This is a stumper, quite honestly. When lovely Ellias, at 2.5 years old, posed this question to me, quite seriously of course, while sitting on the potty, I realized, and not for the first time, that I simply do not have sufficient training for this job.
Sure, I went to Smith College, the prestigious woman's institution that Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan graduated from.
And sure, I got a graduate degree from Yale--in religion no less.
I've also received training as a yoga teacher, and that has to do with bodies, doesn't it?
But nothing could have prepared me for the mental physics of motherhood.
Why does poop go plop? "It has to come a distance before it hits the water," I explained to my son, longing for Daddy to be there. He's a chemical engineer, surely they cover this topic in engineering classes.
Ultimately, humbled, I had to give up. The mysteries of the universe are too vast for me. The knowledge required of mothers is too great. We must be able to cook, clean, and be kind. We must be able to wipe little bums, rock screamers through the wee hours, and live without sleep ourselves. We must be able to decipher toddler language, baby-babbles, and the subtle nuances that distinguish one type of cry from another. We must educate, instill moral character, lead by example, act with compassion, model the proper way of dealing with emotions (like anger--and that means no temper tantrums, mommies), and answer all inquiries into the inexplicable nature of poop itself.
What education could possibly prepare me for this?
There is only one answer. It's Internship at the Motherhood University for me. Perhaps in my next life as a mother, I will know all the answers. In the meantime, I will do the only thing I can: "Why does your poop go plop, honey? Can you tell Mama?"
(And P.S. You ought to be able to comment now. After many long, frustrating attempts, I think I have enabled the comments. So, for goodness sake, make it worthwhile!)