We have only one only child in our house, although now we have two potty-trained children in our house.
3B is the only one among us who, as the oldest child, was an only child for any period of his life. Mama is a younger sister, I’m the youngest of six and, of course, Jewel is a younger sister too.
It’s not that Mama and I weren’t loved, it’s just that we never had the undivided attention of our parents. I had a simulation of it when I was older, after my siblings had moved out. And back in. And out again. And back in again. And when I wasn’t at college when they were out again.
And the timing couldn’t have been better: just as I was becoming a teenager and wanted (almost) nothing to do with my parents to assert my independence, I got to be alone with them. Although, in my case, it wasn’t them, it was just Mom, since Dad had already died. And her attention was divided, even when we were the only ones in the house, since she still had five other children to pay attention to, worry about, and so forth, even if they weren’t there.
And I always had them to learn from, even if they weren’t always around. I remember them gathering in the bathroom to teach me to brush my teeth, I remember my brother teaching me how to do laundry, and I’m still learning from them…for example, my sisters constantly help me be a better parent.
Similarly, Jewel has 3B to look up to, and boy, does she. She copies everything he does, even when she has no idea what it means. When he replays a scene from a Scooby Doo movie, yelling, “Fall back!” as he shoots his grappling hook at the ceiling and jumps off the couch, she does the same. When he shows off his dance moves from his p.e. class, she follows right along. She knows her alphabet–and aleph bet–how to count–and how to count by 10s–and so much more just from aping him. And now she’s using the potty, just like him.
I’m actually not sure if the motivation came from watching him or not, but it’s a fair guess that it did, and he was helpful at times with her potty training, so I’ll give him credit. Of course, Mama gets the bulk of the credit for recognizing Jewel was ready, hurrying/carrying her to the potty so many times to help her be successful, and cleaning up her accidents.
Even with all of that help, it’s really amazing that in just a few weeks, we’ve gone from changing diapers to having a potty-trained daughter. She still needs help in the bathroom, but she now gets there pretty much on time every time. Even Mama has said that she was just helping her out, that Jewel figured it all out for herself–with, of course, role models to follow.
Have I mentioned how much I like second children?
Jewel does still wear diapers to nap and sleep through the night, but that’s only fair, since she’s still in a crib and so can’t climb out to get to the potty, even if she did wake up to do so. Since she’s still sleeping in our room, since we only have two bedrooms in our house, and since there’s not room in our room for another bed, she probably won’t be fully potty trained until we move into a new house.
In the houses we’re looking at, she’ll not just have her own bed, but also her own room. While it will be nice to be able to once again read in bed, keep my clothes in my room instead of in the hall closet and to not have to sneak out like a ninja in the mornings to avoid waking her, I will miss her.
Training, I suppose, for when she and 3B move out, and Mama and I become only parents.