Life Gets Messy

October 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Ruda Tovar

I had the honor of cleaning some excess clutter out of our basement the other day, and during the process I stumbled upon my sons old training toilet AKA “the potty.” This little relic instantly brought a hundred memories rushing to my brain, some good, some bad, but almost all were ugly. So there I stood, reminiscing about my son’s historic battles with toilet training and I remembered the worst moment during his transition from diaper to toilet.

My family was at a park enjoying a nice sunny day, letting our son be a 2½-year-old with other  2½-year-old year olds. My wife and I had been “potty” training him for a month or so, and it was a slow and arduous process, full of surprises and very few success stories. Nevertheless, we knew—or at least thought we knew—it was time for him to make the change. As all parents who went through this know, you always have a back-up plan when taking your child out into public places (an extra set of clothes, an extra diaper or pull-up etc.). Preparation for the dreaded “accident” is crucial. This day was no different; we had the emergency bag with us, and all was well. A half hour past, and our son was darting around, behaving like a maniac toddler, drunk with freedom. Then, it happened.

“Daddy, I need to go there, I need to go there!” as my son points to a huge flower- pot in the middle of the play area. I ask if it was pee or the other one, and he informs me via an unnatural look on his face that it was the other one.

At this point in the story, I’d like explain a few things:

A. Yes, we had been watching for all the indicators of a bathroom break, and had even asked him if he needed to go.

B. We had never been to this park before, and therefore didn’t know where the bathrooms were.

C. We were in China. TechnicallyHong Kong, but at this point what difference did that make.       

My initial reaction was panic, but that subsided when I realized we had the emergency bag within arms reach, ready for deployment. My wife was gone, so was my mother-in-law, and so was the bag. Welcome back, panic. I snatched my son up and told him to hold it; I picked a sign and started running towards it, looking for any indicator of a restroom. After several failed attempts, all I had was an increased heart rate and a toddler that was ready to go Chernobylin his pants. Then, finally there it was: the restroom.

I darted in and suddenly felt like I had stepped into an alternate reality. A reality in which toilet bowls didn’t exist, just porcelain-lined holes in the ground, a reality in which there aren’t doors on any of the bathroom stalls, a reality in which the water (?) pipes are leaking above me, a reality in which my son rendered a pungent poop-dragon from his bottom region, a reality where I didn’t have a phone or any means to communicate with the emergency bag. But, this wasn’t an alternate reality; it was the reality I had to deal with. I took my boy to the “toilet,” instructed him the best I could to release the rest of the foul beast within. He wasn’t feeling it, but knew there was no choice. The underwear went straight into the trash, and the pants went into the sink. So, there I was, in a Chinese bathroom washing the you-know-what out of my kids pants, then the door opens and a local walks in. He took a glance around the small space we were stuck in, a double take on the naked white toddler staring at this mysterious semi-toilet and then he started to relieve himself right next to me, sans partition. I know it just keeps getting better. I kept washing and scrubbing my sons pants, pausing only to let my new friend wash his hands, yeah he was that cool. At last, I had my son’s backside looking clean and the pants weren’t half bad for a Chinese park bathroom. I cleaned myself up, dressed my kid, and took a deep breath, because I don’t think I had taken one since I ran out of the playground. We walked back toward the play area, found my wife and mother-in law slurping their frozen treats and resumed the day’s activities. Yes, I told my wife what happened, but it still hadn’t hit me, it was all so transient.

So, for all you dads out there who are worried about your child’s success ratio, for all you dads who get stuck with the disaster, the memory I just related is for all of you, for all of us. I know there are much worse stories than mine, and I’d love to hear them because after all, this is your kid’s life. It gets messy.

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