Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Full Moon Over Troubled Waters

It’s late. Again, I’m not that sleepy, but I am just punchy enough to find this topic hilarious; then again, The Three Stooges is high art in my book, and I can find funny at a clown funeral. However, if you’re one not easily amused by toilet humor or Stories from the Septic Tank, as I like to call them, then you might just want to pass on this entry. Not that it’s blatantly disgusting or anything, but... well, you know me, I can write 1500 words about me eating a baked potato.

Natalie’s got a few quirks that I admire. For one, she likes routine and strict regiment. I like that in a person because it makes them dependable. If something is supposed to happen a certain way, then it’d better do it that way forever, and if she grows up thinking that fishing poles are shaped like baseball bats and see-saws look like pogo sticks, then so be it. That’s the way she thinks they’re supposed to be, and who am I to judge? I put on my left shoe first, even if I accidentally pick up my right shoe; I’ll put it back down and reach for the left, every time, every day, my whole adult life.

This is another one of her little quirks that I’m sure she’ll kill me later for making public, but she’s very interested in her own poop.

Now, as easy as it is to use the word “poop” throughout this entry, I really don’t care for it. It’s too graphic as far as I’m concerned, and although “poop” is a pant-load better than the word “poo,” it still reeks of being vulgar and lacks a certain level of sophistication and class. So, when the word does need to be inserted into the story here I’ll try to turn it into something that is slightly more creative and not so crude. Instead of… that word… I’ll include some off-the-wall euphemism to make it not sound so unpleasant and juvenile (and for your edification, I will italicize them so you'll know it when you come across one). For example, instead of saying “poop,” I’ll call it an Alaskan hand warmer, and I may refer to “Number Two” as downloading some software. You get the idea.

So, where was I? Oh yes, she’s fascinated with poop… ah, excuse me, I mean, she is fascinated with polluting the porcelain pond, specifically her own, but not exclusively. She always wants a peek into Matthew’s diapers to see the S.S. Baby Ruth and she finds it quite the adventure to seek out where Elsa built a new home for a dung beetle in the backyard.

I think Natalie speaks for most of us in this manner. As part of polite society, we are all taught tact, decorum, class and demure modesty in regards to discussing the slightest bit of satisfaction for making a deposit at the porcelain bank. Heaven forbid we let on that we all look at it afterwards, but you know you do. Not only is it a morbid curiosity, like opening up a tissue after you blow your nose, but we know that the first sign of serious illness can be found by keeping tabs on your cigar exporting business.

Natalie, on the other hand, isn’t ashamed of it all at. In fact, she is so thrilled whenever she successfully makes a poodle jump through the hoop that she like to tell me about it, even when I’ve been gone all day and I’m kissing her goodnight hours afterwards. She’s proud, and I think she sees reverse engineering a Twinkie as a personal form of creative art that is always readily available, like her own personal Playdough factory.

It’s probably our fault, as parents, but every time she would stock the pond with brown trout, we would exalt upon her such praises like she had just solved an algebraic equation that stumped Euclid. This was mostly due to the encouragement of potty training, as we read in one of our numerous baby books that taking the Browns to the Super Bowl for children can be a daunting challenge. At first she was afraid of the barbarians at the gate, and when the tan man knocked at the back door she would avoid talking about it and instead hide until her diaper was full. The toilet scared her but how can you blame her? It’s loud when you flush it and after updating the captain's log who knows where it goes; I think she must have though that the mud bunnies were sucked into some horrible vortex and if she got anywhere near the toilet, she might fall victim to their fate. On top of which, she has had numerous bouts of constipation throughout her life, and she would sometimes spend an hour forcing the duck to quack with little to show for it. Now that her digestive system has improved I think we are just happy that she is able to shovel a load of coal down the chute.

The other day, as she is on her “little potty” negotiating the release of the chocolate hostages, I was standing there helping her with her pants (to avoid random nudity that runs rampant throughout this house) and to provide her with an appropriate length of toilet paper (otherwise the entire roll will mysteriously unwind itself on the bathroom floor). I thought the trip to the reading room was merely to bottle some apple cider, but she suddenly announced: “Daddy, I’m pooping.” (Sorry, that’s the word she uses).

Nowhere yet have I learned a good response to her exclamation about cleaning out the tuba, so I usually say something along the lines of, “Good for you!” or “Hooray!”

However, to her, coronating Pope Gluteus Maximus is a great accomplishment that demands celebration… and investigation, so after she introduces the toilet to the bald man with the cigar she needs to check it out. More precisely, she needs a second opinion, so she invites me to peer into her little plastic potty and see the log jam on skid row.

“Wow,” she breathed in a semi-hushed, reverent tone one would use gazing at the Mona Lisa or standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon not the rim of the oval office.

“Good job,” I said, handing her some toilet paper to finish the job.

“Yeah,” Natalie answered, still staring into the bowl like she was helping the groundhog find his shadow. “It looks like the moon.” she said nonchalantly while pointing into the basin. She turned to look up at me and her eyes grew wide at the sudden revelation. “Daddy! I pooped the moon.”

I gave it a second look. Damned if she didn’t, and I couldn’t do anything but agree. “Good for you. It does look like a crescent moon.”

“Yeah, and it’s waxing.”

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