Oh, The Places You’ll Go! : Straight to Hell Edition

     When people learn that my son was over 10 pounds at birth, they usually get this horrified and empathetic face about them. They speak consolatory words while inadvertently staring at my crotch. I never understood this because a push is a push.  A hole is a hole, and a head is a head. But the public is nonetheless outraged on my vagina’s behalf. 
     Coincidentally, when I receive a birth announcement in the mail for a friend’s shrunken bundle of joy, I too am horrified and empathetic. I force long, weepy hugs and mumbled apologies for cruel misfortune onto new parents. I scan the Christian section, pick out a most heart-felt card, and fill it with consolatory words because surely an eight-pound baby is sick, and surely those parents are bravely smiling but secretly so upset about it.

When it comes to size, I’ve always loved that Thomas never felt fragile. I’m prone to breaking things. He was sturdy and ready for a football tackle immediately upon arrival. His brawn neck and solid trunk was womb-prepared for bench-pressing. With a fumbling, wall-to-face kind of mother, it comforted me to know that he could hold his own in a street fight at zero-months-old.


When people speak of their calm, obedient children, they usually have a tinge of bragging on their tongues. Much like their tiny baby situation, I feel a sadness for them. How boring! How mild! When friends visit for coffee and are ushered into Thomas’s twelfth round of Sit There, Shut Up & Let Me Whack You In The Face they seem slightly sorry for me, concerned with the chaos. His sass and grit, his “I can’t want to” and “Listen. Imma tell you how dis goes” personality is exactly the way I’d hoped he would be.

When it comes to attitude, I’ve relished in Thomas’s quirky self-assurance. More accurately  (conceitedly), I’ve enjoyed raising another me. He’s been sure of what he wants or (more often)  does not want since he could mold hefty, bronze No’s from liquid baby cries. He’s a thing of impact. He’s not a sparkle or a twinkle but a messy, miraculous three-part gas explosion. And I get to watch the fireworks because he’s been this ferocious force of will and weight since the earth looked up and said, “Alright. Come on”.

 From high atop the silver shelter of my fluffy life, I’ve assumed I’m in the clear. But someone forgot to mention the old theory of black linings, good life ever-so-slightly kissed by the dark sometimes, too.

   It was a trip to the store some weeks ago that spun the notion of “blessings from curses” into oblivion. Trembling before the base of a towering mountain of diapers, I stood small below the infinite shelves and knew suddenly and awfully how tiny a speck I am in this vast place. As I went to reach for a box of the largest size I spotted the weight limit printed in a cartoon cloud on box’s corner. Screeching brakes, thud of roadkill, dead cat resurrected to scratch claws against a chalkboard: it was a horrific scene.

“So, you’re about to be too big for diapers. Also, you’re already too big for them,” I casually mention to my boy. Inside I am cowering in a dim, scared corner of my soul.

“Um. No?,” he surely says.

“Well, but yes. Yes because you’re the size of a grown bear, and now that I think of it you’re also three, and now that I think of it more, you’re smart enough to solve 100-piece puzzles and sing Spanish with Dora, and now that I think of it the most, you’ve been holding out on me because I read on Wikipedia that peeing is at least 3 times easier than speaking Spanish.”


“But you’re a big boy, right? Like [ names of any and all kids I can think of], right? Diapers are for babies. Right?,” I am scrambling, digging heels and dragged inch-by-inch closer to  truth I didn’t want to face.

“Ok. Mom. Wisten. I’s a baby. I’s not a big boy. I’s keepin’ in a diapers. Wisten. I. Keep. Muh. Diapers. OKAY?,” his voice grows angry as my neck grows hot. I see I think for the first time small, fuzzy hair coating the toddler’s arms. I’m all at once stunned to be raising this large, rebellious man.

I am dizzy and alone. The wall of wet-guard diapers melts and swirls and I realize all too late that my Sunday school teacher spent too much time describing pearly gates and golden pathways to Heaven, never drawing a map, no directions to the Devil. But here it is, the driveway to doom, the entry to a firy and furious place, a portal to Purgatory right there in the Baby Department of a Tennessee Target.

