Thursday, October 23, 2008

Potty-Training Advice (or just Mommy Advice)

Mason has been a NIGHTMARE to potty-train. I literally have nightmares about it. We started training him (for the second time) at Thanksgiving time last year, and it took well into the Spring to consider him mostly trained. I still don't say that he is 100 percent trained because he rarely, if ever, initiates that he needs to go and he is still quite dependant on help in the bathroom. Anyway, I am totally at my wits end with him--it actually brings me to tears any time he has an "accident", but especially when the accident is a poop accident. Like, just now, he pooped his pants when he was playing in his room alone. This makes me sooo mad because he knows better. I feel like an awful parent because I want to punish him. I know you are not supposed to make a big deal about it because kids have accidents, but he has them often, and after a year of training, it is really taking a toll on me. I want to yell at him or take something precious away or something......but I don't. I try to stay calm and let him know it's okay, but I am SCREAMING on the inside. Help me, ladies. Help me cope with this. I get so mad I cry. I'm not mad at him--I'm mad at the autism that has tweaked his brain enough to make potty-training really difficult. He just doesn't get it. As I am trying to clean him up, he is in his own little world laughing and going off about other things. He has no clue. What do I do? How do I deal with it and stop getting so upset about him not being a normal 4 1/2 year old using the toilet on his own and not pooping his pants just because he forgot he was supposed to go in the toilet? I need some serious parental advice right now.

As I'm reading this, a thought just occurred to me that maybe I'm not as okay with the whole autism thing as I thought I was. I really thought that I had completely accepted it and embraced it and that I was ready to tackle life as the mother of an autistic child. But maybe I haven't totally accepted it, and maybe I'm not completely okay with it. It's a surprise to me to have these thoughts because I've been okay with this for a good year and a half now. Maybe I've been fooling myself. I think I've been okay with things because I told myself that in time, he will do better and become more typical, but I just realized that he is not really becoming more typical. In some aspects, I guess he is, but in many he is not. I worry about him being the kid in school that everyone thinks is weird and that nobody wants to play with. I worry he'll be the junior high or high school kid jumping around, flapping his hands, making strange noises, and laughing to himself at something really funny inside his head. Maybe he'll never grow out of it like I thought he would. Maybe he'll be having frequent toileting accidents for the rest of his life. Maybe I've been giving myself false hope that one day he'll be normal.......Then again, maybe today was just a really hard day and tomorrow I'll feel back to normal. I'm going to stop second-guessing myself and just go with that. I'm sure a good night sleep will fix a lot of what is going on inside me right now. It's just been one of those days.


Anita Nap said...

I don't know what to tell you. We had a really horrible day too!! My tough days are different though. I don't have any advice for you on potty training. Perhaps he will be the boy who flaps his hands and laughs at something that is going on inside his head. Maybe some kid will come into his life who will care about him and stick up for him when nobody else will. It has to be heartbreaking.

There is a boy in my Cub Scout Pack who has Downs Syndrome. I was a Peer Tutor in High School for special ed kids so I thought I knew what it was like to have a Downs Syndrome kid around. But this is real life. This is my Stake President's son. This is my friend's son. His mother is old enough to be my mother but she is my friend. I asked her if it is hard to send him to school knowing he will be teased and made fun of. She told me at first it was but it's a little easier now. She just knows he will be teased and unfortunately, in this cruel world, that's a reality. But something magical happened with this boy. He made a friend. A "normal" boy named Slater has become this boy's friend. He doesn't mind that Seth is different. He loves Seth for who is is. I thank my Heavenly Father for sending angels in disguise to this Elementary School where one of God's children just needed a friend. I will pray that your son might somehow, maybe in his own way, make a friend too.

tiptoe mama said...

Reading this post, is like reading my own thoughts out loud....I can relate so well to these feelings. I'm terrified of potty training. It seems like such an overwhelming task, and I don't feel adequate for it, to the point that I haven't even started yet.
I also worry about M.K. when she's older. Will she ever learn to talk normally? If she doesn't, will others ever treat her like a real person? Will she have friends? Will she date, or get asked to highschool dances? Or will her disabilities always keep her shut out? I'm always hoping that she'll improve enough to be 'normal'. Sometimes I wonder if I'm foolish for thinking that it's possible. But as a mother, I can't give up hoping. I'm glad to know I'm not the only Mom who thinks that way.

It seems to me like I gain acceptance in degrees. I get to a point where I think I'm totally okay with everything, then suddenly something happens. Maybe I see a 'normal' little girl M.K.'s age, or watch her awkward movements as she tries to play, or see the other kids on the playground running around her without even noticing her. Small things. 'nothing' things to anyone else. But they throw my world upside down and I have to adjust all over again to the idea that my little girl is 'different'. And every time I realize that again, I have to grieve a little again too.
It's comforting to know that grief is normal and healthy.
Something I like to think about is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. When the Savior got to the home of Lazarus, his sisters Mary and Martha were crying, grieving over the death of their brother. Jesus knew he had the power to bring Lazarus back to life. He probably even knew he was about to do it. But instead of brushing past Mary and Martha or trying to dismiss their grief with sermons or anything else, the scriptures say "Jesus wept." He simply took the time to mourn with them.
I like this story for two reasons. First of all, it shows the importance of grieving. Secondly, it reminds me that when I am grieving, the Lord is there grieving with me.
I guess I don't have a lot of answers for you here. But I can say that I'm here grieving a little, right next to you. If I could hug you now I would....
lots of love to you.
Tiptoe Mama

heather said...
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Ima Mom said...

We can relate...our daughter played in her poop a lot and even smearewd it on her face. They told us to try substituting play doh or clay once we cleaned her up, for the same sensory experience. My son still has pee accidents and is 4. We have used a lot of videos to help them visually understand potty training like "Porry Power", "Once upon a Potty" and everyone poops book. We even have photo posters we bought at Utah Idaho supply that say "I flush the toilet," and "I wash my hands" Good luck!