Monday, May 3, 2010


I read somewhere a ways back that you're not supposed to start toilet-training until the range of 18-24 months, depending on the kid. And that always sounded way too early to me. I mean, I'm in no hurry, the goal is not to get there first, or as soon as possible, the goal is to have the kid wet or, really now, soil his or her pants just as few times as possible. That's pretty much my only standard of accomplishment. Meaning, like I said, no hurry. No reason to pull the trigger too early.

But yesterday afternoon, Miller walks up to her mom, grabs her crotch, and yells at her.

"What is it?" asks Mom.

I think something along the lines of, Her genetic memory is obviously kicking in, right now she's remembering that night in 1991 when Brett and I were watching FOX and they world-premiered Michael Jackson's "Black & White" video and showed the whole thing, meaning instead of fading out after all of those faces morphing into each other, it was like the one time that anybody actually aired the final five minutes of the video, all of which were really strange for a couple of reasons: 1) The song had ended, and you came away with the strong sensation that what you'd just seen was really more like Michael going through some bizarre kind of globally televised therapy, mainly because, 2) All that he really did for those five minutes was yell and cause some streetlights to explode with the power of his mind and use a crowbar to beat the hell out of a car that maybe represented his father? and grab his crotch. Oh, and 3) He turned into a panther at the end. Or a panther turned into crotch-grabbing Michael before any of that happened?

But, of course I didn't say a word of that, because no parent likes to think of their kid and Michael Jackson, at least post-BAD Michael, in the same paragraph. And really ought not to admit it if they do.

At any rate, her mom correctly (?) guesses that Her Majesty is telling us that she needs to use the bathroom.

Now, this is a bit wild, because the kid's closer to 16 months old than 17. But, hey, crazier things have happened up in #936, so why not? Catherine attaches the little kid's seat that you're supposed to put on top of the proper toilet and sets Her Majesty up, just to see what'll happen, only result being that she is quite pleased to be up there, knows how these things work and is ready to get started just any time now, though not at that particular moment.

So, we get down from the toilet and get dressed and put on sunscreen and go to the Old Pecan Street Festival downtown, catch a guy doing old Chaplin/Harpo-type shenanigans and fireeating, along with a couple of good bands (a trio of high school kids destroying Zeppelin's "Bring It On Home" until dashing all my hopes by completely bailing out on the tune rather than kicking in with the double-time shuffle, which, for my money, is what that song lives or dies by). She's pretty reserved with the crowd, just taking it all in, but then when we get by ourselves and make it to the car, she wants to walk around. We do a couple of blocks and then it's the same routine, she grabs her crotch and yells at Catherine, which is a lot funnier on the sidewalk of 8th Street than in front of the washing machine. We assure her it's totally cool, just let it go. No pressure or expectations, here.

And again the same bit a few hours later, at the end of her day while video-chatting with my parents.

So, three times in one day, out of nowhere.

Now, it's not like that suddenly made us think that it was time to kick in the potty-training, I mean, see Paragraph One, but at the same time, it seemed like we should at least in some way acknowledge what she was doing. She loves to read so much, so I got online and tried to figure out what books for kids on this particular subject were worth a damn. Got my list together and off we went to Half-Price Books, which is like a recurring series of the greatest places in the world, because each one is different and there might be treasure buried at any location at any time but it's never static, the inventory is continually changing and you really can't let yourself fall into the trap or you'll just drive around in a perpetual loop, checking and checking to make sure you don't miss anything, and starting back over when you're done, because by that time, there's no telling what's shown up at the place where you started.

For instance, hadn't been at the one down south in a few months and it was the middle of the morning and my coffee-vision was strong and so we blasted down the highway in search of the next great thing.

And, oh, did we find them.

Snagged THE LORAX by Dr. Seuss, which, the kid is all about the Seuss and I'd forgotten that that was one of my favorites. Also found one of the books on my list, EVERYBODY POOPS by Taro Gomi, which, sight unseen, seemed like the best one to me. You're not going to beat that title. Picked up a book of photographs that's a step-by-step page-by-page How To Use A Toilet kind of thing, with I guess little kid actors? that we got because she liked the pictures of the kids doing their business. Which, who doesn't? Plus, and this one is kind of crazy, she just freaked out over this book in a way I've never seen before. Because the art reminds her of Wes Anderson's brother's illustrations on the cover of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS DVD? That kind of flat 2-D thing? I mean, there's a baby on the cover, she's crazy for the babies, but there were babies all over the place. Have never seen her act about a book this way, grabbed it, furrowed her brow and kept moaning, really kind of whimpering, "Baby," over and over and over either like she was really consoling it or like it scared her and she was about to throw a serious fit until I, yes, just sat down right there in the middle of the store and read it to her. And we got done and of course that wasn't enough, just barely getting it started, even, she needed at least another pass through right away, but you know, I guess that was where I drew the line, for whatever arbitrary reason you'd care to assign. Twice would be craaaazy.

Made the mistake of stopping by the graphic novels on the way to the register and, man, they had eight volumes of those LONE WOLF & CUB digests, normally $10 a pop, but half that here, not even counting I had a coupon that knocked another 15% of the total purchase price, so just no way to walk away from those. Or, well, could have, but we'd be right back tomorrow, I promise you, and this way saved gas. Still haven't forgiven myself for bailing on volumes 2-10 of 100 BULLETS last summer. Went back two days later and they'd vanished, shame shame shame.

SO, a very productive trip. We got instructional materials on how to use the toilet and concerning the importance of conserving natural resources as embodied by truffala trees and over 2,400 pages describing in detail exactly how one might go about reclaiming one's honor if he were to find himself a ronin wandering feudal Japan with only his katana and precious and precocious beautiful young child by his side.

Which, you never know.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with that! Micah was well on his way to potty training graduation and then baby sister came. Reverted like crazy. Now tells me on a daily basis "I pooped. Need a diaper change." UGH! Love that you video chat with the grandparents. We do to! Will have to get Micah and Miller chatting.