It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Considering the Big Picture

We mill around the front hall, getting ready to go. Hats are on, shoes are on, diapers in the bag, everyone has their water bottles. Water bottles, water – pee. Who needs to pee? Malli is sent upstairs to pee — no, wait! Mary is going to go first, because Malli always gets some pee on the seat. Not sure how she manages it, but she’s 100% consistent. Always.

… Okay… NOW Malli can have a pee…

Meantime, I do a quick check of the diapers to see if anyone needs to be changed before we head out. Disposables are easy: there’s a squooshiness, a weightedness that tells you if, and how much, is in there. The sniff test tells you what.

Do you ever sometimes stop and really SEE what it is you’re doing? Peel back the veneer of unthinking familiarity and look at this objectively? As if you’d never done it before? As if someone else were doing it to you?

“Squoosh test”, “sniff test”. Let’s stop and consider this for a moment, shall we?

How many jobs are there that allow – never mind require – one to squeeze half-a-dozen people in the crotch several times a day? Which, put in bald terms like that is kind of gross. Never mind the sniff test, favoured by the neighbour’s disreputable dog. Sheesh.

All diapers are – hurrah! – light and crinkly, so we can proceed as soon as Malli returns downstairs. And there she is!

“All set? Okay, let’s go sit on the porch!” Anal Retentive Methodical Nigel halts in the door as an Important Thought comes to him. He turns, eyes wide with urgency.

“Mary, you didn’t check Malli!”

“I don’t need to check Malli. She can pee on herself — I mean, by herself.”

Some while later, I discover my first mis-statement was in fact no mis-statement at all. Urgh. That does it. The girl will be using the potty for another month or so, at least. HOW she manages to get a quarter cup of pee on the seat and under her toilet ring I do not know, but taking a potty upstairs to tip out and clean cannot be any more work than scrubbing off the toilet ring and seat and disinfecting everything. And there’s far less chance of me inadvertently setting my butt down on a pee-sticky toilet.

You know? OTHER people don’t squeeze crotches as part of their work life (and I’m thinking that if they did it as part of their love life, it would be a pretty short-lived love life); OTHER people don’t play “pee-or-water?” six times a day; OTHER people perform sniff tests on roses, chocolate and fine wine, not backsides.

I have a weird job.

September 24, 2007 - Posted by | daycare, potty tales, the dark side


  1. I know what you mean. Sniff and feel them, would look pretty weird to some people. Aw well, it gets the job done. Sometimes I only think I’m getting a whiff of something, so I’ll check inside. I need to remember to be careful then, too many times I’ve come in contact with, um, well you know, since it was about to burst out the back.

    By the way, I want to give you an award. When you get a moment, come take a look. Just want to thank you for great stories, advice, and lots of laughs.

    Comment by mamacita tina | September 24, 2007 | Reply

  2. The only strange thing about it is the number you’re sniffing at one time.

    Comment by ann adams | September 24, 2007 | Reply

  3. i squeeze crotches and sniff butts and all that wonderful stuff every day too. mad props from another youngun-wrangler. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Lara | September 24, 2007 | Reply

  4. Child rearing is definitely weird business. But it makes for great reading. πŸ˜›

    Comment by Sheri | September 25, 2007 | Reply

  5. Another mom just mentioned to me yesterday that while spiritually, motherhood may be a blessing–the day to day stuff is just gross.
    You deserve an extra blessing for all of the extra mothering you do!

    Comment by LoryKC | September 25, 2007 | Reply

  6. yes! I had the same thought while potty training my daughter. 20 times a dayIi’d ask Ally if her panties were dry. Often I’d look and/or feel them to make sure. I got to feeling a little self-conscious about it after a bit.

    Comment by ktjrdn | September 25, 2007 | Reply

  7. Yes, it’s true. Kids are weird creatures, though, so I guess it goes with the territory!

    Comment by kittenpie | September 26, 2007 | Reply

  8. I love the squeeze/sniff test. Once we went back to disposables, it reminded me how much simpler they can be that way. Thankfully now, we’re in pull-ups only (I know, they’re evil…but they’re mostly working for us), and only using 1-2 of them per day.

    With Mali’s potty issue, beats me if she’s doing the same thing, but Maya has a bad habit of slumping on the potty. I’ve seen pee go in a *horizontal* arc from her body when she sits that way. What a mess! Now, we’re learning to sit upright and point her hips DOWN, and it’s helping.

    What weird things we do, huh?

    Comment by Allison | September 26, 2007 | Reply

  9. […] have always had trouble changing diapers of other people’s children (I don’t know how daycare providers do it). I can take the worse that Monkey and Bun dish out […]

    Pingback by The Body is a Wonderland. Sometimes a Really Gross One. « Red Pen Mama | October 2, 2007 | Reply

  10. My girl pees forward too. Often I have sat her on the toilet only to have the pee spray straight out over the toilet seat and onto her panties pants floor shoes…well, you get it.

    Anyway, we have decided it’s an angle problem and I don’t know if you are in the role of training Malli or not, but we have discovered that my daughter can BY NO MEANS lean back while she is peeing, or it will spray everywhere. I have taught her to lean forward and rest her arms on her legs, and to let her bum hang low in the bowl and we have very few messes now, except when she really has to go bad.

    ANother in depth discussion of bodily functions. Hey, doctors and nurses do the same you know.

    Comment by carrien | October 4, 2007 | Reply

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