Earlier this week Aidan made the decision to go to daycare wearing only jocks, no nappy. I was scared for him and worried that if he had a bad experience he would back track completely, I was no longer in control. I had a bit of a meltdown that day, had lots of time to think and evaluate my goals, it was rough finally being so honest with myself, I was breaking down walls. By the time Steve got home I was mentally exhausted but keen to get our little boy home. When we went to pick Aidan up from school he ran to me with his little arms stretched out wide for a hug and said “Mumma Mumma, nooooo accidents!!!” he was beaming from ear to ear… and so was I.
His carer explained that he’d been brilliant, told them when he needed to go and went peacefully when any of the carers asked him to. He slept in jocks at nap time and was really good at washing his hands, “Easiest transition ever“, their words. The relief washed over me like a wave, I felt like I could breathe again. She explained that he was really into lego and was the only child to help pack away the toys so he got a sticker. That’s my boy, the geeky teachers pet just like his Mumma.
I went to grab his things and I noticed a plastic bag, the carer said “oh they’re just a few wet things from an accident“. I was confused “I thought you said he didn’t have any accidents?“. Turns out only 10 minutes before we picked him up, he asked to go to the toilet but insisted on taking his pants of himself. He was busting, his pants got caught on his shoes and he ‘dribbled’ a bit as they finally got them off. No biggy, I was even more relieved. We said goodbye and chatted about his day all the way back to the car.
That night after his shower we went through the usual nighttime routine but hit a roadblock when it came time to put his nappy on. “No Nappy, Jocks in Bed” he repeated over and over. It threw me off balance, I wasn’t prepared. Aren’t you meant to focus on dry days before experimenting with nights? Isn’t he meant to fight me on this? Does he fully understand what he’s asking for? Steve and I starred blankly at each other, what do we do? So I did all I could and explained that he would have to wake up and go potty. That if he felt like he had to do a wee during the night to shout out for Mumma and I would come and help. He nodded his little head and smiled as he pounced into bed. It was at that moment that I knew I wasn’t going to get any sleep that night.
As Steve was reading him his bedtime story I did what most people do and I called my Mum for advice. She squealed over the phone at his progress and then laughed when I explained that he was refusing to wear a nappy at bed time. She explained that when I was little she took me to the potty before bed and then left me to sleep until she was ready to go to sleep herself (10pm-12pm), then she would wake me gently, explain that it was time to go potty, walked me to the bathroom through the darkness, sat me down and I’d do my business. When I was done she’d walk me back to bed, tuck me in and then I’d be right until morning. She wished me goodluck and threw in an extra giggle for good measure as she hung up. Ok, I can do this…
We sat on the couch, Steve doing his thing and me doing mine and then for some unknown reason Steve decided to pick a fight with me (that lasted until the following afternoon) over the smallest thing. He stomped off to bed and left me to deal with the situation on my own. I was fuming and tired and emotionally drained so I distracted myself with twitter and at 11:30 I wandered into Aidans room and gently woke him up. It all went exactly as planned, it was official, my mother is a genius. I was relieved but nervously listened out for his tiny voice and my head couldn’t stop processing the fight, needless to say I got about 2-3 hours of broken sleep.
We woke the next morning to a completely dry happy boy who ran to the potty and danced about giving high fives and shouting “Wee Mumma, it’s HUGE!!!”. The rest of the day was normal, no accidents and no nappies. That night he said the same thing “No Nappy, Jocks in Bed” so we trusted him and he was fine. Sitting on the couch, Steve and I took the opportunity to talk about what was really bothering us and boringly enough it revolved around housework and our own bad habits. He hated that I never unpacked the dishwasher and I hated that he never wiped the tables or benches down when he and/or Aidan made a mess. I know, first world problems but if that’s all we had an issue with I was happy. By the time we were done going back and forth listing each others most annoying bad habits we were laughing and back to normal and then we heard a little cry from Aidan’s room “Mumma, Potty!” it was time to take him.
I took him to the potty and he sat there barely awake, wobbling on the seat, he did his business then went back to bed and then to sleep. That night he’d asked to go, it was progress. Steve and I laid in bed talking in the dark, like really talking, to that point where all the things you’ve held on to and bottled up come pouring out. It was raw, it was nice, it was ‘home’, curled up in his chest both talking about life, one we shared. It was 2:30am when we finally fell asleep, each having a better understanding of how our lives were in that moment. We fell asleep but it felt like I only blinked.
Aidan woke at 6am, Steve left me to sleep only to wake me several hours later with the promise of eggs for breakfast. We had a casual day playing duplo with Aidan, playing games on the ipad and cooking food, it was nice and calm. At bedtime Aidan put on his jocks and got into bed and this time we trusted him, he’d proved he understood what he had to do. By this point I’d only had 6 hours of sleep in two nights and I was exhausted, I tried everything to keep myself awake. It was 10:30 and too early to wake him to go potty. I laid in bed, eyes closed, justifying sleep to myself “It’s ok, go to sleep, he’ll wake you if he needs to go…zzz“.
Steve and I woke to a cry and in that moment I knew it was too late. He wailed miserably, sad soft sobs as Steve picked him up and took him too the bathroom reassuring him “It’s alright mate, things happen,we’ll just clean you up, we love you.“. I bounced out of bed and stripped his sheets and quickly threw on new ones. He almost refused to go back into his bed until we showed him that the mess was gone. “I sorry Mumma… accident… I sorry” his little voice quivering. “It’s ok” I told him, “all clean now and time for sleep, I love you.” Steve stayed to keep him company. I put the sheets in the machine and wandered back to bed and looked at the clock, it was 5:30am, he’d almost made it. I lay in the dark alone, eyes brimming with tears, looking at the ceiling and writing this post in my head as my son whimpered in the next room. I felt like the worst mother in the world, we were a team and I’d let him down. He would have made it all night if I’d just stayed awake a little longer how could I be so selfish and fall asleep! I cried myself into dark dreams.
Later that morning when Steve left for work he came into my room and climbed into bed with me, he didn’t give me a kiss. I asked if he was ok and if he remembered he had an accident. Suddenly he shouted at me “NO, JOCKS IN BED, WAKE UP GO POTTY, NO ACCIDENTS!!!” and he slapped me on the arm. I was shocked as it was so unlike him and neither Steve or I smack. I remained calm and explained that it was ok to be angry but we don’t hit our friends and he said “MUMMA NOT MY FRIEND!!!” and he slapped me again. I lost it.
It’s not that I try to hide my emotions from my son but I do try and hide the ugly tears, you know the ones. This was the first time he had disowned me (I know there is more to come) and he did it in such an angry way that it threw me. The tears rolled down my cheeks and my chest heaved in pain. Now Aidan was the one who was thrown, he stared blankly like most blokes do and wasn’t sure what to do. I tried to calm myself down and explain again that it’s ok to be angry and mad at Mumma but it wasn’t ok to be hurtful or hit people. He sat quietly for awhile looking his hands, me sitting calmly across from him. I said I was sorry for not waking him to go to the potty and told him it was ok for him to get out of bed and go on his own if he needed to. He nodded and leant over and gave me a hug, I said “I love you” and he whispered back “Sorry, Mumma friend, no hitting“. I might not win any awards but at least there would be no bruises.
The last three days have been epic, I feel completely drained and lethargic, my son however is full of beans and why wouldn’t he, he’s been having nights full of sleep and has the new found freedom of playing with himself in his jocks whenever he chooses. Steve and I feel closer and have a little more understanding about what’s going on in each others lives, It’s been tough but in a strange way I’m glad it all happened.
Now tell me… is it nap time yet?