The first step in my journey to recovery is to admit I am powerless over my daughter’s bowel movements.
Zoe is coming up on three years old, which means, among other things, that she is discovering creative ways (infuriating for her parents) to assert her power an autonomy. There are the theatrical moment where she prostrates herself across the kitchen floor because I didn’t let her choose her own gummy vitamin from the bottle, as well as fuming mini-rages whenever her brother yanks something from her hands.
For those without more than one kid in the house, this happens several times an hour. Slightly less when they are asleep.
But the queen mother of all power plays for a toddler happens below the waist. Zoe has figured out that claiming she has to poop in the potty equates to unlimited Little Einsteins cartoons. We put her mini-potty in front of the TV so she will tolerate spending more time on it. That. combined with some baby laxatives, sometimes leads to fruitful results.
But not always. She’s taken to claiming a false poop emergency whenever she feels like watching the tube. half an hour later, she’ll get up, giant rad ring around her but from the seat and nothing down below.
Then there’s bed time. Her favorite ploy is to get up right after we put her down, claiming she has to go to the restroom. Since we’re in training mode (not sure who is training whom), we try to honor all such requests. But she has been known to stretch bed time out an extra hour with a string of false alarms. By the end, I’m about ready to stick a cork in her back end until morning.
Just this afternoon, I was trying to get her down for her nap so I could catch the baseball playoff game. All I can say is thank God for DVRs. The first time, she pooped herself, and then sat at the top of the stairs, playing with her night light. After a quick change, I put her back in bed with a warning. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be enough, though.
Five minutes later, she was calling for me. She had peed so much in her new diaper that it had leaked all over the bed. Now, her mom probably would change the sheets, but I’m a guy, and that’s not how we roll. Cover up the pee spots with a nearby blanket, strap on another diaper, and back to bed.
A few minutes later I find her at the top of the stairs, trying on her genuine wooden clogs from Holland. They are pretty cute, but this, combined with yet another hint of eu-de-poopoo is enough to strip the moment of any and all endearment.
This time, I bring the hammer down; the Pillow Pet goes away. This, of course, leads to tears, which actually are a good sign in this exchange. I’ve discovered that once she cries, she actually falls right to sleep. Though it’s tempting to pinch her or tell her our dog, Maggie, kicked the bucket to expedite the sorrow, I generally just let her escalate to this emotional zenith on her own.
More than an hour later, I’m hammering out this blog as a form of emergency therapy, and there has been blissful silence up above going on five minutes now. On the bright side, I have enough time saved up in the game to skip past nearly all of the commercials.
What can I say? I’m an optimist.
Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004. Christian is the creator and editor of “Banned Questions About The Bible” and “Banned Questions About Jesus.” He has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called “PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.” For more information about Christian, visit www.christianpiatt.com, or find him on Twitter or Facebook.