Thursday, January 28, 2010

Toddlers don't tinkle on command


A couple of weeks ago, Chunks-a-lot came down with some interesting symptoms.  None of them seemed to be related but all of them were odd enough to worry me, so off to the pediatrician we went.  After some questions, confirmation that she did, in fact, have a fever and some other formalities, we were handed a "tee-tee" cup and a sanitary wipe.  Seriously?  My little one is 2 1/2.  She is fully potty trained but that does not mean she will tinkle in a cup.  The nurse told me that we could always put a "urine bag" on her but I assured her that would never work.  We have tried to get a urine sample with a bag at least 20 times at St. Jude's and not once have we been successful.  Even though I had some serious reservations about the entire potty and cup situation, I had no choice but to go with the lesser of two evils.

First off, let me just say something.  If you expect toddlers to even be able to go to the bathroom at a doctor's office, you might want to think about installing a mini-potty.  Because, as I discovered, you cannot just sit a tiny person on top of an adult's potty because, ahem, they will fall in.  So as I half-squatted on the floor, trying to hold up a thirty pound child at a very awkward position, I started to wonder how I was going to catch tee-tee in a tiny cup.  I decided to "one-arm" it (that is, use one arm to hold her on the potty and the other to hold the cup beneath her) and was able to maintain that position for about 30 seconds until my biceps gave out.  Then I tried to get her to hold the cup......impossible. 

 Finally we were able to get into a somewhat workable situation and I was in position, ready with my cup.  I waited and waited and nothing happened.  Finally, I asked Chunks, "Do you need to potty?".  She casually glanced up at me, unaware of my aching muscles, and replied, "No...I don't need to potty.".  Let me make this part clear, she said it with an attitude that said to me, "Why in the world did you ever think I needed to potty?".  I was a little frustrated at this point, mostly because I had broken a sweat and was regretting my decision to wear a sweatshirt that day.  We walked out of the bathroom and the nurse chuckled a little as she handed me a new urine cup.  I kindly informed her that we had not even used the previous cup but, alas, it did not matter....we had broken the sanitary seal at the top.  She was kind enough to let me know we would need a brand new cup and sanitary wipe every time we entered the bathroom.  How convenient.  "We could always try the urine bag, ya know.", the nurse said as we walked down the hallway.  I, again, assured her that it wouldn't work and went on my way.

I poured about 16 oz. of juice over the next few minutes and after lots of drinking and waiting, Chunks announced that she had to potty.  I was extremely excited and whisked her down the hallway to the bathroom, new cup in hand.  We got into position again and I kept thinking to myself, "This is it, we're going to finally be done with this!".  Nope, another failed attempt.  Another clean cup, another sanitary wipe and another cup of juice.  We were in our small room for two minutes when my sickly Chunk blurted out, "Tee-tee is coming!".  We briskly walked to the bathroom for attempt number three.  After holding her on the potty for a few minutes, I realized that she was not going to potty.  I didn't want to ask for another urine cup so I tried to get creative.  I bribed her, begged her, bribed her again and even made "swooshing" sounds to try and get her to tinkle but  none of it worked.  Feeling defeated, we left the bathroom, were handed a new cup and trudged down the hallway to our room.

The nurse popped her head in again and said, "You wanna try the urine bag now?".  I wanted to roll my eyes but I managed to mutter a meekly "yes" instead.  She put the bag on and said she would come back in a few minutes to check on us.  A few minutes later, still nothing had happened.  I'll be honest and say that I was secretly smiling that she had not tinkled in the bag.  I am after all her mommy and I know everything...right?  Well, apparently not.  The nurse said she had a trick, turned the faucet on in our room and left.  Exactly 13 seconds later, my Chunk finally tinkled....and in the bag, no less.  All the nurses praised Chunks and she even got two suckers and a happy face sticker.  She was all smiles.

I learned two things that day.  One, toddlers do not potty on command and two, I don't know everything, even when it comes to my children.  I guess I had to eat a little "humble pie" that morning as my stubbornness really only caused me more frustration than anything else.  I'm kind of thinking that it might have helped my complex if they had given me a sucker and a smiley face sticker, as well.  Fortunately, as an act of graciousness, my Chunk was kind enough to share her already-licked lollipop with me while we were driving home. 

 I guess, as moms, we might not always get the credit we deserve but, somehow, I think our kids always notice the little things we do.  After all, we might not be right about everything but it's nice to know that they still appreciate us in their own little way.  While a pat on the back and a "thanks for the effort" speech might work in most cases, when it comes to my little ones, I'll take a half-eaten lollipop any day.