Last week, I asked Cian before lunch if he had to use the bathroom. “No,” he said. And since he was wearing pull-ups, and since I’ve lost my go-get-’em-let’s-wear-underpants motivation of potty training, I let it slide. “Are you sure?” I just said. He nodded, and I let it go. I know, lazy. But potty training breaks me down, man. It breaks me down.
After lunch, I asked Cian to use the bathroom. He walked in himself this time while I cleared the table, and two seconds later I heard, “Oh, Mom! It’s on the stoooool!” I found him with one leg up in the air, avoiding the wet spot on the seat. His private parts were nowhere near where they were supposed to be, and he’d overshot and made it only halfway into the kid potty’s bowl. The other half had landed–Hallelujah! Praise for small miracles!–in his training pants. Other than that–and this is the absolute, best, it’s-so-worth-it part–he’d been completely dry.
“Cian,” I said, as I cleaned him up and helped him with his pants, “you’re getting the hang of this! Yay! I’m so proud of you!”
We shared a high five, then he leaned forward to hug me, his face still covered with pizza sauce that smeared my chin as he kissed me.
“Oh,” he said. He was grinning as he looked at me. “I’m so pow’d of you, too.”
I paused for a minute to remember that, to sear into my brain the words he spoke and the expression on his face and the way I felt right at that moment. And then we washed his hands and dried them and got back to the day, to carry on until the next visit to Potty Land. I have to tell you that I could feel the flush in my cheeks–the pride and sentimentality and reality check that happens when your child sees the best in you and tells it right to you without hesitation. My skin felt warm, and I knew I was smiling a little as I helped him down from the sink.
I still had some of that sauce on my chin after he went off to play with his cars, I know. And I also have to tell you that I left it there, just a little bit longer, just to hold on to that feeling while I could.
Parenthood. It’s not always as hard as it seems.