Carry on at your convenience

Our toddler has discovered toilet humour. And while we expected him to turn into a jobby little boy at some point (they all do), we were surprised that he reached the scatological phase at the tender age of two.

But with an older sibling around, such influences are entirely normal, pointed out DH one day, as I lamented the fact that nursery rhymes would never be the same again. After all, Old MacDonald now has a bum rather than a farm, five little ploppies went swimming one day, and the old woman with too many children lives  in a poo…

Personally, I wouldn’t mind quite so much if the toddler said ‘bottom’. At least that’s a middle class term. But ‘bum’, which is his favourite lavatorial lyric, is said with such relish and volume, that it can only ever be described as downright chav.

‘Just let him get on with it!’ laughs DH. ‘It’s funny – and you’ll only make it worse if you try to stop him. Don’t you remember the BBC stage?’

Unfortunately I do. You see BBC (we never say it in full for reasons that will become apparent) stands for a phrase I invented one day when I was in a bad mood with our Labrador. I’d just washed the floors, and our stinky old pet came in from his morning constitutional with a dirty bottom. In a fit of frustration (I’d just rinsed the mop and put it away) I referred to the little deposits in our hallway as ‘b***** butt crumbs!’

Instantly, the phrase was leapt upon by oldest son, who repeated it, registered my horror and proceeded to bandy it about whenever he wanted to upset me. Thankfully, oldest son was sensible enough to realize that such language would only get him into trouble. So, after a while, BBC was forgotten.

Until, that is, several months later, when the toddler was 20 months old, and suddenly said it, unprovoked and out of the blue. It came out so perfectly pronounced, and in such an unexpected manner, that all three of us committed the cardinal sin and giggled.

Then oldest brother decided to come over all Holier than thou. ‘Don’t you say bloody butt crumb! Mummy, he said bloody butt crumb! We’re not allowed to say bloody butt crumb!’ And by then the damage was done.

For months afterwards, anyone who angered the toddler was duly labeled a BBC – from the man in Choitrams, to the family doctor, to DH and myself. He even called the MIL a BBC over skype. Thankfully, the old dear’s earphones were made in 1985, and she just said, ‘Oh that’s nice darling.’

Yes. I remember the BBC phase, and I never want it repeated. So Old MacDonald will just have to put up with his bum until the toddler tires of singing about it. The other mums at our local baby group aren’t happy about it, but as I’ve explained to them, he could be teaching their delicate-eared tots far worse things…

And once the lavatorial stage is over, we can look forward to clanger stage – which is infinitely more amusing because it’s so delightfully without guile. A fan of the local birds in our garden, oldest son managed to silence an entire room of adults recently by declaring loudly and excitedly; ‘Look Mummy! There’s a tit in the garden with a big yellow bottom!’

Oh matron!

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