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      Elmo saves the day~potty training 101

      I have Elmo on speed dial. This furry, flaming red, friendly monster congratulates the Deien children when they first go poo-poo in the potty.

      When you dial Elmo TMs number, the phone rings at my friend and co-worker, Chad Douglas TM house. Chad answers, sighs lightly, does a quick vocal stretch and presto-chango, Elmo comes on the line.

      When our 2 1/2-year-old, Audrey, had her first opportunity to talk to Elmo this week, her face glowed with a mixture of amazement, elation and pride as her favorite Sesame Street fellow cheered her accomplishment. You realize it TMs no small feat. When a toddler makes the transition from diapers to big-kid underpants, it TMs analogous to an adult landing that long-dreamed of promotion. My newly potted trained nephew Nicklaus will gladly flash his new Batman underwear to anyone willing to look.

      Audrey is last in the line of Deien girls to call Elmo. Of course, I would have said the same thing of our daughter Emma nine years ago. Once I got the postcard welcoming Audrey to the future graduating class of 2027, that pretty much sealed the deal.

      It TMs bittersweet"every parent dreams of the day of ditching the diaper"but it also brings you a giant leap out of babyhood, and those precious, innocent days you TMll never experience again. I TMm not discouraged though. Chad and his wife now have their own darling baby, Noah. In a year or two, when potty training rolls around, Chad can call my house, because I have a direct line to Miss Piggy.

      Take care~Sarah D.