the ministry of potty time

i'm not sure what i thought parents did to potty train before i became one myself, but i think it was something like: nothing at all. i truly may have thought that little toddlers went from diapers to regular underwear overnight, and as easy as pie.  i realize that some of you may have potty-trained your little/s overnight on some intense training boot camp plan, or with some other parental super powers i'm in dire need of... and i'm genuinely (well, mostly. when i'm not laying in bed crying in the morning because i don't think i can get out of bed for another day of seemingly unsuccessful potty-training) happy for you.  that didn't work for us.  we tried doing some sort of intense version of potty-training in 3 days and it was pretty much a total disaster.  when the 20 min timer would go off and my husband and i would cheer like crazy people for potty time, our son would freak out and end up on the floor in the hall, crying.  the process stressed all of us out.  i wondered if we might all need to go to counseling afterwards.  i'm not saying it's not a good method - it just didn't work for us.  and in the process we learned more about our son -that he doesn't like change, or sudden movements like his parents cheering and screaming, "yay, potty time!!!!" after a beeper goes off.  switching gears unexpectedly and suddenly is not easy for him.  and we learned about ourselves.  continually cheering and then having to pick our wailing son up off of the ground to get to the bathroom, was not easy for us.  anyway, after that, because i was pregnant and we'd been encouraged to not add to the already oncoming change of a new baby, we decided to wait to try again later.

so here we are now, in the thick of round 2.  after two weeks at it, there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.  we have been taking things slowly and feel a lot more confident about knowing our little guy and what's best for him this time around.  and we honestly couldn’t be more proud of the progress he’s made and how far he’s come… we know he’ll get it eventually.   but still, it has been really, really hard.  as i wrote before, i had no idea potty training was so difficult or would be such with this particular boy of ours. why aren't medals given out for parents who survive potty training?  not to mention the heroic measures little people go to in completely reorienting the way they go to the bathroom.  can you even imagine how weird it must be for them?  it must be like moving to another country where they do their potty thing very differently.  like squatty potties or outhouses.  why did i not realize how big of a deal this is?  when i moved to tokyo with my family at the age of six, i remember how hard it was to get used to using a squatty potty if the occasion called for it. mostly, there were westernized toilets wherever we were, but sometimes there weren't, and it was a scary thing at first.  it's so easy to forget things like that and think our little ones should just "get it (whatever that it may be)" and get it the way we think they should.

God has seriously been using this specific event of potty training our oldest to prune me and show me all of the places where i am weak. ugh. there have been some pretty not pretty moments on my part. is it safe to say that parenting = major sanctification?  i am slowly learning just how good, necessary and beautiful it is to be changed and stretched in my inner being as i minister to my husband and children in the seemingly "little" things.

of all things; potty training has reminded my heart (multiple times in a day) of just how much i need the grace of God and the gospel.

in my mind i can picture Jesus on his knees, washing the dirt, poop and dust off of each of his disciple’s feet on the night when he was going to be betrayed.  none of them were big shots or the cool important people.  he picked the ones that people might have looked over to influence the rest of the world.  and he washed their dirty feet.  i picture him doing that with such gentleness, patience, joy and humility -all of which, is indeed, true love and ultimate strength.  and as i picture this, i am reminded of a quote by brother lawrence that's taped to our kitchen window: "we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed"

i hope i let potty time change me for good.  i hope that at the end of this we not only have a diaper-free boy in big boy underwear, but also, by the grace of God, a mama who loves more deeply, and serves with more joy and humility, than she did before.