Let it be Big Deal

Potty training is just as weird as it seems. And even though it’s going relatively well in our household, it’s still making my kid a little cray. I am so amazingly glad we waited until she was ready, which is seriously 90% of the battle. She doesn’t fight us on it, but there is a strong learning curve, and the fact that she is working so hard to poop and pee in a toilet instead of just whenever/whereever in her diaper is all she can really handle right now. She’s like, “Don’t come at me, woman! Don’t ask me to share, or not run away from you, or stop dance-eating. I need to be free! I will shit all over this place!”

And I am trying to be so chill about everything. Olive has learned the phrase, “No big deal” from me, which she intones with a sassy hand wave.

I am attempting to be calm and non-reactive while I clean up piss from her little chair where she eats, when I suspect she’s taking a dump in her undies at the park and rush her into the bathroom, when I’m trying to coax her up the stairs to our apartment to potty before she goes all over the foyer.

But I am losing the battle.

I’m talking through gritted teeth, ingesting way more sugar/caffiene/alcohol than usual, and also doing a lot more yoga (ew).

Talking to Olive’s godmama, Fabienne, who just happens to teach Family Studies at NYU, gave me a great perspective on the whole thing: I am trying to say, “No big deal” to something that is a big fucking deal. It’s a huge developmental change. Recognizing that, and making space for the fact that that is going to effect Olive’s behavior in other areas is going to help me feel less like a failure of a mom and more like a human, who is helping another very small human do something new and big.

So, while I am still attempting to be non-reactive when Olive has accidents, to do my breathing when she’s extra defiant, and to roll with what this season of life is bringing me, I’m also embracing that this is a big period of transition. My two-year-old is learning something huge, how to connect what is happening in her body to an outward response, and I need to create space for that. So, we forewent our usual big outings this week. We kept to our neighborhood, and ended up having some really sweet experiences with friends, neighbors, and family.  Olive’s behavior has totally mellowed out, in response.

Snuggling up on a hot day.

Snuggling up on a hot day.

It’s making me wonder, are there other places in my life where I’m trying to be so cool, laid back, and non-reactive, that are actually kind of a big deal?  Maybe if I can give those areas some breathing room, they will blossom, like my child is doing right now.  How about you – is there anything in your life you are trying to pass off as par for the course, which is actually a huge change that needs acknowledgement and space?


9 thoughts on “Let it be Big Deal

  1. I feel like this is the story of my life. And the outcome of my sometimes false laid back-ness is sudden floods of anxiety that seem to have no source, until I acknowledge that change is really really hard. Constantly learning, endlessly aware of the funny world inside my head.

  2. Rhea, I love this blog post so much. So many parents blow off the ridiculous side-effects of potty training after venting about that initial wave of it. My favorite moment of this, which made me laugh all alone in my office: “Don’t come at me, woman! Don’t ask me to share, or not run away from you, or stop dance-eating. I need to be free! I will shit all over this place!” Potty training is a little bit like childbirth: when it’s happening it is so imminent and impossible, but afterwards it’s hard to remember exactly why it was so crazy hard. I will try to remember this when it’s Teagan’s turn next.:)

    • Mol, Thanks so much. I’ve been thinking all day about what you said about the inevitability of potty training being like childbirth — that makes a lot of sense!

  3. Oh, wow, this is a great post! It’s so true, and so very important, to acknowledge the big things we go through. We can then feel the richness of life and manage it a little bit better, rather than have to sedate ourselves. Good for you!

  4. Amen for giving us the space and permission to say “damn, this is a gnarly phase in my life!” When I returned to work 8 months after my first child was born, I told myself I wasn’t going to be one of those women who say they can’t do as much because they have a kid. Well I almost had a nervous breakdown because I couldn’t do it!!!!!!!!!!! My life had changed dramatically! Now ,some coworkers who have since had kids tell me “now I know why you said thus shit was hard!!!!”.
    Keep on keepin on and tuning into what you and Olive need! much love!

  5. Sorry for double-dipping, but I have to tell you how much your post has been part of my current processing. While in a counseling session today, it rose as I talked about a good but huge change in my life. It’s been feeling overwhelming but I haven’t wanted to acknowledge that because it’s a really good thing. So it doesn’t make sense that it should be causing me anxiety, right? Wrong – and your post helped pave the way for me to see a huge change carries a heavy weight (of anxiety in this case) even if it’s a much desired thing. Realizing that has settled me down considerably, so thank you!

    • Wow, that is incredible! Thanks so much for taking the time to share that story, Kelly. I’m so glad my post was helpful to you in that way.

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