Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tantrums and Poo

It all started yesterday.  I woke up with the sudden resolution to cut Xander off from his froggy potty.  It was time to graduate.  I was tired of looking at it, cleaning it, and the comments from nursery workers; "Oh.  He still pees sitting down?"  Cue eyes drifting down politely.

So I pulled out Xander's nifty little step stool, armed myself with a bowl of cereal to hone his aiming skills, and packed away the little green training potty.  Goodbye.  Thanks for the memories.  I will (won't) miss those over-sized frog eyes staring up at me every morning.

The first day went great.  And then he slept on it.  This morning, it was nearing time for his post-breakfast B.M. (the kid's as regular as an atomic clock), and we headed into the bathroom.  He had just settled his little butt down, when he looked up at me with big eyes and said, "Mommy, I can't do it.  I need my froggy potty."

Now, you have to understand.  Xander gets performance anxiety when it comes to pooping.  He won't do it in public restrooms.  He won't do it in another home.  He will let loose outside, but we're trying to break that habit.

Once I packed away that froggy potty, I wasn't going to pull it out again.  So I said, "Yes you can, Bubba.  You can do it."

But it was a no go.  Xander hopped right off the toilet and back to his Raisin Bran.  As the day progressed, I could tell he was feeling increasingly uncomfortable.  You could say that he was 'showing signs of strain.'  He argued with his B.F.F. over a toy truck.  My usually sunny little boy sprouted a perpetual frown.  He kept asking to visit the bathroom, sitting down, then getting right back off again.

Fast forward to after nap time.  I had to wake him up early for his annual well child doctor's visit.  Normally grumpy between 4:00 and dinner time, by the time we got done with the doctor he was a regular bear.  He had asked to go to the bathroom five times while we were at the doctor's office, and didn't do anything each time.

I should have gone straight home.  I really should have.  But I was out of saline solution, so I risked a trip to Walgreens.

The first tantrum happened in the eye care aisle.  He kept pushing the cart back and forth, back and forth, and when I finally had enough and put him in the shopping cart's child seat, he started screaming.  At the top of his lungs.  A lady a few feet away slid me a covert "your child's a brat" look.  I ignored it.

Then, at the checkout, the salesgirl peddled me her mandatory spiel.  "Would you like to buy some M&M's?"  she asked.  I told her no, holding my breath, but the damage had already been done.  Xander started up with, "I want candy."

"No,"  I told him.

"I want candy."


"I want candy!"  By this time the two old-timers by the register were watching me, as well as all the people in the after-work-beer-run line.

"NO.  Mommy said NO.  You can NOT have candy."  My inner frustration was bucking to be let loose.  I fiercely ratcheted it down, gripping my self control with every tattered shred of patience I had.

"I WANT CANDY!!!"  My cheeks burning, I finished up with the cashier, grabbed my screaming toddler, shopping bag, purse, and checked to make sure Sophie was at my side, then made a bee line for the door. I could feel the stare of every eye in that store pricking a hole in my back as I fled through the automatic doors.

After a severe tongue lashing (including, "You're going to tell your Daddy what you did when he gets home"), we arrived home tense and tearful.  Xander looked at me with his big blue eyes.  "Mommy, I have to go poo poo."

No kidding.

So we went in to try one more time.  He sat down.  His eyes got big.  His cheeks grew red.  His chubby fingers gripped the seat.

And then a look of blessed, blissful relief spread across his face.  Finally.

So to all of you who have never parented a 2-year old before, please let me tell you.  Don't judge that mother whose son is screaming in the store.  Because you never know what else is going on.  He might be hoarding a two foot long poo.


  1. First of all, Jackson sat on the potty until he was probably over 3. I wouldn't worry about if he's standing or sitting. It's much less messy when they sit.

    Most people were probably more impressed that you stuck to your no and dealt with a screaming toddler. I have had people come up and compliment me with screaming toddler in hand, because I said no. I thought they were staring at the meltdown that was in progress.

    You are a wonderful mom!

  2. Love it! Watching you raise Xander and Sophie has helped me be less judgmental.

  3. I just recently let Christopher start standing up:) And sometimes if I'm looking at a Mom with a screaming toodler, I'm wondering if it would help or hurt if I said something to distract the toddler - you never know how that will be received.

    And what is with people offering/suggesting food in front of other people's children?! We've had people in restaurants offer our kids their crackers or whatever before our food comes. Excuse me? Allergies? Self control? Delayed gratification? Do I want my 2yo filling up on saltines before his chicken gets here?

  4. Oh what memories that tale invokes. Good for you Mom. You stuck it out.