Apparently I'm supposed to be teaching my son to pee standing up.
My wife reminded him enthusiastically yesterday that we were going to learn that this Summer. And by that I obviously mean she said it to him so that I would hear it - thereby making a binding contract. He looked slightly suspicious about the notion if I'm honest. My wife obviously is remembering the difference between when my daughter needed taking to the toilet and now when she can go all by herself, but still chooses to take someone with her so she can share the whole delightful experience. Usually with interesting narration like, "what was that noise Daddy!!" or, "it looks like a sleeping bag!"
I'm slightly more cautious about it myself. My son is way more eager to be autonomous about certain things than my daughter was. As far as going to the bathroom goes he already tells me to get lost half the time. He'll start motioning to the door, allow me a millisecond to get the hint before gruffly telling me to, "go away." He used to call for me to come back and get him off his perch to gaze in wonder at whatever he'd created. Now if I so much as make the sound of footsteps anywhere in the hallway outside the bathroom door then he'll repeat that he told me to go away already. Now he wants me to stay out till he's done most of the time. And by done that means grabbed some toilet paper, stuffed it down the gap in the seat in front of him, flushed the toilet and taken his smaller seat off and picked up his underpants. All of which is mostly fine I guess. If there's any spillage, overshoot, smearing (heaven forbid) or whatever then he doesn't keep going. So it's not like I will come back in once I hear his seat hit the ground to find him knee deep in shame clutching a bran-toboggan and drawing a crucifix on the bathroom wall (I'd just like to point out spell-check advised me that bran-toboggan required two "g's" - which I found pleasing).
Anyhoo - with this sort of I'll-Do-This-Myself attitude it's likely that once he starts doing it standing up (it's been strongly recommended that I show him how to do this in the backyard - which seems very classy, but strangely fitting to central NY) that he's going to get it wrong a lot. When it's bath-time that boy can whip his pants off like a Chippendale. I'm not worried about that so much. But if he doesn't follow the steps where he tells me it's time to head to the bathroom then I know he'll get that muddled up. Add he's not going to understand trajectory, force or technique at all. When the stream starts to weaken he will likely panic as it starts to drop closer and closer to his feet. All of which means that he may become one of those weird people that chooses to take off their entire bottom half of clothes when they're in the bathroom. You people are weird. And he's going to confuse the whole thing. He'll try to apply the outside-standing method indoors - and naturally will just end up taking a whizz all over the outside of the toilet bowl. And God forbid that he completely loses grip of his senses and feels that he can poo standing up as well.
And I've already compounded this. Right before we all went out to wait for the school bus I had to go to the bathroom. My son waited by the door grinning at the visual of me peeing stood up. My daughter was much more subtle and ran in excitedly, yelling and pointing, "Look Owen!! Daddy is going to teach you to pee like this!!!" Obviously he felt compelled to come in and celebrate as well. So while I urinated they hugged, cheered and jumped up and down. Never one to miss a moment to impress my children I heard myself saying, "Yeah! Look at me!! I'm peeing stood on one leg!!" And I was. Which - while clearly impressive - deflated my daughter a little who announced sheepishly, "I pee on both my legs." Which might help explain the brackish, dead-fish scales odor she seemed to have emanating from her yesterday.
This would have been fine but it was my son's turn to go next. So I sat him down and he told us to go away. I did my daughter's shoe laces up and was sat in the mudroom doing my own boots up when I noticed an unusual shadow on the bathroom wall. It was pretty big and noticeably out of place. I knew it was too high to be my son. I was quite wrong about that mind you. Applying what he had just seen me doing along with his grasp of how he knows you go to the toilet, he had stood up on the toilet seat and was doing some sort of strange Karate Kid crane-kick thing on one leg while naked from the waist down. If ever you want an image of a deranged mentally unstable patient that had just spent 45 minutes on the TV show House being repeatedly diagnosed incorrectly, this was it. Thankfully he'd already done his duty before attempting his finishing move. And also thankfully he didn't topple off and smack his head on the floor and kill himself. I'm pleased to say that I love my son enough to know that would be an absolutely crippling emotional travesty that would be exceptionally difficult to recover from. But I'm also aware that I'd secretly think it was so ridiculous a way to die that I'd really want to tell people about it. It's sort of like when people ask me the breed of my dog and I have to say, "he's a cockapoo..." and I watch them process the fact that a) I've just said the words, "cock" and "poo" in a strange English voice for some reason, and b) that I've just claimed my dog is actually a male when it's clearly a girl. Even though it's awkward and annoying to talk about it, I do sort of enjoy the whole discomfort involved. As far as my son's impending urine-based martial-arts accident goes I'd definitely want to bring that up. I'd certainly fight to get that on his death certificate. And it's a dead cert (literary genius at work here folks) that I'd start dressing up as Mr. Miyagi just to tie the whole thing together as a story too.
So I hope my wife now understands why I don't want my son to die like this (but kind of do as well) .