Noticing things and manners. And the potty.

It was just a regular morning.  Clear and cold; it finally felt seasonal after a few oddly, swampily warm days.

The kids were quiet in the backseat, listening to the Boston Pops’ Sleigh Ride on the radio.

Out of nowhere, I asked, “Hey, guys?  I have a question.  If you had to say one thing I have taught you, what would it be?”

Silence filled the car.  I glanced in the rearview mirror.  They were looking out the windows.  Solipsism alert!  Why would I ask that?  I don’t really know.  I guess reflections are on my mind, summings-up, reckonings.

“That’s easy,” pronounced Whit immediately.  I caught his eye in the rearview mirror and he grinned his gap-toothed smile at me.  “Potty training.  You taught me that.”

I laughed.  Yes, yes, I did teach him that.  Grace was chewing her lip.  “Grace?” I prompted.

“Well, it is one of two things,” she said.  “Split between two.  One is noticing things.  And the other is manners.”  She paused, peering out the window.  “I don’t know which is more.”

Potty training, noticing things, and manners.  I guess I could be doing worse.

Get Lindsey's thoughts on mindful living and parenting in your inbox


  1. Posted December 14, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    This made me smile! And I needed a smile this morning.

  2. Posted December 14, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Love this. I asked my girl and got “say what you mean, jellybean”!

    It’s good to know she’s been listening!

    Thanks, Lindsey.


  3. Posted December 14, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    As someone who is at the initial stages of potty training, who spends HOURS perched over a baby toilet, I can appreciate Whit’s sentiment — and I’m glad he appreciates YOU for it! I do wonder a lot what Abra will remember from my seemingly nonstop efforts to teach her things — tangible, useful, and otherwise.

  4. Posted December 14, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Oh, I love this. And you are doing a wonderful job with your little creatures. I think you know that too 🙂

  5. Posted December 14, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Potty training here too. Would you (and maybe Whit) care to offer a master class? 🙂

    admin Reply:

    Yes, I responded privately to Elizabeth but it’s worth sharing – I have only ONE piece of advice, and that is wait. I remember my pediatrician telling me that 95% of kids were potty trained between 24 and 36 months, and it took between 3 days and 6-9 months to do. I thought to myself: who on earth would choose the long version of that? Grace was potty trained at 2 years, 8 months, and Whit right before his 3rd birthday. In both cases it was entirely accomplished within a weekend.

    Kathryn at Good Life Road Reply:

    I heartily second that advice! Emma was close to three and it was a cinch, especially once you give the big girl undies. Oh the pride! She brought the whole set out to display to everyone who came by.

  6. Posted December 14, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    LOVE this! I only hope I have taught my kids this much. (Gus is still refusing to use the toilet and he’ll be 3 in 2 weeks). xoxo

  7. Posted December 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    That’s so wonderful! Save this and show it to the when they’re teenagers! ; )

  8. Posted December 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Great question. I’m going to ask my kids the same. God knows what they’ll say…

  9. Posted December 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Suffice it to say your job here is done. 🙂 You can’t do much better then covering those three very important areas. xoxo! Yay Mom!

  10. Posted December 17, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Are you kidding me?? You’ve scored!!! Noticing is the BESTEST! Then you add manners and the potty and you’re just golden.