“I’m so disappointed in you, Littlest H. You’re not the big boy I thought you were. Only big boys get to wear Spiderman pants, so I’m afraid they are going away until you can show me you’re a big boy who doesn’t wee in his pants because he can’t be bothered to get to the loo on time.” (Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk)
This was tactic number three million and three in managing my son’s mind-numbingly dull decision to use wee as a weapon of parental torture. It was mildly successful – he really loves those pants – but as with all other tactics, both positive and negative, he quickly forgets and we’re back to Vanish spray and old towels as my new BFF.
Friends respond to my moaning by commiserating about his ‘accidents’. I utterly refuse to accept there’s anything accidental about it whatsoever. When I see his wee-signals, I often try to sunnily or breezily or cunningly bring his attention to the imminent loo visit, but however I do it, even ignoringly, he resolutely sets his mouth and refuses to go until he is so desperate he, of course, doesn’t make it. He absolutely knows what he’s doing. Even more irritatingly he immediately comes out with a plaintive “I’m really sorry, Mummy. I promise I won’t do it again,” repeated ad infinitum and utterly meaningless. Oh, and then we have the battle of actually bothering to pull up pants and trousers shortly followed by the Great Hand-Washing War, both of which are often preceeded or followed by a game of Who Controls Who: “I’ll do it if you come to the stairs, Mummy; please hold my hand up the stairs, Mummy; no, Mummy, stand right there, no there.”
Honestly. Does it really have to be this hard? I’m so totally over his trouser drawer always being empty, the constant washing and the house and washing basket giving off Eau de Wee.
Have I vented enough? I’m not sure. I definitely could go on a lot, lot longer. The worst of it is he’s not out of nappies at night yet. He’s never been that good at sleeping through and I couldn’t bear facing up to the additional sleep-deprivation and life-shortening washing cycles of duvets, sheets, PJs and even closer companionship with Vanish, until I had to. Which I reckon is when he’s four. Which unfortunately looms large and close as it happens – for some reason I feel like it’s something I need to sort before he starts school (in September). Not sure why, but that appears to be one of my personal ‘things’. We will see. At least spring and summer will ease the washing burden and allow Eau de Wee to waft outside more than it is circulated by central heating or results in us freezing to death.
With a six year old and three year old, I’ve tried a good number of negotiating strategies over the years, over a great many different things. Some work, some don’t. Some start out negative before I force myself to turn it round to a positive incentive. Some don’t quite make it to the positive and a few even manage to start in a way I’d feel smug about when reading a parenting manual.
So far in the Battle of the Wee, we’ve used stickers, Thomas the Tank Engine books, cubes in the jar, masses of praise, putting a nappy on him with a heavy douse of parental disappointment about being a baby, ignoring it completely, leaving him in wet things, giving up and hoping the teachers sort it at nursery, and of course shouting at him in frustration. We may have tried others but it’s been so long I can’t remember. Oh, and in case you’re wondering we have given each one a number of tries to get a tick in the ‘consistent parenting is key’ box.
I’m hoping there’s mileage in the pants angle though. A great mate (and mother of three boys so when she advises I always listen with interest to such wise experience) suggested explaining the Spiderman pants (once returned) will be whipped off and away if they get wet. Good idea. And my own next step is to encourage him with the enticement of a new pair of Spiderman pants if he makes it through a whole weekend with no accidents. I bought a pack of three so who knows how long they will last. Months I should think.
God knows what I’ll do if Spiderman goes out of favour.
To my lovely followers, you may have noticed a lengthy absence of Mrs H blogs. I’m finally back on the horse with this one, albeit a tad rusty, thanks to a nudge by a couple of people. It’s good to be back doing something with the many observations and frustrations of parenting and stay-at-homing and everything-else-ing. And as always to learn from and be inspired by comments and thoughts in response. Roll on a blog-tastic 2013.