Monday, January 30, 2012

I Have No Bodily Functions

When my stepdaughter was a young gymnast, her coach very sternly told the team that they were to take care of all bodily functions – using the bathroom, getting a drink of water, blowing their nose – before going out on the gym floor. Once you’re on the floor, he told them, “you have no bodily functions.” Naturally, they asked him, “But Patrick, you’re always on the floor. When do you do those things?” Without missing a beat, he informed them, “I have no bodily functions.” And, given his reputation, I’m pretty sure they believed him.

I wish I could pull that off with my own kids. Or kid, anyway. Ryan is in that delightful stage of potty training where he’s fascinated by all things bathroom-related. He finds it interesting that everyone uses the potty, and oftentimes the one enticement that will get him to pee on the potty is if Mama goes first. Telling him that I went already just won’t fly. So much for using the bathroom in privacy. I thought that moms who said they never got to pee without an audience were exaggerating. So help me, I really did. I mean, how hard can it be to lock a toddler out of a bathroom? I was totally missing the point. It’s not that you CAN’T use the bathroom alone, it’s that if you do, that’s one more diaper you’ll have to change, one more day of working on potty training, one more missed opportunity to celebrate the joys of diaperless living to a child who is less than eager to be convinced of the same. In other words, the reward of peeing without an audience pales in comparison to the reward of a potty-trained child.

But if I could just convince Ryan that I somehow no longer have any bodily functions, he couldn’t ask for a command performance! Because what would be my response? “Sorry, would love to, can’t.” What argument is there after that? None! It’s a pre-won argument. There is no comeback to, “I can’t.” If I said, “I don’t want to,” you can argue to make me want to. If I said, “I won’t,” you can try to convince me that I should. But if I state that it is physically impossible for me to do what you’re asking, you’ve got nothing to argue against except the laws of physics.

So starting tomorrow, I’m plotting a campaign to convince my child that I have no bodily functions. I’ve already convinced him that I can fix anything with glue and tape and that my kisses miraculously and instantaneously cure any ailment, so how hard can it be, really?

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