This actually happened.

Ben: I have no idea how to potty train. I wouldn’t even know where to start.
Jacq: Me neither.
Ben: I mean, I know how to house train a dog, so it’s probably pretty similar…
Jacq: What, are you going to rub his face in it?
Ben: (laughing) If it works…

Santa Claus.

We’re probably not going to do Santa with our kids.

When I say that, immediately there are those who jump up to tell us how it’s just innocent fun to tell the stories of Santa.  (Funny how it’s not OK for me to tell others not to do Santa but it’s perfectly acceptable for others to tell me to do the opposite…)

They also often say something to the effect of “we were raised believing in Santa, and we turned out all right!”  And, to a great extent that may be true.  But George Burns smoked until he was 100 years old, and that doesn’t make smoking healthy.  I don’t make my parenting decisions (or really any other decisions) based solely on anecdotal evidence.

Here is the main reason we are leaning the way we are:

On a foundational level the story of Santa and the story of Jesus are exact opposites.  Santa gives based on how good you are.  Jesus gives based on how much you admit your inability to be good.  And that might be confusing to my child.

We ruin the concept of gifts by making them meritorious. I don’t give him gifts based on “you better not cry, you better not pout” because if I did I’d never give him anything.  Pouting is an every other breath activity at some points in his day.

The Bible is pretty clear about the naughty-nice list.  There’s only one name on the nice list, and it’s Jesus.

All of that to say we are not anti-Santa.  We’ve still got him up as a decoration.  We’ll tell our kids the story of Santa.  But we won’t tell it likes it’s true.  As should be apparent from my rant about the Halloween protesters, I am not about Christians making a stink about holidays that are often our only common ground with our non-believing neighbors.

Potty Training in a Public Restroom.

When I first saw that positive pregnancy test roughly 2 years and 9 months ago, a lot of thoughts filled my head.  Throwing ball in a park with my son.  Teaching him how to ride a bike.  Tender moments before bed praying to Elmo.

Here’s a bit that didn’t make the mental brochure: Trying to get your toddler to simultaneously urinate into a public toilet without touching every portion of the bathroom.

We’re in the midst of what I’ve begun calling “our first attempt at potty training.”  We watched all the videos and read some books about training your child to use the potty in 45 minutes, or 2 days, or before they are 15.  The plan was to start last Monday (exactly a week ago) and be done by the weekend.  That’s now become the plan for boy #2.  Because LB decided he’d rather unload the bladder indiscriminately every now and then just to keep us on our toes.

Don’t get me wrong, we are learning his clues, and are able to keep him relatively dry during the day, nap time excluded.  It’s just been nowhere near the cake-walk the promo materials would have you believe.

But that brings us to the public restroom.  Jacq asked LB last night at the end of dinner (out with my parents) if he needed to potty.  He gave the semi-pout that means yes, and that meant I was up.  We trooped down the hall to the men’s room.

A quaint one-seater, we’ll call it.  LB walked in first, and I closed the door, turning to lock it behind us.  I turned back to see him curiously meandering toward the toilet.  I got there just in time to keep him from sticking his head into the bowl to get a closer look.

Next goal: get the pants and shoes and pull-up off.  Sub-goals:

  1. Don’t get peed on.
  2. Keep LB from lifting the lid on the toilet and letting it slam down (for the third time).
  3. Don’t lose balance and face-plant in the damp area behind the toilet i’ll call “every-man’s land.”

Having successfully removed the clothing (including correctly executing sub-goals 1 and 3), it was time to expect a miracle.  I wanted my son, known for strong-willed tantrums and excessive use of noise, to sit calmly on a toilet seat unlike any he’d ever seen (and easily large enough for him to fall through) without so much as rubbing his hands underneath the toilet seat.  And I wanted him to do all of this confidently, despite my facial expression of near-exasperation from holding him steady with one hand while keeping him from putting “toilet hand” in his mouth with the other.

But then came the moment.  He was working up from moderately-uncomfortable grumbling heading toward full-body screaming when he noticed something.  He needed to potty.  He leaned forward to see his junk over his belly, and slowly peed into the potty.

Waves of relief rushed over me (from not having any other types of waves rushing over me), until I realized that I wasn’t out of the woods just yet.  We had to sanitize the situation, get the pants/shoes/pull-up back on, and get out to the car.

To make a long story short, let’s just say the folks sitting near the door to the restroom were mildly shocked to see the child walk past the table wearing just his pull-up and a shirt.  But he didn’t notice.  He’d just peed like a big boy.