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Monday, 22 November 2010

Guest post: ActiveDad on Toilets and Childhood

Toilets and childhood are linked from the very start of life although we prefer to skip past memories of Nappies of Mass Destruction. We teach our kids to use potties and toilets and they proudly show off the contents of a plastic potty like a pageboy carrying wedding rings on a velvet cushion. As they get older, parents are led by the hand (YUCK!) to the toilet to inspect the contents that have been dropped by the mini-Master Bomb Aimer.

The earliest jokes that they learn are about poo, wee and bums.

Why did Tigger look in the toilet?
He was looking for Pooh.

Girls seem to grow out of it while boys become men and are just as amused by poo jokes.

At ActiveDad we loved the idea of toilet twinning. Dads and their children giggle at toilet humour to disapproving looks. 'Pull my finger' might be disgraceful in polite company but a tug on a digit to elicit a parp will always amuse a kid (but not their mums). ToiletTwinning has hit on a winning formula for anybody who thinks that poo jokes are funny (so that's dads and kids).

We teach our kids to wash their hands, we teach them to wipe, we only take them to nice clean toilets and they know about germs making them sick. It is only a small step from that to understanding how awful it would be never to have a flushing toilet. Having a wee in the woods once in a while is very different to never having access to nice clean toilets. We ran the idea of Toilet Twinning past some kids and they loved it. They found the map of toilets that have been funded and they are desperate to get a "Twinned with a Bog in Burundi" certificate.

It is very easy for a child to understand the importance of a toilet and their imaginations are sparked by the idea of synchronised pooing. Will they be experiencing splashdown in the suburbs of London while a child in Africa gets to use a nice clean toilet at the same time?

As they get older, they will think about other matters like civil wars, third world debt, famine and disease but for now: pocket money has been offered and toilets will soon be twinned. ActiveDad will not have twee poems or dodgy doilies in the downstairs loo. Visitors (both young and old) will be able to sit on the throne and know that their toilet trip is being mirrored 5,000 miles away on a Burundi Bog.

1 comment:

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