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March 14, 2003 - Friday
Finally, after starting and stopping a month ago, Harry pooped in the potty again. He finally got Donald and we had special M&M ice cream after dinner. But, this whole process is fraught with parental second guessing. When Harry first pooped in the potty it was during that week of extreme stress and some very strong pressure from me, and his mother too, to simply starting pooping regularly. His physical health was at issue and I felt I just had to make it clear that this was not about "wanting to" or "not liking it," but rather something the body MUST do. So we, I, pushed. Pooping in the potty was more an offshoot of that week than the focus, although, for right or wrong, a very targeted offshoot since we were talking about bowel movements anyway. What has come out of that week is, at least, some excellent progress with peeing in the potty. Last weekend, for example, Harry went the entire weekend on two diapers (something for which we have also offered treats, though for #1 he gets just two Skittles and no trains). He never initiates the trip to the potty, indeed he usually mildly protests each time we suggest it, but two days and two diapers is a success.

So, we're back to pooping in the potty. We'd tried several times and had some frustrating misses, but it took until this morning to get back on the saddle. It still wasn't easy and still leaves me wondering if I'm pushing too much. At breakfast after two idle-bowel days, Harry was squirming in his seat in a pretty clear indication of need. Indeed, I got him to admit, after a few denials, that he "had a poop in [his] butt." We were almost finished, so I let him and Jeremy eat the rest of their meal, then we went up. On the stairs my conscious thought was that we would not give up until it happen. Even Harry talked about when he would get Donald, effectively referring positively to this visit in a remarkable turn. It was going to happen. But a solid five minutes, I suspect, of trying yielded nothing and I finally had to cede to Harry wishes to get up. Jeremy had brushed his teeth in the meanwhile and it was getting near time to leave for school. I let Harry get up to brush his teeth, but as I did so one last kick of determination get me to tell Harry that he "needed to poop or it would make him sick like it did before" and that we should try again after brushing his teeth, although I hadn't convinced myself that I'd follow though on this just yet. That "you'll get sick" is a motivation I've used on the few days since that terrible week that he has not been regular and I don't know whether using such scare tactics is the right thing to do, but I do know that we must avoid any of the serious health consequences to which it felt like Harry was so close. So, I do it. And, I did it this morning, and with it did convince myself to encourage him to sit and try for a second time right away in the same trip to the bathroom. Somewhat surprisingly, he didn't really complain.

I don't know how long I would have had him sit there with my diminishing resolution. But, I had to check on Jeremy who was now playing in his bedroom and found that he had, in fact, soiled his diaper. I thought about changing him in the bathroom with Harry, but Jeremy didn't have a daytime size diaper there and I figured that being closer to Harry would just give him more opportunity to complain. So, from a room away I listened to Harry say he tried. All I could realistically do, while working on Jeremy's underside, was to call back, "try again, I'll be right there."

"I pooped," came from the bathroom after three or four of the aforementioned exchanges. Harry says this often without the physical manifestation to back it up, including a couple of times this morning. I don't think he's consciously lying and can imagine that he's felt something move and really thinks he may have gone. So, I didn't really believe him this time.
"Keep trying."
"I already pooped"
"You did?" I asked, still with some skepticism from the next room.
"Can you see it?" hoping to confirm Harry's insistence.
"That's great, Harry," finally coming to trust him on the matter.

And, indeed he had. I was very pleased and showered him with both the praise he deserved and that to make up for the guilt that I felt and feel about being so direct in this whole endeavor. He was clearly happy, too, with just a little less surprise and relief than before and a little more pure sense of appropriate pride.

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