Since my ignominious defeat last summer, several people have asked me if I've had any luck toilet training Sacha. My standard response is, "Hell no, I would have blogged the hell out of that."
In the past few weeks, however, we have made significant progress. I'd like to say that after much reading of parenting manuals and soul searching, we managed to find the key that unlocked the mystery of Sacha, but the truth is, we owe it all to television.
Because there are a few things — eating and shitting being chief among them — that you cannot force another person to do, we have been largely resigned to waiting this out.
My mother, however, in keeping with grandmaternal tradition, is not above bribery. When I had the flu, I heard her ask Sacha what he wanted in exchange for delivering the goods. "Nothing," he replied. When she probed further, promising to get him whatever he desired, he answered, "T.V."
And thus, a plan was hatched. For every pee, he would get to watch five minutes of television.
And after months of failed attempts at behavior modification with stickers, tickets and candy, it worked. In two weeks time, we broke out the underwear.
Would that he would not shit in them, it would have been great.
But we measure progress by each individual's yardstick, and this was undoubtedly a huge leap forward. As Sacha still had no compunction about shitting himself, I was loathe to keep him in a pull-up any longer for fear of encouraging backsliding. As is so often the case with Sacha, he had us between a rock and a hard place.
And so we did the only thing possible, and procured many, many, many more pairs of underwear.
(I try to refrain from dwelling on the utter strangeness of cartoon character embellished foundation garments. It's just plain weird to see the image of Patrick Starr on your child's bum, like a bulls eye, or in our case, an invitation. Because we have been worn down to nubs by now, every morning after Sacha makes his sartorial decision about whether he will swathe his ass in Diego or one of the Wonder Pets, or the Hulk, David and I look at one another conspiratorially and offer this prayer, "Please don't shit on Ming Ming.)
I'll spare you the details, but suffice it say that yesterday morning, as we Jews say with Hanukkah approaching, "Nes gadol hayah sham." A great miracle happened here.
We clapped. We cheered. We called the grandparents. We ate ice cream for breakfast.
But lest we get too cocky, Gabriel offered this sage advice. "You know, Mom, Sacha's probably not done pooping in his underwear."
Gabriel continued, "I would say, he'll probably do it three or four more times, and after that, maybe he'll be done."
And true to form, today, Sacha shit himself twice.
Two steps forward, one step back. Or more accurately in this case, one shit forward, two shits back.