For Hillary it was Everest. For Armstrong it was the moon. We all have our own great personal challenges that will define us for the rest of our lives. In whatever arena we choose to ply our trade, there is always that singular goal that will determine whether you are a success or a failure. Well, I am a stay-at-home dad and so that means the ultimate challenge, my Everest and my moon, has got to be potty training.
Arun is now three-and-a-half years old. Because of his disabilities, his development has been delayed in many ways but I think that he is probably ready to be potty trained. He shows many signs of being aware of his bodily functions and knows that Daddy goes to the “loo” to do a “wee-wee”. Boy genius that he is, he even knows that Daddy’s “pee-pee” is involved when he does a “wee-wee”. I know this because last week he told a group of our friends who were round having tea and cake about the complex relationship between Daddy’s “pee-pee”, “wee-wees” and the “loo”.
Initially, my plan was to potty train both Arun and Meri at the same time. Meri is now 19 months old and hearing stories from my grandmother about how she potty trained me by the time I was 18 months, I was filled with a real sense of mission. After all, literally billions of parents have successfully potty trained their children. How hard could it be?
When I floated this idea with friends who were better versed in the arts of parenting, they fell about laughing. Phrases ranging from “naïve” to “optimistic” and “madness” and “bloody stupid” were used. I was also informed that Meri was too young by modern reckoning to have proper bladder control. So, I have decided that discretion is the better part of valour and have bottled it and will be starting with just Arun.
Now my usual approach to new things is just to give it a go and see how it turns out. Like most men I rarely read the instructions for a new appliance but just tend to have a bit of a play with it and figure it out as I go. I am a fast learner and most of the time it gets sorted (eventually). However, the consequences of getting this wrong and having effluence strewn about the house have encouraged me to take a more thoughtful approach.
So, I have bought the book and have even read it. I have all the equipment including two potties, plenty of spare pants and a bucket and mop. I am ready for the challenge and so am about to embark on a truly historic quest. This is the stuff that heroes are made of and I am determined to rise to the challenge. With this mix of positive thinking and preparation what could possibly go wrong?
I’ll let you know how it goes as long as you all promise not to mention Scott of the Antarctic…