When I was a senior in high school I had a brother who was the same age as my oldest son is now–four. This brother had the habit of always leaving the dinner table to go poop and about five minutes later we’d all hear “I’m done” ring out from the bathroom. I’d always chuckle as one of my younger siblings trudged down the hall to wipe his butt (I never had to as I was the oldest of four brothers and sisters.)
Now, all these years later, at least once a day and usually on my watch, four-year-old B suddenly announces that he has to poop, often with the warning that “it’s about to shoot out.” I help get his pants down and him up on the pot and then a few minutes later the familiar phrase, “I’m done!” I head back into the bathroom and nose held perform the not so pleasant task of wiping my son’s dirty butt.
Two or three years from now baby G will be potty trained and doing the same thing but by then B will be the one on wiping duty. But no longer will I chuckle as I did some 20 years ago. Now it will be just a sigh of relief that I’m not the one performing that unseemly task.
This morning, as I was getting everything ready to throw in the crock pot, B ran into the kitchen and said he had to pee. I suggested the potty but he wanted to go outside and off the back deck (which is a favorite spot for the both of us). It was raining a little but whatever.
So I opened the back door for him and went back to cutting vegetables when I heard him tinkling into a pool of liquid–not the normal pee-off-the-deck sound–so I stuck my head out back to see him urinating in one of my rubber Crocs sandals that I left by the back door. It was filled to the brim (I assume some of it was rainwater).
“What are you doing,” I said. “Why did you pee in my Crocs?” “I didn’t,” he said. “I only peed in one.” He was technically correct, I did mistakenly use the plural. I didn’t really know what to do except to say not to do it again and then dumped the shoe out and set it further out in the rain.
Later that afternoon, I told his mama about the incident and she laughed of course, but then asked B why he peed in my Croc. “There was a lot of water in there,” he said. “I thought it was a toilet.”
At 7:30 this morn, on my way home from SEAL Team PT, I got this text from the old lady. “B pooped in the potty. Make a big deal when he shows you.” This was exciting news. We’ve been trying to get B to poop in the toilet for a while. He’s been urinating on his own, sans diaper for weeks, even months, but when it’s time to defecate he demands we throw a diaper on him. So when I walked in the door, I was prepared and he charged out of the living room to tell me. I followed him in the bathroom and peered down into the bowl to see his triumph, not much of a poop at all, a rather loose looking stool, but a seminal moment in all our lives.
A little while later he announced he had to poop again and wanted a diaper. Whatever, one step forward, two steps back, but we’re moving in the right direction. Thirty minutes later, though, and I was wiping up diarrhea that had squirted out of his diaper onto the living room floor. The highs and lows of parenthood are swift and brutal like this. One minute riding into the sun, the next on your knees scrubbing feces out of the cracks of the hardwood floor, but then it all comes back around again.
I got everything cleaned up when the old lady walked in the door after taking G for a walk. She took him out of the Baby Bjorn and put him on his little play-mat. I went in the other room when I heard screaming, “He did it, he did it!” I ran back in to find G had rolled over for the first time on to his stomach. We put him back on his back on the mat and sure enough he did it again, a full month before B did when they were the same age. Success. I celebrated then sighed. Mountain, valley, mountain, all in the space of an hour or two.