April 29, 2010. Peter has been lying about the state of his Pullups and underwear for a few weeks now. Once he wets a Pullup, he takes it off and hides it, and then replaces it with a clean one, all under the auspice of using the bathroom. When his underpants are wet, he finds a way to change them too, shoving them deep under the gap between his highboy and the floor. Then he tells us he’s dry so he can earn stars toward playing the Wii or his DS. Last night Pat pulled out twelve pair of crusty, smelly, stiff as a board underpants from beneath his dressers. For my part, I’ve found 6 or 7 disgustingly old, full Pullups over the course of a few days. Fairly good planning, if you ask me, especially with regard to finding suitable hiding places to stash the dirties. His fatal flaw was that he had no exit plan, he couldn’t think beyond the initial step of hiding the soiled items. Eventually, of course, the odor gave him away and our parental noses lead us directly to the source. We’ve been combating this problem for so long I shouldn’t be surprised by permeations in both his methodology and execution. The offending discovery would have happened sooner except Peter’s bedroom chronically smells like dried urine no matter how often I clean the carpets, scrub the plastic cover on his mattress, or spray the garbage bin. Yesterday afternoon I walked into his room to put clean clothes away and stepped with bare feet onto a very wet spot in front of his dresser. When confronted, Peter later admitted that he peed on the floor, though he can’t or won’t recall why. “I do it all the time, Mom. You don’t learn me not to.” This is a familiar mantra, blaming anyone and everyone for his actions, and one that can really drive me batty. Peter came home wet from school all three days so far this week, two in Pullups, yesterday in underwear. On the days he wore Pullups his teacher reported that he was dry, a conclusion based on his telling her so. Clearly having never taken FAS 101, she thinks him incapable of lying. Since the school doesn’t believe us when it comes to his continence and purposeful wetting behaviors, and since trying to work with them on this issue was the genesis of our CPS experience, we decided yesterday morning to turn over the reins to the school in terms of Peter’s urinary habits, at least during school hours. If he’s dry, great, if he’s wet, then they get the privilege of handling it. Working with them is no longer within the realm of logical or even prudent possibilities. When I explained the consequences for deliberately peeing on the floor, Peter opted to find humor in the situation and refused to adhere in any way to the terms of his punishment. His eyes bulged and his head lolled loosely about his neck. “I won’t do it,” he blared as he pounded his leg half-heartedly. “If you’re going to hit yourself,” I responded coolly, “make it count. That can’t hurt at all.” He immediately stopped, of course. After almost 6 years of parenting Peter, I know what’s feigned showmanship and what’s real. It’s been like this for a few days now, ever since Pat returned from California. Peter presently is in full attachment-dysfunction mode and will do whatever it takes to get a rise out of us. So we can’t as much as break a sweat in front of him. Watching us lose our cool over a disaster he orchestrated is a rush for him no different than that experienced by someone who abuses drugs. Our job is to disabuse him of this sensation, this feeling of omnipotence, so that we can restore him to a healthier mindset where we can once again approach parenting as a privilege rather than an invitation to all out war. It’s a much happier place for Peter, and for the rest of us too. I do pray this battle is a short one.