So this one’s about potty training. If you’ve been there, done that, or aren’t fazed by words such as “poo”, “pee” and location thereof, proceed. Otherwise, you might want to stop right here and run away some place where you can have a mindscrape from the images I’ve just conjured. I’m just sayin’.

The main character in all this, of course, is our daughter Arddun. I haven’t written much about what she’s like lately, so here’s a quick summary.

She’s talking now. Sometimes, she even speaks English. Her “thank-yous” are now automatic, though not so much her “pleases”, and she greets you with Good Morning even after her 1 o’clock nap. When you ask her a question she understands, she says “Yes” or “No” with the biggest grin on her face – because you asked her a question she understands.

Her hair has grown even lighter in colour, and has gone past her shoulders. Sometimes, I catch her stopping in mid stride to flick her hair back with both hands. She loves cars, trains, and pretend tea parties. She puts on her own shoes now, but still can’t tell left from right. She tosses them off as soon as we get into the car, like a bogan. She tries to wear her own shirts, so sometimes she flaps around the house with two singlets up one arm.

We’ve given up on hair clips, so her fringe is now tied in a pony tail to the side and looks like a wonky whale spout. She’s teething at the moment, so her chatter and laughs are punctuated by screams of pain. Her latest thing is to laugh like Ernie. I have no idea if that’s a Sesame Street influence but in case you need a revision on your Sesame Street characters, his laugh sounds like this:

Now, it wasn’t too long ago that I had bragged about Arddun depositing correctly and voluntarily into her potty. Big mistake. HUGE. Because it was the start of the end. I don’t think Arddun had ever quite understood what it was we were trying to get her to accomplish in her special white plastic reading chair until that day. I also don’t think she ever quite understood what her pee and poo actually looked like.

She’s not having any of that anymore.

The biggest giveaway was straight after she had made those deposits, and when she turned around to regard what had transpired. “Oh nooo…” she breathed. “Oh dear. Oh no…” she kept saying, and then reached for toilet paper and started wanting to wipe it all up. All this, despite me ecstatically praising her to the skies. The same thing happened the next day. And then on day 3…

Nothing. Refused to even go near the potty. She would peer into it once or twice and go, “Oh dear!” and then scurry out the room. I went out and bought a new potty to start afresh. Nothing. Got her the toddler toilet seat to place on the full-sized toilet. Wouldn’t go near it. Each attempt to get her to sit on it – even fully clothed – would result in her arching her back, with lips tightly pressed into a determined line.

It was messy. She didn’t like the entire process. It was distasteful.

I’d decided to give this a break and start afresh when we got back from Melbourne. Two weeks ought to do it, I thought.

We started again today. Got her kit off, asked her to sit on the potty to read her books. She peered into it, remembered what it was for, and started arching her back.

“Come on,” I urged her. “Just sit and read a book. Look! Spot! Where’s Spot?”

She makes a break for it, and dashes out of the toilet as fast as her chubby-but-athletic toddler legs can carry her. (Read: About 9.5km/h, I’m convinced.) I sigh in resignation, start to restack the books, stand up, leave the cubicle… only to find she had tinkled on the floor beside her new table and chairs.

Five seconds. That was all it took.

So here I am grumbling and wiping up while pointing to her mess and going, “See this? THIS was supposed to go into the potty! Not out here! POT-TY!” and Arddun starts stroking my head.

“Sowwy!” she says. Pat-pat. “Sowwy!” And then she throws her arms around my neck and gives me two firm kisses, before swinging my face around to look into my eyes.

I school my face to look every bit as annoyed as I’d been, but the act is starting to fray at the edges.

She laughs like Ernie and runs off.

Arddun 1, Mummy wiping pee.