“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.” - Aldous Huxley

May 8, 2008

My son got in the tub himself last night. In his diaper. And socks. Yes, its true -- I let my son take his bath with his socks on.

I've been trying to reinforce the idea that "no means no". The logical and consistent outcome of this is that when he flatly states "no" I have to at least attempt honor that. Even if it means that he gets in the tub with his socks on and then takes them off himself when he finds his sodden socks to be a hindrance. I find this to be doubly important when it comes to his willingness to allow anyone else to remove his clothing. Especially his diaper. It is very important to me that he understand clearly that no one is allowed to remove his diaper without his permission.

If his diaper seems wet or soiled, we'll always ask him if we can change him ("Buddy, can we change your diaper?"). He's very good about telling us when there is poop in his diaper and almost always asks to be changed right away. Wet pants are another case .... he doesn't seem to mind them, so sometimes he'll say "no" to having his diaper changed - because, perhaps, he doesn't want to be interrupted in whatever toddler task he's undertaking (or sometimes just because its cold) - I'm happy to wait. When he's uncomfortable he'll let us know, and then we'll get him dry pants. With his permission.

Eventually we should probably begin to toilet train him. Hannah, our caregiver's daughter, is currently being trained (she's about three years old), so the word "Potty" and the concept of using the toilet are coming into his range of ideas. He's seen both his father and I use the toilet (and, I understand, his father has narrowly avoided peeing on E's head on more than one occasion when E got a bit too ... curious). His father has even gone so far as to sit E up on the toilet, at E's request.

But, honestly, I'm kind of hoping we can put toilet training off for another few months, at least.

Every August, we attend a living history festival for two weeks, and camp. This time in camp seems like a perfect opportunity to toilet train our son. We'll be outdoors, so I can let him run without diapers without having to worry about mopping up pools. We'll be in a physically close environment, so I'll never have to be a few steps from a potty without dragging it all over the house with us. (A friend's daughter loved to drag her potty into the living room and watch TV while sitting on it. That's not going to fly in our house.) And, most basically, if we can wait until our August Vacation, it means I'll get to toilet train him myself.

He took his first steps at Sarah's house. Probably has had many other "firsts" there as well, but she is kind enough not to tell me. Toilet training is such an intimate, delicate thing. Not only does it seem like a strange thing to ask a caregiver to be responsible for -- please housebreak my child, thank you -- but it seems, to me, to be a mother's duty. My duty. And so we'll keep talking about the potty and leaving him in diapers and letting him get the hang of dressing (and undressing) himself and asking permission to change his diaper.

And waiting for summer to come. So I can do my duty by him.