I don’t understand a lot about how things are made to work. Besides gas, I don’t know what makes the car go. I have no idea why you have to have that ballcock thingy in the back of the toilet. And up until I was about 13, I truly believed there were tiny people inside traffic lights switching them from red to green to yellow. I’m telling you this so you understand that I don’t really give two hoots about the mechanics of things. I’m sure there are people out there whose job it is to know how to get the car to drive and the toilet to run and the tiny people into the traffic lights. And when I need help with those things, I will pay those good people to do their job. But, there are some mechanics I really wish I’d have known a little more about. For example, the mechanics of a little boy. Specifically, his plumbing.
3 years ago, we were doing the potty training thing with our son. He fought me every step of the way, but I’m happy to say, it eventually took. Every now and then we’d have a little accident, but nothing huge. My life was finally seeming complete!
Then one day…I’ll admit, a crazy-mommy-PMS day…the madness of the potty-training gods sprayed down on me. I came to the bathroom to escape the stress of mommy-dum, and found myself in a swamp! Pee on the seat! Pee on the lid! Pee on the floor, the wall, and the cabinet!!! Without thought or patience, I pushed my son into the room, pointed at the urine soaked floor and screamed, “WHY DID YOU DO THIS?”
He had no reason…or actually I just didn’t give him time to respond. “YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THIS, TOMMY! SHAME ON YOU! SHAME. ON. YOU! WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE? TELL ME! TELL ME!”
At that point in his tiny life, Tommy’s most frequent excuse for everything was “It was an accident.” Everything was an accident after he was told that if something was an accident, he wouldn’t get punished. So I waited, seething, for him to say it was an accident. And then I was gonna beat him into China. (This is just a saying, people. I don’t actually beat my kids…yet. 😉 )
Let me insert a disclaimer in here real quick because I know some people are reading this thinking I might have been over-reacting just a smudge. If you have never potty-trained a child, you get no vote. If you have never sat or stepped in a puddle of pee, you get no vote. Now to those mother’s of toddlers who are left, and are totally understanding me right now, I’ll admit, I was over-reacting a smudge. But I was so blinded by my rage and disappointment, I didn’t realize it.
Great thing about kids is that they point out your flaws in the most disarming, disturbing and most sorrowful way they know how. They cry. And that’s just what my little boy did. He didn’t just stand there and cry, either. He ran to me. Clung to my leg. Buried his sweet sobbing face into my thigh and shuddered.
My heart broke as I realized, “I am an A-hole.”
I sat on the side of the tub and rocked my little man until he got settled down. I wiped away his tears and put my stern mommy-cap back on. “I’m sorry I yelled at you like that, but I know you know better than this. Why did you pee all over the place?”
He looked at the floor, ashamed of himself, and whimpered, “I don’t know how to pee and poop at the same time.”
So, so many emotions went through my body at that moment. Obviously, I was ashamed of myself once again for the way I carried on. 2nd, more shame because I had to bite my lip to keep from cracking up. And 3rd, confusion..because…well…I thought ‘it’ just pointed down into the pot if ‘they‘ were sitting to do ‘that’.
“Can you answer me a question, cause Mommy doesn’t have a wee-wee like yours?”
He shook his head.
“When you ‘went’ today, um (how to ask this…) did your wee-wee just jump up and spritz everywhere?”
This made him smile and he said yes.
“Alright, well, maybe next time you should hold it down so it shoots into the toilet?”
“How?” he asks.
I put my hand over my crotch and felt like a sure idiot so instead snuggled him on my lap again and laughed, “I don’t know! But, Daddy pees and poops at the same time ALL the time, so I bet he’ll know. We’ll ask him when he gets home.” And after a lecture on letting me know when these accident happen so I can clean up the mess, everything was just fine in our blissful home once again.
I’m happy to say that Steven did a great job teaching Tommy how to number 1 and number 2 together, and we haven’t had any accidents like that since. So I suppose the moral of the story is…um…when all else fails, ask a man? No, no…that can’t be it. How about…There’s no one in the world you can pay to do a mommy’s job. 🙂