What’s the truest form of vacation for the parents of a two-year-old predawn commando? Having lots of family to help keep pace with the child’s unflagging energy. Up at first light, you say? Why not go downstairs and show Grandma your new trucks while Mama and Daddy wrap themselves around each other and sleep in?
The three of us spent a relaxing week with my wife’s family, swimming in and boating on the Mississippi, and I’ve come back alone to attend a class at Fordham. And when my week as a bachelor grad student officially began, the first order of business—OK, the second, after I bought some beer—was to clear all of Robert’s pooparatus (two potties, booster seat, stepstool) out of our voting-booth–sized bathroom. Thus, Daddy will greet the return of family life with open arms and unbruised toes.
While I’m here alone, I have been charged to dismantle Robert’s changing table and crib, for now that the boy is about to reach the Underpants at the End of the Rainbow, we’re getting him a big-boy bed. We haven’t changed a poopy diaper in weeks, and his “sleep-diapers” come off him almost bone dry. It’s amazing. My wife told me about the mystical powers of her grandmother’s house, where many cousins have arrived filling their pants and left brandishing a stack of diapers they no longer needed. The testimonials are impressive, but I’m not entirely convinced.
In my view, Robert has espoused his toilet training mostly for the ancillary thrills of 1) walking around with an unfurnished basement in front of company, 2) washing his hands about five times, before and after he goes, 3) slamming the toilet seat down, and 4) flushing with unbridled relish. These are great perks, but the alacrity of No. 3, and its proximity to his little privates, gives me the jitters. Every time he reaches for the lid, I say a little prayer for my grandchildren.