My daughter has gone to the bathroom three times without a fight today. It's the attempt before bed that is always tricky. She is playing with her Little People Disney Princesses in the living room. They are her besties. She can often be seen toting at least five of them together at once. Mastering the under the chin carry of multiple objects at a young age.
"Come on its time to get one last princess sticker before bed!" I say, reminding my daughter of the super cool reward she gets for going to the potty. She is playing and doesn't want to stop, which I get. Her pretend scenarios have gotten much more imaginative and lengthy and thus can't be easily interrupted. So I figure we can bring the party to the bathroom. "Does someone want to help pick a princess sticker?" I ask with an inviting tone," Come on, who is coming?" This puts her in a frenzy as she makes her selection. She grabs only three princesses that are near and scurries down the hall.
She steps up on her princess stool and scoots onto the potty. I assemble her fan base on the edge of the sink. Aurora, Belle, and Snow White are eagerly awaiting what will come next. I give them some vocals to enhance the excitement.
"Come on let's do this!" Snow White exclaims.
"I'm so excited!" says Aurora.
"Let's do pee pee!" Belle shouts.
I'm tired and feel silly, knowing this is just another act of desperation. This will go down as it usually does. She brings friends to the bathroom, plays with them, forgets her mission, and demands off the potty without any result. We then argue about the sticker reward and I eventually give in with a half ass negotiation because this is the most frustrating parenting task I have to date. I look at the Pampers in the corner and wonder if we can go on a cruise with the mounting reward points.
But tonight, something unexpected happens. My daughter gets into it. She takes over and Snow White is soon shouting her name along with "Go girl!" She voices each of the princesses with a different cheer, surprising me with phrases of which I question the origin. No matter, I'm excited. This new tactic is working.
"Okay girls, lets all be quiet so we can hear the pee pee," I instruct the princesses, in fear she will get too excited and again forget the task at hand. But my daughter is in full on pretend mode and insists I hold Aurora so I can "talk to her" which means make her talk. Now we are going back and forth cheering her on in princess voices that range from slightly high to obnoxiously high.
"She's doing it!" Snow White says and is now peering through my daughter's legs. She spreads them a bit and I quickly warn Snow White not to get too close and end up in the potty.
"Come on Aurora, " my daughter instructs, motioning to me, "She has to see too."
"Yeah, come on Aurora," Belle taunts and joins Snow White at the thigh. Now the three of them are staring at my child's crotch, assisted by both her and my hands. Each time I hear the trickle of urine in the toilet she stops and makes all the princesses cheer. I curse myself for leaving my phone in the other room as this photo opportunity passes. This will likely go down as one of the funniest parent moments of all time.
"Come on girls lets all be quiet and listen to the pee pee," I kindly nudge, worried about a potential UTI as my daughter starts and stops. Snow White gets excited and Belle tells her to "Shhhhh! Be quiet!" and pets her head. They argue for another minute or two. Everyone is jazzed up over the excitement.
The princesses all stare into the darkness of the potty. My daughter watches too, her chin touching her chest. I'm pleased as more, long streams of pee are heard falling into the toilet. More cheers and shushing follow until my daughter finally says, "I'm all done!"
"Okay ladies, let's get back up on the ledge," I say and my daughter puts Snow White, Belle, and Aurora back on the sink. I help her up, we all say goodbye to pee pee with the ceremonial flush and slip on another "practice panty."
"Alright let's pick out a princess sticker, who is helping?" I ask, continuing this feeling of camaraderie and reach for the sheet above the potty. Naturally everyone wants to be a part of the fun. My daughter grabs her friends.
"I'll help!" Snow White says.
"And I can help too?" Belle asks.
"And you can pick my sticker too?" Aurora asks. I'm overwhelmed and want to stand firm to the two sticker for pee pee rule but I'm clearly outnumbered. Luckily Belle gets side tracked so only two stickers are picked. My daughter runs to the hallway and places them on her chart.
"Good job." My husband smiles at me from our bedroom door."Keep it up," he says. My knees are sore along with my back from squatting but I feel proud and accomplished. For tonight our small kingdom will celebrate this victory. Bedtime will hopefully go smoothly and a nice, restful slumber will follow so we can all gear up for the continued journey that is potty training and look forward to our happily ever after.