It is ChangingDad rant week, where I have been having a bit of a moan about those things that have come to annoy me as a parent. While they are relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things it is also good to share them and get the views of others on them.
So here goes with today’s issue. If I was to say what was the one thing that I have found hard to get used to more than any other since becoming a parent it is the fact that, these days, I frequently have an audience when I am sitting on the toilet. The toilet for me, and I think that this is typical of many men in particular, is a place of sanctuary. It is somewhere that I can spend a few minutes away from the cares of the world and do some thinking or light reading; and more often than not it still is.
There are, however, plenty of times when I am nicely settled into my special place only to be disturbed by a little person wanting information, help or support in a dispute with another little person. Indeed, my sitting down often seems to be some sort of indirect catalyst for the outbreak of strife in the playroom; especially when I am the only adult in the house. I really do not like having to curtail my time in there, and it is often not something that I can especially leave in a hurry. But my sanctuary invaded and the moment broken.
I think that this is probably something that is representative of a wider issue about personal space, something which is markedly reduced with the arrival of children. I lived on my own for many years before Karen and I got together, and even with two in the house there was always plenty of room for personal space. I certainly would not go back to such a life now, but I do occasionally miss the solitude and find my lavatorial escapism to be a good way of mollifying the problem. Which is why it annoys me when it is threatened.
It amuses me that Jake is copying my behaviour and now often takes five or six books into the toilet with him, and can easily spend half an hour in there. It is the only time that he really looks at books on his own so I am not discouraging him. Coincidentally Sam also decided to read a book on the toilet for the first time this week, so it looks like it is a good job that we have more than one toilet in the house.
I like it that the boys want to do this because it is important that we all have a bit of ‘me’ time now and again. After all they do not get much time to themselves either. So perhaps they will come to realise that my toilet time is sacred too: a ritual to be enjoyed alone. Not an audience with Daddy.