Potty-training success leads to big dreams

Categorized as 01/25/10 Goshen News column

“Houston, we have a tinkle.”

Stop the presses. This, my friends, is breaking news.

Oh, I know there’s big stuff going on around the world. Things like the government revamping of health care, for instance, and the astonishing outcome of the election in Massachusetts, not to mention bad guys who are still blowing things up across the pond.

And let’s not forget that little incident on Christmas Day with that one guy who thought that packing his underwear with explosives would make him a hero. All it got him was a stay in the clink, compliments of the U.S. government, and a nickname that’s made him the laughingstock of his cell block.

All of these are big, important stories; I agree. It’s just that after weeks of a potty training initiative with all the success of the Underwear Bomber (a.k.a. the Fruit-a-Kaboomer), this is the headline news, the big scoop in my world.

For days, I moaned to family and friends about our lack of success. I posted Facebook statuses like, “Rhonda Schrock asks, ‘How many times can you take a toddler potty with absolutely nothing to show for it?? How many?!’”

This prompted a spate of comments from well-meaning citizens that ranged from, “Many, many, many, many more times, my dear,” to suggestions involving Cheerios and running water. Meanwhile, others exulted in the fact that their training days were done, leaving me feeling even worse than before.

Finally, someone posted, telling me that she’d kept a jar of M&Ms and jellybeans in the bathroom, exchanging a little treat for a successful potty, and that this had proven to be the golden ticket for her small son. To this, I replied that I would gladly exchange the Brooklyn Bridge for a successful potty and that I was ready to head south for parts unknown where everyone pottied by themselves and no one needed my help.

Then, just as I was about to promise Mr. No Go a driver’s license and a brand new Mustang, it happened. The toddler tinkled, angels sang, and his mother collapsed, weeping tears of joy into her coffee, which had long since grown cold.

Immediately, I upended the pantry into his lap, rewarding him with juice boxes and treats. We called Daddy at the office and told him. We dialed Grandma’s number and informed her. His big brothers received the news as they filtered in from school and, to their credit, made all the appropriate noises.

Unable to keep it to myself, I enthused about our success before a group that I was speaking to. They responded with a wave of sympathetic laughter accompanied, I suspect, by fervent thoughts of, “Thank God, we’re outta that stage,” which they graciously kept to themselves.

Fearful that he would turn out to be a one-hit wonder, I was ecstatic when it happened again. Once more, I chucked goodies at him, to his delight, and promptly texted his father who joined me in celebrating.

Yes, sir. It sure pays to potty around here.

Experiencing such success, however, only makes me long for more, but just in other areas. I’d love, for example, to be able to sing like Celine Dion. It would be exhilarating to stand before a packed-out Vegas audience, moving them to tears and driving them to their feet in wave after wave of standing ovations.

This will never happen. I know my limits, and those include three walls and a shower curtain. There will be no solos performed to wild acclaim in my future. As a friend once said, he could sing a solo, alright, but it would be “so low you can’t hear it.”

Exactly. What he said.

Another thing I’d love to be successful at is gymnastics or cheerleading. As a young girl, I was riveted by the grace and daring of the gymnasts as they tumbled across the floor. I watched with rapt attention as the cheerleaders whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their chants and their energetic routines.

When I was in third grade, several of us cheerleading wannabes lobbied our teacher unrelentingly until she finally wrote out all the cheers she knew. We memorized these and practiced cartwheels and small formations with limited success.

While I never did make it courtside in a flippy skirt and rustly pom-poms, I can, to this day, turn a cartwheel. You’ll just have to take my word for it, though, because that particular skill will never be demonstrated in public. Ever.

It’s really too bad that I’ll never realize these dreams. I love to sing, but will never make a living at it. Even though I was born with an inner pom-pom girl who just wants to come out, this has not translated into success for me. Neither has winning the limbo championship in the first grade. You’d think that would help get me on a squad somewhere, but so far it’s been – well, a “no go.”

I guess I’ll just have to content myself with cheering sans pom-poms for this crowd over here. Starting, of course, with a successful potty. Hoo-rah!

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