Tuesday, October 12, 2021

On Gratitude and Learning

One recent day
I sang Five Green Speckled Frogs 
over and over again
while crouched in front of the toilet
where my young granddaughter was perched
she would pee

I sang Five Green Speckled Frogs 
with hand motions as well
many times in a row
at her insistence 
and perhaps a bit of mine
as I tried to lighten and normalize 
this new learning

while in a nearby room
I heard her young sister crawling about
knocking things over
chattering and cooing

and was immediately thankful 
for the other caregiver in the house
dear Poppa will tend to the littlest one 
I need not worry about her

just keep on singing

and thinking
isn't it extraordinary
a miracle 
such a luxury
to be proficient at
using the bathroom

somewhere along the way
I started taking it for granted

why not feel 
the magic and wonder 
each day 

the sheer amazing learning
the accomplishment
the good skill
of so many of us

despite so many obstacles

again and again we are reminded
this is such a divisive time
with passionate zealous strident adults 
believing so many different truths
often in direct opposition to one another

where is 
grace and delight
about what we have in common

we are toilet-trained


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!


P.S. Just in case you need the words to Five Little Speckled Frogs - hahaha

Five little speckled frogs
Sitting on a speckled log
Eating some most delicious bugs - yum! yum!
One jumps into the pool
Where it is nice and cool
Now there are four green speckled frogs...

[Repeat lyrics with descending number of frogs - four, three, two, one, until you have no green speckled frogs...]


  1. Maureen, oh, my I love so much where you went with this! "On Gratitude and Learning" absolutely. That was so sweet imagining you singing the Five Little Speckled Frogs to your little one. (She is Frog, right? Is that why this song is a favorite?) I just spent a week hosting someone who had "so many different truths
    often in direct opposition to one another"

    However, we did find many areas of "grace and delight about what we had in common."

    I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that being toilet trained was not one of them! Hope Frog had success.

  2. I love how you take such a banal activity as using the toilet and turning it into a thing of common wonder--and adding the humorous touch of a children's song (which is now stuck in my head, thank you!). In this month of gratitude, it makes me wonder just what else I've overlooked, thought too mundane to be grateful for? Wonderful post!

  3. Absolutely wonderful poem, Maureen. I sat many times with my oldest granddaughter trying to extol the rewards of being toilet trained. "yet/where is /grace and delight/about what we have in common. I am go glad that Denise Krebs suggested reading your slice poem.

  4. Like several others, Denise, sent me to your post. I chuckled because we are currently "in training" with grandson who insists on multiple readings from a variety of potty books stacked on the bathroom counter.