potty training

"The Shitty Stop Saloon"

Most guys talk about a man cave as a place to escape and relax while watching sports. When you have two children in diapers at the same time, you manage to get creative about what constitutes a man cave. And then a third one comes along, and your remember the joy of it.

In the unfinished basement of an 86 year old house, there’s a high efficiency washing machine with my name on it (figuratively, of course). There’s two or three sacks of “used” cloth diapers gathered about this marvel of modern technology and gloves reminiscent of Breaking Bad.

cloth diapers 2.jpg

On Wednesday and Sunday nights, I trod down the steps to tackle all manner of excrement from cloth diapers and two twin cat litter pans beneath our wooden stairs. Before I started, I'd pop open a beer, plug my iPhone into a stereo I saved and retro-fitted from my middle school years (yep, old), and set it to play what My Better Half lovingly refers to as “my old fart music” (she’s right). I throw three days worth of cloth diapers in the basin and get down to scrubbing.

So here at the Shitty Stop Saloon, I take 30 minutes of musical silence twice a week and find comfort in the ritual of dirty work that remains a part of staying committed to cloth diapering.

After four years of this lovely routine, two children potty trained, we decided to do it again (and by “we,” I mean My Better Half). Our third child arrived in May of 2017, and I’ve started to realize how much I love the ritual of cleaning as way to care for and think of our children. It’s odd in the smelliest sense (pun intended!) to appreciate the value of an awful task, but it helps me absorb the awful with greater appreciation for how important each job/role is in our life.

saloon 2.jpg

Now in an even older house, we purchased a high efficiency laundry machines (this time the largest size they have for residential homes) as a Christmas present to ourselves and set to the work of making “The Shitty Stop Saloon Part Deuce” (get it? poop - #2).

Much like the first, I have the same stereo, plastic gloves (new gloves every month but same old style), and stacks of the same diapers that have covered the butts of all three of our children. However, technology and time have afforded us some upgrades like a curated play list, windows to the outside to air out the funk, and a steam setting that really blasts out the ick. In honor of the new space, my Better Half and two big kids made a sign to decorate the cave.

You’ll find me here every Wednesday and Sunday night cleaning the diapers for their next wear. Hopefully I only have one more year of this before potty training. Here’s hoping (not predicting) a less smelly future.

Full name added online only. We couldn’t bring ourselves to write expletives over the kids’ art. Parent-life.

Full name added online only. We couldn’t bring ourselves to write expletives over the kids’ art. Parent-life.

Be Prepared: The Potty Hits the Road

Summer seems to have finally arrived in Rochester, and for many of us, that means more time in the car traveling to activities or visiting family that lives out of town.

By the grace of God, our son recently potty trained. While in the heavens there was great exultation at this incredible development milestone, our thoughts turned to wise words from The Lion King: Be Prepared.

So…nigh on 2 years ago, our oldest achieved the same milestone as we prepared for a trip from Rochester to Myrtle Beach, SC. So a 30 month old and 6 month old sat like cherubs in the back of our Honda CRV as we disembarked for the beach.

I don’t think we made out of New York before our daughter exclaimed in mild panic:

The virtues of this potty can be summarized as such:  1. Sturdy and portable (with those all important side bars for stability when hunkering down)   2. Separate receptacle for catching waste (so you can pull over and “dump” it)   3. Arm & Hammer insert (to keep the odoriferous factor sanely controlled)

The virtues of this potty can be summarized as such:

1. Sturdy and portable (with those all important side bars for stability when hunkering down)

2. Separate receptacle for catching waste (so you can pull over and “dump” it)

3. Arm & Hammer insert (to keep the odoriferous factor sanely controlled)

“I need potty!”

Thankfully, I married well and wisely. My wife suggested that we bring the portable potty.

I never realized I could get so close to the steering wheel as my wife helped maneuver our daughter behind my seat to drop trowel and properly relieve herself into said receptacle, which we had packed as a last second precaution for the road.

As fortune would have it, my daughter felt so moved to have a bowel whilst we were stuck in the throws of stand-still traffic outside of the fabulous District of Columbia. As our son was screaming to be fed by his mother, our oldest lost a pound or two in the loo. The loo located directly behind the driver's seat.

So…this is all by way of saying: Be prepared, listen to your wife, and pack a potty. It’s no joke.