Saturday, August 13, 2005


Be careful what you wish for

We were in the car, on the way home from dinner at Boston Pizza with my folks.

We were just pulling into the driveway and Tristan was talking, as he often does, about which trains he would like to get next. "I'd like to get metal Thomas and Annie and Claribel."

I'm only half paying attention, because we have this conversation about three times a week, but instead of my usual, "Well, then, you'll have to be a good boy and maybe Santa will bring them for you," I say apropos of nothing, "Well, maybe when you go in the potty all the time, you can get metal Thomas and Annie and Claribel."

Tristan is instantly and irretrievably fixated on this idea. By now Beloved has liberated him from his car seat, and Tristan runs to the front door, positively babbling about no more diapers and pee-ing in the potty and metal Thomas and Annie and Claribel, and I try my best to backpedal and rein him in just a bit by saying things like "If you p ALL the time in the potty, and no more diapers. No diapers, EVER. And you have to P in the POTTY!" I say, trying to head him off at the pass, knowing this will come back to bite me in the ass, but I know he's not listening. I'm in trouble.

He rushes into the house and up the stairs, and by the time we make it upstairs he is half undressed for his bath, begging us to take off his diaper so he can P in the potty, and of course he does, for the first time in a month or more, and he hops off with glee and cries, "NOW I can have metal Thomas and Annie and Claribel!!" He's now more willing to negotiate some of the details, and has at least entertained the possibility of pee-ing in the potty from now on, inasmuch as to his three year old brain "from now on" means for the next 11 seconds.

I have my doubts that this whole scam will work. The train bribe thing worked with giving up the soother, but that was a direct swap, soother for Gordon. This whole potty thing is a little less concrete.

I'm thinking madly tonight, trying to come up with a plan before morning when we'll have to make some sort of decision on this. I can't help but feel we're on the precipice on this one, and if I step wrong, we're in for another three years of diapers. I know how his little brain works, and am willing to bet that if we set a finite time that he has to use the potty to earn those trains, on the day we come home from WalMart with trains in hand he will walk through the front door and ask for his diapers back. I don't want to pressure him with a "sticker for every dry day, 10 stickers equals new trains" scam either. On the other hand, my potty training strategy to date isn't winning the Nobel prize either.

Crap, this parenting stuff isn't as easy as it looks!