I’ve been a mother for 14 years and have 4 children and the only thing I’ve learned is that “they” are pretty much always lying. Everything “they” promise will happen does not actually happen.
Breastfed co-sleeping kids are not “clingy.” Sleep-trained kids do not burn puppies. Formula doesn’t crush souls; homeschooling doesn’t create teenagers capable of speaking only in Minecraft code.
They walk when they want. They talk when they want. They eat food when they fucking want, and they almost all turn into Perfectly Standard Humans. I mean, not to us, of course, to us they are glittering pillars of genius resulting from, that’s right, our excellent parenting choices.
I can’t wait until I have children-in-law and grandchildren so I can tell them how to parent perfectly like I did. EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE ME SO MUCH.
But still, sometimes I forget that “they” are full of shit. Even still. It pisses me off every time I do it. How do I do it? I don’t fucking know. My brain is like a weak-ass sieve.
For example, a few months ago, my obviously overcommitted husband bought a frog potty from Target. I was like, “Mac, dude. He’s not even two. WTF is wrong with you?”
And he said, “Well I see no harm in trying.”
See now that is immediately where parents go wrong. The key is to look for opportunities to NOT TRY, not seek out opportunities for excellence. Be a hero in other areas, assholes! Not parenting! Shit.
So I told him, “Okay well this is clearly your gig because I have no interest in attempting to potty train a kid this young.”
“Have you ever potty trained any of our kids?”
“Well, no, but you never know when I may spring into action and frankly I feel implicated by your premature frog-toilet purchase.”
Then he walked away. People walk away from me a lot.
Much to my surprise though, Arlo started showing all kinds of interest in the frog shitter. Mac stuck him on the thing when he first woke up, because apparently that’s a thing you do when you’re “potty training,” and lo and behold the toddler would pee. He even pooped a few times. He even did it when we were on vacation in Tahoe.
THIS WAS ALL AMAZING WE HAVE A GENIUS BOY CHILD WHO WILL POTTY TRAIN AT TWO.
We stuck him on it, and he went! Over and over again! Wheeeeeeeee!
Then we forgot about it.
Yeah, that fucking happened. We forgot about it. We simply stopped doing it. I woke up one Sunday and realized it had been two to three weeks since we stuck him on a toilet gleefully bartering candy for excrement.
The frog was full of lint and toys. Uh oh.
So like any reasonable person, I immediately blamed it on the child. He regressed! He went through a phase then forgot!
When that didn’t soothe my nagging discontent, I got on the Google “to research” and ended up reading about how “if you miss the window, you’re totally fucked and they’ll end up 12 years old peeing down their own legs in gym class and not in a fun way.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically what “they” said and BECAUSE MY BRAIN IS A WEAK-ASS SIEVE I forgot “they” are always lying, I PANICKED because I HAD RUINED MY CHANCE FOR POTTY TRAINING.
In terror I committed myself to potty training the toddler NOW. I can’t miss the window! I missed the window! THE WINDOW MY GOD THE WINDOW.
(Arlo is 26 months old. This entire thing is fucking ridiculous.)
So I googled, “How do you potty train?” And set myself aflame.
First, I tried to put him on the frog potty again because it worked so well before, but now he hates the frog potty and insists upon sitting on the full-size toilet with his legs out, clinging for dear life to the toilet seat. He just sort of hangs there and looks at me for a few seconds, demanding “candy” while I squeal “pee or poop! YAY!”
But now he’s learned to say, “not working,” which he repeats to infinity beginning about 9 seconds after getting on the toilet.
As if he’s fucking powerless. Sometimes he demands that I shit or pee WITH HIM which is impossible because he’s dangling over the toilet himself and there’s no room for me.
Sometimes I walk away and leave him there hoping he’ll get bored enough to do it but instead he starts flicking the toilet water with one hand while clinging to the seat with the other and screaming for his older sister to join him for “swimming.”
THIS IS NOT SWIMMING YOU ASSHOLES.
The next day I muster all my energy and gleefully ask him “Do you want to go to the potty? Let’s try the potty! Omg big boy! YAY! Let’s do it!”
He grabs my face, looks me dead in the eyes, tilts his head slightly and says flatly, “No.”
Nobody likes you, Arlo.
Then I remember how Georgia potty trained because she refused to wear clothes and didn’t like the feeling of pee down her leg, so I take his clothes off and he ends up taking a shit 10 minutes later on the top of the kitchen trash can while pulling things out of the junk drawer as I cook dinner.
This is the point at which I realize potty training is bullshit.
If you are dealing with a human who a.) sits naked on trash cans while sober and b.) has no problem taking a shit on it while playing with pencils and ear plugs, there is no hope for you.
Nobody can work with that.
This is not a regular human. This is an individual outside the bounds of toilet-trained capacity and it is absolutely time to focus on doing nothing again.
The kid is only 26-months-old. Someday he will use a toilet. Someday all humans use toilets. In the grand scheme, what’s a year or two? Damn you Mac and your high standards.
And fuck you, frog potty. Fuck you. You can’t shame me into action. I know better! I’ve been a mom for 14 years!
I’m a motherfucking expert.