Yesterday morning Trish was attending Ella while Ella sat on the toilet.
“She had a very serious look on her face, like she was straining,” Trish told me last night.
“So I told her, ‘It’s OK, relax. Take a deep breath. Poop will come out when it’s ready.’
“So she looks down and shouts, ‘Come ooooouuuttt! Come ooooouuuttt!'”
Something very significant happend last night while we dined in the home of one of my co-workers, we’ll call her “Gladys,” and her geological, professorial husband, “Lavaboy.”
After dinner I’m looking at some of Lavaboy’s cool artifacts — two or three different kinds of lava (turd-like or loogie-lava and lava that results as a sort of oozing zit) and I realize Ella and Trish aren’t there.
I wonder off to the guest room to see if, by some weird stroke of luck, Trish has convinced Ella to go to sleep, maybe with the help of a little chloroform.
They’re in the bathroom.
“What’s going on?” say I.
“A poop,” says Trish.
Whoa. OK. See ya.
Later, Trish asks me, “Did you hear Ella say ‘poop’ at the dinner table?”
“She was practically grunting it, ‘poooooop, pooooooop.'”
This was the first time we were guests in someone’s house and Ella, who’s every stinkin bit of 2, dumps in their toilet. A foreign dump. A guest dump.
Let’s review the highlights:
1. Ella recognizes that she has to poop
2. Ella tells her mom that she has to poop, without being shy or embarrassed, or, evidently, completely stopping adult conversation
3. Ella successfully poops … then she tries to eat our guests’ cat.
This is a big deal to me because I was raised to believe you don’t go to a friend’s house and bomb it. It’s unfriendly. Disgusting.
My older brother taught me this. He taught me a lot about poop, this farmer who was deathly afraid of germs as a kid. Many a times out in public I held it because the seat would give me germs. What kinds of germs, I had no idea. I mean, I had to dump! Dumpage usually isn’t germ-free. I can usually find a public toilet (except in movie theaters) that’s not covered in something worse than my own excrement. (Here’s a little tip — when on the road and you feel like you’re going to overflow, a gas station’s not the spot, pull into a hotel lot and walk past through the lobby like you’re staying there, a clean bathroom’s always near).
So I held it. Or, if worse came to worse, he showed me how to use about half a roll of toilet paper as a protective barrier.
Some of this was my brother’s own freakiness, some of it was messing with my head. He told me that a girl could get pregnant from a toilet seat. For some reason, this scared me. I’m almost certain now that he was lying.
It’s a wonder I wasn’t scarred for life.
Now, I love to poop! I poop all the time!
And, with Ella, I make up songs about poop. They’re not only fun, they’re educational.
This morning, it went like this (alternate bass and alto, like a chorus in a tragic opera): Daddy poops Daddy poops! Daddy poops Daddy poops! Daddy poops Daddy poops! Daddy poops Daddy poops! (now the bass voices, with real feeling, like in “Steamboat”) Daaaaaaddy poops ev’ry dA-AAYYY! and it stinnnnnnnnks.
In subsequent verses, substitute names of everyone in the family, including the dogs’.
“OK, but sing along with me this time.”
These crappy stories are especially apros po of Doooce’s recent blog.
I’ve never seen so many people speak out in support of one mother’s efforts to get her daughter to poop.
Dooce has a way with words. Mostly she’s wicked funny. Acerbic. Sophomoric in a very familiar way, a way my 30-something self appreciates.
But when this Catherine broad starts giving her shit about … shit — specifically, Dooce’s 2-year-old’s not being potty trained — Dooce’s response seemed very sincere, almost vulnerable. She described, painfully, her daughter’s very emotional and physically challenging trials.
More than 800 people responded to that post within a couple of days. Everyone came to Dooce’s defense; everyone told Catherine to eat shit and die.
Beware, those who flirt miliciously with condemning earnest, sincere maternal instincts! There’s got to be a Greek parable about this, in which one mom insults another and turns into salt that gets snorted up by a seamonster and blown all over Crete, but I can’t think of one.
Carry on, Dooce, and all the Dooces out there!
And best of luck, Leta (Dooce’s daughter)! I’m pulling for you!