I bought a small potty for Natalie when she was a year and a half.
I knew she wouldn’t be potty trained that early. Of course I did. I mean, her brother took his sweet time with finally deciding to use the bathroom. I honestly thought he'd be the first college kid who attended class in a Pull Up.
But I still had hope.
What I WISHED would happen is that I’d show the potty to Natalie and she’d clap her hands, announce that she had to pee and promptly go on it. Girls usually train faster than boys, right?
What really happened is that Natalie marched right past the potty and refused to sit on it when I asked if she wanted to try it.
“Nope,” she said and then ran over to her Daddy for protection. (Okay. MOST girls train faster than boys but just not MY girl. I get it.)
I figured, okay, she’s just too young.
My dreams of having her potty trained before she was two disappeared.
When Natalie turned two she suddenly seemed interested in the potty. She seemed to realize that the white throne with the green armrests in the corner of the room was FUN. She pulled it over and my breath caught in my throat.
This is it! She’s going to pee! This is IT!
I was two seconds away from organizing a Natalie Finally Urinated! party. I planned on phoning up all our family members and casually saying something like, “You know Natalie? Who just turned two? Yeah, she went pee in the potty.” I’d sound nonchalant and act as though it weren’t a big deal but inside I’d be screaming, “NO MORE DIAPERS! That means extra money. That means I can go shopping!”
But Natalie didn’t pee.
She sat on the toilet for all of three seconds before abandoning it for an old carrot she had discarded on the couch a few hours before.
“Wait! Don’t you want to pee?” I asked Natalie hopefully. I realized that my voice had raised a few octaves and was causing Natalie’s eyebrows to shoot up in confusion. So I tried to sound normal and started again. “Wouldn’t you like to pee in this fabulous potty?” I even gestured to it with my hands as though I were Vanna White.
Natalie looked me squarely in the eye and went, “No fanks.”
What was this NO FANKS business?
Still, I tried not to worry.
And, okay, you know the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf? Natalie had her own version: The Girl who Cried Pee. Because she’d tease me and would point to the potty enthusiastically and shout that she had to pee and I’d be all, “This is IT!”
But then she’d change her mind and say, “No fanks.” She’d look quite pleased with herself, as if torturing her mother was an enjoyable task.
Eventually I stopped believing that Natalie was really going to pee. She’d ask for the potty and I’d drag it over as though it were a bag of potatoes and it stopped hurting quite so much when Natalie would abandon her commode less than a minute later.
Yesterday Natalie rushed over to me and started shouting, “Pee! Pee! Pee!”
I had never seen her so emphatic about pee before, you see. Usually she’ll just point to the potty and inform me that she wants to sit on it. Then I’ll ask if she wants to PEE in it and she promptly says, “No fanks.” It’s just how it goes. I’ve accepted it.
So when Natalie practically started break dancing while she screeched the word pee, my heart lurched with excitement.
Maybe this is FINALLY it! She’s never been THIS excited before!
“Do you want to pee?” I wondered, trying not to sound too hopeful. I grabbed the potty and blew off the dust that it had started to collect. I set it in the middle of the living room even though this bothers my husband.
“This is where I watch TV. Why is there a toilet in here?” he once asked.
If he could, he would totally move the toilet in the living room. This would mean that he wouldn’t have to actually get up and, gasp, walk down the hall to the bathroom. One time he was in the middle of watching some ultra boring World War 2 show and he started twitching on the couch to the point where I thought I might have to run him to the ER.
“Are you having some sort of allergic reaction?” I finally asked when I couldn’t take the shuffling any longer.
“No. I have to take a piss but I don’t want to move,” was Tom’s reply. He wiggled his butt into the cushion.
“Um Tom? You do realize that you can PAUSE the program. It’s the beauty of having a DVR,” I reminded him.
“I don’t want to move right now,” was Tom’s stubborn reply.
“I can already tell you how this show ends. We win,” I said.
Still, the man waited until a commercial came on and then he darted into the bathroom, his hands pressed against his crotch.
He doesn’t like the fact that Natalie’s toilet is in the living room but he’s just going to have to live with it. When he’s the one coaxing Natalie to please pee in the potty, just one squirt, just ONE measly squirt then he might have more of a say.
“Here you go, sweetheart. Let’s go pee!” I said to Natalie cheerfully, pointing to the potty.
Natalie looked a little wary.
“Pee!” she repeated, her brow furrowing.
“I know! Let’s PEE! Peeing is FUN!” I cooed.
Okay, never in my life did I ever think that I’d use the phrase “peeing is fun.” But whatever. You say what you need to say, right?
“PEE!” Natalie said again, almost impatiently. I half expected her to stomp her foot into the carpet.
My poor confused kid. I assumed she forgot what she had to do so I started helping her out of her pants.
“PEE PEE PEE PEE!” Natalie started to freak out on me.
“Darling,” I said, my voice verging on sounding impatient. “If you want to pee, we need to take off your pants and diaper.”
I was starting to get paranoid that the fall she had taken the day before had totally warped her memory. Maybe she forgot how to pee? Should I call her pediatrician?
“PEE!” Natalie screamed and suddenly turned and made a break for it. Her left leg was still stuck in her pants, which swung around her ankle as she rushed into the kitchen.
I followed her in and watched in horror as she practically threw herself into the trash can.
My poor daughter! She had lost her memory and thought that we peed in the trash.
“Natalie. No. We don’t pee in the trash—” I started to explain.
“PEE!” Natalie cut me off and pointed into the bin.
I’m not cut out for this. Is there someone I can hire to potty train Natalie? Surely there has to be some potty training company out there.
“Natalie,” I tried again, marching over to her. “We don’t—”
But then something caught my eye.
A flash of blue nestled in the trash.
I peered closer and saw this:
And then it dawned on me.
Natalie wasn’t telling me that she had to pee.
She was telling me that she wanted her letter P.
See, Natalie has been known to throw things into the trash. She threw out one of my Henry VIII books before and I spotted it just before I nearly threw some old leftovers that I swore I was going to eat but ended up not eating because I’m not a fan of leftovers on top of it.
“Natalie!” I had lectured. “We don’t throw away Henry VIII!”
Anyhow, I guess what had happened was that she had tossed her letter out and then had second thoughts. Which I can totally understand because I once threw out my last chocolate cookie to prevent me from eating it and then I kept picturing it all alone in the garbage can and was seriously thisclose to digging it back out but then I was all, “Ew, Amber, that is disgusting.” I think I ended up buying more chocolate cookies which sort of defeated the whole purpose of throwing out that other one.
Anyhow, I brought out Natalie’s P and washed it off and handed it to her.
“P,” Natalie said gratefully and hugged it to her chest.
I gave a long sigh. “You wouldn’t want to pee in the potty by any chance, would you?”
And Natalie looked me squarely in the eye and went, “No fanks,” before flouncing off while grasping onto her beloved P.