Friday, May 09, 2008

no end in sight

Charlie's down for the count. He told my mother that he was feeling "much better" when she called tonight, and I suppose that is true, but it's also true that my husband doesn't complain. Sure, he's feeling better. But his description of "better" is that his back doesn't go in to a muscle spasm with every breath he takes.

Now, it just spasms whenever he sneezes. Or laughs. Or chokes.

We figured that last one out when Carolyn was feeding him tortilla chips while he laid on the floor today at lunch time. None of the pain medicine that he's taken has done anything to relieve his discomfort, so I suggested that he start drinking.

Here's Charlie, laying on the floor eating Mexican food and drinking beer at 11:30 this morning.

While I was running around taking the kids to swimming lessons, cleaning the house, doing laundry, making breakfast, making lunch, cleaning up breakfast, cleaning up lunch, struggling with Henry who is suddenly turbo-crawling-baby in to everything ... I almost kicked my beloved and ailing husband when he asked if I would move the vacuum because it was blocking his view of the television. And oh, could he have another beer?

If it wasn't so painful, I'd seriously consider throwing my back out.

I'd love to have a few days completely off.


I am honestly at my wits end with potty training. I've got one child who WILL. NOT. go poop on the potty. I know she knows how to do it. Like all her siblings, she did it once when we first got the potty chairs and I was so darn excited because I thought "Hooyah! I'm done potty training triplets ... that was easy!!"

She hasn't really gone since.

Except once, two weeks ago when my sister was in town and we were on our way to swim lessons, and she was walking around holding her rear end and saying "Oh oh!! Oh oh!!" and I told her that if she didn't go poop on the potty, she couldn't go to class.

Her MO is to hold it in until she has a diaper on at bedtime. She will either go within 10 minutes of being tucked in at night ... or ... she will wake me up with a full diaper first thing in the morning. Try as I might to get her to go before bedtime, she won't.

I've been staying with her until she falls asleep at night and have been waking up before she does, and whipping off her diaper as soon as I see her eyes open. I'm like a hawk perched outside her door ... waiting, waiting.

Yesterday, it was obvious she really had to go since it had been at least two days since she'd had any "time alone" with her diaper. But every time I'd have her sit on the potty, she'd never complete the act. There were lots of previews, but no performance. She kept standing up to check if there was anything in the pot, and there were smears everywhere. All over the potty chair - her legs - her clothes - the wall.

I was DYING from the poop.

I think it's important to mention that I was born right on the cusp of Aries and Taurus which are the Ram and the Bull. Depending upon which newspaper I read, my horoscope will be one or the other. Astrologically, I don't think there's a more stubborn personality out there.

It's really not my fault. It's because of the planets that yesterday and again, tonight ... I went head to head with my three-year-old. I offered her TWO Trader Joe Peanut Butter cups for when she finally went poop. She was so excited and pretended like she was pushing, pushing. She even held my hand. But when she stood up again (and again and again), all she did was create new smears. So I sat down, right in front of her, and ate a peanut butter cup for every time that she didn't go.

She never did go and I ate 3/4 of a box.

Then I felt sick, which kharmically, I totally deserved.

Tonight, almost the same exact scene played out. Except tonight, two of my other children - who had already gone poop on the potty earlier in the day - sat down and went poop AGAIN just so they could score Trader Joe Peanut Butter Cups. Meanwhile, my poor un-pooped child was nearly hysterical that she wasn't going to get a Peanut Butter Cup. But I kept telling her, push out the poop and I'll give you TWO. Heck, I'll give you TWENTY TWO. I'll buy you your very own BOX.

Finally.... after a solid hour ...... she did it.

There was a poop!! In the potty!!

I gave her the two Peanut Butter Cups, embraced her in a huge hug and kept repeating how proud I was of this big accomplishment. After a while, I put her in a diaper, brushed her teeth and tucked her in to bed. THREE HOURS LATER, she came out to tell me that she'd gone poop.


In her diaper.

Charlie laughed - then cringed - and I began to weep.


  1. Melissa Koch5/9/08, 4:47 AM

    I love your blog and read it daily but rarely (if ever) comment. I have three kids (4,6,8) and I have two thoughts on the potty training. NO diapers, ever. Put down a waterproof pad at night if you need too, but leave her in underwear all night. She *knows* the diaper is coming so she waits. Also, have you tried Miralax (it's over the counter now). I am a Pharmacist (or used to be before kids) and that is a very safe and effective stool softener for kids (and adults). She won't be able to *hold* it all day, which will help in teaching her to go on the toilet. Good luck. I trained all three of mine on our regular toilet so no help with potty chairs (I didn't want to clean them!), Hang in there and hope she figures it out soon.


  2. I agree with Melissa ^. NO DIAPERS! Plus, I made mine help clean up. If they wet or poop the bed (or anything else) she had to help clean up. She didn't want to clean it up any more than I did!

