We’re in the midst of potty training. Right smack dab in the middle of the glory days.
Today we went to church. Sawyer was running around afterwards as he usually does, then disappeared. JJ went looking, no sign of him. Other parents joined in. Nothing. Worry began to mount, then the bathroom door popped open and there he stood, naked from the waist down but grinning ear to ear. “I used the little potty!” he said with pride. Our church has a little kid-sized potty, he likes that. He had thrown away his pull-up diaper, and we didn’t have another, so he went without for awhile.
One morning last week my son and I were in Vieux-Port picking up a few things. He started to do the pee pee dance. I took him to the bathroom in Starbucks. With his pants to his ankles, I lifted him on the toilet. But before he spread his legs the stream began, straight up into the air. I jumped back, holding him by the shoulders and narrowly avoiding a shower. His sudden incessant spitting told me he wasn’t so lucky. He managed to stop and I pulled him off the toilet, stood him up, and pulled his pants, shoes, and socks off. But then he started up again, standing on the floor next to the toilet. I picked him up like an out-of-control fire hose and somehow ended up holding him horizontally over the toilet, doing my best to aim him straight down. We made a total mess. Naturally, a middle-aged woman was waiting to use the bathroom when we exited. Sorry.
A few weeks ago we really seemed to be making progress with the whole potty thing. He would go when he had to, tell us, and beam with a sense of accomplishment when he did it. Then everything stopped. We never knew why. He lost all interest and preferred diapers instead. When he finally did agree to try again, it was only the little plastic bucket potty on the floor, no longer our regular toilet with his kiddy ring seat insert. It all seemed odd, why had he reverted?
Fast forward to last night. It was midnight, both kids were asleep, the house was quiet and cleaned, and I was watching a basketball game while munching on a baguette. Then my pajama’d 2-year-old came shuffling into the living room rubbing his eyes. I could see in his face he’d been awoken by a nightmare. He climbed up in my lap and buried his face in my chest. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Fall off big potty,” he began repeating over and over. He’d apparently had a nightmare about falling off of the toilet. Which makes me wonder whether an experience (say a few weeks ago?) led to the fear, or the fear simply grew itself. Either way, it’s a fairly legitimate fear for him.
Which got me thinking about my own fears. What am I afraid of? I think a lot of people have never truly thought that through. Answers like snakes, spiders, and sharks aren’t all that legitimate, in my opinion. I’d be willing to bet that the percentage of people who have actually been attacked by a snake and consider that one of their top fears is pretty miniscule. Kids tend to be much more honest and perhaps even more self-aware at times. My son is afraid of falling from the toilet. Could happen. He’ll probably survive it though.
So what am I afraid of? My stock answer for that one is usually “being successful in things that don’t matter” (thanks to Mike Brady, Bob Warren, and whomever else that may have come from). It’s true, but to be honest, it’s not the fear that keeps me up at night. So what am I afraid of? Here’s a few that come to mind right off:
-teaching my kids that communication and technology are more important to me than they are
-waking up one day and realizing I’ve missed my kids’ childhoods because I was too busy with other stuff
-sickness and health loss, and years off of my active life because I don’t take enough care of my body
-a friend passing on and wondering why I never told him/her about Jesus and the life-changing salvation I have in Him
-loss of loved ones and the loneliness, guilt, and other emotions that would follow (thinking specifically of my wife and kids, I don’t think I’d cope well)
-pain (pain and I don’t mix too well)
Knowing these fears of mine helps motivate me to do worthwhile things, like put my phone down and raise my kids, work out, and share my faith.
What are you afraid of, really?