Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A horse, a potty and a bribe

Have I been duped by a 2⅔ year old?

OK, here comes the inevitable potty training story.

Anna starts nursery school next month, and she needs to be potty trained before she starts. When I first started thinking about it I thought I had all the time in the world. No worries. She’ll be trained in no time. Think again, remembering what a headstrong child Miss Anna can be. Now we’re down to a month before school starts, and the clock is ticking (not to mention all the other things going on – i.e., we’re probably moving house around the same time as she starts school).

I decided the key to potty training was good, old fashioned bribery. Anna and I went out to the toy store and made a few purchases. For each successful pee in the potty, she gets several stickers of the Disney Princess variety (will someone please tell me where this obsession comes from – we didn’t have any of the princess paraphernalia in the house, but she’s still obsessed). Then, for her first poo in the potty, she was supposed to get a little, white horse. Last Sunday was the first day that we started potty training in earnest, and Anna spent the whole day without a diaper on (unless she was sleeping). The first pee was a little traumatic for her, but she did it and was over the moon with her princess stickers. Then, we talked about what she would get if she did a poo in the potty (the white horse). A little while later, she just sat down on the potty and pooed like there was nothing to it. As soon as she finished she said: “Have the white horsey”. I was feeling really excited that everything was going so well and Anna seemed to be getting the hang of using the potty lickety split. No, she was getting the hang of how bribery works. Once she got the horse, she lost all interest in pooing in the potty. Pees are still exciting because she still gets the princess stickers when she does those, but nothing was happening on the poo front. So, as if I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, I found something new to bribe Anna to poo in the potty. Stamps. I should have thought of this earlier. At Anna’s gymnastics class, the teacher gives them each a stamp on the back of the hand at the end of the class for a job well done. The kids just love getting the stamp. Now when Anna poos she gets a stamp on the back of her hand. It worked like a charm today. Ah, the power of the stamp.

Have you ever looked back at how you were when you were a kid, and thought: “Boy, I really hope my kids don’t do this to me.” This whole horse business reminded me of an incident when I was little and my dad tried bribing me to encourage positive behavior. I think I was about 8 or 9, and my dad thought it would be fun if I would go jogging with him on a regular basis. To encourage me to go with him, he told me that if I ran a mile, he’d buy me a new pair of running shoes and a new track suit. Anna’s princess obsession pales in comparison with my love affair with shoes. Off my dad and I went to our local YMCA. We went to the little track there, and 6 laps around the track equals a mile. I started running and with the rhythm of my running, I heard in my head: “new shoes, new shoes” in time with my feet hitting the pavement. Six laps later, it was time for my dad to pay up. I still remember the track suit – navy blue with different color satin stripes down the side of the legs and down the sleeves. The new shoes were white running shoes with green stripes. My poor dad never got me out on the track again.

In other news from Old Blighty, Elsa is about to turn 5 months. I gave her some rice cereal yesterday, and she gobbled it up. I think she’s definitely ready to start solids. She’s so big that sometimes I worry that my milk supply just isn’t enough for her. Elsa’s also rolling over from back to front all the time. She’s been rolling for a while, but now it has turned into a crazy compulsion – she can’t not roll over. The problem is that she doesn’t know how to get from her front to her back. So, I constantly have to flip her over.

We’re also in the process of getting a new house, but I can’t write about it because I’m afraid I’m going to jinx the process. Once things are firm, I’ll say more.

1 comment:

Mama T said...

Upon re-reading this story (it amuses me to no end, especially the bit about your dad), I noticed all the little UKisms in your writing. You know, like 'lickety split' and 'things are firm'. They don't speak like that over here, y'know?!