No, this isn't actually due to my ongoing battle with the disease I've dubbed "Mystery Dysentery" (which is actually, according to my team of doctors, more like "Mystery Gall Stone"). This is in fact due to two new developments in my life.
|DD and SI in the bath|
Add to this that they now take out ALLLLLLL the washcloths and "help" me clean the tub, that is, drop all the clean washcloths they can get their hands on into the water, or "scrub" the fixtures with them, or "clean" themselves with them...
Bath time, all by itself, generally takes about forty five minutes. The clean-up takes substantially longer.
But it's not just my own illness and bathing that has me spending most of my days in the bathroom. No, we've embarked (haphazardly and clumsily, but nonetheless we have embarked) upon the long awaited mission of potty training.
Yes, SI and DD are just over eighteen months old. Yes, I know they're hardly too old to be using diapers. I don't care. YOU spend all day, every day, changing 15-18 diapers (our service gives us an inventory receipt that lets us know just how much of our children's feces they're cleaning up for us) (and that's roughly 2.25 diapers/hour of grubling consciousness) and then you tell me that they can take all the time they want before they poop in the potty. Please, please do this for me.
I've been playing it by ear. The first thing that I did was to buy a potty. I installed it into the house, and every time the girls saw it I made a point of telling them, "This is a potty! It's for pee and poo!" The next step was to buy a few picture books to switch in with our regular bedtime reading. "Once Upon A Potty" was an instant favorite with SI, but DD was terrified- THIS explained the mysterious potty! She would sit stock still, eyes wide, turning pages with speed and vigor, breathlessly hanging on every word. She began to treat the potty with reverence and terror. While before the introduction of the book, she would sit on it like a chair, stand on it, or put her toys in it, now it was some sort of holy object. Dangerous, powerful, and not to be trifled with.
SI's reaction to this book was, for the most part, the exact opposite. Much to DD's dismay, SI wanted it read every night. I had to start reading two books a night, because if I tried putting them to bed after "Once Upon A Potty," DD would have panic attacks. Seriously, panic attacks.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the book, it has these charming illustrations of Prudence, a little girl (just like you!) using the potty. On every page without elaborate pictures of Prudence and her mother, there are pretty flowers.
SI LOVES to smell the flowers. And she LOVES the story of Prudence and her many nice and useful body parts, and she LOVES that this is a nice, small book, that she can manipulate with her clumsy little toddler hands.
So sniffing this book became very important.
In fact, it became very difficult for me to actually READ the book, as each page looked like the back of SI's head, as she frantically sniffed every inch of each page once it had been turned.
And when we got to the picture of Prudence bending over so you could see her nice useful bottom, with it's nice useful hole for making poo...
Yeah, that page has flowers to sniff. Sniffing every piece of that page is a matter of life and death. She will not be stopped.
And if you dare laugh, you're in for more trouble. Anything that makes a grown-up laugh is something that DD has to get in on. So then you've got two toddlers frantically sniffing Prudence's butt.
Every night. It's practically a tradition.
Slowly but surely, DD lost her terror of the potty. SI got more and more excited, demanding to sit on it whenever it was in sight. I was sure SI would be first.
|This child demands that I live in the bathroom|
In addition, DD began adding her own, ominous commentary. Whenever I read, I would follow the line about Prudence peeing and pooping on the floor by saying, "And that's okay!" DD started pointing at the little picture of a puddle and a pile and saying "No no no!" I have no idea how she decided on that, but okay then. I'm still telling her it's okay to make mistakes. SI does it all the time, after all.
So about a week ago, DD started letting me know when she had gone to the bathroom. No matter whether she had peed or pooped, she started pointing to her diaper and saying "Poo!" And I started taking her at her word. Before long, I had made the decision to start plopping her on the potty before changing her diaper, to give her a chance to associate pee and poo with going in the potty.
Almost instant success. There was DD, lips pursed, straining to go in the potty. And she managed to squeeze out a few drops for me.
|SI practicing on the potty|
I was elated! I hugged her and exclaimed over her tiny drops of pee, dripped it into the toilet, and helped her flush the toilet. Then, just like Prudence, we waved and said, "Bye bye pee!"
She didn't pee in the potty today, but yesterday AND the day before we had success! And today- today SI managed to squeeze out a few drops into the potty for me. And DD managed to tell me each time she peed or pooped (and differentiate between them) today.
While that's all well and good, it still doesn't explain all the time I've been spending in the bathroom. No, DD has learned that she gets a lot of special attention and one-on-one mommy time if she announced that she needs to use the potty. I'll take her in the bathroom, sit down next to the potty, help her get on the potty, and coach her to pee or poo in the potty.
|This child is about to poop on the floor|
"Are you going to use the potty?"
"Do you need to poo or pee?"
"Can you try to poo or pee for mommy?"
"No no no Mama! No poo!"
"Let's wait. Do you want to read a book?"
"Here's a book."
(holds up book) "Book!"
"Yes, that's a book."
(points at door) "Door!"
"Yes, that's a door."
(taps SuperMommy's knee) "Knee!"
"Yes, that's mommy's knee."
(points at bubble bath bottle) "Bubble!"
"Yes, those are the bubbles."
(points between her legs at the potty) "Potty!"
"Yes, that's the potty. Can you poo in the potty for mommy?"
And then she gets up, pantsless, and tries to give me a big, mostly naked hug.
And this happens every time she sees the bathroom door.
So if she pees or poops, I put her on the potty and we try to go a little more. If she tells me she needs to poo or pee, I put her on the potty and we try a little more. And if she sees the bathroom, I put her on the potty and she laughs at me.
And in the meantime, SI keeps peeing and pooping on the floor after she gets out of the tub.
And that is why I spend so much time in the bathroom.