My daughter is 3 and nowhere close to being potty trained. I used to mumble that last part into my chest but now, you know what, look up. See that banner being flown over the beach (we’re on a beach now) that says in car lot sized letters FUCK A POTTY? Yeah, I paid for that. With money earmarked for her Christmas presents because I am done. I am a failure at this stage of parenting and I am totally okay with it.
Can we talk about the never-ending stages of development and the constant parenting effort they entail? When do I get to tap out?
When do I get to leave her with my first Jackie Collins book (sex), Trainspotting on DVD (drugs) and a Minor Threat album (goddamn right punk is better than rock n’ roll). Those items, along with an Esso card and YouTube, that should buy me at least a month of not giving a shit about how I’m fumbling at parenting, right?
Because these last three years have challenged me to the core. I have breast fed like a champ, sacrificed my time, energy, food, patience, nice bras and single friends, and yet here I am again, face-to-face with a core life skill that I am expected to teach her. It’s the worst. It’s the shits, literally.
She hates the potty. She hates me when my mouth starts to form the first syllable of “potty?” She would rather pop a squat under the table at McDonald’s (I only recently learned McNuggets are made of wire hangers, ok?) and then continue eating, singing and twirling with a larger nugget of shit clamped to her butt cheeks than march with me to the potty. It’s not just the sexy allure of the public toilet that scares her. Even the potty at home with MUCH (ish) less stray pubes and vomit splashes is never ever her first choice.
If Pinterest has taught me anything, I can turn a negative thought upside down and it will taste delicious with quinoa. I am choosing to see this developmental record skip in a positive light. I can take her out for errands and not have to create, develop and download an App that tells me where the nearest public bathroom (singular) with a lock, flushing toilet and 1/8 inch scrap of toilet paper is. If she’s okay wandering around like a fetid animal, so am I. If she’s wearing her kick-ass sparkly red cowboy boots, people don’t even notice her scent.
I know I’m not going to end up on the cover of Time Magazine for delaying her bowel independence. (How would they style us? Her writing a spooky graffiti-style “Mama” with the shit coming out of her no-name diaper while I’m on my phone? So many options to explore…)
“They,” aka my favourite enablers, say she won’t be in diapers when she’s 17. I hope so, but then again, my family contains some characters with interesting bathroom peccadilloes. The one who drugs himself to never shit when he’s on vacation. The one who leaves bathrooms smelling like acid rain and rotting false teeth. The one who will use Tupperware if she can’t wait for the one bathroom in the apartment to be free. (THIS IS SO ME, SORRY NOT SORRY.)
Hopefully her father, my magnificently fastidious husband who has never even farted in front of me, will have some genetic sway and she’ll come to love the fresh feeling of a cotton underoo. In the future, when she manifests this parenting flop into an MIT undergrad program exploring fecal matter or regresses into a Nell-like jungle creature who flings her poop far and wide, I will take the credit and blame. I of course would really love it if this shitshow I’ve created has a happy ending. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Brooke Takhar will one day regret oversharing. Until then she blogs at missteenussr.com where stress, terrible instincts and marshmallows are her fuel for life and parenting.