Just last night I was telling my husband that I was at war with motherhood. Parenting blew up in my face yesterday and I was wiping shrapnel off my shoulders and pulling glass out of my hair and eyes all day! For years we used Love and Logic - and guess what- it worked, and it was easy with my girls. Then I had a boy and I forgot how to be empathetic unless my son was sleeping - then I felt all kinds of empathy, but for myself and my lack of sleep for 5 years. He just turned three and now I am finally back on track with Love & Logic. I laugh at myself sometimes when I sing uh-oh, and I feel so empowered when I dish out a consequence and my son understands why it’s happening. Then yesterday he decided to fight back. When it was time to get my daughter from school, he decided he didn’t want to try to go potty. It’s been a rule since he potty trained a month ago – get all your pee-pee out before we get in the car. He wouldn’t go. I decided to allow natural consequences happen if he chooses not to pee before we leave the house. We get to school and he’s playing and building a factory out of large rocks. I thought for a moment tornado must have come through and tossed a factory wall through the air, but I knew it was my son throwing large rocks. While talking to my friend, I knew it would be easier to just say, “Hey, rock factory builder, don’t do that again, okay?” But trying to get back into Love & Logic, instead I walked over and said “Uh-Oh, if we choose to throw rocks, we can’t play with them.” Then I quietly put the remaining rocks in the rock pile and walked away with my son in my arms. Son-0, Mom-1, right? Then he realized he was in my arms and not building a rock factory and decided plucking my throat and sticking his tongue out at me was a great reaction to pulling him away from the rocks. I’m on a roll with loving consequences and I’m loaded with empathy, so without saying much beyond an ‘uh-oh,’ I take him to the car and tell him because he chose to pluck me and stick his tongue out at me, he’ll have to wait in the car (that is just a few feet from where we were standing outside by the way) until his sister is out of school. About three minutes later, his sister and I walk to the car and I’m thinking how great this will be, sure there will be tears, but I’m confident they won’t be mine at least. I get to the car and start off with love and logic choices right away. “Do you want to climb in your car seat or would you like me to put you in your car seat?” I’m so winning! Though sobs and tears, I hear, “I don’t want you to touch me (I’m thinking, uh oh, how sad) because I am wet.” !! Wet? I look at him and his pants are soaked and even worse…his brand new shoes are wet. Yep, the shoes we just bought two days prior because, guess….he peed in the old shoes and I couldn’t get them clean. Sure, they were several months old and he was ready for new shoes, but really they smelled like pee and once they were peed in, they needed to be replaced….you know, so he could pee in new shoes! Son-1, Mom-1 We’ll be okay. I pull the shoes off, take off his pants, get him in the car seat and drive home. Vinegar, Lysol and sunshine fix the shoes, and I’m back to winning. Within minutes of being home and trying to remain calm and empathetic, we get a call from a friend that invites us over to play. Sure, we’d love to. We get ready, get out to the car and I notice his car seat is urine soaked! Thanks to some Tide stain remover, Lysol and some diapers to sit on, we were able to hop in and go play.
Fast forward a few hours later, we decide to head to the movies. You know, I’m not having such an easy day so far, so why not throw in an evening at the theatre - on a school night, during dinner time, with three young children who all expect their own drinks and their own huge box of candy to consume in only an hour and a half – why not? My son follows my lead and pees on the potty before we get in the car. He won’t go before the movie. No big deal. After the movie he says he has to go….but he won’t. I have a potty in my car just for those occasions when he won’t use a public restroom. I almost wish I had one for myself! When we get to the car I remind him of the little potty in the back of the car. He won’t go. Only about five miles from the theater he has to go. Another ten minutes go by and he has to go very badly. I can’t hear Jim Fay in my head telling me a great sing song catch phrase to use filled with love and empathy. I pull off the interstate, take him out of the car to use the little potty and he throws a fit and tells me he wants to hold it until we get home. We drive. Another seven minutes goes by and he says he has to use the little potty. We are about five minutes from home, but I pull into a neighborhood, take him out of the car and put him on the potty where he pees. When I pull up his underwear I notice they are a little wet. “Sorry, Mommy.” I want so bad to lecture him about going before we get into the car…or hey, go on the side of the road if I stop, but I just hugged him. Well, I may have slipped in one, “Maybe we should try to go potty before we get in the car.” “Sorry, Mommy.”