So ….here’s the thing, my daughter is 4. It’s time for her to wipe herself. Intellectually, I get it. But in my life, I don’t. I can’t . It’s too much. Everytime she’s in the bathroom, I will hear, “MOMMY I’M DOOOONE.” This is my cue to drop whatever I’m doing, for there is a butt that needs wiping. During one of these requests for my presence, my husband said to me, “Vaness don’t you think it’s time she learns how to wipe herself?” (Cut to me imagining a poop smeared bathroom) “Ehhh..I dunno…I just don’t think it’s time..” I KNEW he was right. She was beyond ready. I, however, was not.
Potty training is actually made up of several components, (that I know of) . There’s peeing on the potty, pooping on the potty, accident free sleeps, and independent wiping, I had not considered independent wiping when we rejoiced after every poop on the potty. I thought once I stopped celebrating a poop with a toy, we had arrived at the end of potty training but damn you wiping! ( What comes next… independent trips to public restrooms?? Gulp!)
So, I listened to my husband and we started to really teach her how to wipe as opposed to me getting frustrated and jumping in Every. Single. Time. I’ve been enabling her for far too long. We taught her the importance of wiping in the right direction and how we must NEVER wipe our backside and then our frontside. I explained how to keep wiping until she got a clean wipe. (Also, full disclosure, I use the flushable, wipes,ok ? I realize any plumber will say they are not really “flushable”. My apologies to all the plumbers everywhere . I’m sorry, but they make it a little easier. Maybe Elon Musk can find a way to power a city with the use of flushable wipes because God knows I’m using them and I know I’m not alone! The wipes help! Everyone knows this. ) Now of course one of the most important parts of wiping is hand washing. Obviously, regardless of who wipes, any trip to the potty ends with hand washing. But if she’s going to be the Queen of this throne and take on all the responsibility that comes with it, this was a good time to drive some points home. I’ve lost count of how many times I said, “Get them nice and soapy..sing Happy Birthday to be sure you are taking enough time and don’t just stand there and let the water fall into your hands! Scrub them,” and “… if you don’t clean off the germs, you will get poop everywhere and we will all get sick and need to go to the hospital…” (My parenting style is full of let’s keep it real moments and fear tactics. I’m not ashamed.)
So the day came where I said ,”Issy, I think this time you can wipe yourself.” She felt ready and I looked forward to being the proud mother of an independent wiper and detailed hand washer. I won’t hear “MOOOOM, I’m DOOOONE” anymore! And I was right; I DIDN’T hear “MOOOOM, I’M DOOOOONE”; I heard MOOOOM, I have POOP ON MY HAND!” Sweet. Baby. Jesus. My worst nightmare. I imagined the poop germs everywhere and we’d all catch some horrible stomach bug. I thought of that infamous scene from Bridesmaids in the dress shop …We are all going to get sick …There won’t be enough toilets in the house for all of us and one of us will have to be sitting on the sink like Melissa McCarthy’s character!!!! I ran into the bathroom and indeed the poop was all over her hand. It’s like she started to wipe too early! Her hand was covered, her butt was covered! It was too soon! Too soon to wipe!! She wasn’t ready! Admittedly, I didn’t handle myself well. I did not remain calm and tell her it was alright. I did the opposite. After I wiped her hands I said, “don’t touch anything” and moved on to her little tush. (As you know-The WORST thing to say to a kid is DON’T do something because then all they want to do is what you said NOT to!!!) She was touching her face… her hair and I YELLED at her. I’m certain I must have said something like “You’re going to get sick!” Stop touching your God Damn face DAMN IT! ” Yea…not my proudest moment. Why did her first attempt have to be THIS poop. Why not a few little pebbles? She could’ve done that in one wipe! But this- not this. Why can’t she be genuinely concerned about spreading germs? I ended up wiping her and throwing her in the shower. I traumatized the poor child to the point that she lost all interest in wiping. (Stay tuned for my book: DON’T DO WHAT I DO: A Practical guide of How NOT to Handle Almost Every Situation in Parenting. )
So, I went back to the drop everything and wait for her to call for me to wipe stage…. Clearly I too was traumatized…I convinced myself it was just too soon until last week when I picked her up from school. She ran and jumped into my arms and whispered in my ear, “ Mommy I have poop in my underwear.” She said she thought she got a clean wipe, but all the wiping hurt her little tush. Clearly, my fear of letting her wipe herself along with my little germaphobe issues are not serving her! Alas, we are back on the path to independent wiping. This morning when I checked on her in the bathroom, she said, “Look Mom, I still love you but I don’t need you to wipe me anymore…I’m a big girl okay?”
Got it…I’m still going to supervise the hand washing though.