Monday, March 9, 2009

Potty Training Will Only Get You So Far….


This morning, I got the phone call that every parent dreads.

The nasally, annoyed voice of the preschool secretary was on the other end. “Your son has messed his pants, again,”she said with great disdain, placing too much emphasis on “again.”

Damn it, I thought, as I watched a long list of emails load. I had only been home for 15 minutes, hadn't even touched the steaming latte and was angry that the day would be cut short. I took a deep breath and tried to think of a plausible excuse to buy me a little time. She had gotten me on the home phone, so my usual stuck in traffic or just checking out at the grocery store stories wouldn’t fly. “I have an important call for work coming in any minute; I’ll be over as soon it's done.”

“No,” the stern voice reprimanded, “You need to come NOW, it is a very bad accident.” Now, how exactly do you respond to that? You can’t, really. Besides, how could I, in good conscious, let the teachers and preschool students suffer through whatever stench my son had created? “Of course, I’ll be there in five minutes.” I hit refresh on the computer screen one last time and grabbed my keys. “Little shit!” I thought figuratively, but hoped literally and began to replay the 45 minute bathroom scene that had occured this morning in my head. At the time, my stubborn 5 year-old either couldn’t or wouldn’t go.

For close to three days now, something had been brewing and he was now the 4 ft. equivalent of Mt. Vesuvius. The combination of chicken nuggets, bananas, Skittles and chocolate milk would prove toxic. When I did drop him off this morning I had a passing thought of issuing the following warning - Better start clearing the block area, the sand and water table, housekeeping and the circle time rug, kids, because, it’s just a matter of time before he’s gonna blow.

I pulled into the school parking lot and did not see a SWAT or disaster team. My biggest fears began to abate. No sirens, flashing lights or haz-mat suits, these were all good signs. I mean, after all, how bad could it be? Did she really need to say it was a “very bad accident?” Would I need the Jaws of Life to extract him from his underpants?


I fully expected a scene of this magnitude when I arrived...


Potty training had always been a problem spot, for the little guy. And it was becoming harder and harder for our family as a whole, to reconcile the lack of potty interest with this whip smart little boy who could single handedly reprogram the universal remote control, log onto the internet, take cell phone photos of my behind and send them out to random people with the text “big mommy’s butt”, and compose and save PowerPoint presentation slides on my hard drive titled “No Running in Wal-Mart,” “My Star Project,” and “Big List of Farts.”

Whatever I tried, bribing him with candy, small toys, extra "Naked Dance Party" time -- didn't work. He was completely unfazed about running around all day with poop in his pants. I was beginning to wonder if he just didn't care or couldn't smell. As I warily entered the class room, the teacher came over and said, “We’re very proud of him, today.” I looked confused. “He pooped on the potty, but he just forgot to tell us he needed help cleaning himself up,” she explained.

“Hey Buddy,” I said, as peaked into the bathroom. Ahhh. I was hit first by the smell, then by the scene of the crime. "Hi Mommy," he said, unsure of how I was going to react and sounding a tiny bit sad. As I tried to piece the forensic evidence together, I concluded that in his excitement of pooping on the potty at school, he simply decided that the best way to clean himself off was to wipe his ass on the ceramic toilet bowl, effectively smearing poop on the seat, the base and along the wall as one would thickly spread Nutella on a rice cake. Then, I hypothesized, he simply pulled up his pants and said “I’m finished!” before anything could be done otherwise.

I looked back out in horror at the teachers. “We would have cleaned it up,” they both said, “But it's not in our contract." Which could just as well be translated as "The cheap-assed dollar store notepaper you gave us at Christmas definitely doesn't cover wiping the adult-sized shit from your son's ass.” I cleaned him all up and helped him change into the emergency set of clothes kept on-hand at school and gave him a big hug. I decided to take him home to celebrate his first poop at school and minimize whatever bad feelings the clean-up had caused. Email can always wait, spending time with a 5 year-old can not. As a wise mom once said, "the road to kindergarten isn't easy - there are lots of potholes, poop and thrown out underwear along the way".

1 comment:

92.9 The Wave's Jennifer Roberts said...

Oh my... you had my eyes mistin' up with your description of hugging your little guy and taking him home to celebrate...What a way to look at things; I'm going to have to learn from this. And please God, don't tell me that pooping incidents continue to happen THRU KINDERGARTEN!!!! I figured I'd be done with it by then... oh well :) Thanks for the honesty and the laughs!