November 27, 2009

Potty Camp, Day 1

It's that time again at the Rupp house. Not only for candy corn and herb stuffing. Not only for footed pajamas and Bing Crosby. Not only for hand-print turkeys taped to the window panes. Around our house, it is also potty training time.

This go-round, the man of the hour is Zion. We are repeating our potty-train-in-3-days method that I learned a few years back from my dear friend, Laura Pinkstaff. It worked for Bright.

Today was day one. Our calendar was cleared, the reward chart ready, the stickers, the prizes wrapped, the potty seat accounted for, the rugs rolled up, the tiny undies washed and folded for use. The first thing Zion did was drop a big load in his Wall-E undies. Poor Wall-E. But we did manage to get him to the toilet for a final offering into the porcelain. "YAY!!!" we shouted as he chose his first sticker.

The rest of the morning he sucked down cup after cup of Ovaltine, Carnation Instant Breakfast, hot cocoa, and apple juice, and managed to pee all over the floor five times. We were getting a little nervous, thinking maybe it wasn't going to work this time. But then, all at once, he got it. The afternoon was filled with hoots and hollers and stickers and prizes and more sweet beverages, pizza for dinner, and leftover chocolate pie for everyone to celebrate the day. We are well on our way to a two-big-boy household.

I really enjoyed spending the day focused on our dear middle child. Since this method requires that we not leave his side for three days, I got to spend lots of time just watching him play. His beautiful face, his spider-silk hair, his ivory skin. I watched his dimples pop in and out as he whispered softly to his trains.

Potty training is, for me, a rite of passage into childhood. As I watched Zion today, I was flooded with memories of our first weeks with him. The nurses handing me my 4.5 lb baby, who looked half like Daniel and half like a bird that had fallen from the nest. His soft-spot stretched from his hairline above his forehead to the crown of his head. I remember nursing him around the clock until he was 10 months old, trying to fatten him up. I remember realizing that he was going to be a cuddler, and being so thrilled to have a baby that would nestle into my neck and literally purr like a kitten. For all the picky eating habits and sleepless nights, he has been a pure joy of a baby, delighting us with his antics and making us roar with laughter. I will desperately miss Zion the baby. I will cry when he reaches the end of his potty chart. But I am ready, too, to see who Zion the boy will be.