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Posts Tagged ‘toilet training’

A long time ago, when Mr Justice was still an only child, I remember having two thoughts in quick succession, completely independent of each other with ne’er a connection between the two.

The first thought was: “I should let Mr Justice have some nappy-free time before his bath.”

The second thought was: “Mr Justice hasn’t done a poo today.”

(I think we all know where this is heading. Yes, hindsight is a fine thing, indeed.)

So there I was, doing the dishes, when Mr Justice came crawling into the kitchen, a look of abject horror on his face. He stopped at my feet and, Lady Macbeth-style, stretched out his hands as if to say “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!“.

And it still wasn’t until I looked behind him at the long trail of brown sludge the length of the (carpeted) hall that I finally connected those two thoughts o’ mine. Yes, the penny had finally dropped – except it wasn’t really a penny, it was about half a kilo of baby shit.

This was the story I wasn’t allowed to tell my already deeply-traumatised husband the other day when he showed me photographic evidence of a floor-poo Tiddles McGee had laid while I was out at the shops.

“Uh, it’s a photo of a turd,” I said, non-plussed. “So what?”

“I don’t think you understand! He’d got some in his trousers and everything!” my husband exclaimed. He then went on to describe how it had taken three scoops to get the poo into the toilet and how he’d had to scrub shit off the trousers. Yes, scrub shit off the trousers.

He was far too agitated by the whole shocking experience to notice that my thumb and forefinger had started playing the world’s smallest violin for him. After all, in my time I’ve regularly dealt with far worse and he is a man who makes no secret of his belief that he will die if he touches the shit of a child not of his loins.

“You should use the photo in your blog,” he urged. “Go on.”

“And let my blog become a scatalogical fetish site? No thank you,” I said. “Anyway, most of my readers don’t need to see poo. It’s like showing a classical musician what a treble clef looks like. Or a potter some clay. Some very brown, squidgy, squelchy, lover-ly warm clay.”

And with that, my husband scurried away, all but delicately pressing a lavender-scented handkerchief to his mouth.

Lightweight.

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We’ve all done it. We’ve all bought heavily-trademarked and unfeasibly expensive underpants for our toilet-training children, partly to entice them into wearing underpants in the first place, but mostly in the hope they will take all possible measures to avoid pissing on the face of Buzz Lightyear or Ben 10 or The Little Mermaid or Dora the Explorer or whoever it is they’ve chosen to champion on the front of their grundies. 

Of course, whenever the child is wearing these special undies, an accident of the Worst Kind is sure to happen and Buzz/Ben/Ariel/Dora end up eating shit. And then, rather than flushing the whole lot down the toilet like we want to, we end up scrubbing faecal matter off said underpants in a public toilet block, because our child doesn’t want us to throw Buzz/Ben/Ariel/Dora into the bin and is expressing this through the subtle art of screaming their head off.

I don’t know why we do this when it’s a strategy that fails us every single time. And, of course by “us”, I’m meaning “me”. 

Recently, I found Tiddles McGee crying in my friend Madame Zap’s courtyard, having had such an accident in his favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underpants. Unfortunately for Tiddles, there’d also been a small section of ‘output’ that had slid down his leg into his shoes – I call these rogue bits of shit “Travellers”. Also unfortunately for Tiddles, he’s got his father’s egg-shell constitution and was dry-retching at the sight of his Traveller. 

Oh fuck, NO! Not the trifecta! I thought and immediately prioritised cleaning up the damage in his direct line of sight. I worked quickly and efficiently – even, some might say, cheerfully. Well, as cheerfully as anyone can work when they’re in the direct line of fire of their three-year-old’s gag reflex.

When I returned inside the house, of course, I found my friend Madame Zap in the midst of clearing out her baby’s bouncer chair because he’d filled it with a voluminous milk-based vomit. And so it came to pass that the trifecta had been achieved after all…

Now, I was going to blog about the achievement of the trifecta a couple of weeks ago during my Bloggies campaign and I made the mistake of mentioning it to my husband. He was appalled. “You can’t blog about that! You’ll scare people off.” 

