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Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

Jumping the Shark in 2016

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This post is meant to be about my parenting resolution for 2016, and it will be, eventually. But first I have a poop story, because I’m a mom and, well, poop happens.

My six-year-old son asked me to buy him an emoji poop pillow for Christmas. Obviously, I said no. In nine years of raising two boys (and two dogs), I’ve dealt with more poop – literally and figuratively – than I care to discuss.

I didn’t say no just because it was an oddly sweet-smelling plush pile of smiling poop, although that was part of it, and I didn’t say no just because I need another stuffed toy in my house like I need another Chasing Fireflies catalog in my mailbox, although that was part of it, too. I said no because I want to slow down my boys’ consumption of technology, or rather, technology’s consumption of them.

At ages six and nine, my boys’ tech knowledge is inching closer and closer to surpassing my own. In some areas, it already has. With each passing day, their interests deviate more from my own, and their technical know-how, in Minecraft especially, brings them to worlds that are out of my reach. That right there is even scarier than the idea of paying real money for fake poop.

Not surprisingly, my refusal to buy the pillow fueled my young son’s desire to have one. He tried to convince me that it would magically decrease his screen time. If I thought that were true, I would’ve bought poop pillows for the whole family. He also tried to persuade me that the pillow would help him go to sleep, which fueled my desire to suggest a less expensive and readily available alternative (i.e. our dog’s poop) that I would happily place at his bedside if I knew it would get him to go the bleep to sleep.

It didn’t stop there. He did a Google search for “poop pillow” and discovered Amazon Prime had same day delivery, so we could have poop on our doorstep in mere hours. After I squashed that dream, he settled for a Google search for “poop song,” which led him to his favorite stomping ground, YouTube. When that unearthed videos that were boring albeit educational (poop comes in many shapes and colors) and inappropriate (potty talk=potty mouth), I suggested he add the word “kid” to his search phrase.

This could be the moment you walk away from this poop story. It could be the moment you call me out for letting my six-year-old loose in the Interwebs in search of songs about poop for kids. (In my defense, I did steer him toward age-appropriate content.) It could be the moment I jumped the parenting shark, and that might be a fair assessment, but what happened next was pretty awesome.

He stumbled upon a YouTube video of a young girl singing a parody of “Let It Go” with lyrics including, “Let me poop, Let me poop, Can’t hold it in anymore, Let me poop, Let me poop, I should’ve closed the door, I don’t care what they’re going to say, Let the poop come out, The smell never bothered me anyway.”

Needless to say, this video was all kinds of disturbing, but damn it was funny. It was so funny that we listened to it again…and again and again. Even my nine-year-old joined in on the fun because have you ever met a tween boy who didn’t appreciate a good poop parody? By the fourth (fifth?) rendition, we – including me – were singing “Let Me Poop” with tears streaming down our cheeks from laughing so hard.

Believe it or not, this parenting triumph (or defeat, if you insist) leads me to my parenting resolution for the year ahead. In 2016, I want to laugh with my kids. I want to giggle uncontrollably and chuckle until I snort, even if – especially if – it involves singing poop parodies, jamming to gross and gassy melodies from the Fart Sound Machine App, or watching “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” which, by the way, just isn’t same without Tom Bergeron. I feel closest to my boys when we’re unhinged, candid, and off our rockers laughing until our bellies ache…together. If poop, fart, and slip and fall shenanigans are what get us to that place, so be it.

Soon enough, my kids will have iPhones, Instagram accounts, relationships, and social lives that don’t involve me. (Deep breath.) When that time comes, they’ll be way more interested in emojis – poop or otherwise – than their Mama, and they’ll be one step ahead and even further from my grasp no matter how hard I try to keep up. This inevitability makes every spontaneous moment of laughter and connection we have now insanely precious. When the time comes, I will let them poop, er, go, but in the meantime, I plan to jump the parenting shark every chance I get.

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