Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Spica Cast, Part IV

Son Number Three was freed from his personal fiberglass prison on the day before Thanksgiving. It was a very liberating day for all of us. He was cut loose from his huge Spica body cast, and after an entire box of baby wipes and two baths, we were finally free of his tremendously powerful ammonia smell.  

While we are thrilled to finally be free of the stench, we have been left with another rather unpleasant side effect: Diapers. It’s our own fault really. We all got lazy.

At the time he broke his leg, our three-year-old was potty trained, but semi-unreliable. He was wearing big boy underwear during the days, and he always alerted us to when he needed to visit the potty, but his bodily function recognition system was still being debugged. He would announce that he needed to go pee, and then proceed to poop. He would say that he needed to poop, then get to the toilet, pee, and tell us “there is no poop in my butt.” To complicate things, he also got it right half the time, so you couldn’t just go with the opposite and be confident. Needless to say, after a few mix-ups while standing in front of the potty, he was a permanent sitter.

When he came home from the hospital in the crazy immobilizing uni-cast, he was no longer able to sit on the potty. To compensate for that, the hospital sent him home with a plastic wide-mouth bottle for peeing, and a plastic bed pan for pooping. Neither one was universal, and it was very difficult to get him positioned to try and use both the bottle and the bed pan at once. Given his lack of reliability on identifying what might be leaving his body at any given moment, you can see our dilemma. It was like a very high stakes game of whack-a-mole. You’d best be quick.

Once the cast went on, he was in diapers anyway, because the last thing you want with a Spica cast is an accident that you can’t get rid of for 6-1/2 weeks. We tried our best to use the bed pan and pee bottle for the first few days, but then we got lazy and tired of trying our best. And tired of cleaning pee out of the carpet. And out of our shirts.

By the end of Son Number Three’s first week in the cast, we were having this conversation:
“I have to pee.”
“OK. Go for it.”
“Are you coming?”
“No, buddy. Just pee in your diaper. I’ll change you right after you’re done so you won’t have a wet diaper.”

By the end of the second week, he was getting lazy and no longer giving us advanced notice, and we were all getting more comfortable with wet diapers:
“I peed in my diaper.”
“OK, buddy.”
“Are you coming?”
“Not right now. I’ll change you after your show is over.”

By the end of the third week, a total family laziness had set in and we were getting no notices at all:
 “Hey, buddy, it’s dinner time. Do you have a wet diaper?”
“Let’s check anyway… Holy cow, dude. This diaper is full.”
“Oh, yeah. I peed.”
“When did you pee?”
“At lunch.”

So now, here we are, two weeks after he was liberated from Spica cast confinement, and he is still in diapers and still not giving us any notice. We seem to be back at square one, potty training-wise, and it looks like we’re going to have to go through the whole ordeal again. We haven’t started yet, though.

Why, you ask? Well, there’s another problem. He hasn’t started to walk yet, either.

I contend it has to do with an overall laziness that has taken over every aspect of his life, but my wife keeps telling me it’s all part of the healing process. She also keeps pointing out how readily and vigorously he scoots himself around the house on his butt. She has a point. He does scoot an awful lot in situations where walking would be easier. I still think he’s milking it a little, but in any case, the point is, he hasn’t started back to walking yet.

What does that have to do with re-potty training, you ask? Let me give you a visual to help answer that question.

Imagine a three-year-old boy, who can’t walk because of a bad leg, who wants to sit in a chair. How does he do it? Well, first, he scoots on his butt over to the chair, straddling the chair with his legs. Then he hugs the leg of the chair, putting his face on the top part of the chair leg to gain some amount of leverage. He then proceeds to use his arms and face to grapple and shimmy his way up the leg of the chair, using his good leg to push and slide head-first onto the seat, until his belly is square in the middle of the chair. He then performs a complicated flip-scoot-twist-and-sit maneuver to get into an upright sitting position on the chair.

Now imagine that with a toilet.

We’re going to go ahead and just roll with the diapers a little longer until he starts to walk again.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2011 Marc Schmatjen

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