There are certain things in life my mind has chosen to blank out. For the record, potty training my eldest is one of those things.
I have hazy memories of this plastic teddy adorned potty which sat in the corner of our living room, knocking the Feng Shui all off balance, and the great excitement experienced when we bought some Kandoo wipes for the great task that lay ahead.
My brain has mostly blocked out the carrying of, essentially, a bowl of poo around the house to deposit it down the toilet. It has also blocked out the piddle puddles which no doubt found their way onto our floor (thank God for laminate flooring). The waddle of a child with “an accident” in their Thomas the Tank Engine briefs has also, just about, been wiped from my memory.
So now as I stare down the potty training barrel again, I feel a sense of foreboding upon me. May God have mercy on my soul. We have done what we are supposed to do - according to the books. We went out and allowed Cara to sit on a few different potties until she found one that that was just right. It was like a toilet themed scene from Goldilocks and the Three Bears - “This one is too big”, “This one is too small”, “This one is just right!”
Your ordinary common or garden potty held no appeal to my very focused toddler. In fact she seemed scared by it. The musical potty which rewards you with a happy tune when you tinkle scared the living daylights (or other appropriate potty related words) out of her. So in the end we found a potty which was adorned with a Peppa Pig sticker (thereby increasing the cost by a whole £3 just because Peppa’s bake was on it) and had comfortable arm rests. It was, crucially, pink as Cara was insistent that she would indeed have a pink potty.
We let her decorate it, sticking ‘Mr Tumble’ stickers all over it until it looked like the gaudiest piece of children’s TV infested plastic on the planet.
We then did the “big girl pants” shopping trip.
The experts advise letting your child pick their own underwear. They don’t advise what to do if your toddler becomes insistent on a pair of pants clearly designed for a 10 year-old. A wrestling match later, and a guidance towards the pretty pink, tiny pants section and we were sorted.
So we got home, and we offered the pants. Which she was only too happy to wear - over her nappy. Now my memories of potty training may be hazy at best, but I’m pretty sure that approach has us on a hiding to nothing.
Still, she did look exceptionally cute - long hair flowing, nude apart from her Disney Princess pants and a nappy dancing around the living room. Like a little teeny tiny Mowgli from the Jungle Book.
The potty took up residence once again in our living room - needless to say the folks from ‘Homes and Interiors’ magazine won’t be battering down our door for a photo spread of our living room/ toddler toilet any time soon.
Occasionally she sits on it to watch TV.
More frequently she stores her toys in the (clean) bowl. She tells anyone who will listen that this is “my potty” and “my going to do pee pees in it” but this has not translated into actual practice - not by a long shot. She is quite happy to go through the motions (no pun intended) and sit there singing “Tinkle Tinkle” without actually tinkle tinkling anything.
The allure of the big girl pants does nothing for her (apart from accessorize her nappies beautifully).
I know I have to get tough on it. The girl is almost two and a half - this is an acceptable age to use the potty. My instinct is to baby her as much as possible as she is my last child. Part of me - despite the absolute bogging nature of changing nappies - would be happy to hide the potty altogether and let her get on with being my baby.
But I need to be tough. Peppa Pig and her team of Disney Princesses have to band together and I have to stay strong, despite the piddle puddles and my aversion to the smell of Kandoo wipes.
Oh yes, it’s time for baby boot camp to begin. I’m going in - wish me luck.
This weekend the clan is gathering. My grandparents are set to celebrate their 60th anniversary. We will be gathering in our droves to help them celebrate and it promises to be a night to remember.
I’m in awe of my grandparents, who raised 10 children and have welcomed 19 grandchildren and a whole heap of great grandchildren into their family.
Their house was always a place of warmth, love and happy times. (Okay, so occasionally we had to be pulled into line for using the built in wardrobe as a pretend lift... but still...)
I’ve been lucky to help my grandparents celebrate their 40th anniversary, their 50th and now their 60th and I will be proud as punch to stand beside them and the rest of our family on their big day.
So happy anniversary Granny and Granda, with love from all of us.