There are certain aspects of parenthood that you don’t want to end.
Watching my two kids grow up is a bittersweet experience. The rapidity of their learning is astounding – every day there is something else they have picked up and it makes you swell with pride. Often it’s a curse word you have uttered when you’re cleaning up the kitchen floor for the twelfth time and they splat a morsel of food on the deck as you mop. They seem to chuckle heartily at that.
But also, you lament the fact that this cute stage is not permanent. You can’t just cut the taproot like a bonsai tree and then enjoy them at this stage – and avoid the teenage years altogether.
However, there are parts that you can’t wait to fast forward.
Like changing their nappies.
The benefits to this are plentiful.
Firstly, the cost.
My oldest should be coming to the end of his nappy-wearing days. He knows that ‘big boys go on the big boy toilet.’ He goes through the whole morning of every day and carts himself off to the toilet, goes through the whole routine and then we wash his hands afterwards. But after the morning?
He pretty much just ignores his bladder and then wees everywhere with merry abandon.
Taking into consideration that he doesn’t wear a nappy for a decent portion of the day, you’d think I’d be spending a little less on nappies, but my oldest is going through packs at a rate of knots. He is filling two nappies to my youngest’s one.
And we still can’t find a solution to ensuring he uses the toilet rather than a nappy during the afternoon and evening.
The last time we didn’t put a nappy on him after the morning, he went through FIVE changes of trousers. We know that his playtime is pretty intense for him. He ensconces himself into whatever he’s doing and to rouse him from the land of imagination takes a lot. Usually bribery. But he’s so deep in his play that he just forgets. On one hand that is great because it shows how happy he is in his environment (during lockdown and no external activities, means we aren’t doing a bad job), but we also don’t know how to keep the toilet and his wee-wees in the front and centre of his mind.
We remind him every five minutes. He reassures us that he knows that he has to go to the big boy toilet. And yet minutes later, he’s standing with an ever-increasing wet patch on his trousers and a smile on his face like he did it intentionally.
The sights and smells of an armed and dangerous nappy are notorious, but you soon get used to them. Still, there are other things to watch out for. Every single day my clothes get covered in streaks of sudocreme like I’ve attempted to create my own fatigues.
The nappy conundrum is one thing I would love to end. But looking at the whole thing as a parent, there really isn’t much else I want to change. Both boys are growing well, learning quickly and still have that cute factor. But they’ll be going to school soon enough and being able to spend every minute with them will be a thing of the past. It’s the first step to them forming into fully-functioning people. And it’s scary for me!
Answers on a postcard for any help on the toilet training. We’ve tried many methods but none seem to stick. Even my parents are nonplussed. Some people say that there is a switch in the brain that simply activates at a certain age, but it happens later on for boys.
I’m starting to worry that my boy will be 25 and wetting himself when he goes for his mortgage application before that mental switch develops.
But just imagine how much we’ll save on washing detergent when he does finally learn to go to the toilet by himself.
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