Gold stars

There’s a green star stuck to the coaster. There are two gold stars on the floor, about three feet apart. There are worn stars scattered around the carpet; points curled, foil tarnished, backsides no longer sticky. Everywhere we turn, star stickers turn up.

The sheet upon which the stickers once lived, pulled fresh and untouched from its package just three days ago, is now battered, half-bare and folded, manhandled by wet, greedy hands.

From that sheet to the floor? What’s the progression? How do star stickers find themselves separated from their backing and borne into the wild?

First, Sierra must use the potty. Successfully. No release, no star.

Then, the dominoes begin falling. The potty: Dump. Flush. Rinse. Sierra: Wipe. Wash. Dry.

That Sierra took it upon herself to begin potty training is both frustrating and inspired. Naturally, we weren’t ready. I don’t think any parent has ever been ready. Sure, we might have said to ourselves, “Hey, maybe it’s time to let our child use the bathroom on his/her own.” But no one is really ready when it begins – when the diapers come off and the pull-ups and underwear and toilet paper and accidents and constant sitting and crouching and waiting and waiting and waiting finally take place.

Maybe Sierra was aware of that anxiety. Maybe she was fully aware that, unless she took charge and got the ball rolling, she’d never get to wear the new underwear we’d purchased months ago.

She’d never get to sit and read on the toilet. She’d never get to wash her hands seven or eight times a day.

She’d never get to start depositing star stickers throughout the house.

Oh. There’s another one stuck to my sock.

It’s blue.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 18th, 2009