It is, however, the perfect opportunity to work on teaching him some bathroom routines. Because yes, he's four, and yes, he's toilet trained and knows each of the steps of bathrooming, but they are by no means unthinking habit. The unwashed hands, the toilet paper that didn't make it in, the soap scummed towels are, perhaps, making me freaking nuts. But dimly, through the haze of I will not get conjunctivitis again, just because you little twerps don't wash up, I could see a valid cause. I sat down and made a list of the things that he does when he uses the bathroom, and holy moly. It do not be simple.
- recognize need for bathroom
- find bathroom, leaving stuffed animals and binkies outside, okay? Failing that, pleeeeease don't spit out the binky such that it drops to the floor right next to the toilet. Your mother has read an article about spray from toilets, and it's scarred her. So be nice.
- remove/pull down garment(s)
- hoist self into place
- use facilities. Aim, baby, aim!
- clean up relevant body parts. Diaper rash does not depend on diaper wearing, folks.
- pull up garment(s)
- survey the floor to see if any additional clean-up is needed. Failing that, remember that unexpected puddles are worth noting. Also, not stepping into.
- wash hands with soap (turn on water, pump soap into hand, create bubbles by rubbing). There is a direct relationship between the amount of soap you pump and the time it takes to get it off. Think about it.
- rinse hands (with hands under water, rub hands together until bubbles/slippery soapy feeling has gone). Nope. Still soapy. Keep going, kid.
- dry hands, preferably with a towel. Because if you forgot to use soap, then the shaking hands vigorously and checking to see how high the drops fly game? not so good.
Yeah, well, okay. It's the how-to-make-a-PB-sandwich lesson: there's more involved than I'd think. Granted, this is the kid who will turn on the water, stick his hands under the tap....and forget why he's there. Twenty minutes later, he's soaked the bathroom, himself, and created a small tributary in the hallway with some fantastic game, the tap is running - it has to be running, Mum, I need the water! - and he's geniunely surprised that I'm wearing the WTF mom-face.
(deep breath. Repeat. Repeat some more.)
To be fair, I start off primed to lose it over the bathroom thing. The Toddles, alas, has a translation problem: when his bladder pipes up, the Toddles assumes that he's actually hearing from his Wiggle-O-Meter. And so he runs back and forth and back and forth, faster and faster and faster and faster, with increasingly ornate footwork until, well, let's just say that the kid has good control, and he makes it every single freakin' time. And my blood pressure has always been nicely low, so I should survive until we can stick a Babel fish in the kid's ear. Or urethra. And none of this has anything to do with the long list of Things Thou Shalt Do, post-toilet, except that when he misses one or four items on the List, then I assume that this is another example of anti-w.c. behavior, and lose it.
Unfairly, I think. (Well, usually unfairly.)
So, we practiced. I did nothing but laundry and bathroom runs, chatting about the bacteria that we were flushing - or rinsing - down the pipe, nudging him when he forgot that we weren't really playing a game on the waterworld Zorbon, trying to make that long, long list into unthinking habit.
It was a long day, but a nicely mellow one. I crocheted half of a project and found a comfortable spot on the hallway floorboards, and the kid won the Most Cheerful patient award for being chipper despite the stomach cramps, and calm about any accidents. And maybe it paid off: today, no accidents (yay!) and he's automatically washing his hands. Usually with soap.
(yes, I'm on it.)