So, I am at a very odd stage of parenting right now. Yes, you feel this at just about every stage of parenting but usually it's either expected or you can find one of many articles talking about what people wish they had been told about parenthood. This is more an observation that I made recently that (honestly) gave a slight panic attack to this full time, fully invested momma.
When I first had AJ it took me a while to get to know his cries and noises and whatnot before I could pull the mommy magic trick of knowing whether he was tired, had a wet diaper or wanted to be fed…from two rooms away. (That was always a fun one to pull on people. The look on their face was priceless). In our townhouse, AJ would nap as long as the A/C was running. I knew once it cut off I had about 5 minutes before he was up. Ryan was, and in many ways still is, more expressive than her brother so I caught on to her a little quicker. Though it took me a couple months to track her fun trick of not pooping for a couple days and then making up for it on day three, I called her an Olympic Pooper. I knew to dress her in an extra layer on those says. You are so keyed into your kids that you know what time it is by their cry.
Fast forward about 5 years…
Over the past few months, I had had this thought once or twice, "huh, I don't know when that was", it was fleeting and didn't make much impact. Then one day about a month ago, as I had this thought yet again, I realized that I had no clue the last time either one of my kids had gone to the bathroom, at all! (Not the shocker you were expecting I know). I knew if we are out somewhere and they needed to go but AJ opts to go into the mens room more and more and Ryan flat out refuses to let me in the stall with her. I had known everything about my kids bathroom habits for so many years that I was sent into a small panic when I realized it had been months since they announced to me they were going to use the restroom or asked me to sit with them or…well you don't need to hear everything. Of course it was Ryan that was still doing these things but being aware of her made me continue to be aware of AJ, as well. Though, it also made me finally realize how long it had been since AJ had stopped announcing these things.
I actually felt like a bad mom for a moment. How could I not know when my kids used the bathroom!? When you've spent 5+ years planning your day around whether or not your kids are going to need to poop while you are out (ok, that sounds extreme and is not actually true) to one day realize that you have no clue when the last time they were even IN the bathroom let alone used it…yeah, I had a freak out battle in my head. What if something was wrong? How would I ever know!
I quickly talked myself down from the ceiling and straightened out my hair so I could think rationally about the situation.
Isn't this one of the things that I had been waiting for…for years! Over the past months hadn't I been telling Ryan over and over that she didn't need me and that she was a big girl and could do it herself? Hadn't I reminded AJ over and over that he shouldn't leave his shorts in the hall outside the door (this I will never understand) when he's in the bathroom. I guess they do listen to me, sometimes. When your household is finally diaper free it's amazing, but you still aren't completely out of the dark because potty training can have it's…shall we say, set backs, at times. Eventually there are no accidents and you settle into the new norm of self sufficient toilet users, but you are still a mom, the kids are still young and you are still in the bathroom with them…you know, cause they are short and have no fear of germs. You certainly don't think about the day they don't need you and you aren't in the loop anymore. Just like that, another milestone has long passed, without you even knowing when the last day occurred or that is was something to look out for. Just like that you realize your kids are growing up and there is nothing you can do about it.
Eight years ago I never would have guessed that my children's bathroom habits would be such an emotional time for me.
Today I am thankful for milestones.