Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bambina Epoopanies

FYI. Be mindful of the stories you tell your toddler. You think it’s just a throwaway anecdote. You never imagine as you are telling it that it will be the only thing you discuss for the next three days. You never imagine being mortified at the possibility of your child repeating or acting out your anecdote in front of others.

Anyway, did I ever tell you about the time a bird pooped on my head and shoulder as I was walking to school in Scotland in 1979? I probably didn’t. But I made the mistake of telling Bambina. It all came about as a result of birds viewing our car as their personal commode. She wanted to know why there was so much bird poop on our car, most of it white, some of it the must-have-eaten-berries red, and some of it that must-have-had-dysyntery green. I thought I was being all “Bill Nye Science Guy” as I explained that birds, unlike people, do not care where they poop. This she knew already as a result of that Taro Gomi classic, “Everyone Poops” that we love to read in tandem with its sister publication “The Gas We Pass.”

So for no reason at all, I allowed that I had once been the unwitting outhouse for a large Scottish bird of unknown pedigree. I told her that I was on my way to school when all of a sudden I felt a small thud on my head, followed by a sinking dripping feeling. When I felt with my hand it became clear that I had been the victim of a flyby pooping. So I ran home where my mom cleaned my hair, changed my shirt, and sent me back to school just in time.

No big deal, just a quickie story to give a little local color to the science of bird feces. Or, alternatively, carte blanche for a small child to run around sticking her butt in people’s faces and yelling, “Pthpbbbbtttttt (the fart noise): Splat!” Then following up with, “Now you have to look and see what’s on you!” Cue the unfortunate pooper-onner to have to say, “Eeeww! A bird pooped on me!” For four hours straight.

Perhaps I’ll learn not to share poop stories with a 3 year-old. More than likely, perhaps not.

Bambina has had a lot of poopy epiphanies lately. She’s been potty trained for a year, through almost no effort of mine. We just bought a little potty for her, put it in the bathroom, told her that was where little girls peed and pooped, rather than babies in their diapers, and in perhaps days she was peeing exclusively in the potty. Within a couple of months and well before the age of two she had ceased pooping in her diaper even though she couldn’t obviously poop without assistance on her potty. Then a few months after that, she refused to use the potty anymore in favor of using “The Mommy Potty.” I get asked a lot how I did it, and the answer is always, “I didn’t do it; she did.” I often wonder if her early poop awareness has enhanced her interest in all things scatological. Or maybe having me for a mama explains more. I leave it to greater minds than mine to determine.

Anyway, her previous (pre-bird) scatological enjoyment came from learning that “Mama! When you fart in the bath, bubbles come out your bum!” This, she found to be humor manna from heaven. You could see the wonder in her face, like, “How amazing is this big world that you get to make bubbles out of your butt?!!!” This was preceded by her new (and hilarious) understanding that sometimes you fart really stinkily when you have to poop, so if you wake up and say, “Mama, my nose hurts when I fart,” you might need to get yourself to the loo ASAP. So now when she beefs like a trucker I look at her with my “let’s get upstairs to the water closet” look and she’ll say, “I NOT need to poop. I just farting, okay?”

Yes, she’ll be mortified when she gets older and reads this. But no more mortified than I’ll be the next time she sees the Rabbi and "bird poops" on him…

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