Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Remember, remember...

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....


  1. That's so funny. I am sending you a cyber hug on the whole potty training debacle. It really is no fun is it? Feels like they'll be weeing on the floor until they're 7 and you convince yourself it's never going to happen.
    BTW I have never forgotten the pain of childbirth or the ridiculous yoga teacher who kept telling me to 'breathe the pain away' - yeah right!

  2. Golly - and here that is what I thought you were leading up to...see how some minds just naturally 'go there'?

  3. lol I immediately thought you were announcing your pregnancy too!

    I know nothing about potty training - but that is because I was a crunchy granola hippy that subscribed to the never having the child unlearn with nappies - which is, of course, more practical when its only one, you're in a warm climate and you are slightly nuts!

  4. pm, that's a thought provoking post ... i have almost completely erased potty training from my mind. (but the memory of childbirth will never leave.)

  5. Hi Tara, needless to say he's back in normal nappies today. I will not give up though!

    Aims, heaven forbid!

    Jeanie, I salute you! Though I must admit the thought of doing it that way in chilly London with two children is absolutely horrid...

    Grit - you had 3 of them. At one time. Somehow I doubt that's ever going to be forgettable...

  6. At least you finished one lot of potty training before starting on the next one :-) At this rate, we will be starting on Littleboy2 while Littleboy 1 is far from finished(ie daily accidents; nowhere near being dry at night; when oh when will it ever end?...)

  7. Good luck with #2! I'm hoping to learn from your experiences of Potty Training - although that's 2 years down the road at best for me, and I don't have a boy but I assume girls can do the same damage.

  8. I must admit I thought, like Aims and jeanie that you were leading up to a massive confession. Haven't forgotten the pain, not really, but have, if it's any comfort, forgotten potty training. Have wii rage (ho ho) to deal with now. (oh and wrt your comment on my blog, well, blush, I get a sad kick out of trying to put in ridiculous labels.)

  9. Oh my gosh! So funny.

    We haven't started the potty training yet but I feel I will probably block that out unlike the absolute agony I was in when I had my son.

    Not going to forget that agony, but maybe just how bad it really was.

  10. I think my amnesia gene went missing during the whole 20 hour fiasco; definitely not doing that again!

    Never forget where I've hidden chocolate under the bed either.......

  11. My eldest girl keeps leaving me perfectly formed little logs whenever I give her 'nappy off' time.

    Charming in this heat.

    BM x

  12. Potty, you've already got one of these, but here's another..

    BM x

  13. I have decided that potty training is the worst part of parenting. It might even be one of Dante's levels of hell. But you will get through it. Before sweetE could go to preschool last year he had to be 100% potty trained. So we went the no pants route and he was mostly done in just over a week. He was nearly three. I am a big believer in the no pants method.

    Good luck and have the cleaning supplies handy.

  14. damn, and i thought for a minute you were up the duff. also remember the hot summer of '76 and those stickers 'sorry i'm dirty i'm saving water'. also remember tres clearly the pain involved with childbirth...

    and my thoughts are with you pottyM as you even broach the subjecct of potty training. we had one of those spectacular sitcom moments the other day, whereby I got distracted by one of our visitors, my two year old poo'd on the floor and my 9 year old fresh and fragrant from the shower, waltzed out of the bathroom and stood straight in the crap.

    thankfully she saw the funny side.

    but good luick with the potty training!


  15. ha i will be going back to your archives soon, as am starting to gear up for the whole potty thing. it's not as traumatic as child birth is it? Betty's nappy was off before her bath last night, she went off weeed and then left wee footprints all across the landing - it looked quite sweet, in a weird kind of way

  16. When I am feeling mentally well, I always forget how things are when they go to hell in a hand basket and each time I am caught off guard and have to take several days to catch up and take the necessary steps to safeguard myself. You would think I would know by now what to do immediately, but like you said, amnesia sets in very quickly, especially with the unpleasant things.

