Monday, October 6, 2008

Renovations and Potty Training

This post is dedicated to Michelle at Scribbit who is coping with a major home renovation. She shared her construction woes last Thursday.
Long, long ago, the fall my first boys were 4 years old and 4 months old, we undertook a major house renovation/addition that included the demolition of one end of the existing farmhouse - that would be the part with the kitchen, our bedroom and the only bathroom.
You can immediately see the problem.
We set up our kitchen appliances and a sink at one end of the dining room. I slept on the living room couch; the baby's crib was set up in the corner and a makeshift closet sat in front of the fireplace. My husband shared twin beds with our 4 year old in one upstairs bedroom and my FIL stayed undisturbed in his bedroom across the hall.
We ran plumbing to the upstairs hall for a bathtub. But no toilet...this was supposed to be a 4 month project and my husband decided we could manage with a port-a-potty.
Right. He had an office to go to. An office with a real bathroom.
Fall in Canada turns cold. Very cold. Finally my husband conceded that perhaps we should have an indoor toilet so one was installed next to the bathtub in the upstairs hall. All was discreetly hidden behind an old fashioned indoor drying rack draped with my old college bedspread - think Pier 1 indian print cotton. No door. Not even a floor to ceiling partition. But I was not complaining. No more trips outside!
The original plan was to have this renovation completed by year end. HA! Fifteen months later we moved into a still not completed addition. But I needed a bed. and a kitchen. and a real bathroom. I could deal with contractors underfoot for a few more months.
All this is background information to prepare you for what happened next.
My 4 year old was a very, very sound sleeper. He had difficulty waking in the night to go to the bathroom (hey, we didn't even have one for months!) and there were often wet sheets come morning.
Did I mention I had no kitchen? No washer? No dryer?
You'll recall that my son shared a bedroom with his father. Now his father was not a patient man. He did not tolerate "accidents" but, bless his soul, he got our son up every night and walked him out of the bedroom, turning left in the hall and down to the little bathroom. Please appreciate that our son remained "asleep" through all of this, never even opening his eyes. But the weeks and months of repetition taught him to get up during the night and get himself to the bathroom.
Fastforward 15 months and we are living in the new addition. Imagine, if you will, a floorplan with a central hall that is open two stories. It's late at night and I am reading in a room downstairs, adjacent to the hall. I become aware of the sound of water. In the hall? Was something leaking? My washer? My dishwasher?
I step out into the hall to investigate. I look up and there is my sweet 5 year old standing at the upstairs railing, eyes closed, a Niagara Falls of pee streaming onto the hall floor below. Of course, he thought he was at the toilet he was trained to find in the night! But this wasn't the other house and there was no toilet! He finished his business, turned around and went back to bed.
At least his nocturnal journey didn't take him to a corner where he might pee on the wall and new carpet.
And, in case you're wondering, this was an isolated incident. He quickly learned where to find the new bathroom!


Shannon ( said...

I think you are a stronger woman than me. I'm not sure I could tolerate that many months of living in limbo.
That is a cute about your son! Sounds like a good story to bring up at family dinners!

Scribbit said...

How sweet of you to think of me--me in my unfinished house :)

I cannot believe that the porta potty option was even on the table :) You're one brave lady!

grammy said...

My son walked in his sleep. No peeing problems, but he did often try to leave the house in the middle of the night....crazy!

Busymama Kellie said...

LOL! That was hilarious, I can only imagine the sound of the "rain" that came pouring down. How did you manage to keep your sanity that long under those conditions? I am truly impressed!

One Mom said...

Who said I kept my sanity!?! I am a demented woman as a direct result of that renovation!