Yesterday, a miracle happened at 5 p.m.
And all it took was a week full of rainy days, polyethylene glycol, and a few episodes of "Joan of Arcadia."
I had this theory that if I timed the polyethylene glycol (stool softener) and the "sittings" in the potty chair morning, lunch, dinner time, and bed time, that eventually a pattern would emerge for Elisabeth to use the potty instead of her diaper.
She spent a good deal of time on the floor with toys scattered on the floor. Maybe putting her in a different chair would bring different results. Her body was beginning to tolerate sitting when she turned six provided she had support. All it took was finding a safe potty chair to give her the support she needed. All it took was a little time for relaxation.
Since life happens, year after year, my theory remained what it was. Believe me when I write that I tried. I honest-to-God tried to stay on a schedule, but Elisabeth just wasn't "getting it." The only pattern we saw emerging was relying on this time to do something that didn't involve her.
It was raining yesterday, like the day before, and the day before that one, so we decided to go to the library. My ten year old went straight over to the kid's section and I took Elisabeth over to non-fiction to find that book about potty training to make sure I wasn't missing something. I needed inspiration.
I scanned the library shelves and over to my left, in big red letters I saw "Joan of Arcadia."
Is God talking to me or was I being diverted from my job as Elisabeth's Mom? My job to teach her how to use the potty? Selfishly, wandered over to the DVDs and picked up the first few episodes. I loved that program. Watching "Joan of Arcadia" with my family eating popcorn or ice cream reminded me of the old days in 1965 when I was growing up. When watching television with your family was a treat.
In 2003, it was the ONLY program on network television with which we could relate as a family. It was a good family show and it was going to rain the rest of the day. The kid's needed a diversion. Maybe even a little God. I needed a break from reality.
Like me, both Elisabeth and her ten year old sister were hooked on the "Joan" character so by the time the first episode ended it was time to get ready for dinner. Just as the background music started to play, I picked Elisabeth up and headed towards the bathroom to give her time to sit on her adapted potty.
I sat her down, put her safety belt on, and gave her the "talk" which for the last two weeks seemed pointless since she wasn't showing any sign of interest. The only pattern emerging here was my own using this time to start dinner.
I handed her her plastic chains to keep her busy. Just for a while. Elisabeth loves her plastic chains. Ask anyone who knows her.
The phone rang. I started dinner. And time passed. I peeked in around the door from time to time to check up and there she sat. As happy as she always is. Slurping at her chains. Her shirt. She smiled when I called her name.
I let her be for a little more time. A little extra time. She's safe. She's happy. And I still had more to do in the kitchen. What more could I ask for?
Dinner was almost ready. The table was set. I went in to get Elisabeth who was looking quite the 14 year old. Her head was tilted and she was very involved with her plastic chains. She was grinning. She was happy to see me like always. But this time when I lifted her off the seat, I saw something I've been waiting for a long, long time see.