Thursday, August 16, 2012

Parenting is Hard. (Part 1)

Yes, Captain Obvious wrote that blog title, but you know, it can't really be said enough.  For every fantastic, warm-fuzzy moment of parenting, there are inevitably at least three more moments where you're just left stymied by frustration, anger, or flat-out shock that your kid just _(fill in the blank)_.  Somehow that one warm-fuzzy tends to push us through the not-so-great moments, but you know, some days it just doesn't feel like enough.
Just this week we've had two issues with Jacob that we've tried to solve, and the results have been decidedly mixed.  Closer to not good, probably, but there are moments where I win (sort of) and I feel like maybe someday it'll all sink in for real and Jacob will turn into a fantastic kid.  In the meantime, he's a challenge.

One of the issues I looked into this week was doing something about Jacob's night time potty training.  He's nearly perfect during the day.  It's rare for him to have an accident, and when he does, it's usually during naptime.  But that maybe happens once every few weeks, and almost always at daycare (probably after seconds on lunchtime milk) or when he's out of his normal routine.  But overnight?  Ugh.  When we went to the doctor back in June, she said it's normal for kids to not have nighttime bladder control until the age of six!  Obviously most do by then, but it's not officially considered a "problem" until then.  I don't really like that answer because I really wanted to be done buying diapers before we have another baby to buy for, and it doesn't look like we'll be off the hook for a while.  He's not even close.   I can count dry nights on one hand.  And while it doesn't really seem to bother him right now, the sleepover era is probably just around the corner.  But if I've learned anything with Jacob over the past 4+ years, it's that he does things in his own way, at his own speed.

We bought a potty a little before Jacob turned two, but we didn't see much success until at least few months later.  Still, I wouldn't say he was fully potty trained until about 3-1/2, or maybe a little before.  So that whole time in between was a lot of very slow progress.  I don't know if boot camp would have worked with him because he's so stubborn and until he's mentally (and physically) ready for something, there's just no sense pushing hard.  Pushing a little is good, I think, because sometimes kids need the reminder and you don't want them getting too set in their ways, but past a certain point it becomes a power struggle and it's useless. 

Something that bugged me earlier this week is that Jacob woke up one morning and was hanging out quietly in his room, then suddenly said he wet the bed (or, in his case, the blankets and the floor).  What ticked me off about that is that there are times when it seems like he's just lazy about things and decides to pee in the pull-up instead of getting out of bed and going to the bathroom.  It's happened right at bedtime, too.  I don't know for sure when he pees overnight (more on that in a minute) but if he waits until the morning and is just too lazy, that is not okay.

We stuck with diapers for a long time because, quite frankly, they're cheaper.  However, he was peeing out of them a lot and they're not ideal for when he decides he has to pee 10 minutes after bedtime.  So a month or two ago we officially switched over to nighttime-strength pull-ups.  Admittedly, at this point I think it's worth the money because they work better and are much easier to wrangle.  I have to spend about $8-10 every three weeks.  Not bad.  But earlier this week we ran out and I didn't have a chance to get more.  I did have some free samples of the bigger kid version of pull-ups (Good Nights, I think?), and I'll admit that the thought of having a kid on the larger end of that size range wearing a glorified diaper made me cringe a bit.  Four is bad enough, let alone school-age.  Anyway...I decided to try something new, since the sample was a little bigger.  I let Jacob wear underwear underneath.  I figured maybe he'd feel the wetness better and respond quicker, and perhaps we'd get a clue as to when he has to pee.  The first night he woke up at 6:30am complaining he was wet.  I have no idea if that was just when he noticed it or if that was the first time he peed.  The second night he didn't wake up at all, and I was hopeful when I went to wake him up...until I realized when we headed to the bathroom that his undies were soaked.  It apparently didn't even phase him.  Seriously?!  How am I supposed to train a kid who's not bothered by wet cotton against his skin, since that's what usually motivates a lot of other kids? 

I gave up last night and went back to straight pull-ups, but now I'm left with a dilemma.  Is he really unable to hold it and there's no sense pushing it?  Is he able to hold it but the pull-ups are encouraging laziness?  Do I risk putting him in undies and spending half the night cleaning up messes?  I have no idea.  He's a deep sleeper, which doesn't help, and the fact that he sleeps on the floor seems to complicate things.  I feel like it's almost better to try things and hope something will work, rather than just keep the status quo, but then again I don't want to damage his self-esteem if he's really, truly, not physically able. 

I just don't know. 

More on our other issue of the week coming up soon...

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