Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hold Me Back


Wasn't it just a few weeks ago, in this post, that I was rejoicing over our decision to take a break from potty training Addie?  Wasn't I saying that I had learned my lesson, and that I wouldn't try to push her into it, and that if there was going to be a battle of the wills, she would win?  Wasn't I?

And yet, that old itch is back.  That itch to control and schedule and cross off the list.  That fear of inadequacy:  why isn't my perfectly delightful, intelligent, wonderful child potty trained yet?  Why do I care so much?  Am I really this obsessed with poop?

A few nights ago, Eric had to remind me why we were taking a break from pottyland.  He looked at me, quizzically, and said, "Wasn't it just last week that we decided not to worry about it for a while?"  Yes.  It was.  "Let's just give it a rest, babe," he said.  "It's driving us all crazy."  Right.

But here's the problem.  All of these stories of other people potty training so easily come to mind.  My mom potty training me in the blink of an eye when I was two.  I just saw other kids in daycare doing it, and voila!  For a few measly m n' m's, I was potty trained.  Some woman in the mall told me she had both her kids trained by the age of one.  One, for God's sake.  Then, all the women on Babycenter who are "so proud of my little guy" for pooping in the potty after just one weekend of training. 

Then there's this problem:  I hate pull-ups, in case you haven't noticed.  They're expensive, and Addie can pull them off when she has a big poop in them, and they're horrible for the environment, and they blow up and explode into a million pieces when you accidentally wash them with your laundry.  But we seemed to be locked into pull-up mode.  I wouldn't hate them so much if they weren't just glorified diapers.  But that's all they are, and they're not helping with training anything. 

Well, I guess we're trained to buy them.

And then, of course, there's the small, grinchy, Gollum-ish part of me that would like to win just one frickin' war with my toddler.  I'd like to be able to point down at her, like Zeus on a mountaintop, white hair blowing in the gathering storm, long robes fluttering about me, and command her to use the potty.  Because she can.  She's physically able to do it.  She just won't. 

This pisses me off.  Which is probably at the core of my potty training issues (and, let's be honest.  They're really my issues--not hers).  It makes me mad that this child could make things so much easier for everyone by just using the potty, by at least trying to use the potty, but refuses to do so.  And I'm completely powerless in the face of her awesome obstinacy.  I am completely bowed before the awesomeness of her expression of individuality.

I am, in short, floored by the fact that she is a different entity from me, individuated and whole, with a will of her own.  Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time giving this up.  Her saying no when I want her to say yes is a pretty good expression of the fact that this kid--whom I love so fiercely and dearly--is her own person.  And will someday leave me.  Let's just hope she's potty trained when she goes.


  1. Did you perhaps mean Gollum?

  2. re: Steve's comment: only you, dear cousin, would observe this error. but that's one reason i like you.

  3. I was honestly confused. 'grinchy' was a good clue though. I actually googled for 'Golom' to see if there was some literary reference that I'd missed. But, since we're talking about _the_ fantasy epic, I'm sure that readers everywhere appreciate the correction.

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