Strap In

strap in

Tonight I sat in the bathroom with Cee as she sat on her potty. We do this pretty much every day, although I’ll admit that my potty-training skills leave much to be desired over the weekends.

We sat and we waited. And waited. And waited. After 25 minutes, we packed it in.

The last time Cee used her potty successfully in my  – and to my knowledge, anyone’s – presence was in September.


I don’t tell you this in the hopes that you – yeah, you – are in possession of the magic potty training bullet. Trust me, whatever you might suggest, we’ve tried. It all comes down to this: when she’s ready for it to happen, it will happen.

Therein lies the problem: I’m ready for it to happen.

As my daughter gets older and I along with her, I need to get good and cozy with the reality that things are not going to get any easier and that my timing is, well, often completely and utterly arbitrary. Today, my friend Kelly posted a funny take on some of the things about parenthood that she wishes were included in prenatal classes. Before our kids come, we freak out making sure that we are fully-versed on the latest swaddling techniques, but are we prepared to explain fractions to them?

Fractions (and Life in general) are coming, and they take no prisoners.

Yesterday, it was getting Cee on a sleep schedule. Today, it’s potty training. In the blink of an eye, it will be fractions. And then in two blinks of an eye, it will be helping her navigate heartbreak and moral dilemmas. Sex. Drugs. Problems that don’t have a clearly demarcated solution. This is what you’re in for when you sign up for the parenting gig.

And it’s never going to get any easier.

We all may as well strap in for the ride of our lives. Despite all the turmoil and pain and very literal poop that we’re going to have to wade through, this parenting gig is so very worth it. Out of all the other people on Earth, we have been placed in charge of guiding our children through life. There’s a profound joy to be found in the challenges, no matter the size.

So I’ll sit again with Cee in the bathroom tomorrow, and the day after that, and (probably) a bunch of days after that. Whether I knew it or not at the time, this is what I signed up for.

And that’s OK. Bring on the poop.

NaEmPoMo resizeThis is the eighth installment of National Emily Posts Month (NaEmPoMo). Connect on Facebook and Twitter @thewaitingblog if you just can’t get enough. (Do do do do do do do.)


  1. “Bring on the poop!” The new motto of parenthood. And we indeed signed up for this. And it’s amazing. Still, I will say a little prayer tonight that Cee decides she is ready to ditch the diaper altogether. You won’t believe how happy you will be to once again carry a purse that doesn’t have a diaper or two stashed in there. It kind of feels like how I would imagine an Oprah makeover feels.

    1. OH, and thanks for the shout out friend :) Remember when we used to do that all the time? Feels like normal.

  2. So my psychology textbook was right: parenting is a life-changing event. I also know that within the two blinks of an eye that you spoke of in your paper, you will find that her sleep schedule is once again all out of wack. Sorry but science doesn’t lie on these things. I am hoping that Cee will give her presents to the water and to the bowl very soon.

  3. Very wise words on the reality of parenting. I do have a very practical suggestion for help with potty training. It’s an annoying but effective video/DVD entitled “It’s Potty Time.” It was designed by Duke University researchers and contains catchy but obnoxious songs and kids using the potty. I predict it will captivate Cee and get that potty training off the ground.

  4. It’s funny because potty training is one of the things I wish I could go back and worry less about. Not that I’m saying you should worry less about it but it makes me wonder what I’m holding onto now that I should let go of – like the fact that my son won’t eat fruits or vegetables or that my daughter copies everything my son does. I had no idea what I was signing up for but that’s what makes it more interesting than the things I used to do (like pee by myself). :)

  5. Oh dear lord, fractions! I’m not looking forward to fractions, boys, girls, driving, and not driving, and don’t even start with the sex and the drunks and the heartbreaks. We haven’t purchased diapers in over two months, but I am still washing sheets at least twice a week. I will be setting my alarm again tonight for 2 AM to wake up and have a Nother potty party. Good luck with the potty training.

  6. Potty training is tough. “I know you have to poop! Just let it out! Let the good times roll, kid!”

  7. Baja Rancho La Bellota · · Reply

    Hi there, I really enjoy your blog. My kids are adults now, but I sure remember those potty training day. Get this, my son used to be afraid to sit on the toilet because he thought the caca monster was going to get him. When the toilet flushed , he thought the sound was the caca monster coming to get him. It took quite a while to unravel this idea from his immagination. :) Patience, and believe me it only gets better! Each stage of childhood is an adventure.


  8. I’ve had enough of poop, actually. We’re still perfecting the potty training here, but it’s mostly under control. Thank gawd.

  9. When I was ready to potty train Squish, I just put him in underwear and let the (cow) chips fall where they may. It’s what I would do again, but it also helped that I was a stay-at-home mom. Extra laundry wasn’t the end of the world.

  10. Boy howdy, this post brings up all the feelings.
    It’s oddly both comforting and unsettling that your posts are usually a small peek into my future…

  11. Bring on the poop is SO clever! As are you, my friend (sorry about somehow drawing a parallel between you and poop, that was not my intention, but my brain is too tired to come up with an alternative). You are absolutely right. “Strap in” is right. I didn’t know, for example, that my toddler would only agree to fall asleep on a blanket on the floor with someone right beside him waiting, sometimes for two hours (I would argue that sometimes waiting IS the hardest part…), but if he wasn’t doing that, how would I know that sometimes when woken up for brief moment, he’ll sing something in his sleep, as I found out now when I was moving him into his bed… :-)

  12. As Mom of three (now 16, 13 and 7), I can soooo relate to what you are saying: the waiting, the misguided arbitrary assumptions, explaining fractions, guiding our children through life and the poop. (There’s also the vomit at 2 am in the kitchen. Happened more than once. What is it about that kitchen?) What a great post. Made me smile. Made me think. That’s very cool.

  13. It doesn’t stop when they become adults either. Just 2 days ago, when my daughter posted on her Facebook page about how much fun she had volunteering with her work friends for Koats for Kids, I sent her a message telling her this was just one of the many reasons I was so proud of her. She’s an adult (33) but I still want her to know I love the parts of her that are generous, kind, giving, etc.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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