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Lifetakes: Operation Triple T

Yehudis Lieber

Complain? Never! What’s two days spent in excruciating labor; what’s some minor (okay, extreme) sleep deprivation when it’s part of the precious package of motherhood?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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I am not throwing in the towel. Not that there are any towels left to throw. Every last one I own is currently the casualty of an accident of the toilet-training variety.

His third birthday fast approaching, my little boy has yet to complete this particular rite of passage. I’ve spent the past couple of days doing everything in my power to change this state of affairs.

Day One of Operation Triple T (Toilet Train my Tzaddik’l) found me cross-legged on my bathroom floor, putting on a song and a dance to keep my delicious ball of energy from bounding off the potty. I was getting so tired of singing, “The Wheels on the Bus”; my voice was starting to sound like its batteries were dying.

In desperation, I speed-dialed my mom. “Where can I buy potty glue?” For goodness’ sake, she trained 11 of us, she must have some up her sleeve. Alas, all she had to offer was a chuckle.

Day Two brought one success and many more non-successes — all over my carpet — than I care to count. Does being five-percent toilet trained count for anything? (For the record, no! What would I do — put 95 percent of a diaper on him?)

As the days progressed, but our success rate didn’t, I decided that some serious sympathy was in order. I called Bracha.

“Yehudis, it sounds awesome! Like you’re trying to train a wonderfully rambunctious, healthy little boy!” Count on Bracha to say that!

“Your kids practically train themselves. Why did I even call you, Bracha?”

“Because I’m the only friend who yells at you for kvetching but knows that you’re really not kvetching at all.”

Bracha gets it. She knows. That even though I’m human and sometimes get frustrated from, well, normal parenting frustrations, hardly a day goes by that I don’t feel breathless with gratitude for the priceless little people in my life who call me “Mommy”.

Right after the birth of my bechor, when I was still squinting in the brilliant light that is parenthood, a fellow infertility survivor told me something I’ll never forget. “Just because you went through infertility, doesn’t mean you’re an angel. Motherhood is sometimes hard, and you have a right to complain, just like the rest of humanity.”

At the time, I was horrified. Complain? Never! What’s two days spent in excruciating labor; what’s some minor (okay, extreme) sleep deprivation when it’s part of the precious package of motherhood?

But as reality set in, as I tried to cope with the aftermath of my traumatic birth and long, arduous recovery, I began to understand that though complaining is never in place, I did need to give myself permission to be human.

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