Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The beginning of the end...?

I had a sneaking suspicion last week that something exciting was about to happen. My pre-grocery-trip inventory revealed something unusual. My supply of diapers and pull-ups was virtually untouched from the week before. Could it be happening? After thirteen straight years with someone in diapers around here, could the end be near?

Hmm. I stopped to think of how old Little One really is. Two years and nine months. Early for our family, but you never know. Still squatting occasionally behind the recliner, but honestly, it had been a couple of weeks now since she actually didn't make it to the potty for the grand finale.

I took the two preschoolers to the store with me and let Little One pick out panties with the cash I would have spent on diapers. I bought some stickers to make her a chart. Ready for the final stage of Get Real Potty Training.

When we got home, I caved. How could I deny Princess panties to the child who was potty training herself, before my very eyes, and without my help (usually I save them for the Big Reward)?

I let her try them on. Practice pulling them up and down. Do a little prancing. Within moments she said, "I don't want to tinkle on Thnow White!"

I keep meaning to make her a chart, but I think for the first time in Raising Five history, I'm not going to need it. Last night I actually took her out of the house for three hours in Big Girl Panties. Two trips to public restrooms, but she made it (remind me to buy more Germ-X, will ya?).

I thought I'd be so happy - and I am - but it's amazing how fickle emotions can be. Almost more than this milestone, which is the beginning of something new, this step is also the end of something. It's the end of that part of my job as a mother - the hardest but the sweetest, for me, and the part that has defined my existence for so long - babyhood.

Ever since I found out the title of this poem it's meant so much more to me. I've said it a thousand times to my fifth child.

Song for a Fifth Child

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton


voni said...

I know!!! I wanted to throw a PARTY after our last was potty trained. I was a sad that she was my last baby and was hitting huge milestones fast. I remember thinking when I had two in diapers. "I will always be changing diapers" I miss my little baby but am very thankful for small blessings like NO MORE DIAPER.

Susanne said...

Yup that poem makes me cry everytime! It is mixed emotions that come at that time in Mommy's life, isn't it?!

Sandy said...

My 5th was the easiest too... don't know why that was, other than that he has always been determined to not be left out of whatever his older siblings were all doing. What a relief and a blessing (especially after the ordeal of training child #4!)

My husband wanted to have a change-table burning, but the depression-era thrifty genes I picked up from my grandparents wouldn't allow me to do it... after all, this was the change table that replaced original "pretty" one that barely lasted through two children; this was the change table that, even though it was arguably the ugliest thing we had in the house, could withstand flying leaps from 3 year olds from table to bed, or accomodate a game of hide and seek behind the blankets on its shelves. Surely it deserved a more noble ending... (Ok, we all know how weird I am, when I can wax nostalgic about the world's ugliest change table!)

Unknown said...

Oh, sweet poem, and yes I'm sure that the potty training is bittersweet. I came across Potty Training for Dummies at the overstock bookstore, so I couldn't resist it. I'm no Dummy, but when it comes to that, we can all use some help. So, if you see frequent hits to your sitemeter in the sidebar posts, you'll know why. Kyle is going on 29 months old. He tells me when he's wet even, so we'll see!

Anonymous said...

I have heard this poem before this is such a sweet sweet poem,

Anonymous said...

I am supremely jealous! I wish my almost 3 year old would get the hint!!!!

Congrats! A huge milestone to be sure. I thought buying diapers/pull ups for 6 years without a break, sometimes with 2-3 in them was bad. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Put the diaper money towards something fun for the whole family!!

Andrea said...

That is so weird!!
I was rocking my baby (number 4) last night and was thinking about those lines to that poem, "I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep." and thinking "what is that whole poem?" because I wanted to post it on my blog. But here you go and find it for me!
Thanks! I love it, it's so true.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I only have two, but I have that poem magneted onto my fridge. Parenting is so much a mix of the bitter and the sweet, isn't it? We delight in their learning and development, and feel sadness and regret over the stages they've left behind.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I cried when I read your post - and the poem!
I too have a youngest child at that age/stage but the difference is I want 5 more kids!!! Agh! I am nervous about what my emotions will be like as all of these stages come to an end.
Just the other day we were talking about next fall and the kids both being in school and my three year old chimed in:what will you do all day mommy??
I just froze. I won't know what to do with myself. I had always envisioned taking the big kids to school and still having a baby to care for at home. Say a prayer for me!

Jenn @ Knee-Deep in Munchkin Land said...

Oh that's beautiful!! I'm so glad the youngest is potty-training herself. Does she want to come over and help my daughter?! Hee hee.

Christine said...

I only have 3 (hopefully 4 soon, you never know...) but this made me cry. I feel this now with my 3rd- so much more appreciation for each stage, since I know how quickly they pass.

Thanks for posting this!

sweetscentsandmakeup said...

I love that poem as well.

Shannon said...

I have always loved that poem. And our diaper-less days should be arriving in about six months or so...I wonder how I'll feel about it?

Laura said...

Oh so bittersweet isn't it!

Stacey said...

Wow, what a big step for her but I know what you mean about emotions! It's hard to let the little ones grow up. Before you know it you'll be buying pads and tampons!

I really like that poem! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!!

mamashine said...

I'd heard parts of that poem before but I had no idea that was the title. I think it makes it even better. You always hear stereotypes about "kids from big families not getting extra attention" or whatever. Humbug on that. Mommas with lots of kids know where their priorities are! :)

And congrats on no more diapers!