“Sorry I peed on your Kindle, daddy.”
Yeah, that went right in the “Things I Never Thought I’d Hear” book that is now becoming frightenly hefty.
Nobody ever told me that becoming a dad would one day entail cleaning my daughter’s pee off the wall with a Swiffer Wet Jet. I suppose in truth, that’s a tough thing to pry into a dinner conversation, but still, a guy should have some kind of heads-up that this kind of thing can happen.
Similarly, nobody ever warned me that potty training a daughter can be more perilous than trying to teach your son how to control the slithering fire hose that is a urinating penis. I mean, I guess I had never paid any particular attention to the mysteries of the urethra, being distracted as it were by its more erogenous neighbors. And anyway, I figured female urination was the bodily discharge equivalent of a slam dunk. Given the proximity to target, lack of any obvious obstacles, and gravitational assist, I never considered missing the bulls-eye possible.
So I was taken completely off guard when I discovered it could all go horribly wrong and that my daughter would pee with all the aim of an oscillating lawn sprinkler.
The day the Kindle became a submersible was not entirely my daughter’s fault. My son was impatiently trying to pry open the back door to head outside while I quickly checked the radar on my Kindle to see when the predicted deluge of rain might wrap its talon’s around our fair portion of the state. Naturally, my daughter picked that frenzied moment to start prancing around with the suddenness and frantic manner of a person whose pants were squirming with fire ants. So I herded her to the bathroom and made the fateful mistake of failing to leave the Kindle in the demilitarized zone. Worse still, when I scurried into the bathroom to help hoist my daughter onto the toilet, I hapharzardly discarded the Kindle on the step stool in front of the toilet, never thinking for an instant it was in the line of potential fire.
In a few seconds, the tinkle-tinkle sounds of pee-pee hitting the porcelain was met with a screech of excitement from my daugher, and that’s when it all went Blue Man Group and got messy.
I can see now how I over-simplified the process. I didn’t realize that a young girl would feel the sensations of peeing on a porcelain goblet and naturally get a little curious and try to take a peek at what all was happening down there, and in doing so, would flex her pelvic muscles in such a way as to allow the stream of pee to become very unstable and spray out at all sorts of obtuse angles. Richocheting off porcelain, shower curtains, inner thighs and Lord knows what else, the pee seemed to defy all laws of physics and hydrodynamics. It was everywhere. At first, I tried to play defense and block the pee, but I was soon overwhelmed by my daughter’s impressively commodious bladder and was sent scrambling, reverse crab-crawling, really, desperately searching for the littoral to the newly spawned Sea of Pee.
Finding safe harbor out in the hallway, I stared at the destruction and noticed with some dismay that my shirt and shorts were soaked, my forehead had a distinctively and unnerving moist feel and my mouth tasted suspiciously bitter and salty.
When the firing ceased, casualties were high. In addition to the Kindle, a throw rug appeared mortally wounded and was last seen being lugged away to the wash bin while a priest administered last rites with Oxi Clean and Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover. A bath towel that was perched on the far wall, the trash basket, a bin of bath toys, two abandoned articles of children’s attire and a stuffed animal were all struck down and hauled away to the nearest MASH unit. And, alas, my Kindle, sitting on a step stool in front of the toilet was covered in shimmering beads of urine. The devastation was widespread. It was the potty training equivalent of the Johnstown floods.
I was contemplating how to begin what would be a massive cleanup effort when I heard my son manage to open the backdoor and head into the great outdoors unsupervised. I rubbed my temples in frustration and sighed the sigh of the defeated, knowing I would have to go herd my son back into the house, likely kicking and screaming, before the cleanup could begin.
When parents talk about being brought to tears, these are the moments of which they speak.
For the record, the Kindle did not die that day, it survived and took on an eery scratch-and-sniff quality, but don’t we all after having kids.