Three years of changing diapers. That's 1,095 very long, very messy days. Our son decidedbefore he was twenty-three months old that M&M's were enough motivation to pee on a potty and he hasn't looked back since. He's only been wearing a diaper for his nap and nighttime sleep and he has been a bathroom champ.
Her on the other hand- well at eighteen months she looked me square in the face and said, "Uhoh... poop! and by golly she actually went on the toilet! We all cheered and screamed and shouted loud HOORAY's but, that was the last time. Reese is now two and we have been telling her for so long, "Just tell us when you have to use it. You can do it!" She has been the toddler who stands in a corner quietly and when I look over to say, "REESE, what are you doing....??" she sheepishly rolls her eyes and says, "I poooopin." Noooooooooo!
One cold afternoon this week I had the privilege of staying home with the kids since our poor sitter was sick with the flu. It was in the single digits outside and I thought, "What a great day to just stay inside!" Reese woke and there was something different about her; it was like she had slept and gone through a major milestone. She was rambling and spitting out words faster than I could understand and somewhere in one of them I heard, "I go potty..." I decided to take her pants and diaper completely off, just to see, and sure enough she ran to the bathroom on our second floor. She sat on the toilet like she had been doing it her whole life and after she successfully went, she shouted for her big brother. Pierson exclaimed, "REESIE CUP! You PEED! You DID IT! You get a sticker on your sticker chart!" and Reese sat there, clapping her hands as she yelled, "YAY!!!!!" After that, she went on the potty ALL day. SO much that she completed her entire sticker chart.
The next day our sitter was still sick, so my husband stayed home. I told myself not to get too excited as I know many kids will use the potty a few times but then quit again. A couple hours into the work day I received a text message: "Reese just took herself to the potty and peed!" And then again, and then a third time. And all of a sudden it dawned on me- this is the last baby we will ever be potty training. I thought back to the countless diapers our Diaper Genies have held and I realized, soon we get to throw those nasty garbage pails away! And just like that, this chapter to baby raising is closing. No, I don't expect to be rid of diapers entirely anytime soon, but I do know we'll need to buy less and less. And after this milestone, another one will begin and end. And sooner than my heart wants to admit, these 'baby' years will be over.
Suddenly it is sinking in. The hundreds of time a stranger at the Grocery has told me, "Embrace it. Cherish these moments. These are the days." There has been many times I have almost laughed in their face. As my two toddlers have exploded into simultaneous fits while riding in those god awful Cars carts, I have almost said aloud, "Really?! THESE are the days? THIS moment I am supposed to cherish?!" But it goes beyond than that; than the public tantrums or the loud chaos that makes up our home. And it goes deeper than the many poopy diapers I have changed- even at one point when I had two babes, 15 months apart from each other, needing them changed what seemed constantly.
These memories are fleeting. 'The days are long but the years short,' said by author Gretchen Rubin, rings so true for me. I remember bringing Reese home like it was yesterday. The doctor placing her in my arms, the span of time she refused to nap longer than 45 minutes straight, when I questioned if I was doing anything right, and now I am taking her to the toy store to pick something for this huge accomplishment. I am so proud and my heart is so full. And as long as the days are, as messy as they may be, I believe so sincerely that these really are the days.