Tuesday, April 17, 2007

International Diplomacy and Potty Training

On Sunday we were having a friend with small children over (husband out of town) and invited along a college-age couple who were visiting church. The conversation turned, inevitably, to potty training, a topic on which all of the parents present were weighing in with considerable passion and eloquence.

"Great," I could imagine the young couple thinking, "This is the fate that awaits us. Get married, have kids, and be unable to talk about anything more interesting than potty training."

People who think discussions on potty training represent an intellectual backwater have simply never potty trained anyone. Potty training is a task of diplomatic intrigue on the level of persuading the despot of a third-world country, armed with an unlimited supply of bombs, to lay down his arms and enter peacefully into the family of nations.

Our friend was discussing her imminent plans to potty-train her son, who is two months younger than D2. This led us to discussing the possibility of me potty training D2, which I insist will not occur until he is five, even though he runs into the bathroom saying "Potty potty potty" and sits down. Still I will not.

But then, her daughter potty-trained at two in a week. D1 and I have been working at this for nearly a year and a half, and three is looming close, and we are not done. Oh, we've been very close to done for a long time now. But like the race between Achilles and the tortoise, we never seem to be able to cover more than half of the remaining distance. Closer all the time, but never there.

Sometimes I wonder if people claiming to be done are just using semantical sleight-of-hand. In the potty-training-in-a-day book, it defines being potty-trained as being able and willing to take yourself to the potty when you need to go. Well, in that case, she was potty-trained a year ago. But I don't consider a child potty-trained until I never have to pull out a spare pair of pants, and that day, though I know it will come sometime between now and college, still seems exceedingly distant.

So, am I willing to consider having two rogue states running around the house? I am not. Especially not given the propensity for imitation, which tends to run far too much in the wrong direction. D2 will just have to remain a colony until the international situation is more stable.


the Joneses said...

Long live colonialism! Both of mine were older than three before I even attempted. That shortened the training time to a day and a half in the first case, and about three weeks in the second (more oblivious) case.

-- SJ

Karen S. said...
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Kevin & Amy said...

Funny! I love your analogy of potty training and diplomacy. I haven't started yet with Meredith and don't plan to for a long time, even though she tells me when she's dirty and seems very interested in the potty. I've seen too many mothers struggle for months or even years with this. Everyone I've talked with says wait until you're 100% sure they are 100% ready!

Queen of Carrots said...

I really don't think I would have started with D1 so soon had she not had chronic, untreatable diaper rash. She has verrrry sensitive skin. And it did help that situation, so in that sense it was worth it. Fortunately D2 has a tough little hide, so I have no need to rush this time.