if you’re old enough to grab diaper, wipes, changing pad, &ask for a new diaper, then you’re old enough to use the potty.
Sometimes I ask her, “are you my baby or are you my big girl?” Her answer changes depending on her mood. Sometimes all she wants is to be my baby… but other times, with so much certainty she proclaims “No, I’m a big girl!” For me, she’s a big girl. She’s growing up, and very little about her is babyish. I enjoy it. Sometimes I feel alone in the fact that I don’t look back and feel nostalgic to the long lost days of mothering a tiny little baby. I like these days much better. When I try to write about the baby days, it feels forced, like I’m trying to be sentimental, about something I just don’t feel sugary about. But whats going on now? And the future? I’m sugary and overjoyed. Of course, each stage has it’s difficulties (oh, the attitude), but for me, the past few months and, more recently, the past few days, I’ve seen more of the changes, the transitions, and steps into moving past this baby things, and it brings me a sense of comfort and joy. 
I’ve written about potty training in the past… a few times. We would make progress and it would stop. Between different babysitters and full days with Alex, there was never anything set enough to create a routine, in training. When I left for Massachusetts, I gave away all her cloth diapers, determined to have her potty trained up north. We stayed there for a week or so, left for Hawaii, and came back— we made no progress. I had a new work schedule, she started daycare, and potty training, well, it again fell to the wayside. I pushed it, I encouraged it, I tried different methods, but she always felt really uncomfortable with the idea of losing her diapers. I knew physically, she was ready, but emotionally, it was a level she wasn’t comfortable reaching yet. Each two steps forward, we took another one back. But now, finally, we’re here. She’s ready, mostly comfortable, sometimes excited, and being a happy and comfortable “big girl” on the potty. I am relieved. I never worried that she would never get potty trained, she’s still young (only reaching two and a half years now), and sometimes these things take a while, but her stubbornness can be overwhelming and the feeling of knowing she CAN do it, but doesn’t want to, can be slightly (only a tiny bit) frustrating. (I now understand, THIS is what parenting feels like). Also diapers? Pft. Those are expensive. Cloth diapering was one of the best decisions I had made as a new mom. Jumping the gun and getting rid of them too soon? Not so much. 
I’ve written about mothering—- or my lack of it, in the past. As I see her grow, progress, and become her own little person, I feel a hint of stress and pressure lift away. She needs me less— or at least, she needs me in different ways, and my job seems easier, but more fulfilling. I’ve done a good job so far, I can confidently say that. The happiness and charisma she exudes, it says it all. I’ve made it through the robotic (for me) tasks of diapers, breast-feeding, short sleep cycles, and I’ve made it to the fun parts. As the days go by, and as she grows older, I’m more and more certain in my past thoughts: there will be only one. I’ve never been the type to even be slightly sure or certain about wanting or having kids. I never dreamed or romanticized the idea mothering. It came to me, I accepted it, and I love the one I have with all my guts and being. When I got pregnant again, again it wasn’t planned but it was okay, in my head, it was better than the first time, there was a security in a sibling– a comfort I could feel for her. But as she grows out of diapers, and becomes the big girl– my big girl– that I can take to the bookstore or out for french fry dates— I am certain, this is it. The baby days are gone, and I’m not looking back. Family and friends tell me, never say never, my heart and mind might change, but as each day passes, I’m only set in one direction. I’ve done it once and I can’t imagine any turn, taking me back to wanting to start again– not now, and especially not later. I liked the duo her and I encompass, I’m content in what we’ve done and the life we’ve shared and will be able to continue to share— together, just her and I…. and now, as a tripod family. I am fulfilled. This growing up thing she’s doing? She can keep doing it. She makes me proud and it feels just right to me. 





