Annie is two and quite full of herself. Sarah Beth has made it her mission to potty train her sister. I wasn't quite ready to invest the time and effort involved in such an endeavor, but SB found a potty training DVD and made Annie watch it again and again. Naturally we had to invest in a potty seat, which Annie was anxious to use again and again. She cried a little when I switched her diapers for pull ups, then cried a few days later when I traded the pull ups for big girl panties, but we seem to be on the right track now. I am a firm believer in bribery when it comes to potty training.
However, I realized pretty quickly that I had neither the time nor the patience to play the "I have to go potty" game every 3 minutes. I had to remind Annie many times that she only gets an M&M when she actually goes to the bathroom, not just for sitting on the seat. It didn't register for a while, and SB wasn't thrilled watching me hand out M&Ms to Annie and not to her. In a moment of brilliance, I solved all our problems with a simple solution. I added "potty train your sister" to SB's list of chores. Annie gets an M&M every time she uses the potty, and SB gets one for helping her get on and off the potty every time Annie gets hungry for a snack.
Now I just have to figure out how to handle the almost daily scenario where Annie comes running up to me and squeals with delight, "I tee tee in panties!! I want an M&M!" On the plus side, we don't have to work on that kid's self esteem.
Jack and I were at the office a couple of weeks ago unloading some display cases when we realized it was lunch time. Jack suggested we go to one of our favorite restaurants, and I wasn't going to argue. We had the girls with us; we normally don't take them out to eat at nicer restaurants (ie any place nicer than McDonalds) for obvious reasons. But I was hungry and the fact that I had two small children in tow didn't register in my mind until we walked in the door, and I remembered that Annie was wearing big girl panties.
We went immediately to the bathroom so that Annie could get that out of the way before we were seated. The trip was a success, we washed our hands and went to the table. Annie was distracted for a few minutes while the waitress took our drink order and handed out menus. Then she announced, "I need to go potty." This is the point where we probably should have just left, but I was hungry. So we went back to the bathroom for another surprisingly successful visit. Back to the table where Annie sat with Jack for 30 seconds, switched to my side of the booth for 30 seconds, played under the table for another 30 seconds, then needed to use the bathroom again. I was doubtful. But I had learned from experience that the minute you ignore that warning, you're going to have something of a mess on your hands. And your floor.
We visited the bathroom four times before our food was delivered. After the second trip, she obviously didn't have anything left in the tank, yet each time she insisted on stripping down and sitting on the seat before announcing, "I done!"
I tried desperately to distract Annie with her lunch, but she was more interested in visiting that amazing bathroom again than in eating some boring macaroni and cheese. I raced through half of my salad with the speed of a toddler racing to the bathroom. And then we raced to the bathroom for a 5th visit. I begged Annie to please eat after that. She wasn't interested. "I not hungry. I need to go potty." I looked at Jack, who was so dazed by this point that he just waved and said, "go." He didn't mean to the bathroom, and I knew it. As we entered our neighborhood, my frustrated gaze met Annie's in the rearview mirror. She gave me a big grin and announced, "I HAWNgry."