Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I am SO gonna burn in Hell for this

I am now officially a hypocrite. Just brand an H on my hand and be done with it.

Amanda and I decided before Alastair's birth that we would not lie to him. We would not fall victim to the conventional trappings of child-rearing and get our kid's hopes up over imaginary crap. No Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, no Great Pumpkin. None of that crap. Because do you remember how you felt when you realized it was all a bunch of BS? Yeah: like your parents were a bunch of liars. Nobody likes a liar.

So we eschewed it. We explained that there is no Santa Claus, but he's kind of a joke that some people tell.

But then came Mr. I-Will-Only-Poop-In-My-Pants and his thereby alluded-to problem. We tried patience. We tried non-patience (a lot). Then we realized he was constipated, so I gave him an enema and he takes Miralax daily.

For a while, things improved. For almost two weeks we had no poop in the pants.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, we had a full reversal. He poops and pees his diapers every single night now. And not after bed, either: we're talking the time between dinner and bed, which is only about 45 minutes.

So Amanda made up a story to scare him. She told him we might have to send him to a SPECIAL SCHOOL if he didn't start pooping in the potty, and only in the potty.

Last week, in frustration, I revived that story. And I elaborated until he sat there in tears, begging not to be sent away.

You see, THE SPECIAL SCHOOL is terribly ominous to a child with an overactive imagination (all the more so because it comes from a daddy with an overactive imagination):

  1. It's always cold.
  2. There are no toys, no stuffed animals, no friends.
  3. All you do--all day long--is sit on the potty.
  4. There are no movies and no TV.
  5. The teachers are all mean.
  6. The food is bad.
  7. You will probably be there thru Christmas, so no presents.
  8. No family can come to visit.
  9. The bus is coming Friday. If he hasn't pooped in his pants by Friday, I won't send him.

Last night, after sobbing over THE SPECIAL SCHOOL for 15 minutes, my son looked at me and said, "I think I need to poop on the potty." And he did.


lordhelmet said...

Holy cow, you don't mess around! You're gonna give the little guy such a complex - make sure you hide the sharp objects and maybe sleep with one eye open! I wouldn't call that so much a lie as a (hopefully) empty threat...if his compliance continues then emphasise how happy you are to have him around and glad that he's behaving. If he fails, well, I'm glad it's not me, that's all. Good luck!

Kim said...

That sounds so like Amanda. Poor kid. That would scare the shit out of me. I'd never do that to my kid...

...unless you count the time I told Katie she may have to find new parents who could potty train her since we obviously were inadequate.

Parent of the year. Aim for that. I'll be there right beside ya.

Maria said...

My sister asked me to babysit my 3 year old niece. No problem, I love the kid. She gave the lists of who to call and what to fed her. No problem. She asked me to leave the door open while I used the bathroom so Katie would se other people using the toilet. Problem.

I was thirteen, and a little evil. When I went to the bathroom, I closed the door. Katie rattled the doorknob and called out for me. So I flushed the toilet and said "help Katie, it's got me!" The rattling stopped and was replaced by sobs.

Eventually, she got over her fear of the toilet swallowing her whole. Unfortunately for me, my sister holds a grudge, and God knows if I ever have a child, she will exact similar revenge.

Little A will be fine.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight: You told your child that none of the good "magic" in the world is true and then invented a terrifying story about a bad thing that will happen to him if he can't poop in the potty. Wow. You are going to hell.

Couldn't you give him a reward for the good behavior instead of traumatizing him? Or cut him some slack?

ahamos said...

I think you got it, anon. And I did cut him some slack: "the bus came today", and he hadn't pooped in his pants, so he didn't have to go.

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Sarah said...

I am one of the Pajiba people who found myself reading your blog after your loss. I am delurking just in case you aren't joking about the Special School.

I am the parent of a 3 year old and understand your frustration, but he will learn to go to the potty consistently. It's only poop. They all learn.

How are you helping him be successful? I know that sounds all granola, but really don't you want him to get a handle on this for once and for all? If he is already taking laxatives because he is freaked out about pooping, how does telling him he'll be sent away help him? How does it help you? As you are painfully aware, his whole world recently crumbled. Isn't he allowed a little backsliding? At three, he may think his mommy is gone because he did something bad. He has no logic and now you have told him he can be sent away from you too. It's like the night you wrote about when he would not stay in bed and kept checking on you while you worked on your car; he is terrified that you are going to disappear or be lost to him and now you've told him that you will SEND HIM AWAY from his family and everyone that loves him. Couldn't you just give him some kind of reward when he gets it right? Then it's a happy ending instead of a terrified child.

Feel free to say F* you, but he needs to feel secure and you are making sure he doesn't.

In response to what you said to another poster - the bus came today", and he hadn't pooped in his pants, so he didn't have to go.

How is that cutting him some slack? Did you tell him the school wasn't real or that the bus would never come back?

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord, where do I start? Most kids aren't fully potty trained until age four so you are ahead of the curve. He just lost his mother, and potty regression is a sign of stress. If it bothers you so much talk to your pediatrician. He/she will tell you that you can't make a child use the potty. It's a developmental step which means they will achieve it when they are ready, not when you are. I know it's hard, but it does happen eventually. Love and support work much better than fear.

Eyvi Sprite said...

I understand most of you are looking out for the little guy in this and I doubt our host needs my help, but here goes: While I don't agree with his tactics, I can certainly recognize where he's coming from. You cannot tell me you have never lost your patience and said something you shouldn't have. Or, had a parenting technique your peers found odd. You're lying if you do. Cut the guy some slack, geez, tell me you could live the life he's lived the past year or so and maintain father of the year.

Gilbert said...

I have a son with ALL and im sure i have told him worse.
Trust me all you can do is your best and if some people dont agree with it o well not their child.

Nicole said...

Wow, buddy, I missed this flame war.

How about this - you're doing the best you can, with what you've got. Is Little A abused? Are you cooking meth with him in the house? Do you lock him in a closet when he's naughty? Fuck, no.

There's nothing more rude than telling someone else how to parent.

angelica817 said...

Wow! This brought back memories. We had the hardest time potty training our oldest. I can remember the frustration, bribing, (and threats-no special school, but something pretty close)! I thought this poor boy will go to high school in diapers! Well fast forward to today he is 14, and poos in the potty and he will be starting high school tomorrow (wearing underwear I might add) And just for kicks I read him this entry and asked him if he remembers our potty training trials, and he does not. May be he blocked them out :) But I must say 14 years and 2 more kids later, this too shall pass and you guys will laugh about this moment. Don't beat yourself up, you are doing a great job. Parenting is the toughest, most rewarding job out there!

Anonymous said...

This really males me sad. Please cut your kid some slack! No more laxatives or enemas. Leave it alone. Don't make this an issue. This will resolve itself. Childhood is too short. Please just enjoy him and if it's such a problem talk to his doctor and get some help.

ahamos said...

Uh...the pediatrician suggested both the laxatives AND the enema.