Word Count: 499
Game of Thrones
By Peg Scarano
I think there are few life experiences that can compete with the excitement, anticipation, gratification, apprehension, anxiety and expectation of parenthood.
There are a lot of “firsts” to look forward to in those early years on this earth. The first smile, burp, full night of sleep, sip from a cup, real food, roll over, word, crawl, steps, friend and tooth. Of course, then there are the other “firsts” which are not as much fun like the first shot, cold, strep throat, tonsillitis, skinned knee, broken bone, hurt feelings, vomiting episode, tantrum and the first that is the most fun of all, potty training.
My first child failed wretchedly at sleeping through the night. This major accomplishment did not occur until she was almost four months old and then only because I was so tired I dropped her – I dropped her on a bed, but I dropped her nonetheless. However, she excelled at potty training! She was a mere 15 months old when she used the potty and slept diaperless through the night without accidents.
When the second came along, I didn’t think twice about potty issues. Mistake. Even with her sister encouraging her, wrapped presents and candy on the back of the toilet as promised prizes for a pee or poop, she preferred the diaper. Through bribery and begging, she finally used the potty. She was two weeks short of three years old and I saw my first gray hair.
Then came number three – my little oops who brought all four of us such joy from the day she was born. She slept all night, smiled constantly, walked at 9 months, ate like a trooper, played with anyone – the perfect child – except for the potty training. I started at a year – forget it. I started again when she turned two. She wanted nothing to do with this. By the time she turned three, she was hiding behind the couch, in her room, outside and places I didn’t even know about to relieve herself.
The promised prizes were back behind the toilet. A treasured toy was just out of reach but on display to coax her to do business. Nothing worked. She turned three in April. We opened the pool in June. The frustrated mother locked number three out of the pool gate with a new rule that children had to use the potty in order to enter the pool area. My family and friends were appalled at my heartlessness, but it worked in one afternoon. She stood forlornly at the fence with her little fingers clinging to the chain links. She didn’t cry or whine. She just watched all the kids having fun. After two hours she called out, “Mommy, I have to pee.” Not only did she pee – she pooped. And that was the end of that.
On-the-job training is all most parents have at their disposal and sometimes drastic and unconventional measures are necessary in order for us to usurp and win the ever-loving throne.