Yesterday, Corey and I had a meeting at Miles’ new school to learn about things we can do to help prepare him for the classroom. Potty independence was heavily stressed, since budget cuts next year mean there will be at most 2 adults in a room with 21 preschoolers.
I realized that potty independence means so much more than not peeing in a diaper. Miles will need to go into the bathroom, open the stall, climb aboard the potty, pull down his pants, pee, wipe (?), pull up his pants, and clean his hands all on his own.
That’s a lot! Holy cow, that’s a lot. Right now, we’re in a place where he’ll scoot over to his potty chair and go and then pull up his own pants. Or sometimes just keep his pants off. But the other steps seem really steep! I realized immediately we’ll need more stepstools and that we need to start using the actual toilet at our house, phasing out the potty chair.
Another troubling thing I learned was that there are separate boy and girl bathrooms at school. Why is this troubling? It presents 2 problems.
First, I have to teach Miles that he is a boy. He has no idea he’s a “boy” or that “boy” is different from “girl.” He knows he has a penis. Oh, does he know! But he’s just as likely to ask me if I have a penis as he is to ask whether Charlie has one.
He also sometimes tells me he wants a ga-nina instead. I mean, he’s 2. He just wants to test all the gear before committing and thinks it’s transferrable, I guess.
But he also uses the “girl” bathroom when he’s with me and the “boy” bathroom when he’s with Corey. How are we going to get him to keep that straight? The message I see there is that you use the bathroom that “matches” your adult caregiver. All of the workers I’ve met at his new preschool are female.
It seems like I’m blowing something out of proportion here, but I’m troubled that he’s being asked to internalize this and learn to use a polarizing bathroom system. I have lots of discussions about bathrooms with friends from graduate school and rugby–talks about how bathrooms can be scary and oppressive places for people whose bodies or sexuality don’t present as hetero-normative. I thought I’d have more time to think about how to explain all this to Miles.
Now, I have to tell him to use the bathroom that says B-O-Y-S and has a picture of a person wearing pants. (Why do all the women icons wear skirts? I don’t wear skirts. But what would be the alternative? Breasts? What about the AA-cup ladies? What IS a woman anyway?)
The whole thing makes me want to send him to school in a pull-up and just make sure he goes at 9 and then when I pick him up at 12:00.