Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pondering the Potty

Time has a way of muddling my memory and disremembering experiences. Parenting is a good example, the specifics receding into a part of my brain rarely accessed nowadays. But spending time with the grandkids spurs the mind into action. Lost sleep, sibling rivalry, bedtime resistance, early morning commotion, meal time stress - dim memories until the grandkids came along.

Potty time is one of those murky memories.

There are many things humans do together. We are social animals and enjoy each other’s company. We spend time with family and friends during meals. People live together, travel together, vacation together, shop together, and communicate in numerous ways with one another.

But there are activities modern society consigns to privacy.

Peeing and pooping fall into this category.

According to scientific studies, pee time averages 21 seconds for all mammals, regardless of size, including humans.

It should not be difficult to find 21 seconds in the course of a busy schedule to relieve oneself.

However the average time a toddler allows a parent (or Grandma) to pee in private is, maybe, two seconds.

That leaves 19 seconds Mom, Dad, or Grandma is not truly alone, toddlers bursting into the bathroom or, should the door be locked, pounding doors, screaming, whining, or sometimes just the opposite.

Silence, which can be really scary. What are the kids up to now?

The chaos and questions prompt a swift end to bodily functions and a return to minding the kids.

Adults responsible for children may not spend a lot of time in the bathroom taking care of personal needs, but still find themselves frequenting bathrooms.

With the kids.

Helping with the kids’ clothes, teaching the art of peeing and pooping in all the right places, enlightening their minds to the importance of consuming and conserving toilet paper (as opposed to using an entire roll and stuffing the toilet), introducing diverse flushing mechanisms, washing hands, illustrating the intricacies of various soap and towel dispensers and hand drying devices, and performing what, in my opinion, is the most disliked (Grandma) task – wiping butts after pooping.

It might be delightful changing a baby’s diaper, but things change as the cute baby morphs into a person consuming real food.

I do not know why, but performing this particular activity propels my mind into the future.

My future.

And contemplation of the following non-philosophical, but intensely human and personal question:

When I am much, much, much older and possibly in need of assistance, who will wipe my adorable wrinkled ass? 


  1. Oh my. So much food for thought here.
    My first reaction was to ask myself how I ever survived having kids, or for that matter, why I ever had them in the first place.
    And yes, one of my happiest moments was the realization that the youngest grandson can now poop without any assistance. I think. . .
    As for the last concept - I'll channel my inner Scarlett O'Hara and think about that tomorrow.

  2. You know, there are some places my mind just refuses to go. Denial, probably, but it works for me.

  3. You made me realize that our lives begin and end with the same indignity of having someone else wipe our bottoms. There are some benefits to having come from a family where hardly anybody makes it into real old age. :-)

  4. Oh my, you took me down memory lane with this post. When our daughter was a little girl, she'd go to the bathroom and yell, "I went poo-poo," which was our signal to go in to wipe her bottom. Hub and I worked hard to teach and encourage her to wipe herself, but she'd complain, "my arms are too short!" She's always been way too smart for her own good. I finally got one over on her, tho. I'd arranged for her to go to a pre-school, and she wanted to go. The kicker was she had to be able to go to the bathroom unassisted. Funny how her arms grew overnight. We still laugh about that one. I sure do hope she'll come running some day when I need help!