After a failed jump-start with potty training last fall, Hurricane Hadley has demonstrated she is perfectly content to sit in her polluted diaper for extended periods of time. While we've been careful not to pressure her, there are assuredly animals who are more interested in improving their bathroom habits. I know. I watch cartoons.
My husband Jamie decided we needed to up the motivation ante so he pulled in the big guns: a visit with Mr. Chuck E. Cheese himself if she went on the potty. Hadley looooooves Chuck E. more than a mere mortal, which is kind of funny because he isn't even human. Err... or is he? (See below.)
Out of the blue last Tuesday, Hadley decided she was going to use the potty three times in a row. To reward her, we took her to see The Big Mouse that very night. But imagine our disappointment when we arrived and he was hiding in his mouse hole (this is according to Hadley; a very big Chuck E.-sized mouse hole at that).
I queried a high-school-age employee. She confirmed that Chuck E. does not make regular mid-week appearances unless it's for a big bash.
"You don't understand. This is a party. A Potty Party. And Chuck E. is the only one in this world who can motivate my daughter to continue to potty train," I said.
"Maybe we can arrange something."
"Fantastic. Hey, can he talk?"
"No, he's a mouse."
"I know he's a mouse. But there's a real person inside those overstuffed ears. A real person who can comment on her bathroom habits, which would encourage her along the path."
After all, what is Chuck E., if not a master motivator?
"He doesn't talk."
"Fine. Just bring out your mute mouse, OK?"
I then pondered the possibility of slipping Chuck E. $10 but scrapped the idea. If he really is a mouse as she professed, what use would my money be to him?
Eventually, Chuck E. did make his triumphal entry, which, according to Hadley, was no less thrilling than when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey. She squealed, danced, hugged and reveled in her own rendition of Chuck E. Idol.
I was thrilled with the outcome of the evening until I tucked her into bed that night.
"I was so excited to see Chuck E. tonight that I peed my pants."
She hasn't touched the potty since.
Amber is a former adventure-travel writer turned adventurous unraveling mother to two-year-old Hurricane Hadley and baby Bode.