Monday, April 25, 2011

Opal and the Potty: Phase I.

Reporting on April 25th, 2011.

Opal do it, is a phrase that is swiftly gaining momentum.

Opal continues to practice the art of mimicry, taking it to more and more advanced levels as she grows older. When she sees mama messing with her hair she yells, mama hair! Opal hair! And messes with her own hair. When mama announces she is going to brush her teeth, Opal is promptly standing in the bathroom doorway, chanting Dor-a, Tom-mee, Dor-a, Tom-mee, the characters on her toothbrush and toothpaste, receptively. I once inadvertently proclaimed fresh water as I rinsed my toothbrush and ever since Opal has incorporated at least one request for fresh-a-water during the brushing session as well.

She also assimilates the mimicry into her vivid world of pretend. She makes oatmeal and coffee almost exclusively at her tea parties. Sometimes apple-and-yogurt make a cameo, but every item on her menu came directly from what was actually served at breakfast. (Daddy drinks the coffee.)

Nobody suggested a potty. Dr. Sears says to not even think about potty-training until they are two. But I was unexplainably enticed by a cute little biodegradable potty during one of my recent therapeutic shopping bouts and so I bought it. I figured Opal could put her B on it for pretend, or sit on it with her clothes on while mama pees.

She immediately understood and wanted to go to the bathroom whenever I went in, wanted to sit on the potty just like mommy. She even pretends to wipe, puts the paper in the toilet and helps mama flush. She got all that in a few short days.

Then the books arrived. Again, with no motive aside from getting her accustomed to the lingo and the image of a potty with a naked little apricot-body along side. Once Upon a Potty and Potty were introduced only yesterday morning and Opal has wanted to read nothing else since.

She likes the part in Once Upon a Potty where Prudence's mom tells all the things that a potty is not intended for— A birdbath? No!.. Opal smiles and says birdee! She then shuffles through the (real paper) pages, saying to herself where birdy? where birdy?

She likes the part in Potty where the cute little smudge-edged asexual baby finally pees in his little potty. His expression is one of elation, fabulously portrayed, and the next page is an explosion of super-hero stars surrounding the words I Did It! Opal points and says stars! with a slight proud smile brought on from by-proxy pride. The next page shows the Mommy, Daddy, cat and dog all parading behind the baby, shouting HURRAY! as he holds up a partially unrolled roll of toilet-paper like a banner. Opal preempts the turning of the page with a resounding Hurray!

This morning, as we were preparing for our walk, Opal began to tug at the sleeve of her pajama. I thought maybe there was an itchy patch, so we headed to her room to change. By the time we got to her bedroom, she had pulled an arm out of the neck-hole, something she has never come close to doing before. I unzipped her and started to put a shirt over her head when she said No! Naked baby! And I realized that, ahh, yes, she wants to be naked like the babies in her book. And she wants to be on the potty.

Wow. Like a sponge she is.

So we commenced go a very different direction than our walk and spent the next 20 minutes in the bathroom. She sat on the potty. She stood up. She wanted me to read to her. She stood up. She wanted to read to herself. She stood up. Naked the entire time and clearly having a ball.

This entry-level potty-progression has taken less than a week and a half. I supposed it makes sense that the child who wanted to be in her own bed at 4 months and weaned herself at less than a year old would be raring to go with the next exciting developmental task. My main mission as a mama at this time is to provide a few tools and books and some well-placed encouragement and then stay the hell out of the way.
Oh, and to continue to use the toilet myself to give her something to model, which shouldn't be a problem at all.

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