Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Potty training No. 1 misnomer, cause of parental madness

Honestly, I don’t even know why it’s called potty training. There is no training going on. As a parent you just say things and do things that the child totally couldn’t care less about and/or will forget about three seconds later, if she’s processed anything at all.

Potty training is a term adults made up to mask the unfortunate fact that you are completely at the mercy of when your child randomly decides she will stop crapping her pants.

Meanwhile you say things at parties like, “I am potty training my child” (I go to terrible parties), even though nothing tangible is happening. In your mind there is a montage set to “Eye of the Tiger” or the “Benny Hill” theme, depending on your personality, of all the times you have left food on the table and fruitlessly brought the child to the potty, and all the INSANE and contrived celebrations for when she pees even a smidgen of urine—“YEA I’M SO PROUD OF YOU HIGH FIVE YOU DID IT!”—and you imagine a time when she finally “gets it,” and all of your efforts will prove that you are awesome and persistent and a fantastic parent. But the truth is that you are none of those things, and while you were thinking about all that your kid crapped her pants like three times.

The thing is, I’m not scared of poop. I’ve been to college; I know what it’s like to clean poop off myself someone. It’s the principle of the thing that drives me mad. I mean, yeah, okay, you’re 2 years old. I get that. But you can hold a fork, right? You understand that the fork will bring the food to your mouth? You can walk, talk, experience sensations, etc.? WHY CAN’T YOU DISCARD YOUR BODILY WASTE APPROPRIATELY? How are you even walking around like that?

I don’t know. Sometimes I think it’s a power struggle, and this little girl is straight playing me for a fool. Like it’s all a big game. Like she’s going to leave the police station and her limp will straighten and poo will run down her leg. Sometimes I think I’m trying to teach something to, ya' know, a 2-year-old. Like maybe I expect too much? I just … I don’t know. You tell me.

Me: This is the potty. This is where you pee and poop. Not in your diaper. Here. On this. (sit her on potty)

Her: POTTY?

Me: Yes, potty. This is where you pee and poop. Please do those things now.

Her: I WANT BOOK PLEASE.

Me: Okay, here is book about how to go potty. See how the boy goes potty?

Her: (drops book in bathtub) REMEMBER I PET THE DOG?

Me: Yes, I remember when you pet that dog like three weeks ago. Can you go potty please?

Her: NO HAVE TO GO POTTY.

Me: Are you sure you don’t have to go potty? Why don’t you just try?

Her: HAVE TO GO POTTY?

Me: I don’t—what? Are you asking me if I have to go or saying you do have to go?

Her: YES.

Me: Doesn't matter. Please go potty.

Her: HER AT SCHOOL HAD A YELLOW ONE.

Me: I, uh … I don’t know what that means. Can you go potty though?

Her: NO HAVE TO GO POTTY.

Me: Are you sure?

Her: YES.

Me: Will you tell me when you have to go?

Her: YES. POTTY.

Me: Promise?

Her: YES. POTTY.

Me: Yes, potty. Okay. (take her off potty, put on fresh diaper, wash her hands, bring her downstairs)

Her: (craps pants)

Please somebody help me.

Note: An edited version of this column appears in the 5/9 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/10 issue of Peoria Times.

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