There is just one more notch needed on Hannah's belt before she becomes a big girl with a capital B.
"I'm a big girl and I'm not a big girl" she confessed to me the other night as I was tucking her in after another exhausting round of trying to go potty.
At 2 1/2 she has suddenly become so wise. She is exactly right. A big girl in so many ways. The way she can sleep in a big girl bed without any help at all, and without waking up at night. The way she can hold her pee in all morning and until she's in bed napping. And then again in the afternoon.....until she's in bed for the night. (Sigh.) The way she's been wearing Rachel's pretty big girl panties and sneaking other dirty ones from the laundry hamper, carrying several at a time around like jewels.
And maybe I'm becoming a bigger girl, too. I am slowing down my pace, gathering patience, as we hunker down to get this notch finished.
Because you see, she's afraid to let go....to release the inner faucet.....to pee....without a diaper on. It's happened a few times by accident, when I've grabbed her and placed her on the potty right as she's started to go pee---but these were not happy accidents from her point of view.
This morning I sensed an opportunity. Her bladder of steel's guard seemed to be down. It was 9:30 and she was having trouble keeping her panties dry. She'd take them off and there would be a little round wet spot. "I peeped," she'd tell me, and to be honest peeped seem to be the perfect word for what she had done.
"Well, if you're going pee, you've got to sit on the potty."
"If you're not going to try to use the potty, we can't wear panties."
Finally, I got her to sit on the potty and give a few deliberate drops. Woo-hoo. I celebrated. She got to eat a bit of leftover birthday cake. And she sat on the pot for a good 15 minutes or so while she ate, but nothing more than drops. She had earned the privilege of wearing panties again, though.
I picked up a book while she played by herself. Suddenly, she grabbed her crotch through her dress and said, "I threw up." Apparently, this time the drop was more than a drop. She had definitely not turned the faucet on, however. Just a light sprinkling.
Another half hour or so passed and the faucet turned itself on. She started panicking and crying, I grabbed her and sat her on the potty. She continued to cry as she filled her potty.
I whooped. I hollered. I cheered. She laughed through tears and then just cried. I sat down and comforted her.
Later we were sitting at the table, enjoying some juice as a reward, and I talked excitedly about her using the potty seat. "Aren't you happy that you used the potty?" I asked her.
She hesitated, wanting to be able agree with me, and then slowly shook her head and said, "I was scared. And then I cried."
Later we went panty shopping since she seems to have moved passed her awkward "toddler panties" and earned the right to wear clean big girl panties that she can call her own. Besides, her big sister's generosity was beginning to wear thin this morning and coming home to a pile of wet panties is pretty much going to break the sharing panties deal entirely.
And I am trying to remember to breathe, just like I tell Hannah as as she's sitting on the potty looking at me anxiously and cluelessly without breathing. Breathe, I say, as I take in a few deep ones of my own. So, I'm starting to as I wait for her to let go so she can buckle up her Big girl belt for real. Because I don't know if I'll be there in the labor room one day telling her to breathe. In fact, the odds are that I won't. THIS is our time. Now. And I damn well better enjoy it peeps and all.