Number Two

I have writer’s block. I squint at the glare from the white screen, not sure how to get words to appear. I need a push. My shitty office job stories have run dry. I am only left with incidents that involve people who might actually read this and be offended or, worse, flattered. I have started to write about my dad, but I need more time to make it funny. Maybe twenty or thirty years.

Writer’s block grows with inertia. Not writing now would be like packing my intestines with sawdust. I need to let it flow. I need a blog-post enema. The only solution, obviously, is to write about my kids’ bodily functions. I know they will thank me for it one day, especially my daughter. She is the youngest, so she doesn’t have a scrapbook. Also I am much more involved in the process of her bathroom visits than I ever was with her older brother. My son is a ghost pooper. He does his business all on his own with no evidence. He is seven, and he knows how to read. There could be a correlation.

My daughter started kindergarten last week and all summer we talked about how she should wipe her own butt once school starts. She agreed. Oh yes. She would do that. But she hasn’t. She comes home from school and goes to the bathroom and then yells for me, “Mama! Wipe my buh-uh-utt!” I run down the hall and swing the bathroom door open with a smile. While I am wiping, she counts my toes. I still have five on each foot. It is clear that I have made the activity of butt-wiping entirely too much fun. That is my curse.

She is an inconvenient pooper. She always has to go number two when we are away from the house. She goes at every restaurant, Target, Wal-Mart, the bathroom at her gymnastics class, the gas station by the interstate, McDonalds. I am paranoid enough to be convinced that she holds it just to make my life harder. As the waitress asks, “Who had the smothered chicken with a side of onion tanglers?” my daughter smirks and says, “I need to go potty.”

When we are out of the house, I am impatient. Maybe there are people waiting outside the door or my enchiladas are getting cold. I can see the germs filling the air—that wad of toilet paper on the floor is probably emitting gonorrhea microbes all around the room. I am sure of it. She puts her hands on the toilet seat. I scream. “Let’s hurry up,” I say frantically. She casually continues with her story about the kitten she saw in the road seven months ago. I mention that it doesn’t seem like she is trying very hard. Her face looks relaxed and natural. She asks me to hold her hand while she finishes, the hand that was just on the toilet seat and is now pressed up against the tile wall. I do it.

There might come a day when she does not want me to hold her hand while she poops.

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