Having four children five years apart has more than its fair share of drama. Mine seems to be centered around pee lately.
My firstborn, Dodge, was a classic toilet-training example. Very average. Nothing too sinister, nothing exceptional. His nearest-to-criminal act was determining that peeing into the dirty clothes basket was preferable to peeing his pants. Considering that his room and the bathroom are on different floors, I can’t argue with his logic. My problem is that he didn’t tell me. I only figured it out when I emptied the hamper into the washing machine and was almost asphyxiated by the ammonia fumes. (It had been a few days since the incident. Time for the smell to just fester and build.) To his credit, he confessed during my not-as-calm-as-I-should-be interrogation.
Second child, Scoochy, was the dream toilet trainee. We used the book, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day with great success. From that one day, she has been perfectly trained and has probably had accidents less times than I can count on one foot, including night time. Unfortunately, you don’t truly understand peace until it’s ripped violently away from you. This brings me to my third child.
Princess Cutie-Pops, is my second daughter. She has beautiful red hair and the fair Irish complexion to match. Adorable freckles dot her nose and the tops of her cheeks. Long, red eyelashes frame her dark, brown beautiful eyes. She’s definitely my most affectionate for when she smiles at me and says, “I love you, Mom!” (which she does often), it completely melts me. As she bobs away to go play again, it’s as if she has warmed the air with her presence. My eyes start to water and I suddenly realize that the temperature has raised because the furnace has kicked on. And my eyes are watering because the ammonia vapor rising from the heating vent is burning them. Cutie-pops has struck again. When questioned, she will eventually come clean, and the reason is always the same. “Mommy, I had to go to the bafroom lily, lily bad!”
She has peed, I’m sure, in her pants more than the toilet. And this is two years out of diapers! She locked herself into our minivan and peed at the door, she has peed right in front of the toilet innumerable times. Other crime scenes: her bed, my bed, her brother’s bed, in front of her dresser, in her dirty clothes bin (took a cue from big brother on that one!), in every room of the house: including hallways, stairwells and all rooms of our three-bedroom basement apartment. I thought she was a hard one to deal with when it came to Destination: Toilet, until her younger brother “came of age.”
Tank is our fourth child, second son. He is the toughest little guy I’ve ever met. It takes a pretty hard fall or drastic injury to make him cry, i.e. stepping on a nail or cuts that need stitches. With that much grit and gumption, it’s no wonder that he has been a bit difficult to potty-train. He’s been out of diapers for about five months or so, but he has already surpassed all three of my other children in terms of creativity during urination. He has sat next to me on the arm of the computer chair and peed, all the while missing the chair completely and saturating the floor below. He has been sitting at the dining room table and, without looking, peed under the table onto his brother sitting across from him. One time he was sitting on the toilet, my eldest squatting in front of him, keeping him company. Tank relieved himself but unfortunately wasn’t “aimed” correctly. At least he wasn’t aimed at the toilet correctly. He was perfectly lined up so that his brother was rudely interrupted mid-sentence! Yech!
One morning, way too early, I awoke to “Tank peed, Mommy!” Not my favorite alarm-system, I can assure you. I grabbed a towel to drop on the crime scene so I could return to bed for a little while before truly dealing with the situation. I couldn’t find a wet spot. I searched everywhere. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Maybe he actually used the potty chair, but because he took off his clothes and was running around naked, his siblings assumed he had peed his pants. In my "the-car’s-moving-but-there’s-no-driver" mental state, I naively believed this must be the case. I found my way back to bed.
Fast forward several hours. The night before I had done the dinner dishes but lazily hadn’t washed the cookie sheet. (Read: It doesn’t fit in the dishwasher.) I had just cleaned up lunch dishes and the kitchen was all clean but for that one item, which I had overlooked at breakfast as well. Okay, I thought, I’ll do it now. I picked it up and turned without really looking at it and the centrifugal force of me whipping around caused a bunch of liquid (that wasn’t there the night before) to come sploshing out, all over the counter, floor and fruit basket. Surprised, I saw that there was a good amount of “apple juice” still in the sheet. A thought dawned on me. I froze. My mind leapt through the possibilities. No, it couldn’t be. I leaned over wishing, hoping, praying that the soft smell of apples would waft up to my nose. Please, please, please…no! My olfactory senses were greeted with that pungent tang of six-hour-old pee. My son had very carefully peed right into the cookie sheet. Not a drop was missed. The only mess was from me and dang, it was a doozie.
Maybe somehow all these little trials are preparation for something bigger or are little parables for “greater” truths that will make me a better person. That's what I'm hoping for. All I know for sure, though, is that it could always be worse and I had better be thankful for what I’ve got. Even if it is a 30-pound urine machine with the creativity of da Vinci.