Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why their wives will be potty training them

I am a patient person. I am consistent and reliable and patient and I love my children dearly. In my work life I've helped dozens of adults and children learn to use the bathroom independently, whether for the first time or re-learning following a car accident or stroke, etc... I know what to do and how to do it and I am excellent at teaching my children new skills.

But I quit. These boys will never be potty trained.

Tyler is almost ready. I know he's at that place that if he just paid attention one time he'd get it. Just once. One day hopefully it will just click for him on its own, preferably before college. Fingers crossed. He's just much more excited be to be able to stick his hand freely down the front of his shorts and check out the neighborhood. I guess it's the little things in life ;)

Dax, on the other hand, is not ready. Not even close. He's so stinking smart, though, and I know with him things will just click, too, one day, and it will all make sense. He just seems so desensitized to discomfort and doesn't know that wet or dirty is bad when it comes to pee or poop. Doesn't bother him at all. Couple that will a g-tube liquid schedule which causes him to pee a lot in the morning and overnights but not so much in the afternoons, as well as a poop schedule that, Miralax or apple sauce or prune juice be damned, leaves him pooping a small country every three days whether we want him to or not, and, poof, you have a recipe for difficult toilet training.

Of course, I blame the mother. I haven't spent nearly enough time working on it, and my work schedule sucks, therefore we're left with endeavors into potty training that are fit into when it is convenient for me. That doesn't work in the potty world, and I know better, but you work with what you got.

Fast forward to today. I'm refreshed from a recent vacation, as caught up as I ever get, and I thought, "Today I will get the boys potty trained."

Our early interventionist told me earlier this week that she knew of someone who'd ditched undies and just used pants because there was more of a sensation of pee running down the legs, so I break out the shorts and pants. I strip down the boys and start pumping Dax with fluids via tube and tossing Ty a sippy cup any time he looks my way. We get on the big potty and play. I put a potty chair in the living room and have them sit and play. I put in Elmo's Potty Time video and we sing and sit on the potty and we dance and sing and play.

Meanwhile, both boys wet their pants. No biggie. We're just getting started. They'll get this today!!!

Dax comes over and he sits on the little potty, and it was then that I noticed a smell and saw a little poop smear on the seat. Holy crap on a cracker, I've actually just caught him right before a third-day poop!

I grab him up and we ruuuuuuun to the big potty and I sit him there and he starts immediately trying to get down. He cries, and he fights, and he screams, and he cries, and he flails, and he cries...

(I should add here that, historically, Dax has always had to squat to poop. You can sometimes tell it's about to go down (pun intended) by watching him bounce up and down into the squatting position for a bit, or if he comes and gives you a big bouncing lap dance.)

I know potty training time should be fun, but I also know that, for Dax to be successful with this particular poop, he's got to stay on the potty until he's finished. So, I hugged him and kissed him and I sang to him and we made poopy faces and I taught him to put his feet up on the toilet seat and hold on to the kiddy handles and push and we yelled "Out, poop, OUT!" and we yelled "Poop KING!" and we yelled "Get OUT of my belly!" and I gave him tummy massages and squeezed his stomach and after over 20 minutes of almost continuous crying on his part, and me agreeing it was time to fail so he wasn't scarred by the potty for life, I picked him up and carried him over to the diaper basket so he could exorcise the demons.

And that's when the shit hit the fan.

Not literally, but close.

Dax's feet had not even hit the floor yet when he pushed himself into a squatting position and shot poop across the carpet and onto the couch.

It. Just. Kept. Coming.

Tyler, of course, immediately steps in it.

I picked Dax back up and ran back into the bathroom, putting him back onto the potty, ripping off his poop-covered socks. I clean Ty's feet, get him out of the living room, and lock the gate, letting him run his newly naked hiney around the kitchen while I tend to poopapalooza. I got Dax's butt cleaned up, get him down, and then let him run around the kitchen while I venture into the living room to assess the damage. One plastic bag and 20 wipes later I was almost ready to get the carpet cleaner out and life would be good again.

But wait.

When I walk back out into the kitchen, I find Lola the bulldog licking the floor and Dax's leg. He has pooped again, and peed this time, and she is cleaning it up for me. Dax slips down in the pee/poop/dog slobber puddle. I pick him up and clean him up once more.

