Friday, 30 December 2011
Let's get this Potty started...
It may seem self-evident to most, but boys and girls are very different. I, for inexplicable reasons, was caught out by this seemingly apparent fact. The first time I changed one of my boys' nappies, it took me by surprise that the tiny little willie was so incredibly long-ranged, powerful and, unfortunately for me, very accurate in its application. A baby boy would be able to put most marksmen to shame for sheer accuracy of aim, in fact (a bit in my eyes, but most in my mouth). Subsequent nappy changes left me saturated more times than not.
Thus it was that I approached potty-training with the twins with a certain amount of trepidation. I had learned my lesson the first time around - I was not anxious to repeat the experience. I realised that if I lost control of one little willie, I would once again be doused, and that was not an ideal occurrence. Potty-training became like a perilous game of Russian roulette as I took off pants, pulled down undies, took off shoes, placed little bottoms on potties and then grabbed for a willie to stuff down into the nether regions of the potty, all before getting sprayed by a little boy increasingly needing to go. Just one child would have been bad enough, but the twin of the one on the potty had to get involved in some way too, as a show of moral support or whatever. This support involved getting down to eye level on the potty, just to check that things were moving in the right direction, so to speak. This left him in perfect position for a dousing if I wasn't quick enough, though it did have the added benefit of making potty-training a cinch because of the extra positive affirmation and words of encouragement (especially admiring in the case of number two's, but let's not even go there).
After all of this was accomplished, and just when I thought I was getting on top of things, I realised that I had forgotten one immutable fact: boys, of no matter what age, will be boys. Soon, sitting to go to the loo was no longer good enough - they had to stand. If I had a dollar for every time I had to grab a little pecker and redirect it into the bowl of the loo, I would be a rich woman. Likewise for every wet floor I had to mop up after each practice experience. And then the competitions (which invariably crop up between two males of the same species), where they would see who could aim further, pee longer or louder, etc. started. I took to buying ping-pong balls to put into the toilet, in the hopes that the spirit of competition would lead them to try to aim for the ball instead of the surrounding toilet mat. (The Sweetpea recently reminded me that we could probably have kept the entire Ukrainian ping-pong team in balls with the amount of balls that we flushed down...it appears that you are not supposed to put toilet paper into the bowl at the same time, but this is something you only learn through experience).
After negotiating all of that, I was lulled into a false sense of security, feeling that the training of a little girl would be easy compared. I had not reckoned on the influence her big brothers would have on her. Since babyhood, Little Miss Snoopy has idolised her brothers, mimicking everything they do from climbing to being superheroes. As such, I thought I would be cunning and get the twins to demonstrate how to use the potty so that she would get the idea quickly and want to copy them. In that regard, my plan was faultless. She was highly motivated to use the potty after seeing her brothers do it. I had not counted on her powers of observation though. By that time, the twins, at three and a half, had mastered the art of aiming into whatever receptacle they chose. This involved, by necessity, holding and pointing. Little Miss Snoopy was only too happy to sit on the potty. And this is where the wee hit the fan, so to speak. She looked down, and Oh No - Huston, we have a problem! There was an appendage that was made very conspicuous by its absence. No willie to hold like her brothers did! What to do? I could see that the shock of this threw her for a short while, but, being a really clever little cookie, it didn't hold her back for long. She grabbed hold of whatever she could and "aimed". Males clearly have a natural advantage - it is obviously not so easy to aim a vejayjay (as good ol' Oprah would say). Once again, I was wet from head to toe, to say nothing of the bathroom floor, and the twins, in their usual position as ardent supporters of the potty-process, also received their fair share of the dousing. Oh dear, it seems I just can't win!