Father’s Day

I may have mentioned before that we are having a bit of trouble potty training Benjamin.  For one glorious week last summer, I was certain we had the process well underway, as the child was conducting both forms of business in the proper location.  I gave the prizes I had bought and stored in the closet, hoping to encourage such behavior.  And then, he just stopped.  Pee?  Yeah, he’d do it whenever we brought him in.  But the other part?  No dice.

That was eleven months ago.  Ever since then, a lone Nerf football has gathered dust in my closet, waiting to be presented as a prize for pooping on the toilet.  For a total of twelve months, we have been faithfully taking that child to the bathroom, encouraging him to pee, and waiting for his tail end to catch up with the program.

We have gotten all forms of helpful advice from people who clearly didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.  My favorite was “Back off a little.  He’s still young.  You’re putting on too much pressure.”  Oh, thank GOD you suggested that.  Because we hadn’t considered that option.  (Mutters something under her breath about idiots and the months during which we said nothing to Benjamin about pooping on the potty.)

What no one thought to tell us was that if we let him go around in his birthday suit, he would not poop on the floor, even though he had no trouble letting go in underpants.  Really?  No one could mention that helpful little tidbit?  Y’all had to wait for us to figure it out ourselves?

One evening, J said to me, “You know, every time he feels he has to poop when he’s n@ked, he gets really freaked out and runs into the bathroom.  Maybe we should let him go n@ked for awhile.”

“For awhile” turned out to be something nigh on a month.  He rarely pooped at school, so we sent him in underpants, which usually came home dry and clean.  But, in the house, he was nekkid as the day he was born.  Two cheeks to the wind.  Goin’ commando.

It got to the point where I was just done with seeing p-nises.  Everyday, no matter where I looked, there seemed to be little boy parts: sitting to do a puzzle, watching his evening TV, eating dinner.  I never realized that half the reason people wear clothing is that nudity is so freaking dull.

Yes, he seemed to become much more aware of his… um… urges, but all I wanted was to cover that junk up.  And, he still wasn’t using the fucking toilet to poop.  He got better and better at peeing, but he would wait till nap or bedtime to do his other business.  Eventually, he did sometimes ask us for a pull-up when he had the urge, but we could not rely on it enough to return him to the tribe of People Who Wear Clothing.

There were a few side-effects to the Great Nudity Campaign because it provided much greater awareness not only of his urine but of the tool for urine elimination.  Suddenly, he spent pretty much all the time with one hand on the family jewels.  Giraffie blankie in his mouth, one hand for whatever activity he was engaged in, and one hand permanently fiddling.  In addition, he and his brother started designing new games entitled, originally, “P-nis.”  Mostly, it consisted on pretending some large object was their new organ of manliness and comparing sizes.

To me, as a woman, the p-nis is just not that interesting, beyond its obvious uses.  I had absolutely no idea that males are endlessly fascinated by that thing.  I bet if you asked most men to pick one item to bring to a desert island, they would respond, “Why would I need anything else?  I’ve got all I need right here.”

But, then, on Friday evening, my husband sat with Benjamin as he read his toy catalogs on the toilet.  And sat.  And sat.  The kid wanted so badly, so very, very badly, to poop.  And his patient, patient father sat there, encouraging and talking through the procedure.  And a tiny little bit of poop came out.

That damned Nerf football could finally come out of the closet.

The first thing out of the child’s mouth upon seeing the picture on the wrapping was, “I need a hat for football.”  Whereupon we promised him that, should he continue the miracle, we would gladly get him a Redskins helmet.  Hell, we would have bought the entire team if he’d asked for it at this point.

Saturday morning, I stopped at our neighbor’s yard sale, hoping to find a few extra prizes to have on hand.  “No princesses?” I asked as I rummaged through a box of dolls, since Benjamin has a bit of a princess fetish.   I bought a few puzzles and was walking away when one of the daughters ran over and pushed a bag of plastic princess figures into my hands.

It’s a damned good thing she did, because not two hours later, I found myself sitting in the bathroom with my son for 40 minutes as he read his catalogs and periodically shouted, “The poopy’s coming!”  When it finally arrived, I was able to pull Cinderella out of my back pocket and present her to my very proud child.

I looked for Father’s Day cards for my husband but walked away empty-handed.  They just didn’t have one that read, “Happy Father’s Day to the dad who notices that nudity helps potty training, earnestly coaches his son through a paralyzing fear of pooping on the toilet, and then rewards him with a football, a helmet, and a Cinderella doll, all prior to spending Father’s Day afternoon in urgent care getting the same child’s head glued back together after an unrelated run-in with the corner of a desk.”

I think I should write for Hallmark.

18 responses to “Father’s Day

  1. That card would sell like hotcakes.

    I was playing Cranium once with my husband and 2 other couples. The game involves modeling clay. You know what each guy made the moment that clay hit his hands? It honestly is their favourite thing.

  2. I am laughing out loud at this post! We also have p-nis fetish at our house, and being naked is the only way Caleb will use the potty too. But I work full time, so I don’t think his sitter would appreciate the nekkidness so much 🙂 We’re going to have to find an alternate route. I’m so glad to know we’re not the only ones struggling!!

  3. You would make tons of cash. TONS

  4. Yep, that one’s a winner. (The husband and the card).

  5. Alex’s p*nis is his BFF. Awesome. I would totally buy that card.

  6. I hope your boy is feeling better, and that everything comes out in the right place in the end;)

  7. If you wrote for Hallmark, I might have to consider buying some cards.

    Too bad there was no football helmet ready for the run-in with the desk. There are times when a cinderella doll just doesn’t do the trick. (I hope he’s feeling better, by the way.)

  8. Good on your husband – that’s fantastic news! I do remember spending a summer with my son running around naked to encourage potty training, but I also picked a lot of poo off the patio. I don’t think there is a fail-safe solution, but I’m delighted you’ve had a breakthrough.

  9. That card about sums up parenting in one fell swoop, don’t you think? Congratulations – and having just had my male child returned to me with 12 stitches in its arm, I do hope your sanity is still intact!

  10. Man, that card would sell out the first day. Emily, I have to tell you that I laughed so hard I cried just now. That was hilarious. (And you DO have a great husband.)

  11. My God, this post made me spit my coffee out. Totally hilarious. I’ve become an instant fan!

  12. What a day! I think you should write for Hallmark. I’d like to see that card and similar.

  13. And sadly, I’d buy that card. Maybe you should write to Hallmark. ;0)

    YEA for Benjamin and double yea for you.

  14. LOVE this post. Way to go Benjamin!

  15. YES!!! It’s all about the naked and letting them stay in there FOREVER! At eight, our son takes ten toys in the bathroom when he has to poop, and he is in there for at least a half hour.

    Whatever works, I say, but I still worry that he’s going to have to go at school and miss a whole class.

  16. Sorry — I’ve written a bunch about the 3 days and $75 dollar potty training but must have missed the pleas! Keep the kid naked for 3 days and at the end, they are potty trained and you use the $75 to clean your carpet. We did nudity with both kids… BIG FANS of the naked butt method.

  17. you’re not alone. mine doesn’t run naked around the house, but sneaks his hand into his shorts at every (and I mean EVERY) opportunity. I can’t wait until winter. His arms aren’t long enough to go up the pant leg…

  18. Your penultimate paragraph cracks me up. It’s also why I never buy anything but blank cards – the Hallmark cards (and their ilk) never say what you want to say – it’s such dorky pablum.