The Hidden Costs of Potty Training

I’ve been turning this topic over in my head trying to find just the right way to present it. Also, I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to share this story, but here goes.

This past spring, my 27-month-old daughter decided that she was done wearing diapers. She, of course, picked the most opportune time-a week before a scheduled vacation-to make this choice. She had actually done pretty well, there were maybe only one or two accidents, and then we went to the park. This park had one of those towers constructed of metal mesh. My toddler climbed up the stairs and was playing with a steering wheel. All was well and then we heard a child yell “Hey mommy! It’s raining!”. (There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.)
I look over and the child is standing underneath the metal platform, holding out his hands to get them wet. Above him stands my dismayed daughter, in the midst of an accident.

Chances are, if you are a parent, you are familiar with the cost of parenting to your pride, but you can multiply this by an order of magnitude when you are potty training.

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Parental Perestroika

Today, at a playdate, a fellow mother (with an older daughter) gave my 2 year old a band-aid with cartoon characters on it, and I waited with baited breath to see if the mystique of plain band aids would forever be shattered in the Austin household. In our house, plain band aids are an amazing treat which possess magical powers of healing. They are doled out sparingly, as I was raised in a house where oxygen was considered the best healer, and only for actual wounds, much to my children’s chagrin. I, of course, realize that I am fighting a losing battle, and eventually the clamoring for “cool” character band aids will begin, but today I dodged a bullet.

For my toddlers (and my four year old who missed preschool last year), our household is a command economy. Prior to today, they didn’t even realize that band aids came in varieties other than flesh tone. Their exposure to the retail world is very limited. We watch PBS and videos, so they rarely see a commercial. They don’t have to wait in 10-hour bread lines. (They feel the hardship of the two minutes it takes to make a PB&J). However, their awareness of goods and services is largely limited to what I choose to present to them. I know that this blissful season is about to pass.

With my oldest daughter attending camp this summer and starting preschool this fall, the demands for new toys, activities and gadgets are certain to increase. We’ve already been invaded by the silly band craze, although I can take solace in the amount of time it took to reach us. They are destined to see more and more friends with neat things and skills and to ask to have them for themselves. Thus, the command economy will crumple under gradually increasing pressure, just as the USSR was forced to adopt perestroika, easing its economic stricture in order to survive. Long live capitalism!

What material pressures do you experience at your house?

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Hello world!

This is my first foray into the world of blogging.  I chose this name because someone once told me that I had majored in “Momonomics” after I chose to stay home with my kids and I had majored in Economics.  So I have decided to talk about how my knowledge of economics (such of it as there is) has impacted my parenting style.

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