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{Her first time in undies.}

I remember potty-training Big Girl. It was a process. It was a pain. We began before she was 2, introducing plastic potty paraphernalia around our home, placing her tiny diaper-less bottom on it from time to time, smiling our nervous and encouraging and totally clueless parental smiles, hoping for the best. At some point, we got serious about results and introduced the Jelly Bean Reward. This seemed to work. Our girl, clever one, would divide up her pees so as to receive more beans. This made us chuckle. More so in retrospect. And I remember that day at the playground when Big Girl was running around, her pink Pull-Up peeking out from the top of her expensive little jeans. With first kids, you buy impractical designer items. Anyway, this fellow mom at the playground started talking to me. She had an accent. Within thirty seconds, she was lecturing me on how Americans are weak when it comes to toilet-training. She said I was confusing my child by sending her out into the world with a diaper but expecting her to use the toilet at home. Rip it off and deal with some accidents, was the gist. Oddly, I listened, and by around 2.5, my girl was a pro. Okay, pro-ish.

With Middle Girl, things were different. She was so enamored by her older sis that she didn't really need jelly beans. We doled them out, but she basically trained herself by her second birthday. She wouldn't even wear a Pull-Up at night. She also insisted on a Big Girl Bed and dropped her nap. Anything to be like her hero.

And now. Little Girl. We joke that the poor child is being raised by wolves because, well, we let her do her thing a lot. We have given very little thought to choking on small toys, to baby-proofing. In the past several months, she's expressed an interest in the potty, an interest that we've sorta humored, but not really. It's just so much easier when they wear diapers, huh? Spoken by the mom of three. Point is that we haven't pushed it. We've pretty much the opposite of pushed it.

But this weekend, she pulled her own diaper off in the crib. Middle Girl reported this and, yup, it was enough to get me out of bed. I put her on the potty and she peed. And then she continued to do this all weekend. She is so little and cute and she doesn't even want to mess around with the pink plastic potty that has been passed down from her sisters (gross, I know). Nope, she wants the Big Potty and she can hoist her tiny self up there. She does proclaim each time "I no wanna fall in potty!" and, yes, that did happen but only once, but then she does her thing and then the big bonus is that she gets to flush. She is so proud of herself, this girl of mine.

And that's that. She trained herself in a period of about 24 hours and now we are done with diapers. Just Pull-Ups for naps and night. This is amazing and sad, both at once. Because I love babies and my baby is getting big and doing her thing. But that is not the point of the post; I will write another post about my melancholy about the end of procreation and infancy. The point here is that sometimes things are easiest when we don't push them, when we hang back and breathe and just let what's going to happen happen.

I don't think I need to tell you that this post isn't just about potty-training. It is about life. Imagine how much we could do and accomplish and witness and enjoy if we stopped caring so much, sometimes cripplingly, if we stopped tangling ourselves in self-woven webs of systems and shoulds, of procedure and prudence, of effort and expectation. Imagine that, right?

Anyway, I am proud of my little cutie. How can I not be?


The Parenthood Question: How have your potty-training experiences been? Have your first kid and subsequent kid experiences been different?

The Life Question: Have you, at times, felt tripped up by what you should be doing? Have you glimpsed, at times, how seamlessly things can come together when you surrender just a bit?

A Happier Hour with Laura Munson