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The Hub and I seem to be ambivalent about the potty training thing. I
suspect that my ambivalence runs deeper than his, but there is no real way to measure such things. He is, however, the more vocal of the two of us re: the toilet. Whenever we see friends’ kids take care of their own business then remember to flush, he’s the one who is compelled to mention that we really should get crackin’ on ditchin’ the diapers. I usually just shrug. 

The truth of the matter is that I don’t mind changing the Diva’s Huggies. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not something I structure my day around because it’s just so damn much fun. But on the child-rearing annoyance scale, diapers fall at 8 or 9. Number 1, the biggest irritation, of course, is the sleep issue, like the random awakenings at 4 a.m. where you are greeting by a child who looks like she’s just had three double espressos and wants to chat about the state of Israeli/Palestinian affairs or why we never see Oobi’s legs. Next on the list are the continual negotiations we now have to have about everything from baths to dinners to TV to clothing. I find myself actually saying “because I said so” once our talks break down. I don’t like having to go all nuclear on her and drop the one point that she really can’t argue against. This may bother me more than it should. I've never been comfortable meeting reasonable resistance with totalitarian force, either on international or domestic issues. Toddlers have a knack for bringing out your inner Pinochet, and he can be an ugly sight to behold. 

Diapers, in comparison, aren’t that big a thing. They certainly make traveling easier and bathroom stops can be timed to an adult-sized bladder. It’s nice to not have to worry about scouting out the restrooms in every public place or get up at midnight to help her wrestle with her jammies. Yes, it would be nice to not have to fork over so much cash to Kimberly Clark while worrying about clogging up the nation’s landfills, but I tend to lose more sleep over less controllable things, like tsunamis and the flu. 

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Still, I’d do the potty dance if the Diva seemed ready to do it. While there have been brief flirtations, she just doesn’t appear ready to commit, despite the fact that a lot of her peers are peeing in the toilet with ease. There was a brief glimmer of readiness about ten months ago, where she would ask about what we were doing when we went to the bathroom. Listening to the urine hitting to bowl was a big thrill. She was so enthused that we bought her her own potty, where she would dutifully sit, then wipe, then flush the paper in the big one. Note that I never mentioned that she would actually eliminate anything in either receptacle, big or small. To this day, both remain unsullied by toddler wee. 

What the Diva is into lately is taking off her pants. Generally, this is followed by sitting on the toilet for a nanosecond, the commencing with the wiping and flushing and running about sans culottes. The most recent incident was last night, when she and an older, potty-trained friend of hers decided to have a potty party. Twice we were greeted by a pantsless Diva, who was aping her friend’s potty prowess but not quite catching on to the real reason for the event. She does this at day care, too. Gaggles of girls her age enter the potty. Most of them take care of business. The Diva just likes to take off her pants and flush. I don’t know that she’s ever actually peed in the potty. It’s more like an accessory for a good time with her buds. 

Her teacher assures me that this is perfectly normal. I choose to believe her. “She certainly knows her own mind,” says her teacher, who has divined the mysteries of toilet training through years and years of doing it. “You won’t be able to push her into doing it because you think she’s ready.”  I know she’s right. Some small part of me wants her to be ready now, because she has been so quick to pick up other things, like her lack of desire indicates a lack of intelligence. I also know this is an insane way to look at it. The mind of a mother can hold so many simultaneous impulses that it can look like madness to the outside observer. 

For now, the diapers are fine. While we may talk of pushing the potty, we lack the energy to commit to a program and to force the Diva to bend to our will. Besides, it would all end in tears, simply because her will is equally mighty and she has more energy than the two of us combined. Our hope is that she’ll be ready before the next baby comes and that we can simply move the diaper burden to the new kid. It’s good to have hopes.
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About the Author:
Adrienne Martini has been a theatre technician, apprentice massage therapist, bookstore bookkeeper and pizza joint waitress. Eventually, someone started paying her for her words and an editorial mercenary was born. She has written theatre reviews and features for the Austin Chronicle, blurbs about tofurkey and bottled water for Cooking Light and a piece about knitting summer camp for Interweave Knits. She is a former editor for Knoxville, Tennessee's Metro Pulse and recently picked up an AAN award for feature writing. During the day, she fields freelance gigs and crams knowledge into the heads of college students in Upstate New York. At all hours, she is mom to Maddy, and wife to Scott.



 

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