Lady Macbeth

He keeps peeing his pants. And it is making me crazy. Literally. I smell urine now even when he hasn’t peed, and -I’ll admit- I have made him change his pants when they weren’t actually wet. I just washed all the dirty clothes with a cup full of Bac-out because lately even after they’ve been cleaned, they all still smell like pee to me. Yah, it’s like that.

I recognize that I am being a little nutty about the whole thing, but he’s four, and while sometimes not quite making it to the potty can be forgiven, when it happens multiple times a day, I start to get a little twitchy. Last weekend we were leaving a party, it was late, he was tired, and he tripped off the crib and sort of flew into the street next to our parked car. He peed his pants. And I comforted him because that was scary and a completely understandable reaction, especially since he already needed to go to the bathroom. But this is unusual. What usually happens is like what happened yesterday. He was playing in the living room and came into the kitchen where I was cooking to ask me something, I knelt down to give him a cuddle and smelled urine. “Did you pee your pants?” He ran off to change them. At bedtime I asked him if he wanted to wear the clothes he had or change into something else for sleeping and to my surprise he wanted to change. When I got out a new shirt, he told me he only wanted to change his pants. I looked at him. “Why is that?” He didn’t answer. “Are they wet?” He nodded. I told him to go to the bathroom, and he went straight to the toilet and used it, exactly as if he knew how …because he does.

He can make it to the bathroom and often does, but when he pees his pants it is only a little, just enough to make a wet spot. He doesn’t tell me about it, and though I see why he hesitates to tell me now, even before I turned into Lady Macbeth about the urine, he would just keep playing. I don’t understand why it doesn’t bother him, nor do I understand how if he has the bladder control to only pee a little and then let the rest out later in an appropriate receptacle, why he doesn’t simply go to the bathroom and avoid the wet pants and the tyrannical mama freak-out entirely.

But as often happens, I have recently had the opportunity to be humbled, to swallow my pride and my impossibly high expectations and just. be. grateful. This week I have been hanging out with (i.e. nannying) another four year, a delightful child with a sweet nature similar to my own son. This little boy is still in diapers. Now I don’t know if you have ever tried to change a two-year-old’s diaper, but I can assure you that bribes and/or physical restraint are often required, and all of us -every single mother and father- throw up our hands in thanks when we move past diapers to potties. No one misses diapers. No one. So now imagine the difficulties of a two-year-old-temper tantrum mid diaper change in the body of a four-year-old whom you cannot bribe nor restrain. And if he has pooped, you better start praying and hope you brought an extra pair of clothes… for you.

If I can love this child (which I do) and survive his diaper changes (which I have) then surely I can tell the Lady Macbethian voice in my head to shove it. At least we are done with diapers. Hallelujah. I’ll buy some more Bac-out, and somehow, I think we’ll all be okay.

Ironically, as soon as I offered up this realization, O stopped peeing his pants. In fact, he voluntarily stopped playing and ran to the potty multiple times. At least for today. At least for right now. And I am not foolish enough to demand more because I remember and I am grateful. At least for today. At least for right now.

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