Wednesdays are my least favourite day. EldestGirl has a music class across town after school. The unpredictable traffic means that we tend to get in the car as soon as we’ve walked back from school and everyone has been to the toilet. If the traffic is OK we’re usually about 15 minutes early. I use this special bonding time to run through spellings with EldestGirl, whilst cramming YoungestGirl full of banana to keep her quiet.
This Wednesday was a special sort of hell, as the bypass was closed. Now, we didn’t need to go on the bypass, but everyone who normally would have gone on the bypass went through our estate instead. It took me 35 minutes to drive what would have been a ten-minute walk out of the estate. (When I say “estate”, I mean “housing development”, not “the village in which my serfs eke out a miserable living”.)
YoungestGirl: Why we not moving, Mummy?
Me: There is a car in front of us, isn’t there, sweetie? If I drove forwards, I would bash into it. We don’t want to bash into it, do we?
YoungestGirl: Yes we do.
Me: No we don’t! It would hurt, and you might have to go to hospital. That wouldn’t be funny, would it?
YoungestGirl: Yes it would. <laughs maniacally>
EldestGirl: Mummy, which is your favourite episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks? Don’t say the one where they go to summer camp because you always say that one.
Me: (has never watched a full episode of Alvin and the Bastarding Rodents) Ooh, erm…
YoungestGirl: I taked my shoe off.
Me: Put it back on please.
YoungestGirl: I can’t.
Me: EldestGirl, can you help her?
EldestGirl: I can’t reach. I like the episode where they tame the snake. That one is so cool because the Chipettes…
YoungestGirl: I dropped my shoe! <wails>
The car is stationary (still. As in it continues to be stationary. I didn’t just feel the need to define the word “stationary” as “still”). I reach behind my seat, retrieve the shoe and hand it back to her.
YoungestGirl: <drops shoe immediately. Wails.>
EldestGirl: You’re not having it back now. You did that deliberately. You will never get your shoe back not ever until we get there.
Me: EldestGirl, don’t wind YoungestGirl up.
YoungestGirl: <wails louder>
Me: What’s wrong now?
YoungestGirl: EldestGirl is winding me up! <Thoughtful pause> I done a poo.
Ah, potty training.
We make it to music class on time (just), but I have aged 15 years.
This photo is basically fake news. At the very least, it shows a rosier picture than reality. Yes, she has managed a star for every time she has been to the potty (hooray!). What it doesn’t show you is that these stars were accumulated over a four-week period, and basically if we’d taken a star away every time she’d sneaked off and pooed in a corner, she would absolutely be in negative stars.
Advice on managing potty training with YoungestGirl basically seems to be split between people saying, “She’s clearly not ready. Give it another few months and try again.” and people saying, “Holy hell, she’s three, how have you not cracked this already?”
Other people’s opinions also range from, “She’s obviously scared and crying, don’t push it or she’ll end up with a complex” to, “She’s just being stubborn. You need to shout at her.”
I should note that neither of these opinions was solicited. Another joy of being a parent.
Anyway, TheBloke (TM) picks EldestGirl up from music class. He brings her home and she bounds into the room with delight. “Mummy, this term we’re learning the recorder!”
“Oh good,” I say, the enthusiasm truly evident upon my furrowed brow.
“And do you know what the best part is?” she asks, cheeks aglow with youthful exuberance. “We get to bring it home to practise!”
She brandishes the offending instrument. I briefly consider using it as a cork for YoungestGirl and solving two problems with one fell swoop.