Posts Tagged ‘bladder control or lack thereof’

“My poo was a bit dribbly yesterday,” The Pixie announced casually at dinner. “Today it was like a treasure. There were lots of bits like a big soup.”

And then she lifted her fork to her mouth and kept on eating. What’s more, so did I.

Now, I have previously blogged my theory that I crossed an invisible line the moment I was put in stirrups during my labour with Mr Justice. Or perhaps it was during my first internal examination during that pregnancy. Doesn’t matter. Pretty much from the moment Mr Justice was born, there seemed to be no such thing as Too Much Information for me and I always thought it was something about becoming a parent. 

Except, well, I always knew my husband didn’t quite make the journey across that line. He’s still incredibly squeamish when it comes to bodily fluids. Just yesterday, he shouted out from a toilet trip with our daughter: “We’ve got an emergency situation here!!!”. Turns out there was a bit of wee on the floor and The Pixie’s bottom wasn’t entirely wiped clean. I don’t know about anybody else but them’s a dream toilet run in my books.

But then a chance conversation with my friend MM got me thinking that maybe it was only the mums that had “crossed over”. When I told him (a loving hands-on father to a five-year-old boy) that I was planning to write a blog post about my children’s individual vomiting styles – for example, Tiddles McGee is “The Perculator” who gurgles for a few minutes before finally delivering the goods – MM went very quiet and perhaps a little pale. “I’ll really look forward to reading that,” he mumbled in a way that made me think he rather hoped someone would burst in and make him eat his own hand instead. 

And then a recent reunion with two of my longest serving friends J9 and Ay-Kay put a complete end to my whole line-crossing theory. 

After a downing a few cocktails with my dear friends, I found myself speaking quite openly about my lack of bladder control. Which was followed by the kind of uncomfortable silence where you could hear even a driblet of urine drop. 

Then, the very next morning, Ay-Kay told me she’d found a pair of my underpants in the car. Now, before anybody starts getting any ideas, they had fallen out of my luggage, people. Out of my luggage!

My first thought was not “How embarrassing!” but “Please don’t let them be the Granny Pants”.

Luckily they were the nice frilly black pair. Ay-Kay even said she was almost impressed until she realised that there was a big hole in them (near the top elastic, people, not the crotch! Sheesh…). And she handed them back to me, not even asking how the hole had got there or even why I’d packed a pair of holey undies on an interstate trip. At first I thought “Aw, she knows me so well she doesn’t even need to ask…” but then, remembering my admissions the previous night and her reaction, I suddenly realised “Oh!…. She just doesn’t want to know…“.

And that’s when I realised the truth. You see, my friend Ay-Kay is a war-weary mother of four, who must have seen most things parenting small children can throw your way. And so that truth is this: there is a line you cross over when you become a parent that allows you to deal proficiently with your children’s snot, chuck and shit. And then there is another line further on that only I seem to have crossed where too much information is never too much.Which is probably why I blog so cheerfully about dribbly poo, menstrual accidents and vegetable porn stars.

Just a theory.

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When it comes to gauging my own emotional health, I’m very much like Mr Justice and his inability to monitor his bladder: neither of us realises we’ve pushed it too far until – oops! –  it’s too late.

In Mr Justice’s case, he starts out by adopting the “hands forward, bottom back” move favoured by chorus-line choreographers all over the globe. It’s at this point that I gently ask him if he needs to go to the toilet, to which he replies somewhat emphatically “I don’t need to go!”, all the while pushing his bottom even further back as if trying to disassociate himself from it all together. I think we all know how that particular scenario ends. 

In my case, my husband gently suggests I might like to “take a break” from blogging – to which, I reply, with my voice higher and tighter than a tight-rope, “No, no. I’m fine. I’m completely and utterly FUCKING FINE!” And then I promptly burst into tears, which is a different kind of waterworks from Mr Justice’s but a surprising release all the same. 

And so I really am going to listen to my husband for a change and take a break. Yes, you heard me: I’m going to take a whole week off blogging and go frolic in the countryside with my family far away from my computer.

But I am not forsaking you, oh loyal readership-of-three. Watch this space next week as I embody the spirit of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and schedule a handful of choice posts from my back catalogue, one each day for your reading pleasure. But then, maybe you need a break too?

Anyway, I’ll see y’all back here on the 6th July with at least ONE new joke tucked under my belt. I promise it’ll be a doozy!

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You know how when you get married there are one or two guests at your wedding that you had never met before and never end up meeting again? Well, for me and One Little Bird (OLB) – one of my husband’s friends from his uni days and one-time housemate –  we were that person for each other for nine long years, especially since neither of us thought to get married again in order for our paths to cross. Oh, and living in different countries for most of that time probably also played a part. 

Then last weekend, we finally met again with our husbands and assorted children at the beach with slightly uncertain expectations – at least on my part. OLB had herself the advantage of occasionally reading my blog in the interim years (she’s my rarely-mentioned fourth reader) so she would have definitely been expecting a harried-looking woman in unironed clothes barely maintaining control of her children or her bladder. I, unfortunately, was worried that I wouldn’t recognise her without her wedding dress on but was reassured by the fact she would be accessorized by her sister Jools, with whom I’ve had the fortune and pleasure of meeting numerous times outside of “smart casual dress” occasions. 

But there was something else – some other, entirely self-induced expectation in the air. In the car on the way to the beach, I had found myself singing “First we take Manhattan… then we take Berlin” for no apparent reason. This little musical interlude was then followed by a short monologue about how I was pretty certain that it had originally been a Leonard Cohen song and how there’d been that 80s cover version by a female singer, but who that singer was I could not remember for the life of me.

