School is starting soon and like many parents I am beyond excited.

I’ve never really been able to relate to the mothers that tearfully drop their kids off on the first day of school. Yes, I may have shed a tear or two as I drive off from campus, but my tears are those of joy. Happiness. Pride.

From the day that the nurse placed my swaddled babies in my arms I prayed that they would be lifetime learners, avid readers, amazing people.

Now that both of my children are in school I am beyond thrilled that they love being there. They don’t cling when I drop them off. They give me a high-five on the way out the door and probably don’t think about me again until they are begging me for cheese sticks and drinks in the evening while I scramble to make dinner before they turn into angry little monsters.

No, I won’t be crying when I drop my son off for his first day of kindergarten this year.

But I am terrified that his teacher will discover our dirty little secret.

It is a secret that I have been trying to hide for the past couple of years. From his pre-K teacher. From his day care workers.

What will happen when his kindergarten teacher finds out that he can’t wipe his own butt?

We have tried everything.  My husband and I have taken turns trying to teach him proper bathroom paperwork techniques. We’ve tried to let him get started and then follow-up with a final swipe of toilet paper. We’ve tried everything. He still doesn’t get it.


Painting by Genie Adams, now hanging above our toilet.

How can one’s poo smear all the way up to the middle of his little back? How can he even bend his arm that far?

How is it possible for such a small child to use so much toilet paper and still not get the job done?

How could he claim to have taken care of business all by himself and still manage to leave a deeply embedded skid mark in his little boxer briefs?

We’ve tried it all, but I still hear, “Mooooommmmm… I’m dooooonnnneee!” from across the house. That’s his loud declaration that it is now time for me to attend to his behind.

Maybe it’s our post-poo conversations that keep him from really learning how to wipe.

If I didn’t help him take care of business, I’d never hear about how it looks like a big snake, pile of mini bananas, or large pile of mud (all are his actual descriptions!). I’d never hear about what he had for lunch that day or how long it has been since his last poo.  He’d never be able to cling desperately to my ankle as he bends waaaaaay over to give me better access to his little behind.

What else can I do to accelerate this learning process? 

Is there a sticker chart for butt-wiping victories? Oh wait, we’ve already tried that. 

Should we encourage the use of flushable wipes instead of toilet paper until he gets the hang of it? Never mind, we’ve tried that, too (just ask the plumber).

Maybe we’ll just have to send him to school armed with crayons, pencils, glue sticks, and extra pairs of underwear.

And a big pep talk.

I know he’ll get it eventually, I’m just hoping that we can finally tackle this piece of personal hygiene before his kindergarten teacher finds out. Or worse – has to help him, too.


Anything to add?


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