Two days ago, I awoke from a dream that involved a wooden sculpture I had made of a Viking ship with a rubber duckie as a masthead being accidentally branded into this really macho guy’s arm. It was at this point that I decided that it was time for A. to get trained to crap in the crapper. I thought, probably like all total novice potty trainers, that I’d just give the kid a bunch of C-A-N-D-Y (arguably his favorite thing on the planet, second only possibly to Mommy). I walked into the living room and told the Rev that it was time, and outlined the C-A-N-D-Y PLAN. She shot 50 caliber holes directly into my aspirations, as though she was on safari somehow hunting for T-Rex. “NO CANDY! CANDY IS NOT GOOD. You are not going to give that CHILD CANDY for pooping. I WILL NOT ALLOW IT.” “Fine, Lady,” I responded, “what the hell do you do then? He only really WANTS candy.” “Get some stickers,” she replied (with more than a dose of smugness).
I have long intuited that is just possible that the Rev has at least a marginally sick sense of humor as far as myself and the challenges of childcare are concerned, so I posted an S.O.S. on Facebook, asking all my friends with kids for hints/tricks/tips. Most of the responses I got were something along the lines of, “HAHAHAHA: you’re going to get sooo pooped on,” and, “potty training takes a REALLY long time, and it sucks. You’re not going to get it done today. Stop wigging out.” I also got, “Stickers are good.” which makes me think that the suddenly tech-savvy-when-she-wants-to-be-Rev has further infiltrated my inner friend circles.
Several months ago, the Rev had purchased a potty seat for A. that you put on the actual toilet via some odd method of snapping it into the hole, but the G.P. shut her down, saying that the kid needed his own potty so that he and A. could poop simultaneously (or team pee, whichever). The Rev told the G.P. (Great Provider, for those of you who missed the article) to “return the damn thing himself,” and (since the G.P. has declared a personal fatwa on all things Wal-Mart due to an unfortunate incident wherein he was escorted out of the store by security for “not yelling or cussing at anyone”) nothing happened until I took over. The Rev and I decided that there would be no further movement G.P. assistance-wise until I got an actual potty chair, so off A. and I went to the Wal-Mart to pick out his personal crap station. On the way, we had a long discussion about diapers. It should be noted that A. finds the concept of his father wearing diapers totally hilarious. To tell the truth, we really didn’t get much farther than that. I think it’s pretty funny, too.
You may think you know about the hell that is Wal-Mart, but until you’ve stood in the shit chair aisle for 45 minutes debating the merits of a “Cars” potty chair vs. one that looks like an actual throne and sings with a two year old in front of a highly amused audience of looky-loos and store employees, then you haven’t even approached the 3rd ring. A’s point was that the dumb “Cars” potty seat had *wheels and went “VROOM” when you pressed a button. My argument was that the “Cars” franchise was derivative and stupid and that you got to be a KING on the throne one, which at least played “Knick Knack Paddy Whack” (which is, come to think of it, a pretty gross song for toilet training, but whatever). This debate matched that of Lincoln and Douglas in intensity and verbal eloquence, but finally A. trumped all my highly logical, syllogistically formulated arguments by screaming, “NO!!!! CARS!!” with a pitch and decibel level that probably shattered the eardrums of several local dogs. I caved. We got the “Cars” potty seat, and then spent an hour picking out stickers. I found some really super cool “Star Wars” ones, but couldn’t convince the toddler that these were MUCH BETTER than the “Spongebob” ones he wanted. Our audience had followed us. There’s not much going on in Wal-Mart at 8:30 am on a Monday.
We made it back to the house, and (of course) the potty seat required some assembly. Also, it came with some pretty awful instructions for use. The Rev had explained earlier in the morning that when I got a chair, I had to get one with a cup on the front. “Cup?” I queried. “Yeah,” she replied in her poor, cold-riddled but still stentorian Rev voice,
“Because if you don’t and he gets a piss boner, he’ll pee all over you.” This was the only time in my entire life I had ever heard the Rev use the word “boner.” Shit was getting real. The box also showed pictures of a HIGHLY MISERABLE, pants down, and GIGANTIC toddler on the potty. The kid seriously looks like he knows about the extreme level of harassment he’s got to look forward to when his entire 6th grade class at Al Franken Jr. High finds out that he used to be a potty model.
Finally, I got the thing together, and then tried to show A. how to sit on it. This didn’t work. He ran away from me screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” while wearing the thing that catches the poop on his head like a hat. Things weren’t going well. Then, about 15 minutes later, I heard the G.P. giving the kid a “Look POOP!” lecture from the master bathroom. I put A. down for his nap, and then went to go pick J. up from school. I explained what was going on to J., and told him that he got a sticker every time he demonstrated “how to potty” to A. J. dug the concept because it involved him getting stickers. There was, briefly, “A New Hope.” However, when we got into the house, A. was using the potty as a snack table. Defeat.
That afternoon, I made A. a giant poster which is labeled “A’s Potty Train,” and we started working on a song to go with it. So far we’ve got, “Get on board the potty train, poop in the potty, don’t be a pain” with a chorus of “chugga chugga poo poos.” It has been noted by the RCS Engineering Department (Andrew) that there is something incredibly gross about this “train” pun. Touché. I already made the poster, though. These design flaws should be commented on BEFORE I spend three hours cutting out letters, tracks, and train art and then painting the whole damned thing with glitter nail polish.
I’ll keep you posted as to the potty progress. I’m betting that the kid knows how to read before he knows where to poop. He’s a genius, but (if he keeps this up), he’s definitely going to a State school.
*The wheels are non-functioning, but can you imagine if they worked? You’d finally get the kid to shit in the pot and he’d be pooping and motoring across the tile in some kind of horrible re-enactment of a Roadrunner cartoon. I don’t know if I could work up significant motivation to chase a pot of crap. I lack biological imperative.