New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
Columnists

Going potty

judeS.jpgLast Saturday, my son did his first Poo in the Potty.  Never have I looked upon something so utterly revolting with such heartfelt delight.

If you are faint-stomached, you may wish to read this article when not eating / deciding what to cook for dinner.  And if you have been to our house in the last seven days, I apologise.  Besotted and blinkered, we have talked nothing but poos and potties to every man, woman and parcel-deliverer haplessly to cross our threshold this historic week.  Not to mention that, if you arrived at certain strategic points, you may have unwittingly become party to a rather grim round of Show And Tell.  Sorry. I did at least draw the line at taking a turd to the Post Office to show Lesley The Stamp Lady.

The job of teaching your child where and how to wee and poo (or, more crucially, where and how not to) is surely one of the least marketable aspects of parenthood.  Yet witnessing my offspring's first mature bowel movements has surpassed almost all previous levels of maternal joy.  Why?

It surely comes from being part of the journey from helpless child to fairly-fully-functioning member of society.

If civilised life is about sharing our most noble characteristics, it also relies on a common understanding of the appropriate management of our most revolting bodily functions.  In other words, you can talk the wittiest, most well-informed dinner party conversation in the world, but if you wee in the corner of your host's sitting room, you probably won't be re-invited.

Psychologists agree that the physical lessons of potty training - disgust, cleanliness, appropriateness and mastering your body's urges - pave the way for development of the less base aspects of our nature - character, personality, emotional maturity, spirituality. Can we therefore suggest that bowel movements and spiritual epiphanies may not be entirely unrelated? After all, many of the latter do seem to strike people whilst on the loo.

It may simply be that if you love someone, you really are interested in every little thing about them.  Then there's the thrill of being reminded that everything we do and know in life has had to be learned. And the rush of being amazed all over again at the extraordinary design of life and the body.

At the very least, this particular exercise has raised such ponderables as: what provides the most conducive reading matter; why so many men like to poo without their clothes on (hopefully only at home); and what makes one need a wee the moment one steps into a clothes store changing room. (Or is that just me? My subconscious can't differentiate between different types of cubicle.)

Either way, to have been present at his first pottied poo feels a bit like having seen a famous band before anyone else knew them. I wonder whether teaching him to use deodorant at the onset of puberty will bring the same kind of elation.