Recently, I’ve gotten to interact with urine a lot more often than I had ever really expected to. Those of you who know me well may find this surprising since, during Sonya’s infancy, I got peed on a good number of times. When I discovered that Leena didn’t have a proclivity to let loose when her diaper is off, I thought my days of mopping up puddles of pee were over.
It turns out that potty-training is when you get your advanced degree in bodily fluids. As far as I can tell, this is for two reasons. First, toddlers make a whole lot more of the stuff. Second, teaching the art of having a bowel movement is pretty much like giving your child a handgun: they don’t know what it is, they will pull it out at random and shoot it, and they have no sense for “collateral damage”. The only real difference is that, when potty training, you can only give positive feedback, lest you shame the child and make them feel badly about taking a shit on your living room rug.
You can imagine how hard this would make handgun training:
“Good job,” you might say,”you only shot that person once!” or “So close! You emptied that magazine directly into a bus. Next time let’s try to wait till we get to the firing range!”
Needless to say, potty training takes some patience. And while I’m definitely onboard with the charade of celebrating when my daughter soaks the bedroom wall in urine, the galling part of the whole endeavor is that the child has no awareness of just how much work they are creating for their parent.
One time, I arrived home from a long, hot walk trucking Sonya and Leena back from the library by stroller. Collapsing into a chair in the mancave, I informed Sonya that I needed a moment alone. She responded by nodding and then unleashing a torrent of urine onto the floor. Mustering all the stamina I had left, I assembled a chipper and supportive response while desperately groping for a cloth to save my mancave from the flood waters.
“Whoops! Did you get that feeling? No problem. I’ll get this cleaned up. Remember to tell me when you need to use the potty!” I knelt down to mop the mess up. A moment later I felt a tug on my sleeve.
“Daddy. I want a piece of cantaloup.”