Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Greatest Toy Story Ever Told

"Life's only worth living if you're being loved by a kid." - Buzz Lightyear

What is the appropriate reward for a child who poops in the potty for the first time? A child who finally breaks through that barrier after nearly five months of resistance? What do you get for a child who shows little to no willingness to perform a crucial bodily function you are desperate for her to perform?

Whatever it is, it had better be good. 

During the frustrating, painstaking process of getting our daughter to do her business where she's supposed to, we made a lot of offers. Presents, toys, candy. Whatever it took. You have to mean what you say and say what you mean. Keep your promises. We promised the world. "This is a big deal," we would insist. And we spoke of a reward commensurate with the deed.

The Peanut, however, wasn't buying, wasn't budging, wasn't bending at all. Set in her ways. The easy way. The disgusting way.

We kept hammering that boulder, day after day. But every time she had to go she would say, "I want to put on a diaper" (notice the perfect grammar), and we would counter with, "Let's try going in the potty." Then she would protest, whine, cry, insist. Insist this would be last time. She'd promise. Then the next time would come and still another diaper.

Diapers get old real fast. The convenience starts to wear off. For me, it was back when the Peanut started eating real food. Cheese especially. And corn.

Sometimes she would relent, sit on the potty, then immediately give up. Frustration was mounting. There was no end in sight. So we decided it was time for tough love. And to stick to tough love. 

So when she was ready, so were we. Now, we were the ones insisting. Her response? To not go at all. Anywhere. She didn't go... for three days. The only way to break a stubborn little girl, is to show her you'll stand your ground. Three days. Imagine not going for three days. I certainly can't.
Then, on the fourth day... it happened. While we were at work, and as my mother-in-law paced up and down the hallway with the dogs like a coaching staff watching their team drive for the winning score, she sat... and she did it. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't imagine it. I did not have to see it for myself. She was so proud of herself. I felt so proud too. Beaming. Relieved. For us. For her. Three days, remember. And, surprisingly, I was also admittedly a little disappointed that I wasn't there to see it myself.
Weak to say the least

Immediately, my wife and I discussed what gift we shall bestow for this great accomplishment. She wanted the little pig figurine from Toy Story, to complete her collection. Hamm is his name. Fair Compensation? Probably not. Would it make her happy? Absolutely. What does my wife come home with instead? Chutes and Ladders. But this was no Chutes and Ladders moment.

She was underwhelmed and barely grateful. Not the reaction we were looking for, but not the present she was looking for either (or promised for that matter).

My only option
The next day, the you-know-what really started to fly. Literally. Three times. This remarkable feat coupled with my wife's uninspired attempt at a proper gift, forced me into action. But my only move - my only option - was to brave the Toys R Us in Times Square. They've got to have the pig, right? Wrong.

Ferris Wheel: Tourist Trap
There I was... having skipped the shower after the gym in order to budget enough time to navigate through this disaster of a tourist trap that I thought I would never have to voluntarily enter in my life. A toy store so massive and gaudy it has a full-size, functioning ferris wheel inside of it. I was sweaty, stinky, and surly. Swearing at tourists under my breath as they took pictures - taking pictures in a freaking toy store for crying out loud. 

You may be asking, why didn't we just go online, locate the pig, and have it in reserve for when the moment came? Because we were so discouraged during the whole process we thought it never would.
This litle piggy: not in market
I braved this mob scene for one reason - to reward my daughter. To see her smile, satisfied. I finally reached the Toy Story section only to find the selection underwhelming. There was no pig. Now I was even angrier. I elbowed past a group of German tourists, and glanced over the inventory. A decision had to be made. A decision that fit the occasion.

Then I saw her... and I knew. A talking Jessie doll. Jessie - the cowgirl complement to the Tom Hanks character in the movie. Her favorite. It's July, and she already knows she wants to be Jessie for Halloween. She loves Jessie.
My $50 decision

This Jessie had 33 different sayings. It talked to you even when you didn't pull her string. It had the authentic red yarn hair. The hat to complete the costume. The smile straight from the screen. There was one problem: She was $50. Tourist trap. But due to our hectic work and commuting schedules and the situation awaiting us at home, this was my only option.

My other concern was her reaction. Will she like it? Will she love it? Because I need to get a reaction worth $50. She'd better like it.
Jessie and my girl

Boy did she ever.

The second she saw Jessie, the Peanut's eyes lit up, She played with her all night. Pulled the string. Talked to her. Sang with her. Laughed with her. Slept with her. 

Watching her sleep, sharing a pillow with Jessie and her Lammie, was like seeing the movie come to life. I wasn't sure what made me happier:  knowing she's conquered another mountain, or knowing I marked her achievement with a reward equal to the deed.

Now she has to learn how to wipe.

Click here to read what happened when we broke one of the cardinal rules of potty training


  1. Guess what Cameron got the first time he pooped in the potty...the talking Woody doll. We opted for the cheaper version which was only $35, but ultimately we got the same reaction. Pure and utter happiness. Congrats to Penelope on pooping in the potty! -Lori

  2. hey, 5 months of holding out - that's really only 10 bucks a month... so worth it, no? congratulations on reaching a major milestone...


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