  3. She's almost there! Gregory did this every night for SIX MONTHS! I don't the "no diapers" would work, since she shares a bed with her sister, but that might be a good idea.

    I'm so sorry that Charlie's back went out. Do you think he did it on purpose after spending ONE day with the kids? Hope he's up and about soon for his sake and yours!

  4. omg. I'm scared. Totally and absolutely petrified.
    I can't read anymore.

    Toilet training, I'm convinced, Will put me into the loony bin.

    I'm taking you with me...We could BOTH use the time off.

  5. My god daughter did the same thing your little one did. Only she became so savvy that she put her own diaper on when she came home from preschool to poop. Her mother broke her of the habit with a large soy mocha iced latte from starbucks. She gave it to her to drink, told her it was a milkshake and waited. Sof sucked the drink down in record time and 30 minutes later, as I walked in the door, was facing only the potty and no more diapers. I think her mother may have traumatized her but there are no more diapers in the house and she has mastered poop...

  6. I was going to say what Melissa said...this worked for a friend of mine...

  7. We have had a similar problem with my three year four month old. Here's what fixed it. Flavourless mineral oil (about 3 tsp per day shaken up into juice) for a week. It makes the stools soft and easy to push out. Do it for a max of 2 weeks. She may get some staining in her underwear but it worked for us after every other kind of trick (bribery, stars, applause, underwear, back to pull ups, etc) failed.

  8. I used Milk of Magnesia (on the advice of my pediatrician) after my first kid started 'withholding' her poop. She was on it for several months, about 3/4 tsp. per day. The ped. also had me back off toilet training until she was more regular. After that experience, I was proactive with the 2nd kid and put him on Milk of Magnesia when he first started showing signs of being afraid to poop on the potty (when he was pee-trained, but not yet poop-trained). My 3rd kid figured the poop thing out on his own. Good luck! (Oh, with my first, who was pee-trained at 2yrs 9 months but took another 6 months to poop-train, we also started telling her "pretty soon you are going to feel big enough to poop in the potty" and "when you are 3 1/2, you
    won't be afraid to poop in the potty anymore".)
    -Anita R.

  9. I agree with the no diapers. That was the only thing that worked for my 3 year old. Then when she did poop her pants, when I felt like she knew better, I made her clean it out. She only had to do this twice. I also agree with using something to keep her regular. I once had to give mine a suppository because she was so constipated and was trying so hard to go but couldn't. That was the biggest poop I've seen her pass ever. OUCH!

    I am so not looking forward to training triplets though. One was bad enough. Mine are only 18 months so I've got time.


  10. My now almost-4-year-old went for 10 months refusing to poop in the potty. We was peeing in there after 2 days of training, and within a week was staying dry at night (10+ hours). And despite trying EVERYTHING (and I really do mean everything...mineral oil, Mirilax, rewards, punishments, EVERYTHING), he wouldn't go on the potty.

    And then one day, back in February, he just started doing it. I still don't know what clicked in his mind, because I wasn't doing anything different in February that I hadn't been doing all along.

    Probably not what you want to hear...

  11. Has Charlie tried the vicodin with the beer . . . .? Did I type that out loud? :-)

    Seriously - Derrick threw his back out (when he wasn't traveling) about 5 times the first year after the triplets were born. I am not nearly as nice a wife as you - I had almost no sympathy - only annoyance. His grand finale was the day he was "weeding" his garden and snipped a layer of skin off the top of his finger (blood everywhere) and then through his back out later that day . . . .

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I wish I would have known about the TJ Peanutbutter Cups then . . .

    Yours in Tripletedness - Jessica

    PS - This isn't affecting your work out schedule is it? Good thing you are stubborn! That will serve you well with your training for the 10k!

  12. LOL!!! Only a mom can eat while her child sits in front of her on the potty trying to poop! Hilarious!!! Happy Mothers Day!

  13. I just spoke to the doctor today about this very same thing with my 3y3m old daughter.

    She told me to try 1/2 capful of Miralax on her food once/day for two weeks (Adjust more or less depending on how it is working).

    She said do not mention the word poop for two weeks, and stop all poop training. Get rid of the constipation and the psychological "Control" issue, and then resume again after that.

    I am going to try this approach. I will let you know how it goes!

    Happy Mother's Day!

  14. I love your posts! All the "smearing" going on reminded me of the horror I found in my twins bedroom two nights ago - *someone* had a #2 accident and used the chair, the carpet, and the sheets on the bed in place of TP. I cringe with you. Who ever thought, "I can't wait to be a mom and clean up human feces from unusual places?" Hope some of the advice here helps, and I hope Charlie is feeling better soon!

  15. Sans the nasty illness, mexican food and beer lying on the floor at 11.30 am sounds oddly similar to my college days...good times!

  16. Not illness- back problems.Sorry!Tying to talk to one sick person while blog-commenting and
    my own small person trying to rip my hair clean out of my scalp and or digest my reading glasses.

    You get what I mean a million times over!

  17. Pardon the Pun but
    This too shall pass.