A few days ago, I understood what Rory McIlroy’s dad must feel like when he watches his special boy approach a potentially winning putt at a major tournament.
To the casual viewer, his son jabs the putter and the ball flies across the green to its destination, the cue for raucous cheers, pumped fists and congratulatory hugs all round. However, to McIlroy Snr, the ball probably inches across the turf at pedestrian pace, threatens to deviate with every bobble and only ever drops into the hole after a pause of epic delay.
My affinity with the golfing tyro’s father came earlier this week when I kneeled in front of the Boy Wonder as he finally appeared ready to have a poo on the (“big boy’s”) toilet. Potty training had so far not been a success: he’d treated any kind of toilet seat as if it were wired with high voltage wires and contained a family of angry crabs.
But there he was sitting on the family throne for the first time. I have no sense of smell – it’s why the Duchess and I have lasted this long – so I was waiting for the magic sound of it hitting the water to confirm he’d registered his first nappy-free dump.
After about a minute, I realised something was wrong. Peeking through his legs, I could see the toxic cargo stuck there, apparently not moving. Firstly, I tried to cajole him into letting go and relaxing but this was a completely new experience and he clearly didn’t know what he was meant to do. I then tried to distract him by reading a story – it was about a hairy monster…
In the end, he decided he’d finished and started to stand up on the accompanying step so I had to gently block him. The jolt back down on to the seat did the trick and I have to say I’ve never been prouder of the little scamp.
It was a solitary effort but after I’d cleaned him up we ran downstairs to inform the Duchess of this huge moment in his maturity. She and I started fantasising about cheaper shopping bills and an end to some very hazardous nappy changes.
We planted the biggest star possible on his reward chart but, alas, it was a false dawn. While he’s happy to ascend the throne most days there’s been no further action to report. Worse still, he’s lost some hard-earned stars in the last couple of days by not bothering to tell us when he’s destroyed his nappy.
Obviously we need to be patient. He’ll get there in the end. But just like his first ever professional plop, we face a long wait.