I made a lot of promises and bribes in these potty training stages. A big girl bed, painted nails (“gold like mama!”), chocolate chips (not pictured), and once I could call our potty training flight successful, I rewarded her with a special big girl date (a bookstore gift, a trolley ride, and a french fry and ketchup lunch). We had a great day together. We went to the post office, went downtown, walked to the bookstore, jumped on the trolley, she waited more patiently, than I had ever seen, in her big girl underwear, perfectly seated at the table, anticipating french fries. We jumped back on the trolley, and she was so happy, not wanting to leave. We came home from our date…. and she threw a (an over-tired) fit. Crying, boogers in her nose, the whole shebang, and fell asleep standing upright, against mamas bed. And there I was, reminded, that maybe my big girl isn’t quite as big as I think she is, and that’s okay too 🙂 However fast or slow she’s growing, she’s doing it just the way she should. Keep doing it kid. Grow Marlowe, grow.  

32 Comments

  1. This is a very sweet post. I too am struggling with potty training, but choose not to push it. There's a lot to be said for letting little ones choose their own path with our guidance instead of force.

    • Basically. We tried, she was interested, then wasn't. We stopped. Tried again, wasn't interested at all, we stopped. Now she's happy to do it… and asks to go all the time.

  2. Very beautiful post.. Kinda how I felt about my boy too. Sometimes I miss him when he was a baby, and sometimes I'm really happy tt he's "grown up" now. Motherhood is such a bittersweet thing, right? 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness I can relate to this post in every way possible. We are crossing the finish line with potty training my 2 and a half year old too. The only thing left is bed wetting. She wakes up wet every morning. A lotta laundry going on around here, but day time and naps are pretty much perfect which I'm thankful for. There is something about them not having that extra padded tush from a diaper that makes them look like such BIG girls. I'm so proud and so sentimental at the same time =)

    • girllll, we're not even close to moving past bedwetting—- I change her diaper once, usually twice a night– in her sleep because otherwise its a mess… but she's got it down during the day, so I'm happy 🙂

  4. Such a lovely post drea. I yearn for another, but not a baby. Not quite sure how that is going to work out…I love this stage too. Not the baby bit. Oh if only I could push out an 18 month old instead.
    OUCH.

  5. It's funny because with my first baby, unplanned and uncertain with no thoughts of motherhood ever having been entertained, I didn't enjoy infanthood as much as I thought I was supposed to. But now eight years later, with this 3rd baby, six years after having my second, it feels so different and I am enjoying it so much more. But I agree that as they get older, the relationship becomes so different, so wonderful. I am so close to my mom that I'm excited for my kids to be adults for me to drink coffee and cocktails with.
    Thanks for inspiring introspection on motherhood. It always feels nice to sort of meditate on it.

  6. Lily was finally out of diapers close to 3. we had a long training period and i finally just let it be because i saw that she wasn't ready. she knew what she was supposed to do in the toilet but she wouldn't. once she started talking about wanting to be a ballerina and wanting to go to ballet school, i showed her online how even little ballerinas don't wear diapers and how she would have to start using the toilet and wear underwear. i also told her that if she was big enough to go get the diapers and wipes, she was big enough to start changing her own diapers. which she did, twice (just pee of course). after she changed her second diaper, she reached for the underwear and never looked back. ha!
    Will and i comment all the time about how sometimes we are too hard and expect too much of Lily. because yeah, even though she is so mature and such a big girl, she is only 3 and that is not big at all… xoxo

  7. Such a beautiful post! I am 8 weeks pregnant and think I would like to do cloth diapers and all of my friends think I am nuts. Glad to read you feel it was the best decision you made – validates my desire!

    • I 100% recommend it. It's so depressing to see piles and piles of diapers go into the trash/landfill and piles and piles of money go out the window to buy more diapers to go in a trash can. It's really not that much work— another load or two of easy laundry—- but you have to take out the trash less? 🙂

  8. Love these type of posts, Drea. Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I've been reading your blog since the very beginning and have really enjoyed watching you grow as a mother. And as far as the getting back together with Alex? I'm happy to hear that you've found happiness (finally). If anyone has anything but nice things to say about this, they can kindly fuck off. It's your life, you know?! Congrats on everything, lady!

    • Thanks Joanna 🙂 You know… I'm scared to write this *out-loud*.. and I feel like I should knock on wood, but I've been very lucky. Not one hard/mean/negative comment on the recent post with alex— or really any at all. Moderation is pretty much just up for the spammy comments from companies I get through out the day. Luckily, the people who hate and talk— keep it elsewhere. Which works for me, it's my life, if you don't like it, stay off my space, I'll happily stay off yours 🙂

      Thanks lady 🙂

  9. Oh goodness! I connected with this post on so many levels, girl. My one and only, ever, daughter is 2 and 1 month and we're starting to get serious about potty training, and being a big girl. I totally adore the independence and communication skills she has now, that make her seem more like a person and give me more reasons to fall in love with her everyday. I too get the "maybe someday" about having another kid, and while I do think about siblings because I'm close to mine, having another baby would just not fit our family dynamic or make any of us happier. I admire your strength and decidedness on the subject, and I think you and M are lucky to have eachother! As long as we are great mothers, our girls will thrive without siblings. Wishing you both luck on potty training and the big girl bed!

    • Yes. This comment is perfect. We do connect for sure 🙂 Thank you 🙂

  10. Being a mama to a girl is beyond words for me and I can see this on your side of the screen. No matter what happens later, this is your time, having girlie activities, being that one she looks up to. Will I experience raising another child, a boy, another girl? I'm not sure but I'm happy to raise my girl, be close to her, guide her and see her grow. Because of that I'm here. xx

    http://www.todaymyway.com

  11. You know, my daughter is only 4 months old but every stage she hits seems like my favorite age. The older she gets the more amazing she seems to me. There's nothing wrong with enjoying Marlowe as a big girl more than you did when she was a baby. It's natural; babies are supposed to grow into big kids. You're a good mama!

  12. I forgot to switch of the laptop and when Nereus saw these photos of Marlowe, he got so excited! He was pointing at her and he was telling me to look at her (in his own language of course). He couldn't stop smiling! I think he's in love! Haha so cute!

  13. What a lovely post. I love the idea of growing into motherhood a one's babe grows. And 2.5 years is so much time (so much growing!) on the one hand, but such a flash on the other. I think I may fall into the more sentimental camp. Every day I wake up and my 7 month old baby is bigger. I love how she is changing, but oh how I sometimes wish I could linger over babyhood a while longer. But, it just keeps getting better and better doesn't it? And, I suppose, that's the point.

  14. P is just over 2 years but I think we're actually going to wait until she's closer or after 3 to potty train. She seems ready (holding it, loving the potty, sitting on it, talking about it) but I've heard so many stories about easier/more successful/no regression training when kids are closer to 3 that we're going to wait.

    • It's true, A LOT of things can cause regression. Thats why I never pushed it TOO much. But now thet we're here, in this new house, we've got our routine down, it seemed like it was all going to fall into place a little bit better this time… and it did 🙂

  15. "if you're old enough to grab diaper, wipes, changing pad, &ask for a new diaper, then you're old enough to use the potty."Can you send this in MEMO form to my daughter?

    And this is beautiful. Watching them become amazing little people is WAY better than change dirty nappies and worrying about breaking them. <3

  16. You just wait until she's over 5! I like getting to know my kids as people and going places that're truly stimulating to us all, so I'm thrilled now that we're almost not even with a kid in preschool (though, I will be sniffly the day he goes to Kinder). Oh, and I wanted to comment actually to thank you for the sweet potato-kale soup recipe. I made it today for lunch and really liked it with a little lemon juice to further cut the sweetness (which is what I dislike about sweet potatoes). So, thanks for the yummy lunch idea.

    • oh i know, I cannot wait.

      Yes! I'm glad you liked it! I feel exactly the same way about sweet potato— this is basically the only way I eat it— the other savory aspects of it, make the sweetness okay 🙂

  17. You've captured my thoughts. I love nothing more than being a mother… I tried and tried for years and when I finally became pregnant it was the most wonderful thing.

    Now with my lil 2 1/2 year old lady I don't get all sappy with the "oh she's not a baby anymore" business. I am very much alone with these thoughts. All my girlfriends say it. They wish for another when their littles are still infants! I just don't feel the tug. She's an only. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

    • I can kind of understand the woman who love cuddly babies, but like you, theres no tug for me there 🙂