Six down. One to go.
Most people have a favourite milestone with their kids, be it crawling or those first teetering steps, first words or just being able to feed themselves.
We are one kid short here in the Devereaux house of having all my kids reaching my favourite of all the big milestones. Toilet training.
I love teaching my kids to go potty for the simple reason it means we are one step closer to no nappies and, even better, self cleaning bottoms. Is there a greater thrill? I don’t think so and I’ve been doing this for seven kids and twenty-one years.
And today I was chatting with a friend who would probably agree with me.
She and her husband had taken their kids out to dinner.
“The kids were being great,” she told me. They’d sat at the table without whinging or fighting and they’d eaten using utensils. What more could a parent ask?
The last time Tracey and I took the kids out to a restaurant we skipped dessert because we could sense the wheels were about to fall off, and then spent nearly as much time picking rice out of the restaurant carpet and we did picking the dishes off the menu. A word to the wise – if you are going to brave taking the kids to a Chinese restaurant you might at least want to avoid letting them use chopsticks.
“Mum!” my friend’s young Boy5 called out loudly, despite her only being about two feet away across the table. “I need to go poo!”
“Come on! Quick!” my friend said, jumping up because the loo was at the far end of the restaurant and she knew her son didn’t give a lot of lead time. Don’t you love the way kids wait until they’re prairie doggin’ before they decide to let you know? She ignored the amused faces of the other patrons as she raced her son between the tables.
“No!” her son said when they came to the bathroom door. “I want to go myself.” He insisted she stay outside.
My friend quickly checked there was no one else in the bathroom and then retreated back to the restaurant area.
Where she waited. And waited. And waited.
“Mum!” she heard someone call across the restaurant. She looked over. Her daughter was holding up a phone. “It’s work!”
She motioned for her daughter to bring it over to her and went to meet her halfway.
Which was when her son emerged from the bathroom.
Boy5 was all over this toilet training caper. He had no trouble dropping his dacks. He could climb up on the loo. When he was done he knew to grab the bum tickets and give it a good clean. He even remembered to flush. He’d been doing it for a couple of years.
All he asked was that someone check his work.
My friend knew this, of course, which is why when she heard her son bellow, “Mum!” from back at the bathroom door, she turned around with dread.
He was bent over with his pants still around his ankles and his hind quarters facing all the restaurant patrons.
“Is it done?” he called between his legs to his mother.
“He hadn’t cleaned so much as swept it all across to one side,” my friend told me.
I’m not sure how many people stayed for dessert that night, but I’m guessing they avoided the chocolate topping.
And I ask you, how can rolling over for the first time or saying ‘dada’ compare with that?
“What’s your favourite milestone?” I asked my wife this afternoon when I came home from work. I thought she’d say she likes them all. She’s that kind of mother. But she surprised me, coming up with one she looked forward to above all others.
“Birth,” she said.
And I’ve got to admit, she’s got something there. Mainly because we are seven down, none to go on that front. YES!!
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