When I was pregnant for the second time, I wasn’t particularly worried about labour. I’d had one positive experience already and having pushed one out, I was confident I could manage another.

That being said, by ‘positive experience’ I would like to stress that I didn’t have one of those mythical ‘orgasmic’ birthing experiences. It hurt, rather a lot. I was already “in transition” by the time I arrived at the hospital, so the worst part took place at home. I lay in bed trying to imagine each contraction as being like “going over a hill”, just as my books had told me. Unfortunately, I kept visualising a hill and then seeing whoever it was who played Jack the Ripper in the film From Hell coming over it, reading to slice up all my womanly organs (can’t think why that kept popping into my head). I remember staring up from the bed, at the cuddly toys from childhood we kept on top of our wardrobe, and hating them and their stupid cuddly toy faces and wishing that Pigwig and Teeny the panda were feeling it all instead of me (we’ve since been reconciled – they’re aware it was a bad time for me). Anyhow, by the time my second was due, I’d forgotten all about it. Until we were in the car on the way to hospital again, at which point I was thinking “fucking hell! How the fucking fuck did I repress all THAT!”

The thing is, though, labour itself didn’t last that long. It didn’t last, say, a whole sodding year. Unlike potty training my eldest. Jesus, that was a real nightmare! Wees in Sainsbury’s, impromptu poos in soft play, pair after pair of underpants painstakingly scraped and then thrown away anyhow because, sisters, I know when I’m defeated. It was AWFUL! And now I have to do it all over again. But unlike with labour, I have some say in when it starts. Hence I’m putting it off. And putting it off. And putting it off just that little bit longer.

Youngest is nearly three now. I really ought to get going. With Eldest, it ended up being a race against time before he started school, with a photo-finish that involved some serious Thomas the Tank Engine bribery. I don’t want it to end up like that. I want to do it “the right way” this time. Unfortunately, “the right way” was going to include starting much, much earlier. I’ve already missed the boat on that.

It will be different this time. My youngest can talk, for starters. Eldest had delayed speech development (now miraculously sorted thanks to the insertion of grommets). When we started potty training, he couldn’t tell us how he felt or what he wanted. It’s not like that with Youngest. He’s a right little chatterbox.

I can ask him if he’s done a poo, for instance. He always denies it. And to be fair, sometimes he is “falsely apoosed”, as we so hilariously put it. But most of the time we’re right. Right now I sometimes ask him if he’d “like to” go on the potty. Alas, he always tells me he wouldn’t. I can’t think why. It has a sticker of Thomas on the front. I mean, what more could you want?

Before we get started, I’ll buy him some nice pants, just like I did with Eldest. That didn’t help much, though. They were Thomas pants, but to be fair, I think my partner and I chose them because they amused us far more than they amused our son. It was the Thomas slogans that ended up being emblazoned across our son’s crotch. These included:

  • Toot-toot!
  • All aboard!

And our personal fave:

  • Ultimate engine!

All very inappropriate, I think you’ll agree. But to be honest I’m having a bit of a giggle right now, just thinking about them. So I guess potty training’s not all bad.

Anyhow, I do really want to do it better this time. So, any suggestions? (Providing they’re not “start early” or “it’s easier if you have a girl”, because I’m fucked on both those counts.) I just need that extra push to get started. And Youngest needs that extra push to get poos and wees in the potty instead of re-commencing his brother’s mission to fertilise Britain’s carpets. Right now I’m feeling like a soldier who’s been on leave and can’t face going back. Don’t make me go there. You don’t know what it’s like. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE *clings helplessly to the maxi pack of Junior disposables*. I can’t go on like this. Any ideas?