Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's a parent to do?

So my son is 2 years and 7 months old. He is not potty-trained yet. We've purchased everything there is to purchase, it seems, in an attempt to get him potty-trained. We have a Marvel Superhero's toilet seat, a stool, a separate potty, flushable wipes, books depicting Elmo and others using the potty, etc. Every time we try to take him to the potty, though, he screams "No potty!"  He is physically able to do it, but I think the potty just scares him.  Any time we even mention using it, he gets antsy to the point of tears.

We had yet to discuss this with his pediatrician, and that will most likely be our next step, but first we decided to try a rigorous potty-training boot camp over the holiday weekends when he was home from day-care.  The first day did not go well at all, with two trips to the bathroom and him just kicking and screaming.  On the second day, we ran into somewhat of a brick wall.  The poor little guy had been developing not one but two chalazia in his right upper eyelid.  A chalazion is like a stye on the inside of your eyelid, and even though he wasn’t complaining much about it, his poor eyelid had swelled up to the point where his eye bore a slight resemblance to a pickled egg.  We took him to the pediatrician as soon as we could get him in, the holiday schedule making it difficult, and of course the doctor just prescribed eye drops and told us they'd have to schedule him with a pediatric ophthalmologist.  Naturally the ophthalmologist couldn't see us for two weeks, and so now we’re just waiting it out and trying to treat it with the eye drops and warm compresses.

I love being a dad, and I pride myself on the great relationship I have with my son--reading with him, playing games on the Wii, teaching him everything I know in short little age-appropriate bursts of information, egging him on when he's picking on Mommy, etc., and so you can imagine the heartbreak I feel when I have to physically hold him down to put these eye drops and warm compresses on his eye.  If he had claws like an animal or Wolverine, I’d be finished in seconds.  He screams and flails and punches, says "oww" and "it hurts!"  I know it's not physically painful, but to him and his limited vocabulary, that's how he expresses it, and I feel like my heart just thumps out of my chest and falls to the floor with a dull thud each and every time I have to do this to my little man.

I remember when my wife first became pregnant, and everyone gave us all of this advice on parenting and what to do when this or that happens and blah blah blah.  My in-laws, who hail from Vietnam, had very different and sometimes drastic and bizarre ways of doing things, including my mother-in-law’s stye remedy.  It involved rubbing your CLEAN index finger vigorously against the palm of your opposite hand for 30 seconds until it became warm and then immediately applying it to the affected area.  She swore up and down (literally cursing at us while standing up and sitting down) that it worked, and when you consider that it really is something like a warm compress, I could see the logic.  She’s half-Chinese, and her father actually owned a kung fu school and monastery where she learned Chinese herbal medicine while growing up, so there had to be some validity to her therapy.  Anyway, we’ve tried that as well, but even it hasn’t had much (if any) effect on his poor eye.

We'll get to potty-training soon, but until we see the ophthalmologist, I can't torture the little guy with putting eye drops in and making him use the potty.  One thing at a time.

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