Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Top 5 Things I Won't Miss About the Toddler/PreK Phase

In approximately a week and a half I'll begin the process hated by parents everywhere of training my child to use the toilet and no longer urinate and defecate at will in their pants. Seriously - have you ever heard a parent say "Boy, I can't wait to start potty training!" because I certainly haven't.

Potty training is tedious, frustrating, and boring. I would rather wake up every 2 hours to nurse again, and I've already shared my thoughts with you all about babyhood and not missing it.

But... since kids can't crap their pants forever... here I am, getting ready to potty train my daughter - the more headstrong of my two children - and release her from the chains of the diaper.

And this has got me thinking. I LOVE this phase with my kids. They're adorable, they play together really well, they haven't gotten a verbal filter yet so some of the things that come out of their mouths are hilarious, they're discovering how things work and how to navigate the world and take healthy risks. They're at the perfect age for short day trips and still nap in the car allowing us to take longer adventures sometimes. And the best part - they still think I'm cool and awesome, and so there are pretty much endless snuggles, hugs, kisses, high-fives, and silliness abounds.

There are things, however, that I won't miss about this stage. And so I give you, in no particular order...

1. Diapers - Since I've already opened this door, I might as well close it. I've managed to find decent diapers at a good price at our closest Aldi's, but I'm still spending $37.47 for 216 diapers for one kid each month. That's $449.64 in diapers for an entire year - and I just recently found them at that price, which means I had been paying more than that. So let's say $500-600/year on diapers for ONE kid, and for Evie's first year of life I was diapering 2 kids. Go on and vomit now on how much I've spent in diapers, and if you've got more than two kids go on and vomit twice. Do you have any idea what I could be doing for FUN with $500-600/year with my kids? Like... a lot of things. that's what. Never mind that there's very little appealing about wiping up a behind full of squished, disgusting poop that either I didn't smell or a kid didn't alert me to right away and is now smeared all over their behind rather than being in a nice neat little patty with simple wiping required for cleanup. As much as I hate potty training, it's temporary and then I won't have to worry about diapers again.

Pro Tip Find a "family restroom" with a single
toilet and a mirror. Entertainment!
(as long as they don't lick it...)
2. Wiping Behinds in General: My 4.5-year-old son started potty training when he was 3 and recently has gotten tall enough (he's a little guy) to be able to stand up to pee at the toilet or at a little kid urinal. This has given him more independence in going to the bathroom and along with this more confidence. Mom, however, has not let go of the reigns when it comes to wiping his behind after a number-2 evacuation. I just... I don't quite trust his balance to reach back to wipe his bum without falling in the toilet yet. But he has a knack of knowing the exact wrong times to sneak into the bathroom to drop a deuce... like when I'm in the middle of washing dishes or my personal favorite - changing his sister's smooshed, disgusting, poopie diaper (because she can never have an easy poopie diaper when her brother needs to take a crap). Yes, I look forward to the days of not needing to assist in the bodily waste process on a regular basis, saving those efforts for the times when they're sick and can't quite make it to the bathroom in time.

I'll add to this that I also won't miss when going to the bathroom outside of the home becomes a family parade affair. I was standing outside a public restroom in Ogunquit this summer while waiting for my husband to come out and struck up a conversation with a mom who was waiting for her son. She wasn't with him. He was just going to the bathroom. I put that one in the "things to look forward to" column, even if she was standing outside the door yelling in to make sure that he was OK. She wasn't trying to juggle several small kids in a small stall knowing all the while that a line was accumulating outside the door, listening to you repeat the words "don't - NO - do not touch that!" several times in an increasingly impatient voice with every repetition.

