When I was a senior in high school I had a brother who was the same age as my oldest son is now–four. This brother had the habit of always leaving the dinner table to go poop and about five minutes later we’d all hear “I’m done” ring out from the bathroom. I’d always chuckle as one of my younger siblings trudged down the hall to wipe his butt (I never had to as I was the oldest of four brothers and sisters.)
Now, all these years later, at least once a day and usually on my watch, four-year-old B suddenly announces that he has to poop, often with the warning that “it’s about to shoot out.” I help get his pants down and him up on the pot and then a few minutes later the familiar phrase, “I’m done!” I head back into the bathroom and nose held perform the not so pleasant task of wiping my son’s dirty butt.
Two or three years from now baby G will be potty trained and doing the same thing but by then B will be the one on wiping duty. But no longer will I chuckle as I did some 20 years ago. Now it will be just a sigh of relief that I’m not the one performing that unseemly task.
Almost as soon as I tweeted this, B announced that he had to poop. We were at a park with a bathroom about 70 yards away and I tried to steer him there, but we made it a mere fifteen feet before a nugget dropped out his shorts leg and onto the sidewalk. “No, no, no, you gotta hold it,” I urged him while he screamed that it was coming. Still, I exhorted him to keep going, like a football coach running alongside his running back, only 50 yards to go.
I lugged G in his car seat, and B tried to keep up, stilt-legged, but managed to make it to the toilet where I tore off his shorts and he set about his business. I looked over at G who was wide awake, then at B’s shorts smudged brown in the seat. I tried to clean them with some wet toilet paper but accomplished little, so after wiping B’s butt I put them back on, took off his shoes and shirt, and directed him to the spray ground to put his bottom over the water jets.
Thankfully, he complied. I put G under a shady tree, grabbed a stick, and went over to B’s earlier deposit and flicked it in the grass. Sleep disrupted, peace demolished, but crisis averted … sort of.