I gave my kids this math problem this morning: figure out approximately how many diapers we have changed since our first child was born in 1989. The number they came up with was 32,850. That’s a heck of a lot of diapers! We are in the process (and I do mean “process”) of potty training #9 (Sam) and so diapers are on my mind. 32,850 is actually a low estimate considering we used 730 as our multiplier (two years) and only a few of our children were actually trained at two years, most were two and a half when they became potty trained.
There is a jingle from a book we have read to the kids every time one of them is potty trained (from the Muppet Baby book, “Bye Bye Diapers”), and the kids have it practically memorized. Its been sealed on my brain and I’m singing it all the time lately:
“Bye bye diapers, bye bye smell
Bye bye tapes and pins as well.
Bye bye bulge beneath my dress
Bye bye yucky, stinky mess.
Bye bye rash upon my rear
A brand new me is finally here…Hello Potty!”
This tune is driving me crazy. I don’t think with #9 I am nearly on top of my game like I was when I potty trained #1. Our first was trained in a few days – I was all in. Now I find myself putting our two and a half year old in diapers when we go out, and losing patience with “the process” much more quickly. He still hasn’t pooped on the potty and we’ve been doing this for five days. I am weary already. The poor little guy really loves his diapers, unfortunately…every morning he brings me a few and says, “time to put my diapers on”! When I tell him he is a big boy now and needs to put on big boy underwear, he starts to cry. This morning I wanted to cry, too.
It’s amazing to me how a little person can wield so much control, and cause so much frustration for those who are trying to gain some of that control. I consider myself a fairly disciplined person (when it comes to things like exercise) so when I started this potty training about a week ago, I thought I would call that discipline into action. I was determined to “knock this thing off”, to “kill it”. Less than a week into it, I am feeling defeated, tired, and totally lacking confidence. Two weeks ago I was feeling strong, disciplined and accomplished after finishing a marathon. Now I am wondering if we can accomplish this…and if there is a potty training service I could just call…kind of like doggy training?
I don’t know why the whole thing surprises me. If there is one thing I should have learned from this parenting journey, it is to expect to be humbled. Besides, what works with my fitness and training should also apply in parenting…Set a goal, and then go do it. I guess I thought this potty training thing would just happen. Now that I realize my silly mistaken thinking, I have decided to set some goals….and make them ”’baby step” kind of goals. I need to remember that it’s going to take some time…and a lot of work. The “bye bye diaper” jingle will have to remain in my head a little longer…and I will try to keep my eye on the goal. And whatever I do, I will not think about the number 32,851!