Thursday, October 29, 2009

What started out as potty training

Frequenters of this family blog are well aware of my joys and frustrations parenting a very willful toddler. Combine said toddler with the event of potty training, and you have another story to read!

Except this story isn't about how spicy/stubborn/unrelenting/obnoxious she is; between rushed runs to the potty chair, I discovered my daughter Abigail. The delightful, eager to please, calm, careful, joyful, quick-witted, articulate child that has been there all along.



Thanks to the advice of a good friend, I engaged in the 3 Day Potty Training Method, intent on getting Abigail off diapers. One of the main tenets of this method is that the guiding parent is required to give all his/her attention on the child for three days, eschewing any other activity until the child is done. Simple enough, right?

I couldn't believe how distracted I was the first few hours. And what was revealed to me during the entire 72-hour potty training vigil was not Abigail's strong will, but my overarching lack of attention on Abigail. Just Abigail.

I don't consider myself a bad parent. It has sure helped that my college major was child and adolescent development, coupled with my experience as a teacher, director, and assessor in early childhood programs. Once Ron and I decided that I would stay at home with Amanda, Amanda got the very best of two doting parents' attention.

Abigail's world has largely orbited around her sister's nurturing. I carted Abigail to all of Amanda's lessons and gymnastics. Abigail spent a lot of time learning that her sister is talented in many directions, especially when we started homeschooling Amanda. EVERYTHING focused on Amanda, and Abigail took a backseat.

But what's even more foolish was that I started a side business AND participated in creative teams at the same time as the homeschooling. And Abigail was almost forgotten except for her tenacious screaming to be heard. And in my distracted mind, I started classifying her as "difficult".

While I know that Abigail is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (don't you remember who her mom is?), I sense that my unwillingness to quiet my life enough to enjoy her may have created more friction for this little one than necessary.

How do you begin to say sorry to a two-year-old for the last year's transgressions?



I will start by enjoying her tiny grape toes cradling her Dora pantied bum, letting her linger on my lap just a while longer, and thanking my Creator for another chance to be a better steward of what I've been gifted.

Love you, Abbers Stombers.

18 comments:

Andrea said...

Oh...thank you so much for sharing that (as the tears well up in my eyes).

Maybe this is the motivation I need to 1. potty train and 2. devote more of my time to the precious children that God has put in my care.

Denise said...

I know what I am going to really enjoy is meeting these young women all grown up...if they follow in their mother's footsteps...they shall be blessed in deed.

xo

p.s. there is no going back and no amount of regret can make up for anything. But moving forward and being positive will be enough to make amends.

Linda said...

You are a wonderful woman and mother for stopping and reflecting on not only what goes on in your and your families life, but also to reflect on your own part in it. I commend you for it. Your daughters are lucky to have you.
Much love.

Kimberly White said...

You are a wise woman ... I think I need to devote some more time to both of my boys. About potty training ... Joel was 3 1/2 when he finally trained. There was lots of tries on my part (which included a whole lot of frustration and crying on both sides) and then one day he just did it. No help from me at all. Hope you have a wonderful day enjoying your girls.
Kim

Sandra said...

as i don't have kids, i cannot imagine these things. but just wanted to say that this was such a beautiful post. TFS!

Joanie said...

Heather,
What a marvelously sweet and poignant post about parenting! You've discovered a truth on baby #2 that most of us don't learn until later. You are wonderfully blessed to discover this. It's too bad that the world throws so much at us that just isn't important in the eternal scheme of things.
Hugs and love...
Joanie

Joanie said...

PS I LOVE this pictures of Abigail!

Brenda said...

Hmmmm, Abigail wasn't the only one in "training" this past week I see. I'm proud of you for being such a teachable student. Hugs and high fives to both you and Abby : ).

Carol said...

Heather I love your honesty. Big congratulations to Abigail for wearing the dora undies and what a gorgeous photo of her.

Jeanne said...

What a strong and powerful post about a lesson we can all use. Thank you for having the strength to share it so beautifully.

Both your daughters are truly blessed to have you as their mom...a person who isn't perfect and is willing to admit it. THAT is wonderful example to set for them.

Hugs to Abigail for potty training and to Mom for being honest and reflective!

Angie said...

Amazing what our children teach us when we listen. I am proud of you for being open to new information and way to go Abigail in mastering the potty.

* TONYA * said...

You are an amazing mother. I think all of us reading this will sit back and wonder for a moment if we too need to re-assess our priorities.

Your children are extremely lucky.

Anke said...

you are just too sweet, what a precious story and your photos are just amazing!!!!

danielle d said...

Absolutely love your blog - your words and your photos - thanks so much for sharing!

A new friend Kolleen gave me a bit of love and I am passing it along to you! http://scrappybetties.blogspot.com/2009/11/one-of-my-newest-artistic-soulmates.html

Kimberly White said...

So excited for you Heather! That's wonderful!
Kim

J said...

You are a wonderful Mom, Heather! Evidence of it is that you've realized your shortcomings and vow to do better. God will bless that, I believe. :) Thanks for the honest sharing. If it makes you feel any better, your post could've easily been about me and my youngest. Sigh...
btw, you don't homeschool anymore?

courtney bowlden said...

how adorable!

Tezra Williams said...

hmmmmmm, you never know when what you write will deeply touch another. Thanks for the reminder, Heather. I need to reevaluate how the baby of our family is often viewed as our "tag along" especially now that we're homeschooling. thank you for speaking into my life and your transperancy.

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