Oh yes, it certainly does.
It was Labor Day. Lazily enjoying our unscheduled Monday morning, I sipped coffee while my son sat happily on the couch watching cartoons on PBS.
My brother was in town for the weekend and was scheduled to leave later that afternoon. He had heard from a friend about the magical land of “Trader Joe’s” and his curiousity was piqued.
“There’s one just down the road. I’ll take you,” I offered. “Rusty, you’ve got Conlan! We’re headed out!”
“Sure!” came the response.
An hour later, we return. My husband looks a little worse for wear.
“I bet you won’t be able to guess what happened while you were gone.”
Boy, was he right. I’m pretty sure I would never have guessed.
As the afore-mentioned happy toddler remained engrossed in the latest episode of Curious George, my husband decided to take a shower.
[Mind you that this is totally normal. Conlan is quite adept at entertaining himself while we practice good personal hygiene. And besides, man-showers don’t take that long.]
At some point Conlan finds it necessary to check on his daddy. He peeks behind the curtain. “Hi Daddy. You take a shower?”
“Yup, buddy. I’m almost done.”
“Okay.” [exit Conlan]
Shortly thereafter my husband emerges from the shower – and hears the distinct sound of our front door opening.
Dashing to the living room he finds our son. He isn’t heading out the front door – of course not! He is coming back in.
Except for a pair of yellow rain boots.
“Conlan! What are you doing?” my husband exclaims.
“I go outside,” he responds incredulously. C’mon, Daddy. Obviously.
“What were you doing outside?” asks Rusty, still baffled.
“I go poopie outside!” my son exclaims proudly.
OMG. Aside from being worried about child abductions, sexual predators, being hit by cars, drowning in the front pond, and the potential of tumbling off the retaining wall, at this point in the story I start to ponder What must the neighbors think?
So later that day as we were driving around, I thought I would attempt to have a rational conversation about this with my two-and-a-half year old.
“Conlan, what did you do outside this morning?”
“I go poopie outside!” Again with the pride. Sheesh.
“Why did you go poopie outside?”
“Because I go pee-pee outside.”
Oh, crap. That actually makes sense.
For the two days prior we had been hiking out and about in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Whenever Conlan told us he needed to go potty, of course we wanted to reinforce that rather than jujst saying “go in your diaper.”
So he got to answer the call of nature in…well…nature.
Apparently the major drawback to our award-winning potty-training technique is that a toddler doesn’t differentiate between urinating in the middle of the woods and squatting naked in his rain boots in the front yard.
So what did we learn from this? How have we changed our parenting strategies?
For one, we still take showers. Except if the other one isn’t home to watch Conlan we just stick the end table in front of the door so exiting the house becomes a little more challenging.
Two, we realize that our two-year-old is not stupid. Apparently his brain/reasoning/thought processes got turned on at some point when we weren’t paying attention. We need to be careful.
And finally, we’ve upped the ante on potty-training rewards. Number One still only gets rewarded with one M&M or “treat.” Number Two is now worth five treats***.
Conlan thinks Number Two is worth “YOTS of tweats!”
I don’t care. I’ll give him the whole freaking bag as long as he’s not doing his business in the front yard.
***credit given for in-potty performance only