Potty training has been progressing very slowly. I'm not sure why I am surprised that she is doing anything slowly (see the previous post). I mean, the child flat-out refused to walk until she was nearly 19 months old. When she was 15 months old, our doctor sent us to a physical therapist at the children's hospital. He concluded that there was nothing wrong with her, that she could walk if she wanted to ... she just didn't want to. His official diagnosis was stubbornness.
My child was officially diagnosed with stubbornness by a medical professional. Why did I think potty training would go well? Why?
We've been using an elaborate system of rewards. She gets one dinosaur fruit snack for going No. 1, two dinosaur fruit snacks for No. 2. Once she completes all of the other potty-related tasks on her own (flushing, putting her pants back on, washing her hands), she gets a sticker. She used to get the sticker just for peeing, but I have upped the stakes. Earlier in the summer, I found a huge stack of really nice children's books at a yard sale for a dime or a quarter each. I'd been using them as rewards: If she could stay accident-free from wakeup time to nap time or from naptime to bedtime, she'd get a new book.
I finally ran out of books, so I needed a new strategy. A couple of weeks ago, I found a package of balloons in our basement. Why did I have balloons in the basement? I have no idea. You can pretty much find anything in our basement these days. Once, the moms' group needed some cardboard and plastic table cloths for a craft we were doing. I went down to the basement and found ... some cardboard and plastic table cloths. If there is anything you need, I can probably find it in our basement. It's like Mary Poppins' magic carpet bag. I know we need to clean it out, but I'm a little scared of being sucked into a vortex that leads to the underworld.
Where was I? The balloons.
I cut out five circles of paper and labeled them with the numbers one through five and hung them on the bathroom mirror. Next to the number five, I hung up a picture of a "Big Reward." In this case, it was the opportunity to stay up "late" and watch Bee Movie with Mommy and Daddy. Every time she kept herself accident-free for half a day, I'd blow up a balloon and hang it on one of the numbers. Once she collected five balloons, she'd get her Bee Movie Party. She'd also get to take the balloons down and play with them, which turned out to be even more exciting than the party.
These photos aren't so good because of weird bathroom lighting, but you can sorta see it. This is my Wizard of Oz-themed bathroom, hence the weird decor. I have two Wizard of Oz clocks. They don't work, but I just tell people they're on "Oz time". The extra balloons are for decoration, to get her motivated before she had earned the first one:
Last night, she finally earned her Bee Movie party. It was very exciting. We started the movie around 5:30 or 6 p.m., but we put her in her pajamas beforehand, I put on my pajamas, and we told her it was "very late at night", and she seemed to buy that. We had "picnic food" and got to eat it in the living room in front of the TV, which has never happened before. She liked the movie, but she had a lot of questions about it. I'm glad I had already seen the movie, because I spent 90 minutes answering a nonstop stream: "What's the bee doing, Mommy? Is that his car? Is he going to school? Where is the teacher? Where is the bee's mommy? Is the daddy bee at work? Does the bee have a brother? Why is the bee flying?" and so on.
Afterward, we watched one of the special features on the DVD, which was a music video of "We Got the Bee." You know, like the Go-Gos song: "We got the bee, we got the bee, we got the bee ... YEAH! We got the bee!" Jerry Seinfeld was in it (as himself, not as a bee cartoon), and I pointed him out, but she didn't care. A few weeks ago, though, we did teach her to say, "Hello .... NEWMAN!" Funniest thing ever.
Anyway, the Bee party is over. I hope we made some progress. The next reward is going out for ice cream. She's already earned one balloon. This means that Mommy gets ice cream, too, so I'll be extra encouraging on this one.