Thursday, 1 October 2009

Don’t take the Manneken Pis (or why Potty training alfresco can backfire)

There are some things you just wish that your children, or indeed anybody else’s children, would not do. Many of them are things you don’t want them to do in public such as spitting, tantrums or picking their noses.
My parents dislike my boys rather startling habit of peeing anywhere that takes their fancy. In their defence this follows on from the fact that neither of my two boys likes to wet themselves but I fear that this is a rather lame excuse especially when you see both of them trying to see who can pee the highest against the back wall. They look like two very naughty cherubs and frequently put me in mind of the Manneken Pis in Brussels.
When I holler at them to “Stop that right now!” it makes little difference and the result is an excited scream at being caught and much giggling and running round the garden with their pants down.
I have taken the rather lofty view now of not commenting at all as I anything I do to prevent them from continuing with this habit is immediately undermined by the fact that Dear Charlie does it too. No, I don’t mean he runs round the garden with his pants down giggling hysterically, which while endearing in the Under 6s would be rather unbecoming in a man in his 40s, what I mean is that my husband is partial to the odd alfresco pee. And herein lies the problem. How can I stop it?
My parents decided to take matters in to their own hands when they came to stay recently. They had just driven in after collecting Bog Boy and my eldest, The Boy, from nursery and school respectively, and were making their way to the front door when my eldest decided to see how far he could pee while standing on top of the Dumper that the builders had parked up by the side of the lawn.
Granny was NOT amused when she realised that what she thought was a spot of rain turned out to be something else and The Boy was frog marched inside and given a severe talking to. Dear Charlie and I were of course unaware of these events until we returned home and while he happily rummaged in the drinks cupboard for liquid refreshment I got the full details with both barrels, not once, not twice but three times – from both Granny and Grandpa.
Them, sternly: It really MUST stop. We don’t want animals as grandchildren
Me squealing: But what can I do?
Them: You must tell them to stop it. You must be firm
Me: I’ve tried that; they ignore me.
Them: You are just going to have to discipline them. You never did that sort of thing when you were a girl.
Me: But they are boys. Boys are different.
Them: There is no excuse for that behaviour!
I wanted to scream that it wasn’t my fault when it suddenly dawned on me that it wasn’t my fault at all. I wasn’t the one. That’s when Dear Charlie came back into the room smiley blithely.
DC: Everything alright?
They gave HIM a severe talking to…
The next morning The Boy visited his father just before breakfast and was told in no uncertain terms that piddling alfresco was just not done.
The Boy: But you do it Daddy. You taught me!
DC: decidedly uncomfortable with this truth: Well erm, well you have to do it discretely. But you should really use the loo.
The Boy: What’s discretely?
DC: You need to hide behind a tree or a bush or something so other people can’t see you.
The Boy: That’s Ok Daddy.
And with that the whole incident looked like it was sorted. However later, at the dining table, The Boy decided he needed to go to the loo.
The Boy: Please may I go to the Loo Daddy?
DC: Of course Boy. Off you go and don’t forget to wash your hands…
The Boy gets down and instead of heading for the loo goes straight to the French doors and heads outside.
DC: Boy! What ARE you doing!?
The Boy: I am going outside to practise being discrete…
As I said you can’t win….


lampworkbeader said...

Oh dear. You have my sympathy. I can remember screaming at my very male family. 'How come I'm the only one who washes this floor, but I'm the only one who doesn't pee on it.? Ass my dear, now adult, boys reminded me only this weekend.

Arosebyanyothername said...

I think I'm with your parents on this one - I'm probably their generation, after all. How old will your boys be when it stops being cute behaviour and becomes something else?
I had two boys and I'm sure they did that in their childhood but they were very careful not to let me see them - I guess that's being discrete.

Withy Brook said...

That did make me laugh! But of course they have to learn to use the loo and only be 'discrete' when they can't! You're on a losing wicket though when Dad is such a bad example.
I hate men using the great outdoors - they either kill shrubs or do it where I am likely to be weeding later!!!

