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Princess and the Puddle

September 8, 2012

You know when you make a really stupid parenting decision, and then-for reasons of parental consistency-decide to stick with it? And you know sticking with it is irrational and a mistake, but you do it anyway? And then it bites you in the bum, really hard? This is one of those stories.

Baby G is my third and last child. This means that I am hanging on to her babyhood with a vice-like grip. She is, in my mind, my baby. So, when she turned four this month, the idea that she is growing up sucker-punched me in the guts.

Does four mean she is ‘gasp’ no longer a baby? It can’t be! With this revelation came the decision to start thinking about changes. Like nighttime Pull-ups. I hadn’t ever really thought about putting these to an end, but really, Baby G has been toilet trained during the day since the age of two. Hubby and I chatted about it and decided that Operation No Pull-Ups was on.

We sat down with the diva and explained that now that she’s four, she doesn’t need them anymore. She nodded solemnly. We discussed how we would go to the toilet before bed every night. More solemn nodding.

Night #1 came. She did teeth, toileted and jumped into bed. “You forgot my pull-ups, Mum!” she sweetly hinted. I assured her she would be fine, tucked her in with wishes for fairy princess dreams, and she smiled as she drifted off to sleep. Around midnight, I got up and took the sleeping princess to the toilet and back to bed. So far so good.

5am the next day: “Muuuuuuuuuum!”

There she was, sitting in her bed in a puddle, looking none-too-happy. I reassured her it was okay, everyone has accidents. She then told me she didn’t have an accident–she just didn’t want to go to the toilet, so she just see’d in the bed. On purpose. You read right. I explained that that wasn’t really a good thing to do and that now I had to wash lots of linen. We agreed that she would go to the toilet the next morning.

Night #2-re-read Night #1 verbatim. Down to the puddle in the bed and the admission of guilt. Still calm, I explained again that it was not cool to do this.

Night #3-Puddle. Admission. Mummy losing her mind.

Did I mention that it is winter here in Australia? No? Well, it is cold and rainy. Every day. By this stage, my home looked like a haunted house with sheets draped over every item of furniture.

Nights #4-6-Puddle. Admission. Mummy working really hard on being empathetic, warm and loving.

It was at this point that I knew I had made a really stupid decision. She clearly was not bothered by the idea of marinating in her own urine, and had no desire whatsoever to make progress in this department. Still, because I had already gone through so much, I tried one more night.

I sat down with Baby G at bedtime and we had a talk. It went something like this:

Me: Baby G, when you wee in your bed after you wake up, it makes me feel angry, because I have to do lots of laundry. I won’t be happy if you do it again tomorrow. You are a big girl now.

Baby G: But Mummy, if I make a wee in my bed by mistake, will you be angry?

Me: Of course not! I’ll never be angry with you for making a mistake, sweetie.

Baby G: (Solemnly) Okay, Mummy. Tomorrow I will wee in the bed by mistake.

I looked at her. I blinked repeatedly. My mouth opened, then shut, then opened and shut again. I started to laugh. She joined in. We laughed so much we had tears coursing down our cheeks. I asked her if she wanted to have her Pull-Ups back. She giggled and said yes.

That night, I tucked my baby into bed, in princess pyjamas and Pull-Ups, and wished her fairy-princess-castle-rainbow-butterfly-love dreams. She smiled as she drifted off to sleep. I smiled too, as I realised I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t ready for her to grow up…just yet.

Michelle is a copywriter, artist and mum of three children under ten. Read more of Michelle’s work at They Call Me Mummy.

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