Mother of Invention / by Susie Lubell

Sorry to all (both) of you dedicated readers. My family went camping last week so I was incommunicado. It was a superb trip replete with volcanic fields, cascading waterfalls, canned food from Trader Joe's, s'mores, hide and seek in the forest, emerald (freaking cold) lakes, and a lot of dirt. Our baby girl had a touch of the croup when we left (she'd caught it from big brother) which made her a snotty, barking, and wretched mound of fevery baby flesh for the first half of the trip. But then it subsided and she was a happy camper too. Or at least she humored us. But it was our capricious son who took camper of the year award. He was a joy. Played hard all day, did his share of trail walking, ate like a champ and slept 11 hour nights inside his big boy sleeping bag in a tent for four days without a peep. Well, one yelp when he fell into the crevasse between the blow up mattress and the tent at 5am and couldn't get out, but that's happened to me and it's indeed frightful. Especially when you're dreaming about being sucked through the drain at the bottom of a pool by a great white shark...but I digress.

And thanks to a moment of maternal genius, he even found the courage to poop in the woods.

I was worried that we would have another lavatory incident that would set us back months when he saw those outhouses. Truthfully they were pretty nice outhouses with real toilet seats, just no flush. But he walked in there and was appalled. He doesn't understand how to only breathe through his mouth. So he refused. He even told me he didn't have to go anymore. But I knew he had to go because when he has to go he gets nervous and starts to pace and dart his eyes around. But there was nothing I could do to get him in the outhouse short of brute force, which I knew would end with me covered in pee pee and a son with an anal complex. So I relented, we packed into the car, and left for our hike.

Quarter mile into it my son starts to get twitchy and kvetchy again. I knew it was time. I told him we would go poo poo in the woods like bears. He just had to squat down and I would hold him. We could growl like bears too if he wanted. He wouldn't do it. By now he was starting to cry and pace. I said he could sit on my lap (what the hell was I thinking?). He said no. But then a few seconds later he asked to sit on my lap. Now there was no turning back. So I found a big fallen log (so metaphoric), sat down with my legs wide apart and scooped him up with my hands clasped under his knees so he was sitting like a swing between my legs. Lo and behold, the kid actually pooped. And none of it on me. It was my greatest hour. And his.