Hesitant Joy

Hesitant because I’ve been confident of progress more than once before, only to be disappointed.

Joy because Ivan is happy about his progress today. After my post about our breakthrough in potty training in November we hit yet another road block and the frustration seemed to mount to the point of a complete distraction for me. Why did it work so well and then seem to fall apart? Why, why, why? I decided as it came time for Christmas guests and the busy days of the Holiday season, that we should take a break from potty training entirely. We have gone several weeks in just diapers with an occasional pull-up now and then. He has not liked it, but it was a much needed break for me.

I was a little troubled though. I was confused because I felt so strongly that God had led me to put him back in diapers when he wet and it seemed that it hadn’t work for very long. Didn’t God know that it would only work for a little while? Maybe I hadn’t heard from God at all. I think I did hear from God, and like so many things in my life, God has to lead me in steps. I probably wouldn’t have made the decision I did over the holidays, had I not first experimented with putting him in diapers as a result of his accidents. I probably would have doubted and questioned God had He just told me to put him in diapers and take a break for a while at the time that He told me to use the other method. I think Ivan needed that step as well.

So, now we have gotten through the Holidays peacefully, Ivan and I accepted our shift back to diapers and have slowly gotten back to the idea of trying underwear again. He wanted to do it right away. He was very tired of diapers, but he continued to wet his pants consistently. I have continued praying about it and an idea struck me last week. I have been struggling the entire time with the right motivation. What motivates Ivan enough to actually be an incentive for him? Not much. He’s a take it or leave it sort of guy when it comes to bait. He can almost always spot the hook underneath and as I explained before, he does not like to be manipulated. However, last week I took note of the joy he takes in putting puzzles together. He will sit for long periods of time at the dining room table getting all the pieces together. I realized that it isn’t a gift/treat or prize that motivates him, it’s a challenge.

I discussed my next move with Kris who agreed with my little scheme and then went to Wal-Mart and picked up three puzzles. I got a 24 piece with Handy Manny on it, a 100 piece with some panda bears and then a big 48 piece floor puzzle with Lightning and Mater. I pulled out a cookie sheet and taped the bottom of a corner piece of the first puzzle (Handy Manny) to one corner. I numbered each puzzle piece so that they weren’t in perfect order but that each consecutive number at least matched a piece that would already be placed on the tray. I did all this on Saturday while Ivan was napping. That night I explained to him that we would be wearing underwear to church and probably forever after. And that each time he used the potty to go he would receive one piece of the puzzle. He was very excited and Sunday morning proved to be a good start. We have put all but 5 pieces of the puzzle together since then and had about 5 accidents including three wet bed incidents. This morning I was able to give him a puzzle piece instead of wash his sheets and that was exciting for both of us. He has really gotten excited about the whole thing and I expect to start on the next puzzle before the weekend. The 100 piece puzzle will be quite a challenge on several levels but I plan to give him the floor puzzle as a congratulatory prize once it is completed.

He is in the dining room now, singing to himself as he puts together the 48 piece animal puzzle for the Asia continent in the puzzle book that Grandma bought for Owen a while back. He finished Africa about 5 minutes ago. He takes a long time to get it done, but he doesn’t quit until it is done…hopefully we’ll see that same determination with this revived attempt at potty training.