I am crouched on the bathroom floor, my chin in hand, elbow cushioned by the hem of Little Friend’s towel. She is sitting on the kiddie potty, double-wrapped in her adult-sized towel, cherubic face poking out, spikes of unruly dandelion fluff drying on her head. She is, in a sense, a pint-sized queen on her throne.
I am her faithful subject.
For a few minutes, I am not thinking about the food-crusted pans petrifying on my stove or the new episode of Community that started three minutes ago or the general hilarity of my position (chin in hand on bathroom floor). I’m thinking that I’ve never seen a more beautiful sight than my daughter’s eyelashes fringing the tops of rosy cheeks.
She grunts a bit in her attempts to “poof.”
I’m spending some quality time on my dubiously clean bathroom floor because Little Friend has declared “potty” after her bath. And no one in her right mind ignores a two-year-old willingly potty training herself. To while away the time, I’m thinking of eyelashes instead of pans.
“Deedus,” she says, her chin bobbing in the mound of terry cloth.
“Jesus?” I query the queen. “Baby Deedus. Dar.” Translated: “Baby Jesus. Star.” It’s a request for a favorite story: Baby Jesus’s birth and that important little star–(“No Mama,” she would correct me. “Biiiiig)–that important big star that stood sentry over the scene.
So I am telling the story as pee tinkles in the potty. The angel. The shepherds who say “No way Jose!” when they learn of Baby Jesus’s arrival. (Little Friend chuckles, her eyes twinkling brighter than that Biiiiig star.) The sheep who say “BaaaAaaaAaa,” which means “No way, Jose!” in sheepish, don’t you know? Then the star earns its place in history, leading those sheep and shepherds to the Baby Jesus.
“More,” requests Little Friend. “More Deedus.”
From my spot on the floor, elbow falling asleep and chin turning red, I realize suddenly why photographers always seem to assume some sort of bizarre leaning crouch. It’s all about perspective. From my angle, everything about this moment is new. A new perspective on Little Friend. A realization that I don’t want to drop this moment in the abyss of memories lost. It’s simple enough, I know. A terry cloth towel. A green potty. Eyelashes on cheeks. Elbow on floor. Baby Jesus and a star. But if I’m not careful, I’ll drop the moment the second bedtime is achieved and I run downstairs to grab the Tivo remote to call up Community.
I unleash the flood of tender love emanating from somewhere behind my breastbone and tell Little Friend, “Jesus loves you and wants to give you a hug. Can I give you Jesus’s hug?” Her damp head leans into my cheek as I wrap my arms around her, potty and all.
I love potty training.