In my house, we are currently potty training my three-year-old. It’s the challenge all parents must face and possibly the most unreasonable of them all. Consider this: You must convince a child that his caution-to-the-wind, carefree, diapered lifestyle is actually inconvenient for him AND that he’d have much more fun if he stopped playing, did a peepee or a poopy in the toilet and cleaned himself after. I’m not saying it’s a hard sell, but it might be easier convincing a poor white man to be a rich black man for a week.
This struggle is exacerbated in my particular situation because my particular three-year-old has zero fucks to give. This sweet child o’ mine will try anything, talk to (almost) anyone and when he sees fun, doesn’t care that it might kill him. There’s nothing he isn’t willing to try. There’s (almost) nobody he isn’t willing to smile and hang with. He doesn’t know he is small, so he thinks he can do any and all big boy things. In essence, he’s the child we have to watch the most because he is an absolute wild card. For instance, despite his fearlessness in the face of 95 percent of things, do you know what he does not fuck with at all? Petting zoo animals.
We went to a festival once that had some goats and rabbits and other animals you could pet and he was terrified of them all. But let there be a swimming pool anywhere around and he’s going to try to dive right in. No, he cannot swim, but he’s about that life anyway. Touching a rabbit, though? He doesn’t trust it. Like I said, he’s a wild card.
The point of that long intro is that my child, who gives no fucks, is currently being potty trained and potty training is hard. Which brings us to this past weekend, where he may or may not have tried to end me through our potty training. I can’t say he did it on purpose because, along with Jesus, I know my children love me, but my kid is also a troll and sometimes he sets you up for his own shits and giggles.
I was washing the dishes like a responsible adult—I own a dishwasher, but that’s really just a drying rack most of the time and people who use the dishwasher for pots and pans are masochists—when I saw my child stop what he was doing and walk into the bathroom. I’ve learned to just sit back and watch at times because children, well, they surprise you. So he went in, was in there for a second then came to me and said, “Daddy, I peed in the bathroom!” I went into full dad glory mode because he not only did it without any prodding but he was excited about it, which is like 9/10ths of the potty training battle. I went into the bathroom, looked in the toilet and didn’t really see any pee, but our toilet is also off-white so perhaps I just couldn’t see it; plus, he was so proud of himself I assumed he’d finally executed the perfect three-year-old potty break.
I helped him put on his pull-up training pants and shorts and cleaned his hands and he went back to playing. In my head, we were basically cooking with gas now.
My four-year-old, who is potty trained, then decided he had to go poopy, which, like, yay and shit. So he goes into the bathroom, puts two in the sky for Tupac and then says, “Daddy, I’m done.” At this point, I decide to go in there to make sure we aren’t preparing for his nickname to be Skidmark.
There are a few things worthy of note here: 1) I was wearing some fly retro Jordan 1s; and 2) I have “hardwood” floors, which really means I have faux wood slats covering the bottom floor of my home, including the bathroom. It does look quite stunning, though, especially after a solid Pine Sol treatment. Anywho, I walked into the bathroom, took one step and then saw the light as my body attempted a flexibility check. Spoiler alert: I’m not that flexible anymore.
You see, my three-year-old DID go pee in the bathroom but he did not, I repeat, DID NOT, pee in the toilet but on the floor, which caused me to take a step and then watch my front leg go to places it wasn’t intended to go, damn near sending my whole body into a full split that might get me an alternative slot on AnyCity’s Twerk team. He peed all over the floor and because God has a sense of humor, I missed that whole puddle when I helped him wash his hands, but when I went back in, God was like, “...Annnnnnnnd go!” Piss all over a hardwood floor and some Jordans had me questioning the meaning of life for a solid second.
Because I’m coordinated, on what could have been the last fall I ever felled, I caught myself on both the sink and my doorway—but not before I felt like I tore something that wasn’t supposed to tear, and especially not at 40. I literally had to take a minute for myself to get my whole life together. My three-year-old, in true troll fashion, came over to me to make sure I was OK, then smiled and started running laps around my living room. I’m hoping they weren’t victory laps, but the marathon does continue.
I’d like to say that I learned something here, but I didn’t. I already know this kid marches to the beat of his own drummer and he’s a gawd-level troll, so it’s possible he set me up, but maybe he just...missed. I don’t know. What I do know is this: Potty training is hard.
And if you aren’t careful, it might make you do the splits.