Oh woe is me. I’m the mother of a potty training toddler boy. A bit dramatic, I know. Sigh. The other day Tyler watched me while I rinsed his messy SpongeBob underoos in the toilet.
“SpongeBob SquarePants,” he sang. “Aye-Aye, Captain.”
I wasn’t impressed with his singing skills at the time. “There’s no pineapple under this sea, buddy.” I sloshed the offensive ‘roos in the bowl. “Gross, Tyler, this is just icky. I have no idea how Grandma did cloth diapers. God bless her.”
“God bless her,” he imitated.
I nodded consent when he reached for the flush handle.
“Tyler good boy.”
“Well, that’s debatable right now.” I scowled and met his big, blue-eyed, repentant, puppy-dog, look. That always did me in. “Mama loves you.” I planted a quick kiss on his nose.
“Do I get a sticker?”
So much for repentance…
“No. You have to keep your underoos dry to get a sticker.”
“But Mama, I not pee.”
Exasperated, I phrased my instructions to my very intelligent toddler calm and clear. “You must keep your underoos clean and dry to earn a sticker.”
I wadded the nasty cloth into a ball and tossed SpongeBob with flare into the laundry basket.
“Score,” Tyler held his hands up like a referee. “Yay, Mama.”
With the dirty deed behind us, I did a celebratory score-dance and Tyler traipsed his little naked self off in search of a new pair of ‘roos.
Soon my little man ran though the house in pretend flight. “Superman!” (Insert various flying noises here.) “Mama, I’m Superman.”
I patted the brazen S emblem on his bottom, “Well let’s keep him dry, okay? I’m setting the timer. When it beeps, we’ll try to potty again.”
I glanced at the sticker chart, one lone sticker and four black X’s.
Just as the timer went off, Tyler heard the garage door close. “Daddy’s home.”
“Let’s go potty first, Tyler.” I tried to keep him on track.
“Daddy’s home,” he insisted and pointed towards the garage.
I maneuvered to the right to block his move. The little bugger dropped to his knees and scurried between my legs. He hopped to his feet and proceeded to ‘fly’.
Kevin heard him coming and lunged through the door ready to grab Tyler. “Where’s my boy?”
“Daddy, I’m Superman.” Just as Kevin reached to pick him up a look of sheer panic spread across Tyler’s face. “Uh-oh. Daddy, I pee.”
In perfect little boy form, Tyler closed the flood gates with a tight pinch and bolted towards the bathroom.
I groaned and followed.
After I cleaned up the puddle in the bathroom, I collapsed into Kevin’s arms.
“I take it things didn’t go too well today?” Kevin dared to state his brilliant observation out loud.
“One success,” I held up my hand with fingers spread, “five accidents.”
Tyler stood before us, legs spread apart. “Mama, I pee.”
“Make that six,” I fought tears. “If we’re going to do this, I need to buy him more underwear.”
Bathed, diapered, and in his pj’s, Tyler stood in front of the fridge. I could hear him saying as he pointed to each square on his potty chart. “Bad boy, good boy, bad boy, bad boy…”
My heart ached every time he called himself a bad boy. He looked at me with those sad blue eyes as it sank in. “Tyler bad boy?”
I scooped him into my arms and carried him to his bed, “Oh Tyler, you’re not a bad boy. Today you picked up all your toys, ate all your lunch, and minded Mama. You’re a good boy.”
I let that sink in. “You are learning how to potty. Like how you learned to count. It takes practice. We have to keep trying until you learn how to potty like a big boy.”
I tucked him in bed with a kiss and left to go collapse into mine.
The next morning I helped Tyler put on a clean pair of SpongeBob underoos.
“I’m a good boy,” he squished his nose into mine.
His tiny arms wrapped around my neck as I patted his SpongeBob covered bum. “Yes you are.”
“I p’actice potty, Mama.” He darted off to the bathroom and I followed, expecting the worse.
“I’m a big boy.” No longer mesmerized by the swirling flush, Tyler ran off to the fridge for his first sticker of the day.
Satisfied with his new sticker, Tyler marched off singing. “Aye-Aye Captain. Who pineapple un’er sea?”
I responded, “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
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