I choose to leave the crap to someone else …

Isabelle is 21 months and I really need to give some thought to potty training.

I think is aware when she takes a crap in her pants, because she sort of does a cowboy walk and indicates in the region of her bum “uck, uck.”  So she does not say mommy, but she has “yuck” “shoes” and “yum yum” covered. 

And you wonder why I blog to deal with my pain of rejection!

R2.20 – R3.00 odd a nappy (depending on the quality we can afford at the time of the month) it might be time to think about this potty training thing a bit more seriously.

Here is the rub – I have never taught my children potty training.  I hear you ‘gasp’ but it is true – and no they are not all crapping in their pants, I have just outsourced it in the past – not consciously, but it was sort of how it happened.

I waited until the school went: “Oooohhhh Connor/Georgia (leave the correct name in) is ready to potty training!”

And then I go: “Really?” with a certain measure of doubt in my voice.

Listen I do not like cleaning crap off skin, but it is preferred to cleaning it off skin, then off walls, then off the side of the toilet seat, then flicking it off the inside of underwear, and digging it off the seams of jeans ….. I like the one place option.

And they go – sort of with unabandoned glee – gawd pre-school staff need to get out more: “Yes, and we are going to get started, so please send extra underwear in case he/she messes. Okay?”

Me – sort of with a bit of a lip curl and lacking enthusiasm: “Okay …..”

And then I do send more underwear, and that is pretty much where my contribution starts and ends. 

Monday to Friday, Connor/Georgia are faithfully potty trained until they come home.  Then I put a nappy on and it remains there until Monday morning, and the training can pick up again.  At school.  Where I am not.

I figure my lackluster interest would set their training back by a maximum of three weeks, but in the bigger picture what is three weeks?

Not much I tell you – but three weekends spent wiping crap off furniture it can seem like an eternity! 

At some point even the child knows that they are potty trained and then they take off the nappy and use the potty at home, and then let me put the nappy on when what ever has found it’s way into the potty.

I usually keep this up until something happens.   I might forget to put the nappy on and then Connor/Georgia go to the toilet without pee’ing or poo’ing on the walls/floors or duvets, and I get called to come wipe and find a perfect floaty in the plastic potty.

At some point I will notice that an entire day has gone by and either the nappy is unused or I have forgotten to put it on.  Then I will congratulate myself on a successfully potty trained child, and do high-fives all around!

The result is that I have used this method twice and it has worked pretty well for me.  I seriously do not feel I have been robbed of any experience, really it is fine.  The need to teach my child to use the crapper is pretty low on my list of things I feel I need to do to make me a complete and competent mother.  Really, however if it rocks your world, great.

Unfortunately the flaw in my present system is that Isabelle does not go to school.  Huge flaw.

“Oh where, oh where to look to find someone to potty train my child?”

RM cups hand above eyes so she can see into the distance without squinting.  “Oh look who I see there, it is … it is Pepe. Yay for Pepe!”

Fabulous.

Yes, you can tut-tut until you nick your tongue for all I care. 

It is better than me sending my daughter to school when she is three and still not potty training.  I mean really, how would that look?

This morning I saw a book titled Potty Training In One Week by Gina Ford

Hello, what a clever little find.  Listen even if they are lying and it takes two weeks, still sounds like a good deal to me and costs about the same as one pack of nappies.

Excellent guess what book I have just bought for Pepe?

Will update you on how Pepe is doing as soon as the book arrives.

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Can’t hear a heart beat —- panic

My way of dealing with a problem is to google it to death, and then to throw money at it.  After the several thousand rand I have spent on psychiatrists and psychologists trying to get them to understand me and explain me to me – I have realized that at the end of the day, when the lights are off and everyone is asleep, I know me best.  Just to clarify, I know me best, but I still don’t know why I do half the cr&p I do, and think the thoughts I do.

I started to get stressed during my third pregnancy and realized there really was no logical way to reason with me.  Kennith had tried several times, and had now chosen to lie there and continue flicking through channels and he ignored me. He realized that logical arguments supported by pie charts may not be the thing that was going to break through to me when I was this far gone down the river of illogical.

I had read the baby books to the point where I could quote them, and I am not sure if they were helping or adding to my general apprehension. I am not sure exactly what I was stressed about other than everything.  I was just worried that somehow my walking, breathing, eating and existing was somehow going to damage this child.

I decided that I was going to get a heart rate monitor and listen to my baby’s heart beat.  Sure the fact that he/she had a heart beat may not tell me she had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and whether the bean would qualify for MENSA, but a regular heart beat was a good place to start.

I also realized that if I popped in to my OBGYN every time I had a panic – my medical aid and I would soon part company under very strained circumstances.  I gave it some thought and gave it a google – as you do – and realized one can obtain hand-held dopplers through which you can hear your baby’s heart beat in the comfort of your own home.

Now I did not really need to be sold up on this one.  I did a bit of reading to see what the general consensus was in terms of the possibility that they would cause damage to the fetus, and it all seemed to be rather non-consequential.

Further looking brought me right back to the lovely ladies at www.fertilitree.com and heavens-still-my-anxiety but they had a Doppler one could rent. I ordered it via the web and tah-dah it arrived.  Of course I tried to use it as soon as I picked it up at the post office.  I pulled up my shirt and stuck it on my tummy.  There was nothing – you should have seen me panic then!!

But it seems, like many things, it works best with a generous slap of KY jelly – to act as a conductor or what ever.  So there I was at home, on my bed, with about a litre of KY spread across my belly and trying to find a heart beat.