"Most Likely to Need a Boogie Wipe"
3. Snot: Another fantastic way to pay for my kids' post-high school training/education would be for a quarter to drop out of the sky every time I hear some variation of the phrase "Mom, I need a boogie wipe". Now look, I'm lucky in that both of my kids have always been great about actually blowing their nose and not just inhaling it back into their heads, and they're good about asking for a wipe as soon as it drips halfway between their nose and their mouth so it's not getting all over their face. But at peak cycle during a cold - especially if both of them have it - I hear those words at LEAST 25 times a day. Or more. I've never really counted. It's a lot. So I patiently wait for the days when they are tall enough to reach the tissues (and I trust them not to make a disastrous mess of tissues everywhere) and blow their own nose on their own time.

4. Everything Is Dangerous: My 4-year-old son is a fairly compliant child. If you tell him something is dangerous and he shouldn't do it, he tends - and always has - to retain that information and avoid the thing like the plague. As such, he's never gone through my purse and I'd never had an issue leaving it in reach. My 2-year-old daughter, on the other hand, is the kind of kid who needs to learn and investigate things for herself in order to be satisfied - she is the "let me check and see" type of kid. As such things get pretty... heart-attack-inducing sometimes. I now need to put my purse on a high shelf at home because I walked out of the bathroom the other day to find my 2-year-old daughter had gone into my bag (a punishable offense alone for many reasons) and went to the bottom of it, got out the EpiPen, removed it from its medical bag AND its plastic storage casing, and when I walked out of the bathroom had removed the safety cap and was trying to reinsert it where it belonged (and by the way - touching the EpiPen is also a punishable offense because of the seriousness of misuse). This same child several days later had managed to reach high up on the counter (again - touching things on the counter without permission is a punishable offense here because they can't see what they're reaching at yet and may get hurt), pull down a bottle of gummy vitamins, remove the "childproof" cap, and begin to eat them (she's fine).

There will be a time when my children will know not to touch a stove incorrectly, be able to discern medicine from food, respect our private spaces like purses and special keepsake boxes, not write on each other with markers, how to properly handle a knife, and just generally not be a menace to their own safety. That time is not now... but when it comes, it will be nice to not constantly feel like at some point today I'll be calling 911 or taking a trip to the walk-in or ER.

"Evie... you need to give her boobs."
5. Lack of Filter: I sometimes love the things that come out of my kids as a result of not having a filter yet... BUT. Last night while drawing, my 2-year-old daughter announced "Mom! I'm drawing you! I made you a vagina!" To this my 4-year-old son looked over and said "Mom, she did, she drew
you a circle vagina... Evie, you need to give her boobs." When we're at home I tend to have a little more grace with this; they're little, they're learning about their bodies, and the last thing I want is for them to be ashamed of their bodies or to think that their bodies are weird and horrible. But there's also a line for appropriateness that we try to teach them... vaginas and boobs are private parts, kids, and we don't just go parading them around, so please don't ever draw those on your school work because they're special private parts. Or when my kids watch out the window of a Burger King at someone parking their car near ours and then waits until the drivers come in to say as loud as they can "Hey Dad! Those guys did a very bad job parking... they're not even in the LINES!!" Look... guys... it's not that adults don't giggle like kids at the words "vagina" and "penis" or mutter under their breath "Geez... what a horrible parking job..."... it's just that we have filters now. And so we're not used to this lack of filter that you all have. So while the penis/vagina/butt talk and humor kind of makes me laugh a little bit, I am going to continue to pray daily that you don't start shouting it out in the middle of Target - which, by the way, thanks for (so far) not shouting those things out in the middle of Target.

Crap... there was that time you asked me rather loudly if Mickey Mouse was a boy and did he have a penis... never mind.

Look, I know that each phase as their things that you worry about or won't miss or don't want to deal with - I won't even get into the things I'm already worried about for the teenage years. And while these things are annoying, frustrating, and heart-attack-inducing - this is certainly an incredibly sweet phase that I am enjoying the heck out of and it may end up being my favorite once they're all grown up. The fascination, the snuggles, the sweet voices, the tiny hands, the crawling into bed with me at 5:00 AM and going back to sleep curled up with a little one in my "spoon"... it's an amazing stage of life and overall - I love it.

But let's be honest.

Diapers are seriously the worst.

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