We walked up the stairs together her little feet ahead of mine, cherry socks poking out below her pants.
“I want to read the George book today. The one where he goes swimming.”
“We can do that.” As we walked down the hall towards her room I prompted, “I would like you to try to go potty before stories and quiet time.”
“Nope,” she said in determined toddler fashion. As I looked into those blue sapphire eyes that now glowed with the test of power I decided not to protest.
She immediately found Curious George on the bookshelf and cuddled into my lap. As I read I could feel her soft blond hair tickle my lip. I lifted my chin just enough so that it rested on top of her head. I felt her weight become soft in my lap, arms relaxed, legs hanging loose, her head cocked to the side. The quietness of our moment and energy from the morning began to lull her into an afternoon meditation.
She was liking the new routine of quiet time in place of a nap. After all, she had decided naps were a past time weeks ago and this new arrangement meant she had a chance to play freely in her room. However, staying in her room had proved to be a challenge.
When the story was over she awoke from her trance and settled onto the quilt with her teddy and a few more books. She looked at me with hesitant eyes. The silence between us needed no words. The moment of separation is always so intense.
“Remember, if you stay in here the whole time you can have some bunny crackers when it’s over.”
She nodded, serious eyes but I could see a tip of the lip with delight for the possibility of something sweet. Upon her request I did not close the door but left it cracked. I walked down the hall to my room and settled onto the bed with my book for twenty-five minutes of respite.
She did it. Twenty-five minutes all by herself without coming out. I was enthused to greet her in her room and congratulate her. Upon entering I found her lurking by the door and then my nose was met with the unmistakable scent of a code brown. I refrained from stating the obvious.
She initiated, “Mom, I pooped.” And a moment later, “And I peed. There’s some on the floor over there.” She pointed to two small spots on the carpet by the bed.
“You did?” I remarked trying to mask my sadness. “Okay, well let’s go into the bathroom and get changed.”
After helping her clean up I said, “If you need to go potty that bad you know you can always call for me.”
She replied using my own words of warning, “But you said then I wouldn’t get any bunny crackers.”