“Phooey!” I exclaimed. “We all shit! Even Bloggies tourists shit!”

“Yes, and we’ve all taken part in a line dance at some point in our lives but it doesn’t mean we want to talk about it,” was his response.

He raised a fair point: I put the post on ice. And by the time I got around to looking at it again a few days ago, I realised that so much had changed. For one thing, Tiddles McGee was one week into being in underpants twenty-four hours a day and was hitting his target (i.e. the toilet) Every. Single. Time.

“Could this be the last of my wee and poo stories?” I wondered to myself. “Is this the end of an era, of seven and a half long years of hard slog, wiping arses and stepping in surprise puddles?”

CUT TO: the afternoon of that very same day. I was at the museum where one of the (many) children I was in charge of suddenly got a funny expression on his face and said “Oh! I didn’t know I had to do a poo!” and I found myself back in the toilets scrubbing shit. Just like that. As I did it, I recalled my husband’s claim that “If you touch the shit of someone else’s child, you will die” and at that particular moment, I thought, he wasn’t far wrong.

Moreover, later that day, I found out that my fashionista friend had been sitting in the front row of David Jones’ fashion week chatting to my fellow Bloggies nominee Mia Freedman quite possibly at the very same moment I was hanging a sopping wet pair of Ben 10 undies on my pram handle, like some kind of white flag signaling my complete and utter defeat. Shee-ittt.

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In my own experience, I’ve found the term “toilet-training” to be a bit of a misnomer (see “The NDM Guide To Toilet Training“). Training a child to use the toilet is like trying to train a cat to sit: the cat will sit when and where it damn well pleases. Same with kids and their piss and shit. To put it politely. 

So far, my toilet “training” with Tiddles goes something like this: I cheerfully suggest that Tiddles wear underpants only to have him start wailing as if the mere mention of the word “underpants” is a deep personal affront. I’ll then try to bribe him with the promise of treats but will be extremely lucky if he wears those damn pants for more than ten minutes before appearing before me, naked from the waist down and sobbing “WHERE ARE MY UNDERPANTS?” as if he himself had nothing to do with their removal. Of course, while I’m searching high and low for said underpants, he’ll suddenly cheer up and follow me around saying “Willy-WILLY!” in a sing-song voice and shaking his penis ’round and ’round like it had a tassle on it, until finally, he’ll slip over in a puddle of his own creation right next to the potty, inside which I’ll finally find the underpants stowed safely away. 

It’s not going well. 

You might be wondering, as many of my friends have, why I would even embark upon such a perilous journey with Christmas looming so ominously ahead. After all, many a PhD has been written about the lasting psychological scars inflicted upon older siblings who made a rush for the “mars bar” Santa had left under the tree, just next to where he’d spilt his “brandy”. 

But listen, this is not so much a journey that I’m undertaking here with Mr McGee: it’s more an occasional day-trip. I take us on one of these day trips when the pressure to have him “trained” gets too much. Like when I realise there are less than seven weeks to go until he starts kindergarten. Or when there have been one too many children in the neighbourhood younger than Tiddles making their debut appearance in underpants. Or I’ve heard one too many remarks along the lines of “Oh, he’s still in nappies, is he?” –  to which I usually reply something like “Oh, we all are! Who’s got time to go to the toilet?” and laugh ha-ha-ha-ha-ha but cry on the inside because nobody’s ever going to give me a plastic trophy with a sticker saying WORLD’S BEST TOILET TRAINER on it. 

Of course, the seasoned mum-of-three in me knows that it’s not a competition. That if it’s not going well, it’s because he’s not ready. That today might not be an Underpants Day but maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be… Possibly not for my husband, however. But that, my friends, is a whole other story.

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