Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Garden Hose, Cheerios, and the Toilet Bowl

When I got ready to potty train my son, I was a little more then worried.  I wasn't raised around boys, and had no idea whether it would come natural for my son to stand and pee, or if I had to some how "set an example".  The first month I allowed him to sit on the toilet.  But, in my own madness (no doubtedly passed down from my mother) I worried how this would effect his future need to stand.  So, I embarked on the only thing handy....a garden hose.  Yes, it is quite silly, and actually obsured if you think it through, but my paranoia of being a "bad mother" plagued me in many odd ways. 
Taking the garden hose, I got the adapter that hooks to the sink, and left it attached for nearly 2 months.  When I would catch the tell tale signs of my son having to pee, I would go in with him, lift the lid, and promptly place the hose between my legs.  Now, I have to admit, that (again my paranoia setting in) I was now worrying about him getting a complex about my hose being bigger then his -- I just recently learned that NOW is actually the first time that thought has ever crossed his mind ---- another story, for another day.  But, I was determined to make him a normal boy!  No matter how foolish I looked. 
I remember the third or fourth time I did this he actually began trying to pee on the the stream of water coming from my hose -- one of many signs of male silliness that I would be lucky enough to experience.

Once we got the standing part down, I was now interested in making sure that he understood how to keep it in the bowl and put the seat down.  We started a game with Cheerios.  Yes, it has been done many times before -- and, much to my happiness, it works!  We, however, added a twist to the game, and made the Cheerios disappear after we were done, by putting the seat and lid down.  When you returned to go again, the Cheerios were "magically" gone!

It was almost 2 more years before my son tired of this game.  I am fortunate -- I am creative and crazy enough to try anything --- no matter how stupid I look or feel -- to help someone/anyone learn something new.  I am lucky that way.

As always, I wouldn't be telling you everything if I didn't share the disappointment i felt when my mother caught my son and I playing "destroy n flush the Cheerios".  It was an early morning, and I am sure she was tired.  She had come by on her way to work, and was "checking in".  It felt much more like checking up on me, however. 
My son came out to hug grandma, and began the ritual of grasping his crotch.  She led him to the bathroom and, although down the hall, could hear her reprimanding him. 
"(his name) Why are you throwing cereal in there?", she exclaimed rudely.
Running as if to rescue my cub, I stopped short at the door as I saw her ripping my son's fingers open.
"Mom!!  That is helping him with potty training.  He throws them in, shoots at them, and then they disappear....but only if he closes the lid," I tried desperately to sound under control, but now realize that I was boiling with anger over her disrespect of my plan.
"How ridiculous!  And the hose?  I would guess that is your *&^%%^?  Oh, (my name) you are out of your mind!"  She returned to helping my son get the toilet flushed, and hastened her way past me.  After a few more words of a berating nature, she went on her way. 

I often felt exhausted after these incidents.  But, mostly, at least on that day, I realized that I had begun to accomplish something I never thought I would do ---- I was successfully becoming my own kind of parent.  And I was proud!  In fact, I was hysterically laughing at the disgust that my mother projected toward my son and I that morning.  How can you find something so negative, in something fun? 

It would take me more then 5 years to feel as though I was truely breaking free of the cycle of abuse........but, as I look back now, I know that day was a bigger beginning for my son and I, then I ever could have known.

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