Potty Reflections and the Deep Meaning of Diapers

A few years back we reached a milestone in our great big Blue Ridge Mountain home. We had potty trained our seemingly last child. There was a certain satisfaction and poignant pause to this accomplishment. Alexandra, for her part, did great! Two and one half days and our 25 month old had won the battle of the bladder with no programs or formulas other than experience, encouragement and consistency. Two unsightly days latter and that second issue was put to rest as well.

That was a family record for mess management proficiency at the Poffarosa. Good for her! Still, we were left asking ourselves who is next. Now that we have gotten good at this we had run out of children.  

Some of you might think we are a bit inane to feel so conflicted. This should be a relief, a victory you might suppose. After seven potty trainings, four of them copiously over lapping, one might think one has had ones fill of floating Cheerios and sticker handouts. Well I guess we are silly because really this was a bittersweet feat at best.

Statistics bear out that the average American family as having only 1.9 children. I am more of a writer than a mathematician but that number seems just under the treading water point to me. I suppose we are doing our part with seven spread between toddlerhood and teen-dom but no more diapers in the house! It feels as if the path is heading downhill and the G.P.S has lost the satellite signal. This is a place to stop and ponder that next step. Who would have thought diapers meant so much?

Interestingly at the same point in time, several moms on the Twin’s Message Board and other areas of our extended circle were calling out for “Help”! “Just one week before pre-school”. “Four years old and un-yielding”.  Potty training expertise suddenly seemed a commodity in short supply and my writings attests, I am most willing to share. Therefore, pulling myself up from that conflicted period of Ponderance I surged to meet the cries for mess management assistance.  

What I discovered is that even potty training has a crass and commercial if not slightly sexist skew in this modern age. Seems many for profit programs and workbooks are already in place. I guess Pam and I are missing the train here. Perhaps it is time to pen the “The Quadparent’s Guide to Restroom Mastery” or “Mike’s Mess Management Makeover”. I must remember to run these by a book agent!

Still, all kidding aside, I know how personal this area can be and that mainly moms are out there making it happen. Perhaps this is why some dismiss my assistance. Many men might even laugh at what goes on in our unique abode. Most would have also required talk therapy if not medication following the path we have laid down. Indeed writing is my talk therapy and I thank all you moms for indulging me.

So having set the stage and mulled the motivations let me share with you my insights to winning the war on unwanted wetness. You might call this The Quadfather Guide to Timely Potty Proficiency though I have chosen not to.

First, chill! This is not about you, your worth as a woman, mother or person. Way too much attention goes to who does it the quickest and the best. This is about the wee wonder at your feet and not finding wee wonders all around the house. Nor is it about your friends or anyone else’s opinions or approval. So relax.

Secondly, embrace this truth. Personal hygiene is a required societal skill and not everyone will gain its mastery the same way or at the same time. Consider yourself as simply sharing a sheer certainty with you little cherub. Indeed this is a refreshingly straightforward spot with little grey area. A rare thing in our time of parenting to be sure.

Thirdly make this a motivation. Out of love, you are helping your little lovely take this step toward independence and responsibility. Indeed, you are loosening the reins here. Investing and nurturing trust, forming a foundation for growth. Setting a stage where they rely on you to point out areas for growth now and in the future. Really, you are building a bridge sorely needed in terms of trust and communication. You and your teenaged angel will need this one day. Trust me on that!

Fourthly, seek the advice of those who have done this multiple times and well. Twins, trips and such are a unique challenge. Seek the unique practitioner. We have even been accountability gurus for some. Giving advice and encouragement with follow up. Now we cannot do this for everyone but be open to those around you who have the experience and heart to help and serve you in this adventure.

Fifth and finally, allow room for each individual to get this individually. Pointing out that a sibling is better in an area is not a good idea or desired motivation in the formative years. If you want comparisons and performance to be at the root of your family relationships this is a time and place to set it in stone. You might say you have to learn to feel the flow. Pun intended. This is a wonderful teaching opportunity for multiples and singlets to embrace some uniqueness of self. To learn it is ok to be me, maybe even find some things about their siblings to appreciate or even learn encouragement and empathy through. 

Now in this wee little list you will notice no particular techniques are mentioned. Well you see I am saving them for the definitive tome on this topic. “The Quadfathers Two and a Half Day Wonder Potty Plan”. Until its triumphant release, please remember. In all the disorder, aggravation and odor encountered with mess mastery the day will come when you take that final hill. With the last sticker given, potty dance danced and happy holler hanging joyfully in the air, take time to enjoy the view.

You will find a new satisfaction and confidence. Yep, you have gotten good at this. It will suddenly dawn on you that the diapers are through. You will not be going this way again. You have reached a milestone. If you fell a wee bit conflicted at this high watermark, please do not hate me for helping. Pam and I have left a tissue or two for you in our passing through. Who would have thought diapers meant so much?

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3 Comments to “Potty Reflections and the Deep Meaning of Diapers”

  1. You sound like a wild and crazy family and lots of fun. I am wondering if you would like to be on my radio show Twin Talk which broadcasts world-wide on World Talk Radio on Fridays at 11am. I would love to have a father of quads and mother if she is free. I have not had any fathers yet and I really want one. It involves just talking from your home phone to a number that I will give you. I am called Dr. Mercy on the show. Then it goes into archives and onto i-tunes and you can download for your friends to listen. Please let me know. Twincerely, Dr. Mercy

    • Morning Margery,
      Ours is a sometimes full and fast paced life that is most blessed. I would be glad to talk with you at some point. I was in the Radio/TV world for sometime back in the day. Today is our youngests 4th birthday. I will be in a flurry . My wife Pam mostly stays away from media but I will ask her if she is interested. She runs a case management company ( with her female partner ) that operates in 5 states. So her time is tight. Thanks for your time and interest.
      Blessings,
      MikeP

  2. Mike – Thank you for your reply. I am a psychotherapist in three states and PhD in Human Services so I do understand your busy and exciting life. If you need something done give it to a busy person! Just choose a Friday and away we go! I will need a short bio and pictures for World Talk Radio. We can prerecord if you prefer. Twincerely, Dr. Mercy

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