I was so excited when Knight was finally potty-trained. Little did I know that it was only the start of a new challenge. We are now engaged in the Epic Battle of the Toilet Seat. Like many easily distracted 5-year-olds, Knight does his business and then runs right back out again, ready to play. I always tell him to go back and wash his hands. He does, but leaves me no indication of the surprise that lies in store for me.
You see, I'm trying to raise my sons right. Someday in the far, far future, I want their wives to tell me about how Knight did the laundry without being asked, or how Dragon fixed dinner. And while my husband and I generally split chores along traditional gender lines (I do the cooking, he mows the lawn), we also cross those lines quite a bit. He loves doing bathtime and bedtime for the boys, and I now have an honorary advanced degree in assembling Ikea furniture. My sons have a particularly strong female role model when my darling king has to leave for his job. Because then, I take it all on. Yesterday, I crawled underneath the house to check on the water heater. I now know how to switch fuses and use a volt monitor to check for live wires. I am woman, hear me roar. And all that jazz.
So why does it bother me so much when Knight doesn't put the toilet seat down? I know to look first, so I've never gotten that unexpectedly nasty shock. To me, it's a matter of respect. Not just for women, but for others in general. I'm teaching him to be compassionate. To be respectful, to be kind. And to me, the toilet seat is a glaring example of not thinking about others first. So I'll remind him, again and again, as many times as it takes.
In fact, Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results. Well, there's no denying that Mr. Einstein was a genius, but by his definition, insanity and parenting are the same thing. We tell our children the same things, over and over again, hoping that this time will be the one they listen! And it works. Knight says "please" and "thank you" all by himself now. He can dress himself. He can ride a bike. All because I (and the king) take the time to tell him as many times as it takes. We show him, we teach him, and every time we do, we expect a different result.
And someday, he will put the toilet seat down all by himself. And I will be proud. A little insane, maybe. But mostly, proud.