A Dad's View: Sticky situations

A Dad's View: Sticky situations

A combination of potty training and a malfunctioning toilet leaves Tom Dunmore in a sticky situation

2609

'Daddy! DADDY!' comes the scream from downstairs. 'DADDY HELP!'

I hurl myself out of bed and down the stairs to find Erik in the hallway, pointing to the under-stairs cupboard that we recently converted into a toilet. My stomach tightens.

I peek inside and see Ava cowering in the corner. 'Spider!' she moans, pointing at the ceiling. It takes me a few seconds to locate the tiny creature. 'It's only a baby,' I croak. 'And anyway, spiders are our friends.'

'Spiders eat flies,' chips in Erik, with a voice full of admiration. He'd eat flies too – if only he could catch them.

'You shouldn't shout "Help!" like that, Ava,' I yawn. 'I thought something was really wrong.'

With that, I step into the room to remove the spider and my sleepy senses spring into life: my bare foot steps in something cold and wet and I'm overwhelmed by a foul stench. Only then do I notice that the toilet, stuffed with paper and effluent, has started to overflow, and the pump that should be clearing away this mess is making a decidedly unhealthy sound.

I instinctively switch to mouth-breathing – one of the few useful skills you pick up during six years of changing nappies – and lift Ava out of the devastation.

There's no doubt that having a kid is a life-changing experience. And some of the changes – like watching the first smiles and the first steps – are heart-burstingly brilliant. Others, though, are less romantic – like the need to be constantly, intimately aware of another being's bodily functions.

The nappies in those first months of parenthood can lull you into a false sense of security – it's essentially a milk-in, milk-out process with little to upset the senses save for an extravagant colour palette. But as soon as babies start on solids, it all begins to look – and smell – distressingly grown-up.

So I felt a palpable sense of relief when child number two (no pun intended) approached potty training age, and I could begin to fantasise about returning to a world where I am blissfully ignorant of other people's toilet habits. But we're not quite there yet.

Ava was easy to get out of nappies. By the time she was two she wanted to use the toilet, and the traumatic process of removing the nappies altogether took just two weeks. Erik is proving to be more of a challenge. At two he seemed to be getting tired of nappies and desperately wanted to use the toilet like his big sister – but nine months later he's still not completely mastered it.

He'll be dry for a week, then there will be a string of little accidents. But at least he's getting the hang of giving us advance warning – sometimes he'll even sneak off and use the toilet all by himself. And then clog it full of toilet roll.

And so here I am, standing in dirty toilet water when I should be curled up in bed. I keep my left foot planted in the safety of the hallway while lifting my right foot into the handbasin to clean it. Unfortunately the waste water from the sink has nowhere to go because the pump isn't working. Within seconds the sink is overflowing too, and I'm stuck with my foot stretched in front of me like the world's least graceful ballet dancer.

After a few moments of silence, Ava pipes up: 'I'll get mummy,' and before I can think to answer she's treading stinky footprints all the way up the stairs.

Then it's Erik's turn.

'Daddy,' he says, with a hint of desperation, 'I need to poo.'

RELATED ARTICLES

Related Articles

A Dad's View: Are girls more cliquey than boys?
A Dad's View
A Dad's View: Are girls more cliquey than boys?
A Dad's View: Are girls more cliquey than boys? Are girls more cliquey than...
A Dad's View: Picky eaters
A Dad's View
A Dad's View: Picky eaters
A Dad's View: Picky eaters Faced with a pair of picky eaters, Tom Dunmore...
A Dad's View: Dressing-up
A Dad's View
A Dad's View: Dressing-up
A Dad's View: Dressing-up Oh dear, Tom Dunmore is surprised to find himself...
A Dad's View: Scandi Christmas
A Dad's View
A Dad's View: Scandi Christmas
A Dad's View: Scandi Christmas His children are set on Christmas in Norway, can...

email block

how-to-have-a-hassle-free-airport-experienceTravel

How to have a hassle-free airport experience

Going on holiday but dreading getting there, here is how you can start your journey hassle-free.
can-exercise-prevent-pre-eclampsiaEating & Exercise

Can exercise prevent pre-eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia can occur due to higher blood pressure with pregnancy, being overweight, or having diabetes, suitable exercises will help improve...
cosmetic-treatments-for-repairing-your-body-after-birthYou and your body

Cosmetic treatments for repairing your body after birth

Most of us learn to love our post-pregnancy bodies but for those who really can't there are cosmetic options, says...
win-a-big-wild-sleepout-kitWin

Win a Big Wild Sleepout kit worth £600

RSPB will once again be encouraging families across the UK to spend a night outdoors as part of its Big...
take-the-plunge-to-win-one-of-10-brand-new-splash-about-leak-proof-swim-nappiesWin

Take the plunge to win one of 10 brand new Splash About leak-proof swim nappies!

Over 150,000 UK babies swim each week wearing a Splash About Happy Nappy.
win-a-month-s-supply-of-kiddylicious-snacksWin

Win a month’s supply of Kiddylicious snacks!

We’re giving away a month’s supply of Kiddylicious snacks to three lucky winners.