In my early 20s (what? I surprised you? You thought I was still 22?! Aw, shucks, you’re sweet. Now, go get some glasses) I once went on a couple of dates with a guy who kept throwing me the biggest of mixed signals. One day, he’d be all, “Hey, let me call you and we’ll talk for aaaaggges about how awesome Weezer is! Oh my gosh, we’re, like, soulmates, duuuude!”, and then I wouldn’t hear from him for days. I was tortured, I tell you, tortured, for all of the four weeks we tossed this ping pong ball of of ill-advised courtship back and forth. I couldn’t tell you anything more about the guy other than yes, he really was a big Weezer fan (what do you mean you don’t remember them? If you went to college in the 90s, you remember three things: Weezer, Rusted Root–which played at my school during, I think, sophomore year, and I was too busy listening to Jane’s Addiction, probably, and writing mopey poetry to deign to see them–and Carrot Top. You know I’m right.), he was the first person of any that I knew that had bought a house, and, oh, what was the other thing? Oh, yeah. He had a girlfriend. Which probably explained gaps in contact, I’d imagine.
Well, that guy has met his match in the Mighty Quinn. She’s been starting to drop some signals: the other day, for instance, we were at the house waiting to pick up Saoirse from preschool. Quinn was quietly playing with some toys in her room, when she looked up at me with this look of mild horror in her face and started patting at her bottom. “Poopeeee!” she said, like she could barely stand the taste of the word in her mouth. “Poopeeee. Chinge deee-peee!” she demanded. I couldn’t believe it. “You pooped?” I asked her. “You want me to change your diaper?” She looked at me like I’m a moron. “Yeah,” she said. (I’m starting to think that “yeah” is toddler speak for “No shit.” As in, “Hey, Quinn, do you want to get down from the table? Is that why you just threw your plate across the dining room?” “Yeah,” she’ll reply. “No shit.”) Then she got up to get a diaper.
That was the start of it. Then, over the course of the next week, she’d start announcing her bodily functions. We were outside of Target Tuesday (now, there’s a shocking statement. Me? At Target? Noooo.), and I was unbuckling her car seat when she got that look of dismay on her face again, and started swiping at her diaper with her hand. “Peeee-peee,” she told me. She was horrified.
Then last night happened. Saoirse was undressing to go to the bathroom, because apparently it’s in the preschooler manual of operations that a 3-year-old must get completely disrobed in order to do Number 2. Quinn saw this, started swiping at her diaper area again (I’d say “crotch” but there are some really pervy people who search really pervy things and find my site. If you’re one of those people, and you’re reading this right now, shame on you and get the heck away from my blog, please). She pointed to the toilet, looking desperate, and started saying “Peee-peee!” So I asked her if she wanted to use the potty. She said yes. I took off her diaper and put her on. She said “No!” and wriggled off like the seat was made of cactus. And then she happily sat her bare bottom on the stool in front of the sink, which is where she likes to sit to watch Saoirse take a poop. They began their usual daily bathroom chitchat.
And that’s when I made my mistake. David was at the dining room table, completely absorbed in some work he was trying to finish. While Saoirse and Quinn did their potty-time bonding, I ran downstairs to grab a clean pair of footie pajamas out of the dryer. Yes, Quinn had no pants on. Yes, sometimes I have the common sense of a squirrel. And yes–this is the big one–yes, when a 19-month-old tells you that she has to pee, and then she doesn’t actually pee, one should realize that eventually the child is going to pee.
And pee she did. All I heard was Saoirse, stuck in her position on the toilet, screaming “Mooommm! Quinn’s peeing all over my sttttooooolll!” (why is it always “Mom,” by the way? David was right. there.). I went racing up the stairs in time to hear Quinn wimpering, slipping and sliding through the puddles as she tried to escape the disaster area. Saoirse was still on the pot, crying “myyyy stoooolll!” and Quinn was running around, naked from the waist down, with liquid dribbling in and out the rolls of her little toddler thighs. I grabbed a towel and some Clorox and set to cleaning. I took care of Saoirse and got her put back together, washed, and out of the bathroom. What I didn’t think about? Quinn.
I had wiped her down as best I could, thinking I’d just give her a quick bath after it was possible to walk across the bathroom floor without galoshes. What I didn’t count on was her slipping past me, sliding down the stairs (don’t worry. We live in a split level, so there are only about 6 stairs she turned into a urine-y slip-and-slide) while my back was turned (in my defense, this all happened so quickly, and I was on zone defense, and sometimes, well, zone is a stupid strategy). Before I knew it, I heard David groan, “Awwww, Quinn!” Saoirse raced past me like TV crews after an ambulance. By the time I got to the kitchen, poor Quinn was running toward me from the dining room. Apparently she had startled herself in the bathroom upstairs and hadn’t quite finished peeing. So she did so in the dining room, then, as she slipped and fell in the kitchen, on the tile there, too. The poor kid was crying, embarrassed, horrified at being so dirty, and coming at me like a pee-soaked cannonball.
These, my friends, are the days to cherish.
My point with all of this is that I think, from all obvious signs, she’s ready for potty training. The only obstacle right now is her absolute refusal to actually stay on the pot. I think this might be a disadvantage, yes? But she’s only 19 months old. She just started walking a couple of months ago. Shes seems so young to me. I mean, this little tiny person (okay, she’s really not that little) is telling me she wants to lose the diapers (and okay, considering she’s in the largest size diapers made, this might be a good thing)? Wha?! Once this happens I’ve officially “lost” my babies. They’re kids now. Growing up. In five minutes they’ll be going off to college and leaving us behind with our wrinkles and gray hair, wondering where the years went.
Saoirse was exactly 2 years and 4 months when she decided to potty train (and by “decided,” I mean I walked into her room after naptime to find her taking off her diaper). This also happened to be three weeks after Quinn was born. Have you ever tried to race a toddler to the potty before she has an accident while holding a nursing infant in your arm three weeks after a good doctor has taken a scalpel to your lower abdomen? Good times, I tell you. Good times.
So this is a bit of a surprise to me. We’ll see what happens next. Right now Quinn’s still afraid of the toilet (it’s no wonder, too, considering that she’s so thin she slips down through the kiddie seat), but isn’t so happy with sitting in her own excrement. On the plus side, though, at least if she has an accident while potty-training, she, unlike our animals, who choose to stand on the carpets or rug when there’s a bodily fluid emerging, has the good sense to aim for a hard surface. But good golly, people, I hate the potty training stage.
And at 19 months? Seriously, I’m going to blink and she’ll be 5 and reading Tolstoy. I know plenty of children are out of diapers at this age–I was, for Pete’s sake (how gross is that that I just told you when I was potty trained?). My mother-in-law says it’s a sign to have more children. I say it’s a sign to buy more upholstery cleaner. Either way, it’s further proof that our children are going to go on and live their lives how they want to live them, and really, when they want to live them. Which is kind of neat.
As long as they don’t ever, ever discover Rusted Root. That would be worse for me than potty training.