Those with a weak disposition / delicate stomach, read no further. Those brave enough to venture forth, apologies in advance. If you're tucking into anything sausage-like, yule log-like, meatloaf-like for your lunch, you might want to pop that bad boy temporarily out of sight.
You good? Okie dokey.
Well... as if there wasn't enough of the brown stuff to deal with around here (teenage tantrums, building set-backs, stroppy wives etc etc) we're in the turbulent throes of Jesse's potty training, and things are not going smoothly.
I say potty-training, but after listening to my mum's countless recollections of piddly potties sitting in the corners of people's lounges, I've always adopted the straight-to-loo approach. Granted, not particularly helpful now we've ripped out the only ground floor toilet we didn't need to put a coat and boots on to get to, but hey ho, lugging heavy toddlers up steep Victorian staircases to the remaining bathroom is good cardio.
So, I sense you eagerly wondering, how's the boy wonder getting on?
Well it's a bit hit and miss. And hideously frustrating. Wees in the toilet? No problemo. Poos in the loo? Not a one.
Jesse is three. And fairly newly three at that. His birthday is mid-August, he's probably the youngest to have joined his pre-school class this September. Added to that, Jesse's nursery year is mostly girls (quicker off the blocks aren't we, girls?) and shares a classroom with the reception kids, some of whom will be hitting the 5-year-old mark if they're winter babies, so he really is a teeny little boy in there.
So I was trying to be chilled about the whole nappy-to-pants situation. As for the whole going off to nursery thing, we're only a few months in so it's not the end of the world that he's not completely pro-toilet just yet, right? Who even like toilets anyway? Unless we're talking chronically drunk people in desperate need of somewhere to yodel? (I've heard about those people. Awful.)
Jesse's poops are just too doggone good for a lowly lav, everyone just remain COMPLETELY COOL.
And cool I did remain, all summer, as his start date at nursery loomed ever closer.
All three of our boys are summer babies. Rad and Loch both got the swing of things by their third summers. Jesse will be no different! I'll just let him run around the garden with his nappy off all summer, I knowingly reassured a friend of mine, who just so happens to have the unenviable task of ushering Jesse to the loo at pre-school (and retrieving rogue missiles from his trouser leg when he doesn't make it).
Don't panic, he's great! she graciously reassures me.
So I don't. Mostly. When he hits fifteen and I'm still cajoling him with the Poo-On-The-Loo song, we'll panic. But for now, stand down, Nousk.
He'll get there. They all do. He's only bloomin' little. And hey, he's totally mastered the old peeing bit. He's excellent at hailing a hip to the loo, or if my hip is unavailable for quick transportation upstairs, another obliging adult to escort him to the nearest dunny... so long as he's not distracted by friends, fun, Play Doh, being mid-lunch. Any of the many things the poor kid would much rather be doing than whipping down his Spiderman suit for intense observation.
He will get there, and he is only little. But it came to light recently, I'd started forgetting that. Too many times actually. Until I really got my hair off.
To my utter shame, a couple of weeks ago things were a little tense for other reasons and I took it out on Jesse. I'd made such a big deal about his lovely new Peppa Pig pants, and how he didn't want to have an accident in them, that the poor kid started to hold onto his #2s. On this specific occasion, we were nearing the four-day mark.
It was starting to resemble a hostage situation. Tensions were rising. Palms were clammy. Jesse's tummy was aching. His sudden circuit-running up and down the room a dead giveaway that he was ready to go (he holds it in by running - the kid's a genius), so up we went for the umpteenth time to give it a go in Nanny's bathroom. There he was, legs dangling from my mum's toilet, not pushing.
I encouraged. I reasoned. And then I shouted. At my brilliant little boy. His tummy was hurting, he was anxious about whatever reservation it is he's grappling with about pooping on the toilet and on top of it all, the worst of it for sure, his mummy was cross with him.
One thing no-one tells you about being a parent, is how to deal with the frustration. I've done this before, twice over, and still the frustration when kids aren't textbook (which they NEVER are, doh) can throw it all up into the air. I made Jesse cry that day. And when I demanded to know why he couldn't just push he answered me honestly, felling me and my shitty mood instantly. He was trying to be a good boy but he couldn't remember how to push.
Jim stopped short of telling me just how much I sucked later that night, he knew he didn't need to. He also didn't need to say, the kid can poo where he likes, but there will be no more of that crap. No more holding it until his tummy hurts. No more exasperated mothers. No more.
So we're trying a different approach. We've exhausted the rewards, bribes, sticker-charts, all that faff and are now letting Jesse do his own thing. Because all capable children learn to talk when they're ready, feed themselves when they're ready, and use the toilet when they're bloody ready.
Which brings us to Jesse's knockout blow.
Is that sausage/yule-log/meatloaf still safely out of view? Good. You'll be glad in about a paragraph's time.
So, the new approach...
There we are, pottering around upstairs a couple of afternoons ago after another couple of days of Jesse holding himself and several, totally relaxed, obligation-free, non-starters on the toilet.
Jesse was half naked in Rad's newly-finished bedroom, squatting on Rad's desk chair colouring while I was keeping an ear out for any further running-around-clenching activity. And then a little voice floats across the landing.
'Mummy? Can you come here please? I've got a problem.'
Carpet. It was my first thought. Rad's carpet had been down a matter of weeks. Please, God. Don't let him have peed, don't let him have marked THAT territory.
I was halfway through my next thought - felt-tips on Rad's new wooden desk and/or newly-painted walls - when the smell hit.
The dog was created especially for children. He is the god of frolic.
What confronted me when I went into that room was a heady assault of grisly relief.
You would not believe what a three year old child can store. This was like a terabyte of poo, all from one tiny little beautifully brown-eyed memory stick. A man-sized, no, Sasquatch-sized deposit, some foot or so long, unsettling in its girth. Anyone looking for evidence of Big Foot's existence could be forgiven for mistaking what was in that room that day. This is not an exaggeration. This is the truth.
But, despite the initial shock, I very quickly composed myself and congratulated my sweet little boy on his excellent aim and clean-cut execution, having limited the entire placement to the easily-wipeable wooden chair seat.
'Sorry mummy,' offered Jesse.
'It's ok, Jess!' I reassured him. 'You must feel better now, let's go and get you cleaned up.'
There really wasn't much to clean up, as far as Jesse went. No big deal. Off to the bathroom we went. Jasper, our 2-year-old Hungarian Vizsla tried to follow us in so I cleared him out. We'd had an unfortunate (and mildly horrifying) one-off episode when he was a puppy and his snout found its way into Jesse's discarded nappy, so I like to curb his interest in Jesse's toilet habits. It's their sense of smell, apparently, something to do with them still being able to smell food in and amongst the less appetising components. I'd just got to helping Jesse into a new pair pants in the bathroom when the Jasper and the nappy memory resurfaced.
I'd left Rad's bedroom door open. Jasper scuttled out as I dashed in. The smell didn't help. I do gag quite easily, but the smell made it all the more disturbing. More graphic. You can close your eyes to these things but you still have to breathe, the brain still gets the scent messages. So the gagging was quite prolific.
That was a first for me. Very nearly being physically sick, because I'd been spared a grotty job.
Rad's chair was immaculate.
Enjoy your lunch x