It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I have mentioned my degree was in English, right?

I talk to the children while I change their diapers. Of course. Who doesn’t? It is pretty much the definition of “captive audience”, and besides, we often need distraction from the goopiness of the task at hand. Although, given that the tendency is to talk about the task at hand, I’m not sure that it’s really that much of a distraction.

Given, also, that the child is very often pre-verbal, you are mostly chattering for your own amusement. Well, yes, you’re interacting with the child, but you’re perfectly aware it’s a one-sided conversation. You’re not expecting conversation in return.

I kneel on the floor, I chatter. And because the child is more audience than fellow-conversant, I play with the words for my own amusement. Ya takes yer entertainment where ya finds it…
“Lily! Another poo? Goodness, child. That’s three this morning! You’re making scatalogical history, my dear. You do know that you’re supposed to consolidate your output, right? One poo, three times the size is what we’re after, not three poos one-third the volume. Three poops? A poo in triplicate! A poo trifecta.”

(Lily and I share a delighted grin, me with my silliness, she with my pleasure in my silliness.)

“It’s a flagrant waste, my love. A waste of waste, even. Consolidate your solids, baby girl. Consolidate when you eliminate. That’s the preferred method, sweetness. Not that you are particularly sweet at the moment, noisome child. Gracious, what a stench… [and suddenly I hear what I’ve just said] a noisome stench, in fact! With which you’ll drive me from my home.”

This is why the children in my care develop good vocabularies… and mayhap pick up a little Shakespeare while they’re at it. Can’t make any guarantees re: their sanity, however…

July 23, 2010 Posted by | eeewww, Mischief, potty tales | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Redressing the imbalance, one diaper at a time

balance_scaleGender inequity. It starts when they’re in diapers, you know. In fact, the fundamentals of the inequity are IN their diapers. And lots of (most!) parents encourage it, every day. Hold onto the outrage here. It’s subtle.

And it goes like this:

Big brother peers at his baby sister on the change table, asks the obvious question. And his loving parent gives him the facts: “No, she doesn’t have a penis, because she is a girl.” That’s it. A simple question, a simple, factual answer. No harm in that, huh?

But what is the little boy hearing?

“She doesn’t have…” Girls miss out. Girls lack something.

No wonder men think their bits are so all-fired superior. No wonder so many women are ambivalent about their own.

Most of us probably don’t think much about it. Facts is facts, after all. But me, I’ve been having this conversation for the better part of two decades. After a while, the unspoken assumption began to really grate, and I determined that I would put a stop to it. At least in my own little arena of influence.

So, at Mary’s house, when the obvious question is asked?

“Yes, you have a penis and testicles, because you are a boy. She has a vulva and a vagina, because she is a girl.”

See? Everyone has something good down there. Easy.

If he’s been insufferably and intractibly smug about his sticky-out bits and her lack thereof, I will add another sentence: “You don’t have a vagina, because you are a boy.” Which will be uttered in tones of some wistful regret. Poor you, who doesn’t have The Good Stuff.

Chalk one up for genital equity.

November 28, 2008 Posted by | health and safety, Mischief, sex, socializing | , , | 10 Comments