Tag Archives: Parenting

Not for pooping

The other night, Win and I took a mother-daughter bath. We splashed. We squirted. We played with fish. We laughed, and sang. It was one of those moments that one experiences simultaneously from the inside and the outside. As I was splashing with Win, part of me was watching the scene, thinking, “Years from now, I’ll remember this.”

Then, I got out of the tub and wrapped my towel around myself. I reached for Winnie’s hooded towel so that I could get her out of the tub and dry her off.

She was pooping.

In an instant, I had snagged her out of the tub, leaving behind two floating lincoln logs of poop, and was washing her off – again! – in the sink. I patted myself on the back, because I was following the advice that all those opinionated parenting experts freely dole out: I was not making a fuss. I was not yelling or freaking out. I was not going to give my daughter a complex or scare her or make her adverse to bathing.

But, I did think that I should address the issue. So, calmly, I told her, “Winnie, the tub is not for pooping. Not for pooping.” And that is what I said over and over, until I realized that it was ridiculous. As if I was correcting some gross misconception on her part. As if she might turn to me and say, “Golly, Mama, I thought the tub was for pooping.”

When I was a classroom teacher, I used to joke that one of the subjects I taught was “How to Be a Person.” But, now, I am teaching Winnie exactly that. Everything I say and do shows Winnie, “Here, this is how you be a person.”

I suppose I’m glad that I’m just dealing with funny little poop logs. That seems a good place to start. I feel qualified to teach how not to poke the dog in the eye. How to wave hello. How to not steal your friend’s Cheerios. I can do this.

The more advanced lessons? How to stand up for what is right… How not to get your heart broken… How to survive when your heart does get broken… When the time comes, I think I’ll take my cues from these early days. I’ll act quickly, and not freak out. I’ll help where I can. I’ll try to stop talking when I realize I sound like an idiot.

And, perhaps I’ll find that I can revel in those trying moments as much as can in the splishy-splashy ones.