Thursday, July 26, 2007


Potty training redux

So. Potty training. I've been through this once before, and even though it took three and a half years for Tristan to show the least little bit of interest in the potty, once we took the plunge it was a reasonably painless and mess-free process. It took four or five days and we had maybe that many accidents before he completed the transition from diapers to underwear, and I was surprised if not highly pleased with how easy the whole thing turned out to be.

I'd been holding out until Simon was the same age, figuring the same internal switch would flip in his head (maybe even earlier, since every other milestone has been bumped up by virtue of the "monkey see monkey do" little brother syndrome) and potty training Simon would be a breeze.

Not so much.

Simon, I seem to need to learn over and over and over again, is not Tristan. He's not as easily motivated as his brother. With Tristan, he had his heart and head set on Annie and Claribel coaches to go with his Thomas Tank Engine sets, and once we told him he could earn them with stickers by going on the potty, he was all over it like, well, like a dirty diaper. We put up one of those little cataloges that come with the trains beside the toilet, and Tristan would happily sit on the potty and gaze at the entire population of the Island of Sodor.

Simon is a different creature. He's not obsessed with anything the way Tristan was at this age, and he doesn't seem the least been interested in transitioning out of diapers, even though he professes to be a big boy and is more than capable of at least peeing on the potty when the mood strikes him.

I think, though, that we've finally found his motivation. Queen Amidala. Yes, the one from the second Star Wars trilogy.

The boys are certified Star Wars junkies now. It does my heart good to see them running around the house with their little light sabers, pretending to be Darth Vader and Darth Luke (that would be Luke in his dark Jedi outfit from Return of the Jedi. No amount of explaining will convince them that he's not a "Darth" at all.) They hum not only the major themes, but the love theme and the victory theme, all day long. They quote large portions of the first trilogy from heart, and they while away their precious computer time playing Star Wars Lego, the video game.

Which brings us to Queen Amidala. They wouldn't know about her, or even the existence of the second trilogy, except Beloved brought a Phantom Menace Star Wars Lego video game home from the library a while ago, and Simon has been asking to see the Queen Amidala movie ever since. Purist that I am, I've decided that the Phantom Menace and its sequels are too violent and too dark for a three and five year old.

This week, Simon paused from some imaginary play where Luke Skywalker (a battered original action figure just like the one I had when I was a kid, scored from a local flea market) joined forces with Queen Amidala (represented by a Polly Pocket doll) against a pirate from a Playmobile set. Simon looked up at me with wounded brown eyes and said, in an unmistakably accusatory tone, "You won't let us watch the Queen Amidala movie." So struck a deal. If he fills his chart with stickers earned by going on the potty, he can watch the Queen Amidala movie.

Does it strike anyone else as wrong to put a poster of Natalie Portman in the bathroom for inspiration?

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