Potty-Training. A Silent Film

I attended a birthday party last Sunday. It was HIHs Numero Uno’s birthday – Superhero theme. 

I wore red lipstick. 

Bobby wasn’t in costume. I had been too busy getting that lipstick well applied.

HIH and Hubby were born to be parents. They threw themselves wholeheartedly into the whole thing – costumes, speaking “Marvel” and flying around the place, capes billowing, ensuring everyone was okay. 

I spotted M. We hadn’t seen each other consistently over the last 4 months. More on that front later.

I met lovely Mommy-of-2. We got to chatting and as I hinted at my struggles with Bobby’s speech, she told me about her First’s new diagnosis. 

First is on The Spectrum.

I am ashamed to say it brought old anxieties rushing forward. 

With Bobby, in the initial stages of his speech difficulties his paediatrician had hinted as it being a possible cause. 

I remember the pain, anguish and fear of the unknown. I had read up everything I could possibly get my hands on. Every intervention was researched in detail. For a gal who loves Butter, Flour and Sugar I was willing to embrace a completely Dairy-free, Gluten-free and Sugar-free way of life if it would set my baby free.

Turns out his speech therapist was right, – it was only isolated speech delay. Bobby can now talk the hind legs off a donkey. He never really fit the criteria anyway. Even without his speech, he was much too sociable. He is popular at Montessori, a very easy-going kid with lots of friends. Lots of imagination (today we are Peppa Pig and family. This means we have been grunting and snorting before every statement. My throat has never felt so clear) and what seems to be high intelligence (this kid taught himself addition off youtube. Yeah, I know).

My heart went out to her as she told me her story about she persistently went after medical professionals to try to get First diagnosed when she was fobbed off so many times. I got a sense of relief from her at finally getting a diagnosis.

But with that came a sense something else – overwhelmed / confusion / loss of a dream / deep
love for her child / wanting to shield but help him. 

That could have been me. 

I wanted to hug her. But we had only just met.

I plan on catching up with her again so chances are I will hug her at some point. No one escapes without one of Betty’s hugs.

As I said earlier I caught up with M. Myself and Babycakes had herself and family for brunch a week later.

Have I mentioned how much I love Brunch? 

Brunch means lazy mornings, getting out of bed late, taking a long shower, luxuriating over a beauty regimen, dressing casual, sunnies…

That’s if you have no kids. Or more importantly, if you aren’t cooking.

I was up at the crack of dawn getting the Brioche started, setting the table, prepping the ingredients.

Oh! Here’s the menu;
       Honey Brioche
       Solanato tomato, Scallion,
Herb and Three Cheese Frittata
       Crispy Bacon
       Australian Beef sausages
       Smoked Salmon dressed in
Dill infused Olive oil
       Butter Lettuce and
watercress salad
       Garlic Butter Sauteed

I forgot to get some bubbly. Mimosa’s didn’t make it. We made do with plain orange juice ( I didn’t make my own. I leave things like this to the professionals) and tea.

I also did Maple Syrup and Lavender Baked peaches to finish it off.

This recipe makes six servings

I had neither of those in my fridge/freezer. It seems along with my list, I had forgotten my head while I had done that grocery shopping.

The brunch went well. I had warned my guests to come hungry. They disappointed meby not licking their plates. 

I soothed myself and had some leftovers for dinner. 

M is the mother of BBF (Bobby’s Best Friend).

With all the anguish that was going on with Bobby’s speech delay at the time, BBF took the most mature approach. Bobby’s speech therapist after one her usual Tuesday sessions last year, remarked to me how she found Bobby sitting in front of BBF as BBF took him through a pile of flashcards. He even had the good sense to correct his pronunciation.

As a result Bobby sported a pseudo-British accent for weeks on end. We knew it didn’t
come from us – no self-respecting Paddy would ever raise their son that kind of language!

Sometimes you just need perspective.

Can you believe we potty-trained Bobby while he was mute?That was our first live
experience with the concept of Silent movies.

You know, there really should be medals for bravery awarded. Here we had a toddler to who communicated his toileting needs via non-verbal and poor verbal skills in the apartment we lived in at the time that was wall-to-wall carpet floors. 

You could say it was make or break. If he really was only speech-delayed he would get it eventually. That is, assuming his comprehension and intelligence where what we presumed them to be.

The day care he was attending, B***** B**********, tried to convince us our son was a lemon. They even smugly smiled everyday as they recounted how many accidents he had had. 

They took delight 3 days later in suggesting that perhaps Bobby just needed to stay in nappies as he would never get it. We declined.

I will never forget the next day, in an effort to force our hand towards it, they said, well if you are determined to go ahead with this you need to commit fully – no more nappies in the car going home. Like my beautiful baby wetting the leather seats of my car would win me over to their side and make me face “reality” that there was something wrong with Bobby?

That was when I knew they had no interest whatsoever in helping him.

These people, did not even have a sticker-reward chart up for my son in the bathroom because they expected him to fail. Can you imagine how that little boy felt every time he went potty with the others, they got stickers and he didn’t? I know he couldn’t say it, but he looked sad every day. 

I lined his car seat with towels, bought stacks of underpants and Babycakes and I were united with Bobby as we went cold-turkey. No Nappies on the grocery list. No secret stash of nappies in the home. 

We took no chances. Our son did not speak, but we spoke his language – Chocolate.

Thank God for Easter. We bought racks of mini-Easter eggs. Through demonstrations
that were an adaptation of an experiment we read about during the psychology module
in college that used cheese to teach rats positive reinforcement, we showed Bobby
that if he potty-ed appropriately, with a result, he got a chocolate egg.

Our baby added the word “Egg” to his limited vocabulary. He also was clean, dry and
self-toileting within 2 weeks!

2 more weeks later, he was dry overnight!

Ha! Take that, you un-believing nay-sayers! 

When the daycare mention every time he toileted he came up to them, hands out-stretched, saying “Egg?”, I raised a perfectly threaded eyebrow with a sniff and disdainfully declared that Bobby was now potty-trained and the devil was in the detail.

We moved him within a couple weeks to his new Montessori. I hope they had learned their lesson not to judge a book by its cover while they nibbled a stale slice of humble pie.
I’m Betty, and Butter is a story of a full-time suburban SAHM ( Stay-At-Home-Mom) who practices Medicine in her spare time. My life heavily revolves around Babycakes, my husband, Bobby and Ben, my children and an acerbic tongued pug D’Artagnan.

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4 responses to “Potty-Training. A Silent Film”

  1. Sasha says:

    Oh, what a delicious brunch!! AND such a sweet story. It really goes to show you never know what someone else is going through. Have a heart of compassion for all!

  2. vavite says:

    oh my ,i love brunch and everything in yours.. positive reinforcement rocks.. what great parents you are, sticking to your guns, knowing your child, trusting your child and believing in him…

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