I’m a simple woman, with simple needs. No, really. I only require one thing to make my continued existence on this planet bearable: that my sons move all of their elimination business to the toilet. There’s two of them. They’re seven. It’s time.
I don’t need them to recover from autism, I don’t need them to live independently when they grow up, I don’t even need them to ever learn to talk; I just need them to stop shitting on the carpet. Pleasegodthankyouamen. See? Simple.
And the thing is, they can. They have, even. About once a month they will actually go into the bathroom and drop a deuce in the toilet, completely independently. Nonchalantly. Just often enough to give me hope. And so we continue with the endless clothing changes, and the carpet steaming upstairs and the wet mopping downstairs, and the PECs, and the social stories, and the iPad apps, and the rewards, and absolutely no pull-ups in the daytime except on long road trips, and not always even then. We’re getting there. They’re essentially potty-trained as far as urine goes, so there really is reason to hope… right? Right?
I try to be positive, but it’s SO hard when I’m awakened at o’dark:30 to a squawking child banging out a piano concerto, only to enter his room and find that he’s pooped absolutely everywhere. And the school bus is coming in half an hour. And his brother has just done the exact same thing in his own room (except he doesn’t have a keyboard).
If I’m lucky, this only happens once a day. If I’m not, it can be 6-8 separate incidents. How is it possible that two people that small can crap that much in one day? There’s no predicting it, either. I live in a war zone of uneasiness. A successfully productive mission to the bathroom is still no guarantee that I won’t happen upon a landmine ten minutes later.
Just this morning, after I had taken both boys to the bathroom, so joyful because they both peed on cue, I went downstairs and stepped off the last stair into a rogue puddle of urine so large it had its own sound effect. Wailing, I rolled up my splashed pantlegs and sprinted into the laundry room for a towel, only to be met with an area rug covered in… you guessed it.
My husband rounded the corner to see what I was yelling about, took one look at my face and announced, “I’ll take the boys out for a long walk… Now.”
“It’s hard not to hope that the Mayans are going to be right about 2012,” I call after him.
Gallows humor aside, this is hard for me. Like, on my psyche hard. If I really, truly thought they wouldn’t get it, the whole potty-training thing, I would just put them back in diapers for good. Permanently. Really, I would be crushed, but I’d deal with it, just like I deal with everything else that life dishes out for my sons. I just don’t know if I will recognize that point when (if) we get to it, though. At what age do we throw in the towel and say this just isn’t going to happen– 10? 16? 21?
I don’t want to give up on my sons. They are so smart– I see so much intelligence when I look into their eyes as I speak to them. I know they understand so much. I know they understand why I’m angry when I have to clean up yet another mess. I see them try, in their own way, by at least going into the bathroom and doing it on the floor in there. They get it. I know they do. And so, we continue.
But this house isn’t big enough for both the carpet and me. One of us has got to go.
“When you reach the bottom line
The only thing to do is climb
Pick yourself up off the floor
Don’t know what you’re waiting for” –Big Audio Dynamite