It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Irresistable Force, meet Immovable Object. Just don’t expect it to come to dinner.

“Want to come to my house on the weekend?” Malli lifts her gaze from the playdough on the table in front of them, presses her forehead against Nigel’s.

He sits up straighter. Their foreheads peel apart. “I don’t know.”

“My mommy will make us playdough.” It’s a good bribe. They love playdough, these two.

“Maybe. I might have a tummy ache, though.”

——

“Want to come over to my house tonight?”

“My mommy is driving, and she drives too slow.”

—–

“Want to have dinner at my house?”

“No, I don’t like the food there.”

—-

“We could play fire engine at my house.”

“Maybe my daddy will say fire engine is not good for little boys and girls.”

—–

“I have a playhouse at my house. Want to play in my playhouse?”

“I think I have to go to my gramma’s then.”

—-

You have to admire the girl’s persistance. I wonder at his reluctance. They play all day with nary a ruffle. Perhaps enough is enough? Perhaps he’s just a homebody? Maybe he doesn’t like to take work home?

Whatever it is, Nigel has stood firm against a campaign of some weeks’ duration. Normally I inform parents when children are making social plans, so that the parents can support them if they choose. In this case, I think I’ll leave well eough alone. If Nigel wants to go to Malli’s house, he can take it up with his parents!

—-

“You can play with my brothers at my house.”

“That’s okay. I have a brother at my house anyway.”

The campaign continues …

April 4, 2008 Posted by | Malli, Nigel, quirks and quirkiness, socializing | 7 Comments

The purpose of play

Malli sits on a small purple box. Nigel stands in front of her, bending at the waist so as to peer into her open mouth. He taps on her teeth with the red vinyl-coated baby spoon in his hand.

“What are you doing, guys?”

“I am opening my mouff for Nigel.” I turn to Nigel for elucidation.

“I am being a dentist.”

Ah. Nigel was at the dentist last week, so of course, being a toddler, he’s going to practice reality, decode the experience, play with it until he understands it.

“I’m cleaning Malli’s teeth.”

“What does Malli have to do?”

“She has to open her mouth and don’t bite and then I will give her a toy. But she has to don’t bite. That’s very important.”

“What happens if she bites?”

“Then the dentist stands up and rubs his hand and says “No biting” and maybe you won’t get a toy and maybe he will put a thing in between my teeth so no biting.”

Hmmm. The play/reality line’s a bit smudged here. I think Dr. Nigel’s Dentist may have had a teeny mishap last week.

February 25, 2008 Posted by | health and safety, Nigel | 3 Comments

Transitions ain’t easy

Nigel is giving up his afternoon nap. (Boooo….) He is three now, though, and so long as he gets a decent amount of sleep at night he doesn’t need one. (Booooo….) I’m being mature and professional about this, really I am. (Booooo….)

Sigh.

Nap-weaning, like walking, like speech, like potty-training, like just about any other developmental progression, doesn’t necessarily (does it ever?) occur in a nice, straight line.

“Come sit with me, and I will read you a story.”
“I want to sit on your lap.”
“Anna’s in my lap for this story. You can sit in my lap for the next story.”
“NO!!!” He stomps off to glare at us from the safety of the Quiet Stair.

“Okay, everybody, snacktime! … Nigel? Snack is ready. Come have snack, sweetie.”
“I don’t WANT snack.”
“You sure? It’s plums and bananas.” (Which he looooves.)
“I don’t WANT plums and bananas.”
“If you don’t come now, they will be all gone.”
“I don’t WANT plums and bananas.”
“That’s okay. You don’t have to have them if you don’t want them.”
Twenty minutes later, when snack is finished and the table cleared…
“Where is the plums and bananas? I WANT SOME PLUMS AND BANANAS!”

“I don’t WANT to play with the tiles!!”
“Then don’t. If you don’t want to play with them, Nigel, you certainly don’t have to.”
“But I don’t WANT to!!!”
“Nigel, do you want to play with the tiles?”
“NO.”
“Then don’t play with the tiles. That’s okay.”

He sinks into a heap of tears. I pick up the soggy heap, give it a snuggle, then put it gently but firmly to bed. Because some days? Some days there’s just no percentage in being awake…

February 11, 2008 Posted by | Nigel, sleep, tantrums | 11 Comments

Two down, three to go

Nigel arrived today, peeled off his own diaper, sat on the potty, and peed. The boy is potty-trained.

It was just about that straight-forward, too.

However, so as not to discourage all the rest of you who’ve never been through this before, let me clarify.

