Sunday, October 17, 2010
Potty Training 101
Christopher Columbus dreamed of sailing to India. Icarus thought he could fly near the sun. Tiger Woods believed he could save his marriage after sleeping with the entire bimbo population of the United States, many of them not that attractive. And I had plans to potty train Charlotte before the arrival of Baby Brother. Fools, all!
In my defense, Charlotte is an appropriate age (2 1/2). She speaks English fluently. She can obey my instructions and often chooses to do so, particularly when bribed with jelly beans. I have a Costco membership and can buy huge vats of jelly beans. Most importantly, she has demonstrated an ability to hold it, to the point where I may eventually only have to change her diaper every few days (thereby removing any incentive either of us have to potty train her, but whatever). So I thought my goal was not that ambitious and totally achievable. A co-worker gave me a talking Elmo potty, which, along with the Dora the Explorer panties, I felt pretty much made it a slam dunk.
I forgot about one thing, however. Whereas Charlotte loves jelly beans, Elmo, and Dora, and laps up praise like a Golden Retriever, she also has the life long goal of never growing up. Not that I am one to judge, I totally feel her on this one. My mom loves to recall how I would say to her, "Mommy, when I grow down, can I be your baby again?" Wasn't I totally adorable. This attitude has in fact remained a constant, not literally, as in I no longer want to be my mother's baby, that seems a little creepy, but I would like to have someone cook all my meals, pay all my bills, and basically absolve me of all responsibility in life. I remember when I was like 10 or 12, my 13-going-on-30 contemporary, Amanda, would bemoan how people treated us like kids (my response: duh, that's because we are) and how she couldn't wait til she was 16 or 18 or 20. I thought she was crazy because being a kid was so awesome, I didn't see how it got any better. And, as usual, I was right and wise beyond my years (which is why I shouldn't have to grow up. If you can ace the test without taking the class, you shouldn't have to take the class. I'm just saying.). It doesn't get any better, children, so enjoy your carefree youth while you can. And eat your broccoli, because that doesn't get any better either.
However, I will say this: Depositing one's waste matter into a modern toilet where one's contact with it is limited and it is whisked off into the nether reaches of the earth before one even necessarily has to view it cannot be overrated. Or, as a slight variation, depositing one's waste matter into a talking Elmo potty that congratulates you on your achievement as if you had cured polio and where one's contact with it is hopefully limited and it is whisked off by a long-suffering mommy--who still has to do some cleaning apparently, which is a real rip off, but baby steps here, we will one day make it to the actual toilet seat because the arc of parenting is long but bends towards an empty nest--cannot be overrated. Certainly it is immeasurably better than, say, sitting around with it smashed up on your skin waiting for someone, perhaps even a relative stranger--and I thought a pap smear was humiliating--to clean it off of you with a cold, damp baby wipe. I feel this is a distinction anyone, even a 2 year-old, could make, no matter how badly they wanted to hit the pause button on life. In other words, though I never wanted to grow up, I am cool with wiping my own butt. That is some responsibility I can handle.
This is apparently not Charlotte's take on things. We have had the Elmo potty for about a month (we also have a potty seat that goes on top of the big potty), and so far, Charlotte's potty achievements basically boil down to sitting her doll on the potty, sitting herself on it for a sum total of hours, basically using it as a procrastinatory device at opportune moments, and one second-hand account by probably corrupt church nursery workers of her actually peeing in a toilet. Allegedly. When I heard that, I was filled with hope, only to spend another 20 minutes that evening--after 10 hours of Charlotte with a dry diaper--waiting in vain for the faint, musical sound of urine hitting plastic. I ask you, who, after 10 hours of not peeing while ingesting liquids at a normal rate, can sit on a toilet, with water intermittently running for inspiration, for 20 minutes and not let out even a drop? This child is some kind of urinary camel, with bladder muscles that could bench press a Hummer. I don't know what other conclusion to draw except that she just hates me so much, thwarting me gives her superhuman strength.
Now, I'm told if I am really really serious about this potty training thing, what I need to do is just put panties on her and let her have accidents. She won't like having accidents and will start going on the potty. Sound good...I guess...I just have one question, what, pray tell, do I do with my furniture? Wrap it in plastic wrap? Go all Euro-minimalist and get rid of all but a plastic orb chair hanging from the ceiling? We've already been over how much I love my African crap (thankfully most of it is water proof), but I also happen to love my sofa as well, probably because this is where my butt lives and grows.
And anyway, maybe I'm not really really serious about this potty training thing after all. What's wrong with diapers? The diapers these days are like wearable science labs, sucking in gallons of liquid and turning it into a sterile gel you can style your hair with if you are so inclined. If I just wait another year or so, I'm sure they will start evaporating feces and buffing baby's butt clean at the press of a button. Modern diapers are probably why potty training a child is so difficult now anyway--they make it so comfy to wallow in your own crap, the child could care less. In other words, there is a massive conspiracy by the evil, money grubbing diaper companies to render the human race incapable of using the toilet, thereby increasingly their profits 7 billion fold (evil laugh)!!! I'm so glad I got to the bottom of that. No pun intended. Now I can just start a movement (wait til the anti-vaccine people and the breast feeding Nazis hear about THIS one!) and spend the next several decades trying to eradicate effective disposal diapers from the face of the earth!
Hey, it's probably easier than potty training Charlotte.