When you're a kid, toilets are magical, mythical, mystical contraptions.
Aside from the boyhood / manhood pleasure of blasting your urine around the rim like you're strafing an invisible enemy army, there is the magic of the disappearing water.
You pull / push the flusher and all that water shoots down and disappears... where?
As an adult, of course, the toilet is downgraded to merely a mechanical appliance that is (quite literally) always at your unthinking convenience but as a kid... they're akin to dragons and unicorns. Eerie, intriguing, frightening beasts of indeterminate morality.
My eldest boy, Ben, was always a little scared of the toilet and overcoming that fear was a major factor in getting him properly toilet trained... making that big step from carelessly filling his nappy to anticipating the demands of his bladder and making a pre-emptive strike at the portal of the big white telephone. He got a toy car every time he successfully made it to the toilet. Even now those cars are referred to as "poo cars". But his initial fear is understandable. That wide open mouth... The chasm down to deep waters... The porcelain abyss with it's strange smell even when the water is clean... It's a big thing to park your bum over it for the first time and relax enough to let nature take its course.
That fear is also greatly increased when the toilet has eaten one of your toys.
Ben once accidentally dropped a favourite toy down the loo when he flushed it. Of course it went the way of all small solid things trapped beneath the flush cycle.
And that only added to the mystique of the toilet. It transports things elsewhere... Elsewhere via dark underground water chutes. Through the sewers, through vast underground caves... out, out, far out to sea. Or so I used to think as a kid. It's a bit disappointing to learn as an adult that everything actually ends up in some huge sediment tank at a nearby water treatment plant where all the muck is literally sucked out of it. God knows where that toy is now but it's certainly not floating around the Atlantic as Finding Nemo would have you believe.
Anyway, my youngest, Tom, is displaying early signs of having an interest in the toilet. When he has a bath (or a "splish splash splosh" as it is known in my house) he likes to have a quick peak over the rim to see what's down there. I'm hoping this bodes well for future potty training and isn't an early indication of his entire Duplo brick collection making a bid for the Pacific sometime soon.
But regardless of erroneous submersibles and unlikely submarines, it's comforting to know that his toilet rites of passage will begin soon. That he too, in time, will embrace the mystique of the toilet.
Enemy in sight. Release safety catch. Open fire...! Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta...!