Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Big Girl Alert...

At the risk of divulging too much information (but hey, this is a mama's blog after all), Abby made peeps on the potty Wednesday night! On purpose. On time. At her initiation.

She's been flirting with the potty lately. Trying it out here. Sitting on it there. It's not unusual for her to ask to use the potty, but it is unusual for her diaper to be dry or clean when we get there. Bathroom usage has been a mostly post-activity activity, if you catch my meaning.

But her request to use the little plastic potty has increased in frequency over the last few weeks. On Sunday night during her bath, she even managed to tell Josh she needed to go potty and held it until she got there. This bathtime potty success was the second of her life. The first took place a few months ago, but I think that one came as a surprise to both of us. Usually she just informs me of her release as I'm washing her hair, at which point I drain the tub, rinse her hair extra well, and start again. Lovely.

Tonight, however, she was in full command of her body. After determining which parent was going night-night with which child, I asked Ben which potty he would be using before bed. He said he'd use the one in his room, at which point Abby chimed, "I neeh tuh yews duh pah-tee, tooh." So Ben and I headed upstairs to get him ready for bed, and Josh and Abby made a pit-stop in the downstairs bathroom.

I wondered if the before-bed timing would be effective. When I heard Josh mention he was going to the kitchen to get a chocolate chip (this was our on-the-fly reward when she used the potty out of the blue Sunday), I realized she had done it. Of course, when they came upstairs, Ben and I made as much of a fuss over her accomplishment as we could. She couldn't have looked more radiant if a celestial being had taken residence in her body: she was beside herself proud, so pleased with her "big girl" activity--she beamed. As Ben and I cheered and danced, she actually laughed out loud with delight.

I chuckle at the hilarity of all this hoopla over bodily functions we generally pretend don't exist. Yet I suppose that's what's brilliant about childhood--the taboos are not only acceptable, they're celebration-worthy.

Perhaps she'll get out of diapers in time for us to use the money for dog food. Perhaps not. But I think one of the greatest joys of parenting is standing witness to even the most mundane milestones: sleeping through the night, eating real food, using the potty, dressing oneself--activities we take for granted as adults. Add to that the wonder of watching them learn to count, recognize letters, sound out words, feel empathy, demonstrate compassion, ask why, begin to understand why, explain why to others... Parents get to watch and share in it all, for a time. And cheer.

This is the privilege. This is why children are a gift. Their most vulnerable moments are entrusted to our encouragement. What a treat to witness her joy and accomplishment and to share in it with her. Josh and I could see the big girl welling up within her, like a butterfly.

This beautiful creature is emerging, and we get to watch her unfold in all her glorious splendor.

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