This is not the first time we’ve explored the notion of potty. We’ve played with the idea from time to time for a while now.

I do not push potty-training. See, I am quite, quite confident that all but children with genuine disabilities of some sort will be trained by kindergarten. Will almost certainly be trained sometime during the year that they’re three, in fact, and often before.

I will not, I refuse, to spend hours and days and weeks in intense endeavor, trailing the child, hauling a potty everywhere, overflowing with reminders and pleading, anxious and hovering. It is simply not worth the effort. Whether I put us through that or not, the child will eventually use the toilet. In fact, it’s arguable that a contrary two-year-old will take longer to train when they see how very, very invested that grown-up is in it all.

I know some pundits discourage back-sliding. Once you take off the diapers, they declare, the diapers Stay.Off!!

Pfft. Talk about pressure. What if you’ve misjudged? What if the child is genuinely not ready? I allow for the possibility of back-tracking. We make it very clear from the get-go that we’re just “trying”. We’re “seeing how it goes”. (I do not also say, “If you don’t want to, you can wear diapers.” That’s making the option too explicit, and, contrary little cusses that they are, they’ll go for it more than half the time… No, I’m just lightly casual. Oh, the potty. Just trying this out for now, la, la, la…)

In fact, sometimes, because the child is just too slapdash and laissez-faire about it all, or is taking too long, or is having too many accidents, I decide we won’t continue. I am just not that patient. I will do this even as they tot is declaring their readiness for the task. (Which is fine. They want to “defy” me by piddling in the potty? There are many ways to deal with a toddler. Devious works. Then I can be all happily astonished: “Well, how about that? I guess you are ready after all! Silly me! Good for you!” And they can be all proud and self-congratulatory: “Ha. Stupid woman! Showed you!”)

Nigel has been too hit-and-miss. He was mostly willing, when he thought of it, but he frequently didn’t. Keeping him clean and dry required far too much input of energy from me. That hovering thing. Which I don’t do.

One day two weeks ago, however, Nigel needed Malli for some Important Game, and she was — gone! I explain that she’s upstairs using the toilet, because (oh, casual, lalala…) Malli is a Big Girl.

Nigel bites, totally and completely.

“I am Big, too!” His eyes are wide and sincere. Ha! Excellent!!

I sigh and shake my head with sad regret. “No, Nigel, I’m afraid you’re not. You’re getting big, yes you are, but see, you still pee in your diaper. You won’t be Big like Malli until you pee in the potty. Malli is Big, because she never wears diapers any more.” And I am just so filled with regret that this should be so, but, oh, so sadly, it is.

His wee face falls. Oh, yes! I have so got him!

My voices rises, buoyant with hope and encouragement.

“But you are getting big, Nigel! Soon, you will not pee in your diaper any more! Soon, you will pee in the potty!!!” Oh, the joy! Oh, the exultation! Soon, soon, soon! Yes, yes, yes!

And Nigel nods. “Yes! I will use the potty and be Big!”

Yes!

That was Friday. Last Monday he arrives. “Okay, Nigel, today you get to be Big like Malli. Today you are going to use the potty!!”

He’s a little taken aback, but, with great confidence I peel off his diaper. Twenty minutes later, we put him on the potty. Nothing. Twenty minutes after that, again. Nothing.

Twenty minutes after that — Houston, we have liquid! Lots of it.

And then I lose the thread, and forget. Which I am prone to do, in my state of constant distraction.

“Mary! Mary, I peed!’

And that is a Good Thing, girls and boys, because when you stop attending, they get to take control. All last week, Nigel stayed clean and dry every morning from arrival till naptime, when we put a diaper on him.

And thus we come to today, after a weekend in diapers at home.

He comes into the house, greets me, hugs his friends, peels off his diaper and pees in the potty.

He’s nailed it. The boy is trained.

February 4, 2008 Posted by | Nigel, peer pressure, potty tales | 14 Comments

Snip, snap, snippets

“I can’t DO it!”
“Of course not. Not if you’re standing on it. Get off the puzzle, and then you can do it.”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
“Nigel. You can’t grab the teddy away from Anna. That makes her sad. Please give it back.”
He hands it back, giggling. Hmph. We could do with a little empathy here. I point to the teddy in his hands. (Yes, he had a teddy when he yoinked hers. He’s a toddler. They do shit stuff like that.)

