My son has never liked being changed, not even when he was very small. He is absurdly strong and his hips seem to have the superhuman element to them that allows for him to swivel out of all but the tightest grips. He screams and he asks for whomever is not changing him at that moment. He doesn’t care if he hasn’t been wiped yet and he doesn’t mind struggling for ten minutes at a time. This is who he is.
Now that he has shown an incredible interest in potty training, I am finding myself extremely relieved. I cannot wait until I never have to hold him down as I struggle to keep the biodegradable insert in place for his earth friendly diaper of choice. I will not miss the dance that we have to play to get him to just lay down and start the work of changing him. I will not miss the chase or the defiance in his voice when we ask him the status of his diaper.
This process also makes me think about why he never let us change him. It makes me think about his insistence that he be in control of everything that is happening to him. While he has always wanted our help with things that he can’t do, he has always made it known that he is the one in charge, that he is the one orchestrating the whole thing. Seeing as how we have changed hundreds (perhaps thousands) of diapers in his two years of life, he has let us do it. It may have been a struggle, but he has never let himself go unchanged for very long.
Even though the metaphor may be a little gross, I wonder who we are really willing to let change us. With all of the excrement that we come up with in our formative stages of work and collaboration, who are the people that we actually will let wipe it away and give us a fresh start each day? Who are the ones that we struggle with, but inevitably allow to see us at our most vulnerable? And as we are training to be better at what we do, who are those people who will encourage us and give us incentives to keep on doing it the right way?
Those people are the ones that I want to be surrounded by: those mentors that don’t care if we fail? occasionally, those ones that stay with us even though we may struggle against them. They are the ones that see our successes as their successes. They are the ones that cannot wait for us to stop needing them so much and go our own way.
I want my son to outgrow me and our current struggle, just as I would like to outgrow all of those that keep on pushing me to be better at collaborating, communicating and creating the future. I’m sorry for pushing back so much and for all of the crap you have had to put up with. Soon, I will be better. I promise.