diapers, nursery school, Papa Jerry, potty-training, Yakir

Starting a Revolution…One Diaper at a Time

Yakir is potty training himself.
I say that he’s training himself because the Sussmans have some pretty hard and fast rules. And one of these rules is “No potty training takes place until the child is good and ready.”
Now, this rule means that we have only brought one child to three year old gan (nursery school) potty trained. Our boys don’t seem interested in the whole training thing, and we have never – ever – pushed them on it until it’s gotten ridiculous. We always get a kick out of going to nursery school and having the teacher say, “What do you mean your son isn’t trained? Almost everyone is trained!” and then we look around to see the puddles under many of the children’s desks and the discarded piles of peed-upon clothing. Yeah, your kids are really trained.
Our favorite story was with Amichai. When he started three year old gan with a very strict teacher, she declared that it was ridiculous that he wasn’t trained and that she would soon whip him into shape. “Ok,” I said with a smirk, “You go ahead and do that.”
At Chanukah, she came to me and said, “This is the hardest child I’ve ever seen in my 20 year career. What do you think about waiting for Pesach to train him?”
Told ya.
And so, we’ve always waited until that golden moment – the opportunity to seize the day – when they will be trained within 48 hours with nary an accident to speak of.
And then Yakir was born.
He’s named for my Papa Jerry, and you will often find me muttering to myself, “Papa! Come on! Give a woman a rest. What were you thinking with this one?” 
Yakir has the energy and spirit that any 22 year old mother would dream of enjoying.
But 22 I’m not.
So, last week when his teacher, Anat, told me that he ripped off his diaper and declared himself potty trained, I laughed. And then I proceeded to put his diaper back on when he came home from school, day after day after day. At some point, she pulled me aside and berated me, as only the daycare teachers in Israel know how to do, saying that he really was having success in school and that it was high time that I got with the program.
Good lord.
So, we kept his diaper off for a few days, and watched him pee and poop all over the floor of the house. Meanwhile, he was perfect at daycare, and I was stunned each day when I picked him up and he was still wearing the same clothes.
Finally, a week or so into the process, he started catching on at home as well, although his favorite place to pee is still in the garden or on the bricks on our porch. Hmmmm…
He’s still pooping in his pants at least twice a day at home, which makes for some awesome afternoons and some very creative early morning fun. I’m hoping that one will take care of itself sometime soon.
And apparently, he’s leading a revolution in school. Anat reports that he recently went around to all 100 children in the various classes in the daycare who range in age from 3 month to 3 years, declaring that everyone needed to throw off their diapers.
That evening, I pictured children across the yishuv declaring themselves diaper-free while peeing on the floor, and pointing the finger at the rabble-rouser, Yakir.
Yes, we went into hiding after that incident.
Never fear, Papa. This guy is putting your antics, your energy and your creativity to good use. Looks like he will live up to those Purple Hearts that you earned…and then some.

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