Dear Universe

Riley has been an extraordinary potty trainee.  In six days of training, he’s only had a handful of accidents, and most of them happened on the first day.  He pooped in the potty on Day One – with a smile on his face – and did it again every day after that.   By Day Four, he was going to the bathroom, undressing and getting on the toilet by himself, and peeing (and pooping!) without being asked.  In a restaurant that evening, he used the bathroom twice.  No problem.  On Day Five, I took him to Publix and the park where he had zero accidents, and in the afternoon, he actually asked me to give him privacy while he was on the potty.  He earned so many poop surprises and stickers that I had to go to Toys R Us over the weekend to restock, and his sticker chart is busting at the seams.

I was so amazed with his progress that I updated my Facebook status a few times over the weekend with phrases like “It’s noon and we’re still on the first pair of underwear!” or “Accident free so far!”  Yesterday, I joked on Facebook that since Riley asked for privacy in the bathroom, our training was done.  Funny, though, within a few minutes of publishing each of these proud declarations, he had an accident. 

The universe was telling me something.

I’m not an arrogant person.  I just didn’t expect potty training Riley to be so easy.  I felt like a war hero by the time I finished training Dylan to the point where I could take him back and forth to school. Getting him to poop in the toilet was – and still is – my proudest parenting achievement.  My bragging about Riley was more astonishment than conceit.  Still, the universe was communicating with me.

A few months ago, my sister told me my nephew, who is almost six months younger than Riley, was potty training.  My response was, “That’s great!”  My thought was, I hate you.  A few weeks ago, a friend told me her son, who is a few months younger than Riley, wanted to wear underwear.  I said, “That’s great!” My thought was, I hate you.  (Actually, I said “I hate you” out loud.  She understood.) Other friends and acquaintances have recently announced their potty training news.  I bet you can guess what I said and thought.

Jealousy sucks.  I really am happy for everyone, and I really don’t hate anyone, but I’m human (and a Mama).  We all know that it’s not a good idea to compare our children to others, but we do it anyway.  Think of the Mama whose 16-month-old baby is sitting (i.e. not walking) while eleven-month-olds run circles around her, or the Mama whose two-year-old still doesn’t sleep through the night, or the Mama whose four year-old still holds a pencil like an ice pick.  When I knew my family and friends where getting through the messiest bits of potty training while Riley was whispering in my ear how much he loved his diapers, I smelled the stink of envy (pun intended).

Potty training is hard.  Even when it’s easy it’s hard because there’s bound to be pee and poop in all the wrong places at some point.  This morning, on Day Six, Riley woke up with a dry Pullup and peed in the toilet right away.  A few minutes later, my little prodigy pooped in his underwear and said, “Mommy, change my diaper.”  

No, there’s no room for overconfidence here, especially when it comes to the delicate (and messy and exhausting and unpredictable) process of potty training.  When I told my friend, whose son decided on his own to wear underwear, that Riley was pooping in the toilet, she said “That’s great!  I hate you.”  (She said it out loud, too.)  Her son isn’t having much success yet in that, um, area.

Dear Universe, I’m listening.

To all the Mamas who put up withmy showing off this weekend, I apologize.  I dropped Riley off at school this morning with a bag full of spare clothing and the promise of a surprise if he was accident-free when I picked him up.  I’m not going to say anything about how he did at school today, because tomorrow is a new day full of possibilities (and the possibility of accidents).  If I brag today (and believe me, I could!), karma might bite me in the butt tomorrow.

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Filed under jealousy, potty training

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