The relief when you hear the duff-duff-duff-duff is indescribable.  I decided to do it every second day for a no more than a minute – and it made me feel so much better.  Kennith just grumbled that it was really noisy, did not seem to work and there was only so long that he could sit on the bed next to me and coo about how great it was.

I spoke to the OBGYN as I did not want my baby over-exposed to anything, and he assured me that it was fine, I could listen for as long as I liked when ever I liked.  If it made me feel better, then great.

That’s the kind of advise I was looking for.   Pregnancy is really stressful, there is so much to worry about both real and more imaginary. I realize there is very little you can do to change anything.  So what is going to happen is going to happen irrelevant to what you do or don’t do – but for me, if I felt I was doing something – at least it would ease some of the stress.

Hearing my baby’s heart beat each day when I got home from work, was definitely a stress ease for me, if only for a little.

Going off the Deep End

I have long been aware that I suffer from depression.  Before I spent R350 – R700.00 an hour for someone to tell me that I suffered from chronic depression combined with anxiety disorder – I always felt there was just something off about me.

I would often describe myself as a sad person with happy moments – some times those happy moments would get shorter and further removed.

After I welcomed my first child into the world, and the dust settled – it is safe to say that things got a bit hairy and I sought professional help, because I really thought I was going mad.

I think the birth of your child really really brings things into sharper focus for you – even the mean and ugly things that you have been hiding from most of your adult life.

It was so difficult to explain what was going on in my head, but it got debilitating and I knew that though I was no friend to “normal” what I was experiencing was really far off the map of normal.

I felt isolated and that something just was not right.  I initially started with a psychologist and it was such a huge relief to be “diagnosed with something.”  That alone was really great and such a relief.

With my initial psychologist possibly I was not committed to the treatment or possibly she really was not any good.  (I would go with the latter as since then I have met several who are really good). Either way, it really did not go anywhere and I really just felt I was writing out cheques and that was all I was getting out of it, so I stopped and then languished in this state of hopelessness for a further year or two.

In 2004 I finally was referred to a psychiatrist by my GP as I really was not coping well.  Going through therapy should never be underestimated in terms of how difficult and soul wrenching it is.

One of the problems with therapy (I found), is that you walk in with one issue that you wish to start unpacking and once the Pandora’s box is opened, all the monsters come crawling out and it is very difficult to control them when they all start lurching and leering out of the box.

For me it was quite a traumatic year and the jury is out as to whether it did more damage than good.  I ended the year with my medication being increased and increased after what felt like each visit.

Eventually I could not function in what society would call “normal” parameters, avoided all social contact and really just wanted to lie in bed and hide under the duvet.

It got to the point where I felt I was standing in one corner and always observing myself from a distance – really out of check, really emotionally removed from anything and everything.

My behavior to my son got very erratic and I though I did not think I was going to hurt him, I really do not think I was doing him any good, because at best my reactions were probably quite traumatic for him.  He is also such a soft-hearted lamb-chop that he would easily feel my reactions to things and he in turn would then react.

When the end came with a dark thump,  I checked myself into a psychiatric facility for a two or three week stay. I really needed to run away from reality and everything that I felt was just adding weight to this drowning sensation I was feeling.

I do understand the labeling that comes along when you admit to being a little “psycho” but for me it feels more like a badge of honour (I might be going out on a limb here).  I encountered the dragon of all dragons and had the fight of my life.

Some days the dragon won – actually to be honest, most days the dragon won, who am I kidding – he is still winning.

I walked away from it with scorched eye-brows and sulphur smelling clothing.  I learnt more about myself in that year than I ever thought possible.  I know some of my triggers and know the signs of when things are going South for the winter.

I readily admit that I do not have the mechanisms to stop it occurring, but at least I can observe when it is happening and know when to put up my white flag for “help – rescue me.”

Various things occurred after the year plus of therapy and I decided to break from my therapist and not seek further therapy, I also went off all the medication, which to put it subtly was a bit a mind-stump if ever there was one.

Many many moons have passed since then, and I returned to a psychologist after my second child was born and also remained with her for about a year – it was great, and she did wonders to build my self esteem and sense of who I was in the world.

History is repeating itself and right now I feel like I am drowning in a sea of cold dark water and need help.   I can recognize the downward spiral as it has started to happen, and have made an appointment with a psychiatrist to go and have a little visit and maybe a cup of tea if it is offered.

This time around I will probably seek the medication route.  I can feel the extreme state that things are at right now, and have started waving my white flag hell-bent-for-leather.

I think if you have learnt anything from this rather depressing yet honest read, it is that there should be no shame to seek help.  Our bodies and minds take such a hammering during pregnancy and birth.

That period after birth with you and your baby at home, are hellishly hard.  I really do not think people realize how hard and area always up-selling how special it is, but not really always appreciating what it does to your mind and sense of self.  Throw a little sleep deprivation and relationship stresses into it and you have a Malakoff Cocktail.

I think we all have childhood issues that we drag into adulthood.  Some of us are better at letting them go than others, but I think when you bring your own child into the world, it is suddenly as if all your issues from childhood are immediately brought to the fore in brilliant techni-colour!!

So I am skipping along to see my new psychiatrist, I hope that you also take good care of yourself, and if it means making an appointment for therapy or just being honest with your friends, you will be surprised at how people respond to you when you are in your hour of need.

Everyone needs a white flag!