Tattie Weasle said...

Lampie - Thank you, my sister's MIL was only saying the other day how difficult Boys were when I asked how she kept her undercontrol and - she had three - she looked me squarely in teh ey and said valium and a polo whip! Those were the days...
Arosebyanyothername - You are quite right I need to nip this one hard now (invariably my Mum is right but there again she always said she was!)
I've gone down the bribery route and for every time they rush indoors they get a star and 10 stars equal a big treat. It is surprising how well that seems to be working:)
Withy - I am also taking Dad in hand something similar along the star/treat route. I fear I have three boys!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

How about a rubber band on the end of the offending object?! I guess it is time to come down heavy on them because they will get into trouble soon enough! It's great that they don't have hangup's about their willy's but at the same time they need to realise not everyone is so open minded! Your star system seems to be working well with praise rather than punishment so keep up the good work and they'll learn soon enough that it's time to pee in private when the option is there.

As for the dad?! Now you are going to have to have a reward system for him too - can you think of anything?!

Milla said...

this is horribly familiar - and what do we have in common? a husband and two boys. Less charming as they get older. Wait til your parents start on table manners... I thought grandparents were there to nod and coo and hand out chocolate and cash. Somethign has gone sorely awry at our house!

Tattie Weasle said...

MOB - What sage advice re the rubber bands though I feel a tad painful esp. for Dad! Rewards for let me think...of course how silly of me five stars and he's allowed free access for one night only to the drinks cabinet not that he doesn't go there anyway!
Milla - Yep I too had hoped this was what Grandparents did cash and choccies but they keep missing me out. As for table manners...that's another story entirely.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

My two are the same. Rush outside to pee. They are 2 and 4. I'm trying to stop the 4 year old from doing it (figure the 2 yo will follow suit, I'm just pleased that he isn't peeing in his pants, one step at a time there), but without much joy.

Their current game is to see who can pee the highest whilst waving at the mosque over the road. As you say, almost sweet in a toddler, distinctly not in an older child.

Do let me know if you find something that works won't you?

Mootia said...

This is the first time I've visited your blog in about 8 months due to my future-peeing alfresco baby boy! What a've got your work cut out there. Will have to tell my OH never to pee outside! xx

Tattie Weasle said...

Brit in Bosnia - I love it that they wave at the Mosque adn also that my two aren;t the only ones. Should I have success I will tell you but don't hold your breath I have a funny feeling this one will go on and on!
Mootia - How wonderful to hear from you. Baby Mootia must be getting so big now. He'll be all cuddly and gorgeous and probably getting ready to appreciate the joys of outdoor piddling - I promise they get into this VERY young so I am glad you have your eye on Mr Mootia a very wise precaution!

Troy said...

I'm with your parents on this one.
Regarding your comment response of taking "Dad in hand", I suspect this will only encourage him!

LittleBrownDog said...

Personally, I don't have too much of a problem with peeing outdoors -so long as it's reasonably discreet and not on someone's limestone patio tiles - although seem to be alone in this judging by your other comments. Pee is supposed to be very good for compost, though - I believe dear Bob Flowerdew demonstrated this on national TV once - so perhaps you could direct them to the compost heap? I would draw the line at number twos, though ;-}

Expat mum said...

Goodness, I thought mine were horrible! They spit (like baseball players) and whenever I yell at them for it, they tell me dad does it too. Funny how I never catch him.

Preseli Mags said...

Another blog which makes me so glad I have girls (who WON'T pee alfresco until they absolutely have too...) Can't wait for the blog about table manners! (Girls aren't immune on that one...)

Tattie Weasle said...

Troy - I think I had better re-phrase that! I have given Dad a stern telling off...of course;)
LBD - Brilliant idea I have redirected EVERYONE to the compost which is far more discrete!
Expat Mum - I wish I could say the same of Dear Charlie but he just laughs - I think I see a pattern here!
Preseli Mags - ah yes table manners with or without grandparents ( I advise without at every occasion...)

Go on you know you want to...


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