21 August 2007

Ask The Experts: "I Need To Go Pee"

Ask the Experts:

"I Need to Go Pee" - Legitimate Request or Calculated Power Play?

Transcript of panel discussion: 21 August 2007.

Welcome! I spent several days making phone calls to organize this event for you all and I'd like to begin by introducing our panelists:

From left to right:
Jane Austen, author of such manipulation manuals as Persuasion and Emma, Machiavelli, former child and internationally acclaimed role-model to successful fascists, Nancy Drew, girl sleuth and perceptive person in general, Freya, alias The Little Evil One, two and a half year old veteran potty trainee, and Joy Assmunch, bestselling author and advocate for potty training your two one month old.

Me: First of all, I'd like to thank you all for joining me in attempting to answer this very important question. I believe it is one that almost every mother or father has asked themselves when dealing with a potty training child. When they tell you "I have to pee," is it always for real, or have they discovered the source of their power and ultimately, your destruction? Why don't we begin with you Mac, may I call you Mac?

Machiavelli: I haven't been called that since I was a boy.
He breaks down in tears. I move to put an arm around his shoulders, but he stops me with his recently patented Look of Death™.
Machiavelli: I'm fine.

Joy Assmunch: If I may? I believe it is the mother's job to let the child know that their needs are being heard and addressed appropriately. In my bestselling book How to Potty Train Your One-Month-Old in Less Than 24 Hours, I recommend that mothers strap a potty to their thigh every time they leave the home.

Me: I'm sorry, who did you say invited you?

Joy: (mumbling) ...potty...expert..need me...fucking infants...
I offer her a tight smile and move on.
Me: Ms. Austen, how about you? You have experience in the field of conniving...

Jane Austen: Well, if I was writing it, I would certainly allow the character the freedom to make their own mistakes. A few accidents on the floor would soon help them to see the error of their ways.

Me: Um, yeah. Here's the thing, I'm trying to avoid the puddles.

Machiavelli: It is called training, is it not? You must train the little beasts, keep them close to you, let them think you believe them, then WHAM!
He slams his palm down on the table. Everyone jumps.

Nancy Drew pulls a gold thread from the cuff of Mac's sleeve and makes a little "O" with her mouth, quietly tucking the thread in her purse.
Freya: I need to go pee.

Me: Just a second honey.

Freya: I need to go pee, NOW.

Me: One second.
Joy crosses her arms and raises her eyebrows at me - higher than I thought eyebrows could go. I am momentarily flustered.
Me: Okay, okay, come on. Sorry about this everyone, we'll be right back. (then to Freya) I thought I told you to go before they got here.

Freya: I did. I have to go again.
We leave the room. The panelists adjust themselves in their seat. Machiavelli slides a hand under the table onto Jane Austen's thigh. Her skirts are too thick for her to feel it.
Joy: (to no one) A child needs to feel that their mother understands him or her, can relate to him or her. For his or her own security.

Machiavelli: Where if the boy's father? He needs to be taught the arts of war, deception and diplomacy, his mother can not be expected to provide these-
Nancy, Jane, and Joy turn and glare at him, all speaking at once.
Nancy: She's a girl, you idiot.

Jane: Well, actually in my experience women are naturals at each of...

Joy: Jackass.

Machiavelli: The child is a girl? But the short hair... the clothes...
The room settles into an uncomfortable silence. Machiavelli puts his hand back on Jane's thigh. It seems to comfort him just having it there. Jane looks down and sees it. She does nothing.

Freya and I return. Freya slips back into her seat at the panel.
Me: Where were we?

Joy: You were denying-

Nancy: I've got it!
Everyone turns to look at her.
Nancy: The potty wasn't really a potty at all, it was just a clever cover for an elaborate candy smuggling ring! Look!

She whips out a piece of paper and sketches a quick diagram of the secret passageway located behind the toilet.

Me: But, that's impossible. There's just not that much space in our bathroom.

Machiavelli takes his hand off Jane's leg and scoots closer to Nancy.

Nancy: You see? Here is where she hid the candy when you weren't looking.

Me: That's the toilet tank.

Nancy: (eyes shining) Exactly!

The rest of us glance at each other, confused.

Me: Listen, can we please just focus.

Freya: I need to go pee.

Me: Are you serious? How is that even possible?

