>> Wednesday, 30 July 2008
The human mind is a remarkable thing.
Whilst it has the capacity to remember the smallest unimportant detail, it simultaneously has the ability to supress those things it feels you would be better off not thinking about.
So, for example, I can remember the smell of the newly cut grass and the distant buzz of the lawn mower floating in through open windows during my O-level exams at convent school 25 years ago. I can remember the feel of the parched dry lawn beneath my bare toes in the long hot summer of 1976. I can remember the taste of the blackcurrant ice lolly I sucked in the drizzle on a walk to the quayside aquarium in Fowey on a summer holiday, aged only 7. And I can remember gazing out of my bedroom window on a multitude of quiet summer evenings - when I should have been doing my homework - as I grew up in the Cotswolds. The pale blue sky slowly darkened to indigo and the trees on the distant horizon travelled through various shades of green to black; I can see it clearly, now.
But can I remember the pain of giving birth? Of course not. This, obviously, has more than a little to do with the fact that I opted for an epidural in both instances, but not until I had each time struggled gamely on until I was fully dilated (any men reading, look away now!), when both my hefty sons got stuck. To paraphrase Lady Bracknell 'once is unfortunate, but twice?' So I had a good few hours in each case to acquaint myself with the grittier side of giving birth - as did Husband's fingers that I crushed mercilessly during that seemingly endless period (it's amazing he was ever able to write again after Boy #2 arrived) - before giving in and demanding drugs at a stage when they are normally refused. It's testament to how 'stuck' both Boys were that I got them.
But you do forget. Of course you do - or you would never allow yourself to have more children.
And just in case you haven't experienced the phenomena of Nature's Gift of Amnesia for yourself, let me assure you that I am not alone in this. One of my girlfriends, on being questioned the day after her daughter was born about how it felt to give birth, answered "Rather like sh***ing a melon covered in glass." She now swears blind I made that up - but I never asked any of my other friends after that. And more to the point, didn't give birth myself for another 13 years or so...
Well, news flash. Potty Training falls into the area that Nature has decided it would be better for us not to fully remember.
Today was a big day in the Potty household; Boy #2 wore a pull-up nappy for the first time. He's not ready for potty training, oh I know that. We talk about it from time to time of course, but I know he's not really interested - or indeed, capable - which is why I haven't pushed it. The only action the potty has seen from his behind is fully clothed, keeping his brother company before they climb into the bath. Nevertheless, it seemed like a good time to make the switch to pull-ups in an attempt to encourage him to see the possibilities of a nappy-free life.
So today, once he was suitably clad in an easily pulled down nappy, I caught him about to 'make a delivery' (aren't euphamisms great?) and in a moment of madness suggested he sit on the potty to do so. He readily agreed, but 5 minutes of enthusiastic pushing on his part yielded no results, so I foolishly left him for a moment to fetch another nappy. And in the 30 seconds or so that I abandoned my post, he escaped from the bathroom - bare-bottomed - raced into his brother's room, and weed on the floor.
I'm not an amateur, I've been here before. I should have known what to expect. But I've decided that it's not my fault. Nature had stepped in, and wiped the 'frustration files' in the folder marked 'Potty Training' from my internal computer, and just to finish the job had deleted the 'treat naked boys with extreme caution' programme whilst she was at it.
I cleared up the wee, taking great care not to get any on my favourite loose summer dress as with this heat it's the most comfortable thing I have to wear.
However, the dress may not leave the confines of the flat for a while; this afternoon our cleaner asked if I was pregnant again.
Potty Training, and being thought noticeably pregnant (when, by the way, I most definitely am not). Pass the chocolate biscuits, please. Funny how the Human Mind never forgets where they are....