I've started toilet training. Not the two-year-old. The ten-year-old. He can't seem to leave the toilet seat down.
He understands the plain English of "Put the seat down when you're done." In some ways, getting him to lift it was a victory. But now we're working on the other part of that skill, which is returning the seat to home when his business is finished.
The problem isn't that he doesn't understand the command. It's the concept that escapes him, as evidenced by the following question: Why?
It's a routine. "Knock knock." "Who's there?" But our version goes, "Put the seat down." "Why?"
Now, I win the battle every time by pulling out my bazooka against which there is no defense. "Because I'm your mom and I said so." But the war is still waging and it won't be over until I never again have to repeat the command, "Put the seat down." That will be victory.
The trick to winning is to make an argument so compelling that my ten-year-old never needs to ask me "Why?" again. I could force him to put the seat down under threat of grounding but there wouldn't be any real submission. It'd be martial law if I enforced "seat down" status that way. Revolution would brew in his little mind. And worse, we'd still be having this argument every other day.
So I stepped up the artillery and brought out bigger guns. "Why?" he asked. "Because your future wife is going to be super mad (I'd like credit for skipping the obvious pun here, btw) if you don't put the seat down."
Guess what? Future wives + ten-year-old boys = no dice. He couldn't care less about abstract future wives. Girls are still yucky and I've got at least two more years to enjoy that phase.
A few minutes ago I called him down the stairs, had him put the seat down, engaged in the same dumb verbal skirmish we always have, sent him back up, and then . . . it struck me. I'm prepared for Wednesday, which should be the next time he "forgets" to put the seat down and asks "But why? How come I have to put the seat down? It's not fair. Why don't YOU have to put the seat UP?" when I make him do it. His most powerful weapon is an argument constructed solely on logic.
But I have one too, and it's even bigger. Here it is: Only boys use the toilet standing up but EVERYBODY uses the toilet sitting down so it's more fair to leave the seat down.
Ah, the sweet sound of blowing the opposition to smithereens!