“Is that your teddy?”
“Yes!”
“You like to play with it?”
“Yes.”
“Well, I’m going to take it away from you.”
“No!”
“Yes.” And I do. The lip comes out. Tears bounce up. “How do you feel, Nigel?”
Silence, as he glares reproachfully at me and his bear.
“Are you sad? Are you mad?”
“YES.”
“Well, that’s how Anna felt when you took her bear. Anna was sad and mad. It’s not funny to be sad and mad, is it?”
“No.”
“All right. You can have your bear back. Now you know that Anna was sad and mad, just like you. Next time, you won’t take her toy, right?”
“I won’t.”
Good.

BAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAM … “SSSSQUEEEEEEAAALLLLLL!!!!!!!!”
“Hey, you three. You may run in the house, but you may not scream.”
“But it’s a scary game!”
“You may run in the house, but you may not scream.”
“Yeah! I’m the princess!”
“She’s a scary princess!”
Well, I understand that. I find them kind of disturbing, myself. But you don’t see me pelting around the house, screaming.
“If your game makes you scream, you have to play a different game. You may run in the house, but you may not scream.”
They pound off, screamless, into the kitchen.

“It’s MY bowl! I am making SALAD!”
Anna fends off the vulture from her “salad”, a collection of wooden blocks in a metal mixing bowl.
“I want to make salad, too!” Malli’s voice is a mix of cajoling and dominatrix. She does that very well, but Anna is having nothing to do with it.
“I want to make salad by MYSELF!” Ooo, good communication, girls, but then Malli lunges to grab, so I intervene.
“You know what, Malli? A few minutes ago, you wanted to look at a book by yourself, and I told Anna she had to leave you alone. Now it’s your turn to leave Anna alone.”
“But I would like to make a salad.”
“You can still make a salad. Would you like another bowl?”
“Yes!!” Jumping up and down and clapping, her face a beacon of delight. “I can make a salad with Nigel!” igel joins in with the jumping and clapping. Oh, the hair-trigger emotional flip-flp of the toddler, how I love it. Sometimes.
“Yeah! We can make a salad for the guinea pig!”

CLANG-A-CLANGA-DANGADANGACLANG, CLANG!!!! BONGG-G-G-G-G-G….
“Nigel. Good heavens. Stop beating the bowl with that block. It’s hurting my ears.”
“But I am stirring my salad!”
“There is no salad in that bowl. Put some salad in first, and then stir.”
“Okay.”
Subsequent stirring is a rather pleasing series of rhythmic wooden clicks and clunks.
Phew.

SSSSHHHRRIIIEEEEK!!!
“Oh, Emily! Are your fingers stuck?” I released the poor dented digits from the craft storage drawers and pull the traumatized tot onto my lap. She subsides from shrieks to sobs.

“Oh, poor sweetie.” I drop a kiss on the blue imprint lined across all four fingers. The other children watch with wide eyes. I see Timmy is clutching a fuzzy blue pipe cleaner, meaning that he, too, has made an illicit raid on the drawers. Must nip this in the bud.

“That is why,” I explain to the encroaching masses, “you do NOT open the drawers.” Yes, indeed. The craft cupboard forbidden zone has NOTHING to do with mess, mayhem and lost supplies. Nothing to do with adult need to know where my damned stuff is, to not be stepping in sparkles or tracking glue across the kitchen floor. Or glue AND sparkles! No, no. None of that. It’s sheerest concern for their well-being. Indeed.

“If you play in the drawers,” I drop another kiss on top of quietly whimpering Emily’s head, “you might get hurt, just like Emily. I don’t want any of you getting hurt!

I lean forward, take the pipe cleaner from Timmy, pop it back in the drawer. And shut it.

“So from now on, only grown-ups open these drawers. You do NOT touch them. Understand?”

Solemn nods all round.
There. We’ll see if that takes. Is it wrong to hope that the next one who tries it will also pinch their fingers?

“Oh, Emma! Emma! Emma!”
“Yes, Emily?”
“Someday I will go POO!”

Let the bells ring out.

January 31, 2008 Posted by | aggression, Anna, Emily, Malli, manners, Nigel | 1 Comment

We’re sewing the ‘S’ on his shirt right now

“I can’t reach the button! I can’t reeeeeach!!”

“I can help you, Anna.” Nigel’s voice is warm with confidence and assurance. He doesn’t quite push his sleeves up as he approaches, but you can see his wrists twitch with the impulse.

“I can’t reeeeeeach!”

“Here. I will move it.” He steps in, confident (and tall) male, reaches a slender arm up, splays his fingers wide on the glass door of the cabinet, grasps air and pulls down. When his hand comes level with Anna’s nose, he opens his fingers.

