No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Embarassing Truth of Potty Humor

For four or five summers in a row I returned to Alaska to care for my niece while the rest of the family commercial fished. They'd all fly out to the Western coast, and I'd stay in town (Anchorage) with the two kids--my niece, and my daughter--and take care of them on my own for two weeks to a month. As a result, my niece and my daughter are super close, which is wonderful to see. We used to call them sister-cousins.

Staying on my own with two kids for a month was both wonderful and awful. It's intense never getting a break from little people that can't do most things for themselves, and that take half an hour to tell you they have to go to the bathroom because they're too busy working in how the show they were just watching led them to realize they had to potty while also distracting them from using the potty, but while explaining all this they also have to tell you what happened in the show, because to them that just seems like part of the story, all while working their way to the point--THAT THEY HAVE TO POTTY. In other words all kinds of things take much much longer with two kids in the mix, and having kids in the mix at all suddenly means you're a person that uses the word that for any otherwise healthy and normal adult should never be said. The offending word being, of course, POTTY.

From taking care of the two of them together in the summers I learned all kinds of new skills though. The power of distraction to help me get what I want, for example --when we went to the library they had to imagine their backs were glued to the book stacks opposite each other, and their shoes were glued together too (so they would be sitting facing each other with their backs against book stacks and their knees bent so the bottoms of their shoes were touching), and that the book stacks were this other worldly superhero castle where being glued meant they were cool, so that I could actually look through the book stacks uninterrupted. In two kid land crazy, nonsense, make-believe stories like that are all powerful.

We'd also get to the point though where there was nothing else to do after a day of crafts, cookies, outside time, bath time, etc, but sit together and just make faces into the photo booth program on my computer. To really drive home the point, following are three of those (my daughter is on the left; I'm in the middle; my niece is on the right, playing with her nose).

Here we're all trying to figure out how to cross our eyes. My niece knows better--the nose is more interesting and instantly funny.

My daughter, it turns out, is an eye-crossing Jedi master. I think here that maybe if I put my finger in front of me and pull it ever closer to my face, my eyes will cross as they stare at the finger. My niece still knows better--making "booger nose" is way more fun.

My daughter, still perfecto at eye-crossing. Me succeeding at staring off into space. My niece, again, knows better what the point of all this is--laughing at us.

To manage these summer months though it turned out, ultimately, the absolute key was in finally, after never having this phase as a kid myself, developing the skill of potty humor. My niece thinks potty jokes are so funny that in my earliest phase of potty humor development all I had to do was say the word "fart" and she'd erupt into deep belly, shot-gun style, rat-a-tat laughter. She'd laugh so hard she'd have to sit or fall down. "Fart" I'd say, and off she'd be rolling on the floor, holding her gut. Her frolicking would turn out to be so infectious she'd get my daughter laughing too. With the right kid, a simple fart reference is most of all it takes to get through the day happily.

So, I have to thank my now-8 year old niece for her help in preparing me for the mildly embarrassing honor of receiving the following blog award.

As if facing the end of the world zombie chicken Apocalypse wasn't enough, it turns out Insanity-n-Bliss would walk through a roomful of horrible dog farts to read E3P2S. I'm honored. Thank you. I hope too that my sister will make sure the 8-year old (niece) is informed of the matter. I know she'll fall right over (laughing).

As for who to pass the award on to, to be honest I'm going to have to hold my nose for a while, and think about it. The power of the bulldog is nothing to be laughed at. As those of us that have grown up with, or have dogs now will attest, there might not be anything in the world more powerful than the dog fart. It's nothing to be passed on lightly.


  1. What can I say, as the Mother of this child? She knows how to say "Excuse Me" if she does the farting or burping.

  2. Farts = Laughter

    Laughter = Good Health

    therefore Farts = Good Health

    I got a C in that right?

    Love the deepness and fun we have! :)

  3. You have an awesome blog.