Oral Hygiene Queen

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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Turd to End All Turds

I often look with wonder on my young son. Sometimes I look at him and think “How can someone so young be so complex, perceptive, and articulate?” Sometimes I look at him and think “How did he get so big? How did these five years go so fast?” And sometimes I look at him and think “How can such a small person create such a huge amount of shit?”

About one out of four times that O. poops, his dump is so colossal that it clogs up the toilet. (A note on vocabulary: there was a time in my life that I did not use the word “poop.” Now that I have kids, those days are over. I have, I am proud to say, held out on the word “potty,” which I refuse to use for fear that I might wind up like my father, middle-aged and saying “Hold on, I just have to go potty.” Horrifying. But it’s gotten to the point that “poop” rolls off my tongue like grease through a goose. So to speak.) Part of O’s toilet-clogging habit is due to the fact that he holds on to things, tending to poop every couple three days instead of on a daily basis. (Don’t ask me where he gets it. My Old Man and I are both extremely regular.) But part of is just because he has these enormous dumps. You wouldn’t think such a skinny little scrapper could hold that much dookie.

For whatever reason, I have fallen into the role of official toilet declogger. Part of it may be that my Old Man takes care of most of the other dirty jobs: garbage, recycling, cat boxes. Part of it may be because, thanks to my Grandma passing on her plunger techniques to me, I’m just very good at it. In any case, when O. clogs the toilet, I’m the one who heads down to the basement to retrieve the plunger from its dungeon under the stairs. As a result, I always wait with an air of tense anticipation to hear the toilet flush successfully after O. poops.

Clogged toilets are now a commonplace, but the other day O. created a new kind of toilet emergency: the turd that will not leave.

Now if you’re squeamish, here’s where you need to stop reading. (Though, hopefully if you’re squeamish and not a masochist, you’ve already abandoned this post.)

So, O. jumped on the pot for his every-other-daily dump. And when he jumped off, I noted a monster of a turd in the bowl. It was long. It was thick. It was robust. I was nervous. There’s no way this thing is going down, I thought to myself. But, in good faith, I flushed. And it spun around a couple of times and promptly lodged itself in the opening at the bottom of the bowl. It was a little bit bent, but not the least bit bowed. It looked like it was there to stay. I waited a minute and tried flushing again. It bent just a tiny bit more, like an old man with a beer gut straining to touch his toes, but it did not budge. I tried one more flush. Nothing. That turd was going nowhere.

As the resident toilet declogger, I have great faith in the power of water to relax masses of fecal matter. If you just wait it out, sometimes the shit goes down on its own. I decided to let this one relax in the pool for awhile, and perhaps then it would slide down without assistance.

I told my Old Man about it. “We could break it up with something,” he suggested. Ah, yes. The domestic we. “We could break it up with something” translates to “You could break it up with something, resident toilet declogger.”

You’ve heard the expression “I wouldn’t touch him/her/it with a ten foot pole.” There are some things you don’t want to touch, not even with a stick. I was banking on the soak method. I’d give it a half an hour or so, then try again.

And then I promptly forgot about it. It was in the guest bathroom and easy to put completely out of my mind. The next morning I awoke from pleasant sleep with a panicked start: the stubborn turd! I was horrified that I’d left it stewing away in the guest room toilet all night. I jumped out of bed, hoping against hope that a its night soak would have left it pliable and ready to flush its way out of my life. I opened the lid, and flushed. It gave a bit more, bending into the space of the toilet drain, but stayed lodged. Fucking hell! I was just about to go put on shoes and head out into the freezing morning air to find a turd-poking stick, shuddering at the thought, when I decided to give it just one more try.

I flushed. It bent neatly in half, as if bowing graciously on its way out the door, and slipped down into obscurity.


(File under: Way more information than I wanted, thanks.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sweetness and the Lunar Eclipse

I had been gearing up to write a post about a turd. But then something really sweet happened, and I have to spend a moment on that first. So tune in later for the turd (if you’re into that sort of thing).

I am fortunate to have my mom close by during these early years of my kids’ lives (and how it is that she and her husband are close by here in the Midwest when really they live on the West Coast is worthy of a post of its own). One of the many wonderful things about having O. and Roo’s grandparents close is the joy of swapping everyday observations and anecdotes about my kids with people who are as crazy about them as I am. This is a story I didn’t experience first hand, but heard from my mom.

