My three-year-old daughter Bridget has been blaming all of her problems on Catfish lately, even though he’s her favorite stuffed animal.
He’s a Siamese-looking cat with a fish on his collar. She snuggles up to him every night even though he keeps wetting her bed.
And I was already having a rough day the other day when Bridget walks up to report:
“Really sorry mama, but Catfish pooped your bed…”
I run up to my room to find a bunch of poop circles all over the duvet cover (which of course I’d JUST washed and changed).
I walk into my bathroom to see a three-foot tower of toilet paper exploding from the toilet bowl, leading all the way back to a nearly-naked toilet room on the wall, which was splashed in brown handprints. Dirty crumpled pants were wadded up on the wet floor.
I take a deep breath…
“Bridget,” I say in the most understanding tone I can muster. “I know it was you who pooped my bed, not Catfish.”
“IT WAS CATFISH!”
“Catfish doesn’t poop. Look, I’m really proud that you’re using the potty like a big girl, but you need to tell me because you still need help with…”
“STOP LYING, THAT NOT TRUE!” she screams, stomping away all indignant and mortified.
See, a guy friend of mine once ranted on Facebook about how badly his female coworker’s blatant grabbing of a newspaper before walking into the restroom had shocked him. He said women were delicate creatures whom he needed to picture floating several feet above the toilet to do their business, yards of fluffy tulle skirts separating them from the foulness below as they plan their next unicorn ride (or whatever it is boys think we do in our spare time).
The crazy thing is how he has two high-school aged daughters. Because I have no idea how the myth of the fartless female could survive the raising of two actual girls.
For my part, I’ve been reminded that girls poop every day for the past six years. My daughters still think farts are hilarious and will demand credit for them (I should probably do something about that before they reach high school).
Still, I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly, I don’t understand what other parents mean when they say their kid was potty-trained “at 11 months” (or whenever) because it’s not exactly a sudden event.
It’s more of a process spanning many unpredictable months (or years) of still needing diapers when asleep, relapsing for several days, or wetting themselves whenever they’re distracted or because they’re telling you they have to go potty eleven seconds before it happens and there doesn’t happen to be a toilet five feet away…
Handling Number Two all by yourself is the black belt of potty mastery, and Bridget really, really wants to believe she’s already there.
But her skill level doesn’t match her confidence yet. She’ll ask me to “PLEASE LEAVE” if I’m hovering and shriek “NO! DO IT MYSELF!” whenever I try to help.
But I still do, to avoid the gross aftermath of her independence streak, which is why she started sneaking into one of our four bathrooms to poop on the sly.
I find out whenever she’s mysteriously changed into new clothes, stink lines wafting above her head, and I start suspiciously checking the bathrooms for clear evidence of a struggle:
“Why did you change your pants, Bridget?
“Um… Like these pants better.”
Understandably, she’s not been wanting to own it. So, poor Catfish has been stealing Brontë’s toys, occasionally peeing the bed and leaving poopy clothes all over the bathroom floor next to piles of half-dirty toilet paper. Even though he doesn’t wear any pants.
At least Bridget keeps apologizing on his behalf.