I’ve had quite a few titles in my life. Daughter, sister, best friend. Law student, wife, lawyer, associate, assistant attorney general. Staff attorney, independent contractor. Mother. Miss, Ms., Mrs., Esq. They all mean very little in terms of who we really are. Empty labels without the background.
I think cultures with more descriptive monikers are onto something. There’s something so special about a name or a title that tries to get at a person’s essence. Like Chief Sitting Bull. When I read that I feel like I know something about the man, though obviously, not having invented a time machine, I’ve never met him. I sense his essence in those words. Stubborn. Larger than life. Unwilling to be moved from his position easily. Because, come on, who can budge a bull if it wants to be sitting. Who would want to?
If I did have a such a title right now, however, I fear it would not be so grand. My days are consumed with the trivia and tedium of life with three small children. I am the diaper changer. The butt wiper. The Queen of Shit. Empress of Poo Poo.
Maybe I’m just bitter because we’re trying to potty train Gee again. Yes, this is the second time. If you missed the first go around, about six months ago, it was really, really fun, what with him peeing on the baby and me answering the door in my bra and the baby eating shit and all. It went really well. We decided to go around a second time starting the day after we arrived in the tropics. We took off his diaper, put him in pants and asked him to please not pee or poop on himself. He’s like 3 1/2, he ought to be able to understand simple instruction like, for the love of all that is holy, little man, put your stinking excrement in the specially designed receptacle, please.
I faced it with dread. I couldn’t even amuse myself with an island version of the Messter Map because my lovely scanner does not take well to being packed and shipped half way across the world. But, surprisingly, minus a few small accidents and the fact that there seems to be a powerful magnet between his hands and his newly accessible penis, all goes well. He is (whispering) potty trained. (Knocking on wood, throwing salt over shoulder.) Correction. He is pee pee trained. Although, given the level of my involvement, I don’t really get the benefit over diapers.
He does tell me, ‘my penis has pee pee in it and I’m gonna put it in the potty and get a treat.’ Fabulous. Except that if I would like any pee pee to actually make it into the potty (versus, the floor, the rim, the walls, the bathtub), I have to help. First, complete pants removal. There is no pee pee without complete nakedness. Don’t ask me, I’m just the Assistant Director of the Pee Pee.
He stands on the stool and waggles it in the general direction of the toilet. Sadly, he’s easily distracted. If he were a NASA scientist, satellites would be crashing into each other and plummeting to earth. Unless I am directly involved in the aiming process (I’ll leave directly to your imagination), the toilet might as well not be there, for all the urine that lands inside of it.
I have accepted, without good grace, any hope of getting all or even most of the stream into the toilet. Not on me is now my main goal. Why must I state the obvious? Gee, please don’t put your knee into the pee pee stream.
Why? Why? Because it rickashays up into my face, that’s why. It’s disgusting. Do I look like the Drinker of the Pee Pee? No. I am not. It is not a title to which I aspire, even if I were paid a lot of money and let’s say filmed.
So, I know you are wondering what worked. By what magic of motherhood did I convince this stalwart, stubborn boy, Mr. Sitting I Won’t Put My PeePee in the Potty But Rather on Your Floor, to use the facilities. Simple. We told him, from day one here on Gilligan’s Island, no pee pee in the general vicinity of the potty, no POOL.
I know. Wicked Mother of the So Far West We Are Practically East. And your little dog too…
We made him sit on the side. We told him that boys that pee in their pants could not put their bottoms in the pool. We lied. The ocean, I let him have – hey back off greenies, whales piss in there, my toddlers’ pee pee isn’t making an appreciable contribution to the urine content of the briny blue. But no pool, and especially, no fancy pool with the slides and the teeter totter.
It took two days for pee pee success. Poop was happening in his night time diaper and you know what, whatever. Little Pick Your Battles, that’s my name.
After two whole days of complete pee pee in the vicinity of the potty success, I took them all down, on my own, to the little pool at our apartment. Call me Crazy Mother, or perhaps, Running Away Brain. Sitting Dumb Ass?
We were swimming not fifteen minutes, and by swimming I mean I was running around behind Cue like Mama Runs In Circles, trying to make sure he didn’t launch himself into the water, confident of my ability to be underneath him, no matter how far away I might physically be at time of launch, by the time he landed, while keeping a wild eye on the toddlers for any slipping under or imminent drowning, when He Who Shall Not Be Named but is generally called GEE shat in the damn pool.
Old Clueless Water Running Over Tired Rocks here didn’t catch on at first.
Me: Did you throw something into the pool?
Cue: GAH! Leap. Splash.
Me: (while baby fishing) What is that?
Gee: I don’t know. (??????)
Cue: GAH! Splash. Leap. GAH!!
Me: Is that a rock? Did you throw a rock into the pool? Where did you get a ro…
Well, shit. Literally. Not rock. Princess Shit For Brains. Not scissors. Not Paper.
I felt a brief flash of an intense emotion that I’m not going to describe as hate for my baby boy, whom I love with all my heart, but certainly for his errant excrement, now sitting innocently on the ledge seat of the smaller, jacuzzi-like pool. I ran through my options and they were few. The turd needed to be retrieved quickly before it fell off the ledge to the bottom, disintegrated into many small pieces, or got noticed by someone else, the most likely candidate being the maintenance guy who cleans the pool with religious fervor and would most likely ban us for life. I had nothing to use for retrieval operations and running to the apartment for tools, like Tupperware for instance or a plastic bag, would take too long. I had to take my entire entourage or risk a child drowning because I was squeamish about a turd in the pool.
Was I Mother or Tiny Squeaking Mouse? I went in, bare-handed. It was a perfectly executed one scoop extraction WITH squirming fifteen month old baby on my hip. I managed to dump it into the pool toilet (thank you, gods, for the pool toilet) and wash my hands seventeen times still clutching the unhappy baby. I earned my new title, is what I am telling you, in a trial by water. Crap infested water.
And then, the triumphant Fisher of the Turds surveyed her unhappy tribe.
Ess: Can we swim now?
Gee: I all done, momma. Can I swim too?
I let them swim in the water Gee had just used as his personal toilet bowl. For almost another hour. Fecal coliform is good for you. What was that about worms?
That is how I earned my title: The Fisher of the Turds.
Finally, about this whole title thing. There’s a reason that we don’t do this in English speaking cultures. Descriptive titles are uglier in English than in other languages. Take Chamarro, for example, the local language here on Saipan. In Chamarro, Turd Fisher is Taki Peskadot.
Pretty. Melodic. You can call me AnyMommyTaki.