With a Sudden Death thirteenth round of his favorite game, my large and willful tot kicks me into a hole. I fall deep and down and down more still to  cavernous bottom. I find Lindsay Lohan and some homeless, Hawaiian-shirted  lottery winners there. I find a hard truth there in the black muck, too. Lohan shrugs and croaks her old raspy throat, “The blessing was a curse, eh?”.

A harsher girl emerges from this daydream. This Tuesday morning errand calloused me, weathered me with life’s hard facts like college… or prison. It is this one time that I accept the pity glances from those mothers of seven-pound zen-fants with their tiny bladders, less defiant demeanor. All his sass and size that I’ve long treasured betrays me now, and I know what I have to do.


It’s time to tame the beast.

It’s time to stick it to potty train the Man Child.

Stay tuned for adventures of a big boy on a tiny toilet. Shit’s about to get real.


79 thoughts on “Oh, The Places You’ll Go! : Straight to Hell Edition

  1. Try the Naked and $200 method. You just remove the boy’s pants when he’s in the house. Show him the toilet, encourage him to use it, have him sit on it from time to time. But inevitably he will soil himself, and it running down his legs will Not. Be. Appreciated. This will inevitably draw him toward the toilet, where he will teach himself.

    The $200 part is where you spend $200 to have your carpets cleaned when it’s all over.

  2. Raising a baby must be hard.
    On a side note, I was 12lbs when I was born, a true monster, was C section of course. Now I’m tall, but not incredible tall and I’m slender, everybody thought I was going to be obese or over 6’5.

    1. This is reassuring! I figured he would slow down, but he just grows and grows. Most days people can’t understand why my 6-year-old still talks with a baby lisp. He’s 3, people! I’m hoping he’ll even out. My brother is over 7-feet tall so somewhere shy of that might be nice 🙂

  3. Your post made me laugh! My kids are a bit older, but when I get the call from the teacher about how much my kid is talking, or not following the mold, I always say it may be annoying now, but will serve him well later in life! The kids you worry about are the quiet conformists! Good luck with potty training!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Leah. I needed your positivity right now 🙂 I think you are absolutely right. His fiery will is making this one chunk a little challenging, but just think of what that personality will do for him when he’s older!

  4. This made me howl with laughter and empathy. My son was a ten pounder, too. He could’ve hitched a ride home from the hospital the day he was born. He’s Bam-Bam and Baby Huey all rolled into one. I used to argue with the store clerks when they tried to sell me age appropriate clothes. They wouldn’t believe that my 9 month old could wear 2t sizes. By the time he was 3 he was no longer in diapers but DEPENDS.
    All I can tell you is that he’s now 21 years old and 6’8″. He can toss me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes – and let me say, I’m no light weight. I try not to argue with him too much. It can be a little scary. For the most part, he’s a gentle giant. Enjoy your big sturdy boy! There’s so much more to love.
    I look forward to reading more…

    1. Ahhh, you get it. You really get it. I’ve had countless ladies ask (judge) why he had a pacifier or a bottle when he was too old for them. I was like “Chill out. He’s 7 months old”. At about 6-feet tall I am the runt of the family. The men in particular are exceptionally huge. My brother is over 7 feet tall, so I’ve watched him special order shoes from crazy websites and cram his giant legs into too tiny cars. I’m hoping Thomas stops just short of having to buy jeans from specialty stores 🙂

  5. I forgot to mention, when we shop for a new car, it’s not about finding one we like, it’s about finding one that fits. Just FYI – the German made cars, the expensive ones, are the only ones that provide enough leg and head room. Doesn’t that just figure? And forget about flying Coach, your guy will be waving to you from behind the curtain in first class.

  6. Ugh, potty training… seems so long ago to me now. But good luck with that! We didn’t have big babies, not small either, just normal sizes, I guess. In fact, like most fathers I really have no idea what my kids weighed when they were born. One of those pieces of data that doesn’t seem to register with us guys as it does with Mom.

