner can work better than later. This is what my Magical Parenting Instinct has been telling me, as previous experience has shown that Bun Bun has a sweet window where she’s more compliant about something she might later be less compliant about (Example: She’s been sleeping on a floor bed for six months and has only now realized she can GET UP AND GET A BOOK.)

It’s been a bit over a week, and she’s doing very well. Saturday we pulled the trigger, using Sarah’s post plus this Baby Center post that provides some structure for people like me who crave structure. We didn’t do any of the preparation stuff suggested there, just no diaper when she woke up, naked from the bottom down all day. Rolled up the rugs, waterproof pads and towels at hand. We set up a toilet in the two rooms we tend to use and hunkered down for a pretty boring day. It’s amazing what a little conditioning can accomplish. As of today, she’s still having accidents and there are still a number of kinks to work out, but she’s depositing both her liquid and solid waste in the toilet like a fucking PRO.* We’ve accomplished all this without any rewards other than praise, and, the most important thing of all, without using the word potty, which, like tummy time, makes my skin crawl.

The second. So maybe you’re thinking I sound like a pretty competent, responsible person? Not so! Last week I got drunker than I have ever been in my LIFE. And I like the drinkin’. I have googled signs of alchoholism before. (The fact that the question about having a drink in the morning still makes me gag is a good sign…) Having a drink has always been part of my approach to life, though it’s also true that the years when I couldn’t (because I was hoping I might be pregnant or doing fertility treatments or hoarding MAAAAD babies) did lead to a certain OMG I MUST DRINK ALL THE TIME TO CATCH up mentality. But even in my reckless youth I knew my limits and was responsible about it. The time in high school when I drank the COFFEE MUG of vodka very quickly is one exception and…last week. I went out for drinks with BFB (remember her, old timers?) and I did it WAY TOO UP. I crawled into bed, but it wasn’t long before I was up again, headed for the bathroom. Instead, I ran into the wall, giving myself this gorgeous smokey eye.


Then…there was a lot of vomiting. OMG the vomiting, the endless vomiting. At regular intervals until about noon the following day.

I think this episode was just a case of forgetting that several cocktails is not the same as several glasses of wine, and that I am now extremely old and therefore less able to metabolize alcohol. But it is one of several reasons I have decided to contact my old therapist and get a psychological tune up. Because things are both wonderful and awful at the same time, and I need someone to check my psychological timing or maybe it’s my mental crankshaft or my intellectual fuel injection or my spiritual ignition coil. Can you tell I took auto shop in high school? Anyway, you’ve been reading about the wonderful, but at another time I’ll write about the awful.


*How it went, in case I need to know.
Day 1: whisked her to T every time she started to pee, saying Pee goes in the toilet! This is now how she alerts us to her needs, by the way. Pee goes in the toilet! Praised her lavishly for any hit. After about 13 hits she got the idea and started running for T, but mostly too late. Spent a lot of time outside to minimize cleanup. Asked her to pee before nap and bed, and she did!
Day 2: Same. Planned to go for short outing but she took an extra long nap. I was getting a little discouraged because she was still peeing mostly on the floor, and I wondered if maybe she just didn’t have the bladder control. How like me to be discouraged on DAY TWO.
Day 3, my day alone with babies. One accident in the morning, but otherwise a hit every time, AND two dumps in the T! Which was encouraging as I’d been worrying about her bowels. But she couldn’t resist the power of OATMEAL.
Days 4-7: Much the same. Nanny took her for a long outing and she peed in carseat on way home. On day 5 we had a doctor’s appointment and she peed in her portable toilet, which I cleverly set up the moment we got to the room. YAY!
Days 8-9: Took a dump on the floor, but had been trying to get to T. No piss accidents.
Day 10: My day alone with babies. All dumps in T, but one piss accident immediately upon going outside.
Day 11: One piss accident.
Blah blah blah. She’s reliably pissing on command before naps and bed or before going on an outing. We need to work on waiting a little before springing up and dripping on things…She’s still going naked on the bottom at home and wearing lose pants when out. But we’re traveling in a couple of weeks, so may need to bring clothes at home into the picture… Accidents are still common, but I’m very, very proud of this little Bun!

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yeah BunBun! We have also started naked time. Jack has an aversion to going potty at daycare…not sure what that is about, but he is doing great at home. Bottomless definitely seems to work…..our funny story involved Jack climbing up on the kitchen chair and shitting off the side of it and declaring ‘Mom I went in potty!’. He was certain he had done the right thing there….apparently any elevated position is a toilet?

