As a child, teen, and even as an early twenty something, when I imagined being a "Mommy", I never could have prepared myself for instances like what happened tonight at 7:37pm in my home.
No... no heart-wrenching tender moment ocoured between my two children that made me cry sweet tears, and fortunately, no one was badly heart, ripping my heart in two as I realized I "couldn't make it all better" immediately.
No tough conversations regarding my childrens' fears or others serious matters occured.
No, no, no.
It was just my son, who is newly three years old, beckoning me to the bathroom with "I gotta go potty Mommy!".
I paused from simultaneously folding laundry and quizzing my kindergartner on letter sounds, and met him in the bathroom.
He had already set the toddler potty seat on the toilet, and as I pulled his Mickey underwear down and lifted him up and sat him down, he informed me,
"I gotta go poo poo Mommy."
Awesome champ. I'm here for you.
He then proceeded with,
"I push my penis down", and ever so lightly placed his index finger on his little winky, pushing it down to point at the water in the toilet bowl.
These kinds of teachable moments are what parents live for, I tell you.
"Buddy, you only have to push it down to pee. Okay? When you go..."
I stopped talking at this point, because his tiny potbelly stomach was tensing up, his face turning red, and his eyes met mine in a frozen gaze that seemed to say "We don't talk now."
Then, through gritted teeth, he said,
"Dis one is hawd wok Mommy."
I bit my bottom lip, closed my eyes, and looked to the ground as I heard the plop into the water.
As soon as he could breathe again, he took both of his tiny, fat hands and raised my face up to look at him again.
"I wike to push my penis down Mommy."
"I can't even handle this."
He then, still with his hands on my cheeks, said
"Yesh you can Mommy. Jus kiss me."
Naturally, I obliged, and we kissed.
After the kiss came round two.
Again, his tense body and death gaze seemed to tell me that it was time for a moment of silent reflection for both of us.
For no particular reason, I chose to take the moment to ponder the thought of our current president being in my position, and had a brilliant epiphany in which I realized my next (and every future) presidential vote would go to the candidate that I felt could, and would be willing to, partake in such a tender, disturbing moment as the one I currently found myself in.
Or to the candidate that I could fathom HAD done this at some point in their life.
My political daydreaming was interrupted by another plop into the toilet, and Graham informing me,
"Dat one was wike a twiangle", complete with him taking his hands to form a triangle shape.
I thanked him for the insightful visual, and helped him off the toilet.
As I put him down, he immediately turned around to inspect his work.
"Oh, dat's a big one. It wooks like a tanker!"
As I wiped him, contemplating what alcoholic beverage was going to be needed to follow up this merry moment, Zoe yelled out a letter name from the dining room.
"And what sound does it make?" I yelled back as I looked deep into the black hole of toddlerdom, as he was bent over in front of me at this point, holding his ankles.
After she answered, and I asked her for an example of a word starting with the letter, my dear son stood up, looked at me, and said,
"Don't fwush it Mommy, I wanna wook at it wif da miwwah."
As I hung my head in shame, wondering where I went wrong with him, he fetched the hand mirror a few feet away, then ran back to me and the toilet, holding it above the water.
He played with the angle until he could successfully see his tanker in the reflection, and then yelled,
"Sissy! Come see my poo poo!"
Sweet mother of Mary and Joseph.
Zoe ran in despite my incessant pleas to stay in the dining room, and immediately congratulated her little brother.
"Wow buddy! That's a big one! Good job! Can sissy flush it?"
I had taken a seat on the floor at this point with my head in my hands, not even realizing I still held the dirty toilet paper I had wiped him with in my hand.
As I heard the flush that marked the end of this two minute debacle, I looked up to toss it in, and there stood my flesh and blood, arms around each other, with Graham's underwear still at his ankles.
They were smiling like dumb fools, waving to the toilet bowl as Graham declared "Bye bye poo poo!", and Zoe echoed his sentiments.
When I beckoned Graham to pull up his underwear, he looked at me and informed me,
"Dat poo poo came outta my butt Mommy. It was wike a swide."
I decided to agree with him, and off he "Phoebe ran", arms flailing about like he had not a care in the world.
I immediately felt the need to write down this experience, and give young women everywhere who hope to be "Mommy" one day, a slight glimpse into their future.
Just like there are no books, blogs, or neighborly advice that will adequately prepare you for all that is babies, sleepless nights, or sibling rivalry, there is very little to prepare you for what unfolds in the confines of your bathrooms from the ages of two to four (give or take a little either way) with your offspring.
I wish you all Godspeed and a sick and twisted sense of humor to handle what awaits you.
This incident, like so many of the past in my bathroom over the past four years, has shaped me into the woman I am today.
Something about all of it strips you of any arrogance you might possess regarding your place and role in our world, and leaves instead, a humility that mirrors that which a dung beetle might feel.
And after my toilet-side political ponderings, I've decided it's that same humility that I'd love to see our country's politicians gain.
So I offer up Graham for the next presidential election (or perhaps because he will indeed age, a friend's toddler), and could likely promise the vote of every mother in the US for the candidate who will lovingly kiss the dear toddler as he or she relieves themselves, helps them analyze its shape and resemblance, has an appropriate response to any and all other remarks made during the process, and can quiz a five year old on letter sounds throughout it all.
And disturbingly enough, just like I did, I'd be willing to bet that any candidates who willingly step up to this challenge will come out of the whole experience with a fuller heart, and the grotesque desire to have it all happen again.
Because just like politics, motherhood is a sick and twisted ride, that most days, involves a whole lot of ****.