One of the fun things about being a grandparent is reliving the memories of being a parent. Its wonderful to watch the grand kids reach milestones in life from a much more observatory viewpoint. Its also often a relief not to actually have to experience near as many little kid antics up close and personal. Actually I hear about it when their mother calls in exasperation about something one of them have done. I’m usually laughing by the end of her story being quite relieved that I don’t have to clean up the mess.
Currently, one of the little ones is in a prolonged war over potty training. His parents want him to stop using the bathroom in his pull-ups or big boy undies, He doesn’t want to stop playing long enough to be bothered with wasting time sitting on a potty. Boy does that bring back memories.
I managed to get all three of my children potty trained well before they started Kindergarten, but there were times when I worried they wouldn’t make it. My son was much like little Isaiah, much more interested in play time then the toilet. Ashley was the easiest, but long after she figured out what she needed to do, and could take herself to do her business, I would notice her playing on the floor, while doing the sit down version of the peepee dance. If I didn’t catch the dance in full wriggle, and tell her to stop playing and go to the bathroom she’d sit there till the need to dance subsided. Her younger sister exhibited some stubbornness, but being the youngest had this mindset of not wanting to be outdone in anything by her older siblings. Once she got the mechanics down, Megan did pretty much sailed right through potty training and moved on to refusing to eat anything I put on her plate.
The downside to having small children who know how to use a bathroom is that they seem to always need to go when you aren’t home. I could take the kids to a store ten minutes from the house, and would be sure that the turns at the toilet were taken prior to loading them into the car, and every time, someone had to go once we got there, with the need being acute. Before long I knew, with complete certainty, the location and cleanliness status of every public bathroom in a 50 miles radius of my house.
It took Helene, my first grandchild a little while to master potty training. Trust me, her learning the art of going to the bathroom while sitting on a porcelain bowl had me reminiscing of my own struggles to teach my kids the skill. However I do not remember my children being so exuberant about it when they got it right. While I was delighted that she was excited to grasp the concept that she did it right, her yelling “NANA! I POOPED! I POOPED!” while sitting in a public restroom at the local DMV was not what I bargained for, I would have preferred a little less excitement. Everyone averted their eyes and smiled when we exited the bathroom.
Isaiah, being fully little boy with a crazy adoration for all things car, is completely unimpressed with potty training. He has days where, if you ask him every 20 minutes and take him to the potty, then he’ll have success. He has days when his parents think that he’s finally grasped the concept, only to have him prove them wrong. Have the parents have a busy day, or get distracted with the other two children, well disaster is pending, usually of the smelly kind.
I found that out the hard way, how strongly my grandson dismisses the idea of potty training. I was helping babysit while the parents and my husband were working on a home repair project at Ashley’s house. Mostly I held the baby, while making sure the other children were playing and trying to encourage them to put a toy, any toy away. Every so often I asked Isaiah if he needed to go, every time he’d tell me an emphatic “no”. When it was time to leave I asked him one more time if he needed to go, he hid behind his daddy and looked at me with the “oho” look on his face then disappeared into his bedroom. A minute later we could hear him calling my name.
“Nana! Nana!” he cried. I thought he wanted to show me a toy. Instead I was greeted to a little boy standing by his bed, his pants and pull-up down about his knees and a sticky mess of epic proportions visibly apparent. I think he was trying to hide the evidence, but got stopped by his shoes, shoes which were preventing him from being a half naked and very dirty little boy. I got the pull up off, but not without some trouble. I think those damned things are designed to prevent easy offing when filled with goo. I managed to finally get him out of the offending apparel and began emptying out a package of wipes getting him cleaned up while trying to remind the kid that poop goes in potties. He was ignoring me, while concentrating on the toy truck which had miraculously appeared in his little hand. His mother did a quick pass through to literally toss in a plastic grocery bag at me. Its intent was to put in the offending underwear. She then made herself scarce. Before long I heard the cries of everyone else as Isaiah’s mess became aromatically apparent to all. I sent up a silent prayer for the gift of non-working olfactory senses. That is one scent I am quite content to not have to experience.
I know he’ll get it, that the natural bodily process will eventually be taken care of in a much neater and more independent fashion. I also know that in a few months this will be all over and he’ll move past this stage of development and right to taking pride in knowing how to pee off the back porch like millions of little boys before him.