On Butts and Teaching Important Life Lessons

Jan 10 2012

“Mom?”

“Yeah?”

“Look at my butt.”

“Look at your butt?”

“Well, no. Look at my butthole.”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes. I fink I have a rash.”

“A butthole rash.”

“Yes.”

“Around your butthole.”

Yes, mom. That’s what I said.”

“Which I have to look at.”

“Right.”

“Is there any way I can avoid this?”

“No. I don’t fink so. I fink you got to do it.”

“What if I stall by asking you lots of questions? Do you think you’ll forget about your rash if I distract you long enough? Like, what if I offer you a cookie?”

“MOM! Stop it! Look. At. My. Butthole.”

“OK. Looks like distraction’s not an option. But here’s the thing… I’ll grant that your butthole hurts, and I’ll even stipulate that I can help you with that. But what if we sort of, you know, change the dynamic of our relationship? I mean, you’re 5 years old now, and we’ve overcome a lot of hurdles together in that time. Like how we’re using words and having conversations instead of the random squawking sessions we had back when you resembled a baby bird. Sure, you still like to lift up my shirt at inopportune times and flash my stretch marks to, say, the grocery store clerk because you feel that warming your icy fingers on my warm, bare flesh is imperative, but what if – get this – we just slather some Aquaphor on your butthole without me looking at it first?  What if I just believe you that you have a rash and we treat it like a rash and I get to not be the butthole looker? Wouldn’t that be awesome?”

“You don’t want to look at my butthole, Mom?”

“YES! Yes. That’s what I’m saying. I don’t want to look at your butthole. I feel like we can fix your butthole non-visually.”

“Huh.”

5 minutes later:

“Mom?”

“Yeah?”

“I have an idea.”

“Is this about your butthole? Because I had an idea, too.”

“I know, Mom. But your idea wasn’t a very good one.”

“I see.”

“So I fink you should take a picture.”

“Take a picture?”

“Yes. Of my butthole.”

“Take a picture of your butthole. With my camera?”

“That’s usually how it’s done, Mom.”

“Why?”

“‘Cause if you won’t wook at my butthole, I will.”

(FYI, this is the exactly why you shouldn’t teach children to solve their own problems.)

“Son, I can’t take a picture of your butthole.”

“Why?”

“Because I have too many children, and I can’t afford to take any days off to serve jail time. Believe me, when I was a new mama, the draw of three meals a day and all the paperback books I can read made me consider robbing a bank or two, but I discarded that idea a long time ago as impractical. Kind of like a two-week, child-free vacation to Mexico. Jail is not happening.”

“What?”

“Nevermind. Just listen to this part because it’s the most important: We don’t take pictures of private parts. Ours or anyone else’s. Ever. And, by ever, I mean never. Also, I thought we’d be having this conversation, like, eight years from now when you’re a teenager and you get your first cell phone.”

“Okaaaay.”

“So what have we learned today?”

“Uuummm. Never take a picture of my butthole?”

“YES!”

“And never take a picture of anyone else’s butthole?”

“YES!”

“And whenever I have a butthole rash, tell Dad.”

“EXACTLY!”

 

Sometimes, it’s hard to know whether I’m getting through to my kids. But every now and then, it all comes together.