Sunday, April 10, 2011

38 Months (the second)

(Don't know what this picture has to do with the post below but I just love it! Nanna, Quinn, Lucas & Nonno)

Quinn is doing her business on the potty! So excited by this wonderful development. I was telling a friend of ours the song we sing to Quinn every time she drops one in her pants, let's just say that the title to the song is "Quinnita Poopy Pants", and I felt embarrassed by two things - first the fact that I'm singing such a demeaning song to my three-year-old just so she'll feel ashamed and go in the potty doesn't help me feel better about myself, and 2nd that she's still fighting the inevitable tide of time and the reality that, yes goddamnit, she is capable of controlling herself.

Well, she has made the leap and you never found two happier parents than those who are living at CasaWex. The greatest part about it is that Quinn was the one who decided. We encouraged her as much as possible, hinting and asking again and again if she might just be ready for that important next step, but she never would take the bait. She was always very confident enough with herself to simple reject any advancement that we made on the subject. One thing Quinn has going for her is that when she puts her mind to it, that subject is closed. She won't budge an inch once that stubborn aspect of her nature kicks in. So Christina and I were extremely relieved when she became open to the sitting on that toilet.

It all started in San Francisco...hey isn't that where Lucas was potty-trained? I'm just going to put out this little tip for all of the parents out there in the world. We had absolutely no clue how to potty train either one of our children, and you would think that we might of learned something after the first child, but they were completely different people and so our experience with Lucas didn't translate toward Quinn. BUT! and a very big but it is right here, the one common ingredient we had with both of them is a relative that they both looked up to and respected who caused the shame of dirty diapers to finally register within their little minds. As a parent, it is very important to find these influential people that will affect your children in profoundly positive ways. These mentors in life are vital for a child's growth and finding the right person for the right situation is a very delicate matter for a parent to ponder. When it came to the toilet, both Quinn and Lucas needed their Uncle Rick.

Like I said earlier, it's truly strange the things we parents do in order to shame our children. Our behavior can be pretty childish at times and these kids are way smarter than we give them credit. My poopy-pants song had absolutely no effect whatsoever but I stuck to my guns and went right on singing because I felt that I knew what was right in this situation. But, of course, I was the one who didn't have a clue and even though I managed to get a reaction at times (yeah, it upset her now and then), ultimately she totally ignored me. Yet, all it took was having her Uncle's keen eye pointed in her direction and Quinn was convinced that the potty was her new best friend.

We parents can be so convinced that the life-lessons we constantly impart upon our children are the greatest gifts we can give, better than any toy or movie or adventure that their heart desires. That may be true to an extent because a lot of the crap they want doesn't really provide much value but that doesn't mean that our arrogant perspective always provides the wonder that we imagine, as well. The most important thing we can remember is the motivation behind our actions. Isn't that the same type of advice we're always trying to impart on them? I suppose that there are times when we need to stop giving advice and start listening to it instead.

There is a time to be strict and there is a time when you have to listen to your heart. We need to see these children as unique and beautiful and intelligent creatures. When our hearts are open to their amazing potential then we have the ability to understand how we can guide them toward that picturesque tomorrow we all have in our minds. But that wonderful place we've come to imagine for them isn't for us. We aren't the ones who are going to live there. So that means that we have to get over ourselves and truly find a selfless place inside. This second potty training experience has reminded me that my ego really isn't that important, especially when it comes to interacting with a three-year-old. Another life-lesson, after all.

Through it all I am extremely (hands waving in the air) happy about Quinn's step toward liberating herself from diapers. As my good friend Mark once told me, "Changing diapers is one aspect of parenthood that you don't miss once it's gone."

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