Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

gaming the system

WARNING: I’m about to talk about poop a lot.

Yesterday, as the day was winding down and it was time for the kids to get ready for bed, I knew it was time for Sam to poop. Lately, even though Sam is potty trained and can pee in the potty all day long, he has felt he is too busy to stop for pooping. He would rather be digging in his closet or playing a game — pooping is low on his priority list. So the past month has been a bit of a trial with him. As soon as Steven and I would figure out his ‘schedule,’ he’d change it on us, then mess, mess, mess.

One of his favorite pooping times is during the night or at naptime. I suppose he likes to be relaxed. So last night, with bedtime approaching, I took the bribery route again.

Me: “Sam, if you poo-poo in the potty I’ll let you pick out of your pumpkin.”

By ‘pumpkin,’ I meant his Halloween pumpkin. All candy the kids get over the course of the year — Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, Kwanza — goes in the pumpkin, to be doled out as prizes or on special occasions.

Sam: “I want pumpkin!”

Me: “If you want pumpkin, you need to go poo-poo in the potty, then you can get chocolate from your pumpkin!”

Here is where he usually says something to the effect of, “I don’t want it chocolate. I don’t need it poo-poo potty.” The bribery route never works. Tonight was different.

Sam: “I need to poo-poo in the potty!”

Okay! So Sam hops up on the potty and promptly has a little poop. So the whole family celebrates — hooray — then off to the kitchen to get something from his pumpkin.

Since it wasn’t much poop, I was afraid that was more of the plug, so to speak, and that much more would follow. So I tell Sam, “Sam, if you need to poo-poo again, go poo-poo in the potty, and I’ll let you pick out of your pumpkin again.” After a week since his last successful poop, I am feeling desperate.

After he finishes his treat and brushes his teeth (again) he announces, “I need poo-poo in the potty!” Then he hops back up and poops some more. The whole family rejoices again — hooray — and he got to pick out of his pumpkin again.

By this time Lydia, who doesn’t get rewards for pooping in the potty anymore, was looking pretty put out, so I let her read a book to me, promising pumpkin as a reward.

As Lydia reads me her book, I hear Sam in the kitchen announce that he was finished, and that he needs to poop again. He runs past us to the bathroom, where he almost burst a blood vessel trying to strain out more poop. He is finally successful — “Yay! I poo-poo pottyIgetchocolatefrommyPUMPKIN!” — then back to the kitchen he goes.

I lean over to Lydia and observe, “Your brother is gaming the system.”

It was now getting pretty late and Steven and I began to feel as if both kids — for Lydia was rolling around on the floor more than reading — were attempting some fancy shenanigans on us.

After Sam’s fourth poop (and fourth bit from his pumpkin), Steven laid down the line. Sam was unsuccessful on the fifth poop try and finally brushes his teeth for the third time that night.

By the time Sam is over his objection to being cut off and Lydia has muddled through her book, it is very late. As I close the door behind me after a second set of kisses for Lydia, I just chuckle. I hope Sam doesn’t end up with a case of hemorrhoids just because he wanted some extra chocolate.