The Great Butt Wiping Standoff

by Amy Hunter

Being a parent is the beyond cleaning up boo-boos and breast leakage. It is the biggest experiment of trial and error in the history of the universe. Something works? You keep doing that shit. Forever. Until it doesn’t work, which will probably be 10 minutes from the moment you discovered it works, but still, at one point in time, at one nanosecond of existence, it fucking worked. And you’re leaping in between your piles of unfolded, clean laundry, dancing a fucking jig and pulling your hair to the heavens, “It works!” Then you catch yourself in a mirror and realize you look like Doc Brown as he channeled 1.21 gigawatts and Marty went back to the future and you reel it in…but you can’t help but echo that small cheer in your head…”it worked.”

Then you have another kid. And you are so fucking ready for this shit. You know what works. You are at parenting level Ninja Jedi Dumbledore and it’s the most incredible feeling in the entire universe. That’s when you discover that with this kid, none of that shit works. Not. One. Thing. And you have to reinvent the game. Damn, you might as well be trying to reinvent the wheel.

That’s where I’m at right now.

When my first son finally got potty training down, he handled that shit. And when I say he “handled that shit,” I mean, I taught him to wipe and left him to it. This usually meant he didn’t wipe adequately and laundry time was interesting. Actually, no. It wasn’t interesting. It was pretty gross. But once you give your kid that responsibility, it’s difficult to go back and say, “Hey, you are really shitty (pun intended) at wiping your ass. Maybe I should start to help you with that.” Not gonna happen. So I would just silently scrub out the shit stains, and run a small, here-is-how-you-should-wipe refresher every couple of weeks.

Obviously, this tactic didn’t work. And I’m not an idiot. If something doesn’t work, you try something else.

When my second kid started to potty train I had a whole new approach. I would wipe for him until he got the hang of it. The idea sounded innocuous enough. Sure, I’ve been wiping his ass since he was born, what’s another couple of months?

That was 2 years ago.

I’m still mommy the butt wiper. And I am so done. Unfortunately, he’s not.

I know what you’re thinking. “Who wipes while he’s at school?” He doesn’t poop at school. He hasn’t had a bowel movement where we weren’t under the same roof in almost 3 years. I went out of town for 48 hours last spring and he didn’t poop until I returned home. No lie.

We finally started the discussion.

Me: He buddy, how about you start trying to wipe your butt yourself?

Him: No.

Me: It’s really easy. I’ll show you and everything.

Him: No.

Hmm, tactic change.

Me: Don’t you want to start wiping your butt like a big boy?

Him: No.

Me: But it’s so nice to have the privacy and the ability to go whenever you want. Don’t you want that?

Him: No.

Just like you know when thing are working you can also tell when things aren’t working. This whole “passive mommy–Gandhi” thing, wasn’t working. I may have cracked a little bit.

Me: Listen bud, I’m pretty much done with wiping your butt.

Him: No.

Me: For real. You’re in pre-k now; you’re a big boy. You need to learn how to do this.

Him: No.

Me: Okay, here it is, I didn’t want to go here, but there is no reasoning with you. From now on you’re going to have to wipe yourself. I’m not doing it anymore. Do you understand?

Him: No.

He hasn’t pooped in 3 days.

This is totally working for me.