Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Connor Moments - Potty Training

I'm going to call them "Connor moments", moments that so perfectly define the craziness in my life as wife and mother.

Since I've kept my own last name legally (frankly, I never found the time to bother with changing all the school certificates and passports) - this also conveniently separates the real, true me from the absurdity of my present life.

Connor moments don't define as much as point out the ironies of life in the day-to-day struggle for perfection. They bring me back to earth just when I think things are going well, make me realize that things ARE going well even if they aren't perfectly, and make me laugh at myself and the world. I don't know if I grow from them, but I certainly find myself dying to share them with family and friends.

I had my fill of them last week.

Imagine our English playgroup with the twins on Wednesday. For those who hadn't read my blog on potty-training, it became fairly obvious pretty quickly, since Aidan and Matthew and I spent a good amount of time out of the room and in the bathroom. Aidan DID have to go once, the rest of the trips were outings of interest. "Oh, are you potty training the twins?" - this after our third trip to the mysterious and exciting world of bathrooms outside the home. I couldn't help bragging - a pretty sure sign a Connor moment is bound to follow soon. "Yes, and we've come home from kindergarten wearing the same outfits we went in, two days in a row now, both of them." I fairly beamed and considered myself the model of moderm motherhood.

Next imagine the end of playgroup, one and a half hours later. No - both twins are still dry - an ending that simple wouldn't be worthy to call itself a true Connor moment.

The crowning moment arrived when the older children join us for the end of the session, and my seven year old walks into the room with the telltale wet spot down the front of his shorts - and T-shirt.

Irony, humility, and perspective all in one - that's what defines a Connor moment.

I'm going to assume the irony and humility are clear; but the perspective took a minute to hit me. You see, for me, that wet spot in Andrew's pants was as clear as day, as big as a house, as obvious as....well as obvious as my failing parenting skills. Sue was next to me laughing the whole time - and I had to laugh with her figuring we were both in on the same secret. Let's face it - it WAS funny. But when I said something to her about it, Sue looked confused. Turns out she was smiling at my son, not noticing the stained pants he came in in. And when I pointed them out, it really didn't make a difference.

Turns out I - or my children's toilet habits - are not the center of the universe.

Karen had been in charge of leading the older children, and HAD noticed the breach in etiquette. Her take on the whole thing was a shrug of the shoulders and a perfect imitation of Ryan's reaction when SHE had noticed her brother's indiscretion. Well, it was Ryan with a British action but the actions were identical. Resigned shrug of the shoulders, deep sigh, rolled eyes and a tired, knowing "Oh Andrew, you are going to be in SO much trouble with Daddy."

"Perfect imitation of a mother." said Karen.

So I laughed and we went home. The afternoon wasn't ruined. My self-image wasn't harmed. And life went on peacefully, undisturbed by a wet stain, the world still revolving on its axis and around the sun.

Connor moments are the kind of moments you could right a sit-com episode around, but deep down they are moments of perspective, where I remember to treat it all lightly.

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