    1. I never paid much attention to weight until the day AFTER he was born. When the nurses switched shifts, the new girls paraded through my room to see the legendary beast baby and the mom who birthed him. They made such a fuss about it that I figured his weight was different than most!

  7. Fruit loops in the toilet. Doesn’t every little boy enjoy some target practice?
    Yeah, I know absolutely nothing, although a friend of mine had great luck with the no pants technique that Jim mentioned.
    My child was 7 1/2 lbs (I can feel your pity and long, weepy hug from here–but we’re even because I was, in fact, enraged for your vagina). Regardless of her size, my runt is 50 shades of independent/stubborn and I fear the day we have to incorporate the toilet into our routine. I have this feeling that she will be the one to tell me when she is done with diapers…I can see it now:

    “I don’t want to wear those any more. Seriously, mom, I’ve been using the toilet for like a month now, I just didn’t tell you.”
    “You’re 16 months. I’m pretty sure you have some time….”
    “Yes, but I’m a MATURE 16 months, mom! And I am DONE with those things!”

    It’s fun raising a kids who are so much like their awesome moms. It’s given me a truck load of appreciation for my mom, that’s for sure.

    1. Haha. That was the approach I was hoping for. I’ve long suspected he is a genius, probably speaking French in his crib and completing crossword puzzles privately. I was hoping he would just decide to use the toilet, but no such luck. Everybody told me to wait, that he would let me know when he was ready. They forgot the part where he grew to the size of a large 6 year old and is physically too large for any diaper… and, as he’s told me, he likes diapers and being a baby.

  8. Bwahaha! Oh, my mom, also birther of huge children, would have loved you for all of this!

    We’ve had like conversations with Li’l D. #1 has been no problem for a while, but #2? Forget about it! Now that he’s at a preschool with set potty times, it’s becoming much easier. For the first time Sunday, he ran to the potty and did everything himself instead of asking our assistance. SO AWESOME.

    I hope the remainder of the road is smooth and clear for both of us! And, for the record, I love that my son’s the one who keeps people on their toes. (His daycare provider used to say she missed the days without him; they were too quiet.) Yes, he can be loud, and he’s constantly abuzz with energy and opinions, but he’s also polite and loving, and an enormous joy to me in being so exactly and comfortably himself.

    1. I felt horrible to begin with when we put Thomas in “school” two days a week. When his teacher made the remark that he’s super polite but so “terribly shy”, I almost lost it. I was worried pre-school was squashing his spirit. Luckily, he came out of his shell. Today’s his first day back sans diapers, so I’m hoping he’s assertive enough to say when he has to go.
      The mean part of me doesn’t totally care. I’m thrilled to get a few hours off of poop duty 🙂

  9. My little baby boy was just shy of 10 lbs. Now he’s 6’6 and 300 lbs, a gentle giant of a man/boy with a sarcastic bent. Love it. He peed standing up from almost the time he could stand and would roam the house naked as the day he was born. But when it was time for number two? Mom, diaper. I discovered the solution when he was two and a half. Begging. I begged him to just try the potty once. Just once. He rolled his eyes and said, okaaaayyyy. And he never went back to diapers 🙂

  10. He’ll yes, you need to get that kid out of diapers. Let him shit himself in underpants a couple of times. He’ll be on board really quick.

    You can do it.

    You can break him.

    You HAVE to break him.

    Just try to keep him off the furniture, if you can. 😉

    1. You would think, right? Like shitting your pants would be gross, right? He doesn’t even care! Just sits right in a puddle of filth. I’m googling “How To Train A Kid With Blatant Disregard For Nasty” as we speak.

      1. Hahahahaha! So funny. You have to build in a little reward. Something small. A wee incentive. You know, the civilize them. Boys are just little men. And we know plenty of men who are pigs, right? It takes the right moves to get them out of their piggishness and embrace the toilet.

  11. Oh my dear we have just been through this with G2 for what seemed forever. All of a sudden it came together in the last couple of weeks and for some reason I am missing the battle of it all. Must find something to replace all the angst..I must!

