As per a recent request, today I have a Carter story.
Carter is 22 months old. This means she will be 2 in July. I’m fairly certain that in most things, she’s been right on target for developing at the same rate as the books say she should (or even that her big sister did). Mind you, both of them have been, for the most part, the right size for their age all along, and seem to be basically average in all the developmental milestones (walking, talking, feeding themselves, etc). I’m not big on the mom-style competitions of asking others how and when their children learned or started doing certain things. My thought is, when we reach a milestone, I’ll figure it out. Knowing how and when others tackled the basics (things like sleeping through the night and potty training) has no bearing on how I plan to tackle them. On the other hand, if there is a mom or a child whom I particularly admire, I’m not above copying.
So. Potty training. Let me say for the record, no, Carter is not potty trained. Nor am I actively potty training her. However, she has a very regular poop schedule. Therefore, when we have the time, it is not particularly difficult to put her on the potty when said “time” arrives. This simply means one less dirty diaper for me to change. And believe me, wiping a bottom off the potty is FAR easier, quicker, and more pleasant than changing a dirty diaper. So last Thursday, Mommy and Carter synchronized schedules, and pooping on the potty happened. Twice.
A few things that have made this little accomplishment easier than it was with Eliott:
- Carter learning, understanding, and loving the action of and the word “toot.” She announces it every time she does it, with a giggle. She announces every time John does it, also with a giggle. When she first did it, it was cute enough at the dinner table that we laughed. She internalized this bit of attention and has continued it unceasingly (the old, if it is funny once, it is funny a million times tactic). Though it is no longer funny at the dinner table (well, okay, it still is, but we have to pretend it isn’t), it has made for easy directions when pooping on the potty. One thing many kids struggle with when potty training is the absence of the comfort of a diaper, and learning to simply let go. All I have to say to Carter is, “Can you make a toot?” and potty success generally follows shortly thereafter.
- Knowing what M&M’s are, knowing she likes them, and her very keen albeit premature grasp of quid pro quo. Eliott was fully 2-and-a-half before we even began potty training. Though it only took exactly one weekend (and a very timely accident at Barnes and Noble one evening), Eliott was impervious to bribes. I created and proceeded to eat directly in front of her a bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce and M&Ms on top, declaring, “All you have to do is go poo-poo and this too, can be yours.” It just made her confused and angry. Carter not only seemed to understand, “Go poo-poo on the potty and you can have an M&M,” but she remembered it the next time, and still does.
As I’ve mentioned before, Carter doesn’t often speak about things she is not looking at, which, among other things, makes for very difficult phone calls with grandparents. The idea that she can remember for later, ideas or moments which happened hours or even minutes before, is far too abstract for her concrete development to crack. Or so I thought. Because on Thursday after lunch (the 2nd potty accomplishment of the day), when she realized what she had done, her eyebrows and ears perked up (much like those of a cat when it senses dinner just before the can is opened), she smiled, and said, “Yaaaaaay…” sort of quietly. Her hesitation was burst when I joined in with the verbal celebration. At that, she announced, “I want. M&M.” We went downstairs to retrieve two M&Ms, and with her grimy little palm extended she then said, “Daddy. Poo-poo. Potty. Goo-grrrl.”
“That’s right, Carter. You tell Daddy you went poo-poo on the potty. He’ll say, ‘Good girl,” I said, pretending this is what she meant.
This is exactly what she meant.
Four hours later, when John came home from work, and she announced the same Carter-style sentence, his response was, “Yes Carter, poo-poo goes in the potty.” Thank goodness for Eliott, our translator, who immediately cleared things up.
Let it not be mistaken. My girls have a favorite. They know who and what is most important to them. Accomplishments, and M&Ms, are so much better when Daddy is included.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.