Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The brown diaries -- volume 1

I'm probably tempting fate here.  Calling this post 'volume one' assumes there will be subsequent volumes.  That this post is the first in a series.  I so hope there won't be siblings, but I'm clued up enough to know that toilet training isn't done in a day. 

Why I can't keep my (potty) mouth shut
Yes, friends, this is another story about the brown stuff.  If you're a mom, no doubt you have your own stories from the training days which you gleefully regale at dinner parties, your own battle scars which you wear with pride.  Still, you love nothing more than reminiscing, sharing secrets and triumphs, and you never tire of a good brown tale.  I'm not sure why that is the case.  But it is.  Perhaps, after surviving your child's first year of life and all its wild range of movements -- from the tarry early days, to the tawny, to the just plain alien, conquering your child's many blowouts is a rite of passage.  (I don't want to scare you with numbers, but let's say around 730, give or take, in that first year.) 

Hall of horrors
Mr Green and I have an all time Top Ten which we are continually updating and revising.  So it's telling that in the past 22 months, two of my Top Tens happened almost back to back as I embarked on training LGO recently.  Let me backtrack just a little here before I get to the goods.  After all, every writer worth their mustard (sorry, not the picture you need right now) knows how to build in a measure of suspense.  The whole potty thing might as well be SWAT training as far as I'm concerned.  Just considering it fills me with the same ball bearing-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach sensation.  Just considering it was enough to put me off considering it for weeks.  I mean, once you start there's no turning back, is there?  Kind of like when I tear open a bag of Cadbury's mini eggs...  I know you know what I mean.

The king assumes his throne
So, anyway, I dusted off the potty I bought weeks before and had hidden behind the couch so I wouldn't have to consider considering training.  Well, my mom suspected LGO might be Ready, and so I stared my fear square in the face.  Needless to say, it wasn't pretty.  My son was happy enough to sit his cheeks down and read some stories.  He is a male, after all.  At first nothing much happened.  Then he stood up to fetch a different book, and as he squatted, you guessed it:  on the hardwood floor.  I quickly returned him to the pot, and he promptly finished his business there.  Mr Green and I chanted and cheered and created a great big hullabaloo about the accomplishment.  LGO didn't look overly bothered either way.  And in that not overly bothered expression I glimpsed his teenage self. 

In the next 24 hours...
I saw his expression darken again in the telltale way.  Again, I reacted like Jack Bauer.  Another success story!  Maybe, just maybe, my son really is ready, I thought.  Practically delirious at the prospect of No More Dirty Diapers, I called him over to witness his triumph for himself.  (I've read that for some kids it helps to see the No. Two in order to understand what it is and where it goes.)  Anyway, my LGO, a little too enthused at this point, plunged his hand in the potty and gave his Mr Hanky a big affectionate squeeze.  Gasping.  Frantically reaching for the wipes.  It was all I could do to keep his clean hand from touching the Hanky hand, and the Hanky hand from touching, well, anything else -- including my hair, his hair, my mouth, his mouth...  I just managed to avoid cussing, but only because I was too busy hyperventilating.

A messy lesson, indeed
But then, aren't most of life's lessons messy?  I long for the days when I can safely regain a measure of propriety and privacy in my own home.  In the meantime I hope you've enjoyed the first instalment.  Myself, I sincerely pray there won't be a sequel.

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