Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Why does my poop go plop, Mama?"

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!)

1 comment:

  1. woohoo! Comments!

    Firstly, pooping ON THE POTTY already? Ellias is advanced for his age. Or perhaps you really are just a stellar mama.

    Secondly, if you have lots of towels, it sounds like it's time for some bath-time experimentation. What kinds of toys go "plop" when they hit the water, and what kind go "plink"? What noise does it make when Adeline is dropped in from a height of 6 inches, 12 inches, and 18 inches? (I'm betting it's along the lines of 'Aaaaaagghhhhh!')

    OK, really, you are one of the most photogenic people I know, and that picture (the solo one) is truly, truly horrible. (This is my phrase of the day. I'm using it as often as possible. But still, it fits.) Want me to send you one of the closeups from our wedding pics where you actually look like you?

    Anyway, clearly I suck at phone communication so feel free to buzz over to my blog at any point and we'll converse there.

    Sara PM