Toilet Temper Tantrums - mine, not Freddies...
So when does a grown up, finally feel grown up? I’m 39 and a half, and I can tell you, I do not feel grown up. I still don’t know things that my child-self would expect a proper grown up to know. I can tell you what the interest rate is on my mortgage, down to the exact point. I can create excellent meals out of an old piece of ham, an egg and some dairylea. I own co-ordinating underwear and I layer scent. I have #mahibi slippers on my Christmas list. Really. I mean, they have a detachable sole people! How handy for taking Bailey out for his last wee of the day! But I still don’t know how many days there are in each month, or when the clocks change. I only know when my gadgets tell me! My 6 year old self, would no doubt be disappointed. I can picture her sanctimoniously shaking her head.
So are you a grown up when you know what herbs match with that protein? Cos I’ve got that one. Or is it when you finally have a comprehensive grasp on international politics? I swear to God, when Theresa May was elected in 2017, I was genuinely dumbfounded. You could’ve knocked me down with a feather when I realised that the new PM was not Mr Tumble, since he was the only person I ever saw on telly at the time. Luckily, I never made it to the Polling Booth else I would’ve voted UKIP. In the absence of ever being able to see anything other than CBeebies on the telly, I naturally concluded that their policies must have included mandatory napping and early bedtimes. I am also convinced that there are two different types of people in the world – the ones that never let their petrol tank get to less than a quarter full, and there are those – like me - that like to drive until it all starts to feel decidedly reedy. Once I literally bunny hopped across oncoming traffic into the petrol station, my petrol level was so low. It’s not that I’m terribly stupid, it’s just that I don’t cope very well with boring things. Stopping at a petrol station is boring. And expensive. Doing the food shop is boring. And expensive. But, oh my days – on the plus side I have discovered Aldi! I love it there, I’m a bit addicted to be honest. Yes, it’s helpful in Austerity post-financial crisis and Pre-Brexit Britain – it really is excellent value. I always double check my receipt with incredulity and I haven’t bought anything naff or poor quality in there yet, either. But the reason I love it most of all, MOST OF ALL Dear Readers, is because it doesn’t have a ruddy ride-on Thomas the Tank or Bob The Builder ride in sight!! God bless you, Aldi. For that reason alone, you deserve a bigger market share than the big 4 in my humble opinion.
I have stood in the skin searing wind, the lashing rain and the blistering sun, begging with Freddie to please, please get off the ride. I think they are such a waste of money, that I am morally opposed to him riding on them. I hate seeing his little disappointed face when the ride stops after 30 seconds, it grinds me to the core. You could put a fiver in these machines, and it still wouldn’t be enough to satisfy your little one, because the ride is so short. But the malevolent money grabbing forces that be have deemed it fit to make already very busy and stressed parents even more fucking stressed and rushed by placing these hell-machines right infront of the entrance to the supermarket where they are literally unavoidable. And unless you have the reactions of a Ninja and a steely grip worthy of industrial use, you will eventually become victim to your child rushing and sitting in one of these. I have explained that I have no money, because like the Queen, I like dogs and I do not carry cash. I have plead, bargained, threatened to drive away, cried. Freddie has grasped on with the steadfastness of a baby sloth, and prying those fingers off when actual paying parents and their kids want to get on, is perhaps one of the most embarrassing experiences of parenthood. Sometimes I have just sat and waited for what feels like 3 days before he eventually concedes that he is hungry or bored. But the one thing that’ll never get him off Thomas is a full bladder. He’ll never ask to go to the toilet because another area that Freds appears to want to make life as difficult as possible is toilet training. Most kids are toilet trained by now, like fully. Freddie is 3 and three quarters, and no amount of bribery, pleading or reasoning appears to be helping. Unfortunately, Freddie appears to have taken after me in the ‘if it’s boring, I simply won’t do it’ camp.
Now, as a working adult, I view a pee break as a treat! A little sabbatical away from the tyranny of the VDU if you will. But Freddie finds it all too pedestrian, and in an event to liven it up has started a) roaring like a monster whilst peeing b) insisting on fully removing trousers, pants and socks beforehand, and c) turning the lights off and projecting the image of a Great White Shark sticking it’s head out of the water onto the toilet wall whilst he goes. Now, I am telling you that you haven’t experienced a feeling of pure ‘what the hell has my life become’ until you have wrestled with removing a pair of very tight pants from your child who is balancing on a step. This means that his bits are precariously close to your face, and Bailey has often seized the opportunity to bite my arse into the bargain. All the while, the dead eyes of Jaws himself leering out of the darkness at you. I have mentally imagined those sharp, triangular teeth, gaping in a lopsided smile, jeering at me, ‘You’ve lost control of this shit, woman, sort yourself out.’ It really does beggar belief. Freddie will then use the toilet, but the minute he’s away and has secured his star, he completely forgets again. It is so frustrating, because I know he recognises when he needs to go but he obviously just finds it too boring. I have bought snazzy pants, I have rewarded him. I have not make a big deal out of disappointments and I have tried not rewarding him. I have tried doing the old, ‘I’ll go then you go’ but again nothing works. It has been the cause of a lot of stress in my home recently, but I’ve decided to try and ‘let it go’. I’m aware of the irony that this is what I’ve also been trying to get Freddie to do, just in the loo and not on my sofa, but hey ho. I’ve decided not to get stressed about it. He’ll be ready when he’s ready. After all, no-one gets to their thirties, stands up in the office, relieves themselves and then jollily sings out, ‘sorry! I wasn’t ever trained,’ do they? At least, please tell me they don’t!!’.So for now Andy and I are going to try and do our best to carry on steadfastly, but without bringing on stress Migraines. We’re going to try to not get too bored with it. Although it is boring, and a little bit of me dies everytime another parent regales you with details of how their children were toilet trained in a day. (We’re on about month 3). And yes, I’m aware that there is a rhyme that helps you remember the days of the week, but you know, it was just too boring. But on the plus side, I must be fairly grown up, because I do manage to go to the little girl's room all by myself. That counts, right?