When my sister-in-law Earthmother offered to babysit my girls in exchange for a couple of articles on her site, I happily agreed to the trade. This past weekend, she babysat (with her two kiddies along for good measure). As we were leaving, she asked, “So, do you put Monkey on the pot every half-hour or so?”
I thought, “Every half hour? I’m supposed to get her on the potty every half hour? Holy crap, no wonder this potty training thing isn’t taking.”
I didn’t interject this into the last-minute instructions; I simply stuttered something about maybe putting her on the potty now as she had just gotten up from her “nap”, and maybe again after dinner and before bedtime. And then we left, and I have been thinking about Earthmom’s comment since.
And I’m still not putting the Monkey on the potty every half an hour. The potty training is not going well, and it’s probably my fault. Not only am I a reluctant — some days even an unwilling — SAHM, but it is now revealed I am a lazy one as well. Additionally, I find the whole potty training thing frankly disgusting.
I have always had trouble changing diapers of other people’s children (I don’t know how daycare providers do it). I can take the worse that Monkey and Bun dish out with equanimity, but other butts I don’t want to wipe. It makes me gag; always did, which is why I avoided babysitting as a teenager. There were easier ways to make money (like working at the zoo the summer the polar bears were in heat. But that’s a different story…).
Without a doubt, having children puts you right in the realm of the physical, from pregnancy on through… high school probably. I marvel over the bodies of my two girls. Monkey is so straight and strong, especially her legs; and she has a beautiful face, from her deep blue eyes with dark dark lashes (her daddy’s eyes) to her pretty mouth (mine). Monkey was never a fat baby, like my Bun; Bun jiggles when she crawls; she has baby boobies and a Buddha belly. Her thighs are big but strong — she is strong, as the several-times-daily wrestling matches as I attempt to change her diapers prove. I take sensual pleasure in my girls, touching their heads, kissing hands and feet and bellies, holding them.
As close as one gets during erotic love and sexual acts, having a baby is more physically intimate. Caring for a baby is more physically intimate: the breastfeeding, the bathing, the wiping of butts and genitals. The things you do for your children you don’t do for anyone else (I suppose at some point you may have to be pretty close to your parents as they grow older.)
And of course, they are almost nothing but physical beings. Even Monkey with her quick observations and impressive-for-a-not-even-3-year-old vocabulary could not be called a creature of the mind. Bun embodies what I mean right now — everything must be touched, squeezed, shaken, beaten against something else, and tasted. Everything, from the food I give her to whatever the hell she finds under the toilet.
But I have never really had trouble changing their diapers (I certainly don’t get off on it). Yeah, it’s smelly; sometimes you get it on the floor or — worse — your hand. It gets on their clothes, especially those early breastfed-baby mustard poops. It’s just the thing you have to do until, they’re, you know, potty trained.
The other day, however, as I watched poop literally come out of my child’s anus to plop into the potty, I thought, “Hmm, I never thought about being here.” Potty training is the most utterly disgusting thing I have ever had to do in my entire life (so far). I sit there waiting for my child to poop — and I have a pretty intimate view. And then I have to get her wiped up. I’m glad she moved from her training potty to the big potty because now we can just flush the waste away (Monkey cheering, “Bye, pee! Bye, poop! Bye, paper!” when appropriate) instead of having to wipe out the bowl of the training potty. Is it any wonder I am inconsistant?
On top of that, I now hate changing Monkey’s diapers. I want her to be potty trained. I want it to be done except for the inevitable accidents. Now, it’s more like her actually pooping on the potty is the accident.
I need some help here (obviously). Do I have to spend a week at home putting Monkey on the toilet every half an hour? What do I do with my very active, very curious 9-month-old during the potty-sitting sessions? Should I just ditch the diapers and see if Monkey can’t stand the goop? Think of the mess if she just doesn’t care!
Resources and advice are welcome. If you feel the need to criticize… well, be gentle okay? I clearly don’t have a clue.