Oscar is learning that his body is his own, these days. in corollary news, my house smells like urine.

we tried full-on potty boot camp last weekend, since Dave had a few extra days off and nothing says vacation like wiping piss off the floor. in hindsight, we should’ve just flown to Thailand for the full moon party, or something. our plan failed utterly. he was ready on paper: had successfully pooped in the potty with pride just a few days before, was learning to pull down his own pants, was keen on flushing, could stay dry for hours at a time. he wears cloth, so he knows full well when he’s wet. what we forgot to account for was will. his potty-readiness is coinciding with the realization that he is an entity unto himself, and this dictator-readiness is made of stronger stuff than his urge to pee in plastic.

when he was left to roam the house in underpants Sunday morning, he announced his need to pee precisely as he finished soaking through the first pair. with the second two, he got up off the potty after a prescheduled try and promptly pissed right through their Thomas the Tank Engine decals, gleeful grin on his face. oh, he said, both times. that’s MEIN pee!

it’s interesting, watching this sense of selfhood emerge. interesting, that is, if one can detach emotionally from the shouting and the whining and the refusals of all things that have formerly pleased Little Herr Happypants. a self-identifying toddler is a rather abusive creature, not overly concerned with the feelings of others, nor a mother’s attachment to little habits of affection or personal care. dose is MEIN toes! he howls, when i bend to kiss them. NO-OH! that’s MEIN hairs! he laments, when i try to run a brush near his tangly mane. i don’ WANNA pee in the potty! he announces, suddenly, when enticed to the throne at his usual longstanding times.

he wants control, this kid. control of his self, above all else…though control over everyone else in the house and vicinity wouldn’t be bad, either, if you’re offering. he’s suddenly caught on to the diabolical fact that until this point his father and i have made all significant decisions regarding his life and well being, and those “would you like to brush your teeth or wash your face first?” forays into agency are, in fact, decoys masking the horrible, awful truth that we force cleanliness onto his person, just as we force regular nutrition and sleep and make all the real decisions about where he goes and when. he is outraged, mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it anymore.

so he’s peeing on my floor, people. i don’t think we’ll be training him any time soon.

what i do wonder is if, once engaged, this struggle for control will ever lessen. looking ahead, to sixteen or eighteen or – thinking of my own relationship with my mom, ahem – thirty-some more years of that’s MEIN thingamajiggit (insert any object of desire or personal attribute here), i get so very, very tired.