Catherine Connors is a mother, writer and recovering academic who traded the lecture hall for the playroom and discovered that university students and preschoolers have much the same attention span. She still dips her toes into academic waters by writing the occasional scholarly article about the place of motherhood in Western philosophy, but mostly now she changes diapers and wipes noses and indulges in long reflections on whether Yo Gabba Gabba is a harbinger of the decline of western civilization. Oh, and she blogs: in addition to Bad Mother blogging at BeliefNet, she is, among other things, the author of HerBadMother.com, Managing Editor of MamaPop, moderator of Her Bad Mother’s Basement, co-founder and co-editor of WeCovet, Contributing Editor at BlogHer, and (deep breath) founder of and contributor to Canada Moms Blog. And in her spare time… oh, wait. She doesn’t have spare time. But she’s okay with that.
Emilia has been toilet-trained since sometime last year. Which is awesome, because diaper and pull-up-pant changing are a drag. What is less awesome is the need to be constantly on the look-out for a bathroom because your small child can’t hold it in for more than five minutes.
What is also less than awesome: dealing with a potty-desperate three-year old when there is no potty in sight. Which is when you need to pull out the big Bad Mother guns: you need to teach your child how to pee outside.
Teaching a child how to pee outside – don’t give me that look, everybody has to pee outside sometime or another – is, in itself, pretty straightforward, especially for girls, who don’t need to worry about aim. The Double Daring Book For Girls* devotes half a page to discussing the fine details of peeing al fresco, but the actual steps to a successful outdoor whizz are simple: find a private place, squat, and pull any loose clothing out of the line of fire. Easy.
Easy, that is, if you’re a girl who’s willing to squat. Emilia is not willing to squat. Emilia understands that men and boys pee standing up, so why shouldn’t she? So Emilia, when faced with the need to pee behind a bush, demanded to be shown how to do it without squatting. I, of course – never having mastered the art of peeing while standing – was unable to help her.
Thankfully her Auntie Tanis was there. Auntie Tanis knew what to do.
“Just stand with your legs apart, sweetie. No, you don’t need to grab anything; there’s nothing there. Just hold your shirt up and SHOOT.”
It’s hard to not swell with maternal pride when your daughter really succeeds like that, you know? She now has one more skill – in addition to, among others, the ability to do the splits, bite her own toes, and eat her body weight in ice cream – that I do not and that, my friends, is a thing that both inspires and humbles and makes me just a little bit sad that I, as a girl, never learned to do anything but squat.
*You should totally buy this book if you have a girl or if you know somebody who used to be a girl or if you were a girl once yourself because, really, every girl and woman should know how surf, camp, build a rope ladder, become President, read the Attic Greek alphabet and, yes, pee outdoors.