Take cover. We’ve started potty training number 3! Wonderfully, just as she embarks on her terrible twos with great enthusiasm. Before I became a parent I knew there was going to be poo but no one prepares you for the amount or the length of time the poo dealings continue. You would think that once they have potty trained and mastered the wipe your involvement would end. Sadly no. Although you are less of an active participant you do become something of an unwilling spectator. You probably don’t want me to, but I’ll explain.
The unwilling and silent bystander
Middle Monkey loves a good once a day sit. For a monkey with many words in his head, that stay on a constant setting of non stop outpouring, he prefers to remain silent. Top likes his iPad with him and is fairly swift. Middle prefers to just sit, trance like, comfortable, considering his life, pondering the worlds many problems. If you ask for an update on his poo status you will receive short responses such as “not quite” or “soon” or “I’m not sure”!
It can be a bit embarrassing when you are hanging around outside of a public toilet. His lack of conversation suggesting that you are a slightly unhinged person hanging out in the toilet talking to yourself. These periods of quiet contemplation always come at the wrong time. Like last Saturday.
I need to be somewhere!
I was due for an MRI at the hospital at 6.20pm (the new 24/7 NHS) we were at a birthday party 3pm until 5pm. I’d worked hard in the 30 minutes prior to leaving to prep the monkeys, get shoes and socks on in good time, thank the host and collect party bags. Just as we are leaving Middle declares with much urgency that he needs the toilet. “Wee or Poo?” I ask, crossing my fingers behind my back. “Wee” he says “I’m desperate. As we were stood next to the toilet I think “ok go, we have time”. 5 minutes later, I go in to check. “Sorry mummy it was a poo”. Nooooooooo!!!!!
Needless to say I made my appointment in the nick of time, grateful that a blood pressure reading was not required. In fact if I am completely honest, poo incidents probably contribute to about 90% of my stresses as a parent. Potty training being one of the worst.
All aboard the potty train
One of my first experiences of potty training Top Monkey could have had me sectioned. We have a downstairs toilet in our utility room. It has a tiled floor and just outside the door at the time was a wire wrack on wheels for storing wellies and shoes. Having left Top to roam around nappy free for a while in the hope that we could catch him in need of a call of nature I became momentarily distracted by Middle Monkey only a baby at the time who had his own call of nature.
I was distracted for only a minute but predictably only seconds after I began changing one of Middles monster poo nappies, Top began calling out for help. “Just a minute” I called as I continued to wrestle with Middle. Top’s pleas became more frantic, screaming out for help. My own stress levels began to rise. I placed Middle in a safe place and rushed to investigate. What I saw will haunt me forever.
The worst kind of Catch 22
Top had had one of the largest wees I have ever seen. In the middle of which he had done a poo that rivalled any one of Middle’s monster poos to this day. Although a tiled floor is easy to clean it is also very slippery when wet. Top was stranded on his poo island as every attempt to escape left him slipping all over. His attempts had already left him covered in poo. In an attempt to stabilise himself he had hold of the wire trolley. This in turn had begun wheeling around with him as he attempted to stay upright.
I reached forward and carefully took hold of him, under his arms where there was a limited amount of poo already smeared. Taking my support he attempted to find his feet. The slippery floor was not compliant and he carried on sliding all over. I tried to pick him up out of the carnage but, in his terror, he refused to let go of the trolley in case he fell. This caused the trolley to start wheeling backwards and forwards through the poo. I was trapped in the worst kind of catch 22.
I could neither put him down or pick him up and I couldn’t force him to let go of the trolley because I needed both hands to stop him slipping over. My pleading with him to let go only caused him to hold on tighter. We danced this merry dance for what felt like an hour, until Top was brave enough to let go and we fell backwards clear of the poo swamp. By this time nowhere and no-one was free of bodily fluids, from tears to poop we were covered in it.
Once more unto the breach…
I could continue to tell you more tales of the badly timed poo. The one billion and one ‘just before the school run poos’, the ‘On the school run poo’, the ‘Soft play poo’, the ‘he blocked the nursery toilet again’ poo. I have many. Some I’ve already shared and with Little Miss embarking on her own potty adventure, I’m sure I will have many more to come. As with all of the parenting ups and downs, the times of poo participation I’m sure will pass (pardon the pun). But the memories (and nightmares) will never fade.
Just breathe deeply, at a safe distance, and “once more unto the breach, my friends” (Credit Shakespeare)