I'm going to forego both the Sunday Song and the Sunday Funny this week in order to spend a little time writing about my sweet Bryn.
She is a child after her mommy's own heart. She is incredibly stubborn. She likes to do things in her own sweet time--there's no rushing her. She is a perfectionist, and I have always thought that she just doesn't like to try to do new things until she knows that she's able. I relate to all of this, because I am the same way.
When she was a baby, Bryn refused to roll over. At most, she would roll to her side and stop there, considering that good enough for an alternate view of the room. As a new parent, I was worried about this, but after examining her, the doctor said that she seemed to be fully physically capable of doing it and just chose not to. This was my first sign of my little girl's stubborn streak.
When all the other kids her age started walking, Bryn remained an obstinate crawler. She did not walk until she was 17 months old. But when she started, it seemed that she already knew how to do it. Within a span of 24 hours, she went from all crawling to all walking, and she never looked back. Within 48 hours of her first steps, she was running around our house.
I first tried to potty train Bryn when she was 2 1/2. I probably should have tried sooner than that, but Shay arrived when Bryn had just turned 2, and all the parenting books said not to make too many changes in a child's life at once, so I waited. During that first potty training attempt, Bryn cried hysterically. She wet through six pairs of underwear in three hours. And she did not go a single drop in the potty. And did I mention the nonstop hysterical crying? We abandoned the attempt.
Since then, we have made many other fairly halfhearted attempts, all abandoned within a couple of days, when she continued to steadfastly pee in her underwear and remained unfazed by it. She started nursery school in August, and when the teachers said that they didn't usually take kids in diapers, I assured them that she was well on her way to learning. In November, Bryn's third birthday came and went, with her still wearing diapers. In May, Bryn lifted her dress over her head during the end of the year nursery school program, revealing to the entire audience that yes, she still wore diapers.
Last week, though, we had VBX at our church. I was scheduled to work in the 3 year old classroom, which was kind of fun to be with Bryn and all her classmates. On the first day of class, when the other teachers took the other kids for potty breaks, I quickly realized that Bryn was the only child in the 3 year old class who still wore diapers. I had actually long suspected this, since Ben and I work in the 3 year old Sunday school class once a month, and I've never had to change a diaper other than Bryn's in there.
By the end of the week of VBX, Bryn had also realized that she was the only one in the class wearing diapers. I asked her if she wanted to wear big kid underpants like the other kids, and she said yes. This was a major breakthrough, as she has always responded to this question in the past with a hearty "no," often accompanied by tears. But this time, she agreed placidly.
On Friday, I reminded her several times that she had agreed and told her that she could start wearing big girl underpants on Saturday (didn't want to deal with it during VBX). When she woke up on Saturday morning, I reminded her again, and she picked out which underpants she wanted to wear. Now, every other time we have had her wear underpants, it has taken bribery, and sometimes wrestling, to get her into them. But on Saturday morning, she just put them on as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
By 11:00, she had successfully peed on the potty six times. When we went out on errands, we put her in a Pull-Up just in case, but she kept it dry. She successfully peed in two public restrooms without blinking an eye. By naptime, she was no longer even asking for stickers or M&Ms as a reward; she was just doing it. When she woke up from her nap, she immediately asked to go to the potty. When we went out for dinner, she refused to suffer the indignity of wearing a Pull-Up. She wore her underpants, and while I quaked in fear that she would soak her carseat, apparently my fears were in vain. She went to the bathroom four times during dinner, but by this point, it was her asking, not us telling her that it was time to go. She woke us up in the night by yelling, "Mommy! Daddy! I need a go potty!" She asked for the potty again first thing in the morning. All day today, she has told us when she needs to go. She laughed at me when I asked if she wanted a diaper this afternoon, saying, "No Mommy, I a big girl. I wear underpants."
And all of this without one single accident.
When I think about the misery and stress of those failed potty training attempts, I just want to kick myself. I shouldn't have tried to force it, at least with this kid. I know my daughter. And I knew that she would do it when she was good and ready. It was just that I was afraid that she would be well into elementary school by the time she was "good and ready!" Ben had often mentioned that wearing diapers in high school, while expensive, would at least be a deterrant to her dating life. But it seems that this is not to be the case. Because my big girl is apparently potty trained. It seems that she was just waiting until she knew she could do it.