    May 29, 2013
  2. I should probably have warned you about the post-blogpost regression. Two days after I posted about how well my daughter was doing, she had five accidents in one day (including two pooping and one bed-wetting). Fortunately, she went straight back to accident-free the following day, so I can only assume she was punishing me for my complacency. I haven’t dared post on the blog since… (Or I haven’t been arsed. One of the two.)

    Excellent call on avoiding the word ‘potty’. I got into the habit of using it when teaching, because that was the terminology the school used: “Go potty.” So I used it for our two, and I don’t really have anything *against* the word, but it is a terrible truth that my husband and I now use it too. To each other. When the kids are *asleep*. I can see, in the not too distant future, a family resolution to start using ‘toilet’ exclusively.

    I hope life’s wonderful and awful gets into better proportion for you soon!

    May 29, 2013
  3. Thanks, but I can get toilet advice anywhere. What I really want to know is, what kind of conditioning did you use to get BB to stay in her bed? I remember training our dogs to the buried electric fence — do they make those collars in baby sizes? (Before anyone jumps down my throat for shocking my baby:; it’s not a shock, it’s a “mild, corrective stimulus.” I remember from the manual.)

    As for the drunkenness, oops. I have had one similar incident since the Bean was born, a night out with friends that resulted in a euthanasia-grade hangover. I think our being that out of practice is a point in the “not alcoholic” column, although I guess it’s possible we are just really bad at being alcoholics.

    I don’t know how to tell you this, but a child that looks exactly like BunBun was in Brooklyn yesterday, eating a lot of mud at this semi-ridiculous “forest school” thing the Bean and I visited. So maybe she’s not really staying in her bed at naptime, is what I’m saying, but rather jaunting off to the coast. You might poke around to see if she’s written a blog post somewhere on the new artisanal mud movement or similar.

    May 29, 2013
  4. I am in awe of your tolerance for cleaning up bodily fluids that come from the nether regions. That’s just a bit…beyond me. We have an arrangement in our house: I clean up what comes out of the oral regions, Joel cleans up what comes out of the nether regions (except, for some reason, I’m still the primary diaper changer. I’m not sure how that happened). Most of the time this works fine; I’m not a big fan of cat poo, but he grew up on a mink farm had has a high tolerance for excrement. Vomit tends to make him vomitous, but so long as I don’t have to hear it come up, I’m generally OK.

    Still, after cleaning up 5 different spots of cat vomit after returning from a long weekend Monday afternoon and some very nasty orange-juicy stuff from Joel when we determined that a big glass of the stuff was not the way to kick-start stuck bowels, I feel like I’ve hit my vomit-clean-up quota for at least a few weeks.

    May 29, 2013
  5. Hi fives, Bun Bun, that is AWESOME! Signs, no signs, whatever, when they’re ready, they’re ready. Good use of The Instinct.

    The kid decided two weeks ago he only wanted to wear undies. And lo, he is now toilet-trained. (Mostly.) The fact that it took little to no input from us is some consolation for the fact that he still won’t sleep past 5.30 am.

    ‘Potty’ is the noun for small toilet here. As in, ‘Wees go in the potty’. Potty as a verb? As in, ‘Go and do the weeing and pooing’? Wrong.

    Oh my god, that black eye is a cracker. Wow. That particular misadventure leaves my recent carefree boozehound experience for dead. Another high five. (I also applaud your decision re: psychological tune-ups. Not that I think you’re an alco. Anyone who can see perhaps they need a mental crankshaft adjustment is already healthier than the average winebar bum.)

    May 29, 2013
  6. OMG…nice shiner!! (periorbital hematoma sounds more medical and less accidental I suppose) Sorry about the throwing up though. That part is the opposite of fun and kinda wrecks the whole great feeling that several cocktails bring on. I really could use that. I will also be making up for it.

    I’m applauding Bun Bun! What a girl! I’ve decided my readiness factor is zero and my boys will be wearing diapers until third grade when they can train themselves.

    Hey…you could do up your other eye lid with some purple and green eye shadow and walk around like you are trying to start a new trend!!! Just a thought. I hope it gets back to normal soon.

    May 30, 2013
  7. Go Bunny! I respect a girl who can get sloshed once in a while. I hope it was on a weeknight too. I’m just sorry you had to then become so intimate with the wall and the TOILET.
    As for Bun Bun, I say the same. Go girl! I hope the post blogpost regression Sarah speaks of is not going to be a reality in your household.

