Monday, April 26, 2010

In Training...for life

I guess Taylor was about seven years old by the time he was totally potty trained.  That's a long time to have a child in diapers, isn't it?  I mean, besides the expense and all of that, it really began to feel like an interminable time for me.  It was one of those mile stones that felt like it would never happen.  And, it's not like we weren't trying.  Taylor never has liked sweets and so we had to find that other magic bribery gimmick to be the johnny-on-the-spot reward every time he went anywhere near the potty.  Naturally, being the organic/free-range type of people that are (not!) we chose to use Cheetos as the reinforcement.  So, for about three years, I walked around with a bag of Cheetos up under my arm in the event of----and with the hope of---Taylor stopping by the bathroom on his own.  One Cheeto for going towards; two Cheetos for sitting on; three Cheetos for actually going.  And then we'd all clap and dance and sing and do all sorts of hoopla celebratory jumping.  It got to the point that Taylor assumed that this jubilant behavior just went hand-in-hand when anybody came out of the bathroom.  One Sunday after a large gathering of friends for lunch, we watched Taylor meet each guest at the bathroom door with Cheetos---and high fives!  He was congratulating 55 year old men and 48 year old women on successful tee-teeing.  Is reading about another person's potty training right up there with learning about some body's intestinal flu?  Or is there some universal, how-did-they-do-that sort of curiosity?  See, I sort of like to know how we learn to train ourselves---to do much of anything. 
         Long about the time we spent those seven years potty training Taylor,  I would lose it----lose hope, lose faith, my give-a-damn button would break.  Straightening myself out and plowing on up the hill was pretty constant and so many days I just wept.  One of my favorite things in  life is to be a victim I've learned.  Seems like I have always sort of secretly relished it.  Oh, now, don't go jumping on that judgement band wagon though, until you look right back into your own mirror and ask yourself if you're in the victim club with me. (Maybe you'd even consider being president.)  But back to learning......sometime during those earlier years, a wise old friend asked me how I viewed  life.  It was one of those, "Do you see the glass half empty or half full?"  Only she posed this metaphorical question to me:  When you see a pony, do you just assume there will be poop?  Or when you see poop, are you delighted because you know that somewhere close by there is going to be a pony?  So, the question boiled down to : Poop or Pony?  Which one do you look for in this life?   And, that goes right along with, "If you can't change the things you see....change the way you see things."  How come we don't all  have that tattooed on our forearms or written on the dashboards of our cars?  (Ok, refrigerator magnets at the very least.)
       I know I'm full of "sound bights" today, but it's because so many little nuggets that have been shared with me along the way have shifted me off center-----that center----that  craving that makes so many of us cling to being in control of life----of our lives, of the lives of others.  Gosh, do you ever do that thing....that mind game thinking thing that goes like this, "If I am good, follow all of the rules, do the right thing, yadayadayada....I can keep us all safe." (Safe=healthy, alive, afloat,  thriving)  But, it----life---doesn't work like that.   Things happen.  Good things. Hard things.  But here's what we're left with:  How are we going to see them----see ourselves right in the midst of our very own lives? 
It's true.  I tired of diapering a seven year old.  And then this sort of thing hit me in the face: "I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."  Yep----other little boys in Taylor's class would wear diapers forever.   So, buck up, girlfriend.  Grow up.  Big girl underwear and all of that.   Poop or pony?
Poop?  I choose to know there's a pony close by. 
I have plenty of blouses with Cheetos- hand-rubbed stains on them---still.
For where there are Cheetos.....there is a child learning about life. 
I know it's true.
What about you? 
How do you view your life?
Poop or Ponies?