My nine-month-old daughter, the lovely Apple Rosebud McInerney, has recently taken to waving goodbye. Excluding her drooling (the poor kid is teething), it might just be her best trick to date.
At any rate, the other day the girl left a hard poop in her diaper (it's "poop" if it comes out a baby; it's a "turd" if manufactured by an adult). When I went to toss it in the toilet, I was stopped by Mrs. Chase, who harbors illusions that Apple Rosebud will develop a genius-like propensity for early toilet training. The wife instructed me to let Apple watch me drop the poop in the toilet and flush it. As I always enjoy demonstrating my talents for fecal eradication -- even when it's not my own feces -- I obliged.
It was then that Apple Rosebud, brilliant baby that she is, waved goodbye to her poop as it swirled down the toilet bowl and into the great beyond.
It might have been the most adorable sight I've ever seen that involves bowel evacuation. Then I left for work and came back in the evening, only to discover that our Shih Tzu (I know, I know, a frou-frou dog if ever there was one) had relieved herself on our bed. I guess with the name Shih Tzu
for a breed of dog, you're just asking for trouble.
Anyway, back to kids and poop: Freud and a litany of child experts tell us that children have a special relationship with their waste, that whole anal-retentive thing. Some grow out of it; some don't -- and presumably become pack-rats. At any rate, the mysterious and wondrous world of shit plays a bigger role in childhood than any of us would probably care to admit.
A few weeks ago the four-year-old son of a friend of mine threw a memorable fit in the midst of a potty-training session. The child, Nate, absolutely, positively refused to flush after he dropped a load in the toilet. Nate's father was forced to step in and flush, an unfortunate turn of events that spurred the boy to scream and yell and demand repeatedly that the father go into the sewer and retrieve the poop. Nate's emotional meltdown was so monumental, in fact, that the dad eventually relented and agreed to drive the boy around the neighborhood to look for it. Needless to say, they found no shit.
In retrospect, I should probably be a bit disconcerted that too many of my own childhood memories are mired, literally, in crap. I blame some of this on my older brother. As a pre-teen, he made a practice of picking the bathroom lock when I was in it so that he and his chums could torment me. It got to the point that I would try putting off such bathroom trips until my brother was safely out of the house, delays that I suspect have led to longtime gastrointestinal troubles.
If he wasn't terrorizing me when I was on the john, he was terrorizing me in wholly unique ways. I think I was around 9 when my brother, who is seven years my elder, rousted me out of my room.
"You have to see this," he demanded. Dutifully I followed him to the bathroom. He gestured with pride toward the toilet bowl like a "Price Is Right" model showing off a new freestanding range oven. "Is that not the longest shit you've ever seen in your life?"
Indeed, it was an impressive log, coiled tightly around itself, a scorched Cinnabon of waste. As I was only 9 at the time, it probably was the longest shit I had seen up to that point. I nodded in agreement, awestruck and more than a little afraid.
Thanks, bro. You scarred me for life. And now, watching my baby girl wave bye-bye to her poop, I can't help but wonder whatever became of that monster feces. Back in the food chain, no doubt.