It has been awhile since I have had a two year old running around. I must confess that even after four two year olds of my own…the years have fuzzied my memory regarding all the nuances of keeping up with a two year old – both mentally and physically. I received a refresher lesson the other day though when I was able to spend about an hour and a half with my colleague Jessica’s two year old daughter Piper. Piper stayed with me back in our office area while her mom had to attend to something else on campus.
No sweat I thought – not my first rodeo. Plus, my office is filled with stuff that is fascinating to a two year old, to include a basket filled with toys, stuffed animals, and a large box full of rubber ducks. I figured I could do an hour and a half standing on my head. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I adore little kids and that little Piper is as cute as can be. She is also incredibly smart and very determined.
Jessica cautioned me before leaving that Piper is in potty training mode. No sweat, I thought…I am a veteran. Within minutes after Jessica left Piper informed me she had to go potty. So off we went – from my office, out into the hall, past the Dean’s office, down the first set of stairs, around the corner, down the second set of stairs, through the door, around another corner, and into the bathroom. Once in the bathroom we discovered that one of the two bathroom stalls was “ishy” so we settled into the far stall. Once in the stall Piper examined and conducted a dialogue about every single item in the stall area. I got her up and on the toilet, from where she kicked off her boots and after approximately ten seconds declared she was done. She didn’t go to the bathroom, but I appreciated that she wanted to be sure and try when the urge hit her. Then it was back on with the boots, off the toilet, toilet paper, reassembly of clothing, flushing, thoroughly soaping her hands, turning on the faucet herself, washing her hands, turning off the faucet herself, getting a paper towel herself to dry her hands, drying her hands, putting her towel in the trash bin with no assistance, and opening the bathroom door by herself (because as she will tell anyone who underestimates her ability, “I can do it.”). Then it was back around the corner, back through the door, up the stairs, around the corner, up the second set of stairs, past the Dean’s office, through the hall, a brief moment to hit the handicapped door button at the back of the building, and then back to my office.
About ten minutes later we went through the whole ritual again. And again…and again…and again. After about the fourth time I suggested to her that we sing Old MacDonald while she was on the potty. I thought that if I could keep her on there long enough she would eventually go. After all, I have a huge repertoire of farm animal sounds and I was sure we could stay there for a good ten minutes. But Piper, ever true to form, said she was done after ten seconds and when I tried to convince her that we should hang out a bit longer she looked at me right in the eye and said with conviction, “I’m done.” There really wasn’t much more to say beyond that…especially not a moo moo here or a moo moo there.
On the eighth visit to the bathroom with no success, I said to Piper as I put her on the toilet, “If you go potty, I will give you chocolate.” Well, lo and behold, then she actually went on the potty. I was so excited you would have thought it was my own first successful potty moment. Then it hit me, the recognition that I had been played by a two year old. Piper was holding out for the big reward…Piper was working the system.
Well, I told you she was smart and determined. I acknowledged her rock star status and took note of my refresher lesson. Then it was back the way we came. Her mom arrived shortly thereafter and off she went sugared up on her chocolate that she had garnered from me through sly manipulation. Well-played Piper…well-played.
Day one thousand two hundred and twenty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da