Talking shit / by Susie Lubell

Potty

I have a secret. I encourage potty talk in our house. Poo and pee are funny and everyone knows it so, for instance, when my daughter slips on a stray sock in the hallway and bumps her head, we point our fingers at the sock and say in earnest you're a poo poo sock! And then we turn around and stick our butts out at the sock. And my daughter is no longer crying.

It's childish. I know. And largely inappropriate. And many things about excrement are not funny at all. But many things are hilarious. Now the dinner table is another story. The rule is that if we talk about potty stuff at the dinner table then we have to talk about chicken fingers and salad while on the toilet. That makes them laugh every time and the distraction causes them to forget what they were saying.

There are times when we take shit seriously. Like the other day we were hopping trains for the afternoon and ended up at Sunnyvale station when I was suddenly gripped by the runs. Thankfully and not a moment too soon I spied a public bathroom at the station. It had a keypad which worried me, but then we saw someone exit so we ran and caught the door. The kids came in with me and after warning them about what was coming, they huddled in the furthest corner.

Him: Do you have diarrhea?
Me: Yes, sweetie. It seems so. Did you ever have diarrhea?
Him: Yes. I don't like it. It's like the kaki flies out of your tushy at light speed.
Me: Exactly.
Her: You stink mommy.

But back to potty talk. I urge you to incorporate potty talk into your arsenal of distraction techniques. Kids are fighting? Go up and smell both of their butts and say, who made a poo poo? I guarantee they will stop fighting and fall over laughing. This is probably only worthwhile if both are out of diapers.

I'll understand if you don't want your kids to play at our house any more.