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Control

As a parent, I strive to maintain control of my children, my responses regarding their often unusual and sometimes inappropriate actions, my sanity, and so much more.  I use benefits (a.k.a. bribery) and discipline to seek control.  I beg and plead - both to my children and God - for control.  However, after several years of parenting, I've quickly learned that control is the one thing we either quickly lose or never have.

Evidence:
My daughter was easy to potty train.  On her third birthday, she announced that she was a big girl and she no longer needed to wear diapers or pull ups.  From that point on, she didn't.  Since then, she's only had two accidents when someone else was watching her and forgot to remind her to use the potty before bedtime.

My son is another story.  Yes, he's still young.  No, at 2-1/2, I do not expect him to be potty trained yet. However, that isn't stopping him from trying.  Every chance he gets, he takes off his own pants and diaper and then pees or poops on the floor (his favorite is on the carpet, not the hardwood floors and favorite time is right before we're leaving the house or at the end of the day when I'm exhausted).  He then proudly exclaims that he went pee and/or poop.  He's thrilled over the control that he has on his bodily functions.  I'm not so thrilled (*understatement*) over the lack of control I have on where and when he decides to exert his control.  However, he's showing me my absolute lack of control over this area of his life.  I cannot control his bodily functions.

Now, all of this does not mean I don't try to assert control.  When I've had too many poopy (literally) days, I load him up with the BRAT diet.  If he's peeing in every room in my house, I take away his water bottle.  But, he knows I'll eventually feed and water him.  He understands that I love him and won't neglect his daily nourishment.  He knows he has so much more control over this situation than I do...but I try.

If only bodily functions were the only area my children attempted to assert their control.



Lately though, I've decided to give up my control.  After all, the more I attempt to control these situations, the more control I lose.  Instead of maintaining control over the individual situations I'm controlling the larger story that we are a family who works together.  We've made games out of keeping our pants (and diapers) on.  We've started the reward of choosing the daily location of the potty.  We've rewritten the story of what control looks like.  Yes, I still can't control my son's bodily functions (I'm sure this will continue to haunt me as he grows into a gaseous teenager), but we're having fun pretending we all have control over this scenario.

Now, if I can only figure out how to control myself from finishing off all the rest of our Halloween candy...


A special thank you to the Baby Björn Smart Potty for help with potty training both in our house and on the road.

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