Thursday, August 02, 2007

Big Boy Underpants!

On the heels of a week long zealous series of discussions amongst all my mom friends, (single and married alike) about potty training (as all of our kids are nearing 3, the age where the world tells us our kids had better be potty trained or else we're somehow deficient mommies), Kai just up and decided to potty train himself completely. I had nothing to do with it. He decided he'd had enough of pull ups and wanted to be free of them. Go figure.

After all the hubbub, theories, book reading, stress, and guilt related to potty training my child before he hit grade school (you don't want anyone to think YOUR child is developmentally stunted because he still wears a pull up at 2 years 11 months of age now do you?), once again Kai has shown me the simple truth about parenting. Kids develop. Like kittens. Like puppies. Like ponies. Like worms. Like all living things, kids simply develop like they're supposed to and that's why there's no user's manual. All you have to do is make sure they don't microwave the cat, climb on top of the fridge to get the bubbles (ok, I blew that one), or get in to that really nasty closet under the kitchen sink where all the bad stuff is stored. If you can keep them alive (which can be a challenge as they really try extra hard to kill themselves much of the time), kids simply develop. Better yet, they do it much more effectively if you just leave 'em alone.

Still, I have learned 2 things about potty training boys that I'll share here, although I'm rather distressed by yet another blunt dose of nature's reality as it relates to little boys being of the male species, and thus...uhh...boys. Call me on all my issues. Go ahead. I grew up in a house full of women, with an extended family of women, and only female cousins except for one. What do I know about boys? Well, I discovered what Kai's final motivation was.

After months of sticker bribes, mega sticker books, potty books, 4 different types of potty seats, potty wands, potty dances, bananas as bribes for poops on the potty (Kai wasn't allowed to have bananas unless he'd pooped that day for a bit there because I didn't want him getting constipated again), I discovered 2 things that an almost 3 year old boy will do anything for when it comes to potty training.

First: Access
Kai was used to wearing a bulky pull up. We'd had diaper free weekends before, but we're always out and about on the weekends so when he's home he may be without a diaper for a few hours at a time before I pack us up to go somewhere. This past week though I took off from work. With me being home for 5 days and refusing to go ANYWHERE until my house was clean he ran around naked for 3 solid days and LOVED suddenly having 24/7 access to his wee wee. Seriously. We look at them as our precious little babies, but they are boys. Boys like their wee wees. Very hard realization for me to swallow to be honest because now that he's begun the love affair with his wee wee, and doesn't want to wear a pull up because it blocks access to his wee wee, I'm finding myself constantly saying:
"Kai, do you have to go pee pee?"
"Kai, why are you holding your wee wee?"
"Kai, please don't play with your wee wee while you're eating!"
"Kai, do not make believe you're going tee tee on the cat!"

I'm just horrified to be honest, but this was his 1st motivating factor. Ah well.

Second: Big Boy Underpants
After wearing the same pull up for 4 days, Kai and I decide to go shopping for big boy underpants. OMG! After 3 years of little girl clothing envy I've discovered where boy clothing finally gets fun and inspirational. Underpants!

I remember when I moved to undies as a little girl. All we had were day of the week undies. That was it. Pink and white and yellow panties with maybe a bit of lace or a flower. Well. Let me tell you. Little boys undies rock! Kai now has a full assortment of Thomas, Shrek, Sponge Bob, Spider Man, and shark underpants, plus an assortment of whites and grays. If you're trying to get your kid to potty train, bring them shopping for big boy underpants and let them salivate over the Spider Man and Sponge Bob undies. That'll do it.

Kai now spends his mornings poring through his undies to determine what the theme of the day will be. Today was sharks. Shark undies, with his shark t-shirt, and his water shoes with the sharks on them. Sharks. All of it about the underpants. Yesterday was Spider Man. Spiderman underpants, with a huge picture of spider man on his bum (which I had to pick him up so he could look over his shoulder at his bum in the mirror to be sure that spider man was on his bum before I was allowed to dress him, which of course had to be all red and navy blue to match the underpants.)

The night we came home from shopping Kai had to call my sister before he went to bed to tell her all about his underpants. First thing he does when he walks in to his school is to announce his underpants and flash everyone. "Look! I'm wearing Sponge Bob!" Turns out the other boys are now all fighting over who can play with Kai's underpants when they come in from the sprinklers and have to get dressed.

Egad. Who knew?

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