“There. Is that better for you?” He is so proud.

Anna’s pudgy finger pokes the new, improved spot on the glass. “Yes. I can reach the button.” She turns a beaming smile on Nigel. “Thank you, Nigel!”

“Get me a button, too, Nigel!” Emily, even shorter than Anna, has joined the children standing gazing into my china cabinet.

Nigel stretches up, far above his head, grasps another bit of air, and pulls. A second “button” is deposited in front of Emily’s nose.

“Thank you, Nigel!” Emily’s voice is rich with delighted satisfaction. (Oh, the unspeakable cuteness of toddlers who use their polite words spontaneously and without prompting. My heart swells within me.)

Nigel’s chest puffs a bit with the satisfaction of being of use to the little ones. Because Nigel? He’s three now. He is Big. The girls are only two. They are Little. It is good to help the Little ones when you are Big.

Even when the buttons are imaginary.

January 23, 2008 Posted by | Anna, Emily, manners, Nigel, socializing | 3 Comments

Because I know how to multi-task

“I wanna blue one. I wanna blue one! I wanna blue one, I wanna blue one, I WANNA BLUE ONE!!!!”

Busy helping Emily align her shapes on her card, I speak without looking up. “Nigel, lovie, if Anna wants a blue square, please give her one. There are lots of blue squares.”

We’re playing with the bright and shiny flat coloured tiles, the wooden ones in various shapes which come with equally bright wooden cards on which are painted shapes and pictures. You can put the tiles onto the pictures, see, and create mosaics.

“There isn’t lots of squares. There is only one.”

Well, that’s just silly. There are lots of blue squares, just as there are lots of white diamonds, green triangles, red hexagons and purple trapezoids. Lots of them, lots of blue squares.

Lots of blue squares, all, I now realized, piled up on one of the cards — Anna’s card, over which she hovers like an avenging fury. There was indeed one sole blue tile in the container, now held in Nigel’s small pink fist.

“I WANNA BLUE ONE!!!”

She has a pile of blue squares on one card, and beside that, a pile of red hexagons. Look at that! She’s sorting by color! (That they all happen to be the same shape is, I’m sure simply happenstance: all the tiles of the same colour are also the same shape.) But sorting? Very cool — a pre-math skill.

“I WANNA BLUE ONE!!” She makes a lunge for the last blue tile. Nigel yoinks his hand back. The pre-math brilliance is going to have to take back seat to the social not-so-brillance.

“Anna. You have a gazillion blue squares (MY math skills are excellent, no?). Nigel can have one. If Nigel has one and you have some, then you can BOTH be happy!” At least until someone else decides they can’t live without a blue square, but, praise be, that does not happen this morning.

All is calm. We continue making our pictures. Well, I’ll be honest here. I’m sitting on the floor with them, but I’m also reading while they play. It’s allowed. My presence is calming, I am within arm’s reach for assistance, I can chat with them as required, AND I can find out whether Q (short for Quinn) and Tom’s marriage will survive the multiple stressors of her problematic pregnancy, his ambition and highly demanding career, her visiting mother and sister, and her interest in a community legal issue which may well be putting her on the opposing side of her husband’s firm’s interests.

(Bed Rest, by Sarah Bilston; it’s a light, entertaining read, but I’m really caring about this marriage. Frankly, if she took off with the handsome and sensitive nephew of a neighbour, it would only serve her jackass of a husband right. But she seems to genuinely love the jackass, and I suspect they’re going to– miraculously, unrealistically — patch it up in the end. Too bad for the nephew, though: he’s a nice guy.)

“I can’t reach the pieces!”

“Nigel. Do not sit in the container. No one can reach the pieces.”

“My BUM is in there!” He is very proud.

“Yes, it is, and it’s in the way. Put your bum over here.” He obediently plonks down on the patch of floor indicated, but the others recognize a good game when they see it. The tots giggle delightedly as one bum after another plonks atop the tiles while Q receives some hard-hitting but fair sisterly comments. Will her pride and wilful denial allow Q to accept these words as the wisdom they are? Will she respond with knee-jerk defensive rejection, as she is so wont to do with her sisters?

“I am making cookies!”

The tiles have made a lateral move. No more are they being placed with (minimal) precision in the proscribed spots on the cards; now they are laid out in lines along the floor.

“This is oatmeal and this is chocolate chips, and those are for Emily.”

