..."Good-bye poop." There are potty prizes, games and incentives.
The other day we ran around naked, escaping insects and monsters,
only to find that the only safe place was, guess where, on the
potty. It was great fun until I heard a knock on the door. I hadn't
expected anyone to drop by. Was I observed, naked and screaming,
running past the living room window? I quickly dressed and opened
the door. Two friendly men dressed in blue pants, white shirts, and
black ties stood carrying pamphlets. They were interested in my
salvation, which I appreciated, but at the same time I heard the
cherubic voice of my son : "The poop is ready to come out." I
politely, if abruptly, excused myself and sprinted like a halfback
through the house. "Let's go!" I coached Benjamin. We darted to the
bathroom. Benjamin flung himself onto the potty. We made it. It was
Of course potty-training is not always an adventure. The more mundane times are spent washing out underpants, waiting, listening, and explaining. I feel silly sometimes, a grown man, discussing the merits of Thomas the Tank Engine underwear. But this receptive, attentive space I inhabit with my son nourishes our relationship. What I get back is the pleasure of seeing Benjamin becoming stronger and expressing the unique, confident, and beautiful human being that he is.
There is some kind of substance that passes from father to son simply from being together. When Benjamin's thirst for this substance is quenched, there is a current of love that cycles through my cells, providing nourishment for my most basic human longing.
An interesting effect of this connection is that our biological rhythms synchronize. Our sleep patterns are similar, we tend to be hungry at the same time, and we often have similar moods (sometimes this is not the best situation). And, oh yes, our bowel movements seem to occur at the same time also.
This article first appeared in *Chronogram* magazine, June, 1997.