Using Motherly Intuition & Snippets of Parenting Books I Say I’ll start Reading Tomorrow for Toddlerhood
My husband and I started potty training our 2.5 year old Elle on Friday, February 26th. We followed the appropriately titled Oh Crap! Potty Training book in which you pick a date to take off the diapers and never look back (although we still keep them on for naps and nighttime, which is an option). So far, it’s worked pretty well. A couple of days ago I picked her up at her daycare, and she was in the same pants she went to school in for the first time! As we were walking down the hallway to get her coat, she said, “I have to go potty”, and begin waddling.
When we got to the bathroom, it was obvious she did have to go potty, and did so along the way to the toilet. So, I explained to her we had to change her pants, and clean her up. Then, it was EPIC MELTDOWN time. She had been sick for an entire week, and was still catching up on sleep. She refused to put on her pants, and I didn’t want to occupy the adult bathroom for too long, so I brought her into the next room, which was almost empty except for a PLASTIC KIDDIE CAR. OF COURSE she wanted to ride the car immediately. Without pants on. (And the Oh Crap! method is you have your kids go commando for a month, otherwise muscle memory will tell them they have a diaper on), so she really had NO pants on.
I took a deep breath and remembered the advice I have seen everywhere from “positive amazing Utopian parenting” books to Instagram posts (“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice” ANYONE?), and since I couldn’t leave the room to show her I wasn’t interested in her tantrum (but without any hint I was ready to PULL MY HAIR OUT), I closed my eyes and pictured myself reading a book. In HAWAII. Elle kind of calmed down and looked at me. Then I simply said, “I can hear you want to ride in the car.” She nodded while hiccuping. Success sort of! Then, I said, as simply as I could, “Cool. Let’s put your new pants on, and then I’ll push you in the car for a minute.” AND SHE SAID OK, as if a second ago she had not been acting like I was subjecting her to cruel and unusual punishment. To say I felt like a superhero having successfully navigated the fine line between power struggles and compromise would be an understatement!
Aaand… later that night, Elle decided she no longer wanted to use utensils to eat her dinner. But more on that later.
Things that worked today:
1. Acting uninterested in the tantrum (for bad ones, I offer a simple hug if there seems to be a pause)
2. Laying out what was going to happen next, without bribery
3. Reflecting feelings
4. Pretending I was in Hawaii