“OLB or Jools might know”, my husband suggested, either because he had no idea himself or was hoping to put an end to the conversation. “Or even Mr D.”

All we knew about Mr D – OLB’s husband – was that he had resumed his studies since returning to Australia. “Perhaps he’s doing a degree in musicology at the School of Rock”, I said hopefully. 

“Or at least doing a thesis on songs that contain the word ‘Berlin’,” added my husband. 

“I wonder how many songs *do* mention Berlin,” I mused. 

“A hundred?” guessed my husband. “Certainly enough for a PhD.”

That was certainly heartening news – not just because I might get the answer to my question but also because those hard-earned tax-dollars (of my husband’s) might still be funding such Important Works.

But in all the excitement of meeting up on the beach with everyone and me cracking all the “Why aren’t you wearing your wedding dress?” jokes (my, how we laughed), I never did get to find out A) what Mr D was studying or B) the answer to my question (at least not at the time – thanks to the power of google, I now know the singer to be Jennifer Warnes but, quite frankly, it would have been much more exciting if Mr D had simply handed me his leatherbound PhD and said “The answer to your question lies within”.).  

And for the record, I totally lost sight of my children at least four times on the beach and ended up sitting in a puddle of cordial and so at least maintained the illusion that I had lost control of my bladder. And thus I neatly lived up to any expectations OLB might have had of me after all these years – just like that! You see, I do so hate to disappoint.

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Having touched lightly on this delightful subject in a previous post (see “Poo-tential“), it struck me the other day while I was scrubbing skid marks off the children’s underpants how there was so much more to say about the art of Toilet Training. To help guide you through this veritable minefield, where at any moment a chocolate bomb might go off in your face, here are some random musings straight from the desk of the Not Drowning Mother. 

“Denial is a river of piss in your son’s pants”
Let’s be honest here: the male of the species is in deep denial when it comes to the fullness of their bladder. There is some fundamental break-down in communication between their brains and their nether-regions, which, early on in life, leads to what I affectionately refer to as “piss-pants” and, later in life, leads to embarrassing text-message scandals in the tabloid press. 

To this day, I’ll often find Mr Justice standing in the most awkward way, clutching his penis and sticking his bum right out like a baboon on heat. It always begs the question: “Do you need to go to the toilet?”

And yet the answer is always an emphatic “No”, shortly followed by the sudden – but not surprising – appearance of the Wet Patch of Shame (although, as a mother of two boys, I know there will one day be other kinds of wet patches for me to deal with, but thankfully I’m not there yet and I’m sure both my boys will be praying I’m not blogging anymore when I am). 

And then when he does make it to the toilet in time, the phrase “to paint the town yellow” springs to mind. As recently as yesterday, he said to me “I’m sorry but I did a wee in the bin by mistake.” The bin. Which is in the kitchen and nowhere near the toilet. And people wonder why I’ve aged so much these last six years. 

Beware the Camel
In stark contrast, The Pixie has superior bladder control which has earned her the nickname of “The Camel” in these parts. That girl can go from 5pm one night through to 10:30am the following morning without conceding a single drop of urine – and as someone on the other side of three pregnancies from my little girl, she completely blows me out of the water I’m invariably sitting in. However, just when you come to rely on the exceptional urine-retaining talents of The Camel, she’s still prone to play the “I’ve got to go to the toy-ah-lettttttt” card at the most inconvenient moments. And in her case, when she’s got to go, she’s really got to go, floodgates opening and all, so you’d better move damn fast. 

Night-time dilemmas
The overnight nappy presents a parent with a double-edged sword: on one side, the longer you use the night nappy on a child who emits a steady stream of piss throughout the night, the more sleep you will get; on the other side, you run the risk of one day still trying to shoehorn a 18 year old into a pull-up with Bambi on it. 

I’ve heard tell of little electric mats that you can buy or hire which, the minute a drop of urine hits it, sets off an alarm to wake the child and remind them to go to the toilet. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it’s the combination of liquid, electricity and my child’s bed and its strong overtones of electroconvulsive shock therapy that does it. There must be another way. But before you start offering me advice, read the next section. 

Be careful who you give toilet training advice to
Having had an easy-breezy time toilet training one of my children and an excruciating time with the other (Tiddles is only just starting to form a relationship with the potty, and so it’s too early to call), I can appreciate why some people might like to give “useful” advice like “Just put them in underpants, it will sort itself out”. These casual advice-givers obviously had the easy-breezy experience where the moment they chose to toilet-train was at precisely the moment the child was ready, the stars were all in alignment and someone was mooning Uranus (or some-such).  

In my checkered history as a toilet trainer of ill-repute, I’ve been driven to posting on online parenting forums where I’ve swapped horror stories with other mothers experiencing the Extreme Sports end of Toilet Training. 

One poster helpfully interrupted our merry banter with some unsolicited advice about “Early Elimination Control” – where you’re supposed to start waving your baby’s bum over a potty the moment they’re born and you never EVER let them sit in their own excrement for even a nano-second, even if it means pulling over by the side of the road and changing them IMMEDIATELY.

And how old was her little one and did she have any other children? one other poster asked sweetly, no doubt sharpening her claws in readiness to pounce. 

The answer? Eight months old. And yes, the baby was her first. 

What ensued can only be described as internet forum carnage. The lesson in all that: you just don’t mess with mothers at the Extreme Sports end of toilet-training. You’ll get the shit kicked out of you.

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