Last night, my mom and stepdad were over for our weekly Wednesday night family dinner. She had spent the afternoon with O. and had been getting him pumped up about the lunar eclipse, which we were able to view from his bedroom window. When Mom and O. went up after dinner to check on the progress of the eclipse, she tried to convey what a relatively rare event a lunar eclipse is, telling him it wouldn’t happen again for another two years. “You’ll be seven the next time,” she said. Later, she and O. were updating my stepdad on the newly observed phase of the eclipse. “I’ll be seven next time it happens!” O. told my stepdad. Mom observed that Roo will be two. “She’ll be walking and talking by then, O. Just imagine that!” According to my mom, O. got a faraway look, and after a long pause he looked at her with a serious expression and said, “I will miss that little baby!”

This just about knocked me over. The fact that my little guy is thinking complexly enough to be able to look ahead and anticipate missing his little sister being a baby is such a striking testament to how far he’s come since he was a little baby himself. And it’s very poignant, the thought that he will miss her babyhood, when of course we will miss her babyhood, too, just as we miss his.

But not too much. I’m always surprised at how little time I spend feeling wistful for O’s earlier days. I can’t miss those baby days too much, because he’s always charging off into some new and amazing version of himself. The fact that I can talk to my kid is a continual delight, more and more as he gains greater complexity of thought and command of language. And the more complex he gets, the greater the chances that he’ll say (or yell) something that doesn’t delight me. But that stuff is the exception rather than the rule, and it doesn’t tend to be what sticks in my mind at the end of the day.

I’m assuming that it will be the same with Roo. I love her so very much as she is, cuddley and babbling, mewling and drooling in my arms. But I’m also looking forward to her words, to seeing her dance and jump and run. And I hope that O. enjoys the ever-changing versions of his little sister. I think he will. But it touches my heart that he likes this wee version of Roo so much that he can envision missing her baby self.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spitty Kisses

I’ve always been picky about kissing. Maybe everyone is. Everyone should be. Kissing is one of the chief pleasures of life, and it’s that initial portal into the larger realm of physical love. I figure if someone is a bad kisser, there’s probably no point in taking things any further.

“Bad kisser” is a relative term, of course. Where kissing is concerned, one person’s sucky might just be someone else’s sublime. But for me, a really lovely, spine-tingling, knee-weakening kiss is all about restraint, at least initially. In my book, lunging at someone with your tongue outstretched is no way to start things off. I prefer to begin a kiss with a relatively light touch of the lips, and no spit. Warm and soft, yes. Moist, yes. Wet, no. That soft kiss can quickly evolve into a wet, tonguey kiss, but it’s best if this occurs through a process of opening and exploration rather than all-at-once. Once the kiss is underway and the tongue play has begun, things can get really wet and athletic, and this can go on and on ‘til the jaw begins to ache pleasantly. But to start things off, I’ve got to have that enticing restraint. I think I can safely say that ever since my kissing career began back in high school, any first kiss that began with slobbering or the tongue-lunge move was also the last kiss.

Maybe my aversion to being slobbered on accounts for my preference for cats over dogs. Dogs are great in many ways, but they are so licky, and their licks are so spitty. God save me from getting kissed by a dog. I don’t even really like dog spit on my hand, but on my face, or – Heaven forfend – my mouth? Eeech. Most cats are not inclined to lick you, and I’ve never met a cat who would lick a human mouth (smart beasts). If a cat ever does happen to lick you, they have those sandpapery tongues that leave behind almost no spit. That’s my kind of pet.

I’ve recently discovered one context where I don’t mind slobber, and that is baby kisses. Perhaps not kisses from any baby, but I love kisses from my baby, icky and sloppy as they are.

Baby O. was not a big kisser. He was a huggy, cuddley baby, but tended to squinch up his face in dismay when kissed on the face. I actually went on a campaign to get him to like kisses by making a practice of kissing him right before he nursed.

Baby Roo loves kisses. I can kiss her face over and over, left and right and up and down, cheeks and nose and ears and eyes, and she will smile bigger and bigger and squeal with delight. And she gives kisses, too. You parents out there know the kind: big, spitty, open-mouthed kisses. And during these drooly days of teething, she has more spit than she knows what to do with, so her kisses usually leave a trickley trail. When she plants a big, spitty kiss on my cheek or my chin, I shudder with a combination of disgust and delight. I love Roo’s kisses because she’s so sweet and cute and happy and I love her so much, and somehow the fact that her kisses are also sloppy and gross adds to the thrill of them. Maybe like a haunted house or a roller coaster. I do wipe the spit off when she detaches, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it while the kiss lasts.

spitty kiss 1

Anyway, she mostly keeps her tongue to herself, and that’s about all I can ask of such a kissing novice.