We decided to trick Zeke for one more year. We told him that this coming Saturday is Halloween, which is the day we will be attending a trunk-or-treat party at church. So what if he waits one more year before actually knocking a door? On Saturday there'll be way too much candy and lots of kids in costumes and good, safe fun. Where we live there isn't really an option for trick-or-treating anyway - I met a lady across the street from us who said she'd lived in her home for 18 years and never had a trick-or-treater, and she'd taken her boys through the neighborhood when they were little and never had a door opened.
And now for a preview of my incredibly handsome boys:
Ben the Pumpkin
(He's modeling just the hat here, there's more to come)
We went to a pumpkin patch and didn't buy a pumpkin. But we had lots of fun jumping in the bouncy houses and petting some farm animals. Well, okay, Zeke did not have fun petting the animals. There was a feisty ram who scared him.
This is Ben. He went to the pumpkin patch too, but he was busy eating an apple as big as his face so the pictures aren't that great. Here's Ben at home playing with a bean bag (and about to get kicked by Zeke).
It turns out that potty training does not simplify my life. Now, I have one additional battle to fight each time we try to leave the house, I must carry "emergency" supplies for Zeke in case of an accident, and I'm starting to feel guilty about all the time Ben spends wandering the house alone while Zeke and I sit in the bathroom (see picture below).
Potty training is also a never ending process. (Okay, maybe it's a 10 year process, but that feels like forever right now.) Turns out that total potty training will require Zeke to grow an additional 5 inches to be able to reach the sink to wash his hands with the aid of the step stool, an additional year for him to develop the impulse control to not flip ALL the toilet paper off the roll, and maybe another six months for him to be not quite so exited about seeing his poop in the pot.
I'm starting to see some fraying at the edges, however, probably because we still use diapers during nap time and bedtime and he's taking note of the conveniences. He just doesn't seem to mind the feeling of a wet, cold diaper, or a squishy brown surprise. M&Ms can only do so much - how do I motivate a 2 year old to do anything he doesn't really want to do himself?
We didn't quit.
He's quite an amazing boy, I think, because he's had only 2.5 accidents since we started with underwear, and there's been no bowel accidents. He is proud of his big boy underwear and he's generally very excited to go "potty training" (which means, 'go pee in the pot'. Sometimes he's too cute to correct).
Zeke had a spot of trouble on Thursday related to a bowel movement. We had a very successful start - that morning he made a small offering in the pot which I celebrated loudly. We promptly got a hold of Dad on a video chat and did some more celebrating. Then Zeke announced that he had to "go potty training" again, and we hustled off to the bathroom. He sat on the pot for about 10 minutes with no result. When I suggested that he get off, get an M&M and come back later if he needed to, he immediately melted down, kicking and screaming and crying and refusing to get off the pot. (He took a swing at Ben when I got close and tried to help him stand up.)
I stayed calm and told him that I would help him off the pot whenever he decided he was ready - something that never happened. I forcibly took him off the pot about 40 minutes later when it was time for a nap. And yes, he was screaming and crying that entire time.
Today, Friday, we had no meltdowns. That is an incredible blessing. But we've also had no poops. In light of yesterday's micro-poop I am beginning to suspect a constipation battle. There's a plan for tomorrow that includes natural laxatives, more water and a trip to Awesome Park, so cross your fingers.
Today, Zeke wore big boy underpants for approximately 1.7 hours. He peed in the pot once, got two M&Ms as a reward and was privileged to drink apple juice and grape soda.
Then, at approximately 9:15 am, Zeke melted into a weeping, gnashing pile of two year-old. I changed him into a diaper at 10:15 am, hoping that it would reestablish balance. I was wrong. The tantrums lasted until nap time when he cried himself to sleep. He woke early from his nap, told me he was disappointed I was not his father, and resumed his tantrums.
I may not have strength enough for more potty training.
This morning Zeke refused to wear the big boy underwear. I didn't push the matter. After the first diaper change of the day, I suggested again that we try the underwear and Zeke accepted. He pulled the underwear up, worked on his shorts, and announced that he had to go pee.
I was very excited and rushed all of us to the bathroom for the procedure. I knew that there would likely be no pee (we had just changed his diaper and he hadn't drunk anything in the last hour), but that was ideal for a first attempt. He wasn't actually in dire straights so I could be urgent without rushing.
When he was all done, dressed and washed up, I cheered him on as he went to his special money dish to get a coin for the M&M machine:
He enjoyed getting the coin, putting it in the slot, turning the crank, and watching two M&Ms fall into the slot at the bottom. He even shared one with Mama. With chocolate dripping from his lips, he chewed his M&M and announced, "Zeke wants to potty train!" and dashed back into the bathroom to go again.
We spent much of today in the bathroom. It was miserable for Ben, exhilarating for Zeke and exhausting for me. But he stayed dry all day, even at the park. There was a minor nap time leak, but I expected that (and worse).
Tomorrow I am going to stress emptying the bladder completely before getting off the pot, and I think I will stop rewarding just sitting - there must be actual tinkling to earn an M&M.
Just a heads up - I have decided that it is time to potty train this boy:
You'll notice I wrote "I have decided" and not "he has decided", which may be foreshadowing. But he has many of the skills required for potty training - the ability to pull his pants off and on, the ability to flip the roll of toilet paper so that it spins sheets and sheets onto the floor, the ability to climb onto step stools with ease, and the ability to take off his diaper at will.
I have a plan, and I purchased some gear for the event, including a new spray bottle dedicated to a baking soda solution that will deodorize my carpet. I think I'm prepared for an onslaught of laundry and I'm ready to be patient and loving no matter how many failures he has. Trouble is, I'm never ready for a day of staying inside all day long.