Never did I ever imagine walking into my bathroom after being hollered at, to find a four year old standing bent over with a dirty, soiled bottom and his whole ‘nether region’ facing up in the air unashamedly towards me.
Never did I ever imagine having conversations about making sure the skin underneath the tip of the penis is peeled back all the way, and washed and dried thoroughly.
Never did I ever imagine having conversations about how important it is to make sure that the toilet floor is not only free of rogue pee, but also that the flush button is not just for ornamental value.
The joys of boys.
I know girls have their issues, but trust me when I say that these seem far less ‘alien’ to me than those I face on a daily basis as the mum of three boys.
Nothing seems to be off limits for dinner time conversations – farts, bottoms, dogs, toilets, underpants, lizards, willies and dinosaurs – anything and everything can pop out of the mouths of my three fellows.
Over the years, I have become quite fluent in the language of ‘little boy’, also known as ‘toilet humour’: which is both amusing and disturbing at the same time. My mother often laments that her investment in my private, all girls’ education was, in fact, ‘wasted’ on me.
Perhaps she is right.
I certainly wasn’t brought up with these types of conversations happening with my parents.
Far from it.
I think many parents these days, of both boys and girls alike, are hard pushed not to enjoy talking to their kids about subjects that inevitably have their cherubs on the floor in fits of laughter.
It’s just too enjoyable.
There is something about seeing our kids laughing hysterically, particularly at normal bodily features and functions, that renders us helpless to resist joining in.
To this day I don’t understand how my own mother was able to avoid the temptation. I have thought long and hard about this, trust me: it’s the same innate power she possessed to keep a straight face even when we did something naughty, yet funny.
I am able to keep a straight face when the situation requires, usually, but nowhere near as well as she can.
I wasn’t raised in an environment where ‘toilet humour’ featured greatly. I was the eldest of four children, having two sisters and one brother, all younger than me. There obviously were many conversations over the years with my siblings about ‘farts’, ‘poo’ and ‘wee’, but NEVER would these have been tolerated on any level by our parents.
‘Fart’ was a swear word. Any vague, or stern reference to the passing of bodily gas was referred to using the term ‘rude noise’ or the action of ‘passing wind’.
Both of these terms, even now, make me roll my eyes with the absolute ‘nerdiness’ and shame of it all. Parents are embarrassing at the best of times, but seriously, a ‘rude noise’???
‘FART, SAY FART,’ I always wanted to scream at them. It remains etched in my mind to this day.
So not so secretly, I adore toilet humour and the mirth it brings. Maybe I was destined all along to be a mother of little boys…
As an adult, I still often manage to vex my mother with the casual nature with which I discuss this particular line of conversation.
The other pseudo-swear word in our house growing up was ‘bum’. An English teacher, in fact, a Head of Department, Mum hated the low-brow connotations that accompanied the use of this term. I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I would have been in the same degree of trouble for dropping the ‘F-bomb’ as I would for saying ‘bum’ in our house.
As adults, we STILL aren’t permitted to say ‘bum’ and will be corrected even now.
Mum has virtually zero tolerance for anything related to what she calls ‘toilet humour’. She is one of four girls in her family, so this probably isn’t surprising.
My siblings and I enjoy goading her – making up for years of being unable to utter the word ‘fart’ or ‘bum’ – using these taboo words now at every opportunity.
Because we can.
Childish I know, but it’s always an easy way to get a quick rise out of Mum. Rather unsporting, but oh so funny.
And yes I can laugh now, as I am completely ignorant of the parenting choices I am making that my own children will potentially harass me for in future.
I have no doubt that my mother will have the last laugh then.