My youngest daughter is currently potty training. She’s a people-pleaser and is doing an incredible job with the task at hand.
She’s completely the opposite of her older sister, who pushed, pulled, prodded, and pitched fits every step of the way while she learned to use the toilet. Or do anything, for that matter. Those were some trying times, but we made it through the other side in one piece. In underwear. With no pee on the floor.
Now that she’s older, she likes to ask about when she was her sister’s age, and so I tell her everything. Evvvvvvvvvverything. She thinks it’s freaking hilarious. And finally, I do too.
Here are seven things that we can now laugh about together, in no particular order.
1. Sleeping as an infant
When she was a baby, we tried everything to get her to sleep: bouncing, swinging, rocking, shusssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhing, ergo-ing, nursing, lullabying, every damn thing. And then one day I tried to drown out the wailing with Daft Punk. I was exhausted and nearing my breaking point. In seconds, she was out cold.
I prodded her cheek with my finger. Was something wrong? Wait, was she snoring? Seriously, it was magic. And it was magic the next time, too … and the next time. We listened to the Daft Punk Pandora station for two. solid. years. Every nap, every nighttime. Every damn car ride. Which brings us to #2.
2. Screaming in the car
I’ve heard of those parents who “drive the car until the child naps.” I call BULL. Both of my kids screamed their bloody heads off the instant I mentioned the word “car” to the moment that we were back home. It didn’t matter if we were going to the grocery store or the best damn toy store in the whole wide world, the car seat was a torture chamber for my children and for anyone who had to suffer through the car ride with them. Daft Punk helped, minorly.
Finally after enduring four collective years (two years per child) of screaming, gagging, puking car children, we’re in the clear. Just last week we were able to visit the super-amazing library that’s only 20 minutes away from our house. Like, we literally never visited because we didn’t want to listen to a screaming-turned-puking child. OK, I’m not actually ready to laugh about this one yet. But #3? Yeah, that one’s funny.
3. Baby farts
Sounds cute, right? Seriously, no. Because sometimes babies can’t fart. And it wreaks havoc on the entire household, because they’re in pain. And a baby in pain only knows one way to let you know. Her pent-up farts caused me to break down in tears while she screamed at the top of her lungs. I bicycled her legs, made specific pushy hand movements across her belly (across, down, across, down, clockwise circular), and bicycled those legs some more.
Now whenever she lays on the floor, I grab her long, lanky legs, bicycle them, and tell her to let ‘er rip.
4. Baby clothes
My dear friends just had their first baby, and while I was tempted to send her some super-cute clothes, I totally didn’t. The pressure to dress your child in clothes that someone else has purchased or (*gasp*) made by hand, is huge. And if you’re not living close by to the gifter, they want photo proof that you stuck that baby’s behind in those clothes. Rightfully so! I totally adored the handmade items that my babies received and wanted to dress them in the sweet knits of family and friends. But my super-spirited daughter had other plans.
Changing her clothes as an infant was a nightmare, and if there wasn’t poop or spit-up on it, she’d sometimes wear the same super duper comfy footless nightgown for a couple of days, because that meant a) easy diaper access, b) not pulling anything over her head, and c) not fussing with her. I think I was able to snap a quick photo of my kids in everything that they were gifted, but often those pictures were blurry, they were crying, or they were squeezed into the clothing because they grew so darn fast that the clothes only fit for a few short weeks.
5. That time her dad let her suck on an egg
She was like, 3 weeks old. And he did it because he thought it was hilarious in his sleep-deprived haze, and I thought for sure she’d acquire salmonella.
I was terrified for a solid month before I believed that she was fine. He felt terrible. And speaking of things that could cause terrible stomach-upset …
6. That time she licked the back of the toilet
It was the middle of summer. The toilet was sweating like a pig. She followed me into the bathroom (as they do) and she nonchalantly bent at the waist with her hands on her hips and licked the freaking sweat off the toilet. I considered not telling anyone what had happened in fear of them taking her from me. What kind of mother lets her child lick the toilet? How would my husband forgive me for allowing this to happen? Would my parents disown me?
And then I realized, shit happens. Which brings us full circle …
7. Potty training
I was so enthusiastic. So much so, that I decided to practice infant potty training. You know, where you hold a newborn over a pot? I did that. It went really well for a very long time, and I’d show her grandparents her amazing ability to “pee on command” (or you know, when I knew she’d have to pee). It saved a lot of headaches for a long time because it meant that I had to wash that many less cloth diapers. But then she got to the age where most children begin potty training, and she wanted nothing to do with it.
While friends bragged on Facebook about their sweet children learning how to potty train in days, mine furrowed her brow and looked me in the eye as if to say, “Mom, I know you’re stubborn. But I am too. And I. will. win. I will potty train when I am good and ready. You hear me? Good. and. ready. And it will be on my terms, not yours.”
Nothing worked: diaper-free, praise, new underwear, star chart, M&Ms, forcing, coercing, pleading, crying. I’d give up and try again in a few months. And then in another few months. And another few.
And then I dreamed up the most brilliant of solutions: a trip to the store to pick out a brand new dress once she was fully trained. It worked. Within days she was fully trained.
Now nearing 5 years old, she still squeezes into that dress and says, “Hey mom! It’s my potty training dress!”
It sure is kid, it sure is.