  12. What is the age of potty training? There IS one, right? Like 6 months for baby food…
    I’ve lost all perspective on timing for babies. My family is sort of… Fast. We decide things like, “If he can talk, he can wear underpants and say when he wants to go to the bathroom.” So the babies in our family potty train kind of early.
    Apparently, boys are a bit slower than girls in the potty training game. My brother took far longer than I did. A lot of people wait until preschool time though. These days, some school won’t take children that aren’t potty trained!

    1. There probably is a proper age. This is why I shouldn’t get parenting advice from the internet. I found the first site that said “Just relax. Everything’s great. He’ll pee when he’s ready” and decided that sounded nice. Waited until he got too big for diapers! Oops!

  13. This is priceless.

    Please tell Thomas this story, as it might inspire the Man Child.

    My brother learned to pee in the toilet – I am convinced of this – because it freed things up for him to pee on me. He would stand there at the throne, dribbling out his yellow stream, and he would call me, panicked. When I came running, he was already in position to chase me and pee on everything. In his ridiculous man-mind, it was SO MUCH BETTER

  14. K, for the record? You are one hell of a writer. And that is the ONLY reason I will tolerate ANY public declarations about a child’s potty training. I typically rant about my Facebook friends doing this, but because you are such a brilliant wordsmith, I will read.
    Also: my nephew was 9 lb 5 oz at birth and my sister couldn’t sit down for a month, so don’t act like it was easy. If you had a 7-pounder after that you’d be like, “Ohhhhhh, I get it now.”

  15. While I am a few years off potty training the two neanderthal I-love-sitting-in-my-shit boys that I was blessed with, I still feel your pain. This was a hoot of a post!……Incidentally, my Jimmy was 6 pounds and 1 tiny ounce when he was born from this too short body. He is 12 right now, taller than me, and is wearing his dad’s old high school jacket for a winter coat. His pediatrician told me to prepare myself to buy his shoes and clothes where the professional athletes do because Little Man ain’t so damn little. Like I hang with coordinated people. WTF. Give me your address so I can send his giant hand-me-downs to someone who feels my pain. Thomas will be about a decade behind on fashion sense but it will be much cheaper!

  16. KB is 3 months old on Thursday. She was small at birth, but not alarmingly so – about the same as I was. I met someone with a 10-pounder and at 6 weeks he looked like Baby Hulk by comparison.

    One of my favorite moments in our Birthing Class was when the instructor held up a doll and a model of the pelvis to show the trajectory of birth. A woman asked, “Is that to scale? Because THAT DOESN’T FIT.”

  17. *I* cringe at that, but in my defense my brother broke my mother’s pelvis giving birth, kicking off a lifelong horror of childbirth. Good luck with the training!

  18. The worst, the absolutely worst and truest thing about it is that you become one of those people who crows with delight to your horrified (read: non=parent) friends and relatives “Lookie, lookie Thomas did a BM in the potty! Isn’t that fanTAStic???” And you’re not kidding. You really ARE that thrilled and delighted.

    My, how the mighty fall when parenting kicks in.

  19. Persevere my friend, persevere! Mine didn’t give up his diaper until he was damn well ready to despite my parental psychological efforts. One day he just decided he had enough, took his pants off, ripped off the diaper and left it there on the front sidewalk in front of my home for all the neighborhood to see that he was a big boy now. It wasn’t until the older brother came into the house and wondered why there was a diaper outside and that Charlie had no pants on.

  20. shit’s about to get real? No, shit’s about to get everywhere! I have no words of wisdom. The closest I have to a baby is my dog, and apart from some rebellious while-maintaining-snarky-eye-contact-with-you poops on the rug when we first got him, he does his business outdoors. I think my mom told me once that she switched to reusable cloth diapers for potty training… probably similar to the no-pants version people keep mentioning, the purpose is to make doing one’s business not-in-toilet uncomfortable. Cloth just isn’t as absorbent as huggies.

