“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crossing the Streams

I know I go on a bit about how different it must be to have little girls than it is to have little boys. I must admit, though, that I feel hesitant every time I send such decrees out into the vast blankness I imagine Internetland to be. After all, I have three nieces who I love desperately and spend a great deal of time with. They are not simple, easy people and I know it, and I think my sister and sister-in-law (as well as my own mother who has to put up with me) are brave, strong, and amazing people to have to deal with some of the things that come with raising strong-minded, strong-willed, completely independent little ladies.


I will say that what I overheard in the bathroom during a recent enactment of our bedtime routine would probably never happen with little girls. I was gathering up pajamas and socks while my boys, who I have been figuring are now big and old enough to do so, were getting out of their clothes and, well, "going to the bathroom," before their bath. As I was leaning deep into Joey's armoire to find a pair of socks, I heard him say, "Yikes! I have to go really bad!"

This is something that annoys me, because I know both my boys have a tendency to "hold it" too long. It was a habit I had for years, priding myself on my superior strong bladder, until one day I woke up with kidney stones and have never been able to look back. Now I cringe in shame at my inferior weak bladder.

Imagine my irritation, then, when I heard a bit of shoving and heard Noah's reply, "No! I have to go really bad!"

Irritation gave way to horror when Joey said, "Let's just both go. Let's see if we can cross our streams!"

"NO," came Noah's emphatic voice. "Mommy says we're not shupposed to. She says it's messy."

"But it's so cool!" Joey insisted.

At this point, I could definitely hear one stream, and continued shoving. I dropped all socks and pajamas and hurried into the bathroom. Noah was just taking aim as Joey's pee thundered away. That's another thing. Why do boys pee so loudly? Is it a distance thing? The farther you are from the toilet, then...?

"Boys!" I said, panicked. "Never, ever do that!" In my haste to reach the bathroom in time, my tidy bun had slipped from the top of my head down one side, and I was standing with my hands up in the air, "Vogue" style. No matter. The necessity of bathroom cleanliness trumps personal appearance any day.

Both boys snapped around to look at me. But do you know what happens when boys are going to the bathroom and turn around to look at something other than the toilet? A far bigger mess than that caused by crossing streams.

"No!" I cried. "Watch what you're doing!"

But it was too late. A mess was everywhere. On the back of the toilet, all over the rim, and on the floor. Somehow, both boys were dry. And completely unbothered.

Noah shrugged one shoulder and made for the bath, which by this time was full and cheerfully bubbly, as if to mock me and the mess I now had to clean.

"Sorry, Mom," he said, swinging one leg into the water. "But you know. Accidents happen."

"Mom doesn't understand, Noah," Joey said, climbing in after his brother. "She's a girl."

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