It's bedtime yesterday evening. As I follow Moira into her bedroom, thoughts of Halloween enter my mind. With our first costume necessary event this Friday, I mentally prepare my "to do list" in those few footsteps from her door to her bed. As she cuddles underneath her blanket pulling her stuffed Build a Bear closer, my mind wanders to Maeve's costume.
Recently obsessed with all things purple, twirly, and girlie, it really should have been no surprise that she would want to dress as Rapunzel. After scouring the web for the best deal, I remembered Target. Not the Halloween section, but rather the Princess aisle. Unlike the $39.99 version of Rapunzel with extra puffy sleeves and wig, I scored the $20 dress made for dressing up. It's a little less fussy than it's more expensive counterpart, but for a two and half year old, it's practically perfect.
A little over six months ago, on her own intitative, Maeve asked for big girl panties and started with little fanfare or effort peeing on the toilet. It was quite a different experience than her older sister who's rebellion toward all things toileting took us to the week after her third birthday when the threat of "no preschool or soccer" finally motivating Moira to give up diapers permanently. Maeve starting using the potty and waking dry from naps and bedtime in what seemed like overnight.
However, things aren't that simple.
We are in poo hell here.
Fiber gummy bites.
Purchases of children laxatives.
All in an effort to get her to go.
Screw the panties. We just want her to go, as we encountered a nearly five day span where she held it. That was not fun for any of us.
What to do? What to do?
Like any good parent out there,
we tried praise.
We tried stickers,
and little toys.
Mo has done her own version of a song and dance in a failed attempt to encourage her little sister.
"Don't you want to be a big kid like me?" she asks.
Maeve deadpans, "Nope. I little kid."
I'll admit it, we're at the bribery stage now.
What can we do to get this kid to use the toilet?
With the purchase of the Rapunzel costume: Motivation!
Bry and I thought we had this parenting problem tackled. We'll get the dress. Tell her she can't wear it and go trick or treating unless she starts going on the potty and all our problems solved.
In theory, this is a great plan.
Reality, I'm dealing with a two and half year old.
All bets are off.
Holding that lovely purple dress, dancing it in front of Maeve's face, I begin, "If you want to be Rapunzel for Halloween you need to poop on the potty. Okay babes?"
"Nope. I no like Rapunzel. I be bad guy now and I poop in my diapy".
"You don't want to be Rapunzel? You don't want to wear this beautiful dress? This purple twirly dress that is so lovely?" I plead.
"No. I no poop in potty. I little kid." she insists.
Obviously, not the result I intend.
Alas, the dress disappears for a bit, out of sight in the purple room- a.k.a. our guest/dumping room.
This happened at the beginning of the month, and so over the past few weeks, I have on occasion, taken the dress out, paraded it in front of Maeve only to encounter the same response.
"I no poop on the potty. I no be Rapunzel. I little."
This takes us to last night, in Moira's room.
We are currently clearing out that Purple room to transform it into Maeve's big girl room. There have been various bags of trash, clothes, and miscellaneous items hidden in white garbage bags. Taken to the curb, consignment and family members.
For a brief moment last night, the thought I mistakenly placed that Rapunzel costume in a rogue bag entered my mind.
"Mo, I need to go check something out" I said, leaving her in her bed as I checked the nearly empty purple room for the Rapunzel dress. Opening the closet, I find the various toys I have hidden, a few extra blankets, and the blow up mattress, but no dress.
Returning to Mo's room, I open her closet, hoping the dress is hanging.
It is not.
"Whatcha looking for Mama?" she asks.
"I can't find Maevie's Rapunzel costume." I mutter between sorting through various clothing. "I haven't seen it anywhere."
"I know where it is." she says calmly.
"Uh? What did you say?"
Climbing out of her bed, she takes the few steps across her room to the dresser. A small space remains between the wall and the side of the dresser, where some stray frames needing to be hung reside. Reaching over the framed pieces, she pulls out the purple, twirly dress.
"Here it is." she says. "I hid it from Maevie. She not want to poop on the potty, so she not get Rapunzel dress."
Looks like someone has taken on the role of mother in this moment.
Thanking her for looking out for her little sister, I remind her that it's my job as mommy to take things away from Maeve when needed. I explain that while I'll need some help with this new baby, I'm still the one in the charge.
I think she gets it.
I hope she gets it.
Giving her a huge hug, her big blue eyes look up to me and she says, "You know Mama, I poop on the potty, 'cause I a big kid. I get to be Jessie for Halloween and you don't have to take away my costume, right? Because I listen and do what's right? Right?"
"I know, Mo." I respond. "I know you're my big kid". I give her one more big hug, and stick her favorite teddy bear under her arm. "I know."
The dress has been found. Halloween is just over a week away and our path to pooping on the potty has not changed. I guess Maeve's stubborn nature is stronger than my resolve, as I can't help but let her dress as her beloved Rapunzel for Halloween.
But at least, I know that if I need an enforcer, there's always Moira!