A voice from bathroom “Daddy, will you wipe my botty soon?” Me:”How soon?” 3:”Quite soon…Soon..Here it comes” Charming!
The bathroom looms large in much of my writing.
I don't have a fetish about it, honestly. It's just that so much of the action in our family happens there. So much of the funny, and gross, action in our family happens there.
The response from prospective adopters following me on Twitter to these stories, usually tweeted as they occur, is fairly universally one of horror. "Thanks for that," said one this morning. "We finish Stage One preparation next week, I might be having second thoughts."
When I review our adoption preparation I recognise that more information about the toilet habits of children would have been very useful. Indeed, training that explained clearly and graphically how children can turn what, for adults, is a private and dignified act into something public, humiliating, embarrassing and, well, just plain icky, should I feel be compulsory for all prospective adopters.
For example, nothing could have prepared us for the challenge we were presented with the first afternoon we met our daughter.
Having been playing with our eighteen month old little girl for an hour or so the wonderful and extremely experienced foster mother took us all upstairs to their bathroom.
"You may as well start as you mean to go on," the foster mother said, handing us the changing mat and a nappy and leaving the room with a cheery wave.
J and I looked at each other. Horrorstruck. We hadn't expected this moment to come quite so quickly.
Our son was three and a half when he came to live with us. He was using the toilet and was dry at night by that stage. Barring the odd accident we'd not had to face any really unpleasant toilet duties.
Without going into too much detail we got through it. Two grown men. Attempting to manoeuvre a squirming toddler. Working out which bit was the front of the nappy. Treating the old nappy as if it were toxic material (which it was).
All of this we now look back on and laugh. At the time however it was the most hideous experience I'd ever faced.
As our daughter has aged we've been able to dispense with daytime nappies and are on the cusp of no longer needing the nighttime ones. There is however a half way house between nappies and toilet independence. Sort of a potty training version of Greenland or Jersey.
No one warns you about this though. And it is as a consequence of this the the prospective adopter made their comments this morning.
Our daughter has taken to calling from the bathroom once she has completed her ablutions. This enables whichever of us is available, (invariably me) to attend and wipe her bottom.
Adopting a child? Get ready to hear these words:
"Daddy, will you wipe my botty soon?" came the cry from the bathroom as I was preparing breakfast.
"How soon?" I replied.
"Quite soon." Said our daughter. "Soon... Very Soon.... Here it comes!" Any hunger I was feeling quickly dissipated.
"Daddy," shouted our daughter, "can you wipe my botty now please?"
Then there's the shower.
I made the mistake of leaving our son in charge of our daughter showering with a new bottle of shower gel once. Never again.
Returning to the bathroom after only a few moments I found the, admittedly quite small, shower cubicle full of bubbles. "What happened?" I asked horrified, opening the door to find our daughter.
"She wanted to get REALLY clean!" Our son answered, holding up the already empty shower gel container.
Our daughter stepped out of shower cubicle giggling, looking just like a soapy version of the Addams Family's Cousin It.
For this reason, I now control access to the shower gel.
Our son was in the shower first this morning, so I squeezed some onto his hand as he carried out his ablutions. "You just need to wash your bottom," I said, completing my tick list of his body parts needing a scrub.
The shower gel having been placed in his right hand, our son promptly washed his bottom with his left one. "Eeew!" He said, holding up his now dirty left hand. "Washed it with the wrong hand!"
I felt it likely I would barf.
Washing his bottom with his left hand he turned to his sister. "Look, I've learnt a really cool trick," he told her. I didn't know what was coming, but I knew it wouldn't be good. I tried to give him my most disapproving stare.
"If you put soap on your bottom, you can blow bubbles!" And he did. Much to our daughter's delight and my abject horror!
Maybe adoption training shouldn't provide more information about children's toilet habits. Learning about them in too much detail might just put some people off.