I’ve realized that when it comes to bodily functions, I’m a bit of a puritan. In junior high when boys decide that all the best jokes contain waste, I was always the first to be disgusted. And then in college we had a guy in our dorm nicknamed “the phantom shitter” because he liked to leave piles in conspicuous places. Everyone was disturbed, but I found this so unfathomable that I concluded the culprit had to be the evolutionary missing link.
Truth be told, it goes beyond shit jokes and poor bathroom skills and extends to public nudity and even propriety in my own home. I don’t skinny dip, even when my friends have been drawn to the taboo or freedom of the moment. (Or in some cases those friends who take any excuse to be naked and really have no business doing so.) In fact, I try to not even pee in front of my wife. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of here… I just don’t like to. Call me a prude.
This is a real problem once you have kids. Human or otherwise.
The dog follows me everywhere. She bangs through the door and into the bathroom no matter how rank or awful things might get. And she sits there on the bathmat and stares. It’s quite unnerving. I’ve gotten used to it, as it was either that or explode six years ago. Yet I still don’t understand how the creature with the most sensitive nose in the house doesn’t stay as far away from the porcelain as possible.
Now the boy has joined the party, and every time I go to the bathroom it’s like I’m the pied-piper of human waste. “Quick, Dad’s going to the bathroom, I’ll fight you for the good seats!”
Some of you are saying “Close the door”, but I’ve discovered the strange phenomenon that bathroom doors seem to always open inward. Both the furry and non-furry children understand how to push until the latch caves and lets them inside. I’m sure there are heavy-duty locks that would prevent this, but my puritanical ways get outvoted by the absurdity of installing deadbolts on a bathroom.
Now that my son is walking and talking, things have gotten stranger.
We are those parents who decided to call everything like it is, so the boy is learning things by their official names. I thought this was a fantastically smart and logical idea until our little man reached an age where he talks through everything like a sportscaster.
Any time I need to pee, I now have to brace myself for the little skit that’s about to occur. I lead my procession of followers into the bathroom. Sierra sits and waits patiently as the boy and I begin our dialog.
“Dada have to go potty?”
“Yes, bud-bud, I do.” While thinking… did you have to come with me, really?
“Gonna make bubbles?”
“Sure. Why not.”
And while I stand there, he walks around to see things up close and personal. Keep in mind that the bowl is waist height for him, so this is truly a ring-side seat. There’s never a lot of room in this situation, so sometimes he’s standing there with one hand on my calf the whole time. I find this disturbing and fear that at some point in his mid-life my son will be seeing a counselor and trying to figure out why standing to pee makes him feel so terrible.
I will say that you never pee with more care than when you have an audience at bowl level judging your form and trying to stay dry. To him this is Sea World and the Bellagio fountains rolled up in one. I half expect a score afterwards. Sometimes he even stands with his hands on his hips and a quiet concentration. I’m certain he’s filling his diaper in those moments, but I’m too busy to check.
Yet the dialog continues:
“Is that your penis?”
“Yes, son. That’s my penis.”
“You’re making bubbles, huh?”
“Yes. I’m. Making. Bubbles.”
Then I’m finished and he says: “Where’d your penis go?”
“I’m done.” I say –
But what I want to say is… “Back in my pants you privacy stealing midget and it’s none of your damn business in the first place. If you’re so fascinated by piss then figure out how to get out of that damn diaper!”
And in my mind I’m also writing my acceptance speech for father of the year.
I’m sure the day will come when he’s taking pictures of his toilet creations and texting them to his friends. Hell, I know adults who do that now! Of course, they know not to send them to me unless they’d rather not be friends anymore.
I get that he’s learning. I understand that he and the dog follow me around cause I’m the pack leader that might take them for a hike later. But I’d like 5 minutes to myself without a play by play of these events. I know what’s involved, I don’t need anyone to talk me through.
You’d think this would help me with my prudish ways. Maybe I have some deep-seeded problem that needs addressing. However, I have changed in a way I never imagined –
I now pee at work more than anywhere I’ve ever been. I think it’s cause the door locks.