Thanks for reminding me I’ve got it pretty easy these days.
My sons are grown men. I should be proud and happy and embracing life, but after 25 years of stay-at-home-motherhood, I confess, I sometimes feel irrelevant. I find myself pining for days gone by, forgetting life back then wasn’t always a scene plucked from a Norman Rockwell painting. I suppose missing them has a tendency to cloud my memory. So thank you, Mom-Sitting-Behind-Me-at-the-Baseball-Game-Last-Weekend, for reminding me l’ve got it pretty easy.
Every time the crowd cheered, your little fellow shouted, “Go poopie,” at the top of his lungs. Every. Time. And while fans seated within earshot chuckled at the cuteness of his mischievous outbursts (myself included), you looked as though you wanted to crawl under a rock. At one point I heard you sheepishly whisper to no one in particular, “we’re potty training.” Been there. Done that.
When my kids were little I suffered terribly with hot flashes, cold sweats, gastrointestinal symptoms, migraines and night-time panic attacks. I chalked it up to hormones or too much caffeine or carbs, but when I saw you this weekend I realized I was wrong. The culprit was a steady diet of trying to control an uncontrollable force of nature: toddlers in the midst of potty training.
Training a toddler to use the toilet equals constant stress. CONSTANT. STRESS. It is the stress of not knowing whether or not your child will be so distracted by the toy in his Happy Meal that he’ll end up pooping his pants in the ball pit (he will). It is the chronic stress of cleaning up pee and poop accidents so often that you are conditioned to be on high alert at all times, forever attempting to prevent yet another accident by convincing your toddler to “try” even if he doesn’t need to “go.”
ME: Let’s go to the potty before we go to the park!!
TODDLER: (refusing to let me take off his pants). No.
ME: (changing tactics) Look mommy’s going… (I go. He stares.) Okay! Now it’s you’re turn.
TODDLER: I don’t need to go.
ME: Please try because you might have to go later while we’re at the park.
ME: Please? Won’t you try for Mommy?
TODDLER: I don’t need to go.
ME: What will you do if you have to go while we’re at the park or in the car?
You smile. You remain calm and patient on the outside while the frazzled voice inside your head is screaming JUST SIT ON THE DAMN TOILET. You know an accident is bound to happen. You know in the end your toddler will win because in the battle of wills, toddlers always win and yet you carry on, cajoling and begging. Ever-hopeful in spite of the futility of your situation.
Friends, family and even complete strangers offer advice… he won’t go to college in diapers… which you’re sick and tired of hearing because in the microcosm of your urine and poop-filled world, you find it impossible to imagine. The thing is, it’s true. I promise.
My oldest son is out of college, working and living approximately (okay exactly) 639.47 miles away from home and my youngest (it was his team we were watching over the weekend) is a sophomore in college. I am proud (and relieved) to report they are both currently toilet trained and neither went to college in diapers.
So, Young-Mom-Sitting-Behind-Me-at-the-Baseball-Game-Last-Weekend, rest in knowing you are not alone and as difficult as it is to fathom in this moment, it gets easier. Time passes quickly and someday in the not-so-distant future, you may even find yourself pining for one more diaper to change, one more butt to wipe or even one more gross potty accident to clean.
Thanks (again) for reminding me… I’ve got it pretty easy.
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