It’s likely that after an exhausting, protracted battle one could teach one’s child how to be careful in the bathroom to one’s satisfaction. But one can’t get past the nightmare of the child leaning over too far and cracking his head on the porcelain tub, or the tile floor, or the sharp cabinet corner, or some horrific combination of all these things in one stunning accident. So the child wiping his own butt is, at this point, on hold.
The precocious child loves it, too. “Mooom! I’m done. You can wipe my butt now!” One enters stage right and offers another engaging performance in the longest-running parental play ever, and the young audience still laughs. They get it. These days everyone has really grown into their roles, there’s more sincerity in the parental gagging, more joie de vivre in the filial reception of same.
This time, give it a try. Tell the child to do it himself while you are standing close enough to catch him. Just in case. Typically the child’s immediate response to anything you say is “No.” You will be high on amazement when he takes the toilet paper without argument and appears to be actually wiping his own butt. You can’t be sure unless he leans over too far, so keep your fingers crossed. If he sing-songs a little ditty called “Don’t pick your butt and put it on your fa-ace…You will get pink-eye,” just laugh.