The children make smacking noises as they fake-eat their cookies. All this air-eating makes them hungry, though. Q, whose most recent ultrasound has given her some worrying news, must wait. I have some real, live babies to feed. And, by the time they’re safely settled round the table, Q’s mother will have arrived from England, and maybe I’ll find out if the woman is really as bad as Q thinks she is …

January 4, 2008 Posted by | aggression, Anna, books, Nigel, socializing | 2 Comments

In our very lovely set of blocks — which is no longer being stocked by Grand River Toys! when did THAT happen?? — there are half a dozen Doric columns. (Ours are JUST LIKE THOSE, only much, much smaller, dark brown, made of Argentinian hardwood, and, because they are much, much newer, not at all decayed. Despite having been chewed, used as drumsticks, beaten against rocks, and repeatedly dropped.)

Six Doric columns, say I. Anna says different.

“Nigel, you want some wine?”

“Okay!”

She holds a column, hereafter referred to as “wine glass” in one hand, a rectangular prism block, hereafter referred to as “carafe” in her other. She tips the “carafe” so that one corner neatly touches the top of the “wine glass”.

“Psssssssss! There you go! Is your wine!”

“Thank you.” Nigel begins to raise his “wine glass” to his lips.

“You din’t ‘Cheers’! You have to ‘Cheers’, Nigel!”

He obediently desists with the sipping. He doesn’t need to be told what to do next. Two “wine glasses” tap delicately, and meet with a satisfactory “cling” “clunk”.

“Cheers!”

Seems the tots have been learning a lot during their week’s festive holiday.

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Anna, Christmas, holidays, Nigel | 7 Comments

Bo-bos and bannaids

“…and a cock-a-doodle doo! Everybody promenade two by two.”
“Two by two!” Emily loves to parrot the lines in the book.

We sit snuggled on the couch. To make room for the tree, the couch has been shifted so that it blocks the arch between living and dining rooms. Nigel and Anna play on the dining room floor behind us.

“It’s a bannaid!”
“Yes, I got a bannaid, and you gots a bannaid!”

There are no bandaids on this floor of the house. Isn’t it cute when they play pretend?

“I got a bo-bo, and I putta bannaid on my bo-bo.”
“I got a bo-bo on my tummy!”
“I got a bo-bo on my bum!”

A wooden rattle of the small, primary-coloured blocks in the bin. “Here’s a bleee-oo bannaid for you, Nigel. You wanna bleee-oo bannaid?”

“No, I wanna red one.”

And you thought Mary was mistaken and they were going to be plastering the dining room with real bandaids, didn’t you? No, they’re using blocks. Isn’t that just so cute?

“Here, Emmy, love. You can look at the book some more while I go make lunch, okay?” Anna and Nigel squat amongst a brilliant sea of shiny blocks, still chattering about bo-bo’s and bannaids. Anna taps a “bannaid” on Nigels shoulder. “There! Does that feel all better?”

So cute.

When the children are called for lunch, they commence to scrambling up onto the benches. Anna and Nigel kneel in front of their plates.

“Sitting on the benches, you two. You’ll fall off if you don’t sit on your bum”

They wiggle, but they do not sit.

“Anna? Nigel? Sit down, please. On your bums.”

Anna sits, then kneels up again. Nigel doesn’t sit at all. Overt defiance calls for immediate response. My tone is level and no-nonsense.

“Anna. Nigel. You sit on the bench.”

I approach Nigel, lift him and sit his bottom on the bench, and then nearly drop him on his head. His howl of pain is instant and sincere. What? I didn’t drop him onto the bench. I just sat him down. And he’s kneeling again!

“My bum! My bum hurted me! My bannaid hurted my bum!”

???

He squirms in near agony. His bum hurts too much to even sit on it?

I peel the diaper off, to reveal … three small, brightly-coloured blocks. A yellow semi-circle, a green rectangular prism, and a blue cube. Anna’s contains a red cylinder and a blue cube.

???

“Why are their blocks in your diapers, you two?”

“Because it’s a bannaid. A bannaids for the bo-bo on my bum!”

Oh.

And there are seventy-eleven MORE “bannaids” in a bin on the dining room floor, and heaven knows how many of those saw active butt bo-bo duty.

Guess I know what I’ll be doing during nap-time today…

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Anna, eeewww, health and safety, Mischief, Nigel | 7 Comments

Potty Time, or, Good thing I have hardwood…

Timmy is being potty-trained. Nigel is not. Timmy turned two about three months ago. Nigel will be three next month.

