Oh, if only we could. I'm still down in the muck and mire, and will be for some indeterminate amount of time. Worse yet, I've now used the last trick I had at my disposal: I let go a little. (Though I'm not sure what, if anything, I've gained.)
It took me some time to work up to it. The fear of cleaning big-kid poop out of underpants made me far too jumpy to ignore any and every sign, even when I promised myself that I would, so I first began to question Abby, and then put her on the potty despite her protestations, sometime after lunch. As per usual, nothing happened right away, but because I was too nervous not to, I let her sit for a bit. Perhaps it was luck, or perhaps Abby has gotten better at reading her own signs, but we had activity within less than ten minutes, and I could breathe again.
A couple of hours went by in which she was past due to "make pee-pee," so I gave in one last time after the urgency I read on her face set off some trigger within me. Predictably, I met with the same defensiveness she's been displaying for days, and eventually took her back off (which she, of course, fought despite not wanting to sit in the first place) after I saw that nothing but hijinks was occuring in the bathroom. After that, I threw my hands up in the air. When Tom came home, I let him do the same. Within minutes after I went upstairs to throw together some dinner, the inevitable occurred.
I'm not sure how I feel about how it all went down. It's not like I get any kind of joy from seeing her upset, but I have to admit to feeling a bit peeved that she wasn't more so. The flippancy with which she approached the experience of soiling herself this time around makes me worry that any future attempts on my part to leave her to her own devices will only leave me with extra laundry and spot-cleaning to do. That's not exactly the goal I had in mind at the end of all of this, and would probably be a clear signal that it's time to table this for now. Tempting as that sounds, I've put so much into it at this point that it would be tragic to really have to consider.
At this point, I don't want to dwell on it anymore, much less write about it. By now, it must seem long since old news, even though it's my new reality, and I don't wish to spend any more extra time stressing about it than anyone else (I'd imagine) really wants to spend reading about it.
So, I'm changing course. Tom took on a project a couple of weeks ago that I couldn't write about at the time because we wanted to surprise some of our party guests when they arrived.
He put up some rain gutter shelves just outside of the playroom.
I first came across the idea long-ago-and-I-don't-remember-where, but was recently reminded of it over at This Ain't the Lyceum. Kelly linked back to some Pinterest pins, but they didn't seem to work for me (maybe because I've never joined in on the Pinterest bandwagon, and don't have an account there). So, while I was able to describe the general idea to Tom based on her post, I had to Google a tutorial, which I found here. In the end, Tom mostly winged it anyway, and he did an amazing job.
Best of all, it was very low cost, very easy, and not particularly time-consuming. He managed to fit it in late one evening smack in the middle of all of our pre-party planning, organizing, and cleaning.
It still makes me so happy to look at it.
If only I could keep it looking half as organized as it did on that day.
But- hey. That, at least, is a problem that's easy to solve, should I so choose.