In what may very well be the first gift he personally picked out for his granddaughters (and certainly the first one he personally inscribed to them), my father gave the girls Walter the Farting Dog for Hanukkah. He admitted he wasn’t sure if Ben and I would be pleased, but I don’t think he could help himself. Actually we don’t mind, especially since we also got a real live (stuffed) Walter who makes the requisite sounds when you squeeze his ample tummy. The main effect has been that the girls now use the word “fart” more often than it’s predecessor, “tushy burp,” which was pretty cute but perhaps a bit too precious for school-age children. It’s become a topic of great interest, especially for Becky, who turns four tomorrow (Happy birthday, Boo-boo!). She recently asked me if grownups farted as well as kids. I replied with a tactfully worded “Duh!” given the freedom with which her parents let loose in the privacy of our home. The more delicate part came with the follow-up question: she asked if grandpas and grandmas farted too. I had to confess that they, ahem, most likely did, but restrained themselves with great politesse when they had company. But the best comment was in the car on the way home from yet another birthday party, when Becky piped up, “Mommy, the whole party, I didn’t have any farts!” Except the letter R is still a problem for her, so it came out sort of New Yorky, like “fawts.” Must be the Jersey genes.
Speaking of bodily functions, since so many parental bloggers dwell on this fascinating topic (usually in reference to their kids but not always), full disclosure requires me to say that Becky produces some of the biggest poops on the planet. And I don’t just mean in the preschool division. She’s definitely surpassed many adult productions in terms of length and girth. We’re talking big. We’re talking, “why aren’t you screaming in pain before pooping something the size of your arm trapped inside your little body, and just how big is your sphincter anyway?” Needless to say, the house has a full complement of plumber’s helpers. The downstairs bathroom needs to be worked over almost every time she uses it for poop. You go girl! And just in case I’m embarrassing Becky too much and Sarah not enough, I’ll report that Sarah was hell to potty-train for poop (though not for pee) because she used it as a power card. Basically, we had her all trained during the day and put her in a diaper only at night, which is how most people do it, right? Except that Sarah would hold in her poop all day and then drop the load about two minutes after we’d tucked her into her crib and turned out the light. She was using the power of her own bowels to extract more time and attention from her parents. Finally we had to draw the line in the sand and tell her that she was going to wear big-girl underpants at night and if she pooped in them, she was going to enjoy the company of her log all night long. This worked even better than I had hoped, because not only did that pout a stop to the post-bedtime pants-loads, but she had one or maybe two bed-wetting accidents after that. The child is a model of self-control when she wants to be. Now if we could just get her to eat nice constipating food like pasta and cheese pizza like other kids.