Friday, December 11, 2009

Knock on Wood

Jesse was a delightful and relatively calm baby and a highly destructive toddler. And I'm sad to say he's been a horrendous--if charming--preschooler.

A couple months ago I seriously almost threw in the towel with this whole parenting-Jesse business. I moaned to my mother and sister, "If I could think of just one thing I have successfully taught him." Because at the time, my record was zilch. No progress on potty training, obedience, sleeping, dressing--anything, really. And I was so tired, so frazzled, so disappointed.

I have spared you from the EIGHT MONTHS of potty training frustration, in which Jesse certainly could but under no circumstances would. I haven't told you about the ever more creative ways Jesse has not used the toilet. And the uncounted nights he's screamed through the wee hours--and the big ones, too. Actually, the screaming has often been just 'round the clock.

Anyway, all this is to say that--knock on wood--progress is being made.
  • Jesse often goes through a day making just average, preschooler-grade messes as opposed to irreparable, expensive, or exotic ones.

  • Jesse uses the toilet! On his own! All the time!

  • When it's time to go somewhere, Jesse walks outside, gets in the van, and buckles himself! As opposed to screaming like a demon and forcing Mom to wrestle him like a greased pig. (This is due to the M&Ms I distribute one at a time for each incidence of compliance.)

  • Jesse often obeys an instruction!

  • And when he doesn't, he walks to the time-out spot and sits there until the timer rings!

  • Jesse goes to bed when told! And stays there! All night long!

  • If Jesse gets up in the night, it's to do something like use the toilet instead of, say, scream at his mother for three hours!
We are certainly not out of the woods. Jesse's tyrannical irrationalism could certainly stand to be tamped down. A lot. The tantrums, though less frequent, are a frightening hurricane-grade. Sometimes Mark and I just stand by and watch while it looks like Jesse is exorcizing his own demons--frothing at the mouth, throwing himself to the ground, etc.

Also, in order to validate Jesse's individuality and desire to be powerful, I let him wear nothing but tidy-whiteys most of the time. (He feels these best display his buffness and allow him to add superhero accessories most easily.) In exchange for this freedom, he agrees to wear socially appropriate clothing when we go out. I'd like to upgrade this arrangement, if for nothing else than sanitation reasons.

But still. Progress is progress. Heaven help me, I'll take it.


  1. Hooray! So glad to hear it! Especially because, as my big sister, you are really supposed to be giving me hope in my potty training dramas. But instead you were having your own! So thanks for finally stepping up to the big-sister plate and having some good news. ;)
    The carseat thing is really quite an accomplishment too. Do you dole out M&Ms to all the kids, or just Jesse?

  2. I'm so happy to hear about the improvements! Your stellar parenting is paying off!

    Try turning the heat way down. Maybe you can chill him into clothes.

  3. These are all so good to hear. Congratulations!