Friday, February 15, 2008

Potty Training: The Final Phase

My child possesses a deep well of capabilities that she will only dip into when I am not looking. We embarked on our potty training journey purely out of boredom. The stakes were pretty low and I decided that I was just going to take the easy way out and remove the clothing most likely to get wet. For a week or so it seemed as if she would never be able to wear pants again. No matter, we had no place to go. I stopped micromanaging pit stops once it became clear that she could manage on her own, sans pants. Alas, we could not in good conscience allow her to go pantsless in public, so the diapers came out for a trip to the bookstore. Our local bookstore does not possess a changing table in either bathroom, despite the fact that the facilities are literally located in the children's department. This is a situation that has long vexed me and I was not thrilled at the prospect of stripping my "big girl" down in the middle of the store like we did when she was a "baby", so I decided to put her on the toilet in the store. A shaft a light shone down on her little head and an audible stream of pee descended into the bowl. Previous attempts at this were traumatic at best. It was as if she simply threw a switch in her head and was potty trained. Oh, we had a few accidents after that, caused by my nagging. I was not yet ready to believe that she and her bladder were synchronized. My nagging only led to rebellious, wait-until-the-last-possible-second behavior. My foible was proven to me when we left Violet with her Grandma for the evening and came back to discover that there had been no drama, no wet pants and no nagging. In the meantime, Violet was waking up dry every morning thanks to my "no liquids after 6 PM" rule. This change in routine was actually more devastating to her than the loss of Mama Milk. She must have been consuming one and a half cups of water during the course of the night. It was a real duh moment for me. Anyway, she was dry at night, she was willing to urinate in public restrooms and much to my surprise she was able to dress and undress herself. I swear she took at an imaginary correspondence course on how to dress, because she went from crying over putting on socks to emerging from her bedroom fully dressed in less than a day. I tentatively began leaving her pajama bottoms on in the morning. I figured an accident would signal the time to change into real clothes for the day. I wore my pajamas in solidarity. After a few days of never getting properly dressed, I was a little embarrassed (the UPS man had witnessed my shame two days in a row) and decided Violet could move on to my homemade training pants. I had spent a few hours taking all of those stupid little diaper covers that come with infant dresses and sewing contoured, hemp diaper doublers into the crotches. I mean, it was a stroke of frugal genius. I am convinced that this bothersome preparation is what put my child over the edge. She wore the carefully crafted panties twice and I was forced to admit that she was already trained. The learning process that had terrified me for months was over before I even had a chance to dig my trench and prepare for the Freudian cannon fire. The whole thing took less than three weeks. I feel like I have a new toy. I want to go around and introduce myself as the woman who did the impossible, but I would be lying. Violet trained herself. Once she got a taste of life outside the puffy, soggy cloth diaper she was trapped in, there was no going back. Now her perfectly proportioned heinie is unencumbered and on display in all of her stretchy little pants. The one draw back that she may not have anticipated was the loss of protective padding. When she falls down now her tail bone absorbs the full shock of the blow. It's a lesson for the ages. The bigger we get, the harder we fall.

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