  21. Wow! I thought MY son was a force to be reckoned with @ that age. You win. Or lose. Guess it’s all about perspective. 😉

  22. I have tears in my eyes I am laughing so hard! I fear for you and your tot…I too am trying to potty train. It seemed easier the first time around. I took Elijah to the baby whisperer (AKA My sister) and he came home a week later potty trained! This time it is not looking good as said baby whisperer is potty training her own tot. When ever you get frustrated you can close your eyes and know that two moms somewhere in South Texas are with you. We are not quite near tears yet, but as we follow your tale we will be laughing our tears out! Best of luck!!

    1. I haven’t cried so much since I watched The Notebook after watching Grey’s Anatomy BEFORE reading that book about the sister saving the other sister with Cancer. I never thought wet pants would make a sister so weepy.

  23. It’s been a while since you mentioned your vagina. Too long, some might say. Not me, because that would just be…weird.

    If you’ve got hardwood floors (this is not vagina talk, I’m being literal), then the potty training battle is already half won. Go forth and Swiffer-fy! And keep us posted on your progress.

    1. I’ve been praying sweet, grateful blessings over our hardwood floors. Those poor planks have seen some dreadful things over the last few days.
      And the vagina talk? You’re welcome. Or I’m sorry? Ok. A little of both 🙂

  24. Oh, potty training. Obviously, I don’t have a child so I can’t quite relate that way but I DID go through potty training with my little sister (we’re 10 1/2 years apart so I had to take care of her at times). Don’t remember it being a disaster except that one time she started peeing and my babysitter hauled her, still peeing, to the bathroom sink where she promptly stopped. Go figure.

    Also, your opening for this post had me laughing from the get-go. So happy to start my day off with a laugh. 🙂

  25. Hey, my first was over 10 lbs too…nurses liked him because he was ‘sturdy’. Nice description for a newborn, right? 🙂 You’re right though, it’s nice to feel like you can change their diaper without accidentally breaking them in half.

    Potty training. I shuddered, then the blood drained from my extremities. It was horrible! Can’t wait to read your tales, reading from the other side of the nightmare, of course!

    1. Sturdy is an excellent word! He was my only experience baby-wise, so I didn’t really realize how big he was. He just seemed nice and solid. Then a friend would come over with her newborn and I would just stare, shocked, at the difference in size.

  26. Lady, I didn’t potty train my son. My MIL did. And that, my friend, says it all right there. I couldn’t do it, but hey? YOU CAN!!! You pushed him out of your body and are still in one piece? Then go forth in that confidence and put that pee in the pot where it beloooongs! GO! GO! GO!

    1. Haha. Bonus points for using “Lawd”. I trust people more when they type in twang 🙂 Things going smoothly (minus the panic hour in which I found mysterious substance under my fingernails). Hopefully the boy will stick to the potty!

    1. Hahah. This says something about both of us because I knew this was a Dora reference before you mentioned Dora. And in other news, I can’t remember the last time I watched a show with human actors in it.

  27. I feel your pain! Big was B-I-G at birth (9lbs 15.5oz), and I often look at friends’ babies with their cute little newborn clothes and think that I once had a doll that big, but neither of my children were. As for potty training, I’ve got no advice. I cajoled. I begged. I bribed. I got lucky! (It only cost me a months worth of candy and a new Barbie doll – Baby will do just about anything for a new Barbie). Now to teach them to tie their shoes….

    1. Haha. You understand! I never realized how big my son is until he’s next to other kids. His best buddy in our neighborhood is the same age and half the size. As for potty training, I think your beg’n’bribe method is the best tip yet 🙂

  28. Trying to catch up here. Don’t have much to offer – I don’t remember learning to use the bathroom. Obviously I DID learn…. at least, I assume I have learned … I mean…..
    (Dang, don’t you hate it when bad comments happen to good blogs? 😉 )

    1. Hahaha. No. I thought the SAME thing. Surely this shouldn’t be that hard, you just pee… in a potty. I mean, they pretty much just up and learn to walk on their own for crying out loud. Peeing can’t be that much of a challenge. Also, I was so wrong.

  29. My oldest daughter outgrew diapers before she was interested in potty training. That was super fun. I had visions of changing her Depends before she would use the toilet. Luckily, I didn’t have to go that far.

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