Even with the best of intentions, I dug a hole and buried myself. Twice.
When my youngest son was two he became fascinated with potty words as so many little boys do. I quickly became weary of the incessant references to bodily functions. I tried the ignoring, the time-outs, etc. Nothing could quell his appetite for the thrill of those words passing his lips.
Once again, as I have done so many times in my parenting, I consulted Google. One idea, different from the rest, seemed like it just might work. The writer of the article I read suggested putting your child in the bathroom whenever this behavior started and emphasizing to them that potty words belong in the bathroom and there only. I anxiously proceeded to act on this brilliant idea.
Slowly, Austin started to get the picture. He began to tire of getting placed in the bathroom every time he chose to reference words unrelated to their actual purpose.
I patted myself on the back, until one day my strategy blew up in my face. While shopping at Target he needed to go to the bathroom. We entered the stall and I set him on the toilet. Suddenly, at the top of his lungs, he started yelling, “Poop! Pee! Fart! Poop! Pee! Fart!” He repeated the words over and over again. As I attempted to shush him he responded, “But Mom, I’m in the bathroom!” My plan had worked wonders with this one caveat. What was a mom to do?
Recently, I taught a mom’s group at my church. We discussed mom guilt over perceived failures and the ladies shared stories with each other. I even had them write down some on notecards. Later that week I got them out and read through them. Some were sad, and some were hysterical. Some of the funny ones I read out loud to my sons. They were practically falling out of their chairs laughing. And here is where my second fail began. I proceeded to share the above story with Austin, thinking to myself, “He’s six now. He’ll think this is funny. We’ll laugh and share a memory from his past.” What was I thinking?
Can you guess what happened? For the past few weeks nearly every time he goes into the bathroom, regardless of the reason, he enthusiastically yells out the potty words I thought I long ago put to rest. I sit here and cringe at what might happen at school. His kindergarten classroom has a bathroom in the room right by where they do circle time. Heaven forbid he uses the bathroom while the teacher is reading the class a story. One boy used it the other day when I was in there and left the door wide open while he did so. Can you imagine the giggles from 26 kindergarten students should Austin perform his rediscovered antics? I haven’t had any phone calls from his teacher yet, so maybe I’m safe. (And I shouldn’t have just typed that last sentence, because now I’m probably doomed.)
I wanted to give you a good laugh today, but also wanted to remind you that this parenting thing is a tricky beast. Even when you think you’ve got it figured out, your kids can throw you for a major loop. Take my advice and wait until they’re mature adults to share their childhood shenanigans with them.
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