The events of The Elmo Adventure have been occuring every night since that first time. But last night seemed to have reached its pinnacle point.
By 11:00pm, the whole family was in bed and M began to ask for Elmo and the potty. By this point at night, she had already gone twice. She had only pee’d on one of those visits.
I started to suspect that she only wanted to go there to play around and wash her hands and stall going to bed. So I told her that Elmo and the potty was sleeping and she needed to sleep too.
She wasn’t having that at all.
She cried.. and cried.. and cried.. it was a tantrum cry, complete with the whole scream/cry/hyperventilation.. the works.
It wasn’t a violent temper with kicking and flailing. It was more like a “please let me go to the potty and wash my hands, I don’t understand why you won’t take me” kind of desperate cry.
I didn’t lose my patience. I stayed calm. It’s easy for me to stay calm during these situtations because she really isn’t blatantly misbehaving. I talked to her calmly. I tried to sit her up, carry her and walk her around the room, or take her in the hallway to calm her down. She still wasn’t having it.
Through her desperate cries I can make out the words potty, hands, Elmo and please. She really wanted to go..
So a few things entered my mind:
Is she doing this because she really DOES have to go? Is she just stalling? What if she needs to go and I’m hindering her training? Am I spoiling her if I take her there again?
By this point, she’s pretty much inconsolable.. poor thing.
So I took her to the potty, but I didn’t take her diaper off and didn’t sit her on the potty. I just took her there and told her that Elmo and her potty needed to sleep and that she can say “good night” to it. I thought if she got that sort of “closure,” that she would calm down.
Nope. She stood still despite her tears because she wanted me to take her diaper off to sit on the potty.
So, I did.
She finally started to calm down a little bit and I thought our night was finally over.
Then she started getting hysterical again because she wanted to wash her hands.
So I stood her up on the stool and turned the water on. I ran her hands through the water and also washed her face because she was so full of tears.
She stopped crying hysterically, but because she cried so hard, it was difficult for her to stop completely. She was still a worked up and tense.
I took her into our living room and sat her on the recliner. She noticed her iPad and was beginning to work herself up again. She was so upset.
So I decided to give her the iPad in the hopes of letting her have a few minutes of playtime to calm her down. It was a rough time us to deal with all the crying, so I could imagine how rough it was on her. It would be had to get to sleep after being worked up so hard, so I figure a little down time on the iPad would help.
Well, it did.
Within the first 5 minutes, I noticed a more relaxed M. So I let her play for about 10 more minutes before I told her that it was time to sleep. I was soooo nervous that the waterworks were going to begin again, but thankfully, they didn’t.
I gave her some milk and then she hugs my arm. She falls asleep in an instant.
This all ended at 12:30am.
It was a pretty rough night, and I handled it the best way I could. Thankfully, I didn’t lose my cool or get mad at her or the situation. I think if my emotions rang high, things could have been so much worse.
What would you have done in this situation? What would you do to prevent something like this from happening again? Is this “potty thing” of hers just a phase? How do I get her to understand that she can’t just go and sit on the potty repeatedly before going to bed? Do you really think she has to go, or it’s just a whim of hers right now?
I’d love some answers to these parenting questions! Please leave them in the comments section!