Jack and the triplets got a new outdoor playset.  There’s a slide and ladders and swings and a climbing wall… but most exciting for everyone involved is the pea gravel. The little bitty rocks cover the area and provide a buffer for little boys who stumble or play too rough (both which occur on a minute to minute basis). The gravel is also perfect for toy trucks and shovels and running through your hands, and so suffice it to say, with everything considered, we can stay outside for hours. 

This is all just wonderful, save the fact that all this excitement of playing outdoors has apparently rendered the new potty rule (“USE ONE.”) non-existent for the three youngest boys. Yesterday, we started playing outside when the sun was shining high, and we continued to play until we could barely make out each other’s silhouettes in the evening. In that time, I discovered an uncanny talent. My focus will zoom immediately to the one little rugrat standing curiously still. “Do you need to go potty?” I ask imperiously to the straining face. With eyes wide, the boy in question normally shakes his head just a little before admitting, “I poo-poo in my pants.” Ughhhh. Tell me before you go poo-poo, boys, before!

After helping two little ones into a new, clean set of Pull-Ups, I was relieved to find the oldest boy, Jack, (who proudly informed me he doesn’t even need Pull-Ups at nighttime anymore) tearing himself away from playtime to run into the bathroom on his own. “Thank heavens,” I thought to myself, “one boy who can potty by himself.” But, as the other boys gleefully poured gravel down the slide or into toy trucks, I eventually became aware that Jack had been missing for quite some time. I decided to go into the house and look for him.

“Jack?” I yelled through the house.
“In heeerrre,” I hear coming from the bathroom. I finding him still sitting on the toilet in a darkened bathroom (the light burned out). He’s probably been there ten minutes.
“What’s wrong, Jack?” 
“I need you to check if I got it all.” And with that, Jack stands up and bends forward, hands to the floor, bottom in the air.
I note probably half a roll’s worth of toilet paper in the potty, but ignore it (I ain’t fishin’ it out) and comment that Jack’s posterior seems to be clean.
“Good job, Jack.”
“Nope, the bathroom light is out, lemme get where you can see.” So thorough, that boy. With that, he crawls out into the hallway with his pants still dangling around his ankles, hands still on the floor, bottom still in the air. He positions himself under a light fixture so the beam focuses squarely on the area in question. 
“All clean?!”
“Yes, Jack, all clean. Great job.”
“Alright! I got it all!”  

It’s one of those strange moments where you suddenly have to wonder: is this what my life has been reduced to? Evaluating the cleanliness of 4-year-old bottoms? I must say, it’s one of those things I never really imagined being able to say about myself: Expert Butt Checker. And still, I couldn’t help  sharing a little boy’s pride in being able to wipe his behind thoroughly, equally because 1) he’s grown up so much! 2) This means I don’t have to wipe him anymore! 

Only three boys to go.

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