The Rules say…
“Ma-ry! I peed on the floo-or!” Poppy’s voice carols down from the bathroom upstairs. Words to warm a caregiver’s heart.
Poppy sits on the toilet, her feet dangling above a sizeable puddle. She has indeed peed on the floor. Some on the seat, too, I see. This is the second time in as many days this has happened. Dry panties and tights, puddle on floor. The first time, Poppy was assured it was okay, these things happen, and we chatted companionably as I mopped the floor.
I considered the notion that it could be a bladder infection. Little kids with bladder infections often end up peeing a nano-second from the toilet. Peeing all over the house, in fact. So a previously reliable child who suddenly starts having accidents could be the innocent victim of some nuisance bacteria. I considered the possibility, and discarded it.
No, this is nothing medical. This is the natural result of an almost-four-year-old who gets immersed in her activities and doesn’t notice the cry of the bladder until seconds before lift-off. Even more critically, this is a four-year-old has just been allowed to pour herself her OWN cups of water from the Brita. When you are almost four, such things are very important. And fun!
And so she has been having approximately 40 tiny cups of water an hour. Forty tiny cups of water go pouring in, and then she ignores her innards until the last possible second.
Well, the one-after-the-last possible second, really.
So this time, she gets a small scold.
“Poppy. You have been drinking lots of water today. It’s good to drink lots of water, but it makes you need to pee more. You have to pay attention.”
“Yeah. I waited too long.” She’s a lovely girl, Poppy. Smart and, for the most part, non-contrary.
“I thought so. You waited too long and then you ended up peeing on the floor. I do not want to clean up any more pee, Poppy. Make sure you go as soon as you notice you need to pee, okay?”
I lift her down past the wet area, and set her on the floor.
“We need a sign,” she declares.
“A sign? Because the floor is wet?”
“No, a sign to say ‘No Peeing On The Floor’.”
Ah, four-year-olds and their Rules. They love to know what they are. They love to see that they’re complied with… particularly by other people. A nice, big sign will do the trick well, in Poppy’s world.
I laugh. “Poppy, you know not to pee on the floor! Do you really need a sign to tell you not to do that?”
She considers. “No, I know that already.” She’s a little disappointed, however. She liked the idea of a Sign with The Rule written on it. She is almost four, after all. Then her face brightens. “It’s okay to not have a sign, Mary! You know why??”
“No, lovie. Why’s that?”
“Because I can’t read, anyway!” She laughs gleefully, delighted with her insight.
I love this kid.