E had a world-class meltdown Monday morning. Her teachers had prepped her before the weekend that come the beginning of the week, they wanted her to try to lose the pull-ups and just wear her unders. Then that morning as we were picking out her clothes she was very unsatisfied that I guided her away from tights and into pants. Then she forgot her game at home and was very upset that I said we didn't have enough time to return for it. Then she spilled her rice. And throughout, she'd been upset about missing her daddy. So when we got to school yesterday and everything had already gone wrong, I asked her why she couldn't stop crying and she raised a new issue: she didn't want to wear just unders. I don't know if pressure to keep unders dry was the underlying issue behind all the other upset, or if she was upset about M's absence and everything else compounded it and so she seized on this next step towards potty-training as a mask for her other sadnesses. Either way, she was crying so hard by the time we got into school that she was hiccupping just to breathe. Her teachers were wonderful; immediately they reassured her she didn't have to take this next step if she wasn't ready. She could stay in her pull-up with the underpants on top of it, and we could talk about losing the pull-up layer another day, maybe after Daddy got back home. I left her in the embrace of her teacher, eyes swollen and red, post-crying, but still in the throes of the cry-related hiccups.
I felt terribly all morning. Had I misunderstood her? Had I pushed too much? I didn't want her to feel pressured. I didn't want her to be so unhappy. Also, we were running low on pull-ups. I had been ordering one case at a time, hoping we were near the end of their necessity, but I sat down at my computer and resigned myself to facing facts. I ordered two cases.
Motherhood is for suckers.
Mid-morning, E ran up to one of her teachers and declared, I tooked off my pull-up! I'm just wearing my PANTIES!! And she did great. Two accidents, but she wasn't bothered by them. She soldiered on, my unpadded-tushie little girl.
Yesterday morning, she convinced me she could wear tights and still use the potty, so I relented. Mid-morning her teacher called me. "How long has it been since E has pooped?" Her teacher told me that she kept saying her belly hurt, and that she would go sit on the potty, but she wouldn't sit long enough to get anything out. Then she'd moan some more about her stomach. The class was watching a Halloween Barney show on the television for a treat because it was raining outside, and E wasn't even watching. Instead she was clutching her stomach sitting on her teacher's lap, tucked inward into her teacher's arms. Did I think she could be constipated? Or did I think it could be more performance anxiety, perhaps related to the tights that we had all doubted were a good idea? I asked the teacher on the phone to please give my girl some apple juice, and to call me if she thought E was getting worse or if I should come down, and returned to my work. I spent the remainder of the morning distracted, worried.
Have I mentioned that motherhood is for suckers? When I went down to feed L for her post-nap snack (which falls during E's naptime), E's teacher told me that E had successfully emptied herself. And there was a lot. And everything was just fine. And when I went back down at the end of the day to collect my girls, I got the report that E had stayed dry all day, and only had one small accident at 5:30. She even stayed dry through her nap. Then when we got home, we saw that the two new cases of pull-ups had been delivered.