I Just Can't Get This Right

>> Monday, May 3, 2010

I swore to myself I would write no more posts about "potty."  I just don't want to be known as the "potty mouth blogger" or "that woman that talks about poop all the time."

Still, I have a beef about boys and potties that I can't seem to get past.

First, I understand the concept of directional peeing, and I know the realities of it by this time.  Being a girl, however, I have no first hand experience with the ability to directionally pee.  The closest I have ever gotten ... for the most part ... is helping Toddler figure out the art of aiming.

I have learned so many lessons I will someday have no use for and that I never really wanted to learn. 

For example:

1.  A little boy that aims poorly is (paradoxically) most likely to hit the back of his own pants.  I didn't understand this before.  Now I do.  This effect comes from aiming just a little bit too high and dribbling over the front of the seat.

2.  Little boys have an almost irresistable urge to watch themselves "go pee," which typically involves leaning backwards, aiming a great deal too high, and creating an arc.

3.  Arcs can travel a great distance.

4.  Arcs can form in the time it takes a parent to reach behind them and grab something.  Nothing in the world is faster, and no reaction time is quick enough to stop it.

5.  Nearly all public toilets involve a gap at the front of the toilet seat.  No very small boy, no matter how hard he tries, can "point down" far enough to avoid this gap.

6.  No portable potty seat fits well on these gapped public toilets.

7.  No non-portable potty seat fits well either because said toilets are longer, and to get the seat to fit, the parent has to put the seat way back, and the child must then either wrap his or her legs around the base of the toilet to stay perched or must attempt a straddle.

8.  Several pairs of extra pants are helpful for the non-parental caregiver that attempts to take a boy child potty and does not wish to violate any codes of conduct in their workplace.

Okay.  I learned all that, and I thought I was done.  I really thought I had mastered my parental obligations.  Sure, I was going to have more embarrasing moments, but I thought I had seen it all.

I was wrong.

I had a new lesson impressed upon me just the other day.

We (Toddler and I) were at PetSmart when he announced he had to go potty.  Well, PetSmart (at least ours) has a bathroom that is fairly clean, so it wasn't the worst timing.  I wasn't sure he meant it at first, because when we were in the last store, he kept telling me he wanted to go to a "party" and I thought he said "potty,"  so we had a lot of confusion all around.  This time, though, he really meant "potty." 

Off we went.  I thought we were lucky because PetSmart has one of those big, elongated toilets that actually has no gap in the front.  The seat is actually a complete oval that fits over the bowl without any gaps.  I figured this meant that there was no chance of Toddler peeing through the gap.  All I needed to watch for was arcs, and I wasn't going to take my eyes off him for a second.

Fortunately for me, Toddler restrained the urge to create any arcs, and he actually tried very hard to "point down" as we had so carefully taught him.  In all, he was being a very good boy.

So, when he said, "All done!" followed by the words, "And what a mess!" I was puzzled.  Mess?  What mess?  There was no shot across the top, so there was no mess.  I've never known Toddler to lie about making a mess when he hadn't, but still, I thought that just this once he had to be wrong.

I stood him up and began to help him get dressed, when all the sudden I felt my knee get wet.  With the excellent reflexes of a potty-training mother, I leapt backwards.  The floor was soaked, starting at the toilet and heading toward me in a river.


How the heck did that happen?

Of course, Toddler thought this was a RIOT.  "What a mess!  What a mess!" 

I'm thinking there must have been a spontaneous leak or something.  Right?  I quickly pulled Toddler's pants up and ... they were wet too.  On the back. 

Huh?  How is this possible?

Well, I had a lot of time to examine the situation while I frantically grabbed toilet paper and began mopping the floor.  Let me tell you, in case you were wondering, that the floor of the bathroom of the PetSmart in Falls Church is sloped.  Yep.  Sloped. 

Toddler was dancing around.  "Ooh, mommy!  What a mess!" to which I responded, "Yes, yes, I know.  I'm fixing it."

I finally figured out that while Toddler was being a good boy and "pointing down," he apparently was pointing right at the gap between the pot and the seat and he just peed straight through it.

Another lesson learned. 

9.  Even gapless toilet seats are not always safe.  Yeesh.

I also figured out this one:

10.  Because of all of the above, and the singular lack of reprieve in mess making potential, most families will elect to teach boys to pee standing up at the earliest possible opportunity.  True, there comes the additional fun of intentional misdirectional peeing, but I believe that most parents think that such a problem would be an improvement because at the very least, the parent no longer has to sit on the floor and is less likely to be in the line of fire.

Of course, while we finished our shopping trip, a PetSmart employee asked if there was anything he could do for us.  I suggested, rather sheepishly, that he might want to have someone mop the bathroom floor, and that I was really, really sorry for my child's inability to aim well.  You might think I was nuts to confess to this, but my thoughts and my actions were all for the benefit of the next potty training mom heading to that bathroom, to crouch or sit on the floor.  For her, I had to come clean, so to speak.  (I'm not being gender biased.  Dads wouldn't be in that bathroom anyway, so I would not feel in any way responsible for the state of the men's room.)

I'm not sure we are allowed back to that PetSmart anymore.

Even worse, when I described my revelation about "crack peeing," as I decided to call it, with DH, this is what he said:  "Oh, yeah.  He's done that to me a few times, too."

Nice.  Thanks for not sharing that sooner.  I might have wanted to know ... ya know?


Angie May 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

LOL! When my son was little, he would watch himself go for a sec, and then start to look around (ADD?). It is true that where the head goes the body follows...

Lizzy May 3, 2010 at 4:52 PM  

ROFLMAO! I had girls, so never had to deal with this...but my eldest daughter had boys, and I've heard of these types of 'adventures' before.

And, it does not stop when they become adults...there are other creative ways for grown-up 'little boys' to have these kinds of 'accidents.'
This must be what prompted the creation of those toilet-mats with the saying, 'stand closer; it's shorter than you think.'


Brenda May 4, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

You can't be known as the mother talking about poop all the time because that is officially my title. Or MTAPATT. Really. All the time.

And technically, you're talking about pee. Henceforth, you shall be known as the mother who talks about pee all the time.

I am SO glad to hear of another mother enjoying (ahem) the boy aspects of pee. My son is almost 6 and the peeing problems are nowhere near an end. Clorox Clean-up loves me.


Karin Kysilka May 5, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

Hee, hee! You guys crap me up. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who wants a plastic apron at potty time.

Most affectionately,

The Mother Who Talks About Pee All The Time.

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