When your kid has special needs and challenges, we can get so caught up in just surviving each day, hour, minute - each meltdown, each fit, each therapy session and doctor visit, each expectation letdown - that we tend to establish a routine that allows us to just survive. To get through the motions and activities required to provide for our families every day.
Each part of the day contains individual struggles, and we do what we have to do to create a world in which we can survive - and then we live in it. Little by little, that world we created becomes less and less like the real world. We've made so many provisions and adjustments that what we have to do no longer really fits in with what the rest of the world is doing. We're even more "different" and even more "special."
That's where we are at, as far as potty training goes. We have created a world that works for us as a family, but it's not a world that shifts easily to the outside. To the public.
Survival mode has morphed into a world where we are fine at home, but nonfunctional when it comes to the real world. Where we keep the boys in pull ups so we can run through Target and focus on schoolwork and go to speech therapy and get enough down time and sleep each day, with minimal discomfort and screaming and mess and embarrassment. Survival mode says we should do what we must, to survive. Survival mode says it's okay to do what you have to do, to survive.
|I'm beside myself with regret that I didn't check the camera settings and this is blurry, because it would have been a fantastic shot. It's great of the trees behind him.|
For me, survival mode includes pull-ups.
Sitting in a bathroom with a boy for 40 completely pee-free minutes and then having him pee on the recliner in the living room does not constitute surviving, because it makes me want to throw things. Surviving is putting that pull up right back on when he gets off the potty, so I don't have to figure out how to get the pee smell out of my chair yet again. (I've tried covering the furniture, the boys don't like it, and they rip off any blankets or towels I put out. While one's in the bathroom, the other is throwing everything right on the floor. And my version of survival mode doesn't allow for constantly fighting with them about keeping the furniture covered, in between visits to the bathroom.)
The relief I feel when I put that pull-up back on? It's HUGE. I don't even know how tense I am, until I put the pull-up back on, and then exhale. I'm tense the whole time the kids are pull-up free. And I'm sure they feel it, and it doesn't help them to relax and learn to go in the potty.
|What would have been a fantastic shot of Zack. I'm so mad at myself.|
Stacy, a blog reader and friend, recently emailed to tell me how she was getting it done with her FX son - she just, one day, told him they were finished with diapers. Didn't plan it very much, just spur-of-the-moment, announced it. And the first day or so was tough, but he is doing pretty well with it now.
And I thought, maybe I could do that - maybe if I eliminate the planning, I'll reduce the stress. Maybe spontaneity is what we need.
And then I thought about the fact that I have two FX boys. Should I do them both at the same time? Should I do one at a time? How is the one who is not getting trained going to deal with things? For that matter, how is the one who is without pull-ups going to feel if he sees his brother getting to put them on?
This is why I think I need the school, and professional help. Or else I need valium or something to make me not care that my whole house is a pee and poo infested nightmare, while the training is going on.