I am stubbornly, and often stupidly, independent – due to an automatic sense of failure and guilt triggered by asking for help. At worst, this has seen me break my nose and eye socket with the claw of hammer, whilst trying to remove an equally stubborn nail from a floorboard. And even then, I didn’t go to A & E for 24 hours – foolishly trying to brave it out without help.
There is an exception. One situation that I would readily accept help with, is in facilitating the nightly ‘dream wee’. This is the act of transporting a sleeping child from bed-to-toilet, to prevent him from wetting the bed in his sleep. The current routine goes like so:
Go to retrieve child from bed – he is not there. Find child in the middle of my bed (which is a mattress on the floor). Attempt not to rupture hernia repair whilst trying to lift dead-weight child from floor height – child often carrying an extra 2 stone from a full pair of the world’s most absorbent night-time pants. (Worth noting, the large size is great if you ever want to get to the front of a gig at a festival, without having to avoid fluids for 12 hours beforehand… ). I can only imagine my neighbours assume I have a sideline in prostitution, given the late night grunts from my bedroom, as I try to scoop the bed-squatter up.
Carry drooling child to bathroom, trying to avoid stepping wheeled toys, especially when passing the top of the stairs.
Now for the tricky bit: grit teeth and hold child with one arm, whilst trying to pull down an already soggy pair of night-time pants and simultaneously aiding the correct direction of flow, to avoid any quick-fire wee from going into eyes (live it, learn it). Place child on toilet seat, mindful of the direction of aim throughout this process. Advice to new starters: wear goggles. And a shower cap.
Notes to self: don’t bang child’s head on wall. Don’t bang child’s head on sink. Keep hold of child at all times… If child does a pooh, which can take a while, don’t fall asleep in the cuddle embrace whilst child is still on toilet. Also, in the situation of a pooh arising, try not to let sleeping child fall into toilet bowl whilst you simultaneously suspend them on the toilet seat and wipe their bottom.
If stamina allows, hover child over sink to wash hands. If flagging, forgive self for using a baby wipe. Then transfer child back to bed – if this is the mattress on the floor, just letting go and dropping child onto the mattress is easier on the back. (Joke).
Given that a recent tongue-in-cheek post about pubic hair styling in labour got interpreted very seriously by some, I pre-empt a similar scattering of serious comments (along with the token “fuck you, you’re shit” thrown in for good measure). The obvious question I pre-empt is “why not just wake your son up?” Here’s how that conversation would go:
Me: “Hercules*, Darling, you need to wake up and come and have a wee.” (Repeat X 20)
Child (eventually): gets up and either walks straight into a wall, or is so awake that he skips to bathroom and then wants to play hide-and-seek.
There are times when sciatica kicks in and I think how this is one job that I would delegate to ‘daddy’, if there was one here. But I quickly snap out of it in the reality check of how empowering my world is as a single parent – especially the proud achievement of the dream wee mission.
As long as this stops by the age of 25.
Ahead of our forthcoming camping trip, I’m training for the blow-up-bed-to-potty transfer within a tent. Watch this space…
(*name changed for dramatic effect)