Potty Time – Excellent (Sing to Bill & Ted)
I will tell you what, nothing says priorities like potty time. Think about it. The minute you think you hear that ‘grunt’ or you see the ‘potty dance’ and you will drop anything – quite literally – from your hands and grab that little ‘stinker’ up like a sack of potatoes and rush them to the potty like nobody’s business to go do “their business”.
Nothing Says Priorities Like Potty Time Kids with Autism
Now, think about doing this little adventure with a special needs kiddo. We are potty training my youngest daughter right now, and it has been the longest stretch of getting my priorities set that I have faced in a long time. You see we have been doing it for … ever. This is the fourth try or so. We are so very blessed to have very skilled ABA therapists helping us with what I have so affectionately coined, EPT. Extreme …. Potty … Training. We are on Day 12. Yes, d…a…y…1….2….!
EPT – Extreme Potty Training OR Error Proof Test …
I did find it a little funny that I realized EPT was also a pregnancy test kit. So as a PSA, if you ever need to help deter your young daughters from wanting littles sooner than they are ready – send them over – I can give them a shift or two or fifty – whatever it takes.
Extreme Potty Training – Encore – FOREVER
Back to EPT. So it all starts in, you guessed it, that potty! You begin with an interval with her on the potty then with her off the potty. The first 5 days or so she (read WE) never leave the bathroom. Yes, you read that right! Now I don’t know if you have ever had to hug the porcelain god after a very fun night that you paid for later, but even then, at worst you had a few hours in that place.
We were IN THERE for 5 days. Not the bigger one, ya know with a chair and a vanity and shower and all that, NOPE the little closet with a toilet and a sink. That’s all. Oh, and try to keep a kiddo ENTERTAINED from 7:30am to 8pm every day in a closet sized space. Don’t forget you have to document – EVERYTHING. What time she is on, off, what she “did” or didn’t do. Fun stuff.
Desensitized to Cute Little Girl Butts
Well, good news is that we are now 40 minutes off the potty and 7 minutes on and she gets to get off right away if she ‘goes’ – but the kid hasn’t worn underwear or pull-ups for 12 days. We are all a little desensitized to cute little girl butts! I think we even forget when others come over to visit that we have a half naked kid running around. We are all very excited that if she gets the requisite 5 “successes” in a row without an accident we move to 45 minutes off and she gets to wear underwear. I don’t know if she is excited or not, but I tell you what I can’t WAIT to see Minnie-Mouse underwear on that kid!
The Bellows Abound with Declarations of Pending Potty Time
But, I digress slightly. So, here is the long winded point. We have a little timer in the house. It goes off at 7 minutes and 40 minutes. It took some ‘conditioning’ of the entire family to know that the second that thing goes off we all jump to attention – and jump we do! The AuPair jumps, my nephew, Daddy, Mommy, and all 3 other kids. I mean Jack Jack the littlest little is the biggest alarm of all. You hear the timer for a brief second followed by the bellow of Jack Jack informing his big sister of the her pending job – to go potty. After the action is completed ZoZo now turns the timer off herself. She has even stopped ‘fighting’ us about the pending doom, it just is what it is.
Mommy Monster to the Rescue
And you know what? This has been an amazing experience, really. A journey. One we are still on. And so many wonderful thing came out of making our littles the number #1 priority in our life right now. For 7 minutes every 40 minutes of the last 12 days I focused 100% of my daughter. I got creative and invented the Mommy Monster (who sounds a bit like Elmo with a bad British accent) that can only be activated by kisses and the visit to the Potty. We play the Zoey Pokey, the Jack Jack Pokey, the Monster Dance, and the Question Game. Then we all talk about the vacation we just came back from. Al of us make us songs without words. We sing, we potty dance, and we have an excellent time.
I Gots My Priorities Straight Ya’ll
In the middle of this all, I left my full-time steady job that paid me every two weeks and started my own company. I am a workaholic – no surprise to anyone – and now I have to make this happen as I am responsible for my paychecks. Yet, for 7 minutes every 40 minutes of the last 12 days I focused 100% on my daughter. Wow. I have never stuck that long with anything on a routine in my entire life. Really. Certainly not something focused on someone else. Certainly not something that seemed so icky and not fun. Yet, I HAVE MY PRIORITIES straight. For the first time in a very long time, I do.
There Ain’t Not Scales of Justice for Work Life Balance
Now don’t get me wrong. Most of you know me pretty well. I make mostly good choices by working hard and not slacking off. Most of the time, I do what I say I will do. But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the little ‘work-life’ balance thing we all read articles about. You see work-life balance isn’t like the scales of justice. It is not 50/50. 50/50 doesn’t mean it is working or optimal. I worked 4 hours this Saturday on my business – on Saturday. But you know what, every 40 minutes for 7 minutes I put my focus exactly where it needs to be, where I want it to be.
Finding the Balance
I, like many of you Mom’s and Dad’s out there, have struggled my entire time as a parent with finding the balance. I felt guilty that I was working too much, or that I was home too much, or that one kids got too much attention, or another kid didn’t get attention, or my husband was getting neglected. Most of the time, truth be told, I was the one neglected – not eating well, exercising, taking breaks, taking naps, reading books – whatever. There was very little time for me in my equation. Why? Because I really struggled with filling all the roles I have to fill and knowing what was REALLY TRULY important in the long game. You know, that long game called life. The one that throws you curveballs and EPT sessions and new businesses starting.
What Needs Attention in Your Life?
So I leave you with a few thoughts. What needs attention in your life? Do you have a big project at work that might need a steady push or do you feel your significant other slipping away? Does your teenager needing some attention? What priority is #1 to you right this second? For me, it is potty training my darling daughter. Both she and I, and frankly the entire society that doesn’t want poop on their carpet, desire this.
Do You Have 7 Minutes?
Now how much time can you devote to this thing every day for the next day? You see the amount of time depends on the situation. I know Flylady says anything for 15 minutes. I know others say any habit can be formed in 28 days. Great guide posts, all of them. All ones I have aspired to follow in my days on this earth. But maybe your task needs 7 minutes of focus every 40 minutes for the next 12 days. Or 15 minutes every morning for the next 30 days.
It All Started With a Minute
I had a friend who needed more peace in her life. She decided to start meditating. She used a program on her phone and started where she was. It was only a few minutes at first, because that was where she was in the journey. I think I read her write on Facebook the other day that she is now doing it 15 or more minutes a day and has for over a year. A YEAR. It all started with a minute.
Find Your Number 1
In conclusion, try to find your #1. Just one. Devote whatever amount of time THAT situation needs. As a result, be flexible to changing the time devoted, but DEVOTE IT. Devote it until the thing is done, or perhaps continue it for your lifetime if you see the benefit. Because YOU are worth it. THEY are worth it.