When it comes to running the Parenting Gauntlet, there are different degrees of difficulty I apply to various challenges.
For example, “Easy” tasks are the more simple (yet necessary) jobs like
changing diapers. Gross, sure; hard, no.
The “Moderate” jobs take some finesse, parenting know-how and a little instinct, like handling a child’s “Divide and Conquer” routine (aka, “WhenMom says no, go ask Dad”).
But without a doubt, the “Difficult” level is the most harrowing of all. It requires parents to summon strength from deep within and use a combination of patience, commitment and resolve.
Not for the rookie, many put even the most seasoned of us to the test. And when it comes to the most daunting turn at the Gauntlet, I have but two words:
Guess what we’re in the middle of?
Quinn will turn three in October and as he is (most likely) our last child, I’ve been looking forward to saying goodbye to diapers since he was about a week old. Ben and Georgia were both potty trained by the time they turned three so we knew that the time was coming…but this one had us a little nervous.
It’s not that we were afraid he wouldn’t DO it; based on having done it twice before, we knew that he was ready. However, our lives are so busy now with activities for Ben and Georgia that poor Quinn spends the better part of his weekend in his car seat or on a field going from one soccer game to another.
On Saturday morning after a successful trip to the potty he announced that he wanted some big boy underwear, so we decided to strike while the iron was hot. We armed ourselves with nine pairs of size 2 dinosaur and monkey briefs and for the first seven hours we were batting 1,000.
We were SO confident, in fact, that Andy and I decided to go out for dinner at Deli After Dark and brought Quinn with us. Like the Potty Champ that he is, after his first visit to the Men’s Room he marched out and announced to the entire restaurant in the middle of dinner, “DADDY, I PEED ON THE POTTY!” Bon appetit, folks.
When I brought Quinn and Georgia to the Red Sox game on Sunday, Andy questioned my sanity.
As any parent knows, the key to success on all Difficult Level parenting challenges is that once you start, there is no turning back.
Although not exactly how I pictured enjoying the game while sitting just 15 rows behind home plate, we visited the bathroom six times in eight innings but
happily, zero accidents.
Other tools we’ve found to prove successful are bribery (the promise of M&Ms is a winner) and cheering loudly after each successful potty session. Sure, people outside the bathroom door will think that this toddler just learned how to split the atom but hey, the Potty Training Parent will stop at nothing to reach the Diaper-Free Zone.
Although there are still the occasional accidents, I’m plowing forward and making sure that he doesn’t see me question myself in the slightest.
Those toddlers are perceptive little buggers who can smell fear. Solidarity! Confidence!
In the meantime, I’ll keep chanting “Patience, Commitment, Resolve” until the last diaper has left the building and freedom is mine.
Patience, Commitment, Resolve…Patience, Commitment, Resolve…