Nikki -- at 3 years, 3 months old -- is finally potty trained.
At least that's what I'm telling everybody.
Truth is, I'm getting a little ahead of myself.
"Fully" potty trained is a delusion parents talk themselves into when they're desperate to end their dependence on diapers.
Parents also pretend they'll save hundreds of dollars when they no longer are required to purchase diapers. That, too, is a delusion. Diapers are replaced by more and more expensive things.
Clothes, for example. Now that Nikki is out of diapers (most of the time), none of her pants fit anymore.
And, it seems losing diapers has changed the amount of blood that reaches her brain. Now that the blood flow is a little heavier, it seems to have stimulated that portion that needs more and more expensive toys.
Yeah, there's no cost savings whatsoever.
But we're not quite to that point, anyway. We're at the point where we're down to two diapers and I can't decide whether I've got to invest $15 in another package.
Like I said, "fully" is a delusion.
I can talk myself into believing it if I'm willing to wash sheets every single day and shampoo the carpet where she was lying to watch a movie and "forgot."
So, though my diaper bill is decreasing, my laundry detergent bill is soaring.
See, Nikki thinks that every time she goes potty she needs to have a new pair of panties.
It's a holdover from changing diapers, I think.
I can hardly keep up and need to purchase new three packs of Care Bear underwear.
With potty training comes a new fixation with the toilet, which generally includes stuffing as much toilet paper in as possible and then stirring it up with the plunger.
It was lucky that the carpet cleaner was already out (the aforementioned "accident.")
So, add toilet paper to the growing list of potty training expenses.
I don't know what the combination of joy and frustration costs a person in the long run. The first time Nikki went potty all on her own, there was a celebration unmatched in the history of our family. It included dancing, singing and candy.
It was a big deal.
Nearly every time she sits on the potty all by herself someone parades in to congratulate her.
She will not grow up with a shy bladder.
It's just something you have to do as a parent.
It's one of those things that ranks up with bottle breaking, growing out of the car seat and learning to count. It's a stage of development you work toward and pray for every day, but when it hits it means one thing: Your baby is no longer a baby. As delighted as you are to move forward, there's always a little piece of you that wants to stop time and hold on to your little one while you can.
On the other hand ... there's no love lost between parents and diapers.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.