Being a parent means that you pretty quickly become comfortable with talking about things that you didn't bring up in public before.
One of these things is poop.
You talk about the color.
You talk about how often the baby does it.
You talk about how well the baby handles having its diaper changed.
And, of course, somewhere after the first year you start bringing up one of those most magical moments in a parent's life - potty training.
(The baby's potty training, I mean. Not yours. Unless you remember being potty trained with some degree of pride. Maybe you do. That's between you and your parents.)
When Kara and I stopped reading the baby manuals, and started reading the toddler manuals, that was one of the things brought up more frequently than any other - when to start the potty training process.
Some parents are just plain too eager - there are people who start before the kid can even move, holding their kid over an old, unused (I hope, anyway) salad bowl every time they make the faintest of grunts.
But even the most lackadaisical of folks suddenly get a lot more interested in potty training once the kid can walk. It is just a matter of time, they think, until I'm not throwing money at diapers, and wipes, and creams for when the baby gets a rash in a place that should not be named.
One of the steps in the process of potty training is, of course, getting the kid to recognize that going potty requires some kind of reaction. Most babies will, so their parents claim, make some sort of face, or otherwise indicate that something is happening in the diaper area.
When Mihret first came home, Kara and I didn't recognize these signs. Kara's parents claimed they could always tell when things were on the move, and their accuracy was probably about 75%.
Recently, however, Mihret has done us a favor and made it a lot more obvious.
Mihret is more snuggly lately than she was in the previous months. Before, she had just started walking, and wanted to spend all her time on the floor scampering to and fro, fro and to.
But now one of her favorite things to do is sit in an available lap and page through a book. Note that I didn't say read, because, for the most part, she likes turning the pages a lot more than she likes hearing the story on those pages.
She will often engage in lap time for five, or ten, or fifteen minutes, which is pretty good for a kid her age. And even when she wants to get down, she can often be persuaded to stay if you grab a different book from nearby and crack it open.
What can I say? In our household, daddy has a pretty standard rule - potty time is alone time. Please, if at all possible, do not attempt to engage me while I'm having a moment alone. If you catch my meaning.
It appears that Mihret would also prefer to adhere to this rule. Because if she has to go, she will hop off your lap like her tiny baby booty is on fire. And then comes "the crouch." "The crouch" is usually short-lived - it takes a few seconds or so - and then she stands up straight again and it's time to pick up the baby and smell her, even though you are already 99% sure you know what just happened.
Recently at the house of Patterson, we experienced something new.
The family was all in Mihret's room, which can be a lot of fun. Mihret has all her various objects of fun in there, and she can pick and choose what she wants to do while Kara and/or myself play along or look on.
So there we were, sitting, watching, and playing, when Mihret did "the crouch." She chose to do it near her changing table, which we took as a coincidence until she pulled a diaper out of the slot in the table, and brought it to us.
Kara and I looked at each other. The baby was picked up, and checked, and sure enough, she needed the diaper in question.
My rule with Mihret has always been that she can't actually "do" something until she can repeat it on a regular basis. Kids "say" stuff all that time that's actually just babble, and frankly, I'm 99% sure that my daughter didn't say, "I'll be Dave Coulier," to me the other morning.
(Yes, I really did hear her say it.)
So, imagine my surprise when, the very next day, sitting in her room, she started bringing me diaper after diaper. And, thinking she was just playing, I said, "Thank you," and didn't think to check her, until ten minutes later.
Sure enough, the girl gets it.
"I do this. Then I smell bad and feel icky. So I must bring the big person a means of cleaning me up, so that I can be all dry and snuggly again."
Ultimately, I don't yet think Mihret is ready for potty training. She's still pretty young, and there are other bits o' knowledge the kiddo needs before she's ready to commit to taking off the diaper and not putting it back on.
But it's a step in the right direction.