A lot has been said about potty training. There are enough blogs, books and magazine articles to make you want to pee yourself thinking about it. We are potty training, but I’m not going to bother you with the details of the haphazard, ever-changing strategy we are using, brag about our successes or complain about our failures. I want to talk about the strangeness of sitting beside a little boy while he sits on a toilet deciding if he really has to go. It’s a cross between the uncomfortableness of sitting next to someone with terrible breath on a plane who insists on talking to and, hanging out in the boy’s room smoking cigarettes*, without the cigarettes. Upon further consideration, it's more like being the hand-towel guy in the bathroom at a fancy club or bar.
Until about ten minutes ago, most of that time was spent looking at his peepee so as not to miss the magical moment setting off the Pavlovian exaggerated celebration. Mind you, another male’s privates is something I’ve been averting my eyes from since I began peeing myself. So starring and waiting is something new.
Most of the time, we just sit there waiting. He’s making up his mind whether he has to/wants to go and I’m trying to keep him distracted with books, toys, songs and motivational speeches about how happy Mommy, Ruthie and I will be when he turns the blue water in the toilet green.
Just moments ago our father/son relationship reached a true crescendo. He had just drawn on the walls with crayons and I was giving my loving/stern ‘we don’t draw on the walls’ lecture when, in either an attempt to end the soliloquy or responding to an internal force, he called out, “poo poo, Daddy!” The sound was music to my ears, not an accident, but a preemptive attempt to use the toilet! I took him to the toilet, set him down and nothing… he played with his Thomas toy and I was certain I’d been duped. Then I heard ‘the grunt,’ which is truly the parental symphony of delight, personified. It was the sweet melody of poop not being deposited on the living room floor, but in the toilet and I’ll never forget its joyous sound. It was a quick grunt and then back to Thomas, as though the greatest thing in his little life hadn't just happened and if it had, it wasn't that big of a deal.
I asked if, he did what I thought he did and he said, "ya," a brief and humble response that set off the celebrations of his life! There was singing and dancing, champagne, caviar, celebrities made appearances, it was an event to behold. After nearly five full days waiting for this epic moment and too many accidents to remember we were on our way and after all this time spent sitting around in the bathroom, I’m definitely going to leave a better tip for the bathroom hand-towel guy next time I see him.
* I can not fully attest to what this experience is like, as I was never quite cool enough to smoke cigarettes anywhere, least of which, in the boy's bathroom.