Can I just mention here how much I hated - like hated with a white hot burning passion - potty training? (Not my own. I don't remember that. But my children's.) It wasn't even particularly difficult or fraught with anxiety and arguments. It was just a whole lot more convenient to change diapers.

I know a lot of folks dislike changing diapers, but hear me out here.

When your kid is in diapers, you change them around your schedule. Oh, I know, I know, you can't control when your kid poops, but you can control where and when you change that diaper. You can make a judgment as to how bad it is and whether you can wait until you get home to deal with it. Or, if you feel like it, you can leisurely walk to the changing table knowing full well that you have every tool you might need to deal with the situation in the diaper bag that's slung around your shoulder. OK maybe it's only an illusion of control, but at least it's an illusion.

You have no such illusion of control once a child is in underwear. It matters not that you're in the Target and you've got a crying baby in your arms and you have ten minutes to get home before the lawn guy comes and wants his check and there's a cart full of unpaid items that you can't bring into the bathroom, or even that you've got all of this AND you're in a dressing room completely undressed and in the middle of trying on a swimming suit with one leg thorough a leg hole. When you hear that telltale, "Mooooomy, I've got to go," and look down to see the pee-pee dance, you know that there's no way in hell that child is going to hold it until you've tried that swimming suit on, taken a look in the mirror, then redressed and you don't even have a modicum of certainty that they're not going to make it until you've managed to get your own clothes back on and then made way to the bathrooms that are ALL THE WAY OVER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORE and you just prepare yourself for the worst and pick your stuff up off the floor.*

The Dormouse is only now beginning to develop some ability to "hold it" for short periods of time when the urge hits her in an inappropriate place. And she has been potty trained for about three years.


Three years of walking into every building, every home, every park or outdoor meeting location and immediately, instinctively, whipping your head back and forth until you know where the nearest facilities are to every location in the area and calculating in your head the geometry and approximate estimated time of arrival for every route to said bathrooms.

Three years of abandoning errands you needed to do because it's just not near a public bathroom and you couldn't make the planning work.

Three years of dropping tasks at a moment's notice no matter how inconvenient and running to make it "before I have a accident."

Three years of just getting to the pivotal point in a movie and hearing, "Ummmm... Moooom?" and knowing that asking thirty questions of the other movie goers when you get back just isn't going to cut it so you might as well just buy some jujubes and stand in the hall with your child until the movie's over.

Three years of being engrossed in a conversation with another level headed adult and being just about to hear the most poignant, entertaining story and having to stop them there and apologize for your abrupt exit, knowing that that person will just decide not to finish the story when you get back.

And that's all AFTER she was successfully potty trained.

When The Dormouse was eighteen months old, she started showing an interest in bathroom behaviors. I, being new to all this nonsense, thought it was way too early, but if she was showing an interest, I didn't want to miss an opportunity on the off chance that there might not be another one and then she might have to have her mother visit her in high school to change her diaper twice a day because her loser mom missed the one and only opportunity to teach her to answer the call of the wild in the bathroom and not in her pants.

So I got out the potty chair, paid a ridiculous amount of money for pull-ups, which we called "Princess diapers," and began the laborious process of trying to teach her to eliminate in the toilet. This was complete and utter nonsense, because she wasn't by any means, ready. She was just interested. And as it turns out, those two are not the same thing. Eventually, I put it all away and she began potty training for real when she was about two and a half.

So like I said, The Dormouse is almost six now and is only just beginning to get the maturity to be able to answer "yes," when we're in the car five minutes from home and she announces she has to go and we ask if she can wait until we get there. Before that, we had to whip the car off the road whenever and where ever we happened to be, because when she finally felt it necessary to make the announcement, you didn't know what was coming, but the one thing you did know is that it would be coming soon.

So I'm sure that the Potty Gods heard me complaining all those years about how "diapers were easier" and found the need to punish me. What other possible reason for finding my two year old's unsoiled diaper in a heap on the floor in the hallway and looking into the bathroom to find this could there be?

They all hate me.

By the way, Monica, I think I need to borrow your DVD's.

*today's blog post brought to you by the Run-On Sentence.