I have spent over ten years “out in the field”—the financial jungle and a short stint in the eye-opening social services arena. One would assume (and we all know what that means) that I would be well equipped and prepared for the seemingly less daunting task of potty training my three-year-old son. Hey, I’m in Project Management—this is one project that didn’t seem so challenging. I’ve got the books—We All Poop, Going Potty in the Big Blue House, and Mommy, Why Does Poop Float? I’ve got fifteen pairs (no lie) of clean little boy briefs, with Bob the Builder, Thomas, “Pidaman” and “Pongebob” all cheering Kai on waiting for some wear and tear ... I’ve got the reward system all in place (even though I’ve resorted to rewarding myself, also, for good deeds done throughout the day—hence a slowly diminishing king size bag of M&M’s in the freezer). I’m set to go! My scope has been defined, quality control has been enacted, the risks have been identified (although obviously not accurately) ...
Yet I have failed miserably so far ... I THOUGHT things were moving along quite successfully ... since my last writings there have been no more pooping in the woods, sandbox, front door step. There was the “van incident”—where Seth’s cooler full of Heineken’s in the back of his van became a temporary potty for Clever Kai—but things seemed on the up and up. There were more successful target shots—rewards were being doled out left and right. Until yesterday. When Gigi and I were outside talking and Kai was nowhere in sight. After calling out for him, this oblivious Mama was satisfied with his answer that he “was working”. Until a few minutes later, when he emerged from behind the boat—diaper off—with brown smeared all over his belly, legs, arms, and sides of his jungle gym. He was my Tribal Poop Warrior. “I went poopy in my poop house Mumah!! Come see!!” His Little Tykes “jungle gym” had magically transformed into the devils den—a place no child or adult would ever want to visit again. The smile on his face exclaimed a major accomplishment—he had reinvented the wheel! For those toddlers who didn’t have time to actually go inside and do their business there is now another way—just rip that diaper off and visit the Poop House!
Hours later and years older, I went to collapse on the couch and get lost in the lives of eighteen wannabe apprentices—but not before I stepped in a wet patch on the rug ... “No,” I thought ... “No WAY”... as I bent down to smell and noticed the whole side of the couch was also wet. Yes, it was true ... “KAI!” I yelled to him even though he was already in bed,. “WHY did you go peepee on the rug!!!!!!!!” And his only response was “Mumah, the Poop House was closed cuz it’s dawk outswide!!!”
My annual review is next week and this Project Manager is hoping “Potty Training” isn’t a criteria.
“Mama! I just went poopie in the handbox (translation: sandbox)!!!! Come look! Right near my excavata!”
KAI! WE GO POOPIE IN THE POTTY NOT THE SANDBOX!
“No, Mama, the handbox IS my big big big potty!!!!!”
“Mama! I just went poopie on the front teps! (translation: steps)! come look! right nex to the pink flowas! mama pink your favrit color right mama? poopie poopie pink flowas just for you mama!!!”
KAI! WE GO POOPIE IN THE POTTY NOT ON THE FRONT STEPS!
“Mama, don’t bother me, no time for potty I go where I am at I go poopie right then on the tep you smell flowas and now you smell my poopie, too mama”
Act Three (Final Act):
“Mama! I just went poopie in the woods! Just like the bunnies and the raccoons! Right dere in tha woods near my jobsite in a wittle pile come look mama right in tha woods. I go try to put it in the back of my dumptruck mama then i get my shovel and put in the the garden right mama?
KAI! WE GO POOPIE IN THE POTTY NOT IN THE WOODS!
“Mama, I wike to go potty outswide—I can hop wike a fwoggie, watch mommy, mommy where do fwoggies go poopie in da woods too! My potty in woods, mama hold my hand and come see ...”
I am wondering where our adventures fall into place amongst the child development models - are we behind? Is this behavior a sure sign of a budding naturalist, aka Jaques Cousteau, or a world renowned environmentalist—one who refuses to create waste as small as toilet paper?
Will my life now be spent rushing my son into the great outdoors to let Mother Nature assist him in this rite of passage?
Did I miss out on the book Trying to Raise a Child is More Difficult than the Actual Labor? Did someone forget to give me this book at my shower where I did receive books such as Every Day with Your Child Will Be the Best Day of Your Life and Labor & Delivery: It’s All Uphill From Here!
A Week Later:
A brief bit regarding my potty-training attempts this past weekend ... a weekend with seemingly perfect weather for such a quest—dry, sunny with a slight breeze. Diaperless Kai decides that the actual potty is the last place worthy of His Highness—a 3 Part Series.