This is a guest blog by Becky Nutt, a mom of 2 Men in Training in Arizona.
I think I always wanted boys (but I can't remember because until recently I went on a 4 year streak of never sleeping through the night and I'm certain there is permanent damage). I do remember being excited when the ultrasound tech announced a boy, and I thought "Hey, it can't be too hard! You just point it down!"
Oh how I'm laughing at myself now. The logistics of boys and the bathroom are FAR more complicated than that.
Initially, our biggest struggle was that when you opened my oldest son's diaper, the air stimulated the pee reflex and a yellow arch was nearly instant. (Behind his changing table my mom painted a tree on the wall and the irony of how many times he peed on that tree is not lost on us today, but more on that later.) As a joke, someone gave us Pee-pee Teepees. These are real and not at all marketed as a gag gift. The manufacturer's expectation was that I put this fabric hat on my son's penis and it would keep him from peeing in my face. Maybe it would work, but truthfully, I never tried them. I was traumatized by the mental image of this cone levitating in the air as my son peed.
As he got older and began potty training, he learned to control the muscles around his penis. One day, I was called to the bathroom to find him naked on the potty, hands-free waving at me with his penis. Up and down it went while my son grinned from ear to ear. "Look Mom!" Now I'm by no means a prude. I love a good fart joke, can discuss the ins and outs of poop with the best (and sometimes swear like a sailor). But this, THIS halted me in my tracks! I half laughed, half cried and yelled for his father simultaneously. My husband came in, took one look at my son, and laughed in a way that told me that this was a normal thing for boys. A right of passage. Well, no one told me that the penis was capable of having its own Cirque du Soleil show. I walked away and told him it was his problem. I'm told they had a short conversation about appropriate times when he could perform his "trick."
The bathroom exploration didn't stop there. Even though I was aware that boys have it made when it comes to peeing outside, I'm not sure I was fully aware of the joy a boy gets from peeing outside. The first year he was potty trained enough to pee outside by our pool, we let him do this out of total parental laziness. It was easier to help him stand next to the pool and pee into the rocks than to get out of the pool, dry off, and go inside. This summer, his bathroom liberation has evolved from a quick moment to a grand showcase worthy of Olympic scoring for distance, time, and artistry. While playing outside the other day, I observed my now 4 year old head inside to go to the bathroom, and then turn right around because he remembered he could pee outside. He found his favorite bit of real estate near our patio. It's a charming space with plenty of appealing targets like a palm tree, some dirt, and several square feet of rocks. I watched him wiggle with his shorts and arch his back. Then I listened to him laugh as he peed over the rocks and down the palm tree. The Russian judge gave him 9 points out of 10 for distance. Near the end of the routine, he was joined by his 20 month old brother, on the cusp of potty training himself, who was feverishly pulling at his own shorts because he too wanted to pee outside.
An image flashed before my eyes of my teenage sons, tall and handsome (as all mother's hope), peeing outside.
I put my head on my husband's shoulder and sighed. "You'll teach them one day, that they don't have to pull their pants ALL the way down right?"
He just laughed.