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Allison Motherhood

Potty Watch

This afternoon found all of us except the baby huddled around printed pages ~ pointing, snorting, and laughing. What was this literary masterpiece that captivated people from four to forty-five? The One Step Ahead catalog. Every time this thing arrives in the mail, we know we are in for a treat of sarcastic proportions. Scanning its collection of infant and toddler “must-haves” is an exercise in insanity, perpetuating the myth that it is so difficult and so expensive to raise children. Read with us:

We found special shoes that emit a two-toned squeak so that the parent (or “caregiver”, as they say) can be assured the child is learning the proper way to walk (heel to ball). “We never had those shoes, Mom, do we all walk wrong?” asked my ten year old. “However did people learn to walk correctly without the squeak?” wondered the twelve year old with a roll of her eyes. We found shoes billed as “Perfect for the daycare set ~ easy on and off.” Because we all know that kids who are home with their mothers and a gang of siblings have neither the need nor the desire to do things on their own since they’re spoiled and anti-social (I think I may have laughed tea out my nose at that one.). There were many manifestations of antibacterial liquids: pump gel, purse spray, mini wipes, dipping bottles, treated bibs and placemats, and even playground equipment.

potty1Today’s favored item, however, was a potty-shaped, potty training watch. This programmable thing beeps every thirty, sixty, or ninety minutes to remind distracted toddlers to try to go potty. A teenaged boy, to whom potty humor is still a viable form of entertainment, loved this. Being that kind of mother, I took the opportunity to make sure the children understood the complexities of potty training (sensation recognition, large-motor activites of getting there and adjusting clothing, etc) in my most solemn voice. “So,” said the aforementioned son with a naughty twinkle in his eye, “It’s possible for a man never to learn that recognition stuff if the watch constantly reminded him when he was little to get up and try without paying attention to his body feelings, huh?” The possibilities of an executive in conference whose beeping watch prompted an excuse to colleagues to gotta try the potty was just too much; we dissolved into giggles as the hypothetical examples of adults tethered to potty watches grew more and more fantastic. Our old couch rocked and rolled for 20 minutes.

potty2

I’m not really sure of an inspirational moral from this afternoon’s antics; all I can come up with is more giggling and tea-spilling. Perhaps I could use a beeping watch as a reminder to cultivate a more sweet and genteel spirit.

Beep.

 

By Allison H.

Allison is a 40-something mother of seven, living in Alaska, accepted into the Church (together with her husband, thank God) in 2004. She spends her days homeschooling and packaging meat that her menfolk hunt and bring home. She cannot garden to save her life but picks wild blueberries like a champ. She has been published in an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and keeps a blog at www.northerncffamily.blogspot.com, writing about living out the Faith with children with cystic fibrosis.

5 replies on “Potty Watch”

As the mother (6 months in) of a person with an attachment disorder who is still not potty trained at age 5 and wields the whole issue as a way to manipulate her relationship with us, I approached your post with interest. I think the potty watch might be a great idea for her! I would assume many of these items were created by people who simply don’t have the same level of normal as you.

That’s great for your girl! The catalog is marketed to Americans bent on perfectionism, though, who are certain that regular women can’t possibly do it right without “experts.”

“Not the same level of normal” ~ Haha; love that!

I thought the moral of the story was obvious: the absurdity of our cultural addiction to high-tech gadgets reaching the point of self-parody. And, by extension, that most of the ridiculous inventions that marketers pour ridiculous amounts of money into convincing us we need or deserve – despite the fact that families have managed to do without them for centuries and most still do so – are utterly unnecessary.

Seriously, more families should take a few moments to laugh at advertising.

On blogging, and wielding the tool as critic.

“Here are some things that Christians can legitimately do without sinning:

…Criticize something even if there exists a worse evil in the world. When I discuss an overlooked aspect of human experience, I inevitably hear, “Oh, sure, let’s pick on Minor Problem B when there is Cataclysmic Problem X in the world!” Well, do we really need more howling about, “Oh, how great is the sinfulness of sin! Just LOOK at that sin! Isn’t it sinful?” That’s just tedious. And yes, I can truthfully say, “Boy, this sprained ankle hurts,” without implying that a triple amputation is a walk in the park.” ”

Dame Simcha Fisher — for all her snark, gets my vote for clarity every time. 🙂

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