    May 30, 2013
  8. Yay for the use of the toilet! Not so yay about the vomiting.

    May things get better soon.

    May 30, 2013
  9. This is all very impressive and I am writing down every word. Kudos to all of you. We have not attempted anything in this department beyond reading a couple of books – S appears interested, and has his animals sit on the potty (and I agree with previous commenter, the word does disturbingly seep into your consciousness) but that’s about it. I was sort of hoping this would be one of those things that just magically happened. Perhaps I should ship him to you? You don’t live near Philly, do you? I have to go there this summer.

    ALCOHOL. The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems (as per Homer S.) Good for yo for contacting the therapist – in the throes of a bit of awful myself, I am always eager to hear how others deal. I did see a therapist earlier this year and I found it helpful, but maybe not as helpful as it could have been if it had been a different therapist, so I’m not really satisfied.

    Anyway. The real question is: How did you explain the eye to colleagues?

    May 30, 2013
  10. I for reals thought that was some painted on eye makeup until I read your post. Crikey woman!

    May 30, 2013
  11. Wow. A rollercoaster, this life. WELL DONE, Bun Bun! In which vein I feel I could write a ridiculous song with very little encouragement. Good on yiz, bunniz! (That was a Dublin accent.) Also, I think that eye needs a nice rest now.

    So! Hard to know how to wrap this up now after all that. Err. Bye now!

    May 30, 2013
  12. Ouch! I thought that was makeup, too. Hope you’re better now. But yay for Bun Bun!

    May 30, 2013
  13. Wow, go BunBun (and her mom)! Sorry about the awful bits and glad you’re getting some support.

    May 31, 2013
  14. Here’s hoping you just need a routine replacement of your timing belt. Also I hope your eye feels better by now.

    May 31, 2013
  15. GREAT timing, this post! our Baby Bjorn toilet trainer arrived today, but i still wasn’t sure how long i’d wait before really giving in to it all. Now i’m inspired! Like you, i’ve had that instinct thing going on for a while and now E is telling me “change” almost every time he wakes up which is entirely his own doing since we. I think i’ve been holding off mostly because they don’t have bowel movements easily at ALL and i’m nervous about how that might hold things up. But i guess it’s about time to find out. And now i’m excited that it might actually be ok!

    Oh but also HOLY SHIT THAT EYE. Wowza. i’d hate to see what the wall looks like…

    June 1, 2013
  16. Ana #

    Yay for BunBun, and hugs to you. I hear you on the drinkin’. Indeed the solution to many a bad day around here, and probably the only reason I have my sanity these days;and I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling like I had to “make up for lost time” after several mostly dry years. I had an unfortunate incident last year (yes, cocktails go down WAY too quickly and do NOT work the same as beer or wine!) and have since then stayed within my limits (one cocktail or 1-2 wines/beers). I hope the awful is only slightly awful, and stops being awful soon.

    June 1, 2013
  17. Wow, dear, that eye looks painful… Having parents who deal very poorly with alcohol makes one try to avoid alcohol problems, while still enjoying drinking. Which still requires therapist, because parents with alcohol problems is quite as bad as having those problems oneself. And spoils a bit the drinking experience, but not entirely.
    I am moste envious hearing your fun in the sun with pee and poo in the potty (hey, I am foreigner, I acquire words as they come, I also swear in English because it sounds less dirty and intimate as in my native language. Which is VERY dirty, has absolutely nothing sacred, and anything, but absolutely anything can turn into a bad word. Also, the translation of potty is very cute in my language, so potty IT IS.). George is still not trained, mostly because I keep inventing excuses and reasons to not start the bloody thing already, and I am running out of those, and will have to bite the bullit and just do it. Since I so dread it, it will be a long and very painful process, I just know. Somehow cleaning bodily fluids off the floor sounds more horrid than changing nappies. Aaaaanyway. Very envious indeed.

    June 5, 2013
  18. Jem #

    catching up on blogs… how old is bun bun?

    June 8, 2013
  19. Can I just say that is is very, very easy to connect the dots between toilet training and parental drinking? The one leads very logically, perhaps inexorably, to the other, don’t you think? In other words — you are doing this exactly right. Just make sure to tell the walls to get the hell out of the way next time.

    June 10, 2013

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