03 May 2011

Once Upon a Poops

Emmaline has been the lucky recipient of several classic children's books of late, from Taro Gomi's Everyone Poops to Alona Frankel's Once Upon a Potty. Have you noticed a certain theme? 

She is certainly not ready. Though she has a potty and will occasionally sit upon it and read or look at herself in the mirror, she spends more time throwing toys into its basin or picking it up and moving it industriously from one place to another. Still, the warm months are upon us and we had hoped (at the risk of jinxing ourselves) to perhaps take some steps toward potty training this summer, when she can run bare bottomed round the yard.

So every picture that Daryl draws with her is of an animal pooping.

"What are you drawing, Emmaline?"


We will either have an early potty trainer or a child who is someday expelled from nursery school for foul language. The reality, though, is that as brilliant as my daughter is, she has much to learn before being able to plant her bottom on a plastic pot and pee and poop into it. My friend, Alyssa, is having somewhat more success and recently wrote me to tell me this:

"Yesterday, Revel, my 2-year old, is on the toilet and  we're reading Once Upon a Potty, waiting to poop. We read about the hole in Joshua's bottom for pooping. Revel tells me he doesn't have a hole. I tell him he does. He insists he doesn't. I insist he does. He asks to see it. I consider, then censor the ways I can arrange to show him his own butt, and all of the weirdness they would entail, including mirrors or taking a picture. I flash back to reading Our Bodies, Ourselves during a stay at the high school infirmary and being encouraged to view my own beautiful parts with some squatting, a mirror and a flashlight. Instead, I start by explaining that it is REALLY hard to bend our heads that far down to see our own butts and there are just some parts of our bodies that we can't move our heads enough to see. He looks at me, plants his hands by his ears firmly and asks to take his head off, moving his hands as if they held his head to show how he would put his it by his butt
to view it."

Well done, Revel. And well done, Alyssa.

This story, aside from being generally adorable, also reminds me of another anecdote. A friend of a friend of a friend, practicing obstetrics in a more rural part of the country, was once faced with a terrified and confused patient after suggesting to this woman that she might benefit from the routine insertion of a catheter to drain her bladder during childbirth. They fumbled for several minutes, the doctor not knowing why her patient had begun to hyperventilate and the woman now knowing how to say what was really wrong.

Eventually the patient spit out her question, "But how will the baby get out if you put a tube up there."

It was still another few minutes before the physician realized what the problem was. Then finally she explained, "The baby comes out of your vagina. Your pee comes out of your urethra. Those are two separate openings."

At this point the patient's partner interjected, "See honey, I told you there was three holes down there!"

We all, young or old, benefit I think from clear explanations about how our bodies work. So for those of you with questions, ask your doctor. Or, better yet, ask Revel. He's got it figured out.

No comments:

Post a Comment