DISCLAIMER: do not read this if you are eating, or are currently childless but still think you want kids.
It would seem that I have almost reached that stage of motherhood that makes all the childless people take a deep breath and remind themselves how lucky they are; the stage where grandparents quite rightly disappear for a few months; the stage that is rarely written about in the parenting magazines accompanied by large pictorial spreads of chubby babies and smiling, relaxed mother-earth types.
That stage would be toilet training. Unfettered bodily waste being allowed a glimpse of freedom, away from the constraints of those (glorious, sanity-saving) nappies.
I went to check on the two year old Blonde Bombshell the other day because she was making a ruckus rather than having her day time nap. This was no ordinary Bombshell ruckus, which is typified by the thud of books flying across the room, the scrape of her lamp being dragged across her side table by its cord, or the wail of a lost dummy. This was… different.
I opened the door a little, and the smell just hit me. This was no ordinary smell. It was an escaped, uncontained poo smell. I turned the lights on and was greeted by the sight of my half naked toddler standing in her cot amid the stepped-on remains of a corn-fuelled poo. She had removed her pants and tossed them out of the cot, and then removed her nappy. She must have been sitting on her pillow when she did the giant poo, then stood up and stepped on it. While investigating this interesting new sensation on the bottom of her feet, she would have sunk into the pillow, thereby squishing the poo up her ankles and shins, and pushing it through the fibres of her pillowcase into her pillow.
She then seems to have walked to the other end of the cot, possibly to get away from the smell (as if you could get away from it!), dropping bits of remaining poo and undigested corn onto her books and stuffed rabbit, and leaving little poo footprints across her sheets and blanket. Miraculously, the nappy was untouched.
Then she stood there and wailed.
I have to be honest, I did think briefly about closing the door and pretending I hadn’t seen it, but I figured a lifetime of counselling bills for a permanently scarred toddler could be rather costly. So I picked up the big bits using the same inside-out bag technique that I have seen dog-owners employ. Then I threw the baby in the shower, the pillow in the bin, and the rest in the washing machine.
Hot cycle. Heavy soiling. A litre of bleach just to be safe - for the baby AND the washing.
The real indignity of this story is that the Bomb hadn’t even begun toilet training yet. If we had embarked on that journey, then an episode of escapee poo would be fair enough, expected even. But this was before we had even started.
So, it was with the smell still fresh in mind, that I went out and purchased a dozen pairs of the cutest little knickers and a potty seat. I even invested $15 on five pairs of Thomas the Tank Engine knickers thinking it might motivate her NOT to poop on her favourite tank engine.
And this morning, I was all ready. I was psyched to go. This was it. The potty was in the family room with its own little roll of toilet paper. The heater was on. The toilet training book complete with realistic ‘flush’ sound was in a motivating place next to the big toilet. I had accepted the fact that I would be chasing poo and wiping wee off tiles and rugs and carpets. I was ready to Start Toilet Training.
But the Bombshell wasn’t.
‘No knickers,’ she said.
‘C’mon, they’re Thomas knickers,’ I coaxed. ‘Big girls get to wear knickers.’
‘No big girl,’ was the response. ‘Nappy.’
Can’t argue with that.
So, now when she goes down for her nap, it’s with a gaffa-taped nappy so she can’t get it off. And I’ll wait a few weeks (or years) before I try again. Meanwhile, one tiny pair of Thomas knickers adorns the arm of the couch as a reminder to the Bombshell, just in case she is ready sometime soon.