It’s no secret I dragged my feet when it came to potty training my daughter. While my Mother-In-Law chomped at the bit and every mommy blogger I follow was posting pictures of their fetus already in underwear, I took the mega laid back (read: lazy) approach by just asking her casually every now and then, “So, hey, do you want to stop shitting yourself daily and use the potty?” The answer would come after a long pause. “No thank you, Mama.” So, we carried on.
Eventually I succumbed to the idea of rewards for relieving, so into the grocery cart every week would go two bags of Skittles. The system was one for a sit, two for a pee and a tiny fistful clawed out of the bag for a poop. She was into it. She was filling that tiny Princess Potty with all her might, all before her kindergarten orientation. I wasn’t a total flop of a Mom.
But then, here’s something nobody tells you: A three-year-old cannot possibly wipe her butt properly. Hell, I’m nearly 37 and every now and then (somehow ALWAYS in WalMart), I get that tell-tale tickle deep in my butt crevasse that tells me I was one wipe shy of completion. For a wee girl who has just shed diapers, expecting her to have the hand-eye coordination required to get her bum clean is akin to asking her to load a bobbin on a sewing machine while I scream in her face about handling the truth.
It wasn’t happening.
She wasn’t even really into toilet paper which was shocking because as per EVERY YOUTUBE VIDEO EVER, all kids love to fart around with the bouncy roll that unwinds into a frothy and fluffy pile of fun. Once when I asked her to get some toilet paper and gently wad it for the pre-wipe prep, she meticulously ripped off a quarter of a square, daintily balled it into a pea-shaped vessel, and then used that to wipe her butt. [AKA lost it in the abyss and used her whole hand to move poo from point A(ss) to point B(are hands).]
I admit it, I gagged. Then I laughed. Who has the answer to this riddle? I thought I was done. I miss the good old days of wiping clean a tiny bum and creating a tightly wrapped diaper package to be sucked down into the diaper genie. I am now tasked with the following:
1. Hanging out with her while she swings her legs, asks me about my day and then does that fake-smile poo-grimace while her face gently reddens.
2. Hovering over top of her, and the open toilet, while I wipe her clean.
3. Helping her flush the toilet and then spraying the toilet with bleach because suddenly her poop is of Andre the Giant caliber in girth, size and stickiness, and it loves to adhere itself to the toilet like a friendly reminder of her terrible diet. (That I’m also responsible for, so, goddamnit.)
4. Opening the foot stool for her (because she tried twice last week and each time pinched a tiny portion of her flesh creating sad bruises) so she can stand on it to reach the tap and running water.
5. Leaving so she can have “privacy.”
6. Coming back to make sure she’s not touching my stuff. (Hi, I’m four.)
7. Coming back again to change the water temperature.
8. Peeking my head in to make sure she’s not touching my stuff.
9. Helping her pump the soap into each hand, and then the first hand again because the amount in the second hand was more than the first hand and that math is IMPORTANT when you’re three.
10. Turning off the stove to stomp down the hall and check on her when she’s still “washing her hands” six minutes later. And she just smiles and smiles and smiles at me in the mirror’s reflection as the water pours merrily off the counter and onto her tiptoed toes on the stool.
So, next week I get radical: She’s going back into diapers. It’s part of my new parenting technique I’m patenting called Reverse Tiger Helicopter. When I write a book all about it (Wipe Out!), I will become so rich that when she does enter school she can hire her own butt wiper.
It’s a dream, guys, but that’s how all great realities begin.