Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My toddler frustrates me, and yes it's OK

The last week has been a really tough one for me in terms of my three year old. I don't think I've ever been so frustrated with him before and I'm finding it harder and harder to remain calm.

Let's start with potty training, shall we. Potty training is a daunting task on it's own and while Eric was doing so well and using the potty pretty much on a full-time basis (except at bedtime), this past week he has almost refused to go on the potty which is resulting in numerous accidents throughout the day, both at daycare and at home. I honestly can't count how many times we've thrown out poopy underwear because they just weren't worth saving. I am so saddened he has regressed with this. I really wanted to buy him that shiny new Thomas the Train bike like we said we would once he started using the potty full-time; we were so close.

I suspect this regression is partially caused by the new little boy at Eric's daycare who is not potty trained as of yet. I actually spoke to his mom today, which doesn't happen often because she usually picks him up earlier than I pick up Eric. Her son is 20 months old; still young I know, but part of me really wanted to ask her to "speed up her potty training so my son would start using the potty again". Wrong? Maybe. But I bet I would have felt so much better saying it. I'll call it venting my frustration. Not her fault though, I get it. Not her son's fault either. We just have to keep plugging away with Eric to make sure he gets back on track. Which I hope is soon - I really can't take pre-rinsing anymore poopy underwear. That is frustrating within itself.

Not a mom yet? This is something you'll have to look forward to.

Even more frustrating at the moment is the ole' dragging out the bedtime routine. It's like clockwork really. You have cuddles and a snack before bed as we watch Special Agent OSO, then we go upstairs and try to use the potty, wash our hands, brush our teeth, read two to three bedtime stories, and then just when you tuck him in and say goodnight, BAM! he has to go to the bathroom; he's hungry; and/or he wants some milk, among other things.

Could you say no to a potty-training toddler when he says he has to go to the bathroom? Of course not, and he knows this; he knows that you will let him go every time, which is why he says he has to go three to four times. This is the most frustrating part, and even though I know he doesn't have to go and you try to explain that lying is wrong, you still can't say no because there is always that slight chance that he actually has to go!

It takes a lot of restraint to not raise my voice at him, but sometimes I do. I try to count in my head to five and take deep breaths but that really doesn't work. I just go back downstairs and have a really strong drink. Kidding. Really, I am. I typically just tuck him back in and threaten to turn his night light off if I have to go back upstairs. I know this sounds harsh, but I never really have the guts to turn the lights off on him since I knows he's afraid of the dark. Maybe he calls my bluff on purpose - smart kid.

But no matter how frustrated I actually get with him I've come to the conclusion that getting frustrated with your toddler is a normal part of life, for every parent. They are smarter than we give them credit for and they will push us to our limits. We just can't forget that they are learning, just like we are. As a parent we will never stop learning from our kids and vice versa. Even if I go up and down the stairs three, four, nine times because Eric says he has to use the potty, when I tuck him back in I ALWAYS tell him I love him and give him a kiss. It's my reminder to him that I really do love him even though I may raise my voice to him.

He's only three years old and it's OK for me be get frustrated sometimes - I just enjoy the drink that much more.

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