  17. Reading this has reminded me why I am dreading the next few months so much. My 2 year old is starting to experiment with toilet training, as is experimenting how many different places he can relieve his call of nature before I find him. I am now resorting to gimmicks such as balls with faces that float but alas suspect I am more likely to find him fishing them out than weeing on them, and then for my youngest the joy of weaning starts tomorrow, another one of those things I had blocked on. Roll on the smell of broccoli and carrots!

  18. Oh you big tease - I really thought there was an announcement coming. Just wee on the floor - no biggie (if you'll pardon the double entendre!)
    In my experience (of only three) you just have to go with the flow (ooh, sorry). They'll do it when they're ready and if they feel pressure from parents, they'll bloody well do it wherever it's most inconvenient. Remember 1 part white vinegar to three parts water will remove the smell from almost anything.
    You're welcome.

  19. There's so much I've forgotten about the baby years. When I close my eyes and try to remember more I usually can, but my mind goes mysteriously into auto-shut down and I immediately get distracted into thinking about something else. As for childbirth ... best forget all about that level of pain!

  20. Hy Potty!
    You've caused a storm here!I like that dress, don't worry about it!

    I see Pig is lowering the tone..yet again, and you know she's so posh on the phone!!

  21. Rough day, huh?

    So potty training is one of those top secrets no parents tell you about until after you get there? Like childbirth? HELP!

  22. Hi VG - but it does end, right? Please, someone tell me that it does...

    SB, you may be pleasantly surprised. In my limited experience, girls seem to catch on more quickly.

    Milla, great pun - though probably not a great experience...

    J's Mommy, well, it seems I'm in the minority here in being able to block out the pain of childbirth. As for potty training - don't rush it, you'll know when he's ready.

    WM, you hide chocolate under the bed? That's much too close for me - I at least need to force myself out of bed to fetch it, any closer would be the ruin of me!

    BM, you have my utter sympathy! And thankyou!!

    Ped, in principle I know you're right. Now, if only we had a garden to minimise the damage...

    Pig, hilarious as ever. And sorry to disappoint on the baby front - but oh so relieved to be able to! (Hormones aside, I am NEVER going back there...)

    Elsie, no of course it isn't as traumatic as childbirth. Of COURSE it isn't.

    Irene, it surely does. But then I guess we can always check back on our blogs - assuming we remember, that is!

    Hi Mel, thanks for the visit, and as you can see I can't offer much help with the potty training but as for the weaning, whilst I did cook most of the stuff myself I can't recommend Plum Baby stuff highly enough. It saves hours in the kitchen...(and means you don't have to make your own chicken stock, hurrah!)

    EPM, thankyou thankyou. I will write that recipe down and keep it on me at all times. Especially when I go to my parents and - well, you'll have to wait for the next post for that story.

    GBS, best forgotten, I totally agree, childbirth. Until of course our daughters (not that I have any) start to think teenage pregnancy is cool, when it should be taken out, dusted off and shared in all it's gory glory....

    Frog, I like that dress too - but must admit it does add a certain roundness to my stomach. Oh well. Like I care... (ha! You know I do...)

    Moziesme, thanks for visiting and you're right. It's another of those things no-one shares with you. Probably because whilst it's happening they're too busy cleaning up, and then afterwards they just block it from their minds...

  23. Oh my! I just found you and what an eye opener! I was so lazy with the beautiful boy I just left him in nappies until he decided he'd had enough of them! Thankfully he got there in time for nursery without any help from me! I really wasn't inclined to condition his bum with a cold potty after every mealand there was never a convenient time for peeing on carpets and have you seen the state of public toilets? Terrifying!!
    Great to find you. I'm off to trawl the archives!

  24. Hello KP, thanks for commenting and I wish I had been so lucky with my oldest. Sadly, don't think I will be with my second, either!

  25. Lovley potty mummy! You haven't asked what age he was when he finally started nursery! :-) xx

  26. KP, surely it doesn't matter how old he was as long as it happened by the time he started nursery? (And anyone who suggests otherwise is rude and their children are probably much too biddable for their own good....)


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