> Sometimes being a dad is dangerous. I mean
call-the-cops-get-the-paddy-wagon-haul-him-off perilous. Let me
I have a wonderful wife, who cooks, cleans, works out, helps
people, has relationships, and takes care of our kids. She has “mom
duty” during the week while I’m at work. On the weekends, certain
duties, or should I say “doodies” fall upon me. Yes, I’m speaking of
poop patrol. Now, fortunately for me, our son is 12, and can handle
things for himself; our daughter, however, is four, and when at home
can mostly handle the wiping herself. Except for perhaps a little
brown spackling, which is what dad is for. This isn’t really an issue.
Where we run into problems is when we’re out and about.
It doesn’t seem to matter where we’re at–a restaurant, or church
(and, yes, our church is large, and has a restaurant, and a police presence, and no,
it’s not like going to church at the Gap)–it never seems to fail that
our dear little sweetheart has to go when the hot food is beckoning
from the plate in front of me. No, she doesn’t need to go while we’re
waiting to be seated, or while we’re ordering–it’s always after the
food has arrived, and I’m dying to tuck in. I know better than to look
over at my wife: this is what she does all week long. I look longingly
at my plate, try to persuade her to wait, but the reply is invariably
“I-gotta-go-right-now-I-can’t-hold-it-daddy-my-tummy-hurts!” What’s a
dad to do? I take one last look at my plate, thinking I hardly knew
ye. I dutifully get up, scoop up the child, and rush to the nearest
lavatory. And this, this is when the fun begins.
“Daddy, take me to the girl’s room.”
“Daddy can’t, honey, daddy’s a boy, and boys aren’t allowed in
the girl’s room.”
“But, why? I wanna go to the girl’s room!”
“I’m sorry, I told you: daddy’s a boy, and if daddy is taking you
potty, we have to go to the
She looks up at me like she doesn’t believe me at all, but she’s gotta
go pretty bad so she doesn’t put up a fight. We get to the restroom,
find a stall, and I make her wait just a little bit. Sorry, but I’m
one of those parents who puts down layers of tissue and seat covers
(2) before I’ll let my kid sit on a public toilet. This may make me an
atypical dad, but so what? Sue me! You know what else? My daughter is
four, and usually needs help, so I stay in the stall with her. It
makes things easier when it comes time to wipe up.
“Daddy, hurry, it’s coming!”
“Ok, honey, let’s pull your pants down. Now hop on.”
She hops on. Does her business. It varies with her mood, time of day,
phases of the moon, whatever, but sometimes I get:
“Daddy, look at me.” Like my favorite thing to do is watch her
poop. I mean, come on!
“Turn around. I want privacy.” So I turn around.
“Don’t play with your phone.” She knows I’ll try to sneak in a
quick check of my email, or Twitter. It’s usually those times when I
try to check on the larger world that she’s done more quickly.
“I’m done.” If I’m not fast enough in acknowledging this
statement, up come the pants. I’m like “Whoa! Wait just a
minute–you’re gonna get streaks. We need to wipe.” Never a more
fateful statement was made. (Keep in mind that there are other folks
coming and going from the bathroom the whole time I’m trying to attend
to my daughter’s needs).
“Ok, daddy, wipe me.” I proceed to commence said wiping.
“Ow, daddy, you’re hurting me!”
“Shh, honey, daddy’s just trying to wipe your bottom. You went potty.”
“Stop it, daddy!” A little louder than before. I’m thinking
that’s it, it’s over, I’m going to jail.
“Please, honey, be quiet, we have to get the poop off your
bottom.” My voice barely a whisper now, quieting almost in inverse
proportion to her’s.
“Stop hurting my butt!” I grab my chest, checking for a
heartbeat, I swear it felt like it stopped. And I swear I’ll never do
this again. I will never take her potty again.
“We’re all done, honey.” I help her pull up her pants. I flush
the toilet. All the while wondering when the cops are gonna come.
“Honey, we don’t yell in the bathroom–we need to use our library
voice, ok?” Looking around, I’m relieved to see that it appears like
no one heard that exchange. Either that, or these men have been, and they feel my pain. We go to wash our hands. She wants to do
it herself; I have to help. We leave the lavatory. I’m thinking
there’s no way! I’ll never take her potty again, but I know better.
There’s always next week, and a tired mom at the end of it. No matter
the aggravation: I’ll do my doody! Dads, or moms, can you relate?