Yorkshire Life : 2020-10-01

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TOM WRIGGLESWO­RTH The Sheffield-born comedian shares his thoughts on life Cute wee things O ver the period that history will probably record as ‘Lockdown part 1’, or perhaps 'The Original Lockdown’, we took the decision to toilet train our almost three years old twins. While my wife had been lobbying for this to start ages ago – I was always happy to stoically resist any such advancemen­t, fearing that in the unpredicta­ble turbulence of raising toddlers, any sort of change will bring about more chaos, more work, more domestic unrest. As it happens both me and my wife were wrong. The reality of toilet training two feral little girls was way worse than either of us had dared imagine. Whilst I’d optimistic­ally say we’re now over the worst of it, if I think about the horrors of the last few weeks my blood runs colder than an outside lavatory seat. Looking back, our first mistake was to get a new carpet in the living room when the twins had just turned one. Like most expectant couples, we’d decided that the introducti­on of a newborn wasn’t upheaval enough, so we’d augmented the incoming mayhem by undertakin­g enormous home renovation­s. I’ll never forget bringing my wife and babies home from the hospital whilst a team of roofers thudded over our heads. Our bedroom had bare brick walls for the first few months, and I think one of the twins first pulled themselves into a standing position using a builders Acro Prop which was holding half a ceiling up until we took delivery of a steel girder. Once the roof, ceiling and walls had been tiled, boarded and painted, we decided it would be nice to cover the splintery draughty floor boards in the living room with a soft new carpet. With hindsight we should have just lobbed straw on the floor and replaced it every week or so, such is the sheer impossibil­ity of keeping a floor anything close to clean. There’s simply no way we should have spring into action the moment one of them decided to pull their latest version of the leaking hot water bottle trick. Within a fortnight the carpet was in such a state that even if there was a nuclear attack, the cockroache­s would rather die than face the discoloure­d raggedy mess that our carpet had become – besides the smell of it would soon see them off. I realised I had to up my cleaning game from stamping a tea towel on to the pee, to a full carpet shampoo. There's every chance that this would have worked had I read the instructio­ns about only going over the carpet once, and whatever you do, do not over wet it. Two hours later I’d run the machine over the area at least fifteen times, gone through the whole bottle of cleaning solution, and the carpet was soaked. It was only the following morning Trapped in a lockdown house with twins, potty training seems like a good idea .... ‘With hindsight we should have just lobbed straw on the floor and replaced it every week or so’ that the smell returned, with a vengeance. Whilst some areas of the country were just coming out of lockdown, and areas of society were beginning to open up – our living room became no-go zone. After franticall­y googling and realising that I should have read those instructio­ns, I was left with no option but to rip up the entire carpet, underlay and all, and plunge us back to the days of draughty, splintery floor boards. The idea of just lobbing down straw became a financiall­y viable option that was seriously considered, by me at least. In the end, we decided to just lay playroom foam tiles over the entire floor, resulting in a floor that’s practical, comfortabl­e, but utterly bonkers in its bright primary colour jigsaw pattern. To add insult to injury, the moment I finished sticking the last spongy tile, both twins announced they need a wee, and took themselves off to the toilet. Typical. been allowed to lay something absorbent, it's utter madness. A new carpet was laid. It was supposed to last ten years, was washable with bleach, pretty much bomb-proof according to the promotiona­l literature. Fast forward two years and our plan to toilet train was in full flow. Literally. My days were now peppered with frantic attempts to clean up accident after accident. I’d taken to keeping several tea towels tucked into my belt, ready to ABOVE: The messy mayhem of potty training leaves Tom in a tizz N 22 Yorkshire Life: October 2020 Š

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