Potty training is in full force at Fort Pseudonymous, opening up the entire dwelling to excretory crossfire. We’ve had good days and we’ve had bad days, but the bad days are way more eventful, and thus way more entertaining. Accordingly, I’ve curated the following very special moments from our experiences with The Great Transition, so that you may laugh at our expense. (Fair warning: This is called “House Potty” for a reason.)
. . .
The Organ Trail
“Hey baby, do you have to go potty?”
“No,” my daughter giggled as she sprinted laps around the house with her brother in crime.
I’d asked her at least three times in the past five minutes because she’d just downed an entire cup of water, and I knew it was coming.
I returned my attention to the mound of dishes in the sink, and after rinsing a few more glasses, looked up again to see her standing in the middle of the living room with a look of distress.
“What happened, baby?” I asked, dread welling up inside me. “Did you go pee pee?”
I then noticed the carpeted floor surrounding my daughter, where she had left a liquid trail behind her: first a circle around the perimeter of the room, then looping around the ottoman, a few sharp turns, and finally a puddle at her feet.
She had essentially created a real-life version of the Family Circus comics depicting Billy’s wayward path through various scenes but…well…with urine.
My daughter–who stood there frozen–had still not answered me, so I asked again. “Baby, did you go pee pee?”
I used to laugh at my mother.
It would begin with her getting on the phone with a customer service representative. (Keep in mind that this was back in Ye Good Olde Days before Al Gore singlehandedly invented the Internet, when instead of yelling at ambiguous, unhelpful websites or cussing at incompetent live-chat reps in all caps, the only game in town was to actually haggle with a real person about bills, warranties, and Hooked on Phonics.)
While my mother attempted to insult the intelligence of whatever dolt she was dealing with on the other line, some semblance of the following events would transpire.
My two younger sisters, who were a year apart and constant playmates, would be “Doing a Story,” their name for playing out an improvisational narrative with a star-studded cast of Barbies, My Little Ponies, and whichever Legos their brother failed to hide well enough. In choosing which playthings each of them would voice, the oldest of the two would always weasel her way into First Draft Pick.
“I’ll be Malibu Botox Barbie.”
“No! You got to be Malibu Botox Barbie last time we Did a Story!”
“But this is the sequel. I have to be Malibu Botox Barbie again or else we’ll tank at the box office. The fan base expects me, not some young, up-and-coming no-name. Here, you can be Especially Flamboyant Ken.”
“Girls!” my Mom would hiss. “I’m on the phone!”
Fully engrossed in their heated casting session, their battle would rage on without even acknowledging my mother.
“Then be Less-Exciting Sister With the Arm Missing Stacie!”
“Why can’t I be one of those 20 other Barbies?”
“Because I’m Barbie.”
My eyes still bleary despite a shower and the coffee I was nursing between snips, I zeroed in on the kitchen shear blades as I sliced strawberries for the Twins’ breakfast. A momentary lapse in concentration could end in a crimson sprinkle even harder to clean off our idiotically-stark-white kitchen counters than the strawberries themselves. (No, we did not choose this color scheme, nor do we own this house, so until this fine publication makes me a kajillionaire, we keep plenty of Magic Erasers on hand.)
We’ve just discovered this scissor method, as opposed to the standard knife approach. When you have to cut up food for two one-year-old mouths as often as we do, you’re willing to try just about anything to avoid the monotony of hacking at a plate-full of adult-sized food for what feels like half an hour. Initially, my wife raved about the new method, claiming, “This is awesome! I don’t hate it that much!”
Sadly, the novelty has worn off, and shearing food is now just about as fun as knifing it, but with the added thrill of increased-finger-loss likelihood. Still, I wasn’t feeling very knifey on this particular morning, so I went with the novel annoyance rather than the mounting one.
Unbeknownst to us, our daughter seems to have started a new activist group–Daughters Against Mothers Drinking (DAMD).
Her reasons for this are a mystery to us, as my wife does not even remotely have a drinking problem. She does enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time, but so do a majority of adults over 21. In fact, since the pregnancy (when she didn’t drink and I did my best not to make her jealous), breastfeeding, and the unending sleep deprivation of having twin babies (which does not AT ALL jive with a hangover), both of us have become lightweights who feel superfine after two.
However, when my wife does decide she would fancy a drink, she is most certainly entitled, as she is our household’s primary breadwinner at an oftentimes intense job that spreads her thinly and leaves her toasted by the end of the day.
It was with this fervor that she asked for a glass of wine while at Nani and Abuelito’s (my wife’s mother and stepfather’s) house for dinner last night, and I was happy to oblige, pouring her the finest chardonnay Nani’s entire counter had to offer.
Are you really done with the stroller?
Because we’re six blocks from home. Are you really going to make me carry you six blocks?
You do realize there’s a reason we bring the stroller, right? See those things down there? What shape are they?
That’s right–they’re circles. See, the circles are wheels, and they make it so Daddy doesn’t have to carry you and your brother while we walk around the neighborhood because if Daddy had to do that, Daddy would probably throw out his back.
In fact, Daddy’s feeling his back right now. Do you see what Daddy’s carrying you with?
That’s right! That’s an arm. Good job, Baby Girl! How many arms is Daddy using to carry you? Let’s count them. Ready?
That’s right. Daddy’s only using one arm. Where is Daddy’s other arm? Do you see Daddy’s other arm? Where is Daddy’s other arm?
THERE’S Daddy’s other arm! Daddy’s other arm is pushing the stroller because your brother is still in the stroller. Do you see how good your brother is being? See that? He’s even drinking his juice.
‘atta boy, buddy.