This sign is hanging in my bathroom.
Sometimes things happen at just the right (or wrong) moment for me, and I take action without giving it a second thought. A couple weeks ago, I walked into the bathroom to find a ridiculously common occurrence at my house. (Spoiler Alert: this is about poop.)
I see a large amount of poop in the toilet. No toilet paper. I do further investigating. Not a single drop of water in the sink. My skills as a detective are masterful. Thus, I have come to the following conclusion based on the evidence: My 7 year-old just took a huge dump, didn’t wipe, didn’t flush, and didn’t wash his hands.
I can’t even count the number of times I have found this, then made my son some back to the bathroom, tell me what he “forgot” (that’s his word, not mine) to do, and remind him that this is unacceptable and gross and he’s full of germs and if he wants friends, he needs to have better hygiene.
This time, it caught me at just the right moment. This time, I didn’t say a word. I went straight over to my son’s supply of paper and markers. I wrote the above sign, taped it above the toilet paper roll, and asked him to come read it out loud to me.
He read it, smiling the whole time (yep…SMILING).
His only question: “What does ‘if it’s a #2’ mean?”
It’s in this moment that I feel like I have failed as a parent. “It means if you went poop, WIPE YOUR BOTTOM.”
Shortly after I hung this up, my parents came over. The first thing Keegan says when they walk in the door: “Grandma! Come look at our new sign in the bathroom!”
Me: “It’s not a cool new piece of art, Keegan. You should NOT be proud of that sign.”
He proudly showed it to his Grandma.
Has it gotten better? A little bit. He still has a long way to go, but he has made a tremendous amount of progress. We are hopeful for the future.
I’m actually thinking of implementing the four-step program in other areas for Keegan. Some examples:
- Go upstairs and get ready for your shower.
- Take off your clothes.
- Put them in the laundry basket WITHOUT putting your underwear on your head.
- Go straight to the bathroom without jumping, skipping, or dancing naked and follow steps 1-4 above the toilet paper roll.
- Squeeze the toothpaste onto the toothbrush.
- Put the lid back on the toothpaste without getting it on the wall, the toilet, your sock, your butt, or anywhere else except the actual bristles of the toothbrush.
- Brush your teeth for longer than 5 seconds.
- RINSE THE DAMN SINK.
And to go along with my new Four-Step Program, I am going to keep saying the following prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to realize my child will still not wipe his butt every time he poops because he might be in a hurry to get back to playing, and there will ALWAYS be toothpaste stuck to something in my house. Amen.