When Ben was about 2 and a half–maybe a little closer to 3–Potty Training began in earnest. We lived with my then-boyfriend The Daver part time and we made sure that any time that we used the bathroom, Ben was dragged in with us. Just so he got the idea.
(perhaps, as an aside here, if I may–and I always may–this is why my children all flock to the bathroom the moment my pants are unzipped. It’s the hang out spot in my house)
We were especially vigilant to make sure that whenever the other member of our household with a penis (this would be The Daver) used the can, Ben was there. Because he also had a penis. And a weenis for a father. Nat was too wrapped up in his hatred of me to bother handling the potty training.
So Sausages UNITE! was the bathroom motto. We made sure that we answered any questions Ben had, made sure that we weren’t too prude about our bodies lest he get all squigged out by them, and allowed him to help with whatever function he could. Just so he got the idea. My parents ARE hippies after all.
This included, flushing, washing hands, and grabbing toilet paper when needed. With this kind of prep, I’m amazed that wiping his ass isn’t more of a thrill for him. But I digress.
One day, as Dave was peeing, Ben got the idea in his head that he wanted to help Daver aim it. So he asked nicely if he could. My poor flustered soon-to-be husband didn’t know what to do so he agreed. I was standing in the doorway watching this and I can tell you that I’ve not seen Dave so red-faced before. And he never allowed Ben to do it again.
A couple of weeks later, we took Ben out to dinner in Oak Park, near Dave’s apartment.
(Oak Park, for those not in the know, is a town filled with a weird yuppie/hippie hybrid. Often, these people engage in competitions to see who can be greener and shop and Whole Foods more often. While driving Escalades. It’s a strange mix of people.)
During dinner, The Daver had to use the bathroom, and per our arrangement, he took Ben in with him (I always took him in with me, too, but this isn’t really pertinent to the story save to assure you that I did my share of potty training work). I’d gotten the check as they were off having a Sausage Party and had thrown my card down to pay for it and relishing the relative silence.
Like a whirlwind, a red-faced Dave and an oblivious looking Ben flew out of the bathroom and Dave practically shrieked “We need to leave NOW!” Dave is easily the most even-tempered person I know and not prone to hysterics or teeth-gnashing, so I was taken aback. I immediately assumed that he’d plugged up the toilet and a mixture of poo-soup was now overtaking the bathroom.
I signed the check and bundled up, preparing to go out to the car.
As we hustled out, he told me what had happened in a panicked, rushed voice, looking over his shoulder every couple of seconds.
“I was peeing, right? And Ben was standing RIGHT THERE. And I was JUST PEEING. And all of a sudden, Ben goes, clear as day, ‘Dave, can I hold your penis?’”
I started laughing, the tears springing easily from my eyes. This was a typical Ben thing to want to do.
“Okay, well, okay.” I gasped, laughing harder than I could ever recall.
“THEN, I realized THAT WE WEREN’T ALONE IN THE BATHROOM! Some guy was in there LISTENING to my son CALL me DAVE and ASK TO HOLD MY PENIS.”
I rubbed my side where a cramp had formed from laughing so heartily and continued laughing. I had a perfect picture of what had happened.
“We had to leave before that dude called the police or something, looking for a child molester!”
The tears were freezing in the wind, but I couldn’t hold it in. The hilarity of the situation was just too much for me. I was thisclose to peeing my pants. The LAST person on the planet to molest a child is The Daver and the ONLY person who’d come up with such a weird thing to ask is Ben.
To his credit, though, Dave maintained his sanity. And as for me, I laughed until Ben spent a good 20 minutes in the Target bathroom with me, chronicling the descent of his poop to a bathroom audience.
Then I didn’t laugh so hard.
Tell me I’m not the only one to have such a thing happen to them. My kids are ALWAYS trying to outdo each other in terms of things they can embarrass me for.