Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Envelope, Please!

November has arrived. This is not big news, but in my mind, November was a key marking point because it was the time when I was going to start toilet training Clara Anne. All through October, when Clara Anne seemed to be giving some signs of readiness, I kept thinking, well, maybe around November 1st we'll start. Part of my procrastinating attitude was legitimate: we had our little trip planned for mid-October, and I've read that you should only commence training when there are no other major transitions or traveling plans.

Also, my friend Amy in the States was going to be sending me a flat-rate mailing envelope with the book "Potty Training in Less than a Day" and also numerous pairs of training pants inside. "I'll just wait for that," I thought. "I'm sure it will be much easier after I've read the book." Plus those training pants sounded really handy. I have some little girl's undies, but surely I need the training pants, right?

At this point you may be thinking, why doesn't Rachel just go down to Wal-Mart and buy some training pants herself? (We do have a Wal-Mart in our city.) Well, the reasons for that are numerous. The local Wal-Mart does not carry training pants, because the local people do not use them, because the local people use an invention called "split pants." Split pants are simply that--the crotch seam is not sewed together so that the child can easily squat down and relieve himself. This also means that the child's private parts are no longer private, and instead are exposed for all the world to see. Unfortunately, it is common to find children relieving themselves in just about any public location, and even in homes parents do not necessarily bother to take children to the bathroom, but allow them to use the floor instead. (I am not joking, I have been in a friend's home when their young son was encouraged to pee on the floor; his mother said to me with a smile, "the floor is easy to clean!" "Sure," I smiled back weakly.) This is perhaps part of the reason that floors are always considered dirty in this culture--we take off our shoes when inside and put on slippers; an Asianese person would never walk around barefoot or stockinged foot even in his own house. But I digress...

So then recently when the envelope didn't arrive, my friend Amy sent a message. Apparently she had returned home one day, only to find the envelope she had sent to me on her front porch! It had been returned to her, marked as a terrorist threat! Yes, that's right, toilet training is now an internationally dangerous activity. You never know what might be in those cotton underwear! What kind of message is this sending me?! As if I wasn't intimidated enough by the idea of toilet training, now I discover that the US Government doesn't think I should toilet train Clara Anne either. Maybe I'm not the only one "terrified" of taking on this huge task! :) Amy had to try again to send it to me; the envelope hasn't yet arrived. Hmm...

Well, Clara Anne, enjoy your last few weeks of diaper bliss! Your time is coming, if only they would deliver the envelope, please!

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