So yesterday I went over to babycenter.com and read the thing about your 19-month-old. I used to read BabyCenter stuff way back in the day, just to see what’s “supposed to” be going on with my kid. (“Week 1: He sleeps, poops, and cries.”) It wasn’t groundbreaking information, but I liked to sort of get a feel for where we were and where we were going. After a while, I gave up because I’m not really a fan of the kind of one-size-fits-all information general websites like that can provide. (I was the same way with those “your pregnancy week by week” things, where they’re all, “This week you’re puking 20 times a day” and “This week you’re getting your gestational diabetes test” and “This week you’re swollen and you’ll never wear the same shoe size again” and “This week you should be packing your hospital bag,” because, well, no, I’m not, thanks.)
The Your 19-Month-Old thing went something like this:
Hey, slacker. It’s time to think about potty training!
This could be a good time to gear up for toilet training. Watch for signs of readiness, which include showing interest in other people’s bathroom habits (?) and being able to complete the New York Times crossword puzzle in less than 20 minutes, in ink, while sitting on the toilet (in the alternative, a less-advanced child might show readiness by asking insightful questions about the Sports Illustrated article on Jim Tressel he read while on the pooper).
Also consider whether your child is experiencing any big changes in his life at the moment, like a new sibling, being accepted for publication in a highly respected law journal, or beating Novak Djokovic in the French Open. If he is, you may want to wait for things to settle down before introducing the potty. Finally, make sure you have time, patience, and hard liquor to deal with toilet training.
If you’re totally batshit crazy, consider this program developed by a woman who wants to keep disposable diapers out of landfills and lives under a rock and has never heard of cloth diapers. It involves the following: absolutely no pants whatsoever in the house for three months; being kicked out of daycare because your child is not allowed to wear a diaper under the pants he is allowed to wear only after leaving the house although now that I think about it you don’t take your kid to daycare because you’re not one of Those Mothers; handcuffing yourself to your child; an elaborate system involving a hand-made quilt of piddle pads designed for use with small dogs on your carseat in the event of mildly disappointing accidents; complete destruction of whatever feeble remnants of a social life you’re still clinging to even though 87% of your friends who don’t have kids have no interest in ever hanging out with you because you’re crazy and nobody wants to sit on your peed-on toddler-butt-print furniture; doing the “potty dance” for your significant other; making toilet time a family event;1 never having sex again for the rest of your life; a “compact portable potty to take out and about”; the realization that at least one of you will never be “out and about” again because if you have to take a diaperless child and a compact portable potty to go to, say, the grocery store, you might as well not even bother and you can just become shut-in hoarders now; a medium-sized dog crate; 12 litter boxes; and a rolled-up newspaper.
Up too early?
If your child gets up too early to do household chores like churn butter, wax the floors, and make sprightly pinafores for the local townspeople out of fabric featuring humble pastoral scenes while you’re still trying to sleep, try putting him to bed later or having him take a shorter nap. Water is wet. If possible, have him read Infinite Jest before bed. Wedge 57 melatonin tablets into his mouth in the evening. Consider heroin.
A 19-month-old child is ready to start recreationally performing the logic games portion of the LSAT. Give him several sharpened #2 pencils; scratch paper; and actual, old LSAT tests, not those poser practice tests.
If your child has a toy he loves and might be possessive about and a friend is coming over, remove the toy from the premises before the friend arrives. That way, they can’t fight over the toy and your child will hate you instead of the friend. However, if your child has advanced fighting skills, consider enrolling him in a mixed martial arts camp for toddlers. If you get an early start, he might qualify for the MMA Elite 28-pound division (where, unfortunately, he must wear a diaper, but it can be one of those cool ones like Sumo wrestlers wear). If he does not have advanced fighting skills, consider a more modest activity, such as Iron Chef competition.
Of course, by 19 months, your child should have a blog with an Alexa ranking in the top 100,000 and membership in a reliable ad network. Of course, all children are different and mature at different rates; if your slow child is lagging behind in this respect, it’s time to get to work now or he will miss out on lucrative blog conference sponsorships this summer.
1. I am one of those apparently rare puritans who refuses to use the bathroom in the presence of my significant other or have him use the bathroom in the presence of me.