Going to the toilet for 3 year olds, in 56 simple steps

Going to the toilet for 3 year olds, in 56 simple steps:

 

    1. Tell Daddy that you need to go to the toilet.
    2. Ignore Daddy’s suggestion that you can go to the toilet by yourself because you’re a big girl now and you don’t need Daddy to help you any more.
    3. Tell Daddy that you REALLY need to go to the toilet.
    4. Ignore Daddy’s request that you try to hold on until the end of Daddy’s very important football game.
    5. Tall Daddy that you REALLY need to go to the toilet NOW.
    6. Ignore Daddy’s attitude as he gets up from the couch.
    7. Walk up three steps.
    8. Stop.
    9. Tell Daddy that your pants are too long.
    10. Ignore Daddy’s claim that your pants aren’t too long.
    11. Sit down on the step and try, unsuccessfully, to roll up the legs of your pants.
    12. Ignore Daddy’s offer of help.
    13. Ignore Daddy’s offer of help.
    14. Ignore Daddy’s offer of help.
    15. Decline Daddy’s offer of help.
    16. Try, unsuccessfully, to roll up the legs of your pants again.
    17. Ask Daddy for help.
    18. Squirm uncontrollably while Daddy tries to help.
    19. Recall the koala that you saw at the zoo last week.
    20. Start to crawl up the remainder of the stairs very, very slowly, just like the koala that you saw at the zoo last week.
    21. Ignore Daddy’s question about what you’re doing.
    22. Ignore Daddy’s request that you walk up the stairs properly like a big girl.
    23. Ignore Daddy’s threat that you’re going to be in very big trouble if you aren’t walking up the stairs properly like a big girl by the count of three.
    24. Ignore Daddy’s count of one.
    25. Ignore Daddy’s count of two.
    26. Ignore Daddy’s count of two and a half.
    27. Right at the moment that Daddy says “three”, spring to your feet and start walking up the stairs properly like a big girl.
    28. Ignore Daddy’s claim that that was close.
    29. Tell Daddy that koalas eat leaves.
    30. Proceed to the bathroom.
    31. Stop in the doorway and tell Daddy that boys stand up for wees and sit down for poos.
    32. Ignore Daddy’s request that you go to the toilet.
    33. Tell Daddy that girls sit down for wees and poos.
    34. Ignore Daddy’s request that you please go to the toilet.
    35. Tell Daddy that boys have a willy.
    36. Ignore Daddy’s request that you please, for the love of God, just go the toilet.
    37. Ask Daddy what girls have.
    38. Bask in Daddy’s discomfort.
    39. Get on the toilet.
    40. Ask Daddy to leave the bathroom.
    41. Wait for 30 seconds after Daddy leaves the bathroom.
    42. Tell Daddy that you don’t need to go anymore.
    43. Ignore the steam coming out of Daddy’s ears.
    44. Leave the bathroom and start walking down the stairs.
    45. Stop at the half way point and launch into a heart-felt rendition of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
    46. Ignore Daddy’s request that you keep moving.
    47. Ignore Daddy’s warning that if you don’t keep moving, he’s going to walk down the stairs without you.
    48. Stay behind, singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in an increasingly defiant tone, as Daddy walks down the stairs without you.
    49. Wait until it sounds like Daddy has gotten himself comfortable on the couch.
    50. Scream at the top of your lungs about being abandoned.
    51. Wait for Daddy to come storming up the stairs, scoop you up, march you back downstairs and put you in the naughty corner.
    52. Serve your time.
    53. Tell Daddy that you understand whatever stupid parent thing it is that he claims you’ve done wrong.
    54. Apologise in a manner that is as insincere as is humanly possible without quite being disrespectful enough to justify additional time in the naughty corner.
    55. Wait for Daddy to get comfortable on the couch again.
    56. Tell Daddy that you need to go to the toilet.

 

Much of the frustration that I experience as a parent stems from different flavours of the same basic situation – one of my kids taking an eternity to do something that they’re perfectly capable of doing quickly.

 

My three year old daughter is perfectly capable of walking up a flight of stairs. She’s perfectly capable of using the toilet. She’s perfectly capable of walking back down a flight of stairs. But try getting her to perform those three simple tasks before the end of a television commercial break. In fact, try getting her to perform them before the end of a television show. It will never, ever happen. There will always be delays.

 

Some of these delays will come from genuine insubordination, driven by whatever baffling biological imperative it is that would cause an organism with absolutely no means of supporting itself to completely disregard the only other organisms in the ecosystem that are actively working towards keeping it alive and teaching it how to read.

 

Other delays will come from innocent distraction, either by elements of the real world or by the workings of my daughter’s imagination. When you look at these moments of distraction individually, they are almost always adorable. Pretending to be a koala, singing a cute little song – it’s hard to imagine how things like that could ever become annoying. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever want to discourage a child from observing the world around her, or expressing her creativity. But anything in excess can be unhealthy. An interminable barrage of adorability will eventually kill you, like suffocating under a mound of puppies.

 

Innocent distraction and genuine insubordination are a dangerous mix. They can turn the simple, three-step process of walking up the stairs, going to the toilet, and walking back down the stairs, into a gruelling psychological ordeal, as your sleep-deprived brain teeters precariously between justified annoyance and questionable overreaction. Up is down. Black is white. Was she being naughty just now? Does she know how annoying that was? Is she doing this deliberately? Can I yell at her for singing?

 

I like that my wife and I have created a home environment where our children feel comfortable expressing themselves. I want them to feel like they can pretend to be a koala. I want them to feel like they can sing a song when the mood takes them. I want them to feel like they can talk about genitals. I want them to feel like they can do all those things. I just want them to wait until after the game.

2 Responses to 'Going to the toilet for 3 year olds, in 56 simple steps'

  1. Glenn Murray says:

    Bloody brilliant. And so, so, sooooooooooo true.

  2. “Much of the frustration that I experience as a parent stems from different flavours of the same basic situation – one of my kids taking an eternity to do something that they’re perfectly capable of doing quickly.”

    Yes!

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