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Can’t a Little Guy have some privacy?

Submitted by on Monday, 2 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published May 12, 2008, thehive.modbee.com

WARNING: Some readers might find the contents objectionable, particularly if the reader is Little Guy in 10 years. Sorry, son. Feel free to start your own blog to counter.

The second child always is easier to potty-train, everyone assured me.

The stories are legion: A former sister-in-law swore she’d never spent a second potty-training her middle daughter, three years younger than the oldest. Kid just jumped right on the toilet and went, mom said. An older mother backed her up, but that was a bout of selective amnesia. She forgot to mention that her second kid still had accidents in early grade school.

The key factor missing in all the stories: Kids whose personalities are night-and-day different. I crafted Little Guy’s potty-training with the assumption that what worked for Big Guy would work for him.

Foolish, foolish Mommy. I should have known that a kid who’d been shy literally since the day he was born would be shy in other ways, too.

About six months ago, Little Guy gave every indication of living up to the sunny prognostications. Just before Christmas, he was asking to go potty at school. And he loved wearing underwear, even if it was over his diaper.

By the time I was ready to get serious, though, I’d missed his amiability window. “No!” he’d growl at the mere suggestion of underwear. “Wanna wear biper!”

I did what any intelligent working parent would do: I quit.

Until his teacher approached me about a month ago. “It’s time,” she said. “We just got K trained in a week – he wouldn’t go for his mom, either. It’s Little Guy’s turn.”

She suggested getting him used to the idea at school then turning it over to me. I’d planned on taking a week’s vacation soon, so we decided to put Operation Urination in place a few days before I was to take off.

That should work, she said.

Bah ha ha ha ha!

He made it through the Friday before vacation with only two accidents at school. It took me a painful week to get  close to that.

I tried M&Ms – the standard bribe at school. He’d sit briefly and demand his candy. When he didn’t get candy just for sitting, he quit doing that much.

Then I remembered the chart – squares drawn on poster board and stickers awarded for each successful mission. A small reward – a trip for ice cream – for each row completed. That’s what finally worked for Big Guy.

The second ice cream came into play, Big Guy decided he had a vested interest in getting his brother to go. He’d follow Little Guy to the bathroom, sidle up, stroke his arm and try to sweet-talk him onto the toilet. No dice. When I’d ask Little Guy if he had to go, Big Guy would chime in, “Remember, you get stickers!” No dice.

I started to take it personally his second day back at school, when he had the same pants on in the evening that he’d had in the morning. What was I doing wrong?

By Friday, I was at my wit’s end. We went to Starbuck’s after work, and I tried to coax the guys into the ladies’ room. “Wanna go in the triangle! Wanna go in the triangle!” Little Guy insisted, pointing to the men’s room. I could see us leaving before my Americana was brewed, a wet trail in Little Guy’s wake.

He finally went in and sat, but, this time, when Big Guy started cheerleading, Little Guy exploded.

“Be quiet!”

And then, in absolute dead silence, Little Guy did it. His first tinkle for Mommy, and in a public restroom, no less.

That’s when it hit me again: Geez, the guys sure are different.

Big Guy, you see, wanted a marching band, ticker-tape parade and champagne corks every time he pottied.

Little Guy wanted to be left alone

He still wants to go in the triangle room, so Big Guy and I crafted a green construction paper triangle this afternoon and taped it to the bathroom door. Little Guy was delighted.

And he still wants to go in solitude. Even I’m not allowed in anymore, which is fine with me. I’ve had quite enough of potty patrol.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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