As I went to get a diaper to put on him, he pulled out his g-tube. All the fluids I had been forcing into his tummy? Squirting out onto the floor with that lovely stomach acid smell we all know too well.

Lola came over to help clean that up, too.

I diapered up the boys, I got his g-tube put back in, I wiped off any of the various residues, I cloroxed the floor, and I scrubbed the living room floor and couch. I got the poop off my phone, off the counter top, off the little potty chair, off the baby gate, off the wall, and any other place with evidence.

Then I had a pity party and showered.

And now I'm eating the M&Ms that were purchased for their potty training successes.

My treat for a dismal potty training failure.

The spring. Maybe I'll be brave enough again in the spring.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Special needs parenting... Said better than I ever could

I saw this on another blog and... Wow.

So perfectly written by Candace Barnes - A Cerebral Palsy Mom

Parents of special needs kids get so fed up with having to deal with people who may not be uncaring but simply don't take the extra moment to understand. We are connected to our children in ways that other parents cannot understand. We know without anything being said just what is needed at any given moment. We learn to anticipate what will happen next. We become educated in the legal, medical, and government arenas more than some people who have degrees in those fields. We learn to fight the fight and go into battle with a smile on our faces because we have to not because we want to. We learned the hard way just what must be sacrificed in order to get the care and attention our children need. We learned to give more of ourselves to that child than we would ever conceive of giving to another human being. We not only live it, eat it, sleep it, we also dream it. Our lives are consumed by the care of our children. Our lives don't exist except for the care of our children. Everything we do revolves around what may be needed next for that child. We have been humbled, humiliated, felt guilty, made ashamed, brought to the point of begging at times, made angry, made determined, driven to the point of desperation, all for the sake of our children. We have sat in hospitals for days, weeks, months praying that our child makes it one more day, praying that our child lives long enough to know how much we love them, stood the onslaught of surgeries that could be life threatening, procedures that could make the situation worse, been through treatments that would make a grown man cringe, all in an attempt to make our children better. We have died a little inside every time our child cries from the pain of all these things. We have dispensed more medication than a pharmacy could hold. We have tried every crazy experiment, every suggestion made, every piece of equipment, every new medication, every strange idea on the hope that it might work. We have dealt with quacks, conmen, inexperienced people, uncaring individuals, rudeness, and cruelty toward our children. We have lost everything, sold everything, traded everything in the pursuit of help for our children. We have given up friendships, family, relationships, and marriages all for our children. We have other children that have given up parts of their lives for this child. Children who never complain while they do without so this child may have something needed. We have learned to be realistic people. We know how bad the situation can get and that we may lose our children before their time yet we hope for that one cure that will make it all go away and give us our lives back. We hope that we can help another parent or people in the future by sharing our ideas, thoughts, angst, miseries, hopes and dreams. We have been made strong by the honor of being in the presence of a child with the courage to face more needles, more doctors, more surgeries, more treatments and procedures with a smile on their face. We have stood strong when our children have lost the battle and gone before their time. We say we are okay all the time when inside we are struggling to make it one more day. We know the potential our children have, we see their abilities as well as their limitations when they go through the procedures, treatments, surgeries, and struggle to accomplish even the smallest tasks. We are made strong by seeing the courage, determination and – most of – the hope in that child’s face every day. We do this EVERY SINGLE DAY of our lives. So PLEASE do not treat us as if we do not know what we are talking about. We have learned to face down worse tragedies, more complicated messes, and deal with more situations than you can imagine. We have been bent, sometimes broken, medicated, treated, depressed, angry, sad, and most of all a little fearful of the future. We have slayed more dragons, conquered more worlds, invented more items, discovered more truths, and all for a smile when that child is happy. We are diplomats, advocates, fighters, unlicensed doctors, therapists, surgeons, nurses. We are a formidable force to be dealt with when it comes to our children. We have neglected our spouses, other children, housework, jobs, friends, family, society, and our own health because we have been busy in the pursuit of a better life for our children. So do not think that we are incompetent – instead remember that we are soldiers in the battle for a better life. We are more focused on which battles to pursue. Not for ourselves but for a person who cannot do it for themselves. So listen to us when we speak because we know what we are talking about. Don’t talk down to us, respect the fact that we are caregivers of the most special people in the world. We have an honor you will hopefully never receive, we earned it the hardest way possible, and we carry that badge of honor with us in every single thing we do, every word we speak, and every action we take.