Posted by: Hannah | 11/14/2011

in the monkey house

I have the Monkey four days this week. Although I am in theory only committed to three days (long ones; 7AM to 6PM) lately a fourth day is getting added a lot. Which is nice for my wallet but sometimes a bit much for my ears, because my goodness, if she’s not squealing she’s screaming, and if she’s not screaming she’s talking very loudly, and if she’s not talking very loudly she’s yelping and chasing the animals around the house.

It’s just dawned on her that I am in fact her Auntie, and so every single sentence that comes out of her mouth begins and ends with “Auntie Hannah”. And thus we have:

“Auntie Hannah! Auntie Hannah! I fell down, Hannah! Hannah! I fell down, Auntie Hannah! I’m OK Hannah! Auntie Hannah I’m OK!!!” And this is because she’s playing a game where she falls down on purpose. Over and over again.

It’s cute. In an oh-my-god-repetition-is-annoying kind of way.

Of late I’ve started potty training her. Nothing too intensive; since she’s with me fewer days than she’s home it’s going to take longer than it would with one of my full-timers. Plus she only just turned two and I don’t want to force anything; she just has demonstrated the infamous ‘signs of readiness’ over and over again, and any way to reduce the number of diapers going out of this house is fine by me.

Step One: Find a potty small enough to fit. Monkey is quite small for her age; sturdy, but short. Especially her funny little legs. She’s surprisingly quick for something shaped like a fire hydrant, but it does mean that the potty I already had was just too high; her feet didn’t hit the floor. Finally located one on Kijiji.

Step Two: Establish that sitting on the potty while still wearing pants / diaper is actually counterproductive. This took a LONG time. She just liked having a comfortable seat from which she could watch everyone else in the house go to the bathroom. Especially the big boys, who pee standing up, my stars.

Step Three: Establish reward currency for a child who isn’t allowed to have candy. No Smarties? WTF? Finally discovered that what she really craves is high-fives from every human in the house, accompanied by lots of praise and possibly a tickertape parade.

Step Four: Set timer for 20-minute intervals. Sit child on potty. And… go!

She’s actually doing very well. Only one diaper change today and that was for a poo. Otherwise, she’s been dry since this morning. Even woke up from her nap dry. I have hope that she’ll get the hang of it well enough this week that I can get her parents to make the switch from Pull-Ups to underwear (in my experience Pull-Ups are a hindrance when training gets serious.)

Here’s the irony: Marie, a full year older than Monkey, has selected today of all days to be the one where she seems to have forgotten that she is potty-trained and has been for months. She’s had two ‘accidents’ – one of them all over the playroom sofa, ick – and is totally disinterested in whether or not she’s wet.

Do I spend entirely too much time pondering the toilet habits of toddlers? Probably. But hey, somebody has to do it, right?

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