Monday, September 3, 2012

Lessons in Potty Ettiquette

A few weeks ago, on my son's 4th birthday, we said a final good-bye to the "little potty".

For those of you who are perhaps not in the "little potty" stage of life, it is, in fact, a little potty for children to learn how to go "number one" or "number two" without the fear of falling in the giant hole that makes up the grown-up potty.  It's also the thing that allows boys to experience the advantage of their feet touching the ground clearly creating comfort for maximum play or reading time while pooping.  This, ladies, is where it begins.  Tommy actually would gather up toys to take with him each time.

Personally, I think of it as the item that helped me build up my gag reflex each time I dumped human poop from the potty's base into the real potty where it could then be flushed, but not before---oh no, my friends, not before---the poop's descent into the water created a geyser that spurted up the middle and landed "poop water" on the seat, and if I was very lucky, on my hand.  There's also the matter of washing it out, because unfortunately, physics works against you as the bin is turned over and the heavier item sinks to the bottom and then slides along the side creating what we, in this house call "poop streaks".   Highbrow stuff today, right?

So, just when I thought that we had gotten through the milestone of getting rid of the "little potty", I found out that there was more wisdom to impart.

First of all, with boys, there's the whole standing up factor.  Up until this summer, he hadn't done it 

and I blame my husband who doesn't lead by example on this front since he's convinced that the bathroom at home is the best place to brush up on his Sudoku skills whether or not "number two" is 
involved.  Cut to me one day on a walk and Tommy is anxiously crossing his legs needing to pee.  I look around, channel my college days of keg beer, and point him to the nearest tree.  He walks over and starts to squat.  Well, I don't have a penis, but my geometry is pretty good, and the straight line is 
pointing right at his shorts as he's crouched over, not at the ground.  Houston, we have a problem.

I run over to him, stand him up and his panicked look reminds me of the first time sex was explained to me.  

"Just let it go, honey."

He starts to squat again.

"No.  Standing up."

He looks at me, does it, then a grin spreads across his face in relief.  Just as I'm reveling in a little parenting success, I realize that as he's ending his pee, and I'm about to be taught another physics lesson.   As the stream weakens, it begins to fall and veers quickly towards his shorts.  I never knew there was skill and mastery to this standing up thing.  Not knowing what to do, I grab him and lean 
him forward so he's basically horizontally in my arms as he finishes.  
I learned later my husband knows more than he shows at home and that with a little hip jut out and a 
shake, the whole thing can be avoided.  Who knew?!?

Little did I know that there were more potty lessons to come...

Once he learned that standing up was an option, it was as if I had unleashed Pandora's Box.  Now there was no reason to wait for an actual bathroom.  In fact, for a few weeks this summer, he and his friend would wait until the end of camp to announce that they were going to "pee in the bushes".  Now, I could have made a fuss about that from the get-go, but doing so would undoubtedly make the allure that much more appealing.  So for the next several days as we left camp, two moons could be seen facing out of the bushes as they relieved themselves because they still hadn't gotten to the lesson about not having to pull their pants down to their ankles in order to pee.  Miss Manners might have something to say about that.

The coup de grace came a couple of nights ago while we were enjoying the best time at the beach from about 4-7pm.  After a couple hours there, Tommy came running up to me, once again doing the pee dance.

"Just go in the water," I said and turned to continue my conversation.

As I finished my sentence, I turned around to check on him since he's not a stellar swimmer yet, and what do I see?

Tommy has his suit down to his ankles and has started the process at the edge of the water, not submerged as we do in polite society.

Apparently, there was one more potty lesson I had forgotten.

I quickly ran over to him pulling his very wet suit, which was sticking to him, of course, and walking him into the water as he screamed, "I can't pee in my pants, Mama!"

Well, he has a point, right?  So, as there are so many exceptions in life, Tommy has learned his first and as we walked back up the beach, I could be heard saying, "Only in the lake, not in the pool.  You understand?  Not in the pool.  ...or the bathtub."

Who said life is clear?

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