Wednesday, July 14, 2010

(Father) Bobblehead

Daisy and I found ourselves in a good cop/bad cop situation. Fire is potty trained to pee in the toilet but defecating is a whole ‘nother story. So Daisy is cajoling Fire to poop and I came in and was a little forceful in my tone. It really is the worst thing you can do but I had locked horns with him and was too stubborn to be the adult and let him “win”. I walked away and came back. Daisy used me as the bad cop and it seemed to work in the moment since he pooped for the first time ever. Evidently he did not want me to come back a third time. I was to find out the next day I had won the battle but not the war. Daisy went to work and I was to spend the day taking care of the kids. I was going to take Fire for a simple pee pee on the potty when he freaked out and began crying in the most pathetic tone I had ever heard. There are different kinds of crying that I can live with but this one cut deep within my heart. He was so desperately scared of me helping him to the bathroom.

I took a step back and said, “Play therapy to the rescue”. I need to say that therapy with your child is a big no no. In fact, I shouldn’t even say therapy. It is less therapeutic as it is behavioral for curiosity sake. Very very light. Let me explain. I set the scene of mommy, daddy, and Fire in the bathroom and set an object down as the toilet. He picked me as the bobble head, Daisy as the pirate, and he as both Anakin Skywalker and the dinosaur. I had Anakin and the dinosaur on the toilet and the pirate in front of him. I came in the imaginary door and said, “Here comes daddy.” Immediately Anakin jumped off the toilet and sliced at my neck with the light saber about 20 times. I would imagine the bobble head would be decapitated after 20 slices but maybe not. I say maybe not because the dinosaur them jumped on me and chewed on my throat for about 20 seconds. “Well that was bit much” I thought.

He took his henchmen back to the potty and left my carcass to rot. I was picking up my bobble head when both Anakin and dinosaur attacked me again. After Anakin was done with me the dinosaur ate my throat out and both returned to their potty (lair). In the third attempt to pick my bobble head up Fire did it again in the same order. For some reason it seemed only right that Anakin would get the first opportunity and the dinosaur would finish me off if, by some miracle, I had survived. “A bit of Narrative Therapy sprinkled in should help” I thought. In the most crude of explanations, Narrative therapy helps a child change the outcome of a story from negative to a positive with the help from an adult. In its very light form it is reframing. This is what I did. I asked Fire not to attack the bobble head and to let me get up. He did. I then took my bobble head and came into the bathroom in a very nice way and said, “Can you go poo poo?”

“No.” He said

“That’s OK.” I said. “I love you.”

Fire looked at me suspiciously and whispered, “I wuv you too.”

“Can you go potty with daddy now?”

Again, suspicion on his face. He walked to the bathroom and let me help him. I was sugar sweet and I counted myself very lucky. Hopefully his wish of killing me in the most violent of ways has disappeared from his imagination.


  1. Thanks Bumby. When I told a colleague of the story she raised her fist in the air and said, "OEDIPUS COMPLEX". For those of you who have forgotten, it is the the childhood desire to sleep with the mother and to kill the father. Strangley enough, I just think he didn't want to go to the bathroom with me.