Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Proof is in the Potty

Jude turned three-and-a-half last month, and it feels like a light switched on. It was right around the time of what I am hopefully going to call the LAST TANTRUM. The tantrum to end all tantrums. And let me tell you it was a snot-slinging, fist swinging, kid screaming doozy. Of course we were at a friend's party, and I carried him out howling. A very nice woman out walking her dog offered to called child protective services.
We had gotten a little lazy over here at the Daddy Life, and forgotten what was possible. And then, shortly after this last gasp of desperate unreasonableness, Jude was potty trained.

"Potty training" doesn't seem like the right term here. We just let him wear underwear on days he wasn't at school, and then reminded him to go. I think Nini probably started it over a weekend visit. He had one accident, and then that was it. We got him brand new underwear, of course, which he loved, of course, just like in the books we've been reading to him for the better part of TWO YEARS. But we never pushed it - that was our plan. Jude is a stubborn little guy, and he does things on his own time. 

But that is not all, oh no, that is not all.

I was frustrated by some of Jude's recent behavior, but also frustrated by my own parenting. It was starting to seem like I spent more time threatening and complaining than guiding and supporting.  This led me to pick up a book, Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen. I was reading it one day to Jude, mostly as a joke. "It says here that I should not be dressing my children after the age of 2," I reported. "It empowers them to greater feelings of significance." It dawned on me that I spend a good 10 minutes every morning trying to get clothes on this boy, but abruptly dismissed the thought.

The next day Jude announced that he would be putting on his own clothes. Pants, socks, shirt, jacket, everything. All in one day. And now the wardrobe changes are coming fast and furious. One night we had a party, and Jude changed clothes 5 times, to the amusement of our guests. I absolutely love it. A greater feeling of significance, indeed. 

So, tantrums, potty trained, and dressing himself, all in the last month. I'm starting to feel pretty good at my job around here - although, it sounds like Nini had a lot to do with it.

HOW TO POTTY TRAIN, an interview with Jude