Freya: Or maybe poop.

Me: Dude. Can one of you take her?
The panelists study their fingernails and/or the drapes.
Me: Fine.

Freya: Never mind. I'm good.
We all turn to look at her.
Freya: I just wanted to see if you'd go with me again. (She shrugs.)
Machiavelli leans behind Nancy to whisper something to Freya.
Me: Hey! Hey, stop that! Mac! Cut it out, she's already evil, she doesn't need your help!
Jane looks up from the book she found under the table.
Jane: He hasn't told her anything she didn't already know.

Freya: Mommy, I have to throw up.
I glare at Machiavelli and scoop Freya up, stashing her under my arm like a football.
Joy: She probably wouldn't need to pull all of these tricks if you just paid a little more attention to her. What is it you do all day that makes it so hard for you to be at her side constantly? I think you'd be surprised how far a little constant attention would get you.
I glare at her. Freya taps my shoulder.
Freya: Mommy, I'm done.
A pool of vomit lies at my toes.

Nancy Drew gets up and kneels beside the puddle.
Nancy: Just as I thought, she even...

Me: Shut up! Okay, you're all un-invited. Go home! Right now! I don't even care any more! Just go away and let me clean this vomit in peace!
Slowly I sink to the floor, but the panelists remain: Jane and her infernal reading, Mac and his evil thoughts, Nancy with her conspiracy theories, and Joy, who the hell is this "Joy" anyway, and why is she wearing a bikini to what was clearly advertised as a formal panel discussion?
Me: I give up. There clearly is no logical answer to this question. Because even when she only says she has to pee, I have to take her at her word. (I throw up my hands.) She's won. Only two-and-a-half years old and already she has figured out a way to make my her puppet.

Mac: Aw, come on now, it's not as bad as all that. She still hasn't figured out how to tell time...

Jane: Or pull the chair over to the freezer for ice cream...

Nancy: Or access the secret passageway from under her bed...

Joy: Don't look at me, I think she's just rebelling since you didn't potty train her two years ago when you should have.
I throw my shoe at Joy's head. It makes a satisfying clonk. She falls over backward as if made out of cardboard.
Me: Yeah. I guess that's all true. Thanks guys. Same time next week for the panel on Why Children Will Eat a Food Enthusiastically One Day and Refuse That Same Food the Following Week?
They stand, nodding and mumbling excuses.
- - - - -
End transcript.

Yes, I know this discussion made very little sense. Clearly trying to wrap my head around this issue has addled my brain. I'm sure you all understand. Maybe next week's panel will be better. Here's hoping.


Jen said...

You're hilarious. And also maybe a little bit insane. And I'm totally jealous of your mad photoshop skillz.

Blue Momma said...

This is why you so get the Rockin' Blogger award things. Who the hell else comes up with such this kind of stuff?

Glad I found your blog! Now quit making me feel inadequate....

Heather said...

that is so funny! Very creative!

Cathy said...

Oh. My. God. Hilarious!

I loved this post. How, how do you do it?!

andi said...

Excellent post, Nell.

A candy smuggling ring? I totally never considered that. It explains so much. How I miss the constant bathroom visits - especially the ones out in public when you are a million miles away from a bathroom and you get there and discover that all she wanted to do was go on a tour, not actually pee.

Oh, and I hope you gave that Joy woman a super bitch-slap after the panel.

Stepherz said...

You are too awesome. This was fun and sooo right on. Bella's potty dance drives me insane. It is 70% power play 30% fluid release. She demands using the potty 10 times in any and every public place we go. Public restrooms give me hives. But what do you do? Let's not even get started with the potty power play that begins at bedtime. Ugghh.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I love you.

I love this post!

Can you re-assemble the panel in the future and tackle some more issues? Pleeeeeaaasssseee!

Mamalicious said...

There is totally something wrong with you. But in a good way.

I'm dead envious of your panel-assembling abilities.

Annie said...

Hilarious - the panel - definitely not the potty training - that is the farthest thing from hilarious!

Absolutely Bananas said...

Genius. Pure genius. I believe this panel will need to make an appearance on many critical parenting issues in the future.

Maureen said...

hahahahaha... that was, GENIUS!

Luisa Perkins said...

You cracked me up with this, and that's no easy feat at 7:30 in the morning. Funny!