My daughter is exactly three years, one month, and 24 days old. And until yesterday, we had never seriously attempted to potty train her. Sure, she’s pooed on the potty a few times; which mostly consisted of catching her in the crouching-quietly-behind-the-living-room-curtains act, quickly carrying her to the bathroom, and plopping her down on her Dora potty seat. But that was the extent of it. Whenever we’d mention the word “potty”, she’d scream and writhe on the floor. When we asked her if she had to pee, she would run away shouting, “Nooooo!”. So, I chalked it up to her being extremely stubborn and decided that she would let me know when it was time. While all of my mommy friends talked about their little ones using the potty, I (somewhat shamefully) admitted that we weren’t even close with K. When I would see kids a full year younger than her asking to use the potty, I would point them out and say, “See K? That little girl uses the potty…don’t you want to?” (to which she would cross her arms, scowl and say, “NO! I NOT WANT TO!”). But although I was slightly embarrassed about it in social situations with other moms and kids, I was actually pretty OK with the no potty thing, and I wasn’t sure why.
This weekend, K went cold turkey. We took away the diapers, put on some princess underwear and hoped for the best. And except for a few accidents (she peed on Mike while at the park, and peed on the basement stairs), she was fine. She went from screaming and running away from the bathroom to peeing on command in a short 24 hours. I could see how proud she was of herself; she wouldn’t let me help her with the toilet paper, or her pants, and she even brought her favourite doll into the bathroom to show her how it’s done. And I was proud too; although I knew there were kids much younger mastering the same skill as my three-year-old, I was still absolutely blown away at how quickly she caught on.
Last night, after the kids went to bed, my husband and I were talking about how proud we were of our little girl and the progress she had made. All of a sudden, I burst into tears. Right then and there, it hit me. My baby was no longer a baby. She was becoming a beautiful, independent, smart, awesome little person that needed her mommy just a bit less every day. And as proud as I was of her, it was also heart wrenching. As I blubbered about time moving too fast, and my little girl growing up, my husband calmly said, “but Col, that’s a good thing.” And he’s right; it IS. It is a good, beautiful, amazing experience to see your children flourish before your eyes. But for this mommy, it’s also bittersweet.
So perhaps that’s why I wasn’t too bothered by the lack of potty training success up until this point. Maybe a part of me wanted to keep her diapers, as a last-ditch effort to keep my baby a baby just a little bit longer. A subconscious attempt to grab onto time and slow it down, just a little, until I felt ready to have a “big girl”. Completely unrealistic, and totally selfish, but it’s the truth.
On the bright side, I’m going to save a lot of money not buying diapers. Which will come in handy, as I think I am going to have to step up my weekly wine consumption. This parenting thing is a freaking emotional rollercoaster sometimes!