I reach up to grab the package from the top shelf, feeling the weight of pride fall off my shoulders and crash onto the tile floor.
I'm not talking about a size 6 dress. That ideal size that many women long for, especially after two pregnancies. Size 6, in that instance, is highly esteemed.
I'm talking about size 6 diapers... the size I promised myself I would never buy, because there was no way my kid would not be potty trained by then. A 38 pound child that doesn't know how to use the toilet? Gross. What kind of mom buys size 6 diapers?
I didn't think these judgmental thoughts specifically. I just happened to notice one day that size six diapers linger on the top shelf at the store, and I made a commitment to never purchase them. My own daughter was already wearing size 5 by her first birthday, so the fact that there is a larger size should not have surprised me. Yet, it did. Size 5 diapers fit 27+ pounds. I figured that should be sufficient to hold us over until potty-training. "The no size six" rule was a self-imposed deadline of sorts.
And here we are, a year and a half later, and Zianne is not potty trained. She just turned 2 1/2, so this isn't really a big deal by cultural standards, except we ran into a problem lately... her size 5 diapers started to chafe her legs. She would complain that her diapers were giving her an "ouchie" and when I removed them, red lines could be seen on her hips where the too-tight tabs were cutting into her skin.
When I made my no-size-six oath to myself, I didn't realize a number of things...
- That my child would continue to be a giant as a toddler, weighing in at almost 38 pounds at 2.5 years of age. I just exchanged all her 4T summer clothes for 5T, because I realized she would outgrow everything I bought back in March in the next few weeks.
- That I would have two kids in under two years and potty-training would be a distant to-do in the back of mind while I juggled breastfeeding, nap times, and disciplining a two-year old.
- That I am a working mom and potty-training requires you stay home for a few days. I am never home more than one day in a row each week.
- That Zianne, while super smart, has never been ahead of the curve on physical stuff. She was a late crawler and walker, so I don't know why I thought she might be early with potty-training.
And so I kept stuffing Zianne's buns into too-small diapers knowing that potty-training is just a few weeks away. "As soon as school gets out in May we will potty train," I promised myself. "She can just keep wearing size 5. I'll just fasten them loosely, so they don't hurt her skin," I decided. "We can't let this big box of size 5 diapers go unused," I justified.
But finally, after weeks of diaper leaks, slight chafing, and Z pulling her diaper off any chance she could, I gave in. We were on a trip to Washington to visit family. While Z was taking a nap at grandpa's house one day, I drove my car to Target, parked, and did the walk of shame into the store. I reached up and grabbed a package of those size 6 diapers for my UN-potty-trained 38 pound child and repented of every stupid mom judgment I've ever made.
It turns out, buying the size 6 diapers was not the embarrassing part. Believing I would never buy size 6 diapers is.
I know the truth... don't judge other moms. Don't condemn mothers who buy diapers for their 4 year old. Or their 11 year old. Or their adult child. I don't know the circumstances that might cause a mother to diaper her child for years or even decades. I have no right to eye those size 6 diapers on the top shelf with such a disdainful eye.
And really, I should give myself a break as well. I don't always need to live by the "rules" of motherhood I make for myself. Just because I set an expectation for myself when my child was one, doesn't mean I need to live and die by that expectation when she is two and a half. A number of factors have changed since I pledged to potty train at a young age... I have two children and we moved far away from any family who could assist us with the process. As a mom, I want to be flexible, fun, and brimming with grace for myself and others. Buying those size 6 diapers was a step in becoming the kind of mom I want to be.