We Are Wonderfully Made

I’ve hesitated to write this post. I suggest you don’t read it if you’re eating or about to eat because I will be talking about bodily functions. Unfortunately, this is where I am this week, in fact for the last few months.

When the grands came to us, our grandson was not fully potty trained. He was four. He knew how to use the bathroom, but his parents had not helped him practice going regularly. I guess they didn’t have time to worry about it but had time to clean him up afterward. Like that makes any sense.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; Galations 6:8a

When a child isn’t properly potty trained at the right age, they experience problems down the road. The muscles that control bowel movements lose their ability to sense the need to go. What happens? The child doesn’t go. They don’t know they have to go. Then they become constipated. Then the body tries to get rid of it. This means leakage. This means accidents.

We didn’t immediately understand this. We knew our grandson wouldn’t go but within a few months managed to get him settled on a schedule. Then we hit K-5. He did ok the majority of the school year, but eventually the leakage started. When he first came to live with us, we always carried spare clothes. I started doing that again. I warned teachers about the problem and asked them to try and notice any signs or odors.

That summer he had a day when it flooded out of him. He was attending a summer day camp, and I had discussed his problem with them. When I picked him up, the poor little guy had it running down his legs. He stank. His pants were full. Flies were swarming him. I smelled him from a good twenty feet away. In fact, before I could see him, I asked about the smell. The camp counselor said it must be something in the air because she’d been smelling it for hours. THEY MISSED IT! I was livid. I wanted to cry for him.

Needless to say, I pulled him out that day and filed a complaint.

When I filed the complaint, the director asked me, “Why didn’t he tell us?” A valid question, but I felt like he was trying to shift the blame. My response was, “How did they miss this?”

I’ve learned a lot about the ramifications of not training a child to use the potty at the correct age. If you don’t take the time when they’re young, you’ll spend a large part of their childhood dealing with it.

We go through periods when everything is fine, but the older he gets, the harder it is to know if he’s gone or not. He’ll say he did, but he lies about it. If he hasn’t, the problem starts up again.

Let’s face it, the last thing a seven-year-old boy wants to do is sit on the toilet for ten minutes a few times a day.  Which is what he has to do if he’s having troubles.

The body can relearn how to handle this. I learned that this week from a psychologist who works with our gastroenterologist. To learn after three years of frustration that we can retrain the muscles is such a relief! I have hope thanks to this tiny bit of information. I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out. Even, the Psalmist knew:

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
Psalms 139: 14


We are wonderfully made. God doesn’t make junk. Our bodies are amazing, but children need to be taught the basics of living. Parents need to take the time to help them learn. That’s really the reason for this post. Please train your child to use the potty.

And for those of you who work with children daily, I’m guessing you see this more than most people realize. You can be a big factor in helping these children and their families. Advise them to see a specialist. Be kind and compassionate. Let them know they’re not alone. Don’t let your disgust show. That’s what these children fear the most.

We’re still dealing with this problem, but the psychologist has given me more practical advice than anybody in the last three years.

I, actually, have hope that he can live a life without humiliation and embarrassment.



What Surprised Me About Last Week

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

Last week’s post, Don’t Throw Me a Pity Party, generated a number of comments on this blog as well as on my social media sites. I appreciate everyone who commented and shared. I’m amazed at how many of you are dealing or have dealt with a family member trapped in addiction. I find the prevalence of this problem disconcerting. Yes, it’s comforting to know who understands firsthand, but I’m still concerned over the number of people affected. Please remember, you don’t know what someone else is dealing with so be kind and try not to judge them.

The surprising part of last week’s post was the volume of responses that focused on our daughter’s addiction rather than our current situation. Yet, most of the sympathy statements I receive relate to our raising grandchildren. Yes, it’s due to our daughter’s addiction, but that’s not what I hear about from most people. As I told one person on Facebook, I believe people focus on what they see—grandparents in a tough spot—and not the issue of what put them there. Maybe I’m wrong. It doesn’t really matter because the two issues go hand in hand.

Early in my writing career, I discovered that individual interpretation of what I write will vary from person to person. Sometimes, the insight surprises me. I don’t think that’s bad. When we read, we filter the information through our own perception, our own world. I’m glad my words resonated with so many people! Thank you for reading and sharing.

Next week, I plan to give you more insight into what grandparents in our situation often feel. So, get ready for some assistance on how to be empathetic with grand-parents.


PS:  You may have noticed I’ve been using the term “grand-parenting” in my posts. I made this term up because I believe it’s the best way to describe what we’re doing as we raise our grandchildren.

Grand-parenting: What About The Other Kids?

And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name–you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you. Deuteronomy 16:11

Last week, we traveled to Atlanta to celebrate our granddaughter, Riley’s, seventh birthday. Yes, we have other grandchildren. In fact, we have six! And we have five children.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.
5 of our 6 grandchildren one year ago.

One of the hardest parts of raising grandchildren is trying to stay part of the lives of your other grandchildren…and children. The above verse from Deuteronomy instructs the Israelites to celebrate the Feast of Weeks. It proclaims a celebration. Celebrations and holidays tend to be the only times we get to spend with our children and grandchildren because of the responsibilities tied to raising two of our grandchildren.

Our eldest, Heidi, lives in California, so we don’t see her often. She has her own production company, Dweeb Darlings, and a web series that she writes, directs, and produces. She, also, works as a behavioral therapist for autistic children. She’s beautiful, smart, and talented.

Chris comes third in birth order of children. We went to Atlanta to celebrate his daughter, Riley’s, birthday. Chris completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and has steadily climbed high on the ladder with his employer. He and his wife, Haley, have two daughters, Riley and Reagan. It’s hard finding time to spend with them when they live three hours away. Raising their cousins, makes it even harder. This week’s birthday girl, Riley, just finished first grade and, she’s already writing books. Reagan is a toddler and a very active little girl. We don’t get to see them enough.

Our daughter,Terri, worked hard to complete her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Specialist degrees in order to be a school psychologist. Last year, Terri married Scott and became a stepmom in the process. It takes a special person to marry into a ready-made family, and I’m proud of her for embracing Brooks as her own son. He’s a year older than Victoria and coming into the family with two full sets of grandparents, already. It’s a bit harder to get to know him since they live four hours away, but I hope we’ll develop a relationship over time.

Our youngest is Nathan. He lives nearby and recently married Shannon. Both Nathan and Shannon have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Shannon works hard at a side job while completing an internship for her final dietician licensing. Nathan is working several jobs trying to help them stay on top of school bills. We see a bit more of them than the others, but with their crazy work schedules, it’s still not easy

We have one other grandchild, Brandt. Tisha had him during high school and my brother and his wife adopted him. We’re so thankful he remained part of the family. He’s twenty-one! Yes, I have an adult grandchild! They live five hours away, so it’s hard to keep up with him, too.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

When you’re raising grandchildren, you struggle to stay on top of everything while keeping your energy levels up. We’re trying to raise two children who would be orphans without us. There’s a limit to how much you can do. Some of my work got shelved. Our relationships with the rest of our family took a hit because it’s harder to make the time. I know of some families where this situation creates negative feelings within the family members.

I’m sure the other kids sometimes feel slighted. I hate that. We love all of them and are so proud of the productive lives our other children lead.