So September proved to be a landmark month in the household: my 3-and-a-half year old son is now officially potty trained.
That means no more diapers.
And diapers are expensive.
But I'm sure the cost will quickly be absorbed somewhere else.
During this past month, I had to face one of my greatest fears as a parent.
And I stood and faced it head on.
You see, before I ever even thought about having kids, I always wondered how parents delt will the public bathroom with kids-on-the-cusp of potty training.
I've been in some nasty bathrooms in my day, but I don't think my boys will be seeing the inside of a rock club's bathroom anytime soon.
But then there's always Six Flags, A Durham Bulls game or - gasp! - the fast food restaurant in the middle of nowhere on a long road trip.
So a few weeks back the time finally came for me: I had just arrived at the soccer fields where my 6-year-old has practice. And after about two minutes the little guy told me he had to go pee.
"For real?" I said.
"For real," he said.
"But you just went before we left the house," I said.
"Dad," he said with a huff.
Then he stomped his foot on the ground and said, "I have to go potty!"
And that's when we saw the Port-A-John.
So we both went in and I instructed him not to touch anything. He peed in the urinal but couldn't keep his eyes of the exposed toliet seat.
We left I and took a deep breath of fresh air.
And then he stopped.
"I have to go potty dad," he said.
"But you just went," I said.
"I have to poo," he said.
So we went back in - and like the trooper father that I am - I held my son over the toilet seat and watched him take a dump into the cesspool below. He was sort of tottering on the edge of the toilet seat and began putting his hands where no human should ever have to put them unless in the middle of some sort of tortutous interogation.
I tried to get his hands in control while removing him off the seat and then he slid forward... leaving a streak of poo on the seat and across his butt check. So now do I not only have to wipe his ass (have you ever seen toilet paper in a Port-A-John?) but clean the seat off as well.
At one point I thought one of his shoes - from the movie Cars - was going to fall in and that I would find myself trying to explain to a crying toddler why I wasn't going to retrieve his favorite shoe from the mucky muck of poo.
So I faced the public bathroom fear - in a Port-A-John no less - and lived to tell about it.
And yes, they had hand sanitizer in there.
This is Chapel Hill afterall.