“I have to PEEEEEEEE!!!!,” my son shouted at me for the 86th consecutive time from the confines of the community pool. It’s his new thing, announcing his need to perform basic human functions at a decibel that can be heard from anywhere in a 3 block radius. I’m used to it, but the gaggle of condo commandos that had congregated under an umbrella at a table near the pool were obviously unnerved. They all turned to look at me, their skin permanently bronzed and leathery from years of retired-life sitting underneath a palm tree in the Florida sun. I’m not judging, good for them…but holy shit, there’s this stuff…it’s called sunscreen…when applied liberally to the epidermis, it can help prevent you from looking like a talking saddle in a Hawaiian shirt.
As the sound of Frank Sinatra reverberated off of the buildings surrounding the pool, they asked to borrow one another’s reading glasses to inspect the “musicpod thing” one of them had ordered from “the inter-web”. I dutifully grabbed a towel and escorted the boy to the bathroom. His little dripping body was leaving a puddley trail of footprints the entire way. I didn’t want them to think I was letting the boy use the pool as a giant urinal. He giggled, pretending to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex making tracks to be discovered by a “Paweontowogist” (that’s Paleontologist, for those of you that don’t speak 4 year old) as we strolled past the judging eyes of the Condominium Association Elite. The alpha male of the AARP members, a big guy, who used to be a New York cop, called out to me “Don’t let him have an accident! Hey, and when you gonna cut that kid’s hair? He looks like a fairy, for God’s sake,” as he gesticulated wildly. I smiled and said “Never”. It wasn’t the “I’m sorry my kid is interrupting your Sunday Jazz and incontinence breakfast” smile. No, it was the “I’ve peed in your pool and I’m probably gonna do it again” smile. They’ve done it too, everyone has. Just because you stand around telling people where to park and yelling at kids for running on the patio doesn’t mean you’re immune to being too lazy to get out of the water when you have to go. As far as his hair goes, I like it long and until my son demands that I shave it all off, it’s going to bounce off of his shoulder blades.
Ever since my son mastered the art of using a toilet it’s become quite the topic of conversation in my home. It’s like some mythical portal. If it weren’t for human waste and automobiles, the only thing the kid would probably say to me is “I don’t want to talk right now”. When he’s not using the can himself, he’s offering its services to anyone he thinks could benefit from taking a big dump. We don’t entertain a lot, but last week during a family dinner he took it upon himself to tell my Aunt Lois that “if she needed to frow-up or had to poop, she could use his bafroom”. Aunt Lois didn’t appear to be experiencing any gastro-intestinal distress, but perhaps he thought if there was a sudden issue he’d give her his blessing. I’m always telling him that he needs to make our company feel welcome…his interpretation is totally not what I meant.
My mother is always quick to point out that “none of her children acted this way” in regards to the fascination with the toilet. I’d like to point out that I have yet to visit the emergency room to have a french fry removed from neither my son’s left or right nostril, nor has a volunteer fire department been called to assist his safe extraction from the boughs of an extremely tall pine tree. I’m not discounting my mothers parenting skills, I’m just stating the facts.
I’m not worried about his fixation, something else will take its place in a few months. I worked with a girl who’s kindergarten aged son was obsessed with Justin Beiber a few years ago. Every time the kid heard his music or someone said his name he would shriek and go into a trance-like state singing “Baby, baby, baby…ooooh” and do a little leaping jig. Yeah, I’d talk about shit…using a bullhorn…on the courthouse steps with my son everyday, rather than have to endure that embarrassment.