This week I've been potty training Hannah. We started bright and early on Tuesday morning when we took her remaining few diapers and ceremoniously tossed them into the trash can, waving goodbye and singing "no more stinky diapers." I read an e-book called "Three Day Potty Training" and followed it pretty perfectly. Basically you just give your child lots and lots and LOTS of fluids, then you wait for them to have an accident. As soon as they start to have an accident you RUN them to the bathroom and try to have them finish on the toilet. This is what you do, confined in your home for three days going nowhere. That's the gist of it. It was a horrible three days. By the end of day 3 I was about ready to pull my hair out, drive to the e-book's authors home, and burn down her house. Miraculously, After Hannah had gone to bed on the third night I heard her get up and knock on her door. I opened the door and Hannah ran past me to get on the toilet and go. It's now been three days AFTER the three day potty training, and while I'm sure we still have a ways to go, Hannah has woken up dry every morning since Wednesday (we don't use pull ups...they are expensive and supposedly lengthen the process...?) , and has only had two accidents since Thursday afternoon. We are progressing a lot.
It has had me thinking a lot though. This is seriously the hardest thing I've done as a parent to date. Even harder than when Hannah went in for surgery, because I know how difficult and frustrating it has been for her. She gets impatient with herself. I have to be kind and patient to her.
Being a parent is difficult. Today it's potty training, and before I know it, we'll be teaching her how to drive. Not only the physical lessons, but the emotional lessons as well. Today in Relief Society we were learning about how to be "Guardians of Virtue." I sat back thinking about our standards and what I'll need to teach my daughters, and felt super overwhelmed.
Recently, a good friend of mine gave me parenting advice. It was unsolicited, and actually stung quite a bit. While I know she was probably TRULY trying to help me with my strong willed two year old because Hannah really is strong willed (she has started to say "ouch, don't hurt me..." while I reprehend her, even if I'm not even touching her) and I know this. I know she disobeys and it is a physical and emotional struggle. There are constant power struggles going on between Hannah and I. The friend actually used the words "You need to discipline her. She has much too much freedom." I wanted to scream and shout "I DO! I have tried everything! I take toys away, I talk, I admonish, I yell, I scream, I spank, I take privileges away, I am consistent!!!" It came on a day that I was already feeling like a bad mother...then low and behold, someone else noticed that I was a bad mother too. I went home and bawled for hours. I know this person didn't mean to make me feel that way. I am not even upset at the things that were said to me. I just think...if you aren't in my home, if you don't know my child, you have no idea what is going on and the struggle I go through.
Hannah is strong willed. She is also very smart. I don't know any other two year old who can recognize not only every letter in the alphabet, but also match their phonetic sounds. She can count up to 30. She knows her birthday is "Juwy twenty seben" and Mommy's birthday is "October ten." She's memorized books and not just Goodnight Moon but also The Cat in the Hat. After watching Pinocchio, she asked "Mommy, you are Hannah's conscience?" She knows that "Gwandma and Gwandpa live in Utah with Sean and Meggie and Lizzy" and "Nana and Papa are in California and have doggies." She knows that "Hannah lives in Las Vegas Nevada." She also knows what she wants, when she wants it, and she rebels against me...and tries to trick me.
Parenting is hard. It is exhausting. Between Hannah, and Paige (mostly Paige) I haven't slept through the night since July and that is hard. I'm tired.
What is the hardest part of parenting for you?