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.