The Accidental Housewife

Monday, July 12, 2004

Two and Two is Four, Right?

One would think--three years into the game--that I've master the business of diapers. Training pants, however, have obliterated any sort of confidence I had at waste management.

Pardon the euphemism, but at this level language such as 'poo-poo' and 'pee-pee' don't cut it. When you're a career professional who suddenly has children, the transition is viewed as something of an overnight success. To your colleagues and those around you, you're something of a marvel. You suddenly 'have a life.' They enviously tell you that you're achieving balance.

To you, amid all the love and tenderness, 20 years of egregious self-involvement and so-called discipline in the workplace have now been thrown into the blender. In this 'balanced world' your identity is so challenged that you cling to the terminology that made you once powerful. While your child comprehends tinkle and stinky, in your it's all about "content downloads," and "purging the documents."

Potty training, however, has got to be the executive MBA. It involves a Ph.D. in psychology. How else can one explain to a two-year-old that something that comes from their very own little bodies is actually quite foul and deserves to be flushed down a cold white basin? For my little Princess, the closer was simple, courtesy our buddies at Pixar: "All drains lead to the ocean." This little stinky friend, I explained, was on it's way to visit Nemo.

Training pants, however, are an extreme management course study. To the schzoid parent/professional the Pull Up is THE safety net. When your little one insists on wearing those big-girl princess panties, you want her to do it. But you just can't fathom the humiliation of an accident in public. Nor the mess. Yet you are SO over hauling around the 20-pound diaper bag that screams "I shopped at Babies R Us."
So you slip into your new acquired Coach bag a fresh pair of size 3T trousers and an oh-so-slender Pull-Up. Kiddie Commando it is.

Unlike most santitary products your used to, however, the confidence and freshness you feel is fleeting. Particularly when it comes to bowel movements.

Some kids are naturally good at it. Others, like my little princess, are horrified at the notion of letting it out. I mean REALLY letting it out. To stick with my business theme here, let's just say that my husband and I have been in negotiations with the Princess for over a year now about the proper terms of waste disposal.

Let's just say the discussions have not gone well. On a recent Sunday School jaunt of all things, I'm was alone in the latest stage of talks--entirely without representation (aka Daddy).

The result? For her, it was a game of chase, coupled with giggles and tantrums. Here I am chasing her throughout the empty Sunday School, bobbing and weaving around pull-carts and Little Tykes kitchenettes. The Nemo story was the furthest thing from my mind.

Five minutes later, I'm no longer feeling so fresh myself. Though I've shown up for Church 45 minutes early, I've now missed the benediction.

God is omnipotent--except where toilet training toddlers are concerned.

She won't do it in the potty. She won't do it in the panty. Input is always output. But she doesn't know that and I do. So the Pull-Up is Mama's best friend.

That is until the damn thing breaks.

What is it about fastened tabs!?!! And how the hell is it that Pampers can charge more than 25 cents a pop when the g-d damn things can't endure the pelvic thrust of a 30-pounder??

Facing moral peril--if I stay here any longer I'll be beyond prayer--I'd do what I'd do just in any situation where I'm five minutes to the presentation and the Power Point crashes. I improvise. So I do what any former field producer would do when a live feed's been cut: I improvise.

Fortunately for my daughter, there aren't any paper towels and duct tape. Instead, there's a pack of no. 2 Huggies on hand right there in the class room!!

I've done this before: Splice two smaller sized diapers together (Fastened tabs, remember?) The first time I put two and two, if you will, it was a perfect size four and worked quite well. (Don't ask me to explain why the sizes are two and four and mega versus jumbo. I'm sure I'll get to that in a soon-to-be sleep-deprived rant very soon.)

I'm pleasantly surprised to see that Huggies has upgraded it's size twos diapers. The tabs are now stretchy and the whole diaper is a pastel pink colors. This is particularly fortuitous as it now more closely resembles the cousin Pull Up. Such a development is enormously fortunate: The Princess, while hardly officially potty trained, has developed a seething case of diaper phobia. Diapers=Little girls Panties (and Pullups)=Big Girls. IF all of life were only that simple.

Tab onto tab--velcro onto velco and we're done. She's walking a little wider than God intended, but the confidence I was lacking with the panties is now re-established. Certainly two diapers together will certainly hold a freshly deposited load much better than one single layer of 100 percent cotton.

I went to sing God's praises for the diaper intervention.

Fortunately I wasn't there to see how the prototype worked out. As with most 21st Century parents, child supervising is all about shift changes. On my watch, the Huggie-Huggie combination held up just right. But I only had her for about an hour before my husband took over.

Unfortunately for my husband, two plus two didn't equal four. Instead it was more like two divided into two. The sum was something of a self-fulfilled prophecy: The World's First Crotchless Diaper.