Monday, January 14, 2008
Honest Thoughts on Potty-Training
Simon is 2. Actually he's 2 and four months, which means he's in the window where it's appropriate to potty-train him. I'm running out of excuses. I said I was going to wait until he was at least 2, even though in India, that is crazy talk, where mommies get their babies to pee in bowls and and shoo their toddlers outside to do their business. Then I said, we were going to wait until we got home to start. Well, he's two and we're home, so if anyone has any new excuses I can borrow I'm open to suggestions.
Because, the fact is, I'm not ready. He probably is. He asks to go potty (even though when stripped he won't get on.) His favorite book right now is about kids who go potty. He's already talking about wearing Mater underpants. I'm hoping that by putting him off I'm not screwing him up, but that the build-up will lead to a more successful experience down the road.
For those who have gone down this road many years back, or who are sill changing 10 diapers a day, or who don't have children, I'm sure potty-training seems like a welcome transition into the "big kid" world where his independence will lead to more freedom for me.
But here's how I see my life now. I am in the easiest child-rearing stage there is. I have one kid. I know the twos are supposed to be terrible, but for us, the twos are a piece of cake compared to the ones, where we were figuring out the discipline thing. Now we're coasting through. He knows the rules. He obeys them unless he really wants to tick me off, and then he gets punished. He loves his life, loves his toys, loves anyone who smiles at him, and is a happy, happy kid. He can feed himself, tell me when he needs his diaper changed, tell me when he's tired, hungry, etc. He can climb into his own car seat, put his toys away, play quietly in his bed while I shower, and sing his ABC's. I mean, really, even with the stressful moments, I don't imagine I will ever have it easier than I do now.
Here's how I see potty-training changing things. I will always need to know where a potty is, and get there in time to clean it off before he gets anywhere near it. I, who hate public restrooms, will have to be willing to take him in them, or never go shopping again. Instead of wrapping up a stinky diaper and throwing it away, I will be cleaning crap out of some plastic potty. That is when he makes it to the potty. The other times, I will be cleaning my carpet - or worse, someone else's carpet. I will no longer be able to let him sit contentedly in his bed in the morning, talking to himself, while I brush my teeth, but will have to rush in to get him to the potty before I'm doing laundry.
There will be new rules that he has to learn, that I have to enforce. There will be new words (like poo-poo and pee-pee and wipe and who knows what else) that will become a part of my daily vocabulary, thus sending me further down the path of indignity we nicely call Parenthood. My life will become one of praising poops and celebrating pees, consoling accidents, and wiping up drips.
So, for now, when I buy a super-jumbo pack of Huggies, instead of complaining how expensive they are, I will feel like I'm affording myself a little luxury. For a little bit longer, I will live the diaper-changing life, and love it, because once it ends, I will miss it.
And then I'll start all over again in 5 months.