#1: Potty Time! Excellent!
Nothing says "Happy New Year!" like a new pair of undies!!!
Collin's largely self-taught potty training experience makes the #1 slot for 2011's Countdown of Awesomeness for a few reasons:
1. The way it impacts our daily lives. Collin has never made a developmental change that has significantly altered the logistics of our home life. When other kids start rolling or pulling up or crawling, parents have to make big changes in how they operate. We've never had anything like that. His ability to stand and take steps with assistance is thrilling and sometimes even helpful in changing positions, but the introduction of potty has drastically changed our day-to-day routine. I have changed two dirty diapers in the past month. Sometimes I go half of a day without changing a wet diaper. We take the potty everywhere we go. We're actually thinking about starting to make the transition to training pants and/or underwear. It's bewildering and wonderful.
2. The way it has heightened our communication with Collin. Other than reading Collin's smiles, cries, and fussing, we have never been able to establish a way to communicate with him. We could only react to his reactions and fix things after the fact, rather than having a chance to meet his needs before a problem arose. He had no way of telling us what he wanted, or if he did, we didn't understand. Now that potty is part of our daily routine, either he has become more communicative or we have become more in tune with him or both. We feel like there are certain sounds he makes that we can fairly consistently read as meaning that he needs to go to the potty. There is no way to explain what that feels like.
3. What it reveals about Collin. Using the potty is a fairly sophisticated thought process. It requires understanding of multiple complex factors that can be difficult to explain. It requires bodily control (not Collin's strong suit). It requires waiting for something you want. And, for the most part, Collin figured it out on his own. On time, no less (developmentally speaking). Of all of the wake-up calls we've had with regard to what's going on in Collin's head, this has been by far the most pivotal. I speak to him differently now. I interpret him differently. I try things with him I might never have considered otherwise.
I couldn't resist resurrecting this picture from 3 MONTHS AGO when Collin first started the potty journey. He, of course, did everything backward from most other kids and went straight to pooping on the potty. Peeing didn't come until much later. He now pees on the potty all the livelong day, as evidenced here. Listen carefully.
Who could have guessed that listening to a tinkle in a potty would so radically change our outlook for the coming year (and the years beyond that)?!
Knowing Collin, and continuing to know him better through insights like this one, is a singularly beautiful gift; something we never would have thought to ask for. Our life with him, far more than a lesson in suffering or endurance, has been (and I am confident will continue to be) a lesson in grace. Grace upon grace.
Happy New Year.