In my realization that my time on maternity leave is actually passing, I figured I needed to revisit the whole potty training thing post-haste. The other day, I gave up afternoon nap to read that book I had started pre-Felix, Potty Training In Less Than a Day. This was the same book from the early-mid ‘70’s and thus far non-updated that assumed a mother would want to toilet train their child in order to have more time for extracurricular interests and hobbies (forget about a practical need or desire to work). In any case, loads of folks swear by this relic, so we thought we’d give it a go.
While you don’t expect a potty training book to be a “can’t put down” kind of thing, some effort to please the audience would be nice. This book is tiny and should be read in a sitting. Instead? The writing is way too excruciating to endure for more than a handful of minutes. The authors love to use “toilet” as a verb. As you read it, you find yourself saying in your head “if they say ‘toileting’ or ‘toilet themselves’ one more time, I’m going to start doing shots of Jagermeister.” Sure, it’s technically correct, but it’s weird and out antiquated. The authors might as well write “Get thee to toileting such that thou canst enjoy thy womanly hobbies and whelp another child.” Why not use “to commode?” I personally use the word commode way more than toilet. It’s just a personal thing. Why not “commoding yourself?”
To be fair, most of the books for kids are equally obnoxious or irritating. We checked the famous “Once Upon a Potty” book out from the library. As the author goes through body parts, the sentence where she talks about Prudence having “a pee pee to make wee wee” is like being slowly tortured with papercuts across your corneas. I want to gag every time I read it. Sure, I’m not down with being hugely clinical with my 2.5 year old, but that’s the other extreme. And it’s somehow worse seeing it in black and white.
Modern moms should unite and deal with this. Maybe more sophomoric writing would help. I think most of us are somewhat demented by nature or our wits have been scrambled by sleep deprivation and hormones. Let’s make this fun. Not Beavis and Butthead fun (“Huh huh. She said ‘make.’”), but certainly better than the status quo. There should be choices for parents. Maybe make these books fill-in-your-own-term-for-bodily-functions/parts? Then you can call it whatever the hell you want. No ad-libbing or substituting along the way.
I also think some of these books for kids insult their intelligence. You gotta sell this to them. There are 3 main perks for them to being out of diapers: No stink, their butts will feel better, and you get to pick out and wear cool underwear. The stink part is obvious. As for the next selling point, as someone who’s finally coming out of 5 weeks in postpartum-required maxi pads – thank you, “pelvic rest” – I can speak with some authority that pads, the closest thing an adult woman can get to diapers without actually wearing them, are hot, uncomfortable, and just tend to make things damp and gross-feeling. It’s a wonder that every postpartum chick and kid don’t have mildewed, moldy bits and butts. And underwear? Up until recently that was probably the most fun thing a girl could shop for. Kids have it even better, I think. You can get every kind of underwear under the sun: superheroes, princesses, miscellaneous cartoon characters, patterns, and even regular grown-up styles for those tots compelled to look just like daddy or mommy. How could any kid resist?
P.S. I apologize for the chaotic and grammatically challenged nature of this post. I’m rushing to finish and get it out there before leaving on a road trip, which I’ll no doubt talk about later. As usual, what should take 5 minutes to do well has taken 3 days to do half-assed.