03 December 2009

Christmas Lists...Morons...and Pee

Three vignettes from my day:

"Dear Santa, I want new siblings for Christmas. Ones that will not be mean to me. Love, Elizabeth."

I asked her what we will do with the old ones, and she replied, "We'll just have a whole bunch more kids!"

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"Dear Dad, I'm sorry I was such a moron this morning. I love you.
Love, {name withheld to protect the guilty}"

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As for the pee: all you parents of boys, let's talk about taking aim, shall we? Who among us has a boy-child that hits the target? I confront so much bodily fluid on a daily basis that I often feel like I'm in training for some high-level hazardous waste assignment. Between the daytime carelessness and the nighttime groggy-ness, my bathroom (of which I have ONE for a family of 7) tends to be a sea of pee. I go through many, many bottles of Simple Green in my Epic Pee Battles, and there is no end in sight.

We get our boys up at night to go to the bathroom. Let me just say that standing in the hallway in the dark (because standing in the bathroom doesn't give them enough privacy), trying to get a kid to wake up enough to relieve himself, and saying the nightly "please let him hit the water" prayer is taking its toll on me. The utter despair I feel upon hearing the pee hit the tile pretty much encapsulates my worst fears about being an ineffectual parent. Because once that stream starts, there's not a damn thing I can do to control its trajectory.

I had a nice chat with a friend today -- a true soldier, she is, raising FOUR BOYS between the ages of 12 and 5. We talked about pee. That's what we moms are reduced to, you know: talking about, and being interested in, strategies for handling bodily waste. (Actually, we talked about all kinds of strange and interesting things about family life, pee being just one of the scintillating topics...) She had a gem of a solution for boys with wayward aim: Upon entering a bathroom that young boys had used, upon observing that not only had they peed, but that apparently raising the toilet seat was too much effort, upon seeing the seat reserved for the peeing female doused in urine, she decreed: "If I see this again, you will sit on it so that you experience what I have to experience when you don't lift the seat."

Problem solved.

But here's the thing that gets me: I don't know of a single family with little boys that doesn't have unseemly amounts of urine on their bathroom floor, can't think of any boy-parents who don't spend inordinate amounts of time cleaning pee off of floors, tiles and toilets. And I've done a super scientific poll of a couple of my friends with boys and we all experience the same disgusting thing: boys pee many places, but rarely in the pot.

Which leads me to one of the great lessons of parenting. We absolutely HAVE TO talk to other parents so that we know that our own kids are not freakish mutants with no hope of ever becoming civilized. If we don't talk to our friends who have kids, we'll never know that most boys pee on the floor, most girls at some point shake their booties in peculiar ways, and most kids act like they've been offended beyond measure when asked to clean up.

So I have come to believe that the most essential bit of parenting advice is this: Do not parent in isolation. Talk to other parents and tell your stories. You'll feel so much better because you are bound to discover that your kid is not an anomaly and that what you are experiencing is being repeated behind the closed doors of most families in America, regardless of how together they might look when they are out in public.

So trust your instincts, do what you believe is right, and talk to other parents. That will get you through.

All of that from a conversation about pee!

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2 comments:

Viv said...

Yep. If this isn't the truth, I don't know what is.

Teacher Mommy said...

I've been relatively fortunate with DramaBoy, so far. A few incidents, but mostly he has good aim. Especially if there are no distractions. Now that The Widget is (FINALLY) consenting to be potty-trained, we'll see if that persists...