Timmy? Timmy is interested! Timmy is motivated! Timmy does the potty dance whenever he pees successfully!!! Now, it is not my habit to train children this young. They have to show interest, and, frankly, most of the time the “interest” their parents assure me the child is showing is the parent’s interest, not the tot’s. But Timmy? Timmy is INTO this. Totally.

Nigel? Potty-training just makes him nervous. He cries to have pants on, then forgets he’s not in a diaper and soaks them. Then he cries when you take the wet pants off. He doesn’t do the potty dance, because he never gets it in the potty. He does dance when he pees, though — except when it’s in his pants– he dances when he pees on the tiles in the front hall, he cheers when he pees on the hardwood in the living room, he declares “I PEED!” in tones rich with pride when he floods the vinyl floor in the kitchen.

In short, the boy is a walking flood zone. Which is why Nigel is back in diapers until the New Year, and Timmy is still doing the potty dance.

Timmy, however, does not drink enough. Not nearly enough. I always knew the boy was a bit of a cactus, having to be coaxed to drink at every snack and meal break, but I thought he would be making up for it at home, where he’s still breast-feeding.

Nuh-uh. Now that I’m seeing that pee? Even first thing in the morning, when you’d expect him to arrive tanked up and ready to pour, the pee is dark yellow and strong-smelling. Nothing like Nigel’s healthfully barely-yellow product.

So, once an hour he sits up at the table and has a couple of ounces, and over the day his pee gets lighter and paler. (Mental note: I need to talk to his mother about this.)

But the peeing? Now that he’s getting all that fluid, he’s peeing a lot more. And he takes HIMSELF to the potty. And then he pees. And hollers and cheers and screeches his pride.

“I PEED, Mary, I PEED!!!”

Now, his success rate is only about 50%. Distract the boy in the slightest, with a game, a craft, a snack, any kind of a happening at all, and he forgets. Pee squirts, puddles grow, the other children holler. “Timmy peein’, Mary! Timmy peed onna floor!” And Mary’s house? Is one happening place. So the ratio of potty vs floor piddling? Not so great.

But when he is sitting on the potty? Oh, the Festivities! I clap and cheer. “Yay, Timmy! You PEED.” And we have a little celebratory love-in, me and Timmy. And the love-in grows as the other children, drawn by the joyful noises, gather round. “You knew it was coming, and you went right to the potty! What a smart boy!” And all the little children dance and sing. And there is Great Rejoicing. And Timmy puffs his wee chest and proudly declares,

“I Peed innuh POTTY, Mary!”

And the dancing and singing stops, the rejoicing ceases, a pall drops over the festivities. Because this, my friends, Is A Lie. A falsehood. We would like it to be true, but, sadly, it is not.

Not once in these two days of happy potty times has the boy gotten the pee INTO the potty. He feels it coming, he races for the potty, he sits down, and … he squirts that stuff in a glistening arc ten cm up and thirty out. Well, I assume this trajectory based on the liquid evidence on the hardwood floor. I have yet to actually see it happen.

Why do I not accompany him, you might reasonably ask? Timing. It’s all in the timing. I take the boy, he sits, nothing happens. Performance anxiety? Could be! We’re very relaxed about it all, of course, but it still could be the freezing effect of having someone watching. I understand it happens to the adult version, too. As I would be with the adult version, I am kind, relaxed and reassuring. “That’s okay, Timmy. You can play some more. It will come later.”

And it does. It comes when Mary is up to her armpits in a craft, or preparing lunch, or sweeping under the dining table, or reading to the tots. It comes when Mary is busy, occupied, her attention distracted, until such time as she hears those fateful words,

“I PEED, Mary!!!”

I have tried trailing the boy. Keeping a deceptively casual eye on his comings and goings. Perking up when he heads to the living room, where the potty sits in a cosy nook between music cabinet and wall. I don’t know how he’s managed to avoid my experienced eagle eye for two solid days, but he has. Lightning-fast, that boy. Could be because he’s so slim? Stand the boy sideways, he disappears… But I do watch him, coming and going. I listen for the thud-thud-thud of his constantly pounding feet. And I hear…

“I PEED, Mary!”

With a 50% potty-sitting success rate and a 0% aim, I’m not sure if I’ll continue past this week. I’ll give it to the end of the week to try to train the boy to aim the apparatus south, but if we haven’t managed it by then, I’m quitting till after the Christmas break. He’s enthused and willing, but, invaluable as it is, I need a little more than Good Attitude.

And besides, I’m running out of paper towels.

December 4, 2007 Posted by | Nigel, potty tales, Timmy | 15 Comments