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Mar 5 2014

Potty Training Taught Me That Some Things Are Better Outsourced

By at 10:48 am


It occurred to me recently that though my boys are perfectly potty-trained–which is good because they are 6 and 9–I actually had no idea what to do when my daughter’s turn came around. Odder, still, was that it wasn’t because she’s a girl and girls train differently. What rattled me was that I hadn’t potty-trained my older children…my sister had.

It all sort of happened by accident. My oldest trained late because of issues with his digestive tract, so potty-training was more like an adult conversation than a child manipulation. He’s smart. Scary smart. He was interested in the internal mechanics. Potty-training was more like a seminar, complete with multi-media, entitled: “This is how your digestive system works.”

But with my younger son, I had just had a new baby, and my older sister came over to hang out and spend plenty of cuddle time with an adorable newborn girl. I don’t know why, but she suddenly said, “Let me see if I can get Izzy to use the potty.” She’s just funny that way. Three hours later, success! I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I was so busy with my newborn, I hardly even reinforced it after. She spoke to him when she saw him, asked how he was doing, made bargains and even told him to call her when he had something to brag about. “Mommy, can you call Auntie Francine so I can tell her I pooped?” Read the rest of this entry →

May 16 2013

How I Got My Toddler to Poo in the Potty

By at 9:18 pm

owen at the pottyWe’ve all heard horror stories about potty learning. From ill-timed accidents to elaborate bribes, teaching (“training”) children how to use the potty turns even the most sensible people into frantic angry shut-ins. I bought into the hype reading “three day potty boot camp” books and prepared to sit in the bathroom with my naked kid eating salty foods, drinking water, and letting his Curious George doll pretend to pee on the toilet.

I was tired of changing diapers. Infant diapers are an inevitable part of my day, but huge man-sized turds from my 25lb toddler were driving me insane. His lanky body was awkward and unstable on public changing tables and the smell could clear a room in seconds. My blood boiled as I watched him walk behind the couch, drop a deuce in his diaper and then demand I change it immediately–or rather hiding it from me until his butthole blazed with a fiery red rash that required a teary mid-day shower.

I wanted him to put that shit in the toilet. Literally. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 17 2011

Being A Parent Means Being Nicer

By at 12:07 pm

I think kid-chasing is part of what makes parents nicer. Strange, I know.

I like to think I have nice friends. But lately I’ve noticed that people I knew before they had kids are different as parents. They’re nicer. And a lot more tired.

During a recent visit to my hometown, I got to see eight college friends in this new light. At a pool party, I drew some interesting contrasts between our past and current lives.

Then: The guys thought chasing was drinking something after taking a shot.
Now: They tried to hold conversations while running after their toddlers.

Then: The girls monitored every morsel that went into their mouths.
Now: They compared how much nutrition their kids were getting from dinners of Cheez-Its and organic chocolate milk.
Also Now: The moms were happy just to have a chance to eat. If what they ate was also healthy, well then bonus.

Then: Everyone recounted how much they drank the night before.
Now: Everyone recounted how many times their kids asked for a drink before finally going to bed.

Then: Going out before 11 p.m. was nerdy and getting up before 11 a.m. was insane.
Now: Going out at all is insane and getting up after 8 a.m. is a blessing.

As for being nicer, I have theories. First, I think the new need to look out for someone other than yourself extends beyond the baby; it makes you more aware of others in general. Plus, you’re more interested than ever in what other adults are doing. You’re a lot quicker to remember that someone had a big presentation due at work or is returning from vacation because you want to live vicariously through your pals.

You’re also much quicker to ask for help or advice, and it’s always great to feel needed. Not only does having a friend ask you how you kicked your kid’s gas problem enable you to use multisyllabic words, it makes you feel like maybe, just maybe, you know what you’re doing.

Finally, parenthood is another common denominator. If silence settles in, you can always talk poop.


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