Thursday, November 08, 2007

Coming Out of the Water Closet

Mornings are busy. Gotta multitask.

No, thine eyes do not deceive - this is dear Chloe, sitting happily on her little potty. But wait! you say, She's much too young! Surely she'll be scarred by your parental pressure! She's not capable of controlling those muscles until she's at least two! *Ahem, ahem.* Allow me step onto my new-found soapbox. NUH-UH! NOT TRUE! EVERYTHING YOU'VE HEARD IS WRONG! Or something like that. :) Here's the story. When Chloe was just a twinkle in my eye, I saw a news feature on infant pottying. What I remember of the program was a couple crunchy parents holding their baby over a bowl rather than having the baby go in a diaper. I remember thinking it was interesting, but I didn't really get the point and thought that it sounded incredibly labor-intensive and impractical. After all, don't babies just kind of dribble pee randomly (and frequently) throughout the day? How could you possibly have that bowl under them all the time? And wouldn't you get peed on an awful lot? How is this better than diapers again? Fast forward a few months to when Chloe is in the midst of her "poop-christening the world" months. She always made it pretty, um, obvious when she was about to create a disaster situation. Mike and I had it down to a science - we would hear the preliminary grunts and whisk her off of any lap, carpet, or other absorbant surface she happened to be on, whip off her pants, unsnap the onesie... all so there'd be less for me to wash up when she inevitably spread her business all over creation. This newscast came to mind again, and one day when the "imminent explosion" warning lights went off I swept her up and stuck her on the big toilet. (I'm pretty sure I made some sort of freaking out AAAAK-like noise, as well, which may have contributed to her response...) She was not impressed. In fact, I think I startled her so much that the unchi reversed course and I don't think she went after that for quite some time. Infant pottying, 0; messy poo-poo butt, 1. Nonetheless, something about this stuck in my mind and I kept running across other little mentions of early toileting. A sleep book I read suggested starting with the potty at around nine months. There was brief mention in my dad's baby book of putting the baby on the pot in front of you at set times of the day "when the doctor says to begin training," and the context implied that the doctor would do that encouraging at a pretty tender age. Plus there was the poop that just kept exploding all around that innocent-looking little creature. Boy, did she love to poop (refer to posts here and here). It was really the poop that made be decide to start putting her on the potty when she was six months old. Then my determination left me a bit. We moved. Her poops calmed down when she started eating more solids. And anyway, what on earth was I supposed to do with a baby on the toilet? Nonetheless, I did start sitting her on the toilet in front of me some mornings. She didn't do much, but she did like playing with the toilet paper. Enter the blog Ask Moxie, which I read daily and which had a question a few weeks ago on just this topic. And now, now that I'm getting to the meat of the story, I'm going to have to summarize because it's getting late and I'm really, really tired (teeth. ugh.). Anyway, it turns out that the orthodox pottying gospel preached in North America today is a pretty newfangled invention, that even fifty years ago kids in our very own country were being potty-trained much earlier than they are now, and that this is still the case in many parts of the world. It makes sense, really. I don't suppose they have Pampers in tribal Africa. And what did my great-grandmother do with her tiny baby in steerage on a boat when they left the Netherlands? Hmmmm... be continued...


Blogger Ben Wildeboer said...

Ahh...a picture your child will cherish in 15 years. I'm going to save it to my hard drive & blackmail her with it then...

11/08/2007 10:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And why did they all wear brown socks on the boat?

11/09/2007 06:47:00 PM  

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