This is a post about poop--a poop post. I'm writing this because this blog is supposed to serve to document our family life and there isn't any way to do that without including this topic. We've been talking about and thinking about and been frustrated by poop for the better part of four months now and so, really, I've shown great restraint so far on the poop topic. Or more specifically, Kate and poop. Even more specifically, Kate and her poop.
Back in April, John did an intensive potty training weekend with the twins while Erin and I were out of town. I wrote about that back then. At the time they were 3.5 and had not yet shown any interest in training on their own, which is this mysterious quality that I hear about various other children possessing, but none of my girls have been remotely interested in ditching their diapers until we forced them to do so. The other reason we started training them in the spring is that we knew that they would be entering preschool at the end of summer and every preschool I talked to requires a four year-old (or nearly four year-old) to be 100% trained, and so the clock was ticking and the pressure was on for us, two of the proven worst potty-trainers ever.
Fortunately, from that weekend on Allison has been pretty much daytime trained, with only rare accidents. Amazing! A kid that actually catches on to this stuff quickly. I'd heard of such things but had not witnessed it myself until then. Kate, on the other hand, was Kate--stubborn and defiant and only using a potty when we demanded it, and then only to do #1 business. She still pooped in her pull-ups every day and the potty success sticker chart and books and DVDs and candy rewards and such were getting us nowhere. So we let Allison start wearing underwear and we tried some with Kate also thinking that this would serve as some motivation. She usually kept them dry because whenever we were out somewhere and Allison told me she had to use the bathroom I'd make Kate go also. But Kate didn't think any more highly of underwear than she did of the pull-ups and she pooped in them every day too. "Pooped in them" actually doesn't adequately describe these episodes. "Destroyed them" is much more accurate.
When we were going though this (and through this, and through this...) with Erin and I was contemplating the best way to tackle cleaning the most horribly soiled underwear I'd ever encountered (up to that point), John said, "Throw them out. I've worked hard for a long time. I've achieved a certain amount of success in my life. Maybe not a ton, but enough that I don't want to deal with that. Just buy more." And with Kate the underwear tossing and buying has been taken to a new level.
Every single day we discuss poop around here....asking Kate if she needs to go, checking with each other and her daycare on when she went last, and where, and how bad the collateral damage was. We've been celebrating her few successes in every way we could think of and warning her that if she doesn't "go potty like the big girls" she won't be able to go to school with Allison, which was the truth. In the meantime, Kate and Allison got into my first choice preschool for them from off of a waiting list, and our daycare (which the twins attended from the time I returned to work after my maternity leave) announced that they were closing for good on August 8th, and we were still getting no where.
Kate knew exactly what she was doing. We'd see some signs, she'd tell us she didn't need to go, we'd make her sit on the potty for a while anyway, she'd get up and leave, and 10 minutes later Allison would come and tell us, "I smell something stinky over there!" Kate often tried to hide to do her business. John even caught her trying to bury herself under the couch cushions one time.
And on and on it went...
August arrived and still no poop progress. Daycare was going to be closing, where was I going to put Kate when I was working? She couldn't go to preschool like this. Well, she could, but after a few consistent accident days I think the director would ask to "have a little chat" and we'd have to find someplace else for her. But where? I started calling around about new prospective daycares. And then the twins would be split up, and once we lost her spot in this school I feared that we wouldn't be able to get her back in. All of this was making my brain hurt.
I brought the twins to the preschool for a longer visit about ten days ago. I stayed there with them and we spent about an hour and a half getting to know their teacher and the other 4 year-olds. The girls had a great time exploring all of the new things and meeting the kids. "See all these big kids?" I asked Kate, "None of them wear pull-ups. They all wear underwear and use the potty all day, that's why they can come to preschool. Allison is ready to be with the big kids, when you use the potty then can come to school with Allison and all the other big kids too." Now, this is the exact kind of conversation I'd been having with Kate for months, but maybe being there and seeing the big kids made an impression. Who knows what it was, but from that point on things have been different, I've only thrown out one more pair of underwear since, the girls started preschool on monday, and today at preschool Kate pooped in the potty!
I'm confident that Kate gained no sudden understanding of all of this. I think that she knew that she just didn't HAVE to use the potty until now, until she saw that preschool was really, truly imminent. No sense in sparing mom and dad's sanity any sooner than absolutely necessary, they needed a few more grey hairs anyway.
I'm going to remember this and wait for an appropriate time to remind her of these events in which maximum embarrassment can be inflicted. Unless I go insane before then.