Monday, February 21, 2011

Potty Training a Child Without Lyme...

Is So Different Than training one with Lyme disease. My two older children, E and A, both have Lyme (infected in the womb), although we didn't know what was wrong until A was two and E was four.  The monthly fevers, the crying, the random rashes that doctor's scratched their heads over and said "weren't contagious, probably not a big deal," (but they were), the throwing up, the fatigue and meltdowns... the amplification of every regular thing that two and three year olds do... that is wearing enough on a family.  Add not being able to figure out WHY the 103 degree fevers happen once a month --I used to time them.  We had a big calender, and I could accurately predict within two days when A would start having night terrors and bed wetting and screaming spells, followed by sunken looking eyes and the big fever for a couple of days. Our docs? Still baffled, until WE told them what was wrong...after my diagnosis. All incredibly demoralizing to a new mom.

But it was also strangley demoralizing as a mother to have a three and a half year old who was not potty trained.  We knew they were smart. We knew they were capable. We knew they were sick, too, although we didn't know why yet, when E was that age. Sir was working from hom then, so we had not one but two adults (one able bodied, one, meh.) working on this project. But, although both children, in their own times, trained beautifully for two weeks out of the month, then they would start in with accidents and continue into the fevers, with everything falling apart. Every month... two weeks of training, one week of nastysick, one week of recovery/starting over, lather/rinse/repeat. Nevermind my own sickness- who cares about training when you're too sick to be awake? Let's watch Dora in the recliner while Mama nurses the baby and sleeps, k?

And so... both of my older children trained shortly AFTER they each turned four, when they finally could manage to stay dry all day (mostly) and through the night. SO, when my second child, A, started training at 2, my first child, E, was still in diapers, at 3.7. They still had accidents until they were sevenish, but mostly finished training at four.  Two long years, each, overlapping with both training during one of the years. Yowsa.

I felt like a failure as a mother... why could I not get these children potty trained?  But at the same time, I felt restrained from doing anything drastic about it, no major missions or yelling at the little ones.  It was jsut as frustrating for them as it was for me.... well, almost. I could see how hard they worked at this goal, how much they wanted to be able to do it... and how frustrated they were at being unable to continue when the sickness began.  They wanted the joy of being trained almost as much as we did.

Pause four years, and then enters little mr. e- or, Captain America, as we call him.  Third child.  Post Lyme treatment for me.  And, so far, he's symptom free, and just turned two. 

Potty training this one?  Piece. Of. Cake.  He won't wear a diaper and wants to be naked, but he also rarely has accidents.  He happily uses the little or big potties interchangeably and tells me when he needs to go. He refuses diapers because he really wants to learn. Is he just a merry little soul? 

The lack of Lyme, to me, is a huge difference...  there is continuity, no stopping and starting, no giving up as he lies limply in my arms burning with fever.  You can't forcibly train a small one as they lie limply in your arms burning at 104 degrees...even if that is regeur for your family.  This time, I'm not doing anything differently... except maybe not trying to start him training before the age of 2, which is making a difference as well.

So, what's the big deal?  Why am I telling you this, all about the differences in toilet teaching a two year old without Lyme?  Someone needs to know it. I wish I had known it. 

If you're training one with Lyme this time, it's going to be different than if you've trained without.  I was so blessed to have sisters and mothers who didn't push us, who knew something was different with our children, no matter how smart and wonderful they were, that it didn't matter if they just weren't trained yet.  The only emotional beating I got was from myself, not outsiders looking down at me, asking why MY kids weren't trained when their 18month olds were.  Even if I thought they might be. 

I want you to know, if you are facing this trouble, if you have a child of any "difference,"  if it is Lyme, if it is ADHD, if it is any sickness from Babesia to wherever, that it's going to be ok.  If it is possible, it will happen, eventually. If your child is so ill that it is not possible, and it doesn't happen, and they have diapers forever...well, we do what we have to do.  But, it is no reflection on your parenting if your child is one of the thousands who look "average,"  seem "normal," and have outward appearances of every other child their age, and still has accidents or need nighttime care, or who is embarassed for their bladder still trying to catch up with the growth of their bodies.  It just doesn't matter. There are far more important things to focus on in life.

I did have one distant great uncle who, seeing that my E at six was still having periodic accidents, recommended that we treat her like he treated his oldest son, who, when he had an accident, would be shamed for it, then squirted off in the yard, naked, with a garden hose. I was horrified and embarassed... not for my daughter, but for his then grown son.  It amazed me that uncle could, in one breath, recommend childrearing practices to me, and in the next breath, say that his same son was doing much better in rehab (really), his plugged and tatted and heroined self luckily recouping.  I wonder, in the end, if those two stories were related, after all?

My two older bairns are bright, happy, smart, healthy as possible (when possible) and diaper free (at eight and ten, thankfully), and no longer randomly pull their pants down in the back yard while screaming "I have to PEEEEEEEE!"  (yes, startling the neighbors). 

But, wow. It is so different to be training a (hopefully) Lyme-free child. 

Kinda freaks me out, though. I told Sir that I'd consider thinking about maybe sometime us having one more child, but only once little e was both weaned and potty trained, because if I'm going to spend another year in a wheelchair puking like I did during the last pregnancy, I'm not going try to potty train a child at the same time.

Do you think e heard me?  And wants a mini-sib? And do I have to actually consider it once he is trained?  (ack